The impacts of human activities, especially those caused by tourism, have resulted in the destruction of coastal cliff-top heathland and grassland vegetation. The loss of these natural habitats has led land managers to reduce human pressure and its impacts on the vegetation cover. Access has been restricted to stop the destruction, and restoration techniques are mainly based on the natural resilience of the vegetation. There have been few scientific reviews of the success of existing restoration operations through spontaneous succession. This article investigates existing restoration operations in five study areas where annual vegetation surveys have been recorded showing the long-term trajectories of the spontaneous vegetation restoration. Statistical analyses based on multivariate analysis and Markov transition models allow us to describe the spontaneous successions, and to relate differences in the restoration trajectories to environmental factors.