By Lauren Kmec

Haifa is situated on a natural bay between Mount Carmel and the Mediterranean Sea in northern Israel. This city is a well-known seaport, a hub of higher education, and a center for peace and religious tolerance. Visitors to Haifa can experience the best of both worlds between the sea and mountains, from pristine beaches to beautiful landscaped terraces perched on the hills above the city. Haifa’s varied history—the city has been ruled by no less than 10 different groups from the 14th century B.C.E. to the present—has led to an eclectic mix of culture blending ancient and contemporary landmarks, traditions, and lifestyles.

WhatsCheaper.com highly recommends Haifa as an off-the-beaten-path vacation destination. There are a few different ways to get here: Fly into Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV), one of the top-rated airports in the Middle East, and take a direct train to Haifa, or continue on a connecting flight to Haifa Airport (HFA). Follow this link (http://www.whatscheaper.com/flight.php) to solidify your flight arrangements with WhatsCheaper.com. We can also help you find the perfect place to stay, regardless of your budget. Click here (http://www.whatscheaper.com/hotel.php) to review WhatsCheaper.com’s many hotel options.

WhatsCheaper.com encourages you to visit the Bahá’í Shrine and Gardens as your first excursion in Haifa. The massive shrine and garden complex (or “Bahá’í World Centre,” as it is sometimes called) is located on the northern side of Mt. Carmel at the edge of the city. This magnificent attraction is one of the holiest places on Earth for members of the Bahá’í faith, but anyone is welcome here, as the Bahá’í teachings emphasize unity across religious and cultural boundaries. The shrine’s impressive golden dome, Neo-Classical–style buildings, and cascading terraced gardens are not to be missed, even if you have no religious interests. The Bahá’í Shrine and Gardens were named as a prestigious UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, ensuring that they will be preserved and protected in the future for all the world to see.

Haifa is also home to the Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery and Church, another religious landmark that is highly recommended by WhatsCheaper.com. Stella Maris sits at the top of Mt. Carmel, and getting here requires some advance planning: the site is accessible on foot or via a cable car from the base of the mountain. Construction for the present-day church began in 1836, but there was an earlier monastery on this site, which served as a hospital for Napoleon’s men during the unsuccessful siege of Acre in 1799. Some highlights of the Stella Maris complex include the massive church dome painted with biblical scenes, a unique statue of the Virgin Mary carved from a Cedar of Lebanon tree, and a pyramidal monument honoring the French soldiers who perished here during Napoleon’s failed conquest. Additionally, the Cave of Elijah is located below the altar of the main church; this cave is believed to have been a safe haven for the prophet Elijah during King Ahab’s reign in the 9th century B.C.E.

If you are seeking an educational experience during your stay in Haifa, WhatsCheaper.com suggests visiting a few of the city’s numerous museums. Some of our favorites include the Hecht Museum, featuring archaeological exhibits and artistic works by Van Gogh, Monet, and many others; the National Maritime Museum, which commemorates more than 5000 years of eastern Mediterranean naval history; and the National Museum of Science, Technology, and Space, boasting a wealth of interactive exhibits and laboratories.

Furthermore, WhatsCheaper.com recommends a few other notable attractions in the city of Haifa: The German Colony is an area that was purchased by the German Templar Society in 1868 and was converted into Israel’s first planned agricultural community. Many of the colony’s original buildings lining Ben Gurion Boulevard have been restored as historic landmarks. Also of interest is Wadi Nisnas, an interesting neighborhood where visitors can experience the local flavor of life in Haifa. The bustling market and lively streets of Wadi Nisnas make it a great place to visit on any day, but the best time to visit is undoubtedly during the winter holidays, when Wadi Nisnas hosts the “Holiday of Holidays” Festival, a celebration of Haifa’s peaceful history of collaboration between Jews, Muslims, Bahá’í, and Christians.

Let WhatsCheaper.com help finalize plans for your vacation to Haifa and get ready to experience the Middle East as you have never seen it before!


  • 1. Haifa Port
  • 2. Baha'i Gardens & Golden Dome
  • 3. The German Colony
  • 4. Louis Promenade
  • 5. Dado Beach
  • 6. Tishbi Estate Winery
  • 7. Haifa Educational Zoo
  • 8. National Museum of Science, Technology & Space
  • 9. Beit Shearim
  • 10. Abboud Tours


  • 1. International Film Festival - September
  • 2. Haifa Flute Festival - November