With miles of Mediterranean shore, the coastal plain is a beachgoer's paradise. Ashkelon, at the southern end, has quiet hotels, pleasant weather and rough water, while Netanya, in the midcoast region, is a favorite of older travelers and Europeans. It offers hotels in a variety of price ranges, as well as apartments and studios for rent. For its part, Tel Aviv is full of energy and excitement, with superb restaurants, popular beaches, high-rise buildings, the quaint artists colony of Jaffa, and museums including the Diaspora Museum, the Eretz Israel (Land of Israel) Museum, and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. The ancient Roman- and crusader-era city of Caesarea is the most dramatic archaeological site along Israel's coast; further north, the Old City of Akko's bazaars and minarets provide an exotic getaway. Kibbutz holiday villages throughout the region allow restful breaks from touring. Haifa, Israel's third-largest city, has a spirit of peace and productivity. Though a business and industrial town, Haifa is beautifully spread on a stepped mountain overlooking the harbor. It can serve as an ideal urban base for exploring Israel's coast in the North.
Tel Aviv-Yaffo, a modern city on the Mediterranean coast, is Israel's commercial and financial center as well as the focus of its cultural life. Headquartered there are most industrial and agricultural organizations, the stock exchange, major newspapers, periodicals and publishing houses. Tel Aviv, the first all-Jewish city in modern times, was founded in 1909 as a suburb of Yafo, one of the oldest urban settlements in the world. In 1934 Tel Aviv was granted municipal status, and in 1950 it was merged with Yafo, the new municipality absorbing the older town. The area around the ancient port of Yafo (Jaffa) has been developed into an artists' colony and tourist center, with galleries, restaurants and night clubs.
Haifa, on the Mediterranean Sea, rises from the coastline over the slopes of Mount Carmel. It is built on three topographical levels: the lower city, partly on land recovered from the sea, is the commercial center with harbor facilities; the middle level is an older residential area; and the top level consists of rapidly expanding modern neighborhoods with tree-lined streets, parks and pine woods, overlooking the industrial zones and sandy beaches on the shore of the wide bay below. A major deep-water port, Haifa is a focus of international trade and commerce. It also serves as the administrative center of northern Israel.
As you walk through the ruins of ancient Caesaria by the seashore, you can catch glimpses of ancient glory: fallen pillars, slabs of marble, and rubble. But it is only when you stand in the middle of the ancient amphitheater, recently fully restored, that you can begin to form an idea of what Caesaria was like in its proudest days. In this amphitheater, the latest theatrical productions of the Roman world were performed. Two thousand years ago, actors playing in the dramas of Euripides, Sophocles and other great classic playwrights, performed before thousands of spectators in packed terraces. In addition, sometimes crowds gathered to watch games, processions, or contests that had become by-words for Roman culture.
Jewish & Christian religious and historic sites in the coastal Israel
- city of residence for early sages including Rabban Gamliel, Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel, Rabbi Yosi, Rabbi Yehudah, and Rabbi Abba.
- Crusader port, capital after fall of Jerusalem (1187-1291)
- probably the birth place of herod
- seat of Roman governors
- Crusader remains, including monumental Roman theater
- the site is associated with Elijah the prophet
- important harbor town, associated in the Bible with Solomon, Jonah and Peter