Category Archives: Boutique hotel

Messianic Guest Houses throughout Israel

Awake Israel Guesthouse

Very large great home near beach with rooms large , private bathroom, bath, terrace refrigerator.For couples, individuals and or small groups, restaurants, buses and shopping convenient and very near.. Airport only 15 min. Can also take you for Biblical or prayer touring in van 6 people. Suggested rates, all donations go towards local messianic ministry only and are heavenly good rates! 1700 7 222 77 or www.awakeisrael.org

Beit Bracha Prayer and Retreat Center

This House of Blessing, as it is called, is literally ministering peace to Christians from around the world, people who come to trace the steps of the Master and discover within a short distance the very places where Jesus walked and taught: The Mount of Beatitudes, Capernaum, Tabgha…and much more.

Likewise, local residents often divided by religion and ethnicity flock to the House of Blessing because they are welcomed. One day it is an army commander seeking brief refuge from a war. Another, it is a Messianic Jewish couple celebrating their wedding; yet another, a group of young Arab believers there for Bible study and discipleship. Day after day, individuals, families and groups arrive from near and far for retreats, prayer tours, local gatherings and fellowship in this place that ministers the love of Jesus and fosters peace and reconciliation.


Beit Immanuel Guest House

Welcome to our Hostel and Guest House! Our accommodations are ideal for all travelers, couples, families with kids, as well as groups. We have private rooms with bathrooms as well as large dormitory rooms for younger people and those on limited budgets.We are a five minute walk from Tel-Aviv’s finest beaches, adjacent to the Ancient Port Jaffa, 25 minutes from the Ben Gurion International Airport, and only an hour from Jerusalem. Beit Immanuel is the perfect place to stay while touring the land of Israel on holiday, for special prayer tours or on short-term outreaches. We offer clean, quality rooms at very reasonable prices in a warm and friendly atmosphere you can trust. In our lobby there is free wireless internet!


Bethel Hostel

In the middle of the German Colony in Haifa, near the harbor and at the foot of Mount Carmel is the Bethel Hostel. We offer a centrally-located, clean and affordable accommodation for Christian groups and individuals who love the land…


Caesarea Villa

The Caesarea Villa offers you a luxurious time in the Central-Northern Coast of Israel.

The Villa is located in the center of Caesarea, in an exclusive and beautiful neighborhood, 5 minutes from the beach, ancient Roman ruins and an archeological park. A local trail takes you on a 5 minute walk to the sand dunes and private beach shoreline.

The Villa features a 3 story house with 8 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, 2 business lounges, outdoor gardens & patios, a salon, dining area, backyard, and fully equipped kitchen with all necessary cookware, dish-ware, silver-ware, and appliances provided. Free WiFi is included, a barbecue, backyard deck and garden.

The house is ideal for family vacations, tour groups, community club gatherings, and celebration/event hosting (for bar mitzvahs, weddings, etc). Each room can be booked individually or the house can be rented as a whole. The Villa is available for short term or long term rentals (3-6 months maximum).

Visit our website for photos, full description, rooms & rates, availability calendar, and more info about the surrounding area (including local attractions & activities).

http://guesthouseisrael.com/property/caesarea-villa

Contact: Sarah at +972.50.9471705 or Contact@GuestHouseIsrael.com


Christ Church Guesthouse

For visitors to Jerusalem needing a place to stay, nowhere compares to the historic environment of Christ Church Guest House.

Located just inside the Old City’s Jaffa Gate, the Guest House is an integral part of the Christ Church Ministry Centre.  Outside shopkeepers hawk their wares and tourists throng the Arab Market and flock to the Old City’s many historic sites. Within a short walk are Herod’s Palace/David’s Tower Museum, the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, the Garden Tomb, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Via Dolorosa, the Mount of Olives, and Mount Zion.

Inside a tranquil refuge greets the weary traveller! Your home in Jerusalem was built and is maintained in the Ottoman style; domed ceilings and Bethlehem stone floors; sympathetic modern decor sits alongside 19th century British colonial furniture and architecture.


Galilee Gateway

Our apartments are located in a serene Galilean village with a breathtaking view to the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan Valley, the Golan Heights and the Gilead mountains.

If you are exploring Israel for historical sites, our location offers you a central hub to base out of for your days in northern Israel. Within half an hour drive you can visit many different biblical sites like Capernaum, Mt. of Beatitudes, Beit Saida, Magdala, the Jordan River, the site of the Fish and the Loaves and the district of the Gaderene.

There are also various beautiful hikes in our neighbourhood as well as the hot springs of Hamat Gader and Tiberias.

Let us spoil you for a while in one of our gorgeous apartments, which enjoy complete privacy with a separate entrance!


Hotel Beth Shalom

Beth Shalom was first created as a branch of «Missionswerk Mitternachtsruf » (Midnight Call ), a worldwide ministry with headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. For Wim Malgo, the founder of the Beth Shalom guesthouse, the return of the Jewish people to the land and the establishment of the State of Israel were clear signs of Jesus’ imminent return. In his sermons he constantly pointed out that Israel is the visible sign of this event and that Christians should be awake and ready for it.

The hotel was destined to serve as an effective and practical sign of the closeness that believers have with Israel and the way how God is dealing with His people. From its inception it has served as a starting point of tours through the land, so that many visitors can see with their own eyes how the ancient biblical promises for Israel are being fulfilled, promises that God proclaimed through His prophets thousands of years ago.

The first Beth-Shalom Israel tours were arranged in 1970. Since that time we have organised tours for many thousand visitors. One of the annual highlights is our «Congress Tour» including a two-day conference on biblical prophecy. Moreover, the hotel Beth-Shalom is open for both groups and individuals.

The management of the hotel is in the capable hands of Fredi and Beate Winkler-Malgo. As a licensed tour guide Fredi Winkler has a profound knowledge of Israel’s multi-faceted history, and he has the unique gift of combining facts of the land’s biblical past with recent and future developments. Guided tours with him make a stay at the hotel Beth-Shalom an unforgettable experience. He is also willing to arrange personalized excursions and tours for individuals or small groups. A minibus with 13 seats is available for these tours.


Hotel Gilgal – Tel Aviv

Boutique Hotel near the beach

Hotel Gilgal, owned by Jacob and Elisheva Damkani, is located in the heart of Tel Aviv, on a quiet street, only two minutes’ walk from the beach. It is a unique and modern boutique hotel with a relaxing and intimate atmosphere. This 3 star superior hotel, places the utmost priority on providing personal and warm service to every guest along with modern accommodations and high standard of comfort.

Hotel Gilgal is located in the vibrant heart of Israel, on a quiet street in the center of the city of Tel-Aviv. Here in the vicinity of the shopping district, are well known restaurants and popular bars. Only a short walk away from the Mediterranean seashore and a bit of a longer walk away from the old city of Jaffa and the Tel Aviv Port.

Original works of art inspired by Bible stories decorate the hotel. Each of the rooms is named after a historical site in Israel. The site’s picture decorates the room and welcomes you into a journey in Israel. Guest can join weekly bible studies and services which are held at the “Gates of Heaven” and enjoy the biblical library in the lobby.


House of Peace Hostel

House of Peace is a unique place in Bethlehem, located in the heart of the city in a calm, friendly neighborhood. The Guest House is only a short walk from the Church of the Nativity ‘ the birthplace of Jesus ‘ as well as the market streets with local shops and restaurants.

We offer Dorm rooms, Private rooms, a Lounge, a Guest Kitchen with a fridge, gas stove, and a microwave, Great Balconies on each floor, and an Awesome Roof Top open to each visitor.

Please Note : Our 10 bed Mixed Dorm is on the outside Roof Top

We have special rates for groups and long term stays

House of Peace is within walking distance from the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem’s major market streets including grocery stores and the old cities of Bethlehem and Bet Sahour.

Just a few minutes driving distance are Solomon’s Pools, David’s Wells, the Shepherds’ Fields, the Milk Grotto, and Rachel’s Tomb.

Using public transportation you can easily travel to Jerusalem, Jericho, Ramallah, Ein Gedi, the Herodian, Hebron, and most other places in mid-Israel. Some of the above places in the West Bank we can arrange for private transportation.


Jerusalem Hills Inn

Jerusalem Hills Inn is a family-run bed-and-breakfast, conveniently located about 10 minutes from downtown Jerusalem.  It is 30 minutes to Ben Gurion Airport, 45 minutes to the Dead Sea, and 45 minutes to Tel Aviv.  This makes a great base…


Messiah Guest House

Great location on Mt. Zion, within walking distance to the Old City. Free parking in gated community. Wifi. Breakfast included and cooking priveleges  Close to shopping and public transportation Erev Shabbat meal available for small fee.


Poriya Illit Refuge

Peaceful getaway in the Galilee. Come hear the birds sing as you gaze at the mountains of  the Golan Heights and Sea of Galilee. No traffic noise!   Lovely 3 bedroom apartment, sleeps 7, in…


“Retro” A Holiday Apartment in Israel

The luxury, gorgeous and romantic, renovated in “Retro” style, apartment is in the best location – Scenic Sharon Beach of Herzliya Pituach. The location is close to the beach. To the west of the highways, right on the…


Shelter Hostel

Welcome to The Shelter Hostel in Eilat, where the rugged Negev Desert meets the beautiful Red Sea. Here, you can enjoy friendly and peaceful surroundings with an international atmosphere. In the Shelter, each guest feels like they’ve found a home away from…


Shoshana’s Bed & Breakfast

B&B in the Haifa Area  The view from the apartment faces the whole port of Haifa. Lovely neighborhood.  Bus accessible, within a 5 min walking distance.  Suitable for a single woman traveling.  Includes breakfast.


Yad Hashmona Country Hotel

  • Yad Hashmona
“Yad Hashmona” means Memorial to the Eight. Sometimes it is written as Yad Ha8.
The name was given by the founding settlers
in memory of eight Jewish refugees, who
escaped in 1938 from Austria to Finland, and who were surrendered by the Finns to the Gestapo in November 1942. It was a time when the Finnish government collaborated with Nazi Germany in opposition to the Soviet Union, in an attempt to recover the Karelia region – which Stalin had ‘stolen’ from the Finns in the “Winter War” of 1939/40.

The eight refugees were taken to Auschwitz, where seven of them
were murdered. The lone survivor, Dr. Georg Kolman, who lost his wife and baby son in the extermination camp, made aliya to Eretz Israel. The Finnish founders of the Moshav wished to somehow atone on behalf of their nation for the surrender of the eight to the Nazis, and they viewed their contribution to the Land of Israel as a public request for forgiveness.

Notwithstanding the Finnish government’s refusal to surrender all
of their Jewish citizens to the Germans, the action taken on Finnish
soil against the eight Austrian Jews remained a heavy burden on the
Finns’ conscience. Nevertheless, it wasn’t until November 2000 that the Finnish government and Church leaders dedicated a memorial to the eight in Helsinki. A monument was erected in the Observatory Hill, opposite Helsinki’s South Harbour, from where the refugees embarked on the death ship SS Hohenhörn. In the presence of representatives of the Jewish community in Finland, the Prime Minister, Paavo Lipponen, begged the forgiveness of the entire Jewish people.

Where to Sleep in Tel Aviv? Hotels, Hostels, Boutique Hotels

There are accommodation choices to meet every budget and style requirement in Tel Aviv, but the city’s ever-expanding range of boutique hotels includes the most alluring options. The best location for visitors is the wedge of the south city center bounded by Rothschild Blvd, Sheinkin St and Allenby St, which is richly endowed with cafes and restaurants. It’s also within walking distance of most sights. Further away, Jaffa offers some stylish boutique options and a vibrant Arab-influenced street life.

Click here for the Gallery.


Just like Sleeping in the Old City Jerusalem, this article is about hostels and hotels in Tel Aviv. I believe that all budgets are covered here and there is also a small review for each hotel.


The major hotel chains tend to locate their monoliths on Ha-Yarkon St overlooking the beaches, which is fine in summer but not particularly pleasant in the colder months. On-site parking is rare; instead, most hotels have deals with nearby car parks for around 65NIS per day. In Jaffa, there’s free street parking at the Old City during the day and overnight parking there for 10NIS.

You’ll need to book ahead at weekends and at most times of the year, particularly during July, August and festival periods such as Sukkot, Rosh Hashana, Hanukkah and Passover. During Tel Aviv Pride Week every hotel in the city is full – make your booking as far ahead as possible. Note that we have cited high-season prices in our reviews – low-season prices can drop by up to 50%.


City Center

Brown TLV (03-717 0200; http://www.browntlv.com; 25 Kalisher St; budget s US$135, d US$250-350) (map)
Attention all party animals: this ‘urban hotel’ is after your business. It may not be in the best part of town, but scenesters love the rooftop bar with its sundeck and hot tub, can’t wait for Tuesday’s art event in the downstairs cocktail lounge and adore  the weekend yoga sessions. Rooms are compact but stylish; some have hot tubs. Other enticements include free bike hire, on-site parking (35NIS per day) and vouchers for a complimentary breakfast in a range of chic Neve Tzedek cafes.

Brown TLV
Brown TLV

Center Chic Hotel (03-526 6100; http://www.atlas.co.il; 2 Zamenhoff St; s US$189, d US$210) (map)
The name is cringe-worthy, but this 50-room hotel in a Bauhaus-style building is worth considering for its central location, its well-equipped and attractively decorated rooms and its pleasant roof terrace. Breakfast (US$21) is served in the next-door Hotel Cinema, which is operated by the same company, and guests can also enjoy an complimentary early-evening aperitif there.

Center Chic Hotel
Center Chic Hotel

Hotel Cinema (03-520 7100; http://www.atlas.co.il; 1 Zamenhoff St; r US$240, ste US$300) (map)
Fans of the silver screen will appreciate the decor of this converted Bauhaus-era cinema. Public spaces feature old projectors and cinema memorabilia, and the 83 rooms have movie posters and lights made from tripods. The feel is functional rather than glamorous, though the complimentary early-evening aperitif on the roof terrace strikes a Hollywood note. There’s free parking and bike hire.

Hotel Cinema
Hotel Cinema

Lusky Hotel (03-516 3030; http://www.luskysuites-htl.co.il; 84 HaYarkon St; s/d/ste US$140/200/315) (map)
This family-run choice offers well-appointed rooms featuring large windows letting in lots of light. Most of these have kitchenettes, and a number have balconies with sea view – the pick of the bunch is undoubtedly the one-bedroom penthouse, which has a huge balcony overlooking the beach. Drivers will appreciate the free underground parking.

Lusky Hotel
Lusky Hotel

South City Center

Florentine Hostel (03-518 7551; http://www.florentinehostel.com; 10 Elifelet St, Florentin; dm 88NIS, d 280/300NIS, s/d with shared bathroom 240/260NIS) (map)
On first view, the less-than-pictureque district in which this hostel is located can be off-putting. However, it doesn’t take backpackers long to appreciate the location, which is close to Neve Tzedek, Florentin, Jaffa and the beach. Eight six-bed dorms and nine private rooms are on offer (all small), as is a rooftop bar and busy entertainment program.

Florentine Hostel
Florentine Hostel

Hostel Overstay (057-421 0200; http://overstaytlv.com; 47 Derech Ben Tsvi St; mattresses on roof 50NIS, dm 80NIS, d 260NIS) (map)
Friendly owner-manager Omer knows exactly what backpackers want from a hostel: cheap prices, secure and clean rooms, a communal kitchen, bathrooms with plenty of hot water, a laid-back lounge area (there’s a great one on the roof here) and a busy entertainment program. The location on a busy road in an industrial area southeast of Jaffa is the major drawback.

Hostel Overstay
Hostel Overstay

Beit Immanuel (03-682 1459; http://www.beitimmanuel.org; 8 Auerbach St, American Colony; s/d 200/390NIS) (map)
This convent-style hostel is located in an 1884 building opposite a pretty Lutheran church. Operated by an evangelical congregation known as CMJ, who aim to convince Jews that Jesus is the Messiah, its rooms are clean and comfortable and it has a private garden and a free car park. Unfortunately, the atmosphere isn’t particularly welcoming. The building once housed a fashionable hotel – German Kaiser Wilhelm II stayed here in 1898 – owned by Baron Plato von Ustinov, grandfather of the actor Peter Ustinov. It’s located on a quiet street just off Eilat St (the continuation of Jaffa Rd).

Beit Immanuel
Beit Immanuel

Hotel Montefiore (03-564 6100; http://www.hotelmontefiore.co.il; 36 Montefiore St; s/d 1420/1560NIS) (map)
A truly classy choice, the Montefiore occupies a heritage-listed 1920s villa in a tree-lined street running between Rothschild Blvd and Allenby St. The 12 elegant rooms have high ceilings, wooden floors, an armchair, a generously endowed bookshelf, double-glazed windows and a spacious bathroom. As is the case in the fashionable downstairs bar and restaurant, contemporary Israeli art adorns the walls.

Hotel Montefiore
Hotel Montefiore

Shenkin Hotel (03-600 9401; http://www.shenkinhotel.com; 21 Brenner St; s US$240-350, d US$300-380) (map)
Its mantra is ‘Locals Know Best’, and the excellent recommendations supplied by the Shenkin’s friendly staff certainly prove the point. A small and stylish place in a great location behind Sheinkin St, it offers four attractive room types, common areas showcasing local contemporary art, a roof terrace and a lovely rear terrace where complimentary tea, coffee and biscuits are available.

Shenkin Hotel
Shenkin Hotel

Rothschild 71 (03-629 0555; http://www.the-rothschild.com; 71 Rothschild Blvd; r US$300, ste US$350-750) (map)
Housed in a 1934 Bauhaus-style apartment block, this luxe hotel offers 32 sleek and stylish studios and suites with good amenities (Nespresso machine, iPod dock, work desk). Located in the centre of the inner-city action, it’s a great choice for couples as it doesn’t accept guests under 16, has an attached cafe and offers unobtrusive yet efficient service. Guests have free access to bicycles and a nearby gym. Breakfast isn’t included in the room charge, but croissants, biscuits, tea and coffee are available in the small lobby lounge.

Rothschild 71
Rothschild 71

Diaghilev (03-545 3131; http://www.diaghilev.co.il; 56 Mazeh St; d US$190-280) (map)
Paintings, prints and sculptures decorate every wall and common area in this ‘Live Art Hotel’, which occupies a handsome Bauhaus-style building off Rothschild Blvd. The spacious rooms have sitting area, kitchenette and separate bedroom. Top marks go to the quiet location, on-site parking (US$15) and helpful front-desk staff. Breakfast isn’t included in the room rate.

Diaghilev
Diaghilev

Rothschild Hotel (03-957 8888; http://www.rothschild-hotel.co.il; Rothschild Blvd; s 1070-1350NIS, d 1100-1400NIS, ste 1700-2800NIS)(map)
Ofra Zimbalista’s sculpture of choral singers on the exterior is but one of many whimsical features at this exemplary boutique hotel. Pre-dating Tel Aviv’s recent boutique-hotel boom, the Rothschild’s decor has worn extremely well and the place still leads the pack when it comes to service. The in-house restaurant serves what it describes as ‘Zionist cuisine with a French accent’.

Rothschild Hotel
Rothschild Hotel

Alma Hotel (03-630 8777; http://www.almahotel.co.il; 23 Yavne St; s/d deluxe US4420/470, executive US4440/490)(map)
The lovely 1920s building, theatrical decor and on-site restaurant and tapas bar are the main draws at this recently opened boutique choice just off Rothschild Blvd, but the rooftop bar and pretty rear courtyard garden provide additional inducement. Both room types offer plenty of space, a huge bed, an espresso machine and a lovely bathroom with luxe Sabon toiletries.

Alma Hotel
Alma Hotel

Townhouse Tel Aviv (03-944 4300; http://www.townhousetelaviv.com; 32 Yavne St; s/d US$200/240, ste US$350)(map)
Reasonable prices and a good location mean that this 19-room place deserves consideration. Though not as stylish as many other boutique hotels in this area, it offers comfortable rooms with large beds, airy white bathrooms and espresso machines, and has a small downstairs lounge where breakfast and all-day tea and coffee are served.

Townhouse Tel Aviv
Townhouse Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv Beach & Port

Beachfront Hotel (03-726 5230, 03-744 0347 ; http://www.telavivbeachfront.co.il; 78 Herbert Samuel Esplanade; dm US$30, s US$80, d with/without bathroom US$99/79)(map)
The beach-party vibe is one of many reasons to stay at this hostel opposite  Trumpeldor Beach. An array of clean, well-maintained dorms and rooms – some with views and private terraces – awaits, as does a rooftop bar serving free sangria nightly. Free wi-fi and beach towels are provided for guest use, but internet costs 60NIS per hour. No breakfast.

Beachfront Hotel
Beachfront Hotel

Hayarkon 48 Hostel (03-516 8989; http://www.hayarkon48.com; 48 HaYarkon St; dm 113NIS, r without/with bathroom 330/385NIS)(map)
Just two blocks from the beach, this hostel has decent facilities including communal kitchen, rooftop terrace and lounge with pool table and TV/DVD. Dorms are mixed and female-only, and the simple private rooms have double bed and cable TV. All dorms and half of the private rooms have air-con.

Hayarkon 48 Hostel
Hayarkon 48 Hostel

Embassy Hotel (03-679 9999; http://www.embassy-hotel-telaviv.co.il; 76 Hayarkon St; d US$150-160, d US$160-170, ste US$180)(map)
A decor reminiscent of Mad Men (series one) and a location directly opposite Trumpeldor Beach mean that this small hotel will please summer style-meisters whose budgets can’t quite stretch to the prices charged by boutique hotels in the Rothschild enclave. Opt for a suite if possible, as these are larger than the slightly cramped standards and come with a kitchenette.

Embassy Hotel
Embassy Hotel

Port Hotel (03-544 5544; http://www.porthoteltelaviv.com; 4 Yirmiyahu St; s/d US$150/160)(map)
This self-titled ‘mini hotel’ near the Old Port offers something that is very rare in Tel Aviv – stylish accommodation for those on a budget. Though small and without views, rooms are clean and comfortable. The roof terrace and proximity to the beach are major assets.

Port Hotel
Port Hotel

Mendeli Street Hotel (03-520 2700; http://www.mendelistreethotel.com; 5 Mendeli St)(map)
In summer, the living is both easy and glamorous at this hotel close to Bograshov and Frischmann Beaches. The hotel lobby and restaurant are design magazine chic, and the rooms are similarly stylish, with contemporary fittings and good amenities. The standard room is compact, so consider opting for a deluxe or superior version. Staff are young, charming and extremely helpful.

Mendeli Street Hotel
Mendeli Street Hotel

Shalom Hotel & Relax (03-542 5555; http://www.atlas.co.il; 216 Hayarkon St; standard/superior r US$263/303)(map)
Styled as a beach house – albeit one with 51 rooms – this spa hotel offers a free 15-minute massage to every guest at its rooftop treatment room. Rooms are attractive but small, so you should opt for a superior one if possible. Common areas include a rooftop sundeck and a welcoming lobby lounge where a delicious breakfast is served.

Shalom Hotel & Relax
Shalom Hotel & Relax

Art Plus Hotel (03-797 1700; http://www.atlas.co.il; 35 Ben Yehuda St; s/d/ste US$265/280/310)(map)
The interiors at this five-year-old art-themed hotel haven’t aged particularly well and are definitely in need of refurbishment. Fortunately, a new gym and spa provide compensation, as does the free parking and complimentary afternoon aperitif. There’s a roof terrace with sun lounges, though most guests prefer lazing on the nearby beach.

Art Plus Hotel
Art Plus Hotel

Jaffa (Yafo)

Old Jaffa Hostel (03-682 2370; http://www.telaviv-hostel.com; 13 Amiad St; dm US$25, s US$70-98, d US$80-105)(map)
Occupying an Ottoman-era house in the flea market, this hostel is definitely the most atmospheric option in its price range in Tel Aviv, but it’s not the most comfortable. Dorm beds are reasonably priced and there is a generous number of communal bathrooms, but the private rooms are overpriced. There’s a communal kichen and a roof terrace with sea glimpses. In summer, guests can sleep on the rooftop for US$21.

Old Jaffa Hostel
Old Jaffa Hostel

Old Jaffa Khan (052 866 6232; info@oldjaffakhan.com; 5 Mazar Taleh St, Old Jaffa; d US$350)
Hidden in an quiet enclave of artists’ studios in Old Jaffa, these studio apartments are perfect for a romantic getaway. Two have a sea view and two have private gardens – all are gorgeous. Amenities include hot tub, cable TV, music system, and kitchenette with kettle and espresso machine. Breakfast is served at a nearby cafe.

Old Jaffa Khan
Old Jaffa Khan

Market House Hotel (03-542 5555; http://www.atlashotels.co.il; 5 Beit Eshel St, Jaffa; s US$285, d US$300)(map)
There aren’t many opportunities in life to stay in a building incorporating remnants of a 8th-century Byzantine chapel, but that’s what’s on offer at this recently opened hotel in the middle of the flea market. Rooms are stylish, soundproofed and equipped with kettle and fridge; the standards are a bit cramped, so opt for a superior or penthouse if possible. Breakfast is enjoyed in the downstairs lobby and there’s a complimentary aperitif session in the upstairs lounge in the early evening.

Market House Hotel
Market House Hotel

The Tour from Hell

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.

I’m working on whole range of new tours, like the so called low-budget tours and the tours, which mixes several things together in a more exciting tour then currently exists, and this tour is one of them (for example, we go on concert in the evening, visit festivals, workshops, join even a work camp to dig into the ground with the archeologists, visit the sights, do a little gem-touring, etc.). We were out for 12 days, our group was 50 (originally 30) strong from all over the United States, ages were between 17 and 63, and the group arrived at the airport 13 days ago (from the date of publishing)(so I’m recovering already for three days).

Welcome to Israel from the Ben Gurion Airport
Welcome to Israel from the Ben Gurion Airport

We went to the airport in a very good mood, I had my junior guides with me (Igor and Lena or together “the Juniors”), our new bus and the driver with the nickname “the Beast” (he’s small and overly polite and never shows any emotion, so his nickname is “the Beast” and his real name is Eddie) to pickup our new group for our new mixture tours.

One thing about nicknames! I really didn’t gave them their nicknames. I’ve no nickname … except ‘the Sheik’, because of some small misunderstanding last August, where some Bedouin men on the goat market of Be’er Sheba were advising me to take ten women as wives to drink coffee with me, but nobody remembers that, thank goodness for that.

I double checked my nice, sign-board (so people know it’s us) I was holding with our names on it to welcome our group. I really don’t want to repeat that prank from the last time where the driver changed the text into “Here’s the Idiot” or something like that. The board covered our names nicely.

When the people started to stream out of the checkout I held up my board and voila! People noticed and streamed to us with smiles on their faces. I spoke before their flight with them in a conference call over the Internet and I’m happy they were in such a good mood.

Hi Sheik! How are you?!” one yelled cheekily with a big grin on his face (someone has been talking)! And soon we were almost overwhelmed with the thirty people … and some … more? We moved our group from the hall to let them drink something and have maybe a bite to eat, but I realized that the group was much larger then 30! I was already upset about the Sheik thing and now this. Maybe some people they met during their flight? The Juniors were already suspiciously grinning.

It turned out that at the last moment they found more people who wanted to join this tour, but ‘forgot’ to tell me. So, suddenly instead of 30 people, we have now 45 people! And not to forget the payments. And the reservations. And the bus! And my heart! And what’s left of my hair! And not to forget my blood pressure.

You know, I’m just 56 years old and I’m old man and it’s really in those times that I’m thinking about going on pension. Maybe a pension on an island somewhere with nobody else then my wife. Well … when my wife comes with me, then she wants her cats also to come with us. And her aquarium with those bl**dy fish too. And the kids too and they have dogs.

I suddenly realize that we have a problem. The hotel reservation with our hotel is in Jerusalem and I know that they have no additional place; they are booked full (they had place for us of course, but with 30 people, not 45). One of my Juniors grabbed my hand, which was busy to pull out my hair (not joking). While the group was amusing themselves, five more people came in to join the group (they said ‘sorry, we’re late’, carrying large boxes with toys they bought at Duty Free). That’s 50!

I called a colleague, who must find us a hotel in or near Jerusalem, who can place a group of 53 people that same day. In high season! I quickly broke the connection with the swearing colleague (he’s called ‘The Pipe’, because he smokes … guess what? Correct, large cigars).

Feeling better, I processed the extra people, gave a pep talk to the Juniors and moved the army … eh … group to the Beast (to our bus). The poor man’s face lit up when he saw us coming. When the people started to enter his bus, slowly his expression turned from happy into confused … then shocked and was trying to find me … only I was at a safe distance looking at the scene and waiting for the expected eruption of ‘the beast’ soon to be … erupting.

‘The Beast’ came out of his bus and walked straight at me. I pointed at the Juniors with my thumb and blamed them for the problem of overcrowding his new and shiny bus. Before the juniors could react and recover from the shock, I was already moving quickly into the bus to tackle the next problem. That’s called strategical thinking. I don’t remember who advised something like that, but what I do remember was the advise “… never admit you’re wrong, always blame the one next to you …”. It never works with my wife though.

So in the bus, I started to bring the problem in front of our group. They came up right before they left to Israel with an additional 20 people for the group without telling us and we have only reservations for 30 people and the hotel is booked full. There will be no chance in hell that we would find another hotel for 50 people  within a couple of hours, then maybe a beach … but no beach in Jerusalem. And not to forget the damage for the hotel if we cancel at the last moment, the money would not be returned and the tour would be more expensive for all of us.

So the group decided that they would room together for this night. Not that they cared, because it was a rowdy group, who would be visiting a pop-concert that night after dinner in the old city and I saw already several girls checking out several gents. I felt my blood pressure going up when I also saw the expression of several of the people of this group who were already grinning mischievously.

During our talk, my disgruntled Juniors were already in the bus and my driver in his place. When he started the motor, I could hear how upset he was. The bus is exactly for 53 people and we always have a golden rule to have a larger bus then we there are people in the group. Well, technically we still have (three reserve places), but it was not ideal. They will suffer during the tour.

While we were on our way to Jerusalem, I got a phone call with a swearing Pipe (the guide my age checking out hotels) and he said he moved the reservations to another hotel the days after for 52 people and claimed that I could sleep outside and hung up. Funny boy. Oof. Two things down. Now a bigger bus and that would be even perfect. So instead of chatting with ‘the Beast’ myself, I sent him a SMS. Much more manly, not? I could have sent the Juniors, but they were angry at me for some reason.

American Colony Hotel
American Colony Hotel

All went well during our trip to our hotel in Jerusalem. We only had four bathroom stops, so nothing more then normal in such situation (never happened like that, but who cares at that point). We arrived at last at the American Colony Hotel.

We all got out of our bus and we moved into our hotel, with a smiling hotel manager who was looking at us happily and welcomed us in Israel with open arms. That continued – smiling and all – until he realized that there were not 30 of us, but the whole “g&^^%^$^%$%#$%d” US army!  Suddenly he was not smiling anymore and I saw him already looking for me. The cowards of a Juniors ran already in the hotel, so I was forced to confront the manager myself.

After calming the manager down (and pay a fortune to do that), he clearly didn’t care anymore to welcome us to his hotel, he disappeared posthaste. After everyone was checked in, and disappeared into the hotel, I could sit in one of those easy sofas at last.

That evening I discovered that I forgot to check myself in. “Well, sorry, no place!” But I arranged a bigger bus (the bus was called Fat Bertha, like that super gun), the Beast was happy again. The Juniors were alright after they found out I slept on the sofa. What else? Oh yes. One woman hurt her foot during wild dancing (is the Polkas a dance?), another one discovered that she’s pregnant, one man thought he lost his way and was in the wrong hotel, while he was wandering around at the back of our hotel and we experienced yesterday evening an example what Israeli rock sounded.

The concert hall was a cafe and the rock turned out to be House Music, but that was really great and everyone danced and had fun. They didn’t want to go back to the hotel at the end, but the bouncers almost kicked us out. We took Fat Bertha and went back to our hotel, still singing and dancing.

I had pain in my head and my back was hurting because of sleeping on the sofa. The Juniors had fun and were in a good mood, the Beast was still polishing Fat Bertha and our group was in a super good mood after a great breakfast (I ate chips). At the end we moved into Fat Bertha and drove to the Jerusalem markets and shopping streets. Why? We rented off a restaurant for the day, where everyone could demonstrate that they wanted to cook and we suppose to eat what the volunteers would prepare for us. The Chef of the restaurant refused to allow us ‘barbarians‘ in his kitchen alone, so he would stand guard (in the middle of his kitchen).

I skip a couple days of the tour and move to the 5th day, the day that we go to Be’er Sheba. But one more remark about the cooking in the restaurant. It was so much fun and we ate so well that evening after loads of shopping (we went back three times to the market and it was a fortune what they bought). The group didn’t burn down his kitchen nor the restaurant! And the cook hid the large knifes for some reason.

We arrived at our usual hotel in Be’er Sheba. Be’er Sheba is a very nice place, but the choice in hotels is limited and they can’t be compared with the hotels in Eilat, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. But this Be’er Sheba hotel would do. And who was there waiting for us while we were checking in the hotel? Right, the same worried looking manager from last August, who was confronted with the fact that there were two small goats running rampage in his hotel in the middle of the night in August and one totally destroyed (or better eaten) room.

Bedouin Goat Market
Bedouin Goat Market

The manager didn’t look pleased. He asked me though if we plan to go to the goat market today. Of course we would go to the goat market and not to forget the chicken market too. And this time I arranged also a small tour on camels and we would maybe see a small auction of buying and selling camels (and we have also chicken speed running organized). I told him that, and he really didn’t look pleased. I guaranteed him that we this time inspect everyone coming in and out of the bus for hidden goats, chickens and camels. The only thing he said was that he would do the same when we would come back to the hotel.

I was happy at that time, because we would only stay one night at his hotel, before we would spent two days in the desert with carts and camels. I really didn’t look forward to meet Fred the Camel again, so I could avoid having a camel tour in Eilat.

Market in Be’er Sheba
Market in Be’er Sheba

We indeed went to the markets in Be’er Sheba (the normal one, and the goat and chicken markets). Nothing exciting happened, except that our group was very hard to keep together (50 rowdy people in a very good mood with loads of energy) with three guides (the Juniors and I). We didn’t pickup any other group, they didn’t buy any goats or chickens, nobody got upset, but there were some people who bought some strange Bedouin dresses for women for some reason. We also tried the camels. That was so much fun that others have problems climbing on camels like I usual have. But no auction of camels, otherwise I could change my Juniors for a camel or three goats maybe, damn that manager.

Bedouin Goat Market
Bedouin Goat Market

We met those same Bedouin men who were asking about my 10 women and again explained to the group that I’ve a harem and 20 children, but I got my coffee. That reminded me about ordering the evening amusement and this time we had real Bedouin musicians not such phony flop of a so called d^&&*^*%&^$%^ magician and his sexy belly dancer like back in August during the goat disaster. The Juniors were giggling! I was highly suspicious seeing that, but at that moment my attention was drawn to my camel, who was trying to bite me. All camels in the world only try to bite me and nobody else.

In the evening back to the hotel, we met the manager, who was indeed inspecting everyone (I forgot to check anyone for hidden goats, chickens and camels), but he obviously not. After that, he insisted in inspecting Fat Bertha and when The Beast finally understood what the manager wanted, they together almost tore the bus apart for their ridiculous quest for goats, chickens and camels! Honestly, who do they think we are?

That evening there was no original Bedouin music, but that belly dancer and her bl**dy so called magician who was loudly calling me “The Sheik” again. I will get my revenge on my Juniors for that!

But thank goodness, I slept wonderful (even when the Beast was snoring loudly), no goats on the rampage, but I heard in the morning that the manager couldn’t sleep all night.

Ramon Crater
Ramon Crater

The next day we visited the Ramon Crater and met our Bedouins. Guess who? My old Bedouin man and his many children and camels and … Fred the Camel. Fred the Camel was the camel only for me, according the Bedouin. Damn him and his camel. The same for the Juniors. I will cook them and feed them to Fred the camel. Never met something so smelly and with such awful sounds he makes when he sees me. Always in a bad mood too. And he bites. And tries to throw me off when I finally manage to climb on his back.

Experience Eilat's Mountains

We moved to the desert with the group on the back of the camels. I knew that the Bedouin with his many children were waiting somewhere with jeeps. They suppose to pick us up tomorrow evening for a big party with the Bedouins. That evening we finally could sleep at 3 am, after I translated again the campfire stories of the old Bedouin. Instead of his usual horror theme, he was telling about the old caravans of ancient times, who were stranded in the middle of the desert and were forced to eat their own camels … and scorpions and other insects to survive.

Experience Eilat's Mountains

I changed the story and translation somewhat (the man speaks only Arabic) and told the group that camel meat tasted just like what we all ate that evening (we ate lamb). The woman who discovered (at the beginning of the tour) that she was pregnant started to puke and the Bedouin who didn’t understand English was looking at me and pointed threatening at Fred the camel and shook slowly his head, frowning and all that jazz.

So he was telling another story about the young Bedouin woman, who fell in love with a boy her age from another tribe, while her father promised her to someone else (three times her age). He translated dutifully, but every time I wanted to make his story sound more … juicy (?), the old Bedouin man (who didn’t understand English?) was pausing and frowning at me. No fun like that.

Under the stars of the desert, it would quiet anyone, so impressive it was. The old Bedouin suddenly had deep knowledge of the stars and demonstrated it. He was trying to explain to us how you could navigate in the desert and with only the stars.

The next morning was a disaster. Fred the camel managed to bite me straight in my behind and couldn’t sit very well any more after that. According Junior, Fred’s teeth were visible for days after that. It seems to be funny for the group though.

Eilat
Eilat

When we finally arrived at our hotel in Eilat, I could find relieve there. For whatever reason, the group tipped the Bedouin man extra! Not fair. They can’t handle some teasing? Especially when everyone was calling me Sheik.

Hilton Eilat Queen Of Sheba Hotel
Hilton Eilat Queen Of Sheba Hotel

I skip the tour here to the tenth day and we are in Jericho. Until then we survived, we didn’t pick additional guests up in our group, we didn’t loose anyone, neither additional goats or any other animals, my behind was alright again and could sit (tenderly). We still were using Fat Bertha the bus and the Beast our driver was still happy. I couldn’t exchange my juniors for camels or goats, so they were still there, looking wearily at me when I could prank them back.

Tel al-Sultan near Jericho
Tel al-Sultan near Jericho

But now we arrived in Jericho and that’s a special place in Israel. Not only it’s the oldest place you can find anywhere in Israel and surroundings, but also very mysterious. There were so many cultures and civilizations arriving and disappearing in Jericho over the many thousands of years, nobody really could even count them. There are hundreds of layers of different buildings built once in Jericho and the archeologists are still counting.

The Canaan were a bunch of wild people, who believed in all kind of gods, who are now classified as demons or devils. So everyone was interested in my horror stories and that I did. So they were already in the proper mood for the Mount of Temptation!

Mount of Temptation
Mount of Temptation

Then we came to the Mount of Temptation near Jericho, where everyone was highly impressed about my strange stories. They wanted to see proof and so we did. We didn’t take the cable cars but walked and climbed the mountain.

Mount of Temptation, the mountain and the monastery
Mount of Temptation, the mountain and the monastery

Half way some people were murmuring something bad of course, until we reached the promised caves and showed them the scratches the devil once had made thousands of years ago, when Jesus was tempted by the same devil to make bread from stone. I showed them the caves of the hermits of old, who dedicated their lives to live there and to pray, never talked to anyone else anymore for more then 40 years.

Or the Hermit who became mad after seven years in a narrow cave and who received food from people from Jericho. He became too fat to exit his cave and he died there. His spirit still haunts the cave, some believe.

Mount of Temptation, inside in the monastery
Mount of Temptation, inside in the monastery

When we finally arrived at the Monastery, everyone was looking a bit sketchy, especially my two Juniors. The Monastery is amazing where you can see the personal cells of the Monks still working there. It’s still not too late to allow the Juniors to dump them there for some month or so, I was joking of course, but one Junior thought I meant it. Ha!

At day 12 we said good bye to everyone. All went well after the disasters at the beginning when suddenly our group grew from 30 till 50. Nobody bought or smuggled any goat or camel, nobody destroyed or ate a room, I got finally my revenge on my Juniors and I had one happy large group of people who felt bad that they needed to go home.

I still have my hair (mostly), I will not see Fred the camel for at least one week and I’m dead on my feet. Now I go back home to see if my wife is still there.

I also discovered that Eddie (‘The Beast’) decided to sleep in Fat Bertha his new bus when I finally came home. My wife hid my phone after that, so I could not help him out. I discovered the day after that he changed our old new bus with Fat Bertha and the bus company was not happy.

Three Days in Haifa

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.

Small history

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.

City map of Haifa
City map of Haifa
  1. 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.

    Bahai Gardens and Shrine
    Bahai Gardens and Shrine
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

    Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art
    Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art
  4. 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.

    Al-Jarina Mosque
    Al-Jarina Mosque
  5. 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.

    Beit HaGefen
    Beit HaGefen
  6. 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.

    Gan ha’Em (“Mother’s Park”)
    Gan ha’Em (“Mother’s Park”)
  7. 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 City Museum
    Haifa City Museum
  8. 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.

    Haifa Museum of Art
    Haifa Museum of Art
  9. Istiqlal Mosque (Independence Mosque)
    Built in 1926, this mosque is still used for worship.

    Istiqlal Mosque
    Istiqlal Mosque
  10. 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.

    Madatech National Science
    Madatech National Science
  11. 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.

    Mané-Katz Museum
    Mané-Katz Museum
  12. 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.

    Museum Without Walls
    Museum Without Walls
  13. 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.

    Universal House of Justice
    Universal House of Justice
  14. 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).
    Viewing Balcony
    Viewing Balcony

    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.

THE BAHA’I

Bahai Gardens and Shrine
Bahai Gardens and Shrine

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).

Bahai Gardens and Shrine
Bahai Gardens and Shrine

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.

Bahai Gardens and Shrine
Bahai Gardens and Shrine

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).

Bahai Gardens and Shrine
Bahai Gardens and Shrine

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.

Bahai Center and Gardens Acre
Bahai Center and Gardens Acre

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.

Bahai Gardens and Shrine
Bahai Gardens and Shrine

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.

German Colony

German Colony
German Colony

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.

German Colony
German Colony

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.

Activities

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.

    Beat
    Beat
  • 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 Cinematheque
    Haifa Cinematheque
  • 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.

    Haifa Auditorium
    Haifa Auditorium
  • 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).

    Capoeira Angola Israel
    Capoeira Angola Israel
  • 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.

    Bat Galim Beach
    Bat Galim Beach
  • 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.

    Hof HaCarmel beaches
    Hof HaCarmel beaches
  • 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.

    German Colony
    German Colony
  1. 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.
  2. 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."
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.!
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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!!!!
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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
  25. 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
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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"
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. 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.
  49. 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
Metronit

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).

Sherut Service
Sherut Service

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.

Wadi Salib market
Wadi Salib market

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.

Mount Carmel Lookout Point
Mount Carmel Lookout Point

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.

    Molada Guest House
    Molada Guest House
  • 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.

    Beth Shalom Hotel
    Beth Shalom Hotel
  • 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.

    Villa Carmel, Haifa
    Villa Carmel, Haifa
  • 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.crowne-plaza-haifa

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.

    Haddad Guest House
    Haddad Guest House
  • 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.

    Colony Hotel Haifa
    Colony Hotel Haifa

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.

    Art Gallery Hotel
    Art Gallery Hotel
  • 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.

    Hotel Theodor
    Hotel Theodor

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).

    Port Inn
    Port Inn
  • 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.

    St Charles Hospice
    St Charles Hospice

    St Charles Hospice
    St Charles Hospice

Sleeping at or near Stella Maris Area

  • Stella Maris Hospice (04-833 2084; stelama@netvision.net.il; 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.

    Stella Maris Hospice
    Stella Maris Hospice

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.

    Turkish Market
    Turkish Market
  • 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.

    Flea Market
    Flea Market