Monday, August 8, 2011

Herzliya Beach Guide


Having the luxury of a car here in Israel is no small prize. Both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are cities similar to New York in that its more of a hindrance to have a car than to not have one. There is nowhere to park if you do have a car and if you're so lucky to find a spot, you'll have to pay at all hours of the day. Most people just leave it up to public transportation. Thus, when we decided to take a weekend trip, we of course opted to rent a car for the entire weekend so as to make it worth our while. Stop One: a visit to our newly discovered and long-lost cousins who live right here in Israel. We decided to meet up with them at a wonderful brunch restaurant in Herzliya called Mi Casa, part of Kibbutz Glil Yam:


It's the perfect place to lounge around for a few hours on a lazy Friday morning (remember, the weekend here is Friday and Saturday) under shaded umbrellas. The food was delicious and there are plenty of enticing menu options form which to choose:


As you can see, it's a great place for the adults to dine and for the kids to play. For more information on Mi Casa at Kibbutz Glil Yam, which is centrally located in the town of Herzliya north of Tel Aviv, click here. It was a charming place and I'd definitely go back there when I have the chance.


Since we were in Herzliya, we had to take advantage of our current location. So, off to the beaches we went. Herzliya is not too far north of Tel Aviv and it is located next to the lavish and luxurious neighborhood of Herzliya Pituach, Israel's version of La Jolla. Thus, the beaches you will find are generally well-manicured, clean and catering to a nice crowd.


There are about 7 km. (or 4 miles) worth of beaches in Herzliya and you will have to pay a small entrance fee to gain access to most of them, as well as to rent a chair and/or umbrella for the day. This much is to be expected all across the Mediterranean. However, I think it's well worth it for how clean the beaches are and because of the access you have to restaurants and amenities:


There are 7 main waterfront areas in Herzliya (and though you'll only see photos of one in particular from my visit there, I'll still be happy to introduce you to the rest of them in case you want to go visit yourself):


1.  Ha Sharon Beach is one of Herzliya's more crowded beaches with a paved promenade and several restaurants lining the path. It is located directly under De Shalit Square and is wheelchair accessible. Ha Sharon Beach is home to Arie's ice cream, a landmark in Herzliya. You can't go wrong with a beach day at Ha Sharon.


2. Zvulun Beach is the beach where the local sea scouts nest is located, which integrates maritime afterschool activities with the Scouts values. On the upper part of the beach are a few patches of grass and several restaurants. Although this part of the beach is a declared bathing area, there aren’t any wave breakers.


3. Acadia Beach is the widest beachfront in the city of Herzliya and is named after the famous Dan Acadia Hotel which borders it. This beach is sometimes referred to as Dabush Beach since there was a famous restaurant by this name on its beachfront for over 50 years. You will also find public tennis courts located near the hotel before the start of the beach, which can be a fun daytime activity.


4. The Boats Beach is not intended for bathing, but rather for sailboats, speedboats and jet skies which can make it dangerous option for swimmers. This beach was recently developed as part of the Marina, and walking paths were built going from the marina to the beach. This is the choice for you if you want to head out for some action on the water.


5. Apollonia Beach Herzliya is a narrow stretch of beach between the ruins of ancient Apollonia and the sea. Because this beach is relatively narrow and hardly has any sand, it has not been declared an official beach. Although you have to watch out for rock slides, people really enjoy the beauty and the history at this outdoor spot.



6. Sidney Alley Beach is named after the ancient musk located near its southern entrance. The beach has an array of caves carved into the mountain side which belong to "Nissin the Caveman". Also nearby is a small community of fishermen who live on the northern side of the coast in the Fisherman's village. Thus, Sidney Alley Beach is a great option for anglers and people who want to go fishing by the sea.


7. The Herzliya Marina is located just south of the Dan Acadia Hotel and it stretches for over 123 acres, half of which is open to the general public and includes tourist shops, vacation homes, entertainment options, maritime and sports clubs, hotels and summer homes. The other half is a boat yard that is open to 800 vessels. The marina management supplies all the necessary services required for docked sea vessels and its sailors. The marina regularly holds maritime activities, competitions and both national and international competitions.


It's barely visible in my photo below, but many kids opt to fly kites out at the beaches on the green patches of grass. It's the perfect summertime activity. Just visiting the Herzliya beaches made me want to pick up and move right away into Herzliya just to be able to call this area home. However, as you can imagine, with beautiful properties come stiff prices. Thus, for now, I think I'll enjoy my beaches by day trip, and luckily they are all just a hop, skip and a jump away from home.


Don't forget to wear sunscreen if you head outdoors! I'm very sensitive to the sun but I love to be outside (a killer combination) so I enjoy sitting out at these beaches underneath the safety of an umbrella. Sit back and relax as your waiter or waitress brings you a plateful of sliced watermelon or a refreshing beach drink. Hope you enjoyed visiting the beaches of Herzliya! Just a few of the enormous amount of water options available to you in this small country.

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