The Best Places to hit the Beach while Visiting Israel

Visiting Israel? Why not add a day on the beach to your itinerary? The country may be small but it has an unparalleled selection of unique beach experiences.

Israel has 196 kilometers of Mediterranean coastline offering the classic beach experience – sea, sun, and ice-cold drinks. But there’s more! Just hit any beach from Ashkelon to Akko to enjoy a fun family outing – usually free of charge.

Why not explore more? How about going to the beach at the lowest point on earth – the Dead Sea? Or maybe swim with dolphins or go snorkeling in the coral reefs of the Red Sea? Or how about a dip in the Sea of Galilee – where Jesus is said to have walked on the water?

I’ve put together this guide of the four seas you can visit in Israel, so you can add the perfect beach experience to your trip to the Holy Land!

The Mediterranean Sea

The Best Places to hit the Beach while Visiting Israel - The Mediterranean Sea
Jaffa plage - The Mediterranean Sea

When Israelis use the phrase “I’m going to the beach”, they’re talking about the Mediterranean. With dozens of designated beaches along the coastline, this is your best bet for an accessible and safe beach experience.

Where to go

Always choose a designated beach where you can not only rent a sun umbrella and buy a drink, but also enjoy the safety of onsite lifeguard services. Most cities and towns along the coastline operate such beaches with free access to the water.

Tel Aviv has 13 such beaches and most of them also offer lockers and free showers to help you get rid of the sand and salt before walking back to your hotel. Other cities with great beaches include Netanya, Bat Yam, Ashdod, and Ashkelon.

If you’re looking to combine bathing in the sea with visiting a national park, you can find several awesome options along the coastline. Caesaria – between Haifa and Tel Aviv – offers a small pristine beach that’s literally surrounded by Roman ruins. In fact, bring your snorkeling mask because you can view some underground ruins there too!

The best time to visit

The Mediterranean is exceptionally warm and pleasant during the summer months. Between July and September, water temperature is around 30 degrees Celsius (just over 85 degrees Fahrenheit) which means you won’t even notice a drop in temperature when plunging right into the water.

During the coldest winter months, the water temperature is around 18 degrees Celsius, or 64 degrees Fahrenheit which many people find quite tolerable. If you’re visiting Israel during winter time, a visit to the beach on a sunny day could still be a good idea. Just keep in mind that most beaches don’t have lifeguards on duty during wintertime.

Tips for bathing in the Mediterranean

Even when the weather is nice and the waves are low there could still be undercurrents that will make it difficult for you to get back to shore. To avoid the risk, make sure you swim only on designated beaches with lifeguards on duty.

Look for the flag on top of the lifeguard tower. White means the sea is safe – go in and have fun. Black means it’s extremely unsafe – or that there’s no lifeguard on duty – so stay out of the water. Red means the sea is relatively unsafe – you can still go in but be extra careful.

Like many countries in the eastern Mediterranean, Israel’s shores are affected by several invasive species of jellyfish. While none of them are lethal, they can sting. If there’s a swarm near the shore, you could experience a burning sensation while in the water even without seeing the jellyfish. Watch the lifeguard tower and if you see a purple flag there – in addition to the usual white/red/black flag – it means there are jellyfish nearby.

The Red Sea

The Best Places to hit the Beach while Visiting Israel - The Red Sea
Eilat - Red Sea

To visit the Red Sea beaches, you’ll have to travel all the way south to Eilat. This is where you can dive in Israel’s only coral reef nature reserve. If you’re not a certified scuba diver, you have two options. You could take a short course in one of the diving schools along the beach, or you could snorkel for some great views of the reef in the shallow water.

Or you could just enjoy a day of swimming and sunbathing on one of Eilat’s excellent beaches!

Where to go

The entire Red Sea coastline of Israel spans the length of only 14 kilometers (or 10 miles). There are 20 designated beaches along that coastline. The best recreational beaches are near the hotels, along the city itself. Serious divers prefer the southern beaches where the coral reefs are located.

The best time to visit

Eilat has a hot and dry desert climate. If you’re visiting during the summertime, definitely spend time at the beach and cool off in the water. They’re a pleasant 26 degrees Celsius (78 Fahrenheit) during summer months and a mild 21 degrees Celsius (70 Fahrenheit) during winter. With the sun out pretty much all year long, you can’t go wrong with your Eilat dates.

Tips for visiting the Red Sea

Eilat is in the southern tip of Israel. It’ll take you 4-5 hours to drive there from Tel Aviv and the bus is even a bit slower. So, if you want to visit the Red Sea, consider flying there and back and make sure you have at least 2-3 days to visit the area.

The Dead Sea

The Best Places to hit the Beach while Visiting Israel - The Dead Sea
Dead Sea- Israel

Located along the Jordan Valley rift, about an hour away from Jerusalem, the Dead Sea is actually a large saltwater lake. Many tourists come here for a dip in the super salty water and the chance to lather one’s body with a thick layer of sulphuric mud. Both are part of the quintessential experience of visiting the Dead Sea.

Where to go

You’ll find designated beaches in the northern and southern areas. Kalia Beach and Biankini Beach in the north charge an entrance fee and offer accommodation and camping facilities.

In the south, you’ll find the Ein Bokek beach which is co-managed by local kibbutz Ein Bokek, and the hotels that dot the shoreline. This beach is free to use by all and it offers basic facilities like freshwater showers and sun umbrellas.

The best time to visit

The Dead Sea is the lowest place on earth which means it’s also very hot. Summertime temperatures can be unbearable and dipping in the water is not always refreshing enough to fight the heat. In fact, the water itself is very warm during the summertime, reaching 33 degrees Celsius (91 Fahrenheit).

Spring and autumn offer lovely weather both for visiting the Dead Sea as well as for hiking in the area. Winters are mild, so that’s not a bad option if you’re visiting Israel during that time.

Tips for visiting the Dead Sea

Take the time to learn about the safety guidelines before you visit. Keep your head above the water at all times and avoid getting any water in your eyes. If that happens, get someone to help you out and wash your eyes with plenty of fresh water (always available at the beach).

The Sea of Galilee

The Best Places to hit the Beach while Visiting Israel - The Sea of Galilee
Sea of Galilee- Israel

The last body of water in this list is also a lake. This one is a freshwater lake that many Christian pilgrims come to see. Jesus lived and preached by the lake and you can visit some of the most famous churches there, as well as walk around in excavated Capernaum. On a hot summer day, nothing complements the visit better than a dip in the cool refreshing water of the lake.

Where to go

There are 29 designated beaches along the Sea of Galilee (locally known as the Kinneret). Some of the beaches are privately owned and managed, charging an entrance fee and offering a selection of services and facilities in return. There are also several free public beaches, operated by the city of Tiberias. In fact, during the summer months, the city operates a free shuttle that can help you get from the city center to the beach and back.

The best time to visit

The Sea of Galilee sees the most significant difference in water temperature between summer and winter time. The water is just over 32 degrees Celsius (90 Fahrenheit) during summer and goes down to as low as 16 degrees Celsius (60 Fahrenheit) in January. The area tends to be very hot during summertime and has a mild – but still cool – winter. Overly, it’s best to visit during fall or spring, but if you’re in the area in summer, stopping by for a swim is highly recommended.

Tips for visiting the Sea of Galilee

This is a natural lake that actually serves as a water reservoir too so the water is fresh and clean. Perfect for a short stop during a road trip in the northern part of Israel – just find a beach, park, and hop into the water for a nice swim and you’ll be back on your way an hour later.

Have more questions about visiting Israel? Contact Anne Moss via her travel blog Trip Memos and drop her a line in a comment to one of her posts about Israel Travel there.

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