Haifa Israel is right in the midst of things, as the third-largest city in Israel and one of its most important commercial centers. It offers beautiful white-sand beaches, the idyllic Bahai Gardens, and a lack of tension that allows Jews, Christians, and Muslims to live together, seemingly in harmony. With its 300,000 inhabitants, Haifa is built on the lower slopes of Mount Carmel Israel, itself a draw for its scenic views and trails, the Carmelite monastery at its top, and famous as the Biblical prophet Elijah's refuge during the reign of King Ahab.
The city of Haifa has a long history and, like many ancient towns in the region, was at various times in the hands of Jews, Muslims, and Crusaders. In the mid-nineteenth century, Haifa also became the home of colonists of the German Protestant Temple Society, and these Templer homes can be seen in the German Colony area on Ben Gurion Boulevard, along with some fun bars and restaurants. Today, visitors who travel to Haifa find it a prosperous, modern city, with a vibrant student population centered on Haifa University at the top of Mount Carmel. Beautiful buildings and breathtaking views of the surrounding region can be seen from the university's Eshkol Tower and are a highlight of any Haifa vacation.
The Bahai Gardens are a must-see on your trip to Haifa Israel. Not only are the nineteen terraces of the gardens a lovely place to spend a morning, but the Bahai World Center located on the grounds is, as its name suggests, the headquarters for adherents of the faith worldwide. The gardens also enclose the Shrine of Bab with its golden dome. When the day gets hot, head to the lengthy stretches of white-sand beaches, a prime draw on a Haifa vacation, and get lost in the liveliness of the boardwalk, beachfront cafes, and restaurants.
Many travel to Haifa on the trail of the prophet Elijah. What is purported to be the prophet's cave can be seen on Mount Carmel, either by hiking up from the town or by taking a scenic trail down from the Carmelite monastery, Stella Maris, which is worth a visit as the founding place of the Roman Catholic Carmelite Order. The prophet Elijah inhabited the cave through the reign of King Ahab and his wife Jezebel. The Mount Carmel National Park also has many other caves where Neanderthals and early humans lived.
The most popular museum for many who travel to Haifa is the Israel National Museum of Science, Technology, and Space. Other popular museums include the Haifa Museum of Art, the Museum of Prehistory, and many more. Haifa has a flourishing arts and culture scene, and art-lovers will want to check out the Ein Hod artists' colony, where many artists have studios and exhibitions, while on their Haifa vacation. The Hecht Museum on the university campus has an interesting collection of archaeological finds as well as nineteenth and twentieth century art by Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh, and others, while the Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art showcases both old and new work by Japanese artists.
Meanwhile, shoppers can pay a visit to the city's many modern air-conditioned malls, if they're looking to escape the heat for a while. For the party-goers, there is a moderate selection of pubs, clubs, and bars. There is a variety of Haifa hotels, with both budget and luxury accommodations available, and the city of Nazareth and its historic attractions are nearby as well. While Haifa may not be Israel's party capital, like Tel Aviv, or the nation's religious heart, like Jerusalem, it nevertheless has a charm of its own, and visitors will find it well worth the short trip from Tel Aviv to visit this more relaxed, scenic city.