The Hermit House – Herzliya, Israel - Atlas Obscura

The Hermit House

Herzliya, Israel

This marvelous work of outsider architecture is built into the cliffs of an Israeli beach. 


This house was first built by Nissim “the Caveman” Kachlon in the 1970s. It features dozens of chambers carved into the soft sandstone cliffs. The exterior is constructed from rocks, wave-smoothed pebbles, and many types of recycled materials. Broken shards of glass and pottery add pops of color to the otherwise earthy tones. The sun rises over the cliff behind the house, and late in the day, the setting sun shines on the glass, making it glow.

In both the early 1980s and late 1990s, the exterior of the house was virtually destroyed by the sea, when the Herzliya Marina was built and later extended. This caused the beach north of the marina to erode. Beaches in this area are formed with sand from the Nile, which spreads via coastal currents. The marina essentially blocked these currents, with the sand being deposited elsewhere. But, the house has been rebuilt, although not as grandly as the original, which featured a long staircase from the beach to the top of the cliff.

Nissim has also fought a protracted battle with the local council, because he didn’t ask for permission to build the quaint structure. Had he asked, the council would’ve likely denied his requests anyway.

A community of fisherman used to live nearby and their wooden boats could be seen close to the house for many years, at least until the late 1990s. But, the boats are now gone and the old winch house is now a ruin.

Know Before You Go

You can reach the house by descending to the beach from Yigal Yadin Street in Nof Yam, a suburb of Herzliya, and walking several hundred meters along the sand toward the north. Tours are occasionally given upon request.

The beach is interchangeably known as Nof Yam (Sea View) Beach, after the suburb; Sidna Ali Beach, after an Arab village that existed at the site until 1948; and Apollonia Beach, after the ancient port city of Apollonia, which lies slightly to the north of the house.

The descent to the beach is also part of the Israel National Trail, but the trail doesn’t pass the house so hikers can easily miss it. You can also visit the ruins of the ancient port by walking farther north along the beach, but there is the dual danger of both landslides and nudists hiding among the collapsed city walls.

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