January 24th 2015
Israel’s major cities may get the lion’s share of attention from tourists, but there are fabulous destinations in other parts of the country as well. Here are our picks for five unmissable experiences to enjoy on Israel’s Mediterranean coast.
Pristine Beaches, Upscale Homes and Ancient Ruins
In the time of Roman rule, Herod the Great built the ancient city of Caesarea as a major port. Today, a visit to the Caesarea National Park reveals the ruins of Herod’s Mediterranean palace, including a synagogue, bathhouses, aqueducts and a large Roman-style amphitheater, still in use today for concerts and other events. Nearby, the Time Tunnel offers a virtual tour of Caesarea as it looked during Herod’s time.
Quaint Charm and the Museum of the First Aliyah
The cobblestone midrechov (pedestrian mall) in the center of Zichron Yaakov offers charming shopping and eating options alongside artists’ workshops. Two museums add depth and color to a visit to Zichron, a beautiful town located on the foothills of the Carmel Mountain ridge. The Museum of The First Aliyah tells the story of one of the earliest families that came to Zichron Yaakov in 1882. The Nili Museum teaches about the local residents who worked on behalf of the British during WWI. Don’t miss the guided tours at the Carmel Mizrahi winery, also located here.
Smuggling Immigrants into Israel
Before the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Palestine was ruled by the British, who kept tight limits on the number of Jewish immigrants allowed in. When they captured Jewish refugees from Europe trying to enter Palestine, they sent them, among other places, to the Atlit Detention Center. The Atlit Museum of Illegal Immigration features a model of the original camp, where tens of thousands of Jewish refugees were held for up to two years. With advanced reservations, you can board a replica of a ship used to smuggle Zionist refugees into Palestine.
A Rare And Beautiful Gem In The Middle Of A Bustling City
The Baha’i Gardens complex in Haifa is Israel’s most meticulously cared for urban green space and a must-see destination. Almost an entire kilometer long, the grounds are designed in concentric circles and feature 19 terraces. A sculpture garden at the entrance offers a welcome place to relax and grasp the magnitude of this place. After sunset, the gardens, which were built around a shrine to the founder of the Baha’i faith, are magnificently lit up.
The Grottoes of Rosh Hanikra
Thousands of years of the sea pounding into these high cliffs resulted in magical sea caves that open onto the Mediterranean. Walking through the grottoes is ideal during Israel’s winter – the stormier the weather, the more dramatic the waves crashing into the sea walls. You’ll stay safe and warm when watching Mother Nature’s drama from inside the grottoes. The world’s steepest cable car transports you from the top of the cliff to the grottoes and back.
Traveling from Tel Aviv and Israel’s main population center towards the Galilee, there are several worthy destinations to check out along the northern coast. Plan to take your time on this leg of your tour, stopping at some of not all of these compelling points of interest.