25 great places to visit if you dream of living by the coast

25 great places to visit if you dream of living by the coast

Whether you’re already planning your summer break, or you’re seriously contemplating retiring to sunnier shores, these gorgeous coastal spots will have you booking those plane tickets…

Whether you’re already planning your summer break, or you’re seriously contemplating retiring to sunnier shores, these gorgeous coastal spots will have you booking those plane tickets…

The fresh sea air is good for your health - stress levels diminish and the mind clears - and you have the best views in town; these are just two reasons why living by the coast is a good move. And the improvement to health is not just a myth. According to a study*, people who live near the coast are healthier than those who don’t.

Europe has an estimated coastline that’s 66,000 km long (41,000 miles) so you’ve a lot of places to choose from. Here are our top picks…


Above an idyllic harbour, Villefranche-sur-Mer, Cote d’Azur, is a 14th-century town overlooking Cap Ferrat with terracotta-roofed houses that make it picture-perfect. Ile de Ré, on the Atlantic, has roughly the same amount of sunshine as the French Riviera, with gently sloping beaches and bicycle tracks everywhere, as the locals rarely use cars. Further down the coast, Biarritz, on the Bay of Biscay, is a town with a great beach, and belle epoque and art deco architecture. Cavalaire-sur-Mer, is close to celeb-filled St Tropez, but it's the place where ‘ordinary’ people are welcomed, while palms, pines and the Med make for a life less ordinary. Heading west, Montpellier is an elegant city with grand buildings and boulevards, but it’s often overlooked for other cities on the coast. Corsica’s Ajaccio is a dramatic town on a gorgeous island. You’ll fall in love with Napoleon Bonaparte’s birthplace with its sweeping bay, lively cafes and air of seduction.


Charming Kampen on Sylt island is a village which has been popular with intellectuals for more than 100 years. It’s easy to see why, with its endless sandy beaches and heaths. In contrast, Bremerhaven has a waterfront of new shiny buildings and old ships. It was from the rejuvenated Havenwelten (Harbor Worlds) that 7.2 million emigrants set sail in the late 1800s for a new life in the USA or Australia. But you don't need to travel so far to start a new life here by the water.


Travel down from Naples and hit Pisciotta. The old town sits on a hill set just back from Marina di Pisciotta. Its narrow lanes, pastel houses, hidden chapels and piazzas make it irresistible. On the Amalfi Coast you’ll never want to leave Ravello, with its ravishing vistas and amazing gardens. It’s one of Italy’s most romantic destinations. Over on Sardinia, magnificent Cala Gonone retains its small fishing village vibe and undeveloped coastline. Sicily’s beauty is best captured in Syracuse - the city is an evocative mix of Ancient Greek ruins, medieval alleys, Baroque piazzas and orange groves.

Great Britain

You’ll love the sandy beaches and cliffs you'll find at Salcombe in Devon. This haven on the Kingsbridge estuary is popular with the nautical set. Fancy living by the lakes? Whitehaven in Cumbria, is a beautiful Georgian coastal town, close to the Lake District. Further down the west coast you'll be blown away by the sand dunes and views at Southport, Merseyside. It’s within reach of Liverpool for the best of both worlds: a vibrant city and the great sunset views back at home. On the east coast in Norfolk, Hunstanton is a charming Victorian seaside town with grand squares and idyllic beaches. Beaumaris, on the Isle of Anglesey, has breath-taking views stretching to Snowdonia. In West Wales, Tenby, Pembrokeshire, looks like a fairy-tale film set with cottages perched above a harbour and sandy beaches tucked underneath. Up in Scotland, peaceful Dornoch with its expansive white sandy beach and sandstone cottages is truly stunning.


Frequently topping the world’s best places to eat, the city of San Sebastian in the Basque country is charming, lively and has the majestic Playa de la Concha. On the Costa Brava, Llafranc is a small, classy town nestled on that rugged coastline and made famous by the artists and film stars who used to visit. Stick to Viveiro, Galicia, and you’ll fall in love with its teardrop-shaped inlet surrounded by steep hills covered in pine and eucalyptus trees.


Want to see the shimmer of the Adriatic every day? For timeless wonder, you can’t beat living within the ancient walls of Dubrovnik among the marble streets of its old town. On the island of Brac you’ll find the harbour town of Bol, famous for the Zlatni Rat (Golden Cape) beach. It is a spit of land composed mainly of pebble rock that shifts with the tide.


Sheltered by dunes, idyllic Hornbaek is known as the Danish Riviera thanks to its white sandy shore. It has classy restaurants and shops, but the Hornbaek Plantation is where you’ll find rugged natural beauty.

Bonus tip: When you’re packing for your time in the sun, down forget your Olay Regenerist Moisturiser with SPF30 and Gillette Venus & Olay Razor, complete with its own shower holder, which is the best way to keep your body beach-ready at all times.

Where’s your favourite place by the sea? Let us know in the comments section below.

*Scientific study: Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry

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