Haifa is the third largest city in Israel on the country’s northern coast with a population of 264,000 and dates back to the 14th century BC to a sea port that was called Tell Abu Hawan.
There are many things to do in Haifa, Israel. This northern port city is layered, stretching from the Mediterranean up the slopes of Mount Carmel. The Bahá’ Gardens are an idyllic setting for a picnic; it is also the site of the gold-domed Shrine of the Báb. At the foot of the city’s mountain, the German Colony is a quaint collection of 19th-century buildings housing art galleries, shops, and restaurants.
Haifa is well known for its Baha’i Faith’s sacred places. The Shrine of the Báb is located at Mount Carmel near Haifa and is one of the holiest sites for followers of that religion.
The main things to do in Haifa include:
- Go to the Baha’i World Centre on Mount Carmel
- Walk and enjoy the Baha’i Gardens
- Visit the Stella Maris Monastery
- Visit the Cave of Elijah
- Appreciate Japanese Art at Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art
- Visit Madatech -Israel National Museum of Science, Technology and Space
- Walk along the streets and enjoy the restored buildings in the German Colony
The History of Haifa Israel
Haifa, a vibrant coastal city in Israel, is steeped in history that spans thousands of years. From ancient civilizations to modern times, Haifa’s strategic location and natural beauty have attracted diverse cultures and left an indelible mark on its identity. Let’s embark on a historical journey through the evolution of Haifa, uncovering its fascinating past with a timeline of significant milestones.
Prehistory and Antiquity:
- Haifa’s history dates back to prehistoric times when it was inhabited by ancient communities. Archaeological findings reveal evidence of human settlements in the region as early as the Neolithic period.
12th Century BCE – Phoenician Settlement:
- Around the 12th century BCE, the Phoenicians established a trading post in Haifa, taking advantage of its strategic location along the Mediterranean coast.
4th Century BCE – Hellenistic Influence:
- Haifa came under Hellenistic rule after the conquests of Alexander the Great. The city witnessed a blend of Greek and local cultures during this period.
1st Century CE – Roman Rule and Early Christianity:
- In the 1st century CE, Haifa fell under Roman rule, and Christianity began to spread in the region. The city is associated with the Apostle Paul’s visit and other biblical events.
7th Century CE – Arab Conquest:
- Haifa became part of the Islamic Caliphate following the Arab conquest in the 7th century CE. It became an important port city for the region’s trade.
12th Century CE – Crusader Period:
- During the Crusader period, Haifa was fortified and served as a strategic stronghold for various Crusader states.
18th Century – Ottoman Rule and Rejuvenation:
- Haifa thrived under Ottoman rule, and its population grew. The city’s natural harbor attracted traders and travelers from around the world.
1868 – Modern Haifa’s Foundation:
- In the 19th century, Haifa experienced significant development under the leadership of the Ottoman governor Daher el-Omar and his successor, Ahmed al-Jazzar. Modern Haifa began to take shape.
20th Century – British Mandate and Independence:
- After the British Mandate in the early 20th century, Haifa grew into a major industrial and transportation center. In 1948, Israel declared independence, and Haifa became part of the newly established state.
1960s – Technological Advancements and Cultural Diversity:
- The 1960s saw Haifa’s transformation into a leading technological hub in Israel. The establishment of the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and high-tech industries shaped the city’s modern identity. Haifa’s population reflects a diverse mix of cultures and religions.
Present Day – A City of Coexistence and Progress:
- Today, Haifa stands as a beacon of coexistence, embracing its multicultural heritage. The city’s bustling port, beautiful beaches, and rich cultural scene make it a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.
Haifa: Where History and Modernity Embrace:
- Haifa’s timeline tells a captivating story of ancient civilizations, conquests, and modern advancements. As a city where history and modernity intertwine, Haifa continues to flourish, welcoming visitors to explore its storied past and vibrant present on the shores of the Mediterranean.
By far, the main attraction in Haifa is the Baha`i Shrine and terrace garden located on the Mount Carmel’s slope. It is definitely recommended to see both. The access to the top and bottom terraces of the garden is easy but in order to see more you need to book a free tour.
For the more arts-focused traveler, Haifa has plenty to offer. The city has many museums, including the Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art, which is close to the Dan Carmel and Dan Panorama hotels. The National Museum of Science and Technology, Madatech, is a wonderful place to spend a day with the family. You can also visit the Pyramida Center for Contemporary Art, which hosts changing and permanent exhibitions throughout the year.
The Educational Zoo is another one of the best things to do in Haifa. Located in the heart of Carmel, the zoo is home to hundreds of animals from around the world. Feeding the animals is one way to get closer to these exotic creatures. Other fun activities include participating in a Caretaker for a Day program, a Night Safari, or a concert. If you want to take in a bit more culture, Haifa is a great place to start.
The museum of the Stella Maris is located at the foot of the mountain. It is open daily and closes at 3pm on Thursdays and Fridays. The Monastery is located on the same mountain as the museum, so you can visit both of them in the same day. It is also possible to do a lot of hiking in the region. A day trip to this mountain is a great idea.
What do you like best about your city?
Despite being the third largest population centre in Israel and a large industrial centre where you can find such giants like Intel and Microsoft, the passing of time hasn’t completely changed Haifa. The city retains its calm which allows the inhabitants to enjoy a good living without the crazy rush of a modern city.
Best Walk in Haifa
I’m divided here. If you are into sightseeing then there’s Yaffe Nof street in the upper part of town which gives a nice view on the Baha`i garden and the downtown city. The street name is translated as – beautiful view, so the view is definitely there. Dan Panorama hotel, located on that street offers a panoramic view and it’s worth having a look once you are near. On the other hand, if you are into calm sea breeze then it’s the waterfront promenade and one of its numerous cafes and restaurants.
Best Places to Eat in Haifa
The cool thing about Haifa, you won’t go hungry there. You don’t need to be a gourmet to enjoy the best cuisines in Haifa. No matter where you are and what hour is it there’s a place open offering the basic Israeli menu of shawarma or falafel. From the establishments higher in class offering very good food while not breaking a bank account I’d like to note two. – Cowboys Steakhouse located next to a large shopping mall on the southern city entrance. A very interesting looking place and as the name suggests there’s no lack of meat in there. The other one – Yotveta in Town is a large dairy restaurant located at one end of the waterfront promenade. Looking at the menu there one could be in for a tough choice because of the large variety of dairy food on offer.
The city’s restaurants are diverse and unique. From local wines to fusion Middle Eastern cuisine, the city has it all. If you want to try a new cuisine, try out the local specialties at one of the city’s many upscale restaurants. The ambiance and the food at these establishments will make your Haifa visit unforgettable. And if you want to eat in style, you should visit the Raffaello Italian restaurant, which opened its first branch in Kiryon in 1993.
If you want to try Israeli cuisine with a modern twist, you should try Hanamal 24, a restaurant owned by a celebrity chef. This restaurant serves grilled delicacies and a variety of sauces, including a variety of Israeli and Middle Eastern dishes. It is situated in the city’s new entertainment district. The fusion cuisines and the stunning views at Hanamal 24 make it a memorable dining experience.
For a great lunch or dinner, you can visit the Kadarim restaurant. The restaurant is owned by an Arab family. During the Ottoman era, this family owned a pottery factory in downtown Haifa. They moved it to a better location in the 1920s and opened the restaurant in 1982. The atmosphere at the restaurant is sophisticated and the food is delicious. The stunning view from the terrace gives you an excellent view of the bay.
Best Places to Stay in Haifa
Haifa, Israel’s northern gem nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and Mount Carmel, offers a captivating blend of natural beauty, cultural diversity, and historical significance. As a popular destination for travelers, Haifa boasts a range of accommodations that cater to various preferences and budgets. Whether you seek seaside luxury, boutique charm, or cozy comfort, Haifa has the perfect place to call home during your stay. Let’s explore some of the best places to stay in Haifa, ensuring a memorable and enriching sojourn.
1. Dan Carmel Haifa Hotel – Unparalleled Panoramic Views: Overlooking the city and the bay, the Dan Carmel Haifa Hotel offers luxurious rooms and suites with breathtaking views. Indulge in world-class amenities, including a spa, pool, and gourmet dining options.
2. Templers Boutique Hotel – Historical Charm: Located in the German Colony, the Templers Boutique Hotel offers a unique blend of historical charm and modern comforts. The restored Templar buildings house elegant rooms with a touch of nostalgia.
3. Dan Panorama Haifa – Prime Location and Elegance: Situated on Mount Carmel’s slopes, the Dan Panorama Haifa offers an ideal location and sophisticated accommodations. Unwind in spacious rooms and enjoy easy access to popular attractions.
4. Port Inn – Budget-Friendly Warmth: For budget travelers seeking a cozy and friendly atmosphere, the Port Inn provides a comfortable stay with a warm welcome. The hostel’s communal areas foster connections among fellow travelers.
5. Bay Club Hotel – Seaside Serenity: With direct access to Haifa’s Bat Galim Beach, the Bay Club Hotel promises a serene and picturesque escape. Enjoy a laid-back ambiance and stunning sea views from the comfort of your room.
6. Colony Hotel Haifa – Historic and Modern Blend: Located in the German Colony, the Colony Hotel Haifa seamlessly blends historic architecture with contemporary elegance. Experience a charming stay with easy access to vibrant cafes and restaurants.
7. Maris Hotel – Boutique Elegance: Maris Hotel, a boutique property, offers an intimate ambiance and personalized service. Relax in stylish rooms and savor tranquil moments in the hotel’s garden.
8. Bat Galim Boutique Hotel – Coastal Retreat: Nestled in the Bat Galim neighborhood, this boutique hotel provides a coastal retreat with proximity to the beach and the Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery.
9. Golden Crown Haifa – City Center Convenience: With its central location, the Golden Crown Haifa offers convenient access to the city’s main attractions and vibrant nightlife. Enjoy modern amenities and attentive service.
10. Port Inn Haifa Hostel – Backpacker’s Haven: Perfect for backpackers and solo travelers, Port Inn Haifa Hostel offers budget-friendly accommodations with a friendly atmosphere and a chance to meet fellow adventurers.
The International Haifa film festival is an annual film festival held in Haifa, Israel taking place during the end of September to early October..
The festival was established in 1983. The festival is one of the most prestigious Israeli cultural events. It has been called “the Israeli Cannes.”
Haifa is a city with amazing nightlife. With so many venues for people to go out to and enjoy themselves, there’s always something to do and never a dull moment. Whether you’re looking for bars, clubs or other entertainment, Haifa has it all.
The best nightclubs to go to in Haifa are the popular spots such as the Wunderbar and Kabareet. Bars such as the Eli’s Pub and Vesper also offer great nightlife entertainment.
Best Day Trip Out of the City
Israel is a small country packed with things to see so there is a great choice of options. If you are into things unusual I’d recommend Beith Shaarim in Tivon. This is a very ancient cemetery labyrinth right in the heart of a limestone mountain.
Something that not many tourists would know about Haifa
You can easily get from the waterfront promenade up the mountain by a cable car while enjoying a good view. The bottom station is located in the Yotveta in Town building.
10 interesting facts about Haifa Israel
- Haifa is a city located in northern Israel, on the Mediterranean coast. It is the third-largest city in Israel and the capital of the Haifa District.
- Haifa is known for its beautiful location, with the city situated on the slopes of Mount Carmel and overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
- Haifa is home to a number of cultural and historical attractions, including the Bahá’í World Centre, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Bahá’í World Centre is the spiritual and administrative center of the Bahá’í Faith and includes the Shrine of the Báb, a place of pilgrimage for Bahá’ís.
- Haifa is also home to the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, which is one of the leading technical universities in the world.
- The city is known for its diverse population, with a mix of Jewish, Arab, and Christian communities living together in harmony.
- Haifa is a major industrial and commercial center, with a number of large companies and port facilities located in the city.
- The city is home to a number of museums and art galleries, including the Haifa Museum of Art, which houses a collection of Israeli and international art.
- Haifa is known for its mild Mediterranean climate, with warm, sunny summers and mild winters.
- The city is a hub for outdoor activities, with a number of parks and nature reserves located in the area, including the Carmel National Park.
- Haifa is located near several important religious sites, including the city of Nazareth, which is considered the hometown of Jesus, and the city of Tiberias, which is located on the Sea of Galilee.