The third biggest city in Israel. Like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Haifa is also not an ordinary Israeli city. It is a very diverse and an interesting place, but not so much because of the history, but more because of the special character. Haifa is built on a mountain, Mount Carmel, but it also has flat areas and beaches.
The mountain and its gorges are covered with forests and wildlife.
How to get to Haifa?
Because it is the 3rd biggest city there will be public transport from almost any city.
Haifa is built on a mountain, it makes everything more complex.
Because of the topography, Haifa has 3 big public transport centers next to the shore and from there, buses/cable cars/underground go up the mountain. The coastal train line connects all the compounds.
The 4 public transport compounds:
- Hof HaCarmel (Carmel Beach) - On the map.
The main central bus station of Haifa. located west of the city. Close to the main beach of Haifa.
- Bat Galim - On the map.
The next train station of Haifa. located close to the museums compound and the cable car.
- Haifa center ( Hashmona) - On the map.
The station next to the downtown area. Probably the place you will be heading as arriving in Haifa.
- Lev HaMifratz - One the map.
The Eastern station of Haifa.
Map of Haifa
Leave behind all the heavy books, GPS and so. The best map of Haifa is giving for free at the tourist information and at the Hostels/hotels around the city. They marked the interesting areas and in each area marked the points of interest in a very convenient way.
Haifa - A diverse City
On the religious side, the city is even more diverse than Jerusalem. 9% of the population are Arabs, Christians, and Muslims.
- The city is the center of the Baha'i faith.
- The only place in Israel where Ahmadiya Muslims live. What is Ahmadiyya?
- Close to the city of Haifa up the mountain, there are few Druze villages.
Each December there is a festival of "Holiday of the holidays" which come to celebrate tolerance at the time of the year which the 3 big religions have a special holiday.
Haifa is built on a slope
Haifa started as a small town on the flat area next to the port. As the population grew, people started building their houses over the slopes of the ridge and on top of it. This feature affects the city character. Haifa is one of the cities in Israel with the best public transportation and the only city with an underground.
As you will visit the Bahai gardens you will see (and feel) the slopes of the streets around you as you will try to restore your breath. But there is another thing you might Notice, the amazing view from the upper neighborhoods. Combine it with the fact that the upper neighborhoods are more modern, Haifa is one of the few cities in which the value of the of the real estate is going down as you get closer to the beach....
Haifa as an Academic City
Haifa is a student city with 2 institutes-University of Haifa and the Technion. The Technion which was established in 1913 is a world-class science and engineering institute and some Nobel prize winners came out of its gates.
Haifa a city of Museums
If Jerusalem if the city of historical and archeological museums which are unique to Israel, Haifa is a city of more general museums.
Beaches of Haifa
The port of Haifa takes a huge part of its coastal area. Because of that, the main beaches of Haifa are located to the west of the city. Located here, next to the Hof-HaCarmel central bus station.
In case you don't want to take a transportation or walk the long distance there is still hope! there are 2 tiny beaches close to the downtown area.
Note that both places are very small and quite close to the port which can be a bit unpleasant.