8 Cities You Must Visit Before They Become Submerged

8 Cities You Must Visit Before They Become Submerged

The tides of climate change are rising, and they are threatening to engulf many of our most-loved coastal cities – literally. Here are eight must-visit cities of history, culture, and beauty which are in danger of being washed out to sea in the coming decades.

If you’re planning a trip, do it soon – but be mindful of how your travel choices impact the environment and local communities. Our travel choices really do make a difference! Vote with your wallet by choosing companies that embrace sustainability, support local producers when you visit their hometowns and do your part to reduce your carbon footprint.

1. Alexandria, Egypt

Alexandria - Cities You Must Visit Before They Become Submerged

Image credit: Ahmedherz

It was perhaps not the best idea to build the Pharos lighthouse, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, in a low-lying coastal city where it might be washed away. While the Mediterranean Sea has already claimed several technological and architectural triumphs of ancient Egypt, remnants of its glorious past are fortunately still standing in Alexandria. So, check out the ancient catacombs, mosques and temples of this city while you can!

2. Jakarta, Indonesia

Jakarta - Cities You Must Visit Before They Become Submerged

Image credit: Gordon

Vibrant, cosmopolitan and charmingly chaotic, Indonesia’s capital city has always impressed us as a melting pot of cultures. Unfortunately, Jakarta has also earned the unenviable title of being the fastest-sinking city in the world, partly due to seasonal flooding and the rising Java Sea. North Jakarta has sunk about 2.5 metres in 10 years, and 95% of the port may be submerged by 2050.

3. Miami, Florida, United States of America

Miami - Cities You Must Visit Before They Become Submerged

Image credit: Maciek Lulko

It’s hard to imagine the economic powerhouse and cultural hotspot of Miami being susceptible to something as fickle as the ocean, but indeed it is. At only 3 feet above sea level, the 305 could be completely submerged by the turn of the century, according to the UN’s 3°C projection. If you haven’t yet spent a balmy morning lounging on the iconic Miami Beach, walked the Art Deco district, and danced till dawn in one of its nightclubs, you’re missing out!

4. Naples, Italy

Naples - Cities You Must Visit Before They Become Submerged

Image credit: 12019

Venice is sinking if you haven’t already heard. But that’s really just the beginning; a number of other coastal cities in Italy are at risk of going under in the next 80 years − including Naples − along with its centuries of historical and architectural wonders. If you’re there, it’s an absolute must to explore the ancient basilicas, palaces and museums of its UNESCO-listed Historical Centre. And, most importantly, the pizzerias.

5. The Maldives

Maldives - Cities You Must Visit Before They Become Submerged

Image credit: Adam Brill

We’re still reeling from the splashes made when the Maldivian government held an underwater cabinet meeting in 2009 (complete with scuba gear!), as a publicity stunt for the very real threat that climate change poses to the country’s existence. With the lowest elevation in the world, the Maldives could be gone as soon as 2050. If this tropical beach paradise is on your bucket list, you might want to book that trip sooner rather than later.

6. Mumbai, India

Mumbai - Cities You Must Visit Before They Become Submerged

Image credit: Nimesh Dusra

Even sultry, bustling Mumbai won’t be left unscathed. Record-breaking temperatures and increasing monsoon rains are causes for worry, and nearly 40% of the City of Dreams could be underwater in a century. We’d definitely miss gazing up at the iconic Gateway of India, exploring the Elephanta Caves, and haggling our way through the eclectic street markets. But I’m sure they’d find a way to make the exciting Bollywood tours work!

7. Tyre, Lebanon

Tyre - Cities You Must Visit Before They Become Submerged

Image credit: Herbert Frank

Just down the coast from Beirut, Tyre was once a prosperous Phoenician capital known for its purple dye extracted from murex shellfish (called ‘Tyrian purple’). The entire city is a World Heritage site, with glorious Roman ruins scattered along the sides of its streets. Unfortunately, Tyre was also identified as one of the UNESCO sites most at risk from coastal erosion. The antique city has survived rising conquerors and falling civilisations; here’s to hoping it’ll survive this modern challenge!

8. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro - Cities You Must Visit Before They Become Submerged

Image credit: Carlos Ortega

If people-watching at Ipanema Beach à la Frank Sinatra isn’t on your bucket list, maybe visiting the Maracanã Stadium and Olympic Village might be. Alas, both coastal beaches and inland areas of low-lying Rio de Janeiro are at risk of flooding and erosion, with sea levels risen by more than 40% over the last 60 years. At least you’ll still be able to see the Christ the Redeemer statue sitting atop Corcovado Mountain.

Climate change is real, and it is here. Earlier this month, the IPCC released their latest report on the impact of global warming, trenchant call for governments to make real commitments to cutting global emissions. If we all do our part, these lovely cities might just survive the threat they face from rising sea levels. Here’s to hoping that your visit won’t just be fond stories to tell your grandchildren!

Also read: “Even the Dead are No Longer Safe Here” – 6 Popular Beach Destinations Sinking

About Author

Ashley Tan
Ashley Tan

Ashley is a lover of black coffee and sunny mornings. When she takes a break from perfecting her sun salutations and sprinting through TV marathons, she's dreaming of her next adventures: exploring old cities on cobbled pavements, dipping her toes into sparkling waves, and watching the sunset from above the clouds.


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