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Best Beaches in Israel

Israel is a real beach nation and the question of which are the best beaches in Israel is one of great controversy and debate. Life’s a beach in Israel. From the urban beaches in Tel Aviv to the rural beaches of the Western Galilee, every Israeli has their favorite beach, and Israel’s beaches come to life throughout the year with every conceivable watersports, beach sport and beach activity taking place.

This small country is blessed by three seas — the Mediterranean, the Dead and the Red. The Sea of Galilee is really a lake, though it does have beaches too.

The Mediterranean

Israel has a long coast on the Mediterranean Sea which is one long beach. Whilst everyone has their own favorite beach, try out our selection of Israel’s most amazing beaches and let us know what you think.

 

Caesarea Aqueduct Beach

The Caesarea Aqueduct Beach is one of the most breathtaking beaches imaginable.

The ruins of an ancient Roman Aqueduct mark the inland edge of the beach and the clean sands don’t attract hoards of tourists. You can’t beat this Caesarea beach for its setting among ancient Roman ruins. While sitting on the clean white sand, you’ll marvel at the raised aqueduct built by order of King Herod in the first century BCE and expanded upon 300 years later to bring running water to the old city of Caesarea from the springs of Shunni six miles away at the foot of Mount Carmel.

This beach gets busy at the weekend with locals and the breathtaking aqueduct is a stop off for many tour buses, however with no restaurants/bar (just a kiosk), promenade, and often no lifeguard (which means that bathing isn’t always allowed) it is a great place to get away from it all. There are no loud music or crowds.

Aqueduct beach
Photo: Suzanne Kay

The beach is a couple of kilometers north of the ancient harbor and city which makes Caesarea famous, and the modern residential development. A combined trip to the two makes a lot of sense. The beach is located about half way between Tel Aviv (just 30 minutes drive north from Tel Aviv) and Haifa, and because of the aqueduct, is especially beautiful at sunset. No entrance fee.

Beit Yannai Beach

Just South of Caesarea is Beit Yannai Beach, similarly a rural setting, this time in a nature reserve. Beit Yannai beach is considered by many to be one of Israel’s very best beaches. It’s a big hit with those prepared to travel out of Tel Aviv (about 20 minutes), and also those who love to kite surf. It’s a gorgeous beach, usually kept very clean, and usually quiet, probably due to the fact that it’s run by the Israel Parks and Nature Authority. Considered by many to be Israel’s most beautiful beach ,Beit Yannai is pristine and quiet.Named after the ancient Judean king Alexander Yannai, the Alexander River north of Netanya was in a sorry state until a 1994 restoration project transformed the area into a lovely, wheelchair-accessible nature reserve. The beach is at the spot where the river runs into the sea. You can camp overnight, and there are fairly decent facilities, including showers and restaurants. Undoubtedly one of the best beaches in Israel, being within the nature reserve means that there is an entrance fee payable, however, ensures that the beach is well maintained.

 

The Beit Yannai beach is also the estuary of the Alexander River which runs across Israel from its spring in the West Bank.

Also worth catching are the eucalyptus grove and ancient ruins nearby. You can camp overnight here, and there are picnic tables, restaurants and showers. Entrance fee. For more details call 09-8666230.

Bet Yanai beach

Herzliya Beach

Herzliya is an upscale neighborhood just north of Tel Aviv. Herzliya Beach is considered one of Israel’s best beaches, notably quieter than those in Tel Aviv but still getting very busy at summer weekends, yet still developed in the surrounding infrastructure with lots of life-guards, restaurants, beach bars, and even a mall at the Herzliya Marina end. The beach is lined with four or five large hotels and is popular with tourists, the locals of Herzliya and the many surrounding cities, and surfers.

Tel Aviv Beach

Of all the beaches in Israel this is the first one you’re more than likely to feel the sand between your toes on…Tel Aviv’s western border is the Mediterranean meaning that the city is one long beach. Tel Aviv beach is actually a collection of smaller beaches, most of which are just off the bustling city streets, and each of which has its own unique character and clientage.

For example, if you’re looking for a family beach, try Jerusalem Beach or the more northernTzuk (Cliff) Beach; if you’re looking for some eye candy, head to Gordon or Metzitzim; and if you’re looking for a gay-friendly spot, head to Hilton Beach. The Dolphinarium Beach has a drumming festival every Friday. Be prepared to fall in love – but not on a Saturday when it becomes very crowded.

Free to access (except for some of the more northern beaches).

Tel Aviv beach

 

Banana Beach, Tel Aviv

On the beach in Tel Aviv.

The entire west flank of Tel Aviv is one long shoreline lined with beaches. Banana Beach, located on the southernmost edge near Jaffa, has become a sort of hippie bohemian sanctuary on Friday evenings. It’s a great place to end a walking tour of Tel Aviv, as young people begin gathering here at sunset for drum circles, singing and dancing on the cliffs.

The rest of the week, it’s a fairly tranquil spot. The Banana Beach café right on the sand screens films and sports events in the evenings for free. You can rent surfboards and wind surfers, or sign up for surfing lessons, at the Galim surf shop.

No entrance fee; sand chairs available for hire.

Dado Beach and Zamir Beach, Haifa

Surfers in Haifa.

This central Haifa beach has pretty gardens along its long boardwalk promenade, beachside restaurants, pubs and coffee shops, free parking, benches and sitting areas, a dance arena (with weekly public dances and Israeli folk dancing on Saturdays), an amphitheatre for summer events, sports and playgrounds and a pool for toddlers. It’s even got Wi-Fi.

The picturesque boardwalk runs from its southern tip to the northern part of Carmel Beach next door. For the disabled, Dado Beach offers reserved parking, adapted showers and bathrooms, and ramps for easy access to and from the beach.

Information: 1-800-305-090; 04-853-5606/5.

Sironit Beach, Netanya

The Beach Elevator in Netanya.

Netanya has one of the longest coastlines in Israel, and offers eight beaches. What’s particularly cool about Sironit, one of the city’s southernmost beaches, is the glass-walled Beach Elevator that descends into it from the Rishonim Promenade along the cliff-top. This lets you get from the city center to the seashore in 20 seconds, for just one shekel.

Two breakwaters opposite the beach create tranquil bays for safe swimming almost all year. Sironit has a restaurant, stage and fitness facilities among its other features.

Parking fee. Information: 1-700-709292; 09-882-7286.

Metzitzim Beach, Tel Aviv

This northern Tel Aviv spot overlooking the S’de Dov airfield used to be called Sheraton Beach for the hotel that once stood next to it, but was later renamed for the Israeli cult classic film of the same name (“metzitzim” means “peepers”).

It attracts a mix of hipsters and families, with calm, warm water due to a man-made lagoon. There’s a café-restaurant and playground here, and just south of the main area is a separate section for the religious public, where women are admitted Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays; men on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Also in the area you can find beaches catering to gay sunbathers and another where dog-owners are allowed to let their canines romp.

Dor Habonim Beach

Dor HaBonim beach on the northern part of Israel’s Mediterranean coastline, south of Haifa off Route 4, Dor Habonim (“Generation of Builders”) is part of a coastal nature reserve, a relatively remote cove favored by nearby kibbutzniks and families. It’s one of the best kept secrets in the Holy Land, and also a little off the beaten track as part of a nature reserve, hence it’s not usually crowded.

Dor HaBonim has a beautiful stretch of sandy beach, with a well protected lagoon, which makes it a good option if you have small children. Natural rock jetties in the sea are perfect for kids to climb and sit on, and along with natural lagoons, they also keep the waves from getting too rough.  If you’re feeling adventurous, take a hike along the coast a bit further north to check out the natural sandy banks and rock pools. The reserve has walking routes that pass through the bays, from which you can see sites including caves and wildflowers.

There are no facilities here to speak of, and it’s not accessible by public transportation. But these same qualities are what make it one of the most beloved beaches for Israelis in the know.

Beyond the swimming area is the home of Paradive, where you can go skydiving with a tandem instructor.

Small entrance fee to the main beach – or more for an even more secluded part of HaBonim beach.

Dor HaBonim beach

Achziv Beach

If you’re looking to head up north along Israel’s Mediterranean coastline, there are actually two beaches at Achziv that will fight for your beach towel’s attention.

The first is Banana Beach (What an original name!), on the road north just after Nahariya. Here there is a great stretch of sand, with a nice restaurant and bar usually open til late. The second beach is just a bit further north on the road to Rosh HaNikra and is run by the National Parks Authority. Here the beach is a little less refined for beach-goers, but has some great pools and rocky coast to explore.

It costs a few shekels to enter each beach, more if you intend on camping overnight.

Achziv Beach, Israel

The Dead Sea

Mineral Beach, Dead Sea

If you’re looking to get re-energized and perhaps even do some floating in the Dead Sea, the Mineral Beach is one of Israel’s very best!

You want mud? You got it. A little bit off the tourist track, and far from the tourist strip further south, Mineral Beach is perfect for a float and slapping on the ol’ Dead Sea mud. Watch out for the covered mineral pool (very popular), some great sculptures, and a large drum of mud to smother yourself with. Whereas at many Dead Sea beaches you can buy packets of its famous mineral-rich mud to slather on your skin, at Mineral Beach there’s a huge mud pit to climb into. Prefer a natural Jacuzzi? There’s one here, too, fashioned out of hot sulfur pools and there is a freshwater pool. The site also has an amphitheater, a cafeteria, health treatments, and showers to wash off the mud and sand.

Costs a few shekels to enter/park and there is also a fee for a locker and/or towel (if needed). Many also recommend the massage (we haven’t tried it). To get there, if you’re heading south down Road 90 (coming from Jerusalem/Tel Aviv/the North), Mineral Beach is right next to Kibbutz Mitzpeh Shalem. Mineral Beach is on the northern end of the Dead Sea, so it’s a fast destination from Jerusalem and the surface is less pebbly than at the more southern beaches. If you’re looking for a cheaper option (FREE), head 15 minutes south to Ein Gedi.

 

 

Dig out the sand toys and don’t forget the sunscreen. It’s time to hit the beach, and here are some of the best Israel has to offer.  Entrance fee. Information: 02-994-4888.

(If you’re into sunbathing in the buff, nearbyNeve Midbar Beach has a secluded section for nudists.)

 

Sea of Galilee

En Gev Beach

Last but not least on our list of the best beaches in Israel is Ein Gev beach, located on the eastern (and quieter) shore of the Sea of Galilee.

The Sea of Galilee is different from the rest of Israel in that the water is fresh, rather than salty (and extremely salty in the Dead Sea). Certainly not as crystal clear as some of the other beaches listed above, Ein Gev beach is still a great beach to visit, especially at sunset, when the sun sinks behind the city of Tiberias and the atmosphere turns almost spiritual!

It does cost a few shekels to get in, but the facilities included are great…as well as lawns that stretch almost to the water’s edge, there is access to the famed fish restaurant, lifeguards, lockers, and BBQ areas.

Ein Gev beach, the Sea of Galilee

The Red Sea

Coral Reef Beach

Coral Beach in Eilat is the best place to snorkel in Israel and is a popular diving reef, yet is also a popular  family-friendly beach for tourists visiting the sun-soaked city, and locals alike. The beautiful coral off the shore here can be easily taken advantage of with places to rent equipment for snorkeling (snorkel, mask, flippers and life jacket), and, for those less adventurous, places to eat, sit, and relax and enjoy the sun.

Its setting on the world’s northernmost coral reef affords visitors an amazing place to see the multicolored coral garden and the Red Sea aquatic creatures that inhabit it.  Walk along a short pier and step down into shallow warm water teeming with tropical delights. Sunshades and loungers, hot showers and a snack kiosk are available.Entrance fee. Information: 08-637-6829.

 

Dolphin Reef

Eilat’s Dolphin Reef. Photo courtesy of www.goisrael.com
Photo: www.goisrael.com

Eilat’s Dolphin Beach is located within the Dolphin Reef in Eilat. Eilat’s public beaches tend to get quite crowded, but if you’re willing to pay admission to the Dolphin Reef, you get the added benefit of a quiet beach where you can relax under an umbrella and watch or swim with the dolphins, or even join them in the water if you’re age 10 or over.

There is a snorkeling and diving center here, as well as an underwater photography center and beachside café/bar. Adults can take advantage of the site’s music-infused relaxation pools as well.

Entrance fee. Information: 08-630-0100.

 

Migdalor Beach, Eilat

Some beach connoisseurs might head down to Eilat for the more known Coral Beach or Dolphin Reef (where you can even swim with the dolphins), or even the city hotels on the hotel strip, but this little gem is a little more hardcore (don’t expect “fancy”).

Israel’s southernmost beach, Migdalor beach is only 2km away from the border with Egypt, and probably one of the quietest beaches as a result. Here you can find some of the best snorkeling in Israel, with amazing coral and awesome colorful fish. This place is perfect for getting up early, spotting some sea snakes, grabbing a light snack or a cold one, and kicking back to some chillout tunes.

About 15 minutes drive from Eilat city center, Migdalor Beach is free to access.

Migdalor Beach, Eilat

Well, summer’s here and the heat is on (big time here in the Holy Land!), so time to dig out those trunks and the bikinis and to explore the very best beaches in Israel… We’ve gone to great lengths to explore the best beaches Israel has to offer. And we can tell you that it’s really no fun having to lie in the sun, lather up with sunscreen, have a quick dip in a glistening, refreshing Med/Red/Dead Sea, and cool off with ice-cream…

On a Serious Note

TWO things to watch out for on Israel’s best beaches

Enjoying the best beaches in Israel is great fun, but you must listen to a couple of warnings…

Listen to the lifeguard!

Some of Israel’s seas are known for some scary undercurrents, and many people end up drowning when ignoring the lifeguard. If a lifeguard is on duty, listen (he’ll probably be barking out orders)…AND just be careful out there – mother nature is a powerful beast!

Watch out for the paddleballers!

On almost every Israeli beach you’ll find paddleball players, known as Matkot in Hebrew. This game of beach tennis may well infuriate you after a bit: either because of the thud of the ball as it’s hit, or because of the lack of respect for others on the beach…

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