Haifa (Hebrew חֵיפָה Heifa; Arabic حَيْفَا Ḥayfā) is the third largest city in Israel and the major city in the north of the country with a population close to 300,000. It is a seaport located on Israel's Mediterranean shoreline, below scenic Mount Carmel.

47 things to do

All Places Israel

German Colony

In 1868 members of German Templar Society (not to be confused with the Knights of the Templars) purchased land that was far from the city and set out to build the first planned agricultural community in the Holy Land. Many of the original templar houses have been preserved and have undergone restoration in the last decade of 20th century. Now the main street of the former colony (Ben-Gurion Boulevard) is a promenade, with many restaurants and coffee shops. Some examples of good places in the German Colony are Havana Plus, a hookah bar with a full service bar; Milagro, a restaurant that provides great beer on tap and live music after 8PM; and Isabella, one of the finer restaurants in the area. The City History Museum and the local Tourist Board are also located here.

Stella Maris

A French Carmelite church, monastery and hospice. This is the founding place of the Carmelite Order, a religious order of the Roman Catholic Church. The present monastery and church, built over what the Carmelites believe to be a cave where Elijah lived, dates from 1836 after the previous buildings were destroyed in 1821 by Abdullah, pasha of Akko. It's worth visiting the church to view the beautiful painted ceiling which portrays Elijah and the famous chariot of fire (in which he ascended to heaven), King David with his harp, the saints of the order, the prophets Isaiah, Ezekiel and David, and the Holy Family with the four evangelists below. A small adjoining museum contains ruins of former cloisters dating from Byzantine and Crusader times.

SEE   —  Map

Reuben & and Edith Hecht Museum

houses a fine collection of archaeological artefacts relating to Jewish history before the Diaspora. There is plenty of ancient pottery, weapons and even a pair of 2100-year-old petite-sized sandals. The museum highlight is a 5th-century-BC Greek ship found near Caesarea in 1984. It has been carefully rebuilt and placed in a specially designed annexe of the museum.An art wing upstairs contains sections on French Impressionist and Jewish art from the 19th and 20th centuries. Among the works are paintings by Monet, Pissaro and Van Gogh.

The (student's) beach

The best beaches are right next to the Hof HaCarmel bus and train stations. Just get off the train/ bus and walk straight onto the beach. Haifa has many kilometers of beautiful beach on its southwest side. Part of the beach has a boardwalk with cafes and restaurants that are always bustling—day or evening. The beach has its own unwritten segments. Families with kids come to the area along the boardwalk. Younger singles hang in the strip just south of there (with no boardwalk, stores). The locals call it "Students' Beach."

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Cave of Elijah

Elijah is considered a prophet in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The Carmelites have a tradition that they were founded by Elijah at this time. According to tradition, Elijah lived in a cave on Mt. Carmel during the reign of King Ahab. The site itself may disappoint many tourists as it's a very simple site. One enjoyable and scenic option for good walkers is to walk down to the cave from Stella Maris (monastery) at the top of Mt. Carmel.

SEE   —  Map

Clandestine Immigration & Navy Museum

This may sound a bit bland but it's actually quite fascinating and worth a visit. The museum deals with the successes and failures of the Zionists' illegal attempts to infiltrate into British-blockaded Palestine in the 1930s and '40s. The centrepiece of the museum (quite literally - the building has been constructed around it) is a boat, the Af-Al-Pi-Chen (Hebrew: Nevertheless), whose hold carried 434 refugees to Palestine in 1947.

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Bahá'í Gardens and World Center

The gardens and world centre on Mount Carmel's northern slope area a must-see for any visitor to Haifa. Comprising the golden-domed '''Shrine of the Báb''', terraced gardens and administrative buildings, the World Centre is the holiest site of pilgrimage for the members of the Bahá'í faith, as well as the faith's central administrative center. The gardens are stunning and well worth visiting if you are in Haifa.

SEE   —  +972-4-831-3131 —  Map

University of Haifa

Located at the top of Carmel, the campus was originally designed by the architect of Brasilia and UN building in New York City, Oscar Niemeyer. Newer buildings were added later. The top 30th floor of the Eshkol Tower, provides an incredible view of almost the entire North of Israel. The campus is also a home of Hecht Museum with its rich archeology and art collections. Entry to both of these attraction is free.

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National Museum of Science - MadaTech

Established in 1984, MadaTech - the Israel National Museum of Science, Technology and Space is housed in two historic landmark buildings in mid-town Haifa. Designed, at the turn of the century, by renowned German Jewish architect, Alexander Baerwald, these were home to the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Israel’s first institution of higher education.

SEE   —  +972-4-861-4444 —  12 Balfour St

Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art

The museum was founded in the year 1959, at the joint initiative of Felix Tikotin, a known collector of Japanese art. The museum present rotating exhibitions of old and modern Japanese art. It features everything from 14th-century Buddhist scroll art to pottery, metal work and newer exhibits on Japanese animation and even Pokémon.

German Colony Guest House

Very clean and comfortable rooms. Run by the Rosary Sisters (Roman Catholic nuns) who seem to take great care of the guests. A free breakfast is included and it's a very central location near the Haifa HaShmona central railway station and the Haifa port. The only downside is that you have to be back in the guesthouse by 10PM.

SLEEP   —  +972-4-855-3705 —  105 Yafo St

The Railway Museum

Housed in the old Haifa East train station, '''The Railway Museum''' features a collection of stamps, photographs, tickets, timetables and rolling stock. Old timetables remind you that you could at one time travel from here by train south to Cairo or north to Beirut or Damascus.

Haifa Educational Zoo

A small zoo, located in Carmel Center. It has lions, tigers, and bears, but no apes or large herbivores. As of 2014, there were rumors that this would become the only zoo in the Middle East to host giant pandas. However, this has not yet happened.

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Holiday of the holidays

A festival celebrating holidays of Christianity (Chrismas, New year), Islam (Ramadan), and Judaism (Hanukkah). The festival happens mainly on weekends, and include free entrance to museums, public shows, fair and colorful market.

Port Inn

A restored Arabic building offers apartments, private rooms and dormitories. Lounge area with a multilingual satellite TV, a small kitchen with free coffee and tea available all day, and a flourishing garden.

SLEEP   —  +972-4-852-4401 —  34 Yafo Rd

National Maritime Museum

deals with the history of shipping in the Mediterranean area. The collection contains old maps, models of ancient ships, navigation equipment and bits and pieces of sunken ships.

Hof ha-Carmel

(24hr) Close to the Dado beach, Haifa Mall, Castra Mall and to the Hof HaCarmel bus terminal that serves the lines connected to the cities south of Haifa and local buses.

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Hanamal 24

One of the top cuisine restaurants in Haifa. Serving excellent (though high priced as expected) food, desserts and service. Highly advised place for a gourmet dinner.

EAT   —  +972 4-862-8899 —  Hanamal St 24

Merkazit HaMifratz bus station

For buses from the north and east, including the Krayot suburbs and the Galilee. 960 bus from Jerusalem goes here. Located near Lev HaMifratz train station.

OTHER   —  Map

Wadi Nisnas

Haifa's largest Arab neighbourhood with a bustling pedestrian zone and outdoor art. "Holiday of the Holidays" is held there between December and January.

SEE   —  Map

Lev ha-Mifratz

(24hr) Close to the Cinemall Shopping center and Lev HaMifratz bus terminal that serves the lines connected to the North areas of Israel.

OTHER   —  Map

Dan Panorama Haifa Hotel

Rises high above Mount Carmel, offering good views of Haifa bay and miles of coastline. The hotel is directly linked to a shopping mall.

SLEEP   —  +972-3-520-2552 —  107 Hanassi Ave

Merkazit Hof HaCarmel

For buses from the south, including Tel Aviv. 940 and 947 buses from Jerusalem go here. Located near Hof HaCarmel train station.

OTHER   —  Map

Haifa Trail

A trek along Haifa's landscapes and attractions, museums, cultural and religious sites, and the city’s unique urban wildlife.

DO   —  +972-54-7237067 —  Map

Cable car

Rides between Bat-Galim Promenade and Stella Maris. The ride offer spectacular views of the city, beach, port and Haifa bay.

DO   —  +972-4-8335970 —  Map

Bethel Hostel

A Christian hostel in the German Colony. Bethel offers accommodations and facilities for Christian groups and individuals.

SLEEP   —  +972-50-7481789 —  40 Hagefen St

Tel Shikmona

An important coastal city from the 15th century BCE until the Byzantine period; some of the ruins can be observed now.

SEE   —  Map

Dan Carmel Haifa Hotel

Haifa's first luxury hotel. Panoramic views of the bay and the city of Haifa, with private gardens.

Bat Galim

Close to Bat Galim Beach, Elijah's Cave, and the cable car to Stella Maris Carmelite monastery.

OTHER   —  Map

Haifa Merkaz - Ha-Shmona

(24hr) Near the city downtown district, port terminal for cruise ships and Carmelit subway.

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Haifa City Museum

A museum dealing with urban culture and describing the history of the city Haifa.

SEE   —  Ben Gurion 11

Haddad's Guest House

26 Ben-Gurion Ave.- German Colony, 052-235-4283. Family-run guest house.

SLEEP   —  Map

Crowne Plaza Haifa

Health club has a covered pool, wet and dry sauna, Jacuzzi and gym.

SLEEP   —  +972-3-539-0808 —  111 Yafe Nof St.


A subway rides between Carmel center and downtown Haifa.

DO   —  Map

Hecht Park

Haifa's largest park, located adjacent to the sea.

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6 Computers, wireless, Karaoke bar

Templars Boutique Hotel

Next to Baha'i Gardens.


EAT   —  Map

Café Louise

EAT   —  Map

About Haifa

Haifa is first mentioned historically around the 3rd century CE as a small town near Shikmona, the main Jewish town in the area at that time and a center for making the traditional Tekhelet dye used for Jewish Priests' temple cloth. The archaeological site of Shikmona lies southwest of the modern Bat Galim neighborhood. The Byzantine ruled there until the 7th century, when the city was conquered — first by the Persians, then by the Arabs. In 1100, it was conquered again by the Crusaders after a fierce battle with its Jewish and Muslim inhabitants. Under Crusader rule, the city was a part of the Principality of Galilee until the Muslim Mameluks captured it in 1265.

In 1761 Daher El-Omar, Bedouin ruler of Acre and Galilee, destroyed and rebuilt the town in a new location, surrounding it with a thin wall. This event is marked as the beginning of the town's modern era. After El-Omar's death in 1775, the town was under Ottoman rule until 1918, except for two brief periods. In the years following, Haifa grew in terms of traffic, population and importance, as Akko suffered a decline. The development of Haifa increased further with the arrival of members of the German Protestant Temple Society in 1868, who settled a modern neighbourhood near the city, now known as the "German Colony". The Templers greatly contributed to the town's commerce and industry, playing an important role in its modernization.

By the beginning of the 20th Century, Haifa had emerged as an industrial port city and growing population center, reflected by the establishment of facilities like the Hejaz railway and Technion. At that time Haifa District was home to approximately 20,000 inhabitants, comprised of 82% Muslim Arab, 14% Christian Arabs, and 4% Jewish residents. The Jewish population increased steadily with immigration primarily from Europe, and by 1945 the population had shifted to 38% Muslim, 13% Christian and 47% Jewish.

Today, Haifa is home to Jews, Muslim and Christian Arabs, as well as small communities of Ahmadis (in Kababir), Druze (in nearby Isfiya and Daliyat al-Karmel), Bahá'ís, and others. Haifa is characterised as a mosaic of peaceful coexistence between the communities. It is also the second-holiest city in the Bahai faith.

The phrase "Haifa works, Jerusalem prays, and Tel Aviv plays" refers to Haifa's reputation as a city of workers. A generation ago Haifa's image was that of a serious—and somewhat dull—labor city because of its factories and port. It still has an industrial area to its north, where one of Israel's two oil refineries is located. But it also has a world-class high-tech strip in its south, in the "Matam" technology park along the beach. The park includes blue-chip tech firms such as Intel, Philips, Microsoft, and Google as well as some of Israel's largest tech firms, Elbit, Zoran, and Amdocs. IBM has an R&D center on the top of Mount Carmel at Haifa University and HP has a lab at the Technion, Israel's leading technological university.

Source: wikivoyage