This royal ancient city came a long way to be one of Israel’s most luxurious destinations .
Caesarea raises very specific associations from Israelis. It’s considered one of the most luxurious (and therefore expensive) places to live. The green golf courses come to mind along with the tall and wide villas. But there is far more than that to this ancient city, especially if you’re a tourist, and not in the market for a new home.
A bit of history
The very roots of the city date back to the 4th century BC, when it was a simple Phoenician port city. You’ll see plenty of Roman structures in the city (including an amphitheatre) , those are remnants of the Roman empire, who ruled the city up until 640AD. It was later ruled by Muslims for more than 100 years, until it was conquered by crusaders, which built the city’s walls. 1654 brought the Mamluks to rule over the city until 1884, when it was taken by a group of refugees from Bosnia. In 1948 the city fell to Israel’s rule, and after a few years of settling, the excavation process began.
So what is there to do here?
First of all – see all of this incredible history with your own eyes! Caesarea’s National Park is probably Israel’s one of the most amazing archeological site. The harbor was recently restored and the fascinating museum next to it offers a wonderful trip to the past. The Original Amphitheatre often hosts shows by Israel’s greatest performers. If you can – seeing one is a must. Entrance to the park is 38 NIS for adults and 23 NIS for children. Groups of over 30 people get a discount.
Want some more ancient ruins? Why not go underwater? With Caesarea’s dive club, you can explore the underwater ancient city! After you’ve had enough history for one day, we recommend going to the Aqueduct beach. From there, you can easily reach one of the great restaurants the city has to offer. We should warn you, though, that the prices may be a bit… pricey. Having a huge golf course in your city doesn’t come for free.
How long should you dedicate to caesarea?
The National Park should take about half a day, including lunch. We recommend coming at around 12 am, to have enough time at the park, and still get a chance to enjoy the sunset on the beach (and maybe finish the day with a nice dinner).
How do you get here?
If you have a car, go north on road 2, and you’ll see the city before you reach Haifa. Caesarea is about and hour’s drive from Tel Aviv (after you’ve left the city and its traffic). There’s a train to Caesarea, but you will need a cab to take you to the park. By public transport, it’s probably easier to take a bus, it will also be easier to get to the park that way. You should also consider going on an organized tour of the city. It will not only save you the trouble of getting to all the interesting locations, it will also show you the true beauty of the city, through the professional tour guides.