Israeli summers….long, hot days that start in late May and don’t really end until October. Days filled with iced coffee, watermelon, salads, shorts and t-shirts and the obligatory ‘kafkafim’ (flip-flops). Whether you love or hate the heat, it’s a fact of life in Israel and when so many months of the year are sunny, what do you do with your free time?
Why go to the beach, of course.
And the truth is both tourists and natives usually can’t wait to slap on some sunscreen, throw on a hat and head off to one Israel’s endless beaches . Stretching all the way from Acco to Ashkelon, the vast marjory are free and with their white sand, clear waters, and sun loungers/umbrellas for rent, what’s not to like? Great for lounging, playing with kids, or taking a dip, here’s five of the beaches that Gordon Tours loves most in this astonishing country…
1. Neve Midbar Beach, Dead Sea
Located in the northern part of the Dead Sea, this is one of the less commercialised beaches in the area. It has good facilities – beach chairs, sunshades, showers and a lifeguard, and you can swim from 9am until sunset.
The lawned area is perfect for eating a picnic and it also has a bar – actually the lowest bar in the wold! This area attracts a younger crowd, and has a laid-back atmosphere. Great for plastering black mud all over your body too. Sit at sunset and enjoy the view of Jordan, since the Dead Sea really isn’t that large.
2. Gordon Beach, Tel Aviv
One of Tel Aviv’s most popular beaches, this beach has it all. Located opposite from the Sheraton Hotel, its fitness/work-out area and volleyball courts are a huge draw, not to mention the saltwater swimming pool (entrance fee necessary).
The boardwalk is filled with cafes and restaurants, serving drinks, snacks and proper food from early until late. With its large sandy beach and clear waters, no wonder it’s got a “Blue Flag’ award. Lounge by day, watch the sun set around 7.30 pm then get our your party clothes and head off to one of its bars….a perfect Tel Aviv day!
3. North Beach, Eilat
Not as breathtaking as Coral Beach, or as quiet as the Princess beach near to the Egyptian border, North Beach is wonderful for swimming (and has clean showers too!) It has a long boardwalk, as is full of restaurants, juice bars and shops to buy anything you’ve forgotten, and at night the clubs open up.
If you want to get active (rather than lounge) then rent a jet ski or paddle boat here. You can snorkel happily but if you want to see hundreds of colourful tropical fish without getting wet, then take a boat tour (they have glass bottoms).
4. Aqueduct (Arches) Beach, Caesarea
This quiet beach doesn’t have endless restaurants or hoards of people; simply one kiosk. Oh, and it has something else too – a rather well-preserved Roman aqueduct which makes for a fabulous view! Sit on the sand and gaze at it – it was built by King Herod in the 1st Century BCE and then expanded 300 years later – as a way of bringing water from springs at the foot of Mount Carmel to Caesarea.
Sun yourself happily and then take shade underneath the arches – or even walk atop the aqueduct. Then sit back happily and wait for sunset – it’s such a beautiful spot to watch light fade that this alone makes a visit worthwhile.
5. Achziv Beach, Nahariya
A stone’s throw from Israel’s northern border (in fact, you have an excellent view of the Lebanese cliffs from here) this is a wonderful place to come for a day or two and kick back. The beaches here are clean and sandy and the water is incredibly clear – with natural sea pools and wave-breakers.
This beach is especially popular with campers and those who own caravans, although cooking facilities are pretty limited. There’s a small kiosk that sells ice-cream and snacks but better to bring basic provisions yourself. Recommended for families and large groups.
Entrance fee of around 35 NIS.