Tag Archives: Haifa

National Parks Tour in Northern Israel, 14 days

Tel Dan Nature Reserve
Tel Dan Nature Reserve

This is the tour about the National Parks, but this time we focus on North of Israel. What’s also different in this itinerary is, that I added the link to the Google Maps for each of the parks, because I know that many people simply go by themselves (and why not?).

What is the program for this tour? We will meet one of the first Homo Sapiens at Nahal Me’arot, we see the wild nature at Ein Afek, the ancient city Tel Megiddo, water, waterfalls, streams at Nahal Betzet and Nahal Kziv with castles, Crusaders, grottoes, mountains, forests, cave-fortresses, and much more.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival
Day 2 – Nahal Me’arot Nature Reserve, Mt. Carmel – Haifa
Day 3 – Ein Afek Nature Reserve, Western Galilee – Haifa
Day 4 – Tel Megiddo National Park, Jezreel Valley – Haifa/Afula
Day 5 – Nahal Betzet, Upper Galilee – Nahariyya
Day 6 – Nahal Kziv, Upper Galilee – Nahariyya
Day 7 – Rosh HaNikra, Western Galilee – Nahariyya
Day 8 – Mount Meron, Upper Galilee – Tiberias/Nahariyya
Day 9 – Nahal Ayun, Upper Galilee – Tiberias/Nahariyya
Day 10 – Arbel National Park and Nature Reserve, Upper Galilee – Tiberias
Day 11 – Tel Dan Nature Reserve, Upper Galilee – Tiberias
Day 12 – Mount Arbel, Lower Galilee – Tiberias
Day 13 – Mount Tabor, Lower Galilee – Tiberias
Day 14 – Departure

You stay at hotels at the following locations:
Day 1 – Arrival
Day 2 – Haifa
Day 3 – Haifa
Day 4 – Haifa/Afula
Day 5 – Nahariyya
Day 6 – Nahariyya
Day 7 – Nahariyya
Day 8 – Tiberias/Nahariyya
Day 9 – Tiberias/Nahariyya
Day 10 – Tiberias
Day 11 – Tiberias
Day 12 – Tiberias
Day 13 – Tiberias
Day 14 – Departure

What do you see?

  • Day 1Arrival
  • Day 2Nahal Me’arot Nature Reserve – Prehistoric human beings
  • Day 3Ein Afek Nature Reserve – Swamps
  • Day 4Tel Megiddo National Park – Ancient city-state
  • Day 5Nahal Betzet – Stream in the Upper Galilee
  • Day 6Nahal Kziv – Stream and Crusader castle, Montfort
  • Day 7Rosh HaNikra – Spectacular grottoes
  • Day 8Mount Meron – Mount Meron is the highest peak in Israel
  • Day 9Nahal Ayun – Streams, waterfalls
  • Day 10Arbel National Park and Nature Reserve – Mountain with beautiful high cliffs
  • Day 11Tel Dan Nature Reserve – Ancient northernmost city of the Kingdom of Israel
  • Day 12Mount Arbel – Mountain with deep cliffs, trails, grottoes and cave-fortress
  • Day 13Mount Tabor – Hiking around the mounting
  • Day 14Departure

Day 1 – Arrival

  • For those who are arriving in Israel, will be picked up from the airport by the guide and driver from Shalom Israel.
  • For those, who ordered the hotels, they will be driven by bus to their hotel and for this tour it means Haifa.

During the drive to your hotel, the bus will stop multiple times if the group requires so. One stop is for stretching your legs and to be fed real food and drink. That is included in the tour! So, please don’t spend your money on that.

Depending when you all arrive at your hotel, we will start this tour with a special dinner, and a special evening tour. This depends on when the group is complete on this day of arrival. But what’s for sure, you are going to meat the guides. If the group is small, you have two guides, otherwise you have four guides.

Active holidayOne word of warning. This is a tour, which focusing itself on visiting parks and reserves and that means hiking. Not extreme hiking, but you walk a lot!

Each day after the breakfast we leave (at about 9 AM) and we are back between late afternoon/ early evening (6-7 PM). Some days you might be earlier back to your hotel, in those cases special evening tours are organized for those who still have the energy.

Lunch is normally served in a restaurant. But many days this is impractical or even impossible. Instead at those days you will be offered a picnic or barbecue. Breakfast is served at the hotel and dinner is served at the hotel or restaurant.

icon day toursSnacks are available in the bus throughout the day (and one of the guides carries always something) (fruit, sweets, chocolates, etc.). Water is being delivered before and during the tour by us. We have many bottles of water for you to take. Hats we have too, because it’s likely that it’ll will be hot! And we have reserve shoes in case your will break during the tour.

Day 2 – Visit the first human a the Nahal Me’arot Nature Reserve

(Click here for the Google Map)

Outside the cave is a model of a skeleton illustrating the burial practices of members of Natufian culture, who lived some ten thousand years ago.

Members of five prehistoric cultures inhabited the caves at Nahal Me`arot: Acheulian culture (150-200 thousand years ago), Muarian culture (100-150 thousand years ago), Mousterian culture (40-100 thousand years ago), Uriniacian culture (12-40 thousand years ago), and Natufian culture (9-12 thousand years ago). Remnants from the Natufian period were found at the mouth of Stream Cave, where a small village served as a permanent settlement. During this period, people began to hunt and gather in an organized fashion, the precursor to planting crops and domesticating animals. Art objects, such as stone carvings and strings of shells, were produced during this time.

In the spring, the reserve is awash with flowers. Signposted trails from the parking lot lead to a number of exquisite spots on the Carmel Mountain Range. At the reserve`s guidance center, visitors can purchase guidebooks and maps and perhaps ask the wardens about the hikes they would most highly recommend.

We return to our hotel in Haifa.

Day 3 – Look at the amazing and fast disappearing swamps and it’s beautiful nature at the Ein Afek Nature Reserve

(Click here for the Google Map)
Crusaders, Water

When the water level rises in the winter, birds flock to the reserve: pelicans, cranes, pygmy cormorants, gray herons, moorhens, European coots, and black-winged stilts, to name just a few. In the winter and spring, the reserve is carpeted with flowers. A fine spot for admiring the blossoms is Tel Afek, situated on a low sandstone hill on the edge of the reserve. On the northern slope of Tel Afek is a two-story fortified building from the Crusader period, where a film about the flora and fauna in the reserve is now screened. A flour mill once operated on the lower floor of the building. The roof affords a magnificent view of the surrounding area.

In April 1991, seven buffalo were brought to the reserve from the Hula Nature Reserve and placed in a pen with electric sensors, to prevent them from wandering into the swamp. From time to time they can be seen grazing or stretching out in the specially dug pond.

The guidance center at the reserve provides information in Hebrew and Arabic to members of the general public, students, and educational institutions about the Land of Israel, ecology, wetlands, and biotopes.

We return to our hotel in Haifa.

Day 4 – Ancient city with thousands of years of history at Tel Megiddo National Park

(Click here for the Google Map)

The site is now protected as Megiddo National Park and is a World Heritage Site.


Megiddo was a site of great importance in the ancient world. It guarded the western branch of a narrow pass and trade route connecting Egypt and Assyria. Because of its strategic location, Megiddo was the site of several historical battles. The site was inhabited from approximately 7000 BC to 586 BCE (the same time as the destruction of the First Israelite Temple in Jerusalem by the Babylonians, and subsequent fall of Israelite rule and exile), though the first significant remains date to the Chalcolithic period (4500-3500 BCE). Megiddo’s Early Bronze Age I (3500-3100 BCE) temple has been described by its excavators as “the most monumental single edifice so far uncovered in the EB I Levant and ranks among the largest structures of its time in the Near East.” The first wall was constructed in the Early Bronze Age II or III period. However, the town experienced a decline in the Early Bronze-Age IV period (2300-2000 BCE), but the city was somewhat revived around 2000 BCE. Following massive construction, the town reached its largest size in the Middle Bronze-Age, at 10-12 hectares. Though the city was subjugated by Thutmose III, it still prospered, and a massive and incredibly elaborate palace was constructed in the Late Bronze Age. The city was destroyed around 1150 BCE, and the area was resettled by what some scholars have identified as early Israelites, before being replaced with an unwalled Philistine town. When the Israelites captured it, though, it became an important city, before being destroyed, possibly by Aramaean raiders, and rebuilt, this time as an administrative center for Tiglath-Pileser III’s occupation of Samaria. However, its importance soon dwindled, and it was finally abandoned around 586 BCE. Since that time it has remained uninhabited, preserving ruins pre-dating 586 BCE without settlements ever disturbing them. Instead, the town of Lajjun (not to be confused with the el-Lajjun archaeological site in Jordan) was built up near to the site, but without inhabiting or disturbing its remains.
Megiddo is mentioned in Ancient Egyptian writings because one of Egypt’s mighty kings, Thutmose III, waged war upon the city in 1478 BCE. The battle is described in detail in the hieroglyphics found on the walls of his temple in Upper Egypt.
Mentioned in the Bible as “Derekh HaYam” or “Way of the Sea,” it became an important military artery of the Roman Empire and was known as the Via Maris.

Famous battles include:

  1. Battle of Megiddo (15th century BCE): fought between the armies of the Egyptian pharaoh Thutmose III and a large Canaanite coalition led by the rulers of Megiddo and Kadesh.
  2. Battle of Megiddo (609 BCE): fought between Egyptian pharaoh Necho II and the Kingdom of Judah, in which King Josiah fell.
  3. Battle of Megiddo (1918): fought during World War I between Allied troops, led by General
  4. Edmund Allenby, and the defending Ottoman army.

Kibbutz Megiddo is nearby, less than 1 kilometer (0.62 mi) to the south. Today, Megiddo Junction is on the main road connecting the center of Israel with lower Galilee and the north. It lies at the northern entrance to Wadi Ara, an important mountain pass connecting the Jezreel Valley with Israel’s coastal plain.
In 1964, during Pope Paul VI’s visit to the Holy Land, Megiddo was the site where he met with Israeli dignitaries, including Israeli President Zalman Shazar and Prime Minister Levi Eshkol.

We return to our hotel in Haifa or Afula.

Day 5 – Beautiful nature and loads of water to hike through at Nahal Betzet

(Click here for the Google Map)
Caves, nature

The Betzet Stream runs through limestone, and is fed by the Karkara springs. The national water company pumps the water from the stream, and in 1999 the stream dried up. Water is being pumped back into the stream, but the ecosystem is being damaged by the poor quality water.
Many caves were formed in the limestone by the stream. These include the Keshet Cave and the Namir stalactite cave, both within the Betzet nature reserve. A few ancient sites can also be found within the nature reserve.
There are a number of hiking trails which run through the reserve. This trail takes you from Granot HaGalil to Moshav Ya’ara, and will take about half a day. The trail is of medium difficulty. The trail is the blue trail, marked 2206 on the trail maps.

The hike begins at the Sarakh stream, which is the main tributary to the Betzet Stream. The Sarach Stream, is named for the Sarach or ferns which adorn the creek walls. The trail passes the De’ne’ilah ruins.  The De’Ne’ilah ruins are the remains of a farm from the Roman and Byzantine periods, from the 1st-7th centuries CE.  A number of oil presses were excavated at the site.

The hike then passes the Sarakh stalactite cave; the cave is closed during the bat hibernation season in the  winter, but is otherwise open to tourists. The Sarach cave is a large karstic cave; the first 10 meters are relatively easy and a stalagmite stands in front of a wall.  If you wish to continue further into the cave, climb the carved stairs in the wall, using the handholds as you climb. At the top of the climb, the left side is closed and reserved for the bats. On the right side is a narrow and steep passage; handholds can be found on the left. This leads to a narrow tunnel where you will need to crawl. This leads to an exit at the top of the cave; head back down to the stream with care.

After the cave, the Sarakh stream leads into the Betzet Stream. A pool of water amongst oleanders signals the Karkara springs. The pumped-in water runs from here until a large pool, which used to overflow with water.
Continue on the trail, past the turn to the Keshet Cave and the turn to Kibbutz Eilon and the Mekorot water pumping station.
The trail leads past the Karkara ruins, a Byzantine period settlement with a restored oil press, and continues on leading to Moshav Ya’ara.

We return to our hotel in Nahariyya.

Day 6 – Between the amazing nature and water and forests you see the ruins and castle of the old Crusaders at Nahal Kziv

(Click here for the Google Map)

640px-Nahal_KzivMost of the stream is part of a nature reserve that bears its name, and includes the Montfort Castle and other Crusader-period ruins. A stone carving of a man, 1.78 m high can be found near where the Abirim stream empties into Nahal Kziv. The carving is thought to date from the Hellenistic period.
Flora in the area includes Lilium candidum, Rubus sanguineus, Nerium oleander, Platanus orientalis, Artemisia arborescens, and Ferns. Persian fallow deer were brought to the area in 1996, as part of an effort to prevent extinction of the species. Other wildlife belonging to the nature reserve include golden jackals, wolves, wild boar, and the rare striped hyena.

We return to our hotel in Nahariyya.

Day 7 – Unbelievable beautiful grottoes hidden between breathtaking nature at Rosh HaNikra

(Click here for the Google Map)

The Rosh HaNikra grottos are cavernous tunnels formed by sea action on the soft chalk rock. The total length is some 200 metres. They branch off in various directions with some interconnecting segments. In the past, the only access to them was from the sea and experienced divers were the only ones capable of visiting. Today a cable car takes visitors down to see the grottos. A kibbutz, also named Rosh HaNikra, is located nearby. The Israeli city Nahariya is located about 10 km (6 miles) south of Rosh HaNikra.

The former British Cairo-Istanbul railway tunnel photographed in 1964.
The Book of Joshua mentions “Misraphot Mayim” as a place south of Rosh HaNikra that was the border of the Israelite tribes of the time (13:6). Jewish sages referred to the cliff as “The Ladder of Tyre” (Hebrew: sullam Tzor?). The site was later renamed A-Nawakir (“the grottos”) after an Arab conquest. The present name, Rosh HaNikra, is Hebrew for the later Arabic name “Ras-an-Nakura”.
Throughout human history, Rosh HaNikra served as a passage point for trade caravans and armies between Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Egypt, and Africa. During World War II, British Commonwealth forces blasted railway tunnels through the nearby rocks for trains running along the Cairo-Istanbul line. A railway bridge was destroyed by Jewish underground fighters prior to 1948 during the Night of the bridges operation. The tunnel portal leading to Lebanon has since been sealed. Nowadays all the railways on the Lebanese side of the border have been dismantled while the Coastal Railway in Israel currently ends near Nahariya, several kilometers to the south.
Rosh Hanikra was the location where Israeli and Lebanese officials negotiated and concluded an armistice agreement in 1949 which ended the Lebanese-Israeli component of the 1948 War of Israeli Independence. A border passage across the Blue Line into Lebanon at the site is sometimes used by UNIFIL personnel.

Nature reserves and national park

The area around Rosh HaNikra includes a number of nature reserves:

  • The Rosh HaNikra islands – 311 dunams declared in 1965
    The Rosh HaNikra reserve – 500 dunams declared in 1969, and an additional 765 dunams in 1996.
    Rosh HaNikra beach – 230 dunams, declared in 2003
  • The Rosh HaNikra national park also has jurisdiction of 220 dunams in the area.

Cable car
The Rosh HaNikra cable car is a cable car serving tourists wishing to visit the grottoes The Cable car is situated very close to the Lebanese border. The site is popular with tourists, and is one of the facilities available for tourists in Kibbutz Rosh HaNikra. The cable car was manufactured by Austrian manufacturer Doppelmayr Garaventa Group, and claims to be the steepest cable car in the world, ascending at a gradient of 60 degrees. Due to its lower base station being located on the sea, the cable car is occasionally affected by stormy weather.

We return to our hotel in Nahariyya.

Day 8 – The highest peak in Israel at Mount Meron

(Click here for the Google Map)

Mount Meron is a mountain in Israel. It has special significance in Jewish religious tradition and parts of it have been declared a nature reserve.
At 1,208 metres (3,963 ft) above sea level, Mount Meron is the highest peak in Israel, though many peaks in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights are higher.
In 1965, an 84000-dunam nature reserve was declared. An additional 1199 dunams were declared part of the reserve in 2005. It is the highest reserve in Israel, at an altitude of 1208 meters above sea level, and the largest reserve in the north of the country.

Religious significance
The village of Meron and the tomb of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai are on Mount Meron. Leading up to the anniversary of his death on Lag B’Omer, thousands of people camp out along the slopes near the tomb, and on Lag B’Omer itself, hundreds of thousands make pilgrimages to celebrate the occasion.

Hiking paths
The mountain has a strong undergrowth and it cannot be walked up from every direction. The main path starts at the north west side of the Meron village. There is a gate next to the road, with a color-marked path of about 10 km. There is also a path on the west side of the mountain.

We return to our hotel in Tiberias or Nahariyya.

Day 9 – Waterfalls, streams and all of that between the forests, mountains at Nahal Ayun

(Click here for the Google Map)

Nature Reserve Eshed Fall

Differences in elevation form waterfalls in the streams course. During the rainy winter months, the water-flow is strongest. During the summer months, water is diverted, closer to the stream’s sources, for crop irrigation. These falls were declared a nature reserve, and include:

  1. Ayun waterfall, 9.2 m
  2. Tahana waterfall (=flourmill), 21 m
  3. Eshed waterfall, with two steps, 5 m and 9 m
  4. Tanur waterfall, 30 m

We return to our hotel in Tiberias or Nahariyya.

Day 10 – The most amazing cliffs to watch the whole northern Israel at the Arbel National Park and Nature Reserve

(Click here for the Google Map)

Mount-ArbelThere are four villages on the mountain: Kfar Zeitim, Arbel, Kfar Hittim, and Mitzpa. The peak, at 181 metres above sea level (380 metres above the surrounding area), dominates the surroundings (much of the area is below sea level) and from the lookout atop the mountain, almost all of the Galilee into the Golan Heights including Safed, Tiberias and most of the Sea of Galilee, is visible.

Nature reserve and national park
The area was declared a nature reserve in 1967, covering 1400 dunams. The national park (8509 dunams) includes most of Nahal Arbel, that begins near Eilabun and empties into the Sea of Galilee near Migdal. The reserve covers the immediate area around the cliff.
Mount Arbel from Nof Ginnosar.jpg
On the south side of the cliff, there is a gradual prolonged climb through agricultural and pasture land and from the peak there is a steep 400 meters drop. From here there are metal handholds driven into the rock to aid those who want to make the climb down to the valley below. Below that are a series of switchbacks that eventually lead to the Bedouin village of Hamaam.
Mt. Arbel, with its 110 metre vertical drop, is the only known mountain in Israel to serve as a base jumping site. A hike to the top of Mount Arbel from the south is included in the Israel National Trail, and an approach from the west is part of the Jesus Trail; the trails converge temporarily at the peak.

We return to our hotel in Tiberias.

Day 11 – Ancient city in the old Kingdom of Israel at Tel Dan Nature Reserve

(Click here for the Google Map)

Tel Dan Nature ReserveHistory and archaeology
According to the archaeological excavations at the site, the town was originally occupied in the late Neolithic era (c 4500 BCE), although at some time in the fourth millennium BC it was abandoned, for almost 1,000 years.

Tel Dan nature reserve
Tel Dan Nature Reserve3The Tel Dan reserve was first declared on 391 dunams surrounding the tel in 1974. 90 dunams were added to the reserve in 1989. The Dan River is one of the three water sources of the Jordan River that meet in the northern part of the Hula Valley.

We return to our hotel in Tiberias.

Day 12 – Find the mountain with deep cliffs, trails, grottoes and cave-fortress at Mount Arbel

(Click here for the Google Map)

Mount Arbel2There are four villages on the mountain: Kfar Zeitim, Arbel, Kfar Hittim, and Mitzpa. The peak, at 181 metres above sea level (380 metres above the surrounding area), dominates the surroundings (much of the area is below sea level) and from the lookout atop the mountain, almost all of the Galilee into the Golan Heights including Safed, Tiberias and most of the Sea of Galilee, is visible.

The area was declared a nature reserve in 1967, covering 1400 dunams. The national park (8509 dunams) includes most of Nahal Arbel, that begins near Eilabun and empties into the Sea of Galilee near Migdal. The reserve covers the immediate area around the cliff.
On the south side of the cliff, there is a gradual prolonged climb through agricultural and pasture land and from the peak there is a steep 400 meters drop. From here there are metal handholds driven into the rock to aid those who want to make the climb down to the valley below. Below that are a series of switchbacks that eventually lead to the Bedouin village of Hamaam.
Mt. Arbel, with its 110 metre vertical drop, is the only known mountain in Israel to serve as a base jumping site.  A hike to the top of Mount Arbel from the south is included in the Israel National Trail, and an approach from the west is part of the Jesus Trail; the trails converge temporarily at the peak.

We return to our hotel in Tiberias.

Day 13 – This is hiking around this mountain at Mount Tabor

(Click here for the Google Map)

There are two paths: the long track, which starts from the Bedouin village Shibli, which length is about five kilometers long and a short nature track of about 2.5 kilometers at the summit.
Mount TaborThe track which surrounds the mountain passes in well-developed Mediterranean woodlands. the color marking alternates to green at the eastern part of the track. Behind the monastery its possible to see remnants from the First Jewish-Roman War. In the path there is a view of the Jezreel Valley, Mount Gilboa, Samaria mountains, Mount Carmel, the Golan Heights, Gilead, the Lower Galilee and the Upper Galilee. On days with good visibility one could also see the Mount Hermon.
Israel National Trail goes up the mountain from mount Tabor the Gazit junction and the Shibli village, surrounding the summit and descends across the Arab village of Daburiyya towards the Nazareth mountains.

Activities on Mount Tabor
In April each year, the regional council of Lower Galilee holds a 12 kilometer race around Mount Tabor in memory of Yitzhak Sadeh, the first commander of the Palmach and one of the founders of the Israel Defense Forces at the time of the State of Israel’s independence.
By obtaining a game permit issued by the Ministry of the Interior, hunting of small animals is allowed in certain designated seasons.
The churches located on the mountain allow visits at specific hours. (Modest attire required).
Approximately three quarters of the way up the mountain, a path circles it entirely and is accessible for private vehicles as well (four-wheel drive advised).
The mountain serves as one of Israel’s preferred locales for hang gliding.

Church of the Transfiguration
Between 1919 until 1924 an impressive Roman Catholic church of the Franciscan order named “Church of the Transfiguration” was built on the peak of Mount Tabor. The architect who designed the church, as well as other churches in Israel, was Antonio Barluzzi. The church was built upon the ruins of a Byzantine church from the fifth or sixth century and a Crusader church from the 12th century, which was built in honor of Tancred, Prince of Galilee. The friars of the church live next to the church in a monastery established in 1873.

The Eastern Orthodox sanctuary
Bell tower of the Eastern Orthodox monastery.
On the northeast side of the Church of the Transfiguration there is the more modest Orthodox Church which was built in 1862 with funds from Romania. The church was dedicated to Elijah the prophet and was the first religious structure built by Romanian Christians in the Holy Land.
On the northwest side of the church there is a cave named after Melchizedek the King of Salem. According to the Christian tradition, this cave was the place where Abraham met the king of Salem. The cave was known to pilgrims and Christians during the Middle Ages. With an increase in pilgrimages, the church is now open to the public (though it closes for a few hours at noon).
An All-Night Vigil is held at the Eastern Orthodox church every year on the Orthodox Feast of the Transfiguration (August 19, which is August 6 according to the Julian Calendar).

We return to our hotel in Tiberias.

Day 14 – Departure



Before you leave, some breakfast first. And this is honestly not some breakfast, it’s a breakfast feast!

This is the day of the departure. We bring everyone back to the point where we picked them up.

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.


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.


For details on cultural events, see www.ethos.co.il, run by the Haifa municipality; tickets can be ordered by calling 04-833 8888.

  • Beat (04-810 7107; http://www.ethos.co.il; 124 HaNassi Ave, Carmel Centre; admission 50-100NIS, Map)
    Both a music school, run by the city, and one of Haifa’s top performance venues, with live music by Israeli and overseas bands. Call to find out what’s on.

  • Haifa Cinematheque (04-833 8888; http://www.ethos.co.il; 142 HaNassi Ave, Carmel Centre; ticket 33NIS, Map)
    Screens avant-garde, off-beat and art films in two halls. Out front, bronze stars in the pavement honour major figure in Israeli cinema.

    Haifa 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 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


Haifa Film Festival 2016 – October 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. Map.

The 32st Haifa International Film Festival is 15-24.10.2016

Over the years, it has become the country’s major cinematic event. The Haifa International Film Festival attracts a wide audience of film-goers and media professionals from Israel and abroad. Throughout the week, special screenings are held of century.170 new films.

Apart from movies screened around the clock at seven theaters, the festival features open-air screenings. Film categories include feature films, documentaries, animation, short films, retrospectives and tributes.

Ticket sales:
Website: www.haifaff.co.il
The Festival’s application available on smartphone
Phone ticket center: 972-4-833-8888
Festival’s on sight box office: The auditorium box office on 142 Hanassi Ave., Haifa

Opening hours for Auditorium box office and phone center until Festival:
Sunday – Thursday, 9:00am-7:00pm ,Friday and Holiday eve’s 9:00am-1:00pm

Ticket sales during Festival:
Phone center: 9:00am-9:00pm
Box office: an hour before first screening till 30 minutes after beginning of last screening in the Auditorium, Ticotin Museum and Krieger Center – map.

Ticket prices:
Single ticket: 45 NIS | Soldiers/ Senior Citizens/ Students/ Handicapped/ Cinematheque subscribers*: 40 NIS
Subscription 8+2 free: 360 NIS on one and the same purchase

Phone and box office discounts only:
Cinematheque subscribers: 10 tickets for the price of 7: 315 NIS
Youth discount: 4 tickets pass for 120 NIS | Pupils, Regular Soldiers and Students | Limited availability
Isracard discount: Isracard Holders in the “Culture and Art” Program: 30 NIS | You can register to the “Culture and Art” Program in the Isracard website and get a discount code | limited to 2 tickets per customer | Limited availability
Orange subscribers: 10% discount on ticket purchase | No more than one discount per purchase | limited availability
Israel Film and Television Guilds Members*: 30 NIS | Only one ticket per film | Limited to 10 tickets per member

Box office discounts only:
1+1 Discount Haifa Tourism and Recreation Association | Upon presentation of Discount Card | Limited availability
1+1 Discount Haifa Immigration Absorption Association | Haifa citizens who made Aliya after 2011* | Limited availability

Daily Youth Tag
Pupils, Regular Soldiers and Students * can purchase a Tag allowing entrance to all films in all halls**
On stand in basis ** After 6:00pm entrance to Krieger Hall and Auditorium halls only – map.
The Tag is personal and not transferable
Daily Youth Tag: 65 NIS | Orange Youth Tag: 55 NIS | 4 days Youth Tag: 220 NIS
*Discounts upon presentation of appropriate ID at the box office only
Purchases cannot be cancelled or changed. No overlapping discounts. Lost tickets cannot be replaced. Seating will be saved until 5 minutes before beginning of screening. After beginning of screening latecomers will be seated in alternate seats. Multiple tickets bought in one purchase will be given at the box office of the first venue (Auditorium/ Ticotin Museum/ Krieger Center box offices). Smartphone Application users can receive an electronic ticket to their smartphones. Usage of electronic ticket upon presentation of barcode on the smartphone only.

More benefits:
Haifa Museums Benefit:
A special benefit for the Haifa Fesival goers at the new exhibition at the Mane-Katz Museum (map): Purchase ticket for “The Wandering Jew” exhibition and get a free cold beverage at the museum’s café*
Mane-Katz Museum, 89 Yefe Nof St., Haifa
*Upon presentation of ticket for the Film Festival

Bay Club Hotel Benefit:
Guests presenting a Film Festival ticket will receive a 10% discount off the hotel’s website price
Hotel website: www.atlas.co.il/bay-club-haifa

Screening Halls:
Haifa Auditorium, 142 Hanassi Ave.
Haifa Cinematheque, 142 Hanassi Ave.
New Rappaport Hall, 140 Hanassi Ave.
The Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art, Auditorium Raphael, 89 Hanassi Ave.,
The Krieger Center for the Performing Arts, 6 Eliahu Hackim St. Carmel Zarfati
Syncopa, Paris Square – Khayat 5 , 054-614264 Fringe Cinema

Handicap accessibility at all theaters

Haifa Auditorium, Rappaport Hall and Krieger Center – Hearing impaired sound system available, please address the ushers for headphones.


Carmel Center – Paid parking available at Auditorium car park and Panorama car park
Free parking and easy access available at Kriger Center
Free Parking next to all sideways marked in blue & white during the Festival

Templers Cemetery in Haifa

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. Map.

Templers Cemetery in Haifa
Templers Cemetery in Haifa

At the eastern end of the cemetery is a memorial for the Templars who tried to settle in Jezreel Valley the valley (1868-67) and died from fever.

Templers Cemetery in Haifa
Templers Cemetery in Haifa

The most famous person buried here, is the archeologist and researcher GOTTLIEB SCHUMACHER (1925-1857), who studied on the Golan Heights and was the first to dig in Tel Megiddo.

Templers Cemetery in Haifa
Templers Cemetery in Haifa

Note that are two people buried in the cemetery with this name, the other died in 1887. At the intersection of the paths in the western part is a flat headstone memorial for the Templars who settled in the Lower Galilee.