Beaching it in Ashdod

Where to go and what to do in Ashdod.

Ashdod Marina (photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
Ashdod Marina
(photo credit: MEITAL SHARABI)
Throughout the years, going to the beach was the most popular summer activity for Israelis. In recent times, however, it seems more and more people have reduced the amount of time they spend at the beach, citing issues such as overcrowding, expensive and inconvenient parking, debris and noise. This might be an accurate description of beaches in Tel Aviv and the surrounding areas, but it certainly does not describe the pristine Ashdod beach.
There is ample and free parking just a few minutes’ walk from Ashdod beach. The sand is clean, the area is quiet, lounge chairs and sun umbrellas do not cost a fortune, and there’s even a stand where you can borrow books for free.
And if you’re looking to do a little more than relax on the sand near the water, you’ll be happy to know that there are also plenty of activities going on at Ashdod beach. For example, you can go boating, join a yoga-on-the-beach group, and engage in nautical sports. There are also plenty of jungle gyms for kids to climb on, new nets for playing volleyball, as well as excellent restaurants.
All of these are great reasons to jump into your car and set off for this city, which has been working hard in recent years to make itself attractive for tourists.
Not everyone knows that Ashdod is one of the few cities in Israel that has an active port and a marina. These two sectors are an integral part of the city, as they employ many Ashdod residents either directly or in related services.
But before you get started on a fun day in Ashdod, it’s important to find something good to eat.
La Brioche
One of the best kosher bakeries in the country is located in Old Ashdod, not far from the beach. It’s called La Brioche and was opened by Shani and Hagai Buzaglo 10 years ago. The two of them met in Eilat when Hagai was working as a pastry chef at a local hotel. The bakery has been so successful that they’ve now opened another branch in Yavne. At La Brioche you can order a full breakfast, a variety of breads, sweet and savory pastries and cakes. You can eat on site or order take-away.
Location: 27 Rogozin Street
Details: (08) 867-7699
The Beach
If you’d like to stay closer to the beach, I recommend eating at a restaurant that is sensibly named Hahof (The Beach), since it’s located right on the promenade. There you will find an assortment of Italian and Middle Eastern dishes that are served in a relaxed, open atmosphere typical of beachside restaurants. This is also the ideal place to sit and have a drink after spending time in the sun and water. In addition, there are great musical performances on Friday nights. The restaurant is not kosher and is open all week long.
Location: 5 Union Street
Details: (08) 910-7661
Aloha Surf Place
Now that you’ve filled your bellies, you can move on to more adventurous activities that await you at Ashdod beach. Despite the fact that Ashdod is a beach town, I was still surprised to see so many surfing and water-sports schools. It turns out that Ashdodians spend a lot of time engaging in sea sports, and so there are quite a few excellent schools where you can learn to surf, and shops where you can rent surfing equipment. One such place is Aloha Surf Place. When you walk inside the shop, all of a sudden you feel like you’ve been transported to Malibu.
Aloha was launched by Dani Hazan, a professional surfer who wanted to share his knowledge with other surfers and people who’ve always wanted to learn to surf. Hazan offers surfing and SUP lessons, and also rents out equipment. The nice thing about Aloha is that it doesn’t matter whether you’re taking a series of surf lessons or just renting a SUP board, the staff makes everyone feel like they’re welcome and part of the extended Aloha family. So if it’s your dream to learn how to surf but you never got around to it, this is definitely the place to start.
Location: 20 Hatayelet, La Mamoniya Mall
Details: 050-262-4637
Orka Water Sport
If surfing is not your thing, and you’re looking for a fun activity that will bring the whole family together, I recommend Orka Water Sport, run by Mika and Yaron Malovsky. They offer adventurous sailing on Typhoon or Kamikaze boats, as well as calmer rides for people who prefer to take it easy and enjoy nice music and beautiful views. They also have banana boats and inner tubes you can ride on behind your boat in the sea, which will make you forget that you’re not in Eilat. Orka offers waterskiing and wakeboarding, too, if you’re up for it. 
Location: Ashdod Marina
Details: 050-211-4043, 058-500-8045
Library at the beach

Of course, not everyone likes to engage in adventurous sports at the beach. Curling up on a towel and reading a good book is also a great way to spend the day. And if you happen to have forgotten to bring reading material with you, you’ll be happy to know that there’s a library at Ashdod’s Riviera Beach (a.k.a. TetVav Beach) that was designed by architect Adam Cohen, where you can borrow books free of charge. The books were donated by the local public library, the Green Submarine Project and city residents.
Tetrapod exhibit
And if you’re in the mood for some culture, I recommend sauntering down to Oranim Beach, where you’ll find an exhibit featuring tetrapods (wave breakers), which was organized by the Ashdod Tourism Association. Each artist took a piece of the tetrapod that had broken off and washed ashore at the marina and created a unique artistic formation. The exhibition is located on the beach between Oranim Beach and Hakashatot Beach. A few of the artists whose works are being shown are Eliasaf Miara, Reuven Cohen, Vitali Ya’akov, Ina Katsav, Oz Madar, Eduard Dolcart, Ido Betlevi and Herzl Dostir.
Hehatzer Ha’ahorit

Spending time in the sun and water can be very tiring, and so at some point you’ll probably be ready for a nice nourishing meal. In recent years, Ashdod has been blessed with a number of new culinary establishments. One of the best is called Hehatzer Ha’ahorit (The Backyard). It is run by chef Matan Dahan and his partner Matan Atias, who had a shared vision of opening up a studio restaurant where the kitchen is completely open to the dining room, and all the cooking is done right in front of the clientele. With space for 25 people to dine, the kosher restaurant offers guests the opportunity to put together their own meals, which always results in creative artistic concoctions.
Location: 7 Ha’eshel Street
Details: 054-200-6069

Translated by Hannah Hochner.