Travel Much? - Most Beautiful Coastal Towns To Visit ...Polperro, England - You wouldn’t know at first glance, but this idyllic town in Cornwall has a scandalous past. In the 18th century, Polperro’s secluded coastline was a frequent entry point for smugglers, who brought in alcohol, tobacco, and other contraband. They left few traces behind; traditional fishermen’s cottages, dating back to the 16th century, line the narrow streets, and the downtown area has boutiques and galleries. But you can learn about Polperro’s colorful history at the Heritage Museum of Smuggling and Fishing.
The Town of Saint George dates back to the early 17th century. Today, you can visit St. Peter’s, the oldest Anglican church in the Western Hemisphere, built in 1612, and the Unfinished Church, with its majestic stone arches. Other buildings have a decidedly tropical feel: white limestone roofs and exteriors painted in vibrant hues of pink, yellow, blue, and orange.
Italy has no shortage of pretty coastal towns, but we’re partial to Manarola. The tiny Cinque Terre village dates back to the Middle Ages and consists of a jumble of bright cliff-side homes overlooking the sea. Manarola—and the rest of Cinque Terre—is also known for producing white wine and olive oil.
If you were asked to picture a quintessential New England coastal town, chances are you’d envision Camden. The former manufacturing village occupies the green shores of Penobscot Bay, near the base of Mount Battie. Historic windjammers and dozens of other boats bob in Camden’s harbor. The downtown business area, rebuilt after an 1892 blaze and designated the Great Fire Historic District by the National Register of Historic Places, is filled with handsome brick buildings. And white clapboard homes line the residential streets.
At more than 2,000 years old, Kotor is Montenegro’s oldest town. Its historic area has narrow streets and stone buildings dating back to that time. Besides the impressive architecture, Kotor’s surroundings are also quite idyllic. The town sits near the base of the rugged Mount Lovcen, in a quiet corner of the Bay of Kotor.
Lunenburg, on Nova Scotia’s southern coast, is one of the few North American towns designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was founded by the British in 1753 and still has a colonial feel. The fishing and shipbuilding town’s buildings were traditionally painted black and white—those being the cheapest paint colors. In recent years, people began choosing other colors to make their homes and businesses stand out, giving historic Lunenburg a cheerier look.
It’s hard to believe Sidi Bou Said is just minutes outside Tunis, Tunisia’s largest city. The picturesque Mediterranean town feels worlds away, with its bougainvillea-draped stone streets and blue-accented, whitewashed buildings. Sidi Bou Said is also known for its white-sand beaches and impressive harbor.
Surrealist artist Salvador Dalí supposedly found inspiration in this village on Spain’s Costa Brava. He spent time in Cadaqués while growing up and later had his home and studio (now a museum) in neighboring Port Lligat. Cadaqués has a rustic, yet sophisticated charm. Whitewashed houses with tiled roofs line the rocky coast, and art galleries continue to flourish.
Located in Vietnam’s dramatic Halong Bay, with lush mountains as a backdrop, this little village is completely composed of floating homes. About 700 people (traditionally fishermen) live in anchored houseboats, with kids attending a floating school. Cua Van has become a popular tourist attraction, as visitors want to see this unusual way of life for themselves.
In the 1700s, Greenland began the tradition of color-coding its buildings: hospitals were yellow, police stations black, fisheries blue. The colors were the same from town to town. Folks eventually chose more varied pigments for their dwellings. In the archetypal fishing village Ilulissat, the rainbow-hued architecture makes a stark contrast to the Arctic surroundings. Ilulissat is also home to an ice fjord of the same name: a collection of giant icebergs that you can see from the streets.
Oia is a town on the northern coast of Santorini. Perched on cliffs above the sea, it’s the romantic blue-and-white Greek town that has launched thousands of cruise-ship vacations.
The maritime way of life is firmly rooted in the DNA of Paternoster, about 90 miles north of Cape Town. Most buildings are classic fishermen’s cottages, white with dark roofs. The town enforces a strict architectural code to preserve its character. Fittingly, you can get great seafood here. Paternoster hosts a Crayfish and Seafood Festival each November, featuring South African favorites like snoek braai (a regional fish, dried and cooked over coals), potjiekos (seafood stew), and fresh crayfish, cooked to order.