Visiting Tel Aviv is full of excitement—vibrant scenes of packed restaurants, nightlife, beach adventures and more. But sometimes, you need a break from the big city and time to recharge in a natural environment.
This where the Apollonia National Park comes in.
Only a 15 min drive from Tel Aviv city, Apollonia National Park in Herzliya features stunning sea views and a natural escape perfect for anyone looking for a unique day trip experience.
In Ancient Times
Also known as the ancient city and fortress of Arsuf, Apollonia was once home to the Persians, Romans and Crusaders. 1994 excavations of the area revealed that the city was first settled by Phoenicians in the 5th or 6th century BC and was officially part of the Persian Empire. In the Hellenistic period, the Greeks renamed the city Apollonia, after the Greek God Apollo.
The area later fell to the Roman empire during their occupation of the Holy Land. It was during this time that the city grew in size and importance, and a harbor was constructed. Apollonia became the second largest city in the entire region with primarily Christian and Samaritan residents.
Eventually, in the 12th century, the city became a Crusader stronghold where the Battle of Arsuf took place during the Third Crusade.
Today, the ancient city located on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea is part of the Herzliya Municipality and has been intensively excavated since 1994.
The Apollonia National Park Today
Easily accessible from Israel’s coastal highway, the Apollonia National Park was built to integrate naturally with the site’s ancient ruins and natural landscape.
The park offers a variety of activities for visitors to indulge in. These include hiking, stunning lookout points and a tour of the ancient ruins.
For more experienced hikers there is a marked route that follows the edge of the cliff. And for the less adrenaline-seeking public, the park offers a level route, designed to accommodate wheelchairs and strollers. Something for everyone!
Points of Interest
Here are some of the points of interest at the Apollonia National Park and what each one has to offer:
The City Moat: The city moat has been excavated since 1996 and gives us unique insight into the size and strength of the city during the Crusader period. The moat can still be viewed even beyond the excavated area and it is estimated to reach 4.5 meters in depth.
The Roman Villa: The Roman seaside villa is a glorious sight. With the scenic coast visible from the lookout point, you do not want to miss this attraction. Especially in the summer months, when there are a variety of concerts held at the fortress at sunset on Friday evenings.
The Glass Furnace: At the entrance to the part lies the glass furnace, which was in use during the Byzantine period in the 6th century CE. With over 12 furnaces found around Apollonia, it is evident that the glass industry was an important part of the city’s economy. The residents would fire silica found in the beach sand at particularly high temperatures and transform it into sheets of raw glass, each 50 centimeters in thickness.
The Dinosaur House: The Dinosaur House is a fascinating structure, created by quarrying the caves in the sandstone rock. The Herzliya Municipality has designated the Dinosaur House as a tourist site, attracting many curious visitors.
Ready to visit?
Directions: At Kfar Shemaryahu junction, turn towards Herzliya Pituach (the brown sign will accompany you all the way to the entrance to the park). At the second traffic circle, turn right into Wingate St., and continue straight to the park.
Opening hours: Last entry to the park is one hour before closing time
Summer: Sunday - Thursday and Saturday – 8 am – 5 pm Fridays and the eve of holidays – 8 am – 4 pm
Winter: Sunday - Thursday and Saturday – 8 am – 4 pm Fridays and the eve of holidays – 8 am – 3 pm
On the eve of New Year, the eve of the Day of Atonement, and Passover eve: 8 am – 1 pm
Contact Information: Telephone: 09-9550929 Reservations for guided tours and further information about activities and tours at the Yarkon and Coast Education Center – 03-9033130 To reserve tickets for shows – call *3639