It’s summertime and the weather is fine, goes the odd song and after a heat wave this week, Israel remembers how amazing and simple it is to spend your days away at the beach. Beaches are great activities for kids, for teens, for parents. Bring a picnic or sit up at one of Israel’s beach bars, and you have a day, or even a week of fun. Of course you need to wear sunscreen and be mindful of sun exposure, but for that you can bring or rent a beach umbrella. Where to choose when Israel has so many beaches to offer? Even the City of Tel Aviv has about a dozen beaches to choose from, so we like to recommend the beaches with the Blue Flag.
The Blue Flag is an international symbol for environmental conservation at the beach. This designation is given to 21 beaches in Israel that have demonstrated eco-standards for their sandt and seaside boardwalks. Water cleanliness, wheelchair accessibility and trash management are all criteria for getting a Blue Flag. So if you see one blowing, you know stewards of that beach are adhering to strict standards that are tested twice a month.
Some of the standards via Israel’s Ministry of Environment Protection include:
Environmental Education and Information
- Beach authorities run environmental educational activities for the community
- Information on the beach’s ecosystems is provided
- Information on services available on the beach is provided
- Beach rules are listed
- A minimum water quality standard is met
- Beach authorities test the water quality at least five times a season
- Garbage is collected often, such that the coast is clean
- Recyling bins are located on the beach
- Rules prohibiting vehicles from the beach are enforced
- Sleeping on the beach is prohibited, unless it is specifically permitted
- Rules prohibiting entrance of animals to the beach area are enforced
Safety, Security, and Services
- Coastal facilities and life saving equipment are maintained
- A suitable number of lifeguards are on duty
- An action plan is prepared, in case of a severe case of pollution, such as an oil spill
- The beach is handicapped-accessible
- Clean drinking water is available
Blue Flags are awarded every year. Tel Aviv consistently gets a number of Blue Flags, usually at Metzitzim — Tel Aviv’s northernmost beach, and which also happens to be the city’s only man-made lagoon, where it’s safe for kids and dogs to come and jump in the water; and Tel Aviv’s Jerusalem Beach, which is great for walking to, but which is also wheelchair accessible and includes a workout spot for adults.
Haifa and Eilat tend to pick up a Blue Flag every year, including Dado Beach in Haifa which offers, beach couches, free WiFi services, lots of shade and a mile and a half of beach promenade.
Down in Eilat, which will get scorching hot is the Blue Flag Shchafim Beach, located along the promenade beside the Dan Hotel one of many Israel luxury hotels. It’s a magnet for international travellers and Israelis who jump on a plane from Tel Aviv for some low cost staycations.
The Dan Hotel in Eilat, while a large hotel chain, is a good place to stay since Eilat offers little in the way of boutique or eco hotels. A feature from Dan is great programs for kids, which keeps them happy while parents get to relax. This hotel has also made a commitment to sustainability with some projects and features such as:
- Thermal windows to reduce air conditioning costs. It get smoking hot in Eilat!
- Heat recovery systems that use energy emitted from the air conditioning systems to heat swimming pools
- Equilibrium pools in all their hotels to save energy and water