Much of western border of Israel is the Mediterranean Sea. From the urban metropolis that is Tel Aviv, to the villages and remote beaches of the Western Galilee, this diverse and beautiful coastline. The Coastal Plain is home to most of Israel’s population, urban, economic, cultural and leisure activities, including some of the country’s coolest and most unique sites and activities.
View from Zichron Ya’akov across the Coastal Plain
Israel’s Mediterranean Coastal Plain starts in the North with Israel’s border with Lebanon. The area between here and the major port city of Haifa is known as the Western Galilee. Sparsely populated, the Northern border is home to the cliffside caves at Rosh HaNikra. Moving south are small towns, and inland kibbutzim and moshavim, historic farming communities, small deserted coves and expansive beaches. Just north of Haifa is the city of Akko home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site in its ancient Old City.
The city of Haifa is Israel’s industrial heartland as one of the country’s major ports. The city is famed for its Bahai Gardens, breathtaking terraced gardens sloping down Mount Carmel to the Mediterranean, and home to the world center of the Bahai Faith. The city also has a refurbished German Colony with interesting cobbled streets, boutiques and restaurants.
Herzliya Harbor by Flickr user RonAlmog
To Haifa and further south is Mount Carmel a range of hills running a few kilometers inland from the coast. The coast here is not heavily populated and where it is, there are more small kibbutzim and moshavim, small traditionally farming communities. Similarly, Mount Carmel itself is home to numerous little villages and small towns, notably Ein Hod, an artists colony, and Zichron Yaakov, one of the country’s oldest settlements and home to one of the many wineries in the Carmel. The Carmel also boasts some of Israel’s largest Druze communities, a small religion famed for their great native cuisine.
South of the Carmel, the Coastal Plain is once again flat. Moving further south it becomes more densely populated, but before this happens, is the ancient port city of Caesarea with its restored harbor, amphitheater, and acquaduct. One of Israel’s most popular National Parks Caesarea is somewhere truly not to be missed. About 30km south of Caesarea is the city of Herzliya and its seaside neighbor, Herzliya Pituach. One of Israel’s most upscale neighborhood, Herzliya houses some of Israel’s richest and most famous, as well as diplomats, oligarchs, and other notable people. The beach here is great, and slightly less urban than what follows slightly south in Tel Aviv.
Tel Aviv is Israel’s economic and cultural capital. Flanked by the Mediterranean some have dubbed it the Miami of the Middle East, and for good reason. The city is full of incredible places to visit, things to do and see, and restaurants, cafes, hotels, and more. Tel Aviv is everything that modern-day Israel is with a massive range of incredible things to do.
The Coastal Plain has amazing beaches, leisure activities, cultural sites, and so much more. Any visitor to Israel will pass through the area and take in some of what is on offer, but it is incredibly easy to miss something fantastic. Remember, Israel is a small country, and nothing is too far away!