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Israel has plenty of (Roman) archeological sites and Caesarea is for sure amongst one of the highlights. It has a beautiful hippodrome, theater, wall, and other remains. Most are Roman but some are from the Crusaders era. The Roman aqueduct is located on the beach which makes this day trip a great combination of culture and leisure. Caesarea is on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative Site. Make sure to add it if you plan an Israel itinerary. A Caesarea day trip from Tel Aviv is a must do which I’m sure you agree with after reading this Caesarea travel guide.
How to get to Caesarea
There are two entrances at Caesarea. I recommend parking at the northern entrance near all the shops and restaurants. Go in the morning! Make your round through the park and end at one of the restaurants for lunch.
The aqueduct is at the beach which is a short drive of about 15 minutes away. You’ll pass some mosaics on the way (signposted). Don’t miss those as they are beautiful. The remainder of this Caesarea day trip is easily spend on the beach.
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Caesarea historical background
Lets first look at the history of Caesarea before going into detail what to expect on a Caesarea day trip. The Phoenicians founded Caesarea but from this period is not much left. The Romans conquered the city in the first century BC after which Herodus took care of its expansion. It was named Caesarea in honor of Caesar Augustus, the Roman emperor.
Herodus built a hippodrome good for 10000 people, one of the biggest harbors of its time, an amphitheater and a palace with natural sea pools. In the 4th century however, the city started to decline. What is left you will see if you do this Caesarea day trip from Tel Aviv. Make sure to add it on your Israel itinerary.
Caesarea day trip
There are many things to do and see in Caesarea. All Caesarea highlights I will list below in this Caesarea itinerary.
Although the city was founded as a Phoenician city most remains are from Roman period and later. Before you enter the archaeological site, you will pass a moat and city walls. These are from 1251 and build by the French king Louis IX after recapturing the city from Saladin during the Crusaders time. Start your way along the coast walking through the hippodrome towards the theatre.
The hippodrome is large and the seats around it are very nicely reconstructed. Can you imagine the place full of spectators watching the games? It must have been a wonderful experience. At the end of the hippodrome, you will find the Roman and Byzantine Palace on the right side. It is partly submerged now. Just a bit further is the theatre which is a nice example of a Roman theatre although not the largest. The one I saw in El Jem during my Tunisia road trip is of a totally different scale. Now make your way back through the upper buildings back to the entrance.
You’ll pass various remains, mostly Roman. Including the baths, forum, and houses. Do not miss the various mosaics of which some are just discovered by archaeologists in recent years. At the end you’ll find a Byzantine church from the sixth century which is build on top of a Roman temple dedicated to Herod. Make sure to check out the octagonal chape. It’s typical for these churches. There is more to see but this is underwater. See the activities below if you’re into diving. Have lunch now at one of the restaurants before heading to the beach.
Caesarea activities are plentiful but diving the submerged ruins must be impressive. I have no experience diving, yet so I could not do this but if you do dive make sure to book a diving tour with Caesarea Dive Club. There are other activities like the interactive museum: a must do to understand the history better. Aquaduct Beach is one of the best beaches in Israel so finish a Caesarea day trip on the beach.
Aquaduct Beach can best be reach by car, which is the best way for transport in Israel, in my opinion, anyway and recommend for a Caesarea day trip as well. On the beach you’ll find a huge Roman Aquaduct which is a magnificent structure. Make sure to bring some snacks and drinks to enjoy the beach the rest of the day. I’m sure you’ll like it.
I enjoyed my Caesarea day trip a lot. Lots of history but also plenty of activities, tasty food and leisure time. If you plan an Israel road trip itinerary or just looking for a day trip from Tel Aviv, then I highly recommend doing this trip. I hope this Caesarea travel guide helps you plan your day trip. It contains all the Caesarea highlights and things to do. Have fun!
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Did you visit Caesarea too or do you have questions? Please leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Love to hear from you!
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