Rosh haNikra

Rosh Hanikra - Ras-a-Nakura - Head of the Grotto

Useful Information

Location: Near Nahariyya, at the Mediterranean coast at the border to Lebanon.
(33.093520, 35.104189)
Open: JAN to APR daily 8:30-16.
MAY to JUN daily 8:30-18.
JUL to AUG daily 8:30-23.
SEP to DEC daily 8:30-16.
Classification: Speleologysea cave
Light: electric/not necessary
Dimension: L=200 m.
Guided tours:  
Address: Mitzpe Rosh Hanikra, D.N. Galil Ma'aravi, 22825 Israel, Tel: 972-4-9857108, Fax: 972-4-9857107. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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323 BC first tunnel by Alexander the Great.
24-AUG-1942 Haifa-Beirut-Tripoli railway inaugurated after a year of work.
1968 tunnel to the caves opened, which took two years to build.


Rosh haNikra is a cliff at the sea, right at the northern border of Israel towards Lebanon. The name means "head of the cave", and tells us why this place is listed on there are numerous impressive sea caves at the foot of the cliff, which may be reached by cable car. The longest cave is 200 m long. The cliff consists of white chalk, and looks similar to the cliffs of Dover. The caves were formed by the work of the sea water, following fracture zones in the rock which are weaker than undisturbed rocks.

The cliffs were always a problem for travel and trade. The mountains ridge forms a natural border, and so very early a tunnel was hewn into the soft chalk. Alexander of Macedonea (Alexander the Great) is credited for having hewed the first tunnel in 323 BC to create a passageway for his army after besieging Tyre. Later this road was used by the armies of the Seleucids and the Ptolemies. In 1099 it was used by the Crusaders. During World War I the British Army built the first road, which was accessible for motor vehicles. The latest and most impressive traffic route through the cliff was the Haifa-Beirut-Tripoli railway, which was built by the British during World War II. There were three tunnels, one on each side of the border and one crossing the border. The tunnel on the Israeli side may be visited. The railroad tracks are removed, but there is a sort of "tourist railroad".

The caves are numerous interconnected branches totaling 200 m. Formed by the work of the sea they are located around sea level at the foot of the cliff, and the only way to enter their natural entrance is with diving gear and rather dangerous. In 1968 a 400 m long tunnel was opened to allow access to the caves.