Jaffa Port is one of the oldest ports in the Middleterranean basin. And today, this small fishing port is a popular tourist attraction. Let’s begin exploring!
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Jaffa Port is situated on the Mediterranean seashore near the Old Jaffa.
Map of the area:
And here is the map of attractions in Old Jaffa. You can see the port on the right side of the map.
Note: you can click on the maps to enlarge them.
On the map, you can see the big free port parking that I mentioned in the guide to Old Jaffa. Also, there is a public restroom on the second floor at warehouse #1 (entrance from the side – between warehouses #1 and #2).
Directions and Parking
You can find full details in the guide to Old Jaffa. Here I will only mention the Jaffa Port parking that we saw on the map above. It is free parking and located at Nemal Yafo Street 24.
About Jaffa Port
Today Jaffa port, one of the most ancient ports in the world, serves as a small fishing port. And you can find seafood restaurants and several galleries in the area.
Jaffa port is mentioned in various ancient works, including the Hebrew Bible, such as the book of Jonah, and the works of Josephus describing Jewish history and the First Jewish Revolt against Rome. For over 7,000 years, it has been actively used, predating Muslims, Christians, Jews, and even Egyptians. Still functional as a small fishing port, the port is currently a recreational zone featuring restaurants and cafés. A lighthouse, Jaffa Light, is located above the harbor.
And now, let’s go over the points of interest in the order you see them when you start walking from the port parking, i.e., from south to north.
The British Warehouses were built in 1931 as part of the new British port. And today, some of them are still in use, and others are undergoing reconstruction.
While passing near the warehouses, peek inside. Sometimes you can find unique stores or art exhibitions inside the warehouses.
Near the warehouses, you can find the weighting station.
The British Weighing Station
In the port, you can find restaurants, street artists, occasional galleries, and shops. There only a few remains of the industrial port, and The British Weighting Station is one of them.
The British built this weighting platform and used it to weigh trucks on their way into and out of the port. At the time of its construction, trucks weighted 15 tons at most. This amount is marked on the cast iron platform.
When we stood on the platform, the green digits on the screen changed. But the weight was not accurate. And as you can see when nobody stood there, it showed 38 kg.
And as in every port, there is also a shipyard.
This slipway was used to bring vessels from the marina to the shipyard area for periodic maintenance and service.
The concrete western wall of the shipyard was built to protect the shipyard from the high waves because the breakwaters do not shelter this area.
Source: sign on site
As you pass the shipyard, you will see additional warehouses and docks (shown in the featured image).
This is the area of the restaurants and the market. So let’s talk about them.
Jaffa Port Market
After the success of Tel Aviv Port Market (for additional info about markets, see Markets Of Tel Aviv), similar markets started to pop us. And Jaffa Port Market was one of them. They opened it in warehouse #1 (see port map above), just opposite the pier. This small market featured about a dozen food stalls, restaurants, and shops. However, it did not turn to be a success story as Tel Aviv Port Market. I remember reading a newspaper article where different parties told why this market did not gain traction. At some point, they even considered closing it.
Nevertheless, this complex is still operational today. But there is no market. This building is occupied by several restaurants, an ice cream cafe, and other empty areas.
Ordinarily, I do not mention restaurants since their quality changes over time. Thus my usual suggestion is to check the rating on a website or an app (for example Google Maps). But due to the requests, I made a list of honorable mentions. And you can find it at my guide to Jaffa Flea Market.
Boat Trips at the Port
You can also take a sail. We sailed several times and kids loved it. We took our latest boat trip in 2019 and the price was 35 NIS per person.
The boat trip lasts for half an hour. You start from Jaffa port, go into the sea towards Tel Aviv. And approximately when you reach the Opera Tower, the boat turns around and returns to the port. While on the ship, there are no explanations, just enjoying the views.
Events at the Port
You can check the official website of the port and see if there are upcoming events.
For example, several years ago, they had a series of live Friday events. During it, each Friday, you could see different street performers and musicians.
Let’s continue further to the north towards the lighthouse.
Jaffa Light was built by French engineers in 1865. It was built as part of operations carried out by the Ottoman authorities to improve the port facilities, mainly due to the increase in export of citrus fruit, and especially oranges, the well known “Jaffa oranges”.
In 1936 the British expanded the port and rebuilt the lighthouse.
During 1965, the Port of Ashdod was built, replacing Jaffa Port. In 1966 the crystal glass was taken to be used in the Ashdod Light, and the lighthouse was shut down. Jaffa Port become a small craft port.
The lighthouse keeper from 1875 was an Armenian who came from Jerusalem. He was trained by the same French company who built the lighthouse. Around 1938 his son was trained by the same French company and replaced him, probably resulting from the lighthouse being rebuilt. His grandson, Abu George, was the “technician,” responsible for keeping the lamp lit. The son was the official keeper until the lighthouse was shut down in 1966.
Photo of the port not far from the lighthouse:
The Ottoman Customs House
If you continue walking to the north then you will reach the customs house. In the following photo, you can see it as the building closest to the water.
Today this building stands empty.
Note: during 2020, the Ottoman Customs House was demolished.
And if you continue walking to the north, towards Tel Aviv, then you will get views like this.
Jaffa Port is a lovely place for a walk, get something to eat, join a boat trip, or see some performers. I would suggest combining visiting the port with Old Jaffa and Jaffa Flea Market. Moreover, there are many additional POI nearby, like Graffiti At Florentin. See the map at the beginning of this post for additional suggestions.
Have you ever been to Jaffa Port? What is your favorite attraction? Tell us in the comments below.
That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!
For additional attractions nearby see Tel Aviv-Yafo.
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.