Hierarchically nanoporous zeolites possessing mesopores as well as the inherent micropores of zeolite structures are garnering attention as a solution to the diffusion limitation problem of solely microporous classical zeolites. The hierarchical structure enables zeolites to have maximum structural functions in a limited space and volume owing to the high diffusion efficiency. Hierarchical zeolites are in high demand for the development of advanced materials for applications in adsorption, separation and catalysis. Herein, recent advances in synthesis routes to hierarchically nanoporous zeolites are reviewed with their catalytic contributions. Particular emphasis is given to the recently developed synthesis method which uses surfactants that are functionalized with a zeolite-structure-directing group. This type of surfactants can direct porous structures in micro- and meso-length scales simultaneously. (C) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.