The northern capital, the main sea gate of Israel, the Middle East San Francisco – this is how Haifa is called. The city is famous for its religious attractions – pilgrims are attracted by the biblical Mount Carmel with the cave of Elijah the Prophet, the World Center of the Baha’i religion and the monastery of the Discalced Carmelite Order. It has clean sandy Mediterranean beaches and the largest natural park in Israel. From almost anywhere, there are beautiful views of the bay and the Galilee mountains.
According to Wholevehicles, Mount Carmel is revered as a shrine by Jews, Christians and Muslims. It is the second largest after Sinai.
This is the only city in the country where buses run on Shabbat, restaurants and shops are open. The many-sided Haifa never ceases to amaze – you can find everything in it: from the site of an ancient man to the Google office. Even the local subway is unique, and the Science Museum boasts that Albert Einstein himself planted palm trees in front of it.
Districts of Haifa
The city is conditionally divided into three parts – Lower, Middle and Upper Haifa. The development was carried out from the bottom up, so the older areas are located below, and the modern ones are on the mountain. In addition, living at the top is more comfortable – the air is cooler and cleaner.
The lower city is a recognized business center. It includes the Government Quarter – a complex of high-tech buildings. From the lower tier of the Bahai Gardens to the port stretches Ben-Gurion – the central highway of the atmospheric German colony (Moshav Germanit). The beaches and the long promenade belong to the large and developing Šprintak. The quiet area of Bat Galim is located right on the water – this is the only place in Haifa where there is no railway between the residential areas and the sea. Tourists often come here for treatment at the Rambam hospital.
In the middle part there is a noisy and densely populated area with many shops and outlets – Adar. He owns the largest Talpiot market in Haifa, as well as the Museum of Science, Technology and Space (Ma Datek) and the Israel Soldiers’ Memorial Garden.
The upper city is sleeping areas with high-rise buildings and private cottages: Carmel Tsarfati, Ahuza, Romema, Denia. Carmel is considered the most prestigious – it has many luxurious hotels, restaurants, museums and the famous Panorama shopping center.
There are enough hotels of different categories in Haifa. The most luxurious hotels are located far from the sea on the upper levels of the city – they offer impressive views. One of the most expensive is the Carmel Forest Spa Resort by Isrotel Exclusive Collection 5 * hotel – accommodation in it costs from 1900 ILS per room per day.
Prices for four-star hotels start from 900 ILS, for three-star hotels – from 550 ILS per room per night. The city has many mini-hotels and hostels that offer budget accommodation. Alternatively, you can rent an apartment or stay outside the city at a campsite.
Although Haifa is not a beach resort, there are excellent free sandy beaches in the city. One of the main ones belongs to the Bat Galim district. Because of the breakwaters and a good location, it rarely storms here, so crowds of vacationers flock here, including those with children. On the beach there are playgrounds, rental of beach equipment, boats, boats and equipment for water sports. The same applies to “Kiryat Chaim”, with the only difference that men and women visit it on certain days. This beach is open all year round. On its territory there are green lawns, where it is convenient to sunbathe or have a picnic. In special areas, you can even fry kebabs, and fish from stone embankments.
Renting sunbeds and umbrellas on all beaches will cost from 35 ILS per day.
The largest city beach is Dado-Zamir. The embankment stretches along it with many cafes and restaurants. In the summer, folk evenings and performances are held here. Part of the territory is left “wild” for surfers and those who want to relax in solitude. “Dado-Zamir” is considered the cleanest beach in the city. It is convenient to get to it both from the outskirts and from the center.
Ha-Shaket is recognized as the most calm city beach, its name is translated as “quiet”. It also has a separate bathing rule for men and women. Carmel Beach is famous for its high-quality infrastructure, a green promenade with numerous shops, restaurants and sports grounds. However, the sea in these places is not as calm as on HaShaket.
- Haifa beaches
Treatment in Haifa
Haifa Medical Center “Rambam” is known for its success in the treatment of patients with oncological, orthopedic, surgical and vascular profiles. The clinic is recognized as one of the best in the world in the field of traumatology. It treats not only Israeli citizens, but also foreign patients. Rambam is an accredited hospital for the United Nations and the US Navy. 3 Nobel laureates practice at the institute at the center.
What to bring
Shopping malls in Israel are called “canyons”. Particularly popular are the Grand Canyon, Lion-a-Mifrats and the Castra Center. The main local shopping area is located in the Adare district, and many shops are located along the port promenade. The Talpiot market offers the best vegetables, fruits and spices. For vintage items and antiques at low prices, you should go to the flea market in the Kibbutz Galuyot street area and to the market in the Druze city of El Carmel. In the Arab region of Wadi Nisnas, you can buy original handmade souvenirs from artisans.
Big sales happen in March-April and September-October – before the holidays of Pesach and Sukkot. The final price drop happens 2 times a year at the end of the season – within 3 days you can get discounts up to 50%.
Fans of delicious souvenirs should pay attention to Phoenician amphora-shaped bottles filled with kumquat Sabra liqueur or coffee. Local wines with a bright and tart taste are also good as a present – especially pomegranate and currant drinks. Among natural sweets, dates stand out – large and tender fruits of the Majkhol variety are valued. It is worth paying attention to the traditional product for Jewish cuisine – date paste, as well as coffee with cardamom and chocolate from the company “Elite”.
Cuisine and restaurants in Haifa
The mixture of different cultures and religions could not but be reflected in the cuisine of the city. Haifa has a wide variety of gastronomic establishments – from European restaurants to shops with oriental sweets. It is better to start looking for your favorite place for a meal in the Lower City – there are eateries on every corner.
Be sure to try the favorite treats of Israelis – corn sticks with peanut butter “bambo”, cakes “crembo”, salty crunchy snack “beasley”, as well as halva, which is made from sesame seeds with various flavors.
The local consolation of the sweet tooth is “knafe”, “malabe” and “sahlab”.
Lunch for two in a mid-range cafe will cost from 60 ILS, and dinner with alcoholic drinks from 170 ILS per person. The cheapest food option is street food. Israeli fast food is both tasty and healthy, and you can eat for 35-40 ILS. In addition to falafel, shawarma and burekes, freshly squeezed juices and Arabic desserts are sold on the streets.
One of the best restaurants in the city is the Hanamal 24 restaurant near the port. The basis of the menu is meat and seafood. Dinner in it will cost from 200 ILS per person without alcohol. The restaurant “Rak Basar” in the German Colony is notable for its interior – under the glass floor there is a century-old winery.