Well, summer’s here and the heat is on (big time here in the Holy Land!), so time to dig out those Speedo trunks and the Itsy Bitsy bikini and to explore the very best beaches in Israel…
We’ve gone to great lengths to explore the best beaches Israel has to offer. And we can tell you that it’s really no fun having to lie in the sun, lather up with sunscreen, have a quick dip in a glistening, refreshing Med/Red/Dead Sea, and cool off with ice-cream…
Looking for something a little bit different? See our ESSENTIAL guide to the best water parks in Israel!
So here they are, in no particular order, the best beaches in Israel…
Tel Aviv Beach
Of all the beaches in Israel this is the first one you’re more than likely to feel the sand between your toes on…Tel Aviv beach is actually a collection of smaller beaches, most of which are just off the bustling city streets, and each of which has its own unique character and clientele.
For example, if you’re looking for a family beach, try Jerusalem Beach or the more northern Tzuk (Cliff) Beach; if you’re looking for some eye candy, head to Gordon or Metzitzim; and if you’re looking for a gay-friendly spot, head to Hilton Beach. Be prepared to fall in love – but not on a Saturday when it becomes very crowded.
Free to access (except for some of the more northern beaches). For more about Tel Aviv’s beaches, read our full guide.
Dor HaBonim Beach
Dor HaBonim beach on the northern part of Israel’s Mediterranean coastline is one of our favorite beaches (we even crowned it The Best Beach In Israel). It’s one of the best kept secrets in the Holy Land, and also a little off the beaten track as part of a nature reserve, hence it’s not usually crowded.
Dor HaBonim has a beautiful stretch of sandy beach, with a well protected lagoon, which makes it a good option if you have small children. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a hike along the coast a bit further north to check out the natural sandy banks and rock pools.
Small entrance fee to the main beach – or for an even more secluded part of HaBonim beach read more here.
If you’re looking to head up north along Israel’s Mediterranean coastline, there are actually two beaches at Achziv that will fight for your beach towel’s attention.
The first is Banana Beach, on the road north just after Nahariya. Here there is a great stretch of sand, with a nice restaurant and bar usually open til late. The second beach is just a bit further north on the road to Rosh HaNikra and is run by the National Parks Authority. Here the beach is a little less refined for beach-goers, but has some great pools and rocky coast to explore.
It costs a few shekels to enter each beach, more if you intend on camping overnight. Read more here.
Just 30 minutes drive north from Tel Aviv lie the gorgeous white sands of Aqueduct Beach in Caesarea, the perfect beach for those of you who love a real slice of history with your sunscreen.
That history comes in the form of Roman ruins that form part of a raised aqueduct first built by King Herod in the first century BCE. Today the beach is a beautiful strip of sand, and you can usually find a nice, quiet spot. The lack of crowds and noise is slightly countered by the lack of real facilities; there is no restaurant /bar here, and lifeguards are not on station on all parts of the beach. But in our opinion that all adds to its character and makes Aqueduct Beach a must-have addition to your beach list.
Free to access.
Migdalor Beach, Eilat
Some beach connoisseurs might head down to Eilat for the more known Coral Beach or Dolphin Reef (where you can even swim with the dolphins), or even the city hotels on the hotel strip, but this little gem is a little more hardcore (don’t expect “fancy”).
Israel’s southernmost beach, Migdalor beach is only 2 km away from the border with Egypt, and probably one of the quietest beaches as a result. Here you can find some of the best snorkeling in Israel (see the clip below), with amazing coral and awesome colorful fish. This place is perfect for getting up early, spotting some sea snakes, grabbing a light snack or a cold one, and kicking back to some chillout tunes.
About 15 minutes drive from Eilat city center, Migdalor Beach is free to access.
Beit Yannai Beach
Beit Yannai beach is considered by many to be one of Israel’s very best beaches. It’s a big hit with those prepared to travel out of Tel Aviv (about 20 minutes), and also those who love to kite surf.
It’s a gorgeous beach, usually kept very clean, and usually quiet, probably due to the fact that it’s run by the Israel Parks and Nature Authority. You can camp overnight, and there are fairly decent facilities, including showers and restaurants.
Also worth catching are the eucalyptus grove and ancient ruins nearby. Entrance fee per car (23 shekels at the time of writing this article); for more details call 09-8666230.
Mineral Beach, Dead Sea
If you’re looking to get re-energized and perhaps even do some floating in the Dead Sea, the Mineral Beach is one of Israel’s very best!
A little bit off the tourist track, and far from the tourist strip further south, Mineral Beach is perfect for a float and slapping on the ol’ Dead Sea mud. Watch out for the covered mineral pool (very popular), some great sculptures, and a large drum of mud to smother yourself with.
Costs a few shekels (60 at the time of writing this) to enter/park and there is also a fee for a locker and/or towel (if needed). Many also recommend the massage (we haven’t tried it). To get there, if you’re heading south down Road 90 (coming from Jerusalem/Tel Aviv/the North), Mineral Beach is right next to Kibbutz Mitzpeh Shalem. If you’re looking for a cheaper option (FREE), head 60 minutes south to the hotel strip at Ein Bokek (unfortunately, the closer option at Ein Gedi is now closed due to sink holes).
En Gev Beach
Last but not least on our list of the best beaches in Israel is Ein Gev beach, located on the eastern (and quieter) shore of the Sea of Galilee.
The Sea of Galilee is different from the rest of Israel in that the water is fresh, rather than salty (and extremely salty in the Dead Sea). Certainly not as crystal clear as some of the other beaches listed above, Ein Gev beach is still a great beach to visit, especially at sunset, when the sun sinks behind the city of Tiberias and the atmosphere turns almost spiritual!
It does cost a few shekels to get in, but the facilities included are great…as well as lawns that stretch almost to the water’s edge, there is access to the famed fish restaurant, lifeguards, lockers, and BBQ areas.
On a serious note: TWO things to watch out for on Israel’s best beaches
Enjoying the best beaches in Israel is great fun, but we wouldn’t be your responsible and ever-knowledgeable Israel gurus if we didn’t give out a couple of warnings…
Listen to the lifeguard!
Those glistening, rippling waves may be too hard to resist, but some of Israel’s seas are known for some scary undercurrents, and many people end up drowning when ignoring the lifeguard. Our advice: If a lifeguard is on duty, listen (he’ll probably be barking out orders)…AND just be careful out there – mother nature is a powerful beast!
Watch out for the paddleballers!
On almost every Israeli beach, but certainly more so in Tel Aviv, you’ll find paddleball players. Known as Matkot in Hebrew, this game of beach tennis may well infuriate you after a bit: either thanks to the thud, thud, thud of the ball as it’s hit, or because of the lack of respect for others on the beach…