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Top 10 waterfront cities in the world

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Choose daytime strolls along glistening harbourfronts or dining on night-time illuminated quaysides. Book your hotel in a scenic, water’s-edge city with this guide to the top 10 waterfront cities in the world.

A lakeside trail in Toronto

Toronto’s CN Tower is the backdrop for lakeside activity on Lake Ontario. Walkers stroll the 10-acre boardwalk past buskers and boats moored in the marina. In-line skaters and cyclists get active on the waterfront trail which stretches 780km as far as Niagara.

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A maritime city in Bergen

Timber-clad, triangle-roofed Hanseatic houses line Norway’s sleepy Vågen Bay in Saxon Bergen, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Taste fjord-fresh raw oysters or grilled shrimps from the daily fish market. Or see Bergen with its surrounding Seven Mountains on a cruise from the nearby pier.

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IndoChine waterfront in Singapore

Asian fusion cuisine is served at lantern-lit tables on the Singapore River at the IndoChine Waterfront. Watch bumboat cruises pass the illuminated skyscrapers and the fairy-lit bars. Next door, the chalky-white, colonial-style Ancient Civilisations Museum celebrates Singapore’s rich ancestry.

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A breathtaking bridge in Sydney

The 500m steel archway of Sydney Harbour Bridge spans Port Jackson, at Sydney Harbour, the launch pad for the New Year’s Eve firework spectacular. The sturdy granite pylons are the best lookout point over the seashell theatre halls of Sydney Opera House across the bay.

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Palaces and canals in Venice

Palazzo façades line the island city’s meandering main waterway, the Grand Canal. Mingle with local Venetians on a vaporetto water taxi between the famous footbridges, the Rialto and Accademia, past Renaissance and baroque balustrades and balconies.

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Barcelona’s marina

Glamorous “gin palace” yachts moor up on the boardwalks at Marina Port Vell near the revamped Barceloneta district. Cross the Rambla de Mar footbridge to the glistening Maremagnum complex for 3D films at the IMAX cinema and the 80m tunnel that winds through the shark tanks at L’Aquarium Barcelona.

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People-watching on Miami Beach

Rub shoulders with rich and famous in the open-air, Art Deco cafés on hedonistic South Beach’s Ocean Drive. In front of the palm-lined shore, the white sands of this barrier island stretch for seven miles.

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A historic port in Lisbon

The great navigators Magellan, Vasco da Gama and Columbus all set sail from Lisbon’s Belém on “voyages of discovery”. Today the historic shoreline evokes these prosperous times with the lavish Jerónimos Monastery. In its west wing, the Maritime Museum preserves astrolabes, globes and maps from royal ships. 

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Shoreside shopping in Hong Kong

With over 700 shops, the giant Harbour City shopping complex stands on the site of the old cargo docks and warehouses in Hong Kong. Fashionistas head to Ocean Terminal mall for Vivienne Westwood and Ted Baker. Arrive by Star Ferry at Tsim Sha Tsui Central at the tip of the Kowloon peninsula. 

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City beaches in Rio De Janeiro

Stroll along Roberto Burle Marx’s wave mosaic Avenida Atlântica promenade under swaying palms next to Copacabana’s yellow sands. Rio’s four-mile beach leads to fitness-crazy Ipanema, which draws surfers and sunbathers to its trendy beach cafés and juice bars. 

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