Rosh HaNikra grottoes (official site) and Achziv Beach are located north to Nahariya, next to the border with Lebanon. Rosh HaNikra Grottoes a is white chalk cliff face which opens up into spectacular grottoes. And nearby Achziv Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Israel and today we are going to visit both of them.
Map of the area:
Rosh HaNikra Grottoes
Rosh HaNikra in Hebrew means “the head of the grottoes,” i.e., the best Grottoes.
There are two entrances to the site. The main – the upper one, and the lower one that is next to the beach.
We came to the upper entrance. At the top entry, you can find big parking. But since Rosh HaNikra grottoes is a popular site, the parking may be full if you come later in the day.
Here is the view to the south of Achziv beach, Nehariya, and Haifa:
People usually associate crystal clear water with Greece, but some beaches in Israel look very similar to the ones in Greece. Achziv beach is one of the favorite and higher ranked beaches in Israel.
Reaching the caves from the top entry is done by cable car. They say it is the steepest cable car in the world (gradient of 60 degrees). But, it is probably also one of the shortest ones, the ride takes about 2min. Also, since it is quite small (as far as I remember max capacity is eight people), I would recommend getting to Rosh HaNikrah early or late. Otherwise, you may get stuck in the queue to the cable car.
Audiovisual Presentation At Rosh HaNikra Grottoes
After getting off the cable car, I would recommend to go and see a movie about this place. A short film about this place is shown every 15 min. And there are screenings in different languages.
The film tells the history of this place and the geological history of the Grottoes. Plus the story of British Cairo – Istanbul railway.
Rosh HaNikra has served as a passage point for trade caravans and armies between Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Egypt, and Africa. During the Second World War, South African forces blasted railway tunnels through the nearby rocks for trains running along the Cairo-Istanbul line. The Haganah spared the railway bridge at Rosh HaNikra during the 1946 Night of the Bridges operation. But, following a late-1947 British announcement that it would withdraw from Palestine months ahead of schedule, the bridge was destroyed by the 21st Battalion under the Palmach in late February 1948 to hinder Lebanese arms shipments to Arab forces opposing the UN Partition Plan. As repairs were prohibitively expensive, the tunnels were later completely sealed. The Lebanese railways have been largely dismantled while the Coastal Railway in Israel currently ends near Nahariya, several kilometers to the south.
At The Grottoes
Then we went into the Grottoes:
Panorama of the cliffs:
Here is another scene of the white cliffs and Achziv beach. If you take a closer look at the further cliff, then you might think that it resembles an elephant due to the right part that looks like a trunk or a leg. Thus, some people refer to this stone under the name: “elephant’s leg.”
We did this because we bought a combined ticket. The ticket included entrance to Rosh HaNikra and electric car ride along Achziv beach. The ride on the electric car is limited by time. We got the car for a half hour. Achziv beach is not that long, and in my opinion, the part that is closer to Rosh HaNikra is the lovelier one. Thus, due to the short amount of time and no real reason to go further away, I would not recommend buying combined tickets that include the electric car. We enjoyed the walk along the beach (after returning the electric car) more than the ride in the car.
Another pleasant surprise at Achziv beach were rock badgers. By the remains of food, we guessed that somebody is feeding them and there are many rock badgers close to the lower entrance.
A parent with two children:
The water is crystal clear, and the rock formations are outstanding:
Views from Achziv beach towards Rosh HaNikra:
Another aspect of “elephant’s leg” in the background:
A snail on the rocks:
We ended our beach stroll, headed through the lower entrance and back to the cable car. Also, when exiting Rosh HaNikra to the beach, make sure a staff member is putting a stamp on your hand. Otherwise, they might ask you to buy another ticket.
And now let’s skip forward in time and revisit the beach during the golden hour.
Achziv Beach During Sunset
About two years after the described Rosh HaNikra visit, I decided to return to Achziv Beach for a sunset shoot. The rock formations and the crystal blue water were the main reasons for coming back.
Last Friday I was there during the golden hour, and today I will show you several of my photos.
These small ponds or lagoons are gorgeous. And since they are directly connected to the sea, if you stand there for a while you will be able to see small fish and small lobsters. At least that’s what I saw.
Some rocks are covered with greenery, and they are very slippery.
And this is a combo of two photos, one just as the sun set and another well after the sunset (you can even notice some stars). It is my latest addition to the “Day To Night” series.
Rosh HaNikra Grottoes is a beautiful place, and we enjoyed this and our previous visits as well. The site is not big, and two hours will be probably more than enough for exploring. Therefore, you can combine it with other attractions in this area. Whether it is the beautiful nearby Achziv Beach, Keshet Cave or something else. Explore the map at the top of this post to find out more.
Also, note that Rosh HaNikra is not part of Israeli National Parks. Thus you will have to pay full price at the entrance.
Have you ever visited Rosh HaNikra Grottoes? How was your experience? Tell us in the comments below.
That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!