Caesarea is a magnificent site, a national park where amazing ancient harbor ruins, beautiful beaches, and impressive modern residences sit side by side. Caesarea is originally an ancient Herodian port city located on Israel’s Mediterranean Coast about half way between Tel Aviv and Haifa. The site recently been restored to create one of Israel’s most attractive and fascinating archaeological sites. The restored Caesarea amphitheater hosts modern-day concerts during the summer months, whilst the Old City has a range of boutiques and restaurants. The new town of Caesarea is a luxurious neighborhood of villas, whose beach, the Caesarea Aquaduct Beach is one of the best beaches in Israel.
Caesarea National Park
Caesarea National Park is one of, if not Israel’s, most impressive archaeological site. The beautifully restored harbor here was built by King Herod and is a work of engineering marvel. The site is a fascinating place to explore and the museum includes a great multimedia explanation of the history of the port.
Within the park is the Caesarea Amphitheater, also restored, which during the summer regularly hosts concerts of both local, and international acts. See our listing of concerts in Caesarea for more. The Harbor Beach is located within the Park although you can enter seperately, and is totally unique in its setting, with superb facilities.
Underwater Museum at Caesarea
The Park is also home to a unique museum, the world’s only underwater museum where you are able to dive through the underwater ruins of this ancient city. Wow! For more call the Caesarea Dive Club (04-6265898).
Caesarea Aqueduct by luzer, on Flickr
Also in Caesarea
Outside the national park, in the modern day neighborhood of Caesarea is the Aquaduct Beach one of the best beaches in Israel. With an ancient aquaduct marking the edge of the beach the breathtaking approach is even more stunning up close. There is no life guard here so bathing is not strictly allowed although it does get busy on summer weekends, but the is worlds away from the beaches further south with a more rural surrounding and breathtaking archaeological feature
Caesarea Amphitheater where concerts are held in the summer by Flickr user heatkernel
Caesarea also hosts the Ralli Museum, one of four museums around the world funded by philanthropist Harry Recanti. The two galleries at Caesarea focus on Latin American and Sephardic Jewish artwork. The museum is free to enter and has some fantastic pieces so if you’re in the area, and cant resist the urge to see some art, this is the place to go. Nearby is Caesarea Golf Club which is Israel’s only full size golf course. Recently reconstructed by renowned designer Pete Dye, this course plays host, every four years to the Maccabi Games, the Jewish Olympics.
All this is exploring is likely to get your appetite going, and there are some brilliant restaurants in Caesarea at the Harbor. They vary in price although most are pretty good and serve seafood with an awesome location overlooking the Mediterranean.
Caesarea National Park is a half-day attraction which is great all-year round. It is easily accesisble by road, although getting to Caesarea by public transport can be tricky. Many tourists therefore decide to visit the site on a tour of Caesarea, many of which incorporate other sites along the coast and can start from either Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.
Caesarea is a great place to enjoy a sunset and meal so go late afternoon in the summer and enjoy the sunset in one of the many restaurants in Caeasarea harbor. The museum is open in summer months (April-September) from 8am to 6pm and winter months until 4pm, with the site itself and restaurants remaining open later into the evening.
Caesarea is located just off of Road 2, the main coastal highway about mid-way between Haifa and Tel Aviv. It is about a 1 hour drive from downtown Tel Aviv. Often joining a group tour or taking a private guide can be the most practical way to reach the site.
How to get to Caesarea
Public transport to Caesarea is slightly difficult. There is a train link between Tel Aviv and Haifa, and Caesarea, however from the station you will need to take a taxi to the site about a five minute ride away (it is too far to walk). There are no inter-city buses to the town although local buses do come from Hadera irregularly during the day.
Bus to Caesarea
Alternatively, you can take the bus to Caesarea by taking one of the many inter-city Egged routes from Tel Aviv or Haifa which stops at the Or Akiva Interchange. From here it’s about a 30 minute walk to the site.
Tours to Caesarea
Because it can be hard to travel independently to Caesarea by bus or train, many people opt for a tour of the site – there are bus tours of Caesarea leaving every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. Alternatively, tours with a private guide are also available.