Hydro-meteorological risks due to natural hazards such as severe floods, storm surges, landslides and droughts are causing impacts on different sectors of society. Such risks are expected to become worse given projected changes in climate, degradation of ecosystems, population growth and urbanisation. In this respect, nature-based solutions (NBSs) have emerged as effective means to respond to such challenges. A NBS is a term used for innovative solutions that are based on natural processes and ecosystems to solve different types of societal and environmental challenges. The present paper provides a critical review of the literature concerning NBSs for hydro-meteorological risk reduction and identifies current knowledge gaps and future research prospects. There has been a considerable growth of scientific publications on this topic, with a more significant rise taking place from 2007 onwards. Hence, the review process presented in this paper starts by sourcing 1608 articles from Scopus and 1431 articles from the Web of Science. The full analysis was performed on 146 articles. The analysis confirmed that numerous advancements in the area of NBSs have been achieved to date. These solutions have already proven to be valuable in providing sustainable, cost-effective, multi-purpose and flexible means for hydro-meteorological risk reduction. However, there are still many areas where further research and demonstration are needed in order to promote their upscaling and replication and to make them become mainstream solutions.