Photo Credit: Pedro Szekely

For those that enjoy the smell of brine, the cool breeze on your skin, and the feeling of sand between your toes, few things can be more magical than exploring a new seaside town. In fact, many of the greatest metropolises in the world linger by the ocean, built for their strategic trade position and unparalleled beauty.

Wander through these waterfronts as you bask in the sun, taste local cuisine, drink in the native tongue, and get lost in a world nearly swept away by the sea.

"Stockholm View - Explore" by Mariano Mantel via Flickr Creative Commons

Stockholm, Sweden

No matter what kind of traveler you are, Stockholm has what you are looking for. A hip, international city flush with Nordic culture, the capital of Sweden is actually an archipelago spread out over 14 islands in the Baltic. The town thrives on business, technology and tourism, characterized by its bright colorful buildings, cobblestone streets, and medieval architecture. Visitors are sure to be enchanted by the vibrant and tasteful allure and well maintained cleanliness. Stockholm is one of the best ways to experience Sweden’s modernity and is a must for anyone visiting the country.

Photo Credit: Moyan Brenn

Venice, Italy

One of the most famous waterfront cities throughout history, Venice sits atop hundreds tiny islands - built on stilts above the tide waters guided by the ebb and flow beneath the stone buildings. Known as the “City of Bridges,” the capital of Northern Italy has no cars or roadways, but canals aplenty. Boats are constantly taxing up and down these waterways, carrying passengers and commerce. Venice also has several markets that are wonderful places for visitors to explore, buy fresh produce, and taste locally caught Mediterranean fish.

Photo Credit: Ryan Wick

Sydney, Australia

One of the most lively cities south of the equator, Sydney is the iconic capital of New South Wales, pressed up against the Pacific Ocean. Days are beautiful, the locals are friendly, and the nightlife is pulsating. Impressive sky-scraping architecture like Sydney Tower offer grand views over the harbor. Catch a concert at the iconic Opera House and bask in the culture of Australia. Spend your days engaging in aquatic adventures from windsurfing to scuba diving, or simply do as the locals do and become a beach bum or surfer.

Photo Credit: Sudheer G

San Francisco, California

The history of San Francisco is as weird and wild as it is exciting, known for its hilly landscape, bay views, liberal counterculture and, of course, the Golden Gate Bridge. Colorful houses line the steep streets as cable cars zip around carrying tourists around the city. Cool summers make it an especially appealing travel destination, boasting standout attractions like the legendary island penitentiary, Alcatraz and Fisherman’s Wharf, full of exceptional eats and great shopping. When you're ready to work off the food coma and stretch your legs, go for a stroll along Golden Gate Park’s numerous oceanside trails.

Photo Credit: Pablo Fernández

Brighton, UK

Amusement parks, regency architecture, and bustling piers make Brighton one of the most popular seaside cities in the United Kingdom. A favorite day trip from London, the town is full of wild nightlife, great shopping, festivals, and arts. Once a vacation spot reserved just for the fashionable elite, its popularity has since expanded to the masses. The seafood in Brighton is almost as colorful as its carnival atmosphere and pebbled beaches. Restaurants like Riddle and Finsoffer scrumptious seaside delicacies like homemade fishcakes with tartar sauce, and Scottish rope-grown mussels.

Photo Credit: David Stanley

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town sits at the base of impressive Table Mountain, making it one of the rare places to enjoy the best of both worlds: mountains and ocean. The city is as flush with history as it is outdoor beauty, and naturally the capital of South Africa. Climb to the top of Lion’s Head, scramble around boulders at Sandy Bay, or take the cable car up Table Mountain for sweeping views over the coast. If you have the means to rent a car while you’re there, do it. The oceanside roads make for incredible sunset and sunrise drives.

Photo Credit: Mariano Mantel

Amsterdam, Netherlands

There's so much more to Amsterdam than just it's reputation after dark. Criss-crossed by a beautiful canal system, gabled facades and 17th century architecture, it's a stunning city by the sea. If you like art, tour the Van Gogh or Stedelijk's museums. Relive history at the Ann Frank House. Smell the endless fields of tulips. Cycling is a huge part of culture in Amsterdam, so rent a bike and go for a ride along the 245 miles of winding paths.