Haifa is Israel’s third largest city. It sits on the slopes of Mount Carmel facing the Mediterranean Sea. Some call it ‘Israel’s San Francisco’. Although traditionally a working city, there are a number of great things to do in Haifa. Be sure to cross them off your Haifa bucket list. These include the Bahai Gardens and German Colony. It also houses a number of top museums. The city is also famous across Israel for its mixed population of Jews and Arabs. Here, they peacefully coexist. The result is some amazing fusions of Arabic and Jewish cultures across the city.
What To Do
Set upon Mount Carmel, Haifa is an unusual city to navigate. However, the advantage is that its scenery and terrain is stunning. From the top of Mount Carmel, take in the view from the Louis Promenade across the Port of Haifa. It heads north right across into the Western Galilee. Hop on the Carmelit, Israel’s only subway system. It travels up and down the mountain. At the bottom check out Hof Hacarmel, Haifa’s beaches.
The city’s crown jewel when it comes to tourism is undoubtedly the Bah’ai Gardens. They form part of the Bah’ai World Center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These beautiful gardens are a place of pilgrimage for members of the Bah’ai faith. They sit on terraces sloping down Mount Carmel towards the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. At the bottom of the gardens is Haifa’s German Colony. The area’s famous for its pretty streets of restored templar-era buildings. The main street of the German Colony runs directly from the bottom of the gardens towards the coast and is lined with restaurants and cafes.
Museums in Haifa
There are a great selection of museums in Haifa. Most notably, the Madatech Science and Technology Museum. It is Israel’s national museum of Science. Great for kids, the exhibits are mostly in English. This museum is full of fascinating interactive displays covering a wealth of great interesting topics. The city’s zoo, the Haifa Educational Zoo, sits beautifully on Mount Carmel. It houses over 100 species of wildlife. The city’s Clandestine Immigration and Navy Museum chronicles the story of Israel’s Navy and some of its major successes. The Haifa City Museum has a varied schedule of exhibitions ranging from film to art. Just south of Haifa is the Atlit Detainee Camp. This is a museum about illegal immigration in Israel.
Culture & Events
General culture in Haifa is overshadowed by Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. It is possible to attend concerts by the Israel Philharmonic. Or enjoy musical and dramatic groups when they perform here. Haifa’s biggest cultural event is the International Film Festival. It runs for one week each year at the end of September. The city transforms into a party city with over a hundred films of all genres shown. The city also hosts an annual festival called the Holiday of Holidays. This celebrates the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim festivals which fall in the month of December. We offer more information here: listing of events in the north of Israel.
For most people, spending one day in Haifa is long enough to see the main sites of the Bahai Gardens and the German Colony. There are many tours to Haifa. This includes one day tours from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem which cover the city. If you wanted to spend longer in the city, there is a selection of good hotels in Haifa. Some people choose to base themselves here. From here, explore the Western and Lower Galilee and Carmel areas.
Enjoy a private tour of Haifa and other landmarks on Israel’s historic northern coast. Join our Private Haifa, Caesarea, Akko and Rosh Hanikra Tour. Our personalized tour is the best way to visit this area. You’ll see the highlights of Israel’s beautiful and historic northern coast.
Interested in Protestant history in Israel? Check out our Protestant private itineraries!