Some people come to the sea to surf, others come to swim or walk, the majority comes for the fun, and there are those who come for the views. To take photos of it, to be more precise. Here is my personal version of the most beautiful beaches in Israel.
(This is part 2 of an Hebrew version which was published on ynet - the most popular internet site in Israel)
Beaches are amongst the most popular and beloved subjects for landscape photographers all over the world. No wonder. The dramatic scenery, the combination of the rocks and the water, the intensity of the waves and the spectacular sunsets provides fine raw materials. Our Mediterranean coastline is not rich with wild bays, spectacular sea stacks or steep cliffs rising out of the water and yet, there is no shortage of magical locations worth getting to know. So here is the list of the most beautiful beaches in Israel, at least for me. And even if you are not really into photography, it is still advisable to come and enjoy all this beauty that nature gives us. Just please remember to keep it.
Gaash Beach - Hof Hasharon National Park
The coastal strip between Arsuf and Gaash is one of the most beautiful and quiet in the country, as if it was not located near one of the bustling and most active areas of Israel.
Along it you will find beautiful flat rocks that when combined with the water, waves
and the setting sun creates some magical sights. Here, too, don't miss the beautiful
scenic trail above the cliff and the spectacular view seen from it (and the lilies that bloom in season), and again, it is important not to approach the edge of the cliff for fear of collapsing.
How to get there: Get off the coastal highway at the Shefayim interchange and turn north along the shopping complex. Turn left (west) in the square near Tsomet Seffarim books store and drive west till you reach the parking lot. Enter by foot through the reserve gate and descend for a few minutes on the path to the beach. (Somehow the ascent back always feels steeper).
On Waze: Gaash beach
Note: The place is a declared nature reserve - the rules must be followed. Do not approach the edge of the cliff.
Its location in the center of the country makes it accessible and convenient for many and an excellent solution for days when you get home relatively late or when you just do not feel like traveling long distances. But the beach of Palmachim is much more than just a default and is undoubtedly one of the top on the list. The sand rocks provide the decoration for the sunsets which of course are the best show in town. During low tide, and when the waves are not high, it is advisable to climb on the rock itself and walk right to its edge, where the fishermen stand.
Palmachim beach is undoubtedly at the top of the list
Sunset on Palmachim beach
Long exposure and low position. Sunset at Palmachm Beach
During low tide, and when the waves are not high, it is best to position yourself on the rocks edge, where the fishermen stand. Photographers at Palmachim Beach
Blue hour tranquility at Palmachim Beach
A long exposure (using ND filter) from a vary low position. Palmachim Beach
How to get there: A few hundred meters after the entrance gate to Kibbutz Palmachim, turn right through a large iron gate and descend on a unpaved route towards the undeclared beach. Recently the gate was closed for cars so you have to park on the side of the road and go down to the beach on foot.
On Waze: Palmachim Beach
Note: The descent with the vehicle to the parking lot of the undeclared beach can be challenging at times, especially after heavy rains. In such a situation it is better to park (safely) on the side of the road and go down to the beach on foot.
Beit Yannai Beach National Park
The beach itself is a sandy beach with no special interest. The reason for coming here is mainly the remains of the old pier that was built in 1938 for the illegal immigrants ships. Old piers are great photography subjects, but a rather rare "commodity" in Israel. Even though only two columns of wooden pillars in a non-ideal condition remain from the pier, it still does the job and is photographed great against the setting sun. After exhausting the pier you can move on to the beautiful sand dunes (another commodity that has become rare in our districts) that stretch between the coast and Highway 2. After strong winds, especially in winter, they get a clean and pristine look and are photographed great. Be careful not to make traces where you want to take pictures.
The old pier at Beit Yannai beach. Once used by the illegal immigrants ships. Today mostly by photographers
The old pier from a different angle
After exhausting the pier you can move on to the sand dunes. Beit Yannai Beach
How to get there: Get off the coastal Highway at the Yannai interchange and turn west, in the square turn right (north) towards Moshav Mikhmoret and immediately right again to the beach parking lot.
On Waze: Beit Yannai Beach
Note: Keep in mind that during the high season the beach is quite busy and it takes a lot of patience to photograph the pier (and even that does not always help).
Tips for beach photography:
When to get there: Unfortunately the sky in our part of the world is clear and boring on many summer days. So winter, fall and spring are usually the best seasons for landscape photography. Another advantage of winter is the small number of people on the beach. That does not mean you should not shoot in summer, just take into account that some beaches are crowded and sometimes it takes a lot of patience, flexibility and stubbornness to have a good photo.
At what hours: The best time for photography on our beaches is sunset hours (from about 45 minutes before sunset to about half an hour after). As always, it is recommended to arrive at least an hour, preferably even two hours before sunset to allow enough time to get to know the place and find an interesting composition.
What to bring: Mosquitos repellent, sunscreen, water. Comfortable walking shoes for walking on the rocks. If you are going to get your feet wet then sandals or shoes for walking in the water. In winter high boots or a fishing suit.
Photography equipment: Wide lens to emphasize the rocks and the foreground, a stable tripod, a GND filter can be useful as well as ND for longer exposures and a polarizer. Shutter release cable or a wireless shutter release trigger is also recommended and a dedicated cloth and cleaning solution for your lens in case of spraying.
General notes: It is important to be very careful when you are on the rocks or in the water - take care of yourself and your equipment. Be ready for unexpected waves and watch your steps. And, of course, keep nature.