10 Best Things to Do in Haifa
Updated: Sep 1, 2019
The north of the country is full of beautiful things to see and do.
Although you probably won't have time for everything, in this post, we're going to highlight the 10 things you have to do while visiting Haifa.
Let's get started!
1. The German Colony
Our hostel is located in the heart of the Germany Colony, a popular tourist attraction in Haifa. The Templers – the people who founded the colony – were members of a Protestant movement which originated in the south of Germany, during the second half of the 19th century.
They believed a rural settlement in the Holy Land would bring them closer to Redemption. Hundreds of Templers established many villages all over the Land of Israel in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Their colony in Haifa – located near modern day Ben-Gurion Boulevard – goes all the way back to the late 1860s.
They blended in well with the society here, but once the Nazis took power in Germany, they were kicked out by the British who were ruling the land at the time.
The Germany Colony has been well preserved, and it remains an important part of Haifa's history.
2. The Bahai Gardens
Of course, if you're visiting Haifa, you must see the Bahai gardens.
Built on 19 separate terraces, the gardens begin at the foot of Mt. Carmel and end at the top of the mountain.
The garden's main axis points face the city of Akko, a city with significant historical importance to the Baha'is. In the center of the garden is a golden dome, the Shrine of the Bab.
Aside from the beautiful gardens, you'll also enjoy a breathtaking view of the Haifa Bay, The Sea of Galilee, and the Mediterranean Sea.
You can walk the gardens yourself, but you can also take part in a free guided tour (which are given every day but Wednesday).
Keep in mind:
The gardens are a holy place, so visitors are asked to respect it by dressing modestly and keeping the place clean.
3. Downtown Haifa (Lower City)
Haifa's lower city, near the Port of Haifa, is the oldest part of Haifa. Located at the base of Mt. Carmel, it has a bunch of central neighborhoods with bars, restaurants, and shops nested in between them.
The railroad, commercial and passenger ports, and main highways connecting northern Israel to the country's center all come together in this part of the city.
It's the commercial and business center of Haifa, home to government institutions, large companies, and recently, pubs, bars, restaurants, and clubs.
4. The Flea Market
There's a lot of atmosphere in Haifa's Flea Market. Kibbutz Galuyot Street and all of the roads that connect to it are full of small stores.
The market is at its busiest during Saturdays and Sundays, but some of the shops are open on weekday mornings as well, until noon.
You'll want to show up with cash and small change, as many of the stores don't accept card. Oh, and be ready to bargain for better prices!
5. Wadi Nisnas
Wadi Nisnas is a neighborhood located in the Lower City. It was first established during the 19th century as a workers' neighborhood, and its old Mediterranean architecture has been preserved over the years.
Stella Maris, one of the area's most important locations for Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike, is located on its main streets.
Many people attribute sacred and medicinal qualities to the cave, and its walls are covered with old inscriptions left by the pilgrims there ages ago, including one by Germanus, an ancient Roman soldier.
Some historians believe that in ancient times, the cave was used as a temple to the Oracle of the Carmel. Members of the Christian religion believe the cave was used by Jesus and his family as a hiding place from King Herod.
6. Elijah's Cave
The Cave of Elijah the Prophet is an important site in the Jewish religion. It is a grotto written about in the Torah (the Hebrew bible) where the prophet Elijah took shelter.
According to the Torah, he had been traveling for 40 days and nights before taking shelter here. Upon awakening, he was spoken to by God.
Visitors can sit together in a Hasidic gathering, listen to Hasidic tales, soul music, the secrets of the Torah, and get a taste of delicious kugel from Jerusalem. Visitors can also request a blessing from the Lubavitcher Rabbi.
7. Stella Maris
Latin for Star of the Sea, Stella Maris is a neighborhood at the top of Mt. Carmel, overlooking the beautiful sea.
At the top is a monastery belonging to the Carmelite Order, founded during the time of the Crusades.
The church was opened in 1836, and construction was completed in 1853. In addition, the summer palace of Turkish Sultan Abdallah, Haifa's oldest residential structure, is also located in Stella Maris.
You can find many observation points in this neighborhood, with magnificent views of the Haifa Bay.
8. Carmel Beach
This is the main beach in Haifa. Along the main walkway you'll see tall palm trees, restaurants, entertainment centers, and of course, a wonderful beach with beautiful water. It's a 15 minute bus ride from our hostel!
There is free parking south of the beach, plenty of benches and seating areas, as well as places to play different sports and games. It is easily accessible by bus, and there is a train station located right on the beach.
9. Scuba Diving
If you like to dive, there are plenty of cool places to check out in Haifa. You can dive in any of the following locations, including several sunken ships off the coast of Haifa:
Wreck of the Scire
The remains of the Scire, an Italian submarine sunk by the British in 1942, are laying at the depth of 32 meters, 11 km away from the middle of Haifa Bay. Divers love to visit the remains of this ship.
If you're ever at the beach early in the morning, you'll see dozens of surfers riding the waves. You can surf on your own, or join a surf club to go with a group. If you're a surfing veteran, feel free to ride the waves on your own.
Otherwise, there are plenty of surfing classes for beginners offered here in Haifa. You'll find plenty of surf clubs along the beaches, great for first-timers and experts alike.