Achziv National Park guide starts with basics (map, history, camping), and then we will visit the beach and the sea pools. Let’s begin!
Achziv National Park is located in northern Israel on the Mediterranean shore. It is situated about five kilometers north to Nahariya and near Rosh HaNikra.
Map of the area:
Sunday – Thursday And Saturday: 8 – 17 (16 during winter).
Fridays: 8 – 16 (15 during winter).
On holidays usually 8 – 13.
The beach is open from April till September. During July and August, the beach is open from 08:00 till 19:00.
Adult 35 NIS, child 21 NIS, and student 30 NIS. And National Parks annual subscribers get a discount.
Note: usually annual National Parks subscribers get a free entry to the parks. Though this is true for most parks, it is not the current case. Achziv and other National Park that provide lifeguard services are not free for subscribers.
Campground fees: adult 63 NIS, child 53 NIS, and National Park annual subscribers get a 25% discount.
If you are going to visit several National Parks, then consider purchasing a combo ticket. You can find additional info at National Parks And Nature Reserves.
Note: opening hours and ticket prices were updated in August 2020. In any case, recheck the official site before visiting.
Settlement began during the Canaanite period (the 18th century BCE), and its great importance was due to the fact that it was a port and waystation along the “sea route” that followed the length of the coast.
In the Bible, Akhziv is a Canaanite town that was not captured by the tribe of Asher, evidence of its strength: “Asher drove not out the inhabitants of Acco, nor the inhabitants of Zidon, nor of Ahlab, nor of Achzib” (Judges 1:31). During the period of the kings of Israel, the area was controlled by the Phoenicians. They developed the port of Akhziv, which was an important base for their maritime commercial voyages. The Phoenicians refined the glass industry and created woven fabrics colored purple with a dye produced from the Mediterranean sea snail.
Assyrian sources state that Sennacherib conquered the town on his third expedition to Phoenicia and the land of Israel (701 BCE). Stone tombstones from this period have been found at Akhziv, bearing names such as Zekhermelekh and Eved Shemesh.
During the period of the Mishna, the place was called Kziv or Gziv, and according to the sources, there was a synagogue here. The inhabitants engaged in agriculture, fishing, shipping, and an economic branch unique to coastal towns – the production of azure and purple dyes from sea snails. These colors were of great financial value in ancient times.
During the Crusader period, the town was called Casale Umberti, after the knight Hubert of Pacy, who was granted possession by the Crusader king Baldwin I (1104 CE). The Mameluke Sultan Baibars apparently captured Akhziv in 1271, and after that, there was a small village here called Az-Zib, a name that preserves the name of the ancient settlement. It appears that at this time, the inhabitants went over to using a port in the bay to the south of the tel, known in Arabic by the name Minat az-Zib (Akhziv Port). Most of the ruins that are visible today are the remains of the ancient village and the Crusader fortress that were here.
Note: unless stated otherwise, all quotes were taken from the official site.
The Yad LeYad Memorial to the Fourteen
During the period of the British mandate, there were two bridges over the Kziv Stream, near the village of Az-Zib. On the “Night of the Bridges”, the night between June 16 and June 17, 1946, a Palmah unit set out to blow up the road and railway bridges in order to sabotage the movement of the British Army. The British discovered the fighting force before it reached its target, and therefore there was an assault under fire. During the assault Yehiam Weitz, the commander of the operation, and another 13 fighters were killed. Afterward, the wounded were taken to Kibbutz Matzuva, while the others dispersed before the British began searching for them. Shortly afterward it became necessary to move the wounded from the kibbutz as well, for fear that they would be caught, and they were transferred to Hanita, where they hid in the Ladder Cave.
The memorial to the fourteen fallen resistance fighters is to the north of Kziv Stream and east of Road 4 (between the markers for kilometer 245 and kilometer 246), within Akhziv National Park, but outside the fences. There is no fee for visiting the memorial.
As you enter Achziv National Park you will see the camping area.
Day and overnight camping – within the Akhziv National Park is a parking lot that serves as a starting point for touring the area, and an overnight campsite.
Besides the camping area with the essential utilities, you can also rent a Bungalow for 450 NIS per night. You can find additional information about all lodging options at the Achziv campsite official site.
Moreover, there are picnic and recreation areas.
Picnic areas and outdoor recreation areas – Akhziv National Park has extensive picnic and camping areas for the use of visitors (around 25 dunams), as well as a regulated bathing beach.
And since this site is beloved by many, if you are interested in visiting or staying overnight, then I would suggest booking in advance.
During the Coronavirus, all National Parks limited the number of people that can access each site. And as I learned from experience, if you want to enter this park, you have to book tickets two weeks in advance.
The Ancient Fishing Village
Most of the ruins that you can see today are the remains of an ancient village and a Crusader fortress.
The ancient fishing village – the ruins of the center of an ancient fishing village, built of local stone.
Lagoons and Pools
The main reason why most people visit Achziv National Park is the sea pools.
Lagoons and sea pools – at the Akhziv bathing beach and national park there are sea pools that are a wonderful combination of natural phenomenon and the work of man. There are two sea pools on the beach: a shallow pool, and a deep-water pool.
The barries at sea serve as wave breakers and create the sea pools. For that reason, families with small kids love visiting Achziv National Park.
There are almost no waves, and kids love spending time at the pools. The only downside of this beach is the narrow beach strip. During weekends, finding a place on the beach can be hard.
When we made a break, we headed to the cafeteria. And from there you can get a lovely overview of the sea line. Here are the views to the north and the south.
On the photo above, at the far right end of the horizon, you can see Rosh HaNikra. And you can combine both these attractions for a half-day visit.
Rosh Hanikra National Park – the park includes the western part of the Ladder Ridge, from the seashore to an elevation of 130 m above sea level. Within the area of the national park are the famous crevices of Rosh Hanikra, and underwater caves produced by the waves striking the limestone cliffs – a unique natural phenomenon in Israel. The Rosh Hanikra site is in the national park and offers a cable car descending to the crevices, an audiovisual display in the railway tunnel, and a tourist train traveling between Rosh Hanikra and Akhziv National Park.
I have a dedicated guide, and you can find additional information at Rosh HaNikra.
The sea pools make Achziv National Park a popular destination among families with kids. Moreover, people that want to enjoy nature and crystal water also head there.
Additionally, due to the tidiness and the maintenance of the site, the campsite is beloved by many. Thus if you are looking for a good beach or a campsite, then Achziv National Park is the place for you. But you are hoping to find an archeological site, then this is not the one.
Have you ever been to Achziv National Park? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!
Additional ResourcesHere are several resources that I created to help travelers:
- Israel Trip Planner is the page that will help you to create your perfect travel route.
- National Parks And Nature Reserves page lists and put all national parks on the map. There is also a top list, information about ticket types and campsites.
- If you are looking for things to do, here are the pages for Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Sea Of Galilee, and Makhtesh Ramon.
- Wondering what events are there in Israel? Here is the Events And Festivals By Season guide.