The beautiful, lively city of Netanya – known for its stunning beaches and bustling promenades – is one of Israel’s most popular tourist resorts.

Popularly dubbed “the Israeli Riviera,” the city of Netanya is a bustling city on the Mediterranean coast, located in the center-north, midway between Tel Aviv and Haifa.

With a population of close to 200,000 and a broad ethnic diversity – 40 percent of residents are immigrants from various countries, including a large population of French immigrants in recent years – Netanya is also a popular tourist center.

Boasting a warm Mediterranean climate with mild winters, the city is well-known for its beautiful beaches and lively promenades. Bustling restaurants, cafes and entertainment spots are filled until the wee hours. Several outdoor events and festivals are held during the summer months.

A food bazaar in the city center boasts colorful stalls and exotic aromas. Shopping areas range from a typical Middle Eastern market to modern boutiques and centers.

The beach areas – with elevators taking bathers down to the sea – offer facilities suitable for all ages. Above is a ridge of rugged cliffs unique to Netanya.

There are cultural sites as well, including the Um Khaled Kahn dating back to the Mamluke period; the Pninat Shabtai Museum, featuring an exhibition of Yemenite folklore; and the Diamond Center Museum.

Among Netanya’s gorgeous nature centers is the Irises Reserve, with a large concentration of the rare purple flower that blooms in February and March; the Nahal Poleg Nature Reserve containing fauna unique to the area; and the Udim Reserve, where there is a pool with turtles, fish, and water birds.

Established 80 years ago, Netanya was named for American philanthropist Nathan Strauss. It was originally a small agricultural village famous for its citrus groves.

Author: United with Israel Staff
(With files from the Netanya Association of Tourism and Nefesh b’Nefesh)

Date: Mar. 5, 2014