Haifa is one of the Middle East’s most picturesque cities, and it’s target for this small mini-tour for this amazing place. This page contains enough information for you to have this tour and spend it full with interesting sights, events, smells, tastes and experiences for the whole family.
In this tour, you find also information about accommodations and food, you you and your family will not go hungry and sleepless.
Haifa is one of the Middle East’s most picturesque cities. The views from the top of majestic Mt Carmel (546m) are breathtaking, especially from the Baha’i Gardens, but almost everywhere you look in the city there are interesting, if not always beautiful, urban landscapes, many from the late Ottoman and Mandate (Bauhaus) periods.
Haifa was intended by British planners to serve as the Levant’s main port and transport hub, linked – thanks to rail lines and an oil pipeline – to a hinterland that encompassed Transjordan and Iraq. That vision came to an abrupt end in 1948, when much of the city’s Arab population were expelled or fled. Today, Haifa’s Jews, Christians and Muslims live side by side, largely in harmony and the city is proud to serve as a model for Jewish-Arab coexistence.
Haifa – Israel’s third-largest city – is about equidistant (a bit over 40km) from Caesarea, Nazareth and, up on the Lebanese border, Rosh HaNikra, making it an excellent base for exploring the Galilee by car. With the low-budget tours, Haifa is also perfect centrally situated to explore the same Galilee by bus and train.
There has been port on the site of modern-day Haifa since at least as far back as the 14th century BCE. During the Roman period, both before and after the destruction of the Second Temple (70 CE), Haifa was a mixed Jewish-Gentile town that garnered more than 100 mentions in the Talmud; because its residents did not pronounce the guttural Hebrew letters het and ‘ayin properly, they were forbidden from reciting the Torah in public. Mt Carmel, whose name means ‘vineyard of God’, has been regarded as sacred since ancient times.
A thousand years ago, Haifa was a fortified, mainly Jewish town, but in 1100, after it fell to the Crusaders, its Jewish and Egyptian defenders were put to the sword. Nearby Akko soon superseded Haifa in importance, and by the time of the Ottoman conquest of Palestine in the 1500s Haifa was an insignificant village.
By the early 19th century, Haifa had begun to grow, as did its Sephardic Jewish community. In 1868 the German Templers moved in, but the city’s modern revival really got under way in 1905 with the opening of a railway line linking Haifa with Damascus and, three years later, Medina. In September 1918, as British forces pushed north, three platoons of Indian horsemen, armed only with lances, overran Ottoman machine-gun positions in the world’s last-ever cavalry charge.
During the British Mandate, Haifa rapidly became Palestine’s main port, naval center, rail transport hub and oil terminal. The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, whose graduates and professors would go on to win four Nobel Prizes in chemistry, opened its doors in 1924. In April 1948, shortly before the British withdrawal, Haifa fell to Jewish forces and some 65,000 of the city’s Arab residents fled.
From the 1920s to the 1950s, Haifa was the first sight of the Promised Land for many ship-borne Jewish refugees. Today, the mostly secular Jewish community enjoys a generally good relationship with the city’s Arab population (10% of the total), which is mainly Christian. In recent years Haifa has shifted its economic center from heavy industry (oil refining and chemicals) to high-tech. An IT park near Haifa-Hof HaCarmel bus station is home to divisions of Google, Intel, IBM and other international high-tech heavyweights.
- Baha’i Gardens – (for more, see here) The best way to see these world famous gardens is to take a free, 45-minute Upper Terrace Tour from the top of the gardens. Except on Wednesday, an English-language tour starts at noon, with additional tours in Hebrew or Russian on most days at 11am and 2pm (see the website for the monthly schedule). It’s first come, first served, so get there a half-hour ahead. Both men and women must wear clothing that covers their shoulders (a shawl is OK) and knees. Laid out on the slopes of Mt Carmel between 1987 and 2001, the Baha’i Gardens have 19 terraces with a distinctly classical feel – wrought-iron gates lead to flower beds, soothing pools, fountains, stone balustrades, sculptures and impossibly steep lawns, all with panoramas of Haifa Bay that defy superlatives. One hundred full-time gardeners are on hand to maintain the site. Along with Akko’s Shrine of Baha’ullah, the gardens were given Unesco World Heritage status in 2008.
- The golden-domed Shrine of the Bab (80 HaTziyonut Blvd), completed in 1953, is the final resting place of the Bab, Baha’ullah’s spiritual predecessor, who was executed in Persia in 1850; his remains were brought to Haifa in 1909. Combining the style and proportions of European architecture with motifs inspired by Eastern traditions, it was designed by a Canadian architect, built with Italian stone and decorated with Dutch tiles.
- Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art (for more, see here)(www.tmja.org.il; 89 HaNassi Ave; adult/child 30/20NIS; h10am-4pm Sun-Wed, to 7pm Thu, to 1pm Fri, to 3pm Sat)
Founded by Felix Tikotin in 1957, this museum – unique in the Middle East – puts on superb exhibits of Japanese art.
- Al-Jarina Mosque. A few hundred meters east of Paris Sq is Al-Jarina Mosque, aka Al-Masjid al-Kabir (Great Mosque), marked by an early-20th-century minaret that looks more than a little like a provincial English clock tower.
- Beit HaGefen Arab-Jewish Cultural Center (04-852 5252; http://www.beit-hagefen.com; 2 HaGefen St; gallery 10am-4pm, to 2pm Fri & Sat)
In an old stone building across the street from the modern Beit HaGefen Arab-Jewish Center theater, this cultural center sponsors joint Arab-Jewish social and cultural activities; see the website for details. The upstairs gallery puts on exhibitions related to intercultural coexistence and shared spaces and values. Two-hour tours of multicultural and inter-religious Haifa (40NIS per person; call ahead to reserve) are also available.
- Gan Ha’Em (see for more here) (HaNassi Ave; h6am-9pm, all night Thu & Fri)
On the crest of Mt Carmel, across from the upper terminus of the Carmelit metro line, this shady, kid friendly public garden – whose name means ‘Mother’s Park’ – has a zoo, a playground and an amphitheater that hosts concerts on summer evenings.
- Haifa City Museum (04-911 5888; 11 Ben-Gurion Ave; adult/child 20/10NIS; h10am-4pm Sun-Thu, to 1pm Fri, to 3pm Sat)
Near the bottom of Ben-Gurion Ave, a Templar-era structure houses exhibits that focus on ‘history, urbanism, identity, multi-nationalism and multi-cultural ism’, as befits a city with as rich a cultural tapestry as Haifa.
- Haifa Museum of Art (for more, see here)(04-911 5997; http://www.hms.org.il; 26 Shabtai Levi St, Wadi Nisnas; adult/child 30/20NIS; 10am-4pm Sun-Wed, to 7pm Thu, to 1pm Fri, to 3pm Sat)
Exhibits contemporary Israeli and international painting, sculpture and video art.
- Istiqlal Mosque (Independence Mosque)
Built in 1926, this mosque is still used for worship.
- MadaTech (click here to see more)(National Museum of Science; 04-861 4444, ext 1; http://www.madatech.org.il; 25 Shemaryahu Levin St; adult/child 75/65NIS; 10am-3pm Sun-Wed, to 5pm Thu & Sat, to 1pm Fri)
Fascinating interactive science exhibits fill the impressive first home of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, built in 1913. (Classes didn’t begin until 1924 because of a disagreement over whether the language of instruction should be German or Hebrew.) When Albert Einstein visited in 1923, he planted a palm tree that still stands out front.
- Mané-Katz Museum (www.mkm.org.il; 89 Yefe Nof St; adult/child 30/20NIS; 10am-4pm Sun-Wed, to 7pm Thu, to 1pm Fri, to 3pm Sat)
Emmanuel Mané-Katz (1894–1962), known – like Chagall – for his colorful depictions of the shtetls of Eastern Europe, was an influential member of a group of early-20th-century artists known as the Jewish School of Paris. In the late 1950s he was given this home by the Haifa city authorities in return for the bequest of his works.
- Museum Without Walls (www.mwwart.com)
More than 100 pieces of art – both sculptures and installations – grace the streets and alleys of Wadi Nisnas (eg along HaWadi St). Some are large and eye-catching, others so small you could walk right past them. The Beit HaGefen Arab-Jewish Cultural Center can supply you with a brochure.
- Buildings (closed to the public) around the gardens include the Universal House of Justice, (see also here) a domed neoclassical structure with Corinthian columns from which the Baha’is’ spiritual and administrative affairs are governed; and the Archives, in a green-roofed structure that looks like the Parthenon.
- About 100m up the hill from the tour entrance, extraordinary views can be had from the Viewing Balcony (61 Yefe Nof St; h9am-5pm daily).
Note that the line for the Upper Terrace Tour can be long when there’s a cruise liner or US Navy ship in port. Admission is limited to 60 people (120 if there are two guides available). Eating, smoking and chewing gum are forbidden in the gardens. To get to the start of the Upper Terrace Tour from Carmel Centre (the Carmelit’s Gan HaEm stop), walk 1km north along Yefe Nof St, which affords the city’s finest bay views. The tour ends down on HaTziyonut Blvd – to get back up to Carmel Centre, take bus 136 (6.90NIS, every 15 minutes) or a sherut (line 136, 7NIS); count on paying about 30NIS for a taxi. Bus 115 links the gardens’ lower entrance on HaTziyonut Blvd with both the Haifa-Merkazit HaMifratz and Haifa-Hof HaCarmel bus stations.
Founded in the middle of the 19th century, the Baha’i faith (www.bahai.org) believes that many prophets have appeared throughout history, including Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster, Jesus and Mohammed. Its central beliefs include the existence of one God, the unity of all religions, and the equality and unity of all human beings, including men and women (a truly revolutionary idea in Iran in the mid-1800s).
The origins of the Baha’i faith go back to Ali Muhammad (1819–50), a native of Shiraz, Iran. In 1844 he declared that he was ‘the Bab’ (Gate) through which prophecies would be revealed. The charismatic Ali was soon surrounded by followers, called Babis, but was eventually arrested for heresy against Islam and executed by firing squad in Tabriz, Iran.
One of the Bab’s prophecies concerned the coming of ‘one whom God would make manifest’. In 1866, a Babi named Mirza Hussein Ali (1817–92) proclaimed that he was this prophetic figure and assumed the title of Baha’ullah, having received divine inspiration while imprisoned in Tehran’s infamous Black Pit. As with the Bab, Baha’ullah’s declarations were unwelcome in Persia and he was expelled first to Baghdad, and then to Constantinople, Adrianople and finally the Ottoman penal colony of Akko. Sitting in his cell in Akko, he dedicated himself to laying down the tenets of a new faith, the Baha’i, whose name is derived from the Arabic word baha (glory).
Among his writings, Baha’ullah stated that one could not be born into the Baha’i faith; at the age of 15, a person chooses whether or not they want to take on the obligations of being Baha’i. He also spoke of gender equality, the oneness of humankind, world peace, the need for universal compulsory education, and harmony between religion and the sciences.
The Baha’i World Center (the religion’s global headquarters), famed for its gardens, is on Haifa’s Mt Carmel, while the holiest Baha’i site, the Shrine of Baha’ullah, is near Akko; both are staffed by volunteers from around the world. Part because of Jewish and Muslim sensibilities, the Baha’is do not seek converts in Israel and Israeli citizens are not permitted to join the faith. There is no Baha’i community in Israel.
The Baha’i faith now has an estimated five to six million followers worldwide. Tradition prescribes that a Baha’i who is able should make a pilgrimage (https://bahai.bwc.org/pilgrimage) to Akko and Haifa.
Haifa Museum Ticket
Museum aficionados can save some major money with a combo ticket (single/family 50/120NIS) valid for six Haifa exhibition spaces: the Mané-Katz Museum, the Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art, the Haifa Museum of Art, the Haifa City Museum, the Hermann Struck Museum and the National Maritime Museum. A family pass covers two adults and two children. The pass is sold at each of the six museums.
Situated directly below – and in alignment with – the Baha’i Gardens, Ben-Gurion Ave is lined with handsome 19th-century houses with steep, red-shingled roofs and quotes from the Bible – in German – over the doors. This is the German Colony, established in 1868 by the Templers (not to be confused with the Crusader-era Knights Templar), a Pietist Protestant sect from southwestern Germany that sought to hasten the Second Coming by settling in the Holy Land. In the latter decades of the 1800s, the Templers built seven colonies in Palestine and are credited with introducing improved methods of transport, technology and agriculture.
The German Colony (Moshava Germanit in Hebrew) impressed Baha’ullah, the founder of the Baha’i faith, and was visited by Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1898. The Templers continued to live in the colony until 1939, when the British interned them as enemy aliens (many had joined the Nazi Party in the 1930s); most were later deported to Australia. Today, the German Colony is one of Haifa’s premier dining areas. Look up the hill and you’ll see the Baha’i Gardens, down the hill and you can often see cargo ships docked in the port. Metronit lines 1 and 2 stop right nearby.
For details on cultural events, see www.ethos.co.il, run by the Haifa municipality; tickets can be ordered by calling 04-833 8888.
- Beat (04-810 7107; http://www.ethos.co.il; 124 HaNassi Ave, Carmel Centre; admission 50-100NIS, Map)
Both a music school, run by the city, and one of Haifa’s top performance venues, with live music by Israeli and overseas bands. Call to find out what’s on.
- Haifa Cinematheque (04-833 8888; http://www.ethos.co.il; 142 HaNassi Ave, Carmel Centre; ticket 33NIS, Map)
Screens avant-garde, off-beat and art films in two halls. Out front, bronze stars in the pavement honour major figure in Israeli cinema.
- Haifa Auditorium (04-833 8888; http://www.ethos.co.il; 140 HaNassi Ave, Carmel Center, Map)
One of Haifa’s principal venues for ballet, modern dance and music, with over 1100 seats.
- Capoeira Angola Israel (054-436 5375; http://www.capoeira-angola.co.il; 8 Amos St, Hadar; 7-9pm Sat, Map)
The Saturday-evening roda (music and dance circle), open to the public, is an excellent way to get acquainted with capoeira (an Afro-Brazilian martial art).
- Bat Galim Beach. (www.batgalim.org.il; Aharon Rosenfeld St, Map)
This ain’t Hawaii, but surfers do come here to catch some waves. Situated in the lower-middle-class Bat Galim neighborhood about 1km northwest of Rambam hospital (the terminus of Metronit line 2) and a few blocks northeast of the lower cable-car station.
- Hof HaCarmel Beach. Haifa’s best beaches, with an inviting promenade and a number of restaurants and cafes, stretch along the north–south-oriented coastline to the west of Mt Carmel. To get there, take Metronit line 1 to Haifa-Hof HaCarmel or a train to Hof HaCarmel train station (6NIS, every 20 minutes from Haifa Merkaz-HaShmona). Nearby Zamir and Dado beaches are also quite decent. Map.
- German Colony. For an evening out, locals often head to the German Colony, where many restaurants double as cafes and bars; to the hip, lefty cafes of the Masada St area; or to the grimy Port Area (Downtown), where there are a number of bars along HaBankim St. Carmel Centre has plenty of coffee houses and a few pubs.
- Bahai Gardens and Shrine (8/18/2016) - Beauty, grandeur, and inspired design combined with the painstaking gardening of generations create the unique atmosphere of the Bahai shrine and gardens in Haifa. This is the site where members of the Bahai faith have established their shrine and world center because of its significance to the Bahai faith.
- Carmelite Monastery (8/18/2016) - The Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery in Haifa, Israel, is a 19th-century monastery located on the slopes of Mount Carmel. The site can be reached by cable car or on foot. Situated across the street from the Old Lighthouse, with a magnificent view of the sea, the entire ensemble of buildings, including the Lighthouse, is known as "Stella Maris."
- Catholic Pilgrimage, 8 days (8/29/2016) - A fascinating 8-day Catholic Pilgrimage tour for individuals and groups, combining visits to sacred Christian sites with other historical attractions. For options and other relevant information, ask Wim and see his rates.
- Catholic Tour Israel – 5 days (8/23/2016) - This tour is for Catholic visitors to the Holy Land. It will bring you to the Sea of Galilee in the footsteps of Jesus, followed by Nazareth, Haifa, Acre and Jerusalem, where we stay for two days. The tour is designed for the individual, as for groups, with or without a professional guide.
- Catholic Tour Israel – 7 Days (8/23/2016) - This tour is for Catholic visitors to the Holy Land. It will bring you to the Sea of Galilee in the footsteps of Jesus, followed by Nazareth, Haifa, Acre, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, where we stay for two days. After Jerusalem we visit the Dead Sea, Ein Gedi, Qumran and Masada. The tour is designed for the individual, as for groups, with or without a professional guide.
- Catholic tour, 8 days, $455 per person (9/21/2016) - Here is an example of a 'low-budget' tour under the $600 range (actually this tour cost $455 per person). In this tour, the group (of 20) changed one time their location and focused on the center and north of Israel and they lived in luxury and splendor. They used public transportation and apartments to see and visit the Holy Land. If they would hire the guide, it would cost them $515 p.p.!
- Clandestine Immigration and Navy Museum (8/18/2016) - Just above the Bat Galim Promenade, at the foot of Mount Carmel in the city of Haifa, is the Clandestine Immigration and Navy Museum. A large museum with many hands-on exhibits
- Classical Israeli-Gems Tour, 10 Days – from $767 per person all in. (10/4/2016) - This tour is for visitors to the Israel. It will bring you to Jerusalem, followed by Jericho, Bethlehem, Masada, Dead Sea, Nazareth, Sea of Galilee, Caesarea, Haifa, Acre and Tel Aviv and visit 65 sights. The tour is designed for the individual, as for groups, with or without a professional guide. The guide can speak English, German and Dutch. This is an Israeli Gem tour and that means that the guide will show you the special side for each sight of the tour. This is now the normal tourist tour.
- Classical Israeli-Gems Tour, 7 Days – from $537 per person all in. (10/4/2016) - This tour is for visitors to the Israel. It will bring you to Jerusalem, followed by Masada, Dead Sea, Nazareth, Sea of Galilee, Caesarea, Haifa, Acre and Tel Aviv and visit 44 sights. The tour is designed for the individual, as for groups, with or without a professional guide. The guide can speak English, German and Dutch. This is an Israeli Gem tour and that means that the guide will show you the special side for each sight of the tour. This is now the normal tourist tour.
- Dagon Grain Silo (8/18/2016) - Bread, pasta and baked goods are the basic foodstuffs for so many, yet how much do you know about the grain behind these staples? In the Dagon Grain Museum you will discover the different ways grain was cultivated and processed in pre-modern times. The exhibition includes an archeological collection on the subject of grain in Israeli history and a Jewish ethnological collection on the subject of bread.
- Doll Museum (8/18/2016) - The 1,000 dolls at the Doll Museum take visitors on a Jewish history tour from biblical times through the Holocaust, the founding of Israel, peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, to today – with fairytale characters such as Snow White and Sleeping Beauty included in the mix. The museum is located in the Castra shopping mall, which also hosts permanent art exhibitions; the largest tile mural in the world based on biblical themes; and the Castra Museum for archaeology.
- Ein Hod Artists Village (8/18/2016) - Charming, picturesque artist colony housed in old, Arab stone houses. On weekends (when it gets very crowded) resident artists open their studio/galleries. If you like art and hand made crafts you can spend a couple of hours meandering through the cobble stone streets, stopping in the galleries and small museums, have a drink at one of the little cafes. During the week it is much quieter and not all studios are open.It's a god idea to visit this place in the morning, especially at Friday morning. It's busy then. And you don't need to buy anything. And the real stuff is next to the markets, where you can drink and eat sweet food.
- Ein-Carmel (8/18/2016) - The site and workshops are always open but on the first Saturday of every month an art fair takes place at the site. Metal, wood and glass are just some of the materials used by the artists. The site is "kids-friendly" and while the adults wander around the workshops and sculpture garden, kids can chase the peacocks and enjoy nature. The beach is only a few minutes away by car so you can make a whole day out of it. Ein-Carmel offers something that most museums and art centers lost- simplicity, uniqueness, and pure art!! Highly recommended!!!!
- Elijah’s Cave (8/18/2016) - Elijah’s Cave in Haifa brings visitors both the sanctity of a Jewish holy place and the sharing of traditions for which Haifa is famous. The stairway to the cave, located off Allenby Street in lower Haifa, reveals spectacular vistas of the city.
- Eyal Golan Concert – November 2016 (9/6/2016) - After being reported as having the highest income of ALL Israeli singers in the year 2011, you can be sure that Eyal Golan is one of the best singers this country has ever seen. Famous for his Eastern style music (In Hebrew: Mizrahit), Eyal Golan is considered to be the top singer of this genre. Eyal Golan even had his own TV Reality Show “Eyal Golan Is Calling You” in 2011, where he was looking for the next star in the Mizrahit genre.
- Gan ha’Em or the Mother’s Park in Haifa (8/18/2016) - Gan Ha'em offers a corner of green piece of nature in the heart of Carmel Center. In 1913 a garden was set up in Haifa, consequently called Gan Ha'em (Mother's garden) with vast lawns offering you a place of serenity and calm right in the center of town, unless arriving on an evening a performance is held. A garden for the mother and the entire family.
- Haifa (8/18/2016) - Israel’s third largest city and one of its prettiest, Haifa has a lot to offer visitors. It has the country’s largest port, a particularly active beach and is the home of the World Center of the Bahai Faith. Surrounded by abundant nature sites, the city contains an interesting mix of modern neighborhoods and older districts; churches and mosques; mountain and sea.
- Haifa bay (8/18/2016) - The Bay of Haifa or Haifa Bay, formerly Bay of Acre, is a bay along the Mediterranean coast of Northern Israel. Haifa Bay is Israel's only natural harbor on the Mediterranean
- Haifa Cable Cars (8/18/2016) - Located at the tip of Haifa that juts out into the Mediterranean, are fabulous both as a quick method of transportation and as a tourist attraction.
- Haifa Film Festival 2016 – October 2016 (9/6/2016) - The Haifa International Film Festival is an annual film festival that takes place every autumn (between late September and late October), during the week-long holiday of Sukkot, in Haifa, Israel. The festival was inaugurated in 1983 and was the first of its kind in Israel.
- Haifa Flea Market (8/18/2016) - Recommended to arrive early as parking may be a problem later in the morning ----and good items may already have been found and bought!! I have bought numerous unusual finds here, and also new items which were probably end-of-the-range in defunked shops. One can find whole libraries of books, dinner services,wine glasses,pots and pans, many new and unused alongside specialized metal items, some furniture, old electrical goods and vintage clothes and household goods. There are two tiny cafes in the market and some Arab food stalls.
- Haifa Museum of Art (8/18/2016) - The Museum of Art, founded in 1951, exhibits works from all over the world, ranging in date from the mid-18th century to the present. It prides itself on its collection of 20th-century graphics and contemporary Israeli paintings, sculptures, grafts and photography.
- Haifa Trail (8/18/2016) - For the first time, Haifa is being linked into one circular 70-kilometer urban trek that zigzags along its streets, alleys, forests and shores. The trail, consisting of 21 individual sections, enables walkers and runners to experience Haifa's various landscapes and attractions, while visiting museums, cultural and religious sights, and experiencing the city’s unique urban wildlife.
- Hof HaCarmel beaches (8/18/2016) - These beaches are the coastal area on Haifa’s western side known for its beaches. In the summer, the Dado and Zamir Beaches are full of sunbathers, swimmers
- Horrific Battle by Elijah against Prophets of Baal (8/15/2016) - Horn of the Carmel, the monastery of the “place of burning” is the second largest site on the Carmel ridge and hovers at 497 meters above sea level. Here, an old monastery is situated belonging to the Carmelite Order, whose members arrived in the Holy Land from Europe in the 17th century. Map. According to … Continue reading Horrific Battle by Elijah against Prophets of Baal
- In the Footsteps of the Virgin Mary (8/30/2016) - Experience a spiritual journey of personal discovery and reaffirmation while tracing the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus, within the Biblical landscape in which she lived, rejoiced and sorrowed. This is not a tour, but a reference for All Who Seeks.
- Israel Electric Corporation Visitors’ Center (8/18/2016) - The Haifa power plant was the first electricity infrastructure in Israel. The visitors center film and exhibit take you back to the 1920s, when electricity was introduced to the country, through to today’s sophisticated structures, including stations producing electricity with natural gas.
- Israel tour (from Eilat, Tel Aviv, Sea of Galilee and Haifa) all in, 7 days including guide for $490 (9/21/2016) - Israel tour (from Eilat, Negev, Camel and Jeep tours, Tel Aviv, Nazareth, Sea of Galilee and Haifa) all in, 7 days including guide for $490
- Israel Tour replaced by the Israeli Gem Tour (10/5/2016) - After many years of having the normal, standard Israeli tour in our packages, we have decided to replace it with the Israeli Gem tour. Reason? You want to know the truth? We're extremely bored with this tour. The people receive sub-standard, not-quality product, while the Gem tour is exciting, nice, interesting and nobody falls asleep during that tour. This is the description of the 'new' Gem tour.
- Israel tour, 10 days, $637 per person, including guide (9/21/2016) - This 10 days tour brings you from Tel Aviv to the north of the country (Sea of Galilee, Nazareth, Tiberias, Haifa, Golan), followed by Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, Masada and Ein Gedi, using apartments and public transport and had a luxurious vacation for $637 per person, including guide. Just another example of a low-budget tour.
- Louis Promenade in Haifa (8/18/2016) - One of the loveliest places to walk and see in all of Haifa is the Louis Promenade on Mount Carmel. The promenade is conveniently located minutes away from numerous museums, shops and more.
- Madatech National Science Museum (8/18/2016) - Technology and Space Museum in Haifa - is a large museum crammed with hands-on activities that will please both adults and children.
- Marc Chagall Artists’ House (8/18/2016) - This gallery is named for the Jewish painter Marc Chagall, but you won’t find his works here. Instead, the Chagall Artists House serves as a home for local painters and sculptors. It hosts exhibits, cultural events, lectures, chamber music concerts, artists’ dialogues and more.
- Mount Carmel Lookout Point (8/18/2016) - Mount Carmel's proximity to the sea gives the mountain large quantities of precipitation, which enable the growth of well developed Mediterranean groves. That is why it is often referred to as the "evergreen mountain"
- National Maritime Museum (8/18/2016) - The National Maritime Museum, occupying a modern four-story building located near the entrance to Haifa South, this museum, founded by Arie Ben Eli, chronicles over 5,000 years of maritime history, with emphasis on the Eastern Mediterranean, cradle of shipping in the Western World.
- Park Balagan (8/23/2016) - Park "Balagan" includes a number of inflatable rides for different ages, 3-storey structure for guns fulgurant soft balls, a pool with a moving boat, Himalayan bridge, train, electric bikes, basketball, Sony play station 2, an indoor air-conditioned room, includes pool balls, playground (for small children), a room for infants, Lego, table football and hockey, as well as board games for older children and much more.
- Railway Museum (8/18/2016) - The Israel Railway Museum provides an historical overview of railways in the Holy Land and their part in the development of the country from the first line between Yafo and Jerusalem opened in 1892 under Turkish rule, through two World Wars, the British Mandate, and right up to the revitalized Israel Railways of the 21st Century.
- Reuben and Edith Hecht Museum (8/18/2016) - If you’re a coin buff, the best reason to visit the Hecht Museum is to see the collection of Jewish coins and inscribed seals from the Biblical period – said to be one of the largest and most important in the field. If you prefer archaeology or 19th and 20th century painting and sculpture, the Hecht Museum contains permanent displays of archaeology from the Israelite period.
- Sculptures Garden (Gan Hapsalim) (8/18/2016) - A Marvelous representation of Ursula Mahler's outstanding sculpture, that reveal humor and movement -most subjects are children and teens, The setting is wonderful with plenty of space to view each sculpture and see wonderful views of the Haifa port area! An interesting note the ultra religious Jewish community demanded that the statues wear pants for modesty. The sculptor handles this well. This is a place that I always take visitors to Haifa to see - It is often an undiscovered gem.
- St. John Chapel (8/18/2016) - The little St. John Chapel near Stella Maris. In Stella Maris you'll find a little church with some local archeological finds. Across the street from the church, you have fields stretching down the slope of the Carmel mountain.
- Technion (8/18/2016) - The Technion was to become unique worldwide as a university that would precede, create, shape, and protect a modern state. The cornerstone laid on April 11, 1912, set in motion a century of progress responding to national and global needs.
- Templer or German Colony? (8/18/2016) - Haifa’s German Colony is probably the culture and tourism center of this beautiful city. Located just beneath the Bahai Gardens, Haifa’s largest tourist attraction, the German Colony has been beautifully restored in recent years, and is now lined with trendy cafes, restaurants, and boutiques. A visit to Haifa is not complete without exploring the German Colony, and those who do visit take away great memories.
- Templers Cemetery in Haifa (8/18/2016) - Here are buried mainly deceased of the nearby German Colony (founded in 1868) and Carmelheim (the Carmel Center). From the main path (east-west) there is an axis path north-south, that divides the place into two sections and leading to a large monument commemorating the WW I German martyrs.
- The Tour from Hell (10/1/2016) - This tour was the tour from hell ... for me. For the group absolutely not, because they had loads of fun, costing me my hair of course. We are talking about a tour, which shows what Israel actually is, a mixture of culture, adventure, exploration and Israeli sights in all the major touristic centers of Israel. This article is part of the Tour Guide Diaries September 2016.
- Three Days in Haifa (9/29/2016) - Haifa is one of the Middle East's most picturesque cities, and it's target for this small mini-tour for this amazing place. This page contains enough information for you to have this tour and spend it full with interesting sights, events, smells, tastes and experiences for the whole family. Like with Tfzat, here is the guide insight information for you.
- Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art (8/18/2016) - Museum collection includes around seven thousand art exhibits: paintings, prints, sketches, illustrated screens, textiles, ancient decorated books, ceramics, metal works, ancient swords and applied arts objects from mostly the 14-19th centuries, and a Japanese art collection, (Netsuke) modern miniature models.
- Tomb of Avdimi of Haifa (8/18/2016) - “The Tomb of Avdimi is one of the hotspots for visitors to Haifa nowadays.” Avdimi is hailed as one of the greatest Jewish scholars during the third and fourth centuries. His traditional burial place lies in the ancient Jewish cemetery on 120 Yafo Street. The dome-covered tomb is a pilgrimage point for seekers of blessings such as good health.
- Universal House of Justice (Bahai) (8/18/2016) - The Universal House of Justice is the supreme governing institution of the Bahá'í Faith. It is a legislative institution with the authority to supplement and apply the laws of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, and exercises a judicial function as the highest appellate institution in the Bahá'í administration.
- Wadi Nisnas (8/18/2016) - Wadi Nisnas offers a cultural and culinary experience revealed in the neighborhood narrow alleys. A tour in Wadi Nisnas neighborhood will reveal to you old stone homes, narrow alleys and one particularly colorful market, and it is most recommended not to miss it when visiting the city.
What to do on Shabat in Haifa?
Thanks to Haifa’s multi-religious population, there’s plenty to do here on Friday night and Saturday. (Note that Christian areas, such as Wadi Nisnas, close down on Sunday). Public transport operated seven days a week during the British Mandate and it continues to do so today, at least to a certain extent.
Metronit line 1 runs at least twice an hour, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, linking everything along the coast between the Haifa-Hof HaCarmel and Haifa-Merkazit HaMifratz bus terminals, including Downtown (the Port Area), the German Colony and Hof HaCarmel Beach.
Various local bus lines also operate on Shabbat, as do buses from Haifa-Merkazit HaMifratz to Nazareth (one hour, hourly), where Saturday is pretty much a weekday (Sunday, however, is almost like Shabbat in Jerusalem).
Sheruts (shared taxis) link Hadar with Akko, whose Old City is completely open on Shabbat, and Nahariya. All museums, except the two maritime museums, are open on Saturday, though they tend to close an hour or two earlier than on weekdays.
Also open are the Baha’i Gardens, the Shrine of the Bab and the zoo. The market and shops in Wadi Nisnas stay open, as do almost all the eateries there and in the German Colony, Hadar and Carmel Center.
Also open for business: the flea market in Wadi Salib. The Druze village of Daliyat al-Karmel is at its liveliest and most crowded on Saturday.
Sleeping at or near Carmel Center – Map A6-B7
Haifa gets lots of Baha’i pilgrims, so it’s a good idea to reserve ahead, especially in July and August.
Not only is it cooler up on top of Mt Carmel, but the places we list are all within easy walking distance of heaps of restaurants and cafes.
- Molada Guest House (04-838 7958 (ext 102 or 103 after 3pm); http://www.rutenberg.org.il; 82 HaNassi Ave, Carmel Center; s/d/tr 250/350/520NIS, Map)
This spartan, college dorm–style guesthouse has 16 large rooms with single beds and desks. Reception is down the street at the Ruthenberg Institute for Youth Education (77 HaNassi Ave; staffed 8.30am to 3pm Sunday to Thursday). Reserve ahead by phone or through the website and they’ll explain how to pick up the key when reception is closed. Situated down a driveway across the street from the Dan Carmel Hotel.
- Beth Shalom Hotel (04-837 7481; http://www.beth-shalom.co.il; 110 HaNassi Ave, Carmel Center; s/d/tr NIS380/500/630, Map)
Run by a Lutheran group based in Zurich, this spotless guesthouse feels a bit institutional in a very Swiss sort of way. The 30 rooms are compact, with practical furnishings, fake parquet floors and tile bathrooms. Amenities include a small play area for kids, a small library and a comfortable lounge with complimentary hot drinks.
- Villa Carmel (04-837 5777; http://www.villacarmel.co.il; 30 Heinrich Heine St, Carmel Center; US$210-285, US$25 extra Fri, Map)
Set amid pine and cypress trees, this boutique hotel has a sophisticated, European feel. All 15 rooms are very comfortable, but deluxe rooms come with balconies. Amenities include a rooftop sundeck with hot tub and sauna, and massage treatments. Situated 800m southwest of Carmel Center.
- Crowne Plaza (1-700-700 884 ; http://www.crowneplaza.com; 111 Yefe Nof St, Carmel Centre; US$153-261, Map)
One of Carmel Center’s nicest hotels, with ravishing views, a spa and 100 rooms.
Sleeping at or near German Colony – Map B1-B2
- Haddad Guest House (077-201 0618; http://www.haddadguesthouse.com; 26 Ben-Gurion Ave, German Colony; 280-320NIS, 330-380NIS, tr 400-450NIS, Map)
In the middle of the German Colony, ensconced in a completely remodeled 19th-century house, this family-run hotel has four clean, comfortable rooms on the ground floor and seven more – with kitchenettes – on the 2nd floor (in between are several lawyers’ offices). Some of the bathrooms are showing signs of age. There’s free parking around back.
- Colony Hotel Haifa (04-851 3344; http://www.colony-hotel.co.il; 28 Ben-Gurion Ave, German Colony; s/d/tr/q 666/740/1050/1260NIS, Map)
Built in 1905 by the Appinger family, this Templer building and its old-time tile floors have been tastefully updated. The 40 attractive rooms have large windows, high ceilings and all-marble bathrooms, and some come with hot tub. Wheelchair accessible.
Sleeping at or near Hadar – Map D4
- Loui Hotel (04-432 0149; http://www.louihotels.com; 35 HeHalutz St, Hadar; without breakfast d US$70-90, US$125-105, Map)
This apartment hotel has friendly staff, six proper apartments and 35 simple, practical rooms – all with kitchenettes, many with atrocious chandeliers and exposed hot-water heaters, some with balconies. The rooftop lounge sports port views, tables, chairs and fake grass. Guests get free cellphones with unlimited calling within Israel.
- Art Gallery Hotel (04-861 6161; http://www.hotelgallery.co.il; 61 Herzl St, Hadar; s/d 450/500NIS, Map)
Original works by local artists adorn both the public spaces and the 40 rooms, which are smallish but otherwise pleasant and nicely outfitted. Opened as a small hotel in 1938, this creative hostelry has a small fitness rooms, massage and a 5th-floor deck with port views and picnic tables. Situated near the Metronit’s Talpiyot Market stop.
- Hotel Theodor (04-867 7111; http://www.theodorhotel.co.il; 63 Herzl St, Hadar; s/d/tr US$110/120/155, Map)
Occupying floors six through 17 of a Hadar tower, the 97 tourist-class rooms here are modern and midsized and come with minibars, all-tile bathrooms and great views from every angle. Reception is through the black-and-white-tiled shopping arcade and up one floor. Situated near the Metronit’s Talpiyot Market stop.
Sleeping at or near Port Area and Downtown- Map E2
This up-and-coming area started with one hostel back in 1999 and now has several. Located a few blocks north of the German Colony, it’s very near the Haifa Merkaz-HaShmona train station and is on Metronit lines 1 and 2.
- Port Inn (04-852 4401; http://www.portinn.co.il; 34 Jaffa Rd, Port Area; dm/s/d/tr/q 130/290/340/450/550NIS,dm without breakfast 90NIS, Map)
A magnet for budget travellers, this friendly guesthouse has helpful staff, a lovely back garden, a small kitchen and washing machines; the lounge and dining room are great for meeting other guests. The 16 rooms are spotless and colorful, if simply, furnished; dorm rooms have four, five and nine beds. Apartments across the street cost 400/500/600NIS for three/four/five people (breakfast not included).
- St Charles Hospice (04-855 3705; http://www.pat-rosary.com; 105 Jaffa Rd, Port Area; s/d/q 180/300/390NIS, Map)
Operated by the Catholic Rosary Sisters, this guesthouse occupies a beautiful building (built 1880) with a lovely garden out back. Rooms are simple but comfortably furnished and come with private showers. The gate is often locked – just ring the bell. Curfew is generally 11pm. Payment must be made in cash.
Sleeping at or near Stella Maris Area
- Stella Maris Hospice (04-833 2084; firstname.lastname@example.org; Stella Maris Rd; s/d/tr US$75/110/135, Map)
It’s not the most central place to stay in Haifa, but this Catholic guesthouse, run by Carmelite nuns and geared towards pilgrims, offers plenty of old-world charm (the building dates from about 1840). The 45 crucifix-adorned rooms are simple but spacious, and some offer sea views. Curfew is 10.30pm or 11pm; check in by 8pm. Situated through the green gates to the left as you face Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery; ring the bell to get in. Bus 115 links the guesthouse with Hadar and both central bus stations.
Shopping and markets
- ElWadi (052-269 2412; 36 HaWadi St, Wadi Nisnas; h9.30am-7pm Tue-Sat, 2.30-7pm Mon)
Run by oud player Bishara Deeb, this boutique of Middle Eastern music sells ouds (1000NIS to 6500NIS) from Nazareth, Egypt, Syria and Iraq, darbouka drums (160NIS to 1600NIS) with beautiful mother-of-pearl inlay, qanuns, bouzoukis, guitars and tambourines.
- Turkish Market (HaShuk HaTurki; Paris Sq, Downtown; h10am-4pm Fri)
A crafts market that draws artists and artisans from around the region.
- Flea Market (Shuk Pishpeshim; Kibbutz Galuyot St, Wadi Salib; Sat & Sun, Map.)
Stores and sidewalks display a range of (worthless) junk and (valuable) junque. Situated 700m southeast of Paris Sq.