Stop along the way at national parks, one of Israel’s best beaches, archaeological sites, an artist’s village, a Druze community, museums and a chocolate factory.
The drive from Tel Aviv to Haifa is an easy one-and-a-half hour trip of 95 kilometers (58.79 miles), but for those with the time and inclination, this busy route which sometimes passes directly by the beautiful Mediterranean sea, can also make a fabulous road trip of a day or even more. All along the route there are lovely detours and stopping points where you can see treasures such as national parks, museums, visitors’ centers and beaches.
Here is a recommended road-trip itinerary:
TEL AVIV to APOLLONIA NATIONAL PARK, 14.5 KM
Apollonia is one of Israel’s smallest national parks but also one of its most popular. The park sits atop a cliff overlooking the picture-perfect Mediterranean Sea — a view you do not want to miss and cannot get from the comfort of your car.
Open all year, Apollonia surrounds a ruined Crusader city with a 13thcentury Crusader fortress as its centerpiece. There are two short touring paths – one is wheelchair- and stroller-accessible; the other is for more experienced hikers. Spring and fall visits reward visitors with gorgeous wildflower backdrops. There is a small entrance fee ($2.60-$6).
APOLLONIA NATIONAL PARK to EIN VERED, 25 KM
Ein Vered was established in 1930 as a cooperative farming community dedicated to citrus groves, field crops, beehives and flowers. Today, agriculturists still abound in this village of just over 1,200 people, but there are other attractions for visitors to do and see as well.
At Sarina Chocolate Visitors’ Center, you can buy scrumptious homemade chocolates or make them yourself (if you reserve ahead) and see the country’s only hothouse cacao trees.
At the Ein Vered Tractor Museum, every piece of equipment on display comes with an amazing story of how it was used to build Israel into the country it is today.
If you’d really like to do something a little different, Extreme Israel, based in Ein Vered, offers a powered parachute ride (known as a “flying tractor” ride in Hebrew) for those who’d like an exceptional view of this tiny land from above. It’s $120 for a 20-minute flight.
EIN VERED to BEIT YANAI, 24.3 KM
Beit Yanai is often considered the country’s most beautiful beach. It is also one of the premiere kite-surfing locations in Israel. Take a break to watch the waves or enjoy a dip in the warm water. Adjacent to the beach is the Alexander Stream, home to soft-shelled turtles. There’s also a nearby eucalyptus grove and ancient ruins.
BEIT YANAI to CAESAREA, 14.3 KM
Before you stop in Caesarea, come with a plan for how long you’d like to stay. There is so much to do here that you could easily spend the night and still run out of time before continuing on to Haifa. Caesarea is home to Israel’s only 18-hole golf course, which was designed by Pete Dye. Green fees start at $127.
Caesarea is known for its national park, harbor, museums and beach. Archaeology buffs, diving enthusiasts, art lovers and diners will love everything this historical port town has to offer.
CAESAREA to ZICHRON YAAKOV, 15.3 KM
Zichron Yaakov is a favorite stopover for foreign and domestic tourists alike. This picturesque community built on the Carmel mountain range was founded in 1882. The pedestrian-only downtown center makes for a pleasant place to stretch your legs, grab a bite, sample local wine, visit small galleries and artist workshops, and pick up touristy trinkets. This town is packed with attention-grabbing history, agriculture and architecture.
ZICHRON YAAKOV to DALIAT EL-CARMEL, 23.9 KM
The Druze village of Daliat el-Carmel is a popular destination for Israelis seeking traditional ethnic food delicacies. Some people come to the Saturday market, a lively addition to the shops lining the main street. But the real reason to stop in this village is the food: stuffed grapevine leaves, Druze pita, knafeh, coffee with cardamom, baklava, olives, olive oil, labaneh cheese and more. Come hungry.
DALIAT EL-CARMEL to EIN HOD, 19.5 KM
Ein Hod is like no other place in Israel. It is the country’s only cooperative artists’ village and a visit here is a must. Dada artist Marcel Janco established Ein Hod in 1953 and with the help of a group of progressive artists built a creative environment for art and art education. This little community of creativity awaits exploration. Residents include internationally acclaimed sculptor Dina Merhav, sculptor-painter Benjamin Levy and photographer Ron Kedmi, among many others. Visit its museums, galleries, artists’ homes, art-bar microbrewery, studios and shops.
EIN HOD to HAIFA, 17 KM
You have reached your destination!
By: Viva Sarah Press/Israel21c