Yarkon Park: Green oasis in the heart of a dynamic city
Yarkon Park is one of biggest urban parks in Israel, located in the city of Tel Aviv. It’s also one of the country’s most visited parks, accounting for 16 million visitors annually. The park straddles the Yarkon River in the north of the city.
A great open space, Yarkon Park provides a welcome tranquil break for the world-weary city folks who would picnic, relax under a shade, or have a leisurely stroll or jog while breathing fresh air and enjoying the lush surroundings.
To give you some historical background, planning for the Yarkon Park began in 1969. When it was opened to the public in 1973, it was named Ganei Yehoshua in honor of the late Yehoshua Rabinovich, who served as the city mayor from 1969 to 1974.
The park has six gardens:
- Gan HaBanim (Fallen Soldiers Memorial Garden)
- Gan Nifga’ei HaTeror (Terror Victims Memorial Garden)
- Gan HaSlaim (Rock Garden)
- Gan HaKaktusim (Cacti Garden)
- HaGan HaGazum (Trimmed Garden)
- HaGan HaTropi (Tropical Garden)
The Rock Garden, located on the eastern part of the park, is one of the world’s largest gardens of its kind at ten acres. It is also a reflection of Israel’s geological diversity.
Yarkon Park boasts one of Israel’s largest water parks, which comes complete with water slides, a toddler’s pool and a wave pool. It also has a bird sanctuary and petting zoo.
The Yarkon River meets the sea just north of the port. Turn right after the port an enjoy this long green park.
The park itself runs around 10 kilometers in land and the scenery changes, along the river, by time of day and depending which bank of the river.There are several bridges so criss-cross wherever the mood takes you.
On the southern bank there is a small zoo around three kilometers in from the sea.
If you enjoy jogging and fancy a change from running on The Tayelet, then this is a great alternative route. Run out on one bank the cross over for the return leg (there is a bridge just by the port so you can get back to your starting point.)
You can rent golf carts, boats and cycles (see Cycling in Yarkon Park). This is one of Tel Aviv’s secrets – a place to relax and enjoy the shade. Biking and boating are some of the great ways to enjoy the picturesque views in the park. While you are walking or biking, look out for the rowing teams training – it may not be the River Cam or the Charles River, but it adds to the atmosphere.
The great thing is that when you have had enough just cut to the nearby road and catch a cab (probably easier on the southern bank)
Eventually (over four kilometers from the sea), the northern bank will allow you to connect up with Ganei Yehoshua – which is a much larger park, full of hidden spots and places to hang out. For more photos of the Yarkon, check out The Yarkon Gallery.
Our favorites include the Boating Lake and the pools of the Seven Flour Mills (Sheva HaTachanot). The mill is an ancient site (one of five along the Yarkon) and its name derived from the number of millstones in one of the units. It was operational until around 1936. For more photos of the mill area, see the Seven Mills gallery.
The path is well-maintained and wheelchair-accessible.