Top 10 Coastal Cities

Photo by Lucrezia Carnelos on Unsplash

Studies have proven that there are many benefits of a life by the sea. Coastal dwellers enjoy improved mental health, respiratory health, quality of sleep, and a bigger dose of Vitamin D. Not to mention that time has been proven to move slower at sea level compared to at the top of a mountain, meaning that those who settle down near the coast age slower than their high-altitude compadres.

Better mental and physical health, and a slower aging process? If that’s not reason enough to pack up and head for the sea, then frankly, I don’t know what is.

That said, seaside towns can sometimes be a little… sleepy (and not only because time is literally passing by slower). We’re social beings, a world of culture-vultures, adrenaline-junkies, shopaholics — whatever your ‘thing’, quiet coastal towns aren’t always stimulating enough to suit everybody’s tastes, no matter how beautiful the landscape may be.

And so, for those on the lookout for the best of both worlds, here are 10 of the best coastal cities in the world:

Photo by Vitor Monteiro on Unsplash

We have to begin with Barcelona. The biggest city on the Mediterranean sea, the Catalonian capital is a thriving hub of artists and musicians, city workers, hipsters, and families all living side-by-side. Perfect if you want to hit the beach following a morning of vintage thrifting and marvelling over Gaudi’s masterful architecture, before heading out for the best paella or tapas of your life come evening.

Photo by Martha Dominguez de Gouveia on Unsplash

One of the most underrated capital cities in Europe, Lisbon is an up-and-coming hotspot for artists, digital nomads, and people looking to experience the benefits of city living for less. Boasting the best climate in Europe and an amazing quality of life, Lisbon is a wonderful city full of history, culture, and a perfect balance of modernism and traditionalism. A perfect new home for everybody from retirees, families, and young people alike.

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The UK’s unofficial LGBTQ+ city, Brighton is a diverse, liberal, and inclusive city popular with ex-Londoners; so much so, it’s known as ‘London-on-sea’. It’s also the only place in the UK represented at the House of Commons by the Green Party. A short train ride from London, head here if you are tired of London’s crime rates, smog, and overcrowding, and are looking to enjoy that sea air in a city that is still recognisable to the busy city-dweller.

Photo by Stijn te Strake on Unsplash

Venice isn’t a city by the sea. Venice is a city on the sea. Consisting of 118 separate islands, Venice is an aquamarine paradise free of cars, and thus, exhaust fumes. If you need to take a taxi to a neighbouring island, you’ll have to hail a water taxi, rather than an Uber. While this isn’t what you’d consider a ‘seaside city’, Venice does in fact have a beach, on one of its neighbouring islands, only a 20-minute ride away by water taxi. This is amongst the more expensive cities featured, so prepare to pay premium prices to relocate to this truly remarkable city. For lovers of culture, enjoy Venice’s annual carnival, its film festival, and its La Biennale art festival, which takes place, as the name suggests, every two years.

Photo by Morgan Petroski on Unsplash

It’s safe to say that if music isn’t your thing, then New Orleans isn’t for you. Popular with foodies, musicians, and artists, this is a contradictory city that is both laid back and yet never sleeps. Head here if you’re looking to dance impromptu in the streets to jazz and blues, explore the city’s rich history, visible in its culture, traditions and architecture, and enjoy the world-famous Mardi Gras celebration.

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There are many coastal cities in California to choose from, but San Diego stands out for its recent winning vote as America’s coolest city. With an average age of only 35 for residents, this is a young person’s city. Boasting some of the state’s most beautiful beaches, San Diego is the epitome of a ‘seaside city’. With a vibrant arts scene, delicious global cuisine, and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, there is something for everyone.

Photo by Lee Robinson on Unsplash

In short, Vancouver has it all. A glittering city full of career opportunities, it’s popular with ex-pats and locals alike and is one of the most ethically diverse places in Canada. For those searching for a balance between city life and sustainable living, Vancouver is also one of Canada’s greenest cities, already gaining 93% of its electricity from sustainable methods. As for the landscape, you can take a hike through the mountains one day, and hit the beach the next, without ever having the venture far from your front door.

Photo by Alice Duffield on Unsplash

Choosing just one or two of Australia’s many coastal cities was a tough call, but it’s Brisbane’s proximity to the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, and the Great Barrier Reef that won it the top spot. With over 250 days of sunshine, it’s the perfect place to top up on Vitamin D, while more than 2000 parks make it Australia’s most sustainable city. Enjoy Brisbane’s countless annual events, from its art festival to its writers’ festival. Head here if you are a culture vulture, looking for a bohemian, quintessentially Australian city to call home.

Photo by David Rodrigo on Unsplash

Dubai is a “go big or go home” kind of city, unlike anywhere in the world. Undoubtedly a daring city, Dubai features some of the most ambitious feats of architecture you’ll ever see, from underwater villas and restaurants to some of the world’s tallest buildings and the world’s only 7-star hotel. Its multicultural population makes it a melting pot of cultures. Popular with ex-pats for its vast professional opportunities, people come here to make money, spend money, and live life to the fullest.

Photo by Agustin Diaz Gargiulo on Unsplash

With its beautiful landscape and beaches, Rio de Janeiro is proving to be an ever more popular choice for ex-pats. This is a multicultural city where the party never stops; take part in the annual carnival, New Years’ celebrations, and feast days. With a fast-growing economy and free healthcare, this is a wonderful choice for a new home. Head here if you’re looking for a thriving dance scene, nightlife, and an outdoorsy culture.

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