Global warming in response to accumulation of human-induced greenhouse gases inside the atmosphere has already caused several visible consequences, among them increase of the Earth's mean temperature and ocean heat content, melting of glaciers, and loss of ice from the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets. Ocean warming and land ice melt in turn are causing sea level to rise. Sea level rise and its impacts on coastal zones have become a question of growing interest in the scientific community, as well as in the media and public. In this review paper, we summarize the most up-to-date knowledge about sea level rise and its causes, highlighting the regional variability that superimposes the global mean rise. We also present sea level projections for the 21st century under different warming scenarios. We next address the issue of the sea level rise impacts. We question whether there is already observational evidence of coastal impacts of sea level rise and highlight the fact that results differ from one location to another. This suggests that the response of coastal systems to sea level rise is highly dependent on local natural and human settings. We finally show that in spite of remaining uncertainties about future sea levels and related impacts, it becomes possible to provide preliminary assessment of regional impacts of sea level rise.