Caesarea guide will start with basics and then goes through top attractions including Caesarea National Park, Ralli Museum, Aqueduct Beach. Let’s begin!
Caesarea is a town in north-central Israel, which inherits its name and much of its territory from the ancient city of Caesarea Maritima. Located midway between Tel Aviv and Haifa on the coastal plain near the city of Hadera, it falls under the jurisdiction of Hof HaCarmel Regional Council. With a population of 5,127, it is the only Israeli locality managed by a private organization, the Caesarea Development Corporation, and also one of the most populous localities not recognized as a local council.
The modern Israeli Jewish town of Caesarea was established in 1952 near the ruins of the ancient city, which received protection within the national park of Caesarea Maritima.
Map of the area:
The easiest way to get to Caesarea is by car. And there are many free parking spaces near each attraction. Arriving by public transport is not convenient. You can take the bus (for example, Egged line #910 from Tel Aviv to Haifa) till Or Akiva interchange. And walk from there (the distance depends on the attraction), or take a taxi. Another option would be to take the train to Caesarea station. But the train station is even further away (then the bus stop), and you need to choose either a bus or a taxi.
Here is a link to Moovit where Caesarea National Park is already set as the destination. Change the origin from Jerusalem to your location, and you will get the updated directions.
What Is The Meaning Of Caesarea?
Herod the Great built Caesarea, and he named it in honor of “Caesar.” Today the remains of that old city can be seen in Caesarea National Park.
Caesarea In The Bible
You probably heard of Pontius Pilate. But just in case, here is a short reminder.
Pontius Pilate was the fifth governor of the Roman province of Judaea, serving under Emperor Tiberius from 26/27 to 36/37 CE. He is best known today for being the official who presided over the trial of Jesus and ordered his crucifixion. Pilate’s importance in modern Christianity is underscored by his prominent place in both the Apostles and Nicene Creeds. The Coptic and Ethiopian Churches venerate Pilate as a saint.
As evidence of his rule, you can find Pontius Pilate Inscription at Caesarea National Park.
Caesarea in Christian History
Caesarea is an important site in Christian history. It was the place where Pontius Pilate governed during the time of Jesus. That was where Simon Peter converted the Roman, Cornelius, the first non-Jew to believe in Jesus. Paul was also imprisoned for two years in Caesarea. During the 3rd century, Caesarea was a center of Christian learning. In the 4th century, the site converted to Christianity and became a major center of the Christian Roman Empire.
Source: Jewish Virtual Library
Things To Do In Caesarea
There are three popular attractions in this city. They are Caesarea National Park, Ralli Museum and Aqueduct Beach. And now we are going elaborate on each one.
Caesarea National Park
Caesarea National Park can be divided into two parts: Caesarea Maritima and the Port / Harbor. And in my Caesarea National Park guide, we will tour through the whole national park including the amphitheater. But is it indeed an amphitheater? Read the guide, and you will find out.
In this scope, I will only say, that if you love archeology, especially Roman remains, then Caesarea National Park together with Bet Shean National Park should be on your to-do list.
Ralli Museum is famous for its Dali Collection. But beyond this collection, you can find a lot of beautiful paintings, statues, and architecture in the museum. Another plus and the free entrance.
You can find additional details at my Ralli Museum guide.
Another popular attraction in Caesarea is Aqueduct Beach. It is located to the north of the National Park (see map and the beginning of this post), and as the name suggests you can find there remains of an old Roman aqueduct.
The Romans constructed aqueducts throughout their Republic and later Empire, to bring water from outside sources into cities and towns. Aqueduct water supplied public baths, latrines, fountains, and private households; it also supported mining operations, milling, farms, and gardens.
Aqueducts moved water through gravity alone, along a slight overall downward gradient within conduits of stone, brick, or concrete; the steeper the gradient, the faster the flow. Most conduits were buried beneath the ground and followed the contours of the terrain; obstructing peaks were circumvented or, less often, tunneled through. Where valleys or lowlands intervened, the conduit was carried on bridgework, or its contents fed into a high-pressure lead, ceramic, or stone pipes and siphoned across. Most aqueduct systems included sedimentation tanks, which helped reduce any water-borne debris. Sluices and castella aquae (distribution tanks) regulated the supply to specific destinations. In cities and towns, the run-off water from aqueducts scoured the drains and sewers.
The aqueduct that stands on the sandy beach makes it unique, and many people visit it just for the photo opportunities, without swimming in the sea. If you are interested in swimming, there are lifeguard services. But beyond that, there are no additional services. No cafes, no shops, and no restaurants (I am not even sure that there are restrooms).
The ancient Caesarea is located next to the modern city of Caesarea. And they are both positioned on the Mediterranean coast halfway between Tel Aviv and Haifa. See the map at the top of this post. Today, the ancient city of Caesarea is Caesarea National Park.
The modern Israeli town of Caesarea was established in 1952 near the ruins of the ancient Caesarea, on the coastal plain near the city of Hadera.
This depends on your interests. But if you love archeology, history, beaches, or art, then it definitely worth checking out Caesarea. You can find more in the “Things To Do” section if this post.
Yes. Caesarea was a Roman city. In the Roman period, the city was the home of governors (Procurators), and it was the capital of the Province of Judea.
Caesarea National Park is quite big, and you can spend there from one hour up to half a day. A typical visit will take 2 – 4 hours. Seeing everything in the Ralli Museum took us two and a half hours. Thus, a typical visit will be 2 – 3 hours. And at Aqueduct Beach you can spend from half an hour to half a day. Thus, the amount of time you spend in the city depends on what attractions you choose. I guess, for most people, it will be around half a day.
The modern city of Caesarea is a suburb of the upper class. I have never seen any big buildings, and it consists of mostly private houses. And AFAIK there are no hotels. You can rent a house, but since most people spend there less than one day, they make Tel Aviv or Haifa as their base. Moreover, there are tours to Caesarea from those cities.
You can check out the availability and prices of hotels and apartments using booking.com for Haifa district and Tel Aviv districts.
No. Today both of these places are Israeli National parks and they are separated by about 150 km drive.
Philip was Herod’s son, and after Herod’s death, he inherited an area near Banias Springs. In 2 BCE Philip founded his capital there and called it Caesarea Philippi. Today it is more commonly known as Banias Nature Reserve, and it is located at the Golan Heights.
No, Caesarea is located on the Mediterranean coast, while Jerusalem is situated higher in the mountains. On average, to get from Jerusalem to Caesarea, you will have to drive for one and a half hours and pass 125 km.
That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!
Have you ever been to Caesarea? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
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.