On the surface, Herzliya is all manicured beaches, taken captive year-round by well-heeled locals who have tasted the good life. Adorned with luxury shopping malls, the Herzliya Marina is often misunderstood as being culturally and historically shallow. But digging deeper, not only does the port city boast a prime sailing and maritime community from its lively marina, which houses over 800 yachts and boats, it is also home to historic, ancient ruins and a stellar contemporary art museum. For even more exceptional sites spanning the country, see our top things to do in Israel, or for art connoisseurs seeking even more modern art outside of Herzliya, check out our top Israeli art galleries.
Insider's guide to Herzliya
The Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art addresses a multitude of genres, including painting, photography and architecture with a special emphasis on installation and digital media. Four exhibitions are held each year, comprising 50 solos showcasing the work of veteran and up-and-coming artists and their relation to current events.
Walking along Apollonia beach grants visitors the opportunity to look up at ancient ruins and out at the Mediterranean's crystal clear waters. With upgraded walking paths and stunning coastal cliff views, this beach is a perfect escape just minutes from Tel Aviv. For a family fun day or a romantic sunset stroll, Apollonia National Park is guaranteed to get you living like the kings and queens that used to reign over this ancient gem of a beach
With an assortment of caves and powder-soft sand as well as a small community of fisherman on the Northern end of the beach, this oasis is a peaceful and romantic getaway in central Israel. Sidney Alley Beach is not only for those looking to relax, the beach provides a prime spot for those looking to fish. If you’re looking for a getaway near all of the action, this beach provides the perfect solution.
Park Herzliya stretches over 180 acres, offering expansive lawns, a barbeque area, a stage and natural amphitheater, a lake and natural winter pond. Emphasis has been placed on preserving and boosting the natural environment, along with recreation and popular sports. There are walking paths, a 1,200 meter bike path that connects with other biking paths in the area, a mountain bike track, and a dedicated 1 km path for runners. The play facilities, suited to toddlers and older children, represent an architectural design and planning feat that is unique to all of Israel. Attractions include an 8 meter slide, rope bridges, and more.
Called the Hermit House, this real-life sandcastle is what happens when you mix a fairytale wonderland with a junkyard. The owner, Nissim Cachlon, has been tunneling deep into the dunes and cliffs surrounding the area since the 70s in order to construct this intriguing and frankly, bizarre home. In addition to creating chambers and passageways through the rock, Cachlon has used recycled materials like tires, bottles, toys and glass in order to add an undeniably quirky aesthetic to his abode.
Via Maris Sailing School, situated in the Herzylia Marina, is now offering a full-fledged skipper course, teaching students everything they need to know to get their skippers’ licenses – all in English. The course combines practical sailing instruction with theory lessons. For those who don’t have the time to take a full course, you can try it for a day. Via Maris offers three hours sailing on a yacht for up to four participants with an instructor who will teach beginners the ropes. You can also rent yachts for birthdays and other special occasions and there’s even a luxury yacht with a bedroom suite for overnight rental.
Centrally located at the entrance to Herzliya from the Ayalon Highway and close to the beach, the mall provides the people of the Tel Aviv’s suburban area with a wide array of stores and plenty of tasty eating options. The Seven Star Mall also provides a handful of free workshops and cultural shows for children.