Within easy reach of Tel Aviv, Israel’s coastal resort of Herzliya offers seven kilometers (more than four miles) of board-walked beach that hit their high point every summer. Locals and foreign tourists of all ages turn out for a host of festivals that the municipality offers each year.
All year round, Herzliya is a tourist magnet, as it boasts the largest marina in the Mediterranean basin, five-star hotels, three shopping malls, restaurants, bars and cafés, and a vibrant entertainment area, as well as the campus of IDC-Herzliya, which gives the city an international college-town atmosphere.
But there’s no time quite as busy as summer in this city of 87,000 residents named after Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism.
In 2013, several new events have been added to the festival roster, according to Yariv Fisher, chairman of the Herzliya Municipal Tourism Development Corporation. He says there’s no problem if your Hebrew is rusty or if you have a motor disability, since virtually everything is fully accessible in terms of language and logistics.
The 2013 season kicked off on May 25 with the annual Herzliya Beach Festival at Accadia Beach, with beach volleyball competitions, skateboarding and biking, water sports, music and deejays and a beach fashion fair.
Here’s what Herzliya has planned month by month for the summer of 2013:
All summer long
From June to August, the Musikaitz summer music, poetry and dance festival takes place every Sunday in Ben Shefer Park.
Classical music performances at sunset are open to the public in Herzliya Park every Saturday night at 7 pm, June through September.
Music Festival on the Water takes place every Tuesday evening in July and August at the Herzliya Marina Plaza overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and its bobbing yachts. Live performances by musical ensembles from all over the world – North America, Spain, Italy, France and Israel – are open free to the public, starting at 8 pm.
Jazz at Sunset, a new series in Herzliya, runs every Thursday in July and August, 7-9 pm at Accadia Beach Boardwalk. Preceding each concert of jazz and world music by individual artists and ensembles, students from the West Herzliya Conservatory will perform in the outdoor amphitheater at the entrance to the promenade. It’s free, but bring your own seating.
The marina beach hosts Israeli folk dancing every Saturday morning from 10.30 am to 2.30 pm, and volleyball at the various courts along the beach, which are illuminated at night.
Herzliya Beach Festival, May 2013; Photo by Ohr Mani
The 20th Women’s Triathlon took place on June 1. This is the largest sports event in Israel for women, attracting about 1,500 participants from Israel and overseas, from beginners to professional athletes in three categories of competition – girls (200-meter swim, 4K bike, 1K run); popular and relay (500-meter swim, 8K bike, 2.5K run); and sprint and relay (750-meter swim, 20K bike; 5K run).
On June 8, adults and children took part in Herzliya’s inaugural Aroma League SUP, a competition showcasing standup paddleboards at Accadia Beach. The triathlon competition challenged participants to do standup paddle boarding followed by open-water swimming and a 2K crawl.
The fifth annual Goldstar Zappa on the Beach Festival, June 19-21 at South Accadia Beach, offered a series of free evening concerts featuring leading Israeli artists such as Berry Sakharof, Balkan Beat Box and Meir Banai. There were also food stalls, bars and arts and crafts stalls set up right on the beach.
On June 22, the South Beach was the setting for a jet-ski competition from 10:30 am to 3 pm.
On July 3 and 4, the beach boardwalk was the scene for the Dining on the Water Festival from 4-11 pm. This is your chance to sample the culinary accomplishments of Herzliya’s best hotels and restaurants at reasonable prices. Booths will offer fare including boutique cheeses, smoked sausage, artichokes, sautéed chestnuts, gourmet desserts, boutique beers and Israeli wine. Also on the schedule are live performances, cooking classes and more. There is no admission charge.
The Herzliya Marina
The third annual Samuel Adams Longshot Competition and Beer Festival at the Herzliya Marina, set for the evenings of July 18 and 19 (6-11 pm), gives festival-goers the opportunity to sample more than 100 different types of boutique beers, as well as foods and live music. Forty home brewers will present their most successful beers before a board of judges to select the winner of the Samuel Adams Longshot Competition. This event is open to people 18 and older.
An End of Summer Beach Party is set for September 28, styled on the renowned scene in Ibiza, Spain. This free event at the Accadia Beach features music played by leading deejays; beach sports; aerobics, Zumba and kickboxing sessions; a designer fair and food and beverage stalls. Open to the public free of charge.
While you’re in town, you might want to sample the famous Israeli breakfast buffet at Benedict; tour the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art; catch a movie at the Cinemateque or a show at Zappa Music Club; or sign up to be an Archeologist for a Day at Apollonia National Park.