The port itself has origins dating back nearly 4,000 years, and is the subject of numerous mentions in the Bible. Over the centuries, it has been home to numerous cultures, but the modern city sprang to life in the mid-1950s following the establishment of modern Israel. It’s an important industrial centre, but there is some cultural interest in the city itself.
New terminal facilities make arrival here a pleasant experience for cruise passengers.
Cruise ships arriving at Israel’s largest port offer their passengers the opportunity to visit either nearby Tel-Aviv, or the more popular Jerusalem, which lies just 70km (43 miles) inland from Ashdod.
Ashdod is ideally located for day trips to Jerusalem, one of the most revered cities on the planet for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike. Here, attractions range from religious buildings, emblems and archaeological relics, including the famous Wailing Wall.
The Dead Sea is also within reach of a day tour from Ashdod, for cruise passengers wishing to experience the supposedly therapeutic properties of the saline waters, as is Bethlehem, home of the Church of the Nativity.
For a more modern experience, some may also choose to make the short trip to Tel Aviv, a bustling centre of commerce, and good for shopping.
The Ashdod Museum
Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem
Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem
Israel Museum, Jerusalem
The Tomb of David
Yad Vashem, the holocaust memorial, Jerusalem
Jaffa Gate, Omar Katab Square, Jerusalem, Israel
Tel: +972 2628 0403.
Ashdod itself has a number of shopping malls, while in Jerusalem’s Muslim Quarter the ubiquitous Arab souks provide an antidote to the modern shopping centres of West Jerusalem. In the city’s Old Jewish Quarter, specialist shops offer jewellery, carpets and leather goods. Best buys include precious stones, glassware, wine, religious items and silverware. Bargaining is normal in the souks, but is not customary in Jewish shops.
A wide range of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, European and Jewish food is available throughout Israel – the choice of restaurants and cafés is huge. Snacks and light meals range from German-style sausages to kebabs.
When to go:
Israel enjoys a southern Mediterranean climate with a long, warm, dry summer, and generally mild winters. The coast can be humid in the warmest months, but in Jerusalem, in the hills, the air is more pleasant. Rainfall is relatively unusual.
70km (43 miles).
2 hours 45 minutes.