Smaller than Tel Aviv but no less beautiful and complex, the city of Haifa brings together the region's natural beauty, like mountainous climbs, spectacular scenic views of the bay, miles of Mediterranean coastline, and lush greenery. And yet, all the joys of modern living make the city a thriving center, alive with the hubbub of the Arab markets, food vendors, stalls, cinemas, malls, and shopping.
The history of Elijah's Cave is long and winding, as complex and mysterious as the cave itself. While you're at the the foot of Mount Carmel, this is one spot you shouldn't miss.
Known locally as "the Wadi", near the German Colony, the Arab market oozes tons of traditional character. With its narrow alleyways, old stone houses, Jewish and Arabic artisans, and the air rich with local delicacies, you'll want to get lost in its charm.
Stroll along the boardwalk, take in the beautiful surf, sands, and tides upon the shores of Bat Galim and Dado beaches.
Believed to have been built around 1291 AD, this is one of the oldest monasteries in the world. It rests high above the city of Haifa and can be reached by cable car from the Bat Galim Promenade.
One of the jewels of Israel, and Haifa in particular, the Baha'i Gardens draw millions of visitors each year, and feature intricately designed walkways, terraces, and views of the Haifa Bay.
The best time to visit Haifa is in March or April. At this point, it's still spring, the rain stops and it's not too hot. From April to September, temperatures range from highs of 71 to 85.
Domestic flights land at Haifa Airport (HFA). International travelers will first arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv. From here, take a train to Haifa for ₪42.
Trains connects with Beer Sheva, Nahariya, and the various suburbs in Haifa. Fares start at ₪42 for a ticket from Tel Aviv to Haifa.
Getting into Haifa is easy by car. Coming from the south, use Route 2, the coastal highway that links the city to Tel Aviv.
Getting into Haifa by bus, travelers will use the Egged buses from Tel Aviv or Afula, as well as other Israeli cities. Fares are around ₪40.
Relax in style at the Dan Carmel Haifa Hotel, with stunning views and amenities. Modest accommodations that mimic the Dan Carmel can be found at the Dan Gardens Haifa Hotel. Budget travelers will love the accessibility of the Port Inn.
Kiryat Ha'im - one of the five suburban Krayot neighborhoods in Haifa, Kiryat Ha'im lies on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. As such, it has beautiful beach-side promenades, residential buildings, and sports stadiums.
Bat Galim - the modern Bat Galim neighborhood has the picturesque Bat Galim Beach and is well connected, with a major subway stop and lots of great restaurants.
Hadar HaCarmel - an uphill spot of the downtown district, Hadar HaCarmel overlooks the port of Haifa and Haifa Bay. It was once the commercial center of the city and now houses historical landmarks like Haifa Theater, Binyamin Park, and Talpiot Market.
Public transport in Haifa is extensive with local bus service and the Carmelit subway. Buses run 24/7, even on weekends and religious holidays. Fares are ₪5.90 per journey.
There are plenty of locally run taxis you can find at will, or you can book a private, prepaid taxi service, known as sherut. Fares start at a flat rate of ₪12, and it's ₪6.2 per mile thereafter.
It's easy to rent cars in Haifa (and recommended because the region is so mountainous). Rentals from companies like Budget are available for around ₪80 a day.
There are plenty of shopping malls in Haifa, besides the more informal outdoor kiosks. Take your pick from City Center Mall (Lev HaIr), Kanyon Haifa, and Cinemall.
Milk costs ₪5.48 and a dozen eggs costs ₪12.
Middle Eastern cuisine that is authentic and generous awaits you in Haifa's winding streets. The best, freshest falafels (₪10-15) and well-seasoned shawarma meats (for ₪20-22) come from informal food kiosks around Yafo Street.