If you’re after an unforgettable experience during your stay in Israel, you can’t go wrong with Rosh Hanikra. This geological formation is one of the most unique sights in Israel and its unusual scenery as well as its rich historical and cultural significance make it an attraction well-worth visiting.
What exactly is Rosh Hanikra? Well, Rosh Hanikra refers to a vast network of grottoes and caves along the Mediterranean coastline in the Western Galilee region. These grottoes and caves were formed as a result of the interaction between the waves and the rocky cliffs that make up the coastline.
Scientists actually believe that a series of earthquakes ripped gaps into the cliffs of the Western Galilee and as relentless rain and forceful waves eroded the cliffs and widened the gaps, grottoes and caves began to form. Naturally, this was an incredibly lengthy process. As a result, the grotto network known as Rosh Hanikra is a geological formation that took thousands and thousands of years to form.
And just when you thought it was just about a bunch of caves…there’s also the ancient fable of the young girl who was being taken to a forced marriage, so dived off the cliff at Rosh Hanikra to avoid her destiny, and was never seen again…except, if you listen very carefully, you can hear her sighing in the grottoes…(see the video clip below for more!)
The top priority for anyone visiting Rosh Hanikra has to be to explore the grottoes. The sight of hundreds of stalagmites hanging above greenish, almost-glowing pools of water is not one you’ll soon forget. Most first-time visitors opt to traverse the standard walking track which is about 200 meters and passes through some of the more elaborate grottoes in the area. There is also a cable car ride to the lowest level of the site, which also claims to be the steepest cable car ride in the world (at 60 degrees!).
You also should not miss out on the very interesting audio-visual presentation which explains how the grottoes were created with clear, concise and laymen-friendly details.
When is the best time to visit is entirely down to you – daytime is obviously the most popular time to visit and the sight of sunlight filtering through the grottoes’ narrow entrances is quite splendid, but visiting in the day also means often having to content with crowds. Nighttime visits to Rosh Hanikra are entirely possible thanks to the well-lighted walking paths and grottoes and have their own special charm. The grottoes exude an eerie, mystical aura at night and without the hordes of tourists that are ubiquitous in the daytime, you’ll be better able to appreciate the unusual atmosphere of the sea caves.
When planning your trip to Rosh Hanikra, you should also take the time of year into account. By popular consensus, winter is the best time to visit. Although the weather can be chilly, especially in the grottoes, the magnificent scenery you will witness during this season is well-worth any mild discomfort you might experience. During winter, the waves of the Mediterranean Sea are at their strongest. They hit the cliffs with tremendous force, sending up jets of sea spray that reach up to 35 meters high and creating a huge crash that reverberates throughout the cliffs and echoes in the grottoes (see the video below). No tourist can help but marvel at the sheer power of Mother Nature when they witness such an awesome sight. So if you get the chance to visit Rosh Hanikra in the winter, wrap up and jump at the opportunity!
Rosh Hanikra is very accessible. If you intend to rent a car, you can drive north on Road 4 to get there. The site is about ten minutes north of Nahariya.
Alternatively, you can take public transport. Both trains and buses stop at Nahariya Station and hailing a cab from Nahariya is both easy and inexpensive. Simply head to the taxi stand on Lohamei HaGettaot Street and speak to one of the friendly taxi drivers.
Summer weekdays: 09:00-18:00
Winter weekdays: 09:00-16:00
Fridays and Holiday Eves: 09:00-16:00
Saturdays and Holidays: 09:00-18:00
Entrance fees start at 35 shekels for Senior Citizens, Soldiers and Children, and 43 shekels for adults (prices may change).
Rosh Hanikra is one of Israel’s most popular tourist attractions for good reason. Don’t miss out on one of Mother Nature’s greatest masterpieces.
Check out this great video for the full story of Rosh Hanikra…
And here’s what it looks like when the waves come crashing through some of those grottoes!