To begin with, the Rosh Hanikra grottoes are a spectacular geologic formation of cavernous tunnels carved out by the Mediterranean Sea in the Western Galilee. Since it is chiseled out of the white chalk cliffs on the coastal border between Israel and Lebanon; the Rosh HaNikra grottoes have breathtakingly blue waters and are a popular tourist attraction.
Formation and History of the Rosh Hanikra Grottoes
Thousands of years of the Mediterranean Sea washing up against the chalk cliffs combined with penetrating rain from above have formed the cavernous grottoes and tunnels at Rosh HaNikra; some of which are 650 feet long. The tunnels branch off in various directions and the caves are filled with stunningly blue waters that have long attracted local divers and swimmers.
In ancient times, the area once served as a passage point for armies and trade caravans between Israel; Lebanon; Syria; Egypt, and Africa. Railway tunnels were blasted out of the nearby rocks during the Second World War for trains running along the Cairo-Istanbul line, under the British Mandate in Israel.
The railway bridge at Rosh HaNikra was spared by the Haganah during the 1946 Night of the Bridges operation. But, following a late-1947 British announcement that it would withdraw from Palestine months ahead of schedule; the bridge was destroyed by the 21st Battalion; under the Palmach in late February 1948 to hinder Lebanese arms shipments to Arab forces opposing the UN Partition Plan.
The Cable Car
Once the beautiful Rosh Hanikra Grottoes were only accessible to those approaching from the water. But a cable car was installed in the 1970s to take visitors down from the top of the cliff to the tunnels. Moreover, the cable car has a very steep 60-degree gradient and is known as the steepest in the world.
Since it was manufactured by an Austrian manufacturer; the lowest station of the cable car is located right on the sea and is occasionally affected by stormy weather. The gondola cars carry visitors from the top of the white cliffs to the bottom; covering over 200 feet in about two minutes due to the steep gradient and providing a thrilling ride.
Visiting Rosh HaNikra Grottoes
Rosh HaNikra is itself a kibbutz; a collective community based on agriculture, and the grottoes and cable car experience are part of the kibbutz. Visitors to Rosh HaNikra can enjoy a range of activities in and around the area from seeing the caves on the exciting cable car ride to walking along the cliffs and soaking up the spectacular views. Also, they offer a wonderful sound and light show showcase the beauty of the caves and turquoise blue waters; and children can enjoy a train ride along the sea promenade all the way to Achziv and back in the summer months.
And if you want you can rent bikes or hop on a guided cycling tour along the beautiful seafront promenade and explore the little inlets and coves along the coast, or opt for an easier ride in the form of an electric car and soak up the splendid seascapes on a coastal drive.
Also, there are several snack bars, a souvenir shop; and a casual restaurant serving traditional Israeli cuisine against a backdrop of breathtaking sea views.
Rosh Hanikra Grottoes: Opening Hours
Summer weekdays: 09:00-18:00
Winter weekdays: 09:00-16:00
Friday / Holiday Eves: 09:00-16:00
Saturdays and Holidays: 09:00-18:00
Holiday Eves: 09:00-12:00