Where do most people want to head for vacation? According to data from Statistica, the coast is an overwhelmingly favorite. More than 50% of adults say they prefer heading to the water on vacation.
That makes perfect sense. Coastal town offers something for everyone – from swimming and sunning, eclectic shopping, incredible seafood, beach parties, yachting, arts and culture.
Looking for some ideas of where to head?
These eight coastal towns offer it all: Charm, history, beautiful beaches, and tons of incredible things to do. Bottom line, if you’re looking for a place to head out on your next vacation, you should consider these charming coastal towns.
1) Trogir, Croatia
Croatia’s Adriatic coast is a beautiful and mostly undiscovered destination. And one of the region’s most historic and gorgeous towns is Trogir. Located on an island just off the mainland, Trogir charms with this its unique and varied history.
The town puts on a display of stunning architecture, spanning the Romanesque, Renaissance, and baroque periods. And its gorgeous, cobblestoned walks and promenades provide the perfect locale for afternoon strolls, shopping trips and walking tours. Plus, the Adriatic’s best beaches are nearby, which is an added bonus.
Getting There: Trogir is just 24 km from Split, one of Croatia’s favorite destinations. Most fly into Split and hire a car to Trogir.
When to Go: May to September
Must-Do Activities: Okrug Beach is a popular destination and the water stays warm until late October. When you’re not at the beach, tour any one of Trogir’s many historic sites; the Trogir Cathedral and Tower Kamerlengo are must-sees.
2) Manarola, Italy
Of all of Italy’s gorgeous coastal towns, Manarola might be the most postcard worthy. Located in the heart of Cinque Terre, the stunning village is situated on a cliff overlooking the sea, and its colorful centuries-old homes are a favorite of photographers.
Visitors are treated to stunning views around every corner, and the Old-World city center offers plenty to explore – from hip wine bars, to classic restaurants serving up the catch of the day.
Getting There: Fly into Genoa in northern Italy and take the train to Cinque Terre. You can hike between villages and travel by bus or car.
When to Go: May to September
Must-Do Activities: Grab a glass of wine at Nessun Dorma, a hillside bar overlooking the Old Town. And you can’t miss the seafood – there are tons of incredible seafood restaurants in town.
3) Havana, Cuba
Havana is known the world over, but due to travel restrictions, this historic Caribbean seaside city hasn’t been well-explored. That’s changing now, as more and more are discovering the charms of Old Havana. And these adventurous visitors are treated to a first-class experience.
Havana offers it all: Incredible history, a lively arts scene, delicious food, and all-night parties. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach day, or you want to get lost in pirate history, you’ll find new sights, sounds and smells to discover every day in Havana.
Getting There: Aeropuerto Internacional Jose Marti is Cuba’s largest airport and serves the greater Havana region.
When to Go: December to mid-May
Must-Do Activities: A visit wouldn’t be complete without an exploration of Old Havana; you’ll find plenty of walking tours to take part in. The historic military fort El Moro is the best place to catch a sunset, and Santa Maria del Mar is the perfect beach if you’re in the mood for a lively atmosphere.
4) Nantucket, the United States
An American classic, Nantucket is one of the country’s most storied coastal towns. Known for its iconic lighthouses and upmarket food and arts scene, this New England destination offers a little something for everyone.
It’s great for adventurers, with plenty of hiking, biking and watersports nearby. If you’re more into history, tour any number of the region’s lighthouses and Colonial sites for a taste of culture. And of course, foodies flock here for the incredible seafood, chowder, and upmarket cocktail bars.
Getting There: Ferry service runs from across the Northeast, including New York City and Cape Cod. Regional airlines also serve the island’s airport.
When to Go: Memorial Day to Labor Day
Must-Do Activities: Spend time exploring downtown Nantucket, where you’ll find top-flight seafood restaurants, hip cocktail bars, and high-end boutiques. The Whaling Museum is a downtown must-see, and Madaket Beach is the island’s best.
5) Alesund, Norway
Located at the entrance to Geirangerfjord, Alesund is a Nordic gem, and if you’re headed to fjord country, make sure you stop here. The town is well-known for its art nouveau architecture, which gives the city a decidedly modern Scandinavian look. (You’ll want to be sure to bring and camera.)
And throughout the city, you’ll find bustling hives of art, food and culture – from New Age museums, to hole-in-the-wall live music venues. Not to mention, the region’s natural vistas are just a hop away; be sure to hire a boat and take off into the fjords.
Getting There: A small airport serves the city, and you can also take the train, bus or car from Norway’s other tourist destinations.
When to Go: Early summer through early fall
Must-Do Activities: Atlantic Sea Park is a world-class aquarium, and it’s a short walk from the old city center’s many museums, cafes and bars. Also, hike up to the Fjellsta vista for a stunning panorama of the surrounding fjords.
6) Oia, Santorini, Greece
You’ll find Oia in Santorini, the almost-mythical Greek island known for its four stunning coastal towns and well-heeled visitors. Yet, Oia is the island’s crown jewel. The town, which is carved right into a hillside overlooking the sea, is absolutely stunning. That’s why it’s been a favorite of artists for years.
Oia is the perfect destination for a romantic getaway. Spend an evening at one of the town’s many cliffside restaurants, and watch as the sun sets over the sea. Take part in a massage at one of the town’s high-end spas, or take a boat tour of stunning Santorini.
Getting There: Fly into Athens and then book ferry service over, or take the 45-minute flight from Athens to Santorini.
When to Go: April to November
Must-Do Activities: Amoudi Bay is a natural, protected bay, down a steep flight of steps from Oia. It’s well worth the trek, and one of the most beautiful places to watch sunsets. The destination is also perfect for couples cruises, relaxing and natural hikes.
7) Kas, Turkey
Located on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, Kas is a beautiful and charming historic town. Kas sits on the site of Antiphellos, an ancient city, and today the ruins still stand. You can’t miss a tour during your visit, and be sure to tour the ancient rock tombs that are carved right into the mountains.
Today, the city is the perfect destination for relaxing, beach vacations. Nestled up to a beautiful aqua-marine lagoon, the town offers all the splendors of Mediterranean, including luxury accommodations, great food, incredible beaches, beautiful weather and exclusive experiences.
Getting There: Fly into Dalaman Airport; Kas is about 180 km from the airport and you can reach it by taxi.
When to Go: mid-May through October
Must-Do Activities: Visit the nearby uninhabited island of Strongyli Megistis, and check out the ancient rock tombs. Kas is also a popular destination for divers.
8) Dunmore Town, Bahamas
Dunmore Town is nestled away from Nassau in the Eleuthera, and its remoteness makes it a popular destination for Bahamas yacht charters. The town offers the best of the Bahamas: Incredible beaches, laid-back vibes, and sunsets to die for.
And its beautiful Victorian cottages and quiet beachside bodegas add to the charm. The location couldn’t be better. Dunmore Town is the perfect jumping off point for an exploration of the region, including to Harbour Island and other nearby snorkel spots and islands.
Getting There: Fly into North Eleuthera airport. Plus, there is ferry service into the island’s main ports of call.
When to Go: You can visit year-round; although hurricane season is June-August.
Must-Do Activities: Visit the Glass Window Bridge and see where the deep blue Atlantic meets the sapphire Caribbean. Dunmore Beach is also a beautiful white-sand beach, known for its beautiful views and even surf, and for diving or snorkeling, head to nearby Briland’s Blue Hole.
Head to the Coast on Your Next Vacation!
If you want a unique experience, travel to any of these eight coastal towns. Each offers its own charms – from historic landmarks, to delicious foods and adventure. Bottom line, if you want to visit a beach town with plenty to do, you’ll find that in all of these destinations.
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