Anthony Tricot
Tel Aviv's beaches: definitely less crowded
Anthony Tricot
Matkot (beach paddleball) - national obsession
Anthony Tricot
Anthony Tricot
Tight shorts, greasy hair, lots of oil
Anthony Tricot
Anthony Tricot
The French stake their claim to Tel Aviv
Anthony Tricot

Finding Israel's finest shores

It’s a great time to hit the beach: The weather remains beautiful and the beaches are less crowded. The 'Israeli Riviera' (Gaza strip) may now be out but there are still great places to go

You've got the kids back in school, the waves of tourists are receding and the jellyfish are well on their way to the south of France by now.


It's the perfect time to take the tanning-oil, matkot (beach paddleball) and disturbingly tight swimming suits and head to the coastline.


The title of Israel's best beach is well contested but much depends on what you're looking for:


Some want the quiet life, others like people-watching, and young Israelis come to lather their toned-bodies with oil and impress the ladies with their matkot skills.


Tel Aviv Beaches: 


Tel Aviv's Frishman Beach


Tel Aviv's lengthy tayelet (pedestrian promenade) contains a number of beaches that follow on from the other. The shore is as beautiful as the scantily clad bathers, but the waters are dirty and do not make for refreshing swims.


Hebrew was a foreign language on Tel Aviv's beaches this summer, as the hordes of French tourists that came staked out a corner of the Holy Land for their own.


The tourists may be returning home but Tel Aviv's shores still host many tourists.


Rebecca from Paris says she likes La Mer Beach, because "we like to be among French people."


Liad, an Israeli from Holon, says he and his friends are attracted to Frishman Beach by the people.


"We like French girls, and there are big and beautiful ladies on Frishman," Liad says, gesticulating with his hands. "We start conversations politely; we are not like most Israelis."


To demonstrate, he hits the matkot at the feet of some young girls passing by, and then runs off to apologize.


  • Banana Beach - toward Jaffa: Less crowded than Gordon during the week
  • Mer - French beach, most people 20 - 25
  • Frishman, French people, 16-18
  • Gordon - more Israeli than the above
  • Nordau: Tel Aviv's religious beach: For men on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. For women on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Opened to general public on Shabbat.


Top tip: Cheech Beach (a.k.a Drum Beach) - how the young and secular of Tel Aviv celebrate Shabbat: People usher in the Sabbath by watching the sunset on Friday afternoon and engaging in a drum circle at the restaurant. Live reggae performances on Saturday afternoons from 1 pm. 


Herzliya: 15-minute drive North of Tel Aviv, Herzliya is a strong contender for containing Israel's nicest beaches. 


The waves are stronger and the water cleaner in Herzliya making the beaches popular with Israelis.


Herzliya includes the marina at the southern end of town, with expensive restaurants overlooking the sea, as well as Herzliya Pituach, with Herzliya's main beaches.


One of the main beaches is Nine Beach - a young fun beach with people coming to swim, meet people and surf.


Amanda Moreno from Lausanne, Switzerland, afficionado of Nine Beach, says, "It has a good atmosphere. Friday and Saturday there are great DJs and all the people dance on the beach."


Top Tip: Apollonia Beach - Sitting beneath the Apollonia crusader fortress and an archeological site, this beach makes a change to the standard Israeli shore.


It attracts mostly families and particularly Arab ones, for whom the Apollonia site is holy.


The beach has clean water and nice restaurants.


Ramat Aviv: Tsuk Beach (undeclared):  


Lacking in lifeguards and toilet/shower facilities, the beach is solely frequented by young people and is the unofficial site of soldiers on vacation.


As such, the Tsuk beach features the finest looking people this journalist can attest to finding on Israel's beaches.


Neeve Yemen from Ramat Gan says, "I like this beach because, it being unofficial, I can bring my dog here. It helps when starting conversations with the girls."


How to get there: By Levi Eshkol road, near Ramat Aviv Hahadash. Tsuk Beach is north of Ramat Aviv's declared beach.


Top tip: Catch the vendors touting malibi, Syrian yogurt-pudding with coconut and fruit syrup on top, for NIS 10 (USD 2.20).




Haifa's reputation as Israel's prettiest city is well-deserved. No less so for its beaches: The water is clean. The sand is also kept free of bottles and cans by people scavenging for recycling material.


Inexpensive cafes, juice-bars and food vendors line the strip.


Top tip: Hof Hastudentim (Student Beach) is where the city's university and Technion students head. 


One Haifa cabbie asks me, "Do they do no work? I pick loads of them up every day."


Ryan Engel, an ulpan student from Toronto, confirms, "We come here virtually every day and stay 'til the last bus back." He sips his beer and adds pensively, "It's a hard life; I'm struggling under the academic burden of the Haifa ulpan."


Haifa's beaches are buzzing on Shabbat: The Student Beach is especially crowded and full of people playing matkot.


How to get there: Haifa's beach is right next to Hof HaCarmel, the main train and bus station of the city. Walk down to the left (facing the sea) to get to the Student Beach.




Tiberias does not have a beach so much as spots to relax and swim on the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). The Galilean hills provide a stunning backdrop to which to sit and enjoy the water.


The Kineret is sweet water and doesn't have the rapid waves of the Mediterranean, and so is nice for a swim.


It does get waves and the taste of gasoline from the jet-skis buzzing around, particularly on Shabbat, when many Israelis, both Jewish and Arab, come with their families for the day.


Most beaches in Tiberias are owned by hotels and charge entry. For free beaches it's better to head out of town and round the Kinneret. Many beaches are also not as stringent at charging entry in the middle of the week.


Top tip: Hof Ka'chol (Blue Beach): Large swimming space, kids-pool, bar with barbeque on weekends, DJ music. NIS 35 (USD 8) a person.


פרסום ראשון: 09.04.05, 13:13
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