Despite having an abundant number of vessels, tumours are usually hypoxic and nutrient-deprived because their vessels malfunction. Such abnormal milieu can fuel disease progression and resistance to treatment. Traditional anti-angiogenesis strategies attempt to reduce the tumour vascular supply, but their success is restricted by insufficient efficacy or development of resistance. Preclinical and initial clinical evidence reveal that normalization of the vascular abnormalities is emerging as a complementary therapeutic paradigm for cancer and other vascular disorders, which affect more than half a billion people worldwide. Here, we discuss the mechanisms, benefits, limitations and possible clinical translation of vessel normalization for cancer and other angiogenic disorders.