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These are officially the world’s best coastal cities

Based on their number of cultural attractions and popularity on Google and social media, these are the finest coastal cities in the world

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham
News Editor, Time Out UK and Time Out London
Beautiful aerial view of Reykjavik, Iceland on a sunny summer day
Photograph: Shutterstock
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Sure, pristine, isolated destinations that are miles from anything and anyone are great and all, but sometimes you want the best of both worlds: all the cultural attractions of the city, with the breath of fresh air that comes from being near the sea. 

But which coastal cities around the world are the best? To find out, cruise company Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines looked at 117 coastal cities around the world and ranked them for stuff like quality of cultural institutions, number of Unesco World Heritage sites, Google search volume and amount of social media hashtags.

Top of the study came... Reykjavik in Iceland! Thanks to its high volume of cultural events, as well as its number of attractions, galleries and museums, it scored higher than any other city.

Next up was Bruges, which is sort of coastal thanks to its canal – but is, in fact, 11 kilometres from the coast. Third was Naples, which, when you think about its number of attractions and cultural wonders – from Mount Vesuvius and the Royal Palace to the San Carlo theatre – isn’t much of a surprise.

Here are the top ten coastal cities in the world right now, according to Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.

  1. Reykjavik, Iceland
  2. Bruges, Belgium
  3. Naples, Italy
  4. Monaco, Monaco
  5. Split, Croatia
  6. Herceg Novi, Montenegro
  7. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  8. Cape Town, South Africa
  9. Dublin, Ireland
  10. Gibraltar, Gibraltar


Which is a pretty, erm, interesting list. After all, you don’t often see Gibraltar ranked above Barcelona, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro and the like.

You can check out the full study here. Once you’re done with that, check out our ranking of the best beaches in the world.

Did you see that Canada is the latest country to launch a digital nomad visa?

Plus: this European country will now fine you €36,000 for playing music on the beach.

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