This paper provides an overview of the latest developments in methodologies for assessing the vulnerability of coastal zones to climate change at regional and local scales. The focus of vulnerability assessment in coastal zones used to be on erosion and land loss due to sea-level rise. Methodologies now increasingly consider the wide range of climate and impact variables that play a part in determining coastal vulnerability, as well as non-climatic developments. The paper presents a conceptual framework for vulnerability assessment that identifies a number of system components that can be considered determinants of vulnerability. It then goes on to outline a number of steps that are required for the actual assessment of coastal vulnerability, such as scenario development, data collection and impact assessment. The approach is illustrated using a regional and local case study in Germany.