I am often asked about the way we Israelis vacation and where we go for the summer. So yes, we love traveling overseas and you can often hear Hebrew spoken (loudly) in every European city, Greek island, and Bangkok market, but if you choose to stay home for the summer, or you are forced to by Covid rules, you will find that everyone is at the beach. Israel's Mediterranean coast is 190 KM long and 60% of Israelis live in coastal cities and towns, so the beach plays a big role in our lives. This was not always the case in the past. Most ancient coastal cities were founded and inhabited by Canaanites, Philistines, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, and Crusaders, so I guess we Jews were never great sailors or swimmers. Israel's love affair with the coast started in the early 20th century with the founding of the coastal cities of Tel Aviv, Netanya, Herzliya, and Nahariya. The location by the sea was mainly because the beaches were not considered profitable farming land and therefore they were for sale.
This newsletter is about our sea and our beaches. I hope you enjoy and plan to spend time on the beach during your next visit to Israel
Ancient ruins of Tel Dor by the sea
A few of the port cities from Biblical times and antiquity such as Jaffa and Akko are still active and busy cities, and it is extremely difficult tosee what they were like in the past. Caesarea has been completely restored and developed, So the one exception where you can actually walk and see the ruins of an untouched ancient seaside town dating back to the days of the bible is Tel Dor. The access to the national park of Tel Dor has been recently upgraded and now it is possible to tour and explore the ruins safely. The city of Dor is mentioned in the books of Joshua (12:23) and Judges (1:27) as one of the towns that the Children of Israel did not conquer and therefore remained as a town with a Canaanite population. Tel Dor's excavations have revealed ruins of a vast harbor city, that was continually inhabited for 2500 years until abandoned in the late Byzantine period and was never rebuilt since.
Rosh HaNikra - Sea caves on the Border
Rosh HaNikra is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Israel and draws thousands of visitors each year. It's easy to find, just take the coastal highway and drive north until it ends. Israel's modern border with Lebanon was created back in 1923 when the British and French empires carved up the defeated Ottoman Empire and divided it between them. Rosh HaNikra was defined as the western point of this border and has been such till today. Rosh Hanikra sea caves are a natural phenomena where physical and chemical forces have created large caves under the mountain. While visiting the site you can explore them and enjoy the sounds and colors of this magical place
So where is the "best" beach?
Finding the "best" beach in Israel is just as impossible as finding the "best" Falafel. Israelis are very territorial and therefore we can be quite particular about our definition of "The Best beach". Another bia
s is geography, as it does not make sense to drive to a very distant beach when you have one just across the road from your house. For the past 25 years or so, "our" beach has been Zamir Beach, it is located
south of Haifa and it is one of the beaches managed by Haifa municipality. For us, this is the perfect beach for many reasons as it has plenty of free parking within a 2-3 minute walk to the beach, and lifeguards, shade, showers, changing rooms, and restrooms all free of charge. It has nice soft sand with an open view of the horizon, plenty of cafes and restaurants on the boardwalk, and finally, the water is so clean, clear, and refreshing. Did I already mention that it's all free?
Our official swimming season is from May till October, so if you come during these months, don't forget your bathing suit and sunblock. See you at the beach!