Hiking the Israel National Trail: From Herzliya to Tel Aviv

After hiking from Poleg Beach to Herzliya, we woke up for another day on the Israel National Trail. This time, we planned to hike a short segment from Herzliya to Tel Aviv, only about 13 km. This is because we wanted to take half a day off in Tel Aviv.

The segment from Herzliya to Tel Aviv is extremely easy because it goes mainly along the coastline. On the way, you’ll pass through Herzliya Marina, walk on the seaside promenade, and stop by the Tel Aviv Port. We proceeded a bit beyond the port and also walked a bit in Yarkon Park. Expect to see lots of people jogging, running, and bicycling around you.

Trail length: About 13 km. You can also hike it from the other direction.

Trail duration: About 5 hours, depending on your pace.

Difficulty level: Easy.

Best season: Fall (October-November), Winter (December-January), and Spring (February-April).

Water along the way: There are drinking water taps all along the beach and Yarkon Park, so don’t worry about it.

Stay options at the end of the trail: There are a lot of stay options in Tel Aviv. We stayed at Roof Farm, which is a shared eco-harmonic community and urban roof farm. They offer cheap accommodation for INT hikers, though we’ve had better stays with trail angels. If you prefer some extra comfort, there are great hostels in Tel Aviv. I recommend Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv, Roger’s House, and Little Tel Aviv Hostel.

Some safety instructions and general notes:

· The hike is under your responsibility, so please be careful.

· Make sure you hike with good hiking shoes, have at least 3 liters of water (and 5 on hot days), and wear a hat. Pack food and snacks for the whole day, BUT make sure to bring a garbage bag as well and take your garbage with you, including toilet papers.

· Don’t go on the hike when it is too hot (over 30 degrees Celsius), because it’s not enjoyable and can end with heatstroke. There is no shade on this segment.

· Pay attention to sunset hours (in Summer around 6-7 PM, in Winter around 4-5 PM). Try to begin the hike before 8 AM so you will have time to rest a bit during the hot hours of the afternoon and still get it to the end of the trail. 

· The phone signal is good throughout the trail.

· Before you begin the hike, make sure you have a good trail map. The trail isn’t always well marked, so it’s good to have a map. You can also use a navigation app such as the Israel Hiking Map. With GPS, you can also see where you are exactly. Though, remember that wherever you do see a trail mark – this trail mark is superior to what’s shown on your map. You can also download the trail map in English (created by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel). For this segment, you will need to download this map. The maps are extremely basic but give you a general sense of the trail.

· The trail is marked with the Israel National Trail colors, orange-blue-white.

· If you need any further help with planning your trail, I recommend posting on the Israel National Trail forum on Tapatalk. Of course, you can also talk to me through lior@backpackisrael.com.

How to get to the head of the trail?

This segment starts at Zebulun Beach in Herzliya, also known as Sea Scouts Beach (in Hebrew: חוף צופי ים). By car, you can reach Ramat Yam Street in Herzliya and park above the Sea Scouts compound. The parking lot is called Nine Beach Parking (in Hebrew: חניון ניין ביץ’). If you want to leave a car at the end of the segment, you can park at The Tropic Garden Parking (in Hebrew: חניון הגן הטרופי). This parking lot is situated in Yarkon Park.

By public transportation:

By public transportation, it is easier to reach the Herzliya Marina, which is also part of the Israel National Trail. So, instead of reaching Sea Scouts Beach, you can reach the marina.

From Tel Aviv, take bus number 90 or 91 from Savidor Center Station. Get off at “Arena Mall” (in Hebrew: קניון ארנה). Here, you can connect to the Israel National Trail, which passes through Herzliya Marina, right next to the station.

From Haifa, it is best to take a bus or train to Savidor Center Station in Tel Aviv. From there, take bus number 90 or 91 to the “Arena Mall” (in Hebrew: קניון ארנה). Connect to the trail at Herzliya Marina.

From Jerusalem, go to the Yitzhak Navon Train Station and take the train to Herzliya. From the Herzliya Train Station, take bus 39 to “Arena Mall” (in Hebrew: קניון ארנה). Connect to the trail at Herzliya Marina.  

You can use Moovit or Google Maps to find the best route for you.

The trail from Herzliya to Tel Aviv:

Map of the trail, taken from israelhiking.osm.org.il

From the Sea Scouts to Herzliya Marina:

Map of the trail, taken from israelhiking.osm.org.il

We woke up early and started walking from Sea Scouts Beach (1) to Herzliya Marina (2). It’s a short distance of about 1.2 km. The trail took us into the marina, so we got to see the boats anchored there. There was also a man, who was seated in an electric wheelchair in front of the sea. He was singing “Praise Jerusalem” (in Hebrew: שבחי ירושלים). It was early morning, the sun was barely up, so it was a very moving and surreal moment. He explained that he was singing in honor of Yitzhak Rabin, our fifth prime minister, who was killed by a Jewish assassin in November 1995. Rabin tried making peace with the Palestinians, but there was a lot of opposition against the Oslo Plans.

Hear the song sung by Daklon on Youtube:

Herzliya Marina was opened at the end of the 20th century, following a lot of resistance. The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel protested against the vacation houses, that were built in the marina right next to the water. There were also other reasons to believe that the marina will cause harm to the environment. As you can see, that didn’t stop anyone from building it.

The Herzliya Marina on the Israel National Trail
The Herzliya Marina

From Herzliya Marina to Tel Aviv Port:

Map of the trail, taken from israelhiking.osm.org.il
Map of the trail, taken from israelhiking.osm.org.il
Map of the trail, taken from israelhiking.osm.org.il

We exited the marina and got onto the beach again (3). Now, we were entering the boundaries of Tel Aviv. Many people were on the beach, jogging, running, walking. There were also people in the water with their surfboards and SAP boards. It was amazing to see how active the beach is at such an early hour.

Early beach activities on the Israel National Trail
People on the beach near Herzliya Marina
Tel Aviv Beach near Reading Station on the Israel National Trail
Walking on the beach and in the distance, the tower of Reading Station

We continued on the beach for about 4 km until we reached Tel Baruch Beach (4). There, we left the sand and got onto the seaside promenade. After about 2 km, we reached a bridge (5), from which we could see the tower of the Reading Power Station.

The first power station in Tel Aviv was built in 1923 in one of the city’s neighborhoods. But as the city grew and developed, there was a need for more electricity. So, the Reading Power Station was established in the 1930s, on an empty area north of the Yarkon River. It was named after Rufus Isaacs, 1st Marquess of Reading, who was a Jewish-British politician and judge, who served as Lord Chief Justice of England. He was also an active Zionist, who helped in the establishment of the power stations in the Land of Israel. Today, the power station operates on natural gas.

We crossed the bridge and after about 450 meters reached another bridge, called Wauchope Bridge (6). This bridge leads to the Tel Aviv Port. It was built in 1937 as a service bridge to the construction site of Reading Power Station. Originally, it was called Reading Bridge, but somehow it got the name Wauchope Bridge. Sir Arthur Wauchope was the High Commissioner for Palestine during the British Mandate. He was present at a cornerstone ceremony of another bridge nearby.

After crossing the Wauchope Bridge, we reached Tel Aviv Port (7).

The Wauchope Bridge to Tel Aviv Port on the Israel National Trail
The Wauchope Bridge to Tel Aviv Port

From Tel Aviv Port to Yarkon Park:

Map of the trail, taken from israelhiking.osm.org.il

We sat down on a bench next to the bridge and ate some snacks. Then, we went to look for a restroom in the area. We asked for directions and found it after a while.

Following an Arab strike in Jaffa Port, the Jewish people of Tel Aviv understood that they had to have their own port. That’s how the first Hebrew port in the world was established in 1936. When Ashdod Port was opened in 1965, the Tel Aviv Port and Jaffa Port stopped receiving cargo ships. Today, Tel Aviv Port is one of the leading recreational, commercial, and entertainment districts in the city.

From Wauchope Bridge, the Israel National Trail turns left (south) along the Yarkon River. There’s a lovely promenade, where people jog, walk, and bike. The Yarkon River is the largest coastal river in Israel, at a length of 27.5 km. In Arabic, it is called “al-Auja”, which means “the meandering”, because it meanders and twists to the Mediterranean Sea. In ancient times, many settlements were built next to the river. Today, its water is polluted and therefore is not suitable for human beings.

After about 330 meters, we crossed another small bridge (8) to the other bank of the river. Then, we continued through the pleasant Yarkon Park for about 3 km, passing underneath some more bridges on the way. A short while after passing under Highway 20 (9), we decided to stop for the day.

Reading Station near the Yarkon River
Reading Station from the small bridge over the Yarkon River
Walking next to the Yarkon River on the Israel National Trail
Walking next to the Yarkon River

We turned left onto one of the park’s trails and made our way to Rokach Avenue. There, we got on a bus to the Florentine neighborhood, where our accommodation was located.

Our day off in Tel Aviv:

A few words about Roof Farm:

Before we began venturing Tel Aviv, we wanted to leave our bags at Roof Farm, where we planned to stay. The place is located in an old, unmaintained building in Florentine. We had to climb up a lot of stairs and then were greeted by one of the house residents. He showed us the rooftop, where we were to sleep. It was full of mess and there were two dogs, that barked non-stop. It was a bit terrifying, but we decided to give it a go anyway. The guy brought us some mattresses, which were terribly dirty, and we told him that we will come back later. We left our stuff, took only our valuables, and went back to the street.  

Later, when we talked to some other people at Roof Farm, we figured that it was a temporary residential place for people with problems. There was a guy with some leg injury, who couldn’t work much. There was someone who left the Orthodox Jewish community and couldn’t stay at his parent’s home. Most of the people were Anglos, aka people who speak English in Israel. We even found out that the dogs had problems because they had some sort of trauma.

What we did in Tel Aviv:

So, the first stop after Roof Farm was the Carmel Market. This is the most popular market in Tel Aviv, with lots of food options. Each of us ate at a different place. I stopped at “Challah” (in Hebrew: חלה), a small booth selling only one thing – schnitzel in challah bread. It costs only 35 ILS and is delicious!  

Challah with schnitzel
Challah with schnitzel – delicious!

After eating lunch, we sat down at the entrance to the market and enjoyed the street shows. On one side, there was a man singing old songs, and on the other side, a woman belly-dancing. The man got angry at the woman because she came a bit after him and turned the music on at full volume. That made it hard for him to sing. But in the end, they got to some sort of agreement.  

Afterward, we got on a bus to a travel equipment shop because some of us needed some additional stuff. And after waiting a long time in line and getting what we wanted, we returned to Roof Farm.

That’s all for now. I wish you a fantastic hike on the Israel National Trail!

Continue to the next segment – From Tel Aviv to Tel Afek.

If you want to leave the trail after this segment – You can easily find relevant buses in Tel Aviv. Use the navigation apps to find the best route for your destination.

Read more:

Get ready for the trail by reading my post – The Israel National Trail: Ultimate Preparation Guide.

And check out previous segments of the Israel National Trail.

Looking for a guide on the trail?

Contact me for a guided tour on the Israel National Trail

Pin this post for later!


Hiked the trail in November 2020.

If you liked this post or found it useful, would really appreciate a like, a share and a comment (:

If you need any help with planning this hike, feel free to contact me at lior@backpackisrael.com. I also offer guided hiking tours on several segments of the Israel National Trail.

Also, feel free to follow this blog and like my Facebook Page – Backpack Israel.

And plan a great trip to Israel using my app – Travel Israel by Travelkosh for Android and iOS

Yours,

Lior

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