Caesarea, Israel

Photo: Dennis Jarvis via flickr

If you spent all of your time in Israel at important sites, you’d only be able to scrape the surface. As the birthplace of two major religions, Christianity and Judaism, the Mediterranean country is full of historic cities. Bethlehem. Haifa. Jaffa. Jerusalem. Masada. Nazareth. The list goes on and on. Your favorite is rarely mentioned in the first tier.

Herod the Great built Caesarea to honor Augustus Caesar, the first emperor of the Roman Empire, around 22-10 BC. The city was vast. It included amphitheaters, an aqueduct, a hippodrome, a nymphaeum, palaces, and a first-of-its-kind port. They all had views of the sea. The ruins of the ancient city are now part of Caesarea National Park.

Caesarea lies halfway between Tel Aviv and Haifa. In addition to the national park, the small town is known for its beautiful beaches, full golf course (the only one in Israel), Latin American art museums, and seafood restaurants with stunning views. Most people see Caesarea during a day trip from Tel Aviv. Others are now making the reverse commute thanks to new luxury residences. You’re taking advantage of a recently renovated resort.

Photo: Dan Hotels

Dan Caesarea was built in the 1960s to feel like a country estate. Its 15 perfectly manicured acres are bordered by fruit groves and that famous golf course. Wooden treehouses are carefully hidden throughout the property. While most activities are centered around the huge, angular pool and its brightly colored deck. Limonada, the poolside bar, serves refreshing summer drinks.

You’ll want to hang out inside the resort, as well. Dan Caesarea doesn’t have a traditional lobby. It looks more like a living room due to Salon Bocca’s deep couches, Israeli art installations, and cocktail menu. More artwork is in the rooms. The airy spaces feature Italian walnut floors, marble bathrooms, and balconies built with privacy in mind. Coffee connoisseurs will be thrilled to find a bean selection, a grinder, and a brewer right there, too. There’s a new spa, where you’ll go to use the dry and wet saunas before your treatment. Then there’s the resort’s bright yellow Jeep. Consider it your shuttle to go to the beach and the national park. No wonder you love this part of Israel’s coast.

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