Caesarea is a magnificent site, a national park where amazing ancient harbor ruins, beautiful beaches, and impressive modern residences sit side by side. Named by Travel & Leisure as the best tourist spot in the Middle East in 2020, Caesarea is originally an ancient Herodian port city located on Israel’s Mediterranean Coast about halfway between Tel Aviv and Haifa. The site has recently been restored to create one of Israel’s most attractive and fascinating archaeological sites. The restored 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 Aqueduct Beach is one of the best beaches in Israel. Caesarea can be difficult to visit without a car, and many visitors opt to join a tour to Caesarea, which is a convenient and good value way to enjoy the site – the most popular option is our Akko, Nazareth, and Caesarea Tour.
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 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 separately, and is totally unique in its setting, with superb facilities.
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 Beach by Flickr user luzer
Also in Caesarea
Outside the national park, in the modern-day city, is the Aquaduct Beach one of the best beaches in Israel. With an ancient aqueduct marking the edge of the beach the breathtaking approach is even more stunning up close. There is no lifeguard here so bathing is not strictly allowed although it does get busy on summer weekends, but the buzz is worlds away from the beaches further south with a more rural surrounding and breathtaking archaeological feature
Caesarea also hosts the Ralli Museum, one of four museums around the world funded by philanthropist Harry Recanti. The two galleries at 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 can’t 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 at the city’s harbor. They vary in price although most are pretty good and serve seafood with an awesome location overlooking the Mediterranean.
How to Visit
Caesarea National Park is a half-day attraction which is great all-year round. It is easily accessible by road, although getting there 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, for example with this Caesarea, Haifa, Rosh Hanikra and Acre Tour or the popular Caesarea, Wine Country, and Kibbutz Experience Tour.
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 the harbor. The museum is open in summer months (April-September) from 8 am to 6 pm and winter months until 4 pm, with the site itself and restaurants remaining open later into the evening.
Fees: Adult: NIS 38; child: NIS 23Israeli senior citizen: 50% discount. Group (over 30 people): Adult: NIS 34: child NIS 21
How to get to Caesarea
Caesarea is located just off of Road 2, the main coastal highway about midway 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.
Public transport to the area 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.
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.
Because it can be hard to travel independently to Caesarea by bus or train, many people opt for a tour of Caesarea from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. Alternatively, tours with a private guide are also available.