"A bustling, cosmopolitan port city with it's own 'must-see' landmarks, including the spectacular Baha'i Gardens, and excellently placed as a base for exploring Galilee, Nazareth & beyond"
Israel's third largest city and main port in the north of the country, Haifa's residents are proud of its image as a hard-working city of tolerance and co-existence. Its mixed population of Jews and Arabs have lent Haifa some unique fusions of art, culture and food. This cosmopolitan air and the location on the rolling slopes of Mt. Carmel have led the city to be called 'Israel's San Francisco' and although Haifa is not on the same scale, there are many popular landmarks and vibrant experiences to be enjoyed. The most famous spot for tourists is undoubtedly the Baha'i Gardens, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the golden-domed Shrine of the Báb, a place of pligrimage for followers of the Baha'i faith. These beautiful tropical gardens cascade down Mt. Carmel to the atmospheric streets of the historic German Colony and the shimmering Mediterranean beyond. Haifa is also home to some fascinating museums including Israel's national science museum, the Madatech Science & Technology Museum, and the Clandestine Immigration and Navy Museum which chronicles the city's proud maritime history and role in establishing the modern nation.
Overall, we recommend Haifa as a destination in its own right for a relaxing holiday exploring the city and its sights or enjoying the comfortable climate and spectacular scenery on offer in the region, as well as a stop on a multi-centre or tailor-made holiday combining Haifa with Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Galilee or many of the other highlights of this beautiful and historic country.
Haifa Travel Guide
At A Glance:
Israel's main port sits on the Bay of Haifa on its northern Mediterranean shores and is built beneath and up the northern slopes of scenic Mt. Carmel. It is ideally located for heading along the coast to historic sites such as Caesarea and Acre or inland to visit some of Israel's most famous landmarks including Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee.
Haifa's coastal, mountain location and its the prevailing sea breezes help keep highest summer temperatures to 27°C - 30°C on average with temperatures around 16°C - 19°C during the cooler winter months. Generally it is considered to have a milder climate than other cities and regions further south or inland.
History and Culture
Haifa has a long and storied history and as a major port has been fought for and conquered by many invaders looking to control its significance; from Crusader armies, Egyptian viceroys, the British fleets and Napoleon himself. This cosmpolitan history can be seen reflected in its modern culture which has benefitted from the mix of Jews, Muslim and Christian Arabs and Baha'is who live harmoniously together in the city.
Family Activities, Tours and Attractions
Although primarily known as being a large industrial port city Haifa has developed a fine selection of activities and attractions for tourists of all ages. A great way to start your time here is with a scenic tour in one of the city's cable cars which run up the slopes of Mt. Carmel to enjoy the spectacular panoramic vistas. The stunning terraced Baha'i Gardens are part of a wider UNESCO World Heritage site and are easily the most famous site in Haifa - a definite must-see. Israel's national science museum, Madatech, is a stimulating and fun-filled modern museum guaranteed to keep everyone in the family engaged and entertained.
Entertainment, Dining & Shopping
As Israel's third largest city and famed for its cosmopolitan mix of inhabitants it is no surprise that visitors can enjoy art, culture and cuisine which reflects this vibrant multicultural mixture of histories, ideas and flavours - Haifa's food culture is renowned and draws visitors from across the country and beyond. Shoppers will enjoy the city's mix of local markets - the Lower City's fleamarket and Turkish Market are both notable mentions - and modern malls and outlets. The number and range of museums and art galleries mean that culture-vultures are sure to find something to satisfy their thirst for curiosity and intellectual stimulation.