Achziv is located in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel, on the Mediterranean coast about 15km north of Akko, south of Rosh HaNikra, and close to the city of Nahariya. The Achziv National Park is the main attraction in this quiet coastal village. The national park consists of a stretch of beach bordered by rocky cliffs, lagoons and sea pools both natural and manmade.
Things to do at Achziv
The beautiful sunset at Achziv. Image Uzi Yachin via Flickr
If you look out to sea across the water you’ll see several small islands which are part of a separate nature reserve called (not surprisingly) The Islands of Achziv Beach. During the summer you can see flocks of seagulls nesting on these islands. Within the Achziv National Park are the remains of a Crusader castle and the Biblical city which stood here. Achziv was one of the cities of Asher and is mentioned in the Mishnah and Talmud. Although there are remains of the Crusader period when the site was called Casle Umberti, most of the remains here are from the later Mamluk and Ottoman eras. At that time the Arab village of Az-Zeeb was built partially with stones taken from the Crusader castle.
For tourists the most important part of Achziv is the beach, recognized by locals as one of the finest in Israel. There are coves, cliffs and naturally formed lagoons where you can discover marine life which has not yet been scared away by the human visitors. Here you’ll see Rock Pigeons, Swifts and Sternas flying above you and sea urchins, small fish and crabs in the rock pools. In July and August sea turtles make their way up the beach to lay their eggs.
Fishing at Achziv. Image Uzi Yachin via Flickr
On Achziv Beach during the summer you’ll find lifeguards, first aid service, showers, a café, a playground and restrooms. It is possible to stay in the national park campground (972-4-9823263) which is open to groups all year round and to families between Passover and Sukkot. Camping rates are 60NIS for adults and 50NIS for kids.
The Achziv National Park is open from 8am to 5pm from April to June and during September and October. In July and August the park is open until 7pm. Entrance is 33NIS for adults and 20NIS for kids.
Things near Achziv
Banana Beach requires an entrance fee of a few shekels and it is possible to camp here for 50NIS per person (972-4-9827788). There are bungalows as well as a campground where you can pitch your own tent and there is a beach café with a bohemian, laid back atmosphere. In the summer the beach is known for its loud beach parties which last into the early hours of the morning. From Banana Beach it is possible to walk along the promenade all the way to Shavei Zion and Nahariya.
Achzivland, a piece of land adjacent to the national park, was established as an unofficial independent “nation” in the 1970s by Eli Aviv a non-conformist Israeli. Although the “country” is completely unofficial Achivland remains and even has a hostel, museum and private beach. Visitors can get their passports stamped with the unofficial “official” stamp.