Getting Oriented

Two seaside cities anchor this stretch of coastline. Haifa, a hilltop city on a peninsula jutting into the Mediterranean, offers the magnificent Baha'i Shrine and Gardens, the bustling German Colony, fine restaurants, the Carmelite Monastery, maritime museums, and more. The ancient port of Akko, north of Haifa, features underground ruins dating from the era of the Crusaders.

Many people come to this area for the beaches, but the coastal Route 2 and the slightly more inland Route 4 can whisk you to such sites as King Herod's port city of Caesarea, the 19th-century town of Zichron Ya'akov, and the artists' colony of Ein Hod. Farther to the north, near the border with Lebanon, are the cliffs and grottoes of Rosh Hanikra.

  • Haifa. This steep-sloped port city, the largest in northern Israel, rewards you at every turn with hillside breezes and breathtaking vistas of the Mediterranean. At the base of the hill are the beaches, some of the area's best.
  • The Northern Coast. Besides an especially lovely string of beaches, the Mediterranean coast south of Haifa is home to wonderfully preserved archaeological sites at Caesarea and Nahsholim-Dor.
  • The Wine Country and Mount Carmel. The quality of Israeli wines has risen to heady heights on the international scene. One of the country's very first wineries is here, along with several others of equal stature. They're in or near charming towns such as Zichron Ya'akov, making access as easy as saying "l'chaim."
  • Akko and the Far Northern Coast. Exploring Akko's atmospheric Old City, with its souk and Crusader remains, is a highlight here. This section of the northern coast is also known for its fine-sand beaches and nature reserves. The sea-battered caves at Rosh Hanikra are worth the trip north.

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