Nahariya is Israel’s northernmost coastal city, a last testament to the seaside settlements that reach up along the sunny Mediterranean shoreline. Being the end of the train-line and just a few minutes from Rosh HaNikra, with its famous white sandstone grottos, tourists often find themselves Nahariya, a vibrant, little city. With a lively nucleus, comprised of a wide boulevard, divided by a river and lined with shops, restaurants, bars and hotels, and the seafront bars and restaurants, Nahariya provides sun-lovers with an idyllic vacation spot.
Founded by German Jews in the mid-1930s, Nahariya is a quiet summer resort, popular with older tourists and retired, European-born Israelis. It used to be popular with Israeli honeymooners, but most have moved on to more exotic places. Maybe there's a connection between Nahariya as a honeymoon site and the fact that archaeologists dug up a Canaanite fertility goddess on its beach.
The town has a pretty main street, Ha-Ga'aton Boulevard, with a stream (in winter) running down its median, shaded by breezy eucalyptus trees. With its eucalyptus-shaded shops running down to a sparkling sea, Nahariya has real potential, but so far it remains sleepy and low-key; there are a few rather ordinary shops, cafes, and restaurants in the downtown area.
This beautifully maintained stretch of sand in the Achziv National Park is north of Nahariya, on the road to Rosh Hanikra. Beside the ruins of the ancient settlement of Achziv are two huge lagoons along the shore, one shallow, the other deep. There are also watchful lifeguards and playground facilities. In July and August, turtles lay their eggs on the beach. You can picnic on the grassy slopes or make use of the restaurant. Enter at the second sign for Achziv Beach, not the first. For NIS 63 per person, you can camp here overnight. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; parking (fee); showers; toilets. Best for: swimming; walking.
A bit farther north of Achziv Beach is this nature reserve with abundant vegetation, shade-giving trees, and the ruins of an ancient olive press. In season, a lifeguard is on duty on the beach, but otherwise there are few frills. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguard. Best for: solitude, walking.
This church dedicated to St. Lazarus features an elaborate, 17-color mosaic floor, discovered in 1964, that depicts peacocks, other birds, hunting scenes, and plants. It was part of what experts consider one of the largest and most beautiful Byzantine churches in the Western Galilee, where Christianity spread from the 4th to the 7th century.
Travel to Nahariya
Nahariya also marks the northern end of the Israel Railways, the end of the track stopping at Ga’aton Boulevard. Built by the British during the Mandate period, the railroad tracks actually extend to Rosh HaNikra and cross the border into Lebanon. A clever assault by the Carmel unit of the Haganah resistance group in 1946 destroyed the tracks that passed through the grottos of Rosh HaNikra. Today, most of the track between Ga’aton Boulevard and Rosh HaNikra has been removed, and thus the train ends at Nahariya.
When all is said and done, Nahariya is a great city to both visit and to base one’s excursions into the Galilee from. From the sunny beach to the lovely Ga’aton Boulevard to the Lieberman House Museum, there is something for everyone.
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