Haifa is the third-largest city in Israel. Haifa’s most famous tourist attraction is the Bahai Gardens, but there are others as well. On this page, you will find a list of things to do with links to pages with additional info.
Haifa is the third-largest city in Israel – after Jerusalem and Tel Aviv– with a population of 281,087 in 2017. The city of Haifa forms part of the Haifa metropolitan area, the second- or third-most populous metropolitan area in Israel. It is home to the Bahá’í World Centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a destination for Bahá’í pilgrims.
Built on the slopes of Mount Carmel, the settlement has a history spanning more than 3,000 years. The earliest known settlement in the vicinity was Tell Abu Hawam, a small port city established in the Late Bronze Age (14th century BCE). In the 3rd century CE, Haifa was known as a dye-making center. Over the millennia, the Haifa area has changed hands: being conquered and ruled by the Canaanites, Israelites, Phoenicians, Persians, Hasmoneans, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, Ottomans, and the British. Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the Haifa Municipality has governed the city.
As of 2016, the city is a major seaport located on Israel’s Mediterranean coastline in the Bay of Haifa covering 63.7 square kilometers (24.6 sq mi). It lies about 90 kilometers (56 mi) north of Tel Aviv and is the major regional center of northern Israel. According to researcher Jonathan Kis-Lev, Haifa is considered a relative haven for coexistence between Jews and Arabs. Two respected academic institutions, the University of Haifa and the Technion, are located in Haifa, in addition to the largest k-12 school in Israel, the Hebrew Reali School.
The city plays an important role in Israel’s economy. It is home to Matam, one of the oldest and largest high-tech parks in the country. Haifa also owns the only underground rapid transit system located in Israel, known as the Carmelit. The Haifa Bay is a center of heavy industry, petroleum refining, and chemical processing. Haifa formerly functioned as the western terminus of an oil pipeline from Iraq via Jordan.
Map Of Haifa
Let’s start with the attractions map:
Bahai Gardens is probably the most popular attraction in Haifa. There are three main entrances: German Colony, Main Entrance vs. the Bahai Shrine, and Yafe Nof Balcony located at Louis Promenade. At the Bahai Gardens post, you can see my visits to all three entrances and the nearby Ursula Malbin’s Sculpture Garden.
How long is Ben Gurion street, the street that leads to Bahai Gardens? What is Hyperlapse? Answers to both these questions you can find at the Hyperlapse of Bahai Gardens.
- Hai-Bar Carmel is located on top of Carmel mountain inside Carmel nature reserve. The entry to the nature reserve is next to Haifa University.
According to Israel Nature and Parks Authority, it as the place to see eagles and deer. Is it?
- Haifa Educational Zoo is located on the slopes of Mount Carmel. It is a medium-sized zoo, and you can find there all the standard animals, like lions, tigers, monkeys. But, since the zoo is on the slope of Carmel mountain, there are no big animals like elephants, giraffes, and hippos.
- Madatech, Israel’s National Museum of Science, Technology, and Space, is Israel’s largest science museum.
- Join us for a visit to the Railway Museum.
- Tikotin Museum Of Japanese Art is one of the lesser-known attractions in Haifa, though it is the only museum of its kind in the middle east.
- There are two maritime museums in Haifa. They are the National Maritime Museum and the Clandestine Immigration And Naval Museum. Both of these museums are located within a short walking distance from each other but present different centuries. While National Maritime Museum shows ancient times, the Clandestine Immigration And Naval Museum concentrates on the 19th century.
- Hecht Museum at the University of Haifa is an excellent small and free museum. It has archaeological and art wings.
- Haifa Museum of Art showcases the works of Israeli and international artists from the beginning of the 20th century and onwards.
Other Things To Do
- Haifa offers a nice strip of beaches. Dado Beach is the most popular one. It is a beautiful beach with a promenade, lots of restaurants, and change rooms. The entrance is free, and so was the parking (during my last visit).
- The Bible tells us that the Prophet Elijah fought on Mount Carmel against prophets of the Baal. From then to this day, Carmel Mountain retains its religious significance. For that reason, Stella Maris Monastery was built. You can visit both Stella Maris Monastery and the Cave of Elijah.
- A stroll in Downtown
- Haifa University is located on the top of Mount Carmel, which allows good views over Haifa Bay. Check out Haifa University viewpoint for more.
- Another lovely viewpoint is the Carmel routes viewpoint.
- There are many trails in the Carmel Mountains, and some of them start literary in Haifa. The beginning of Spring is one of the best times for Hiking the Carmel Mountains.
- If you love second-hand markets or look for something unique, then check out The Flea Market and Merchant Fair.
- Are there renovations in the city? Yes! Don’t believe me, check out The Old Commercial Center.
- The time when I went to search for Less Familiar Viewpoints in the city.
Exhibitions And Concerts
- How do half a million flowers look like? Check out the Flower exhibition for the answer.
- Why not go to a concert in the city? Join us for Al Bano.
- The Holiday Of Holidays is an annual festival that takes place in Haifa. It is celebrated for three weekends in December. And the purpose of this festival is to show the character of Haifa, a city with a mixed population, different faiths, and promote coexistence and tolerance among them. The name of the festival expresses the intention to mark the religious holidays that apply in December, which are: Hanukkah, Christmas and the month of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr. The festival spreads over the German Colony and Wadi Nisnas. And this is the best opportunity to visit both neighborhoods.
What Are The Best Attractions For Kids In Haifa?
Here are a few ideas for activities with children in Haifa:
- Madatech, Israel National Museum of Science, Technology, and Space – I visited it several times over the years, and my daughter loved it. Most of the activities are dedicated to kids.
- The Clandestine Immigration and Naval Museum (not to be mixed with the nearby National Maritime Museum) is an excellent attraction for kids where you can walk within a real submarine and other vessels.
- Haifa Educational Zoo is also a good option. Though it is not a big zoo, you can usually find cheap tickets online.
- Touring the Bahai Gardens is suitable for all ages.
- Occasionally, the Tikotin Museum Of Japanese Art offers workshops for children. Check them out.
- Haifa is located on the seashore and has a lovely strip of beaches. And since Israel is not cold, you can swim almost all year round.
- If you want to go out for a hike, there are plenty of routes in the Carmel Mountains. Here is a simple and nice trail if you are going to go Hiking the Carmel Mountains.
- And lastly, you can go to the Railway Museum.
What Are The Best Things To Do For Kids Near Haifa?
So far, we went through things to do that are within the city. Within a short drive (less than one hour), you can also visit:
- If you love animals, then consider Hay Park at Kiryat Motzkin and Monkey Forest in Yodfat.
- There are also several national parks nearby. They are Ein Afek Nature Reserve, Beit Shearim, Nahal Mearot Nature Reserve, and Caesarea National Park.
- You can spend several hours up to a full day in Acre. And kids will love to sail from Haifa to Acre and back.
- If you love nature and Agrotourism, then consider checking out different Attractions At Bethlehem Of Galilee. You can pick olives, go to a self-picking farm, watch dairy farming in-process, and hike at Alonei Abba Nature Reserve.
- For lovers of seaside nature, I would suggest Rosh HaNikra Grottoes and Achziv National Park.
- I already mentioned that there are many trails on the Carmel mountain. Finger Cave Trail is another excellent option.
What To Do In Haifa During A Two Day Stay?
- Since I already mentioned above the best attractions for kids, in this section, I will not include adjustments for kids.
- I will not list a full itinerary, and instead, you will find suggestions for a half to full-day activities.
As I mentioned, in the beginning, Bahai Gardens is the most popular and also unique attraction. I would recommend not only joining a tour but also visiting the gardens at the three levels. The lower entrance is near the German Colony and Wadi Nisnas. Thus you can explore them as well (especially recommended if you are visiting during The Holiday Of Holidays festival). The top entrance allows enjoying the views from Louis Promenade at Yefe Nof Street (especially advisable during sunset). And the main entry you can visit the Bahai Temple and the nearby Ursula Malbin’s Sculpture Garden.
Another popular religious attraction is Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery and Elijah’s Cave.
I would suggest checking out the Clandestine Immigration And Naval Museum. Besides the history aspect, this unique museum allows you to visit a real missile boat and submarine.
If you love the sea, check out Dado beach.
Of course, there are other places as well, and you can see them above. My selection was based on popularity and uniqueness. For example, I enjoyed my visits to Haifa Educational Zoo, but there is a zoo in every country, and this one is not unique.
What To Do In Haifa Area?
What Are Free Attractions In Haifa?
The best free attractions in Haifa include the Bahai Gardens, Louis Promenade, Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery, Elijah’s Cave, explore German Colony, Ursula Malbin’s Sculpture Garden, Hecht Museum, beaches, and nearby promenades.