There are many interesting things to do in Haifa. This is one of Israel’s most interesting cities and it would be a pity not to go when in the country.
The third biggest city in the country and allegedly its technology capital, Haifa is right on the coast, but at the same time on the hills – Carmel Mountain surmounts it. While the historical center is picturesque, the beaches are some of the best in Israel and at any time of the year they buzz with life, with people running, walking their dogs, children playing, and a selection of excellent restaurants.
Many people visit Haifa on just a day trip from Tel Aviv, going to also Akko and Cesarea, but I recommend to spend at least a night there to fully appreciate its atmosphere. If you are short on time, you can still make the most of the city in a day, though you may want to do a guided tour to save some time. You can book it here.
Continue reading to discover all the things to do in Haifa.
13 Fabulous Things To Do In Haifa
Explore the Bahai Gardens
Haifa’s most famous attraction is the Bahai Gardens. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this perfectly kept park is located on the hills and counts 19 terraces. From the top one, you get incredible views of the gardens below and of Haifa, including the harbor.
Inside the gardens you’ll also find the shrine of Baha’i religion, as well as a multitude of plants.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The gardens are open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and the shrine can be visited from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm every day.
Walk around the German Colony
You simply can’t go to Haifa and skip the German Colony. It sits right at the bottom of Bahai Gardens and chances are you’ll walk through it on your way there. This is Haifa’s prettiest neighborhood, first created in 1868 when a second wave of settlements hit the Holy Land, many of the buildings are still very well kept – some are private homes, others have been turned into cafés, bars and restaurants.
Discover Wadi Nisnas
Right by the German Colony t here is the Arab neighborhood of Wadi Nisnas, a maze of narrow alleys and white stone houses that is a perfect place to try some of the best street food in Haifa. If you want excellent falafels, this is where you should go. There also is a market worth exploring.
Try all the street food
As I have just said, Wadi Nisnas is a great area in Haifa to try falafel. However, let me add that one of the unmissable things to do in Haifa is trying all the other street food. Shawarma is best tried at Emil, and if you are in the mood for dough go to Houri for a pita that is stuffed to the brim with you choice of toppings (I recommend pouring copious doses of tahini over anything). For bourekas, go to Ha’agala.
Pop into Haifa Museum of Art
Haifa Museum of Art was inaugurated in 1951 and currently is one of the biggest art museums in the country. Close to Wadi Nisnas, the main focus is contemporary art with an eye for both Israeli artists as well as international ones. Keep an eye on the website of the museum for special exhibits and events.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The museum is open Sundays to Wednesdays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm; Thursdays from 4:00 to 7:00 pm; Fridays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Admission is 45 NIS (around $13).
Visit Madatech Science and Technology Museum
Located on 25 Shmaryahu Levin Street inside the premises of Technion University, this is a fun museum to visit for both adults and children, with a fantastic exhibit with special insights into green energy and installations honoring the work of scientists such as Da Vinci and Einstein.
Outside the Madatech you’ll find an outdoors sports science exhibit as well as an interactive theater – which however costs an extra fee.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The museum is open daily from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. It closes at 2:00 pm on Fridays and at 5:00 pm on Thursdays and Saturdays. Admission is 89 NIS (around $25) but if you get your tickets online on the website of the museum, the price is 65 NIS (little over $18).
Ride Haifa Cable Car
One of the most fun things to do in Haifa is riding the cable car. This is an excellent means of transportation that you can use to reach Stella Maris Monastery from Bat Galim Promenade and the views from it are splendid.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: Haifa Cable Car is open from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm in the summer, and from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm in the winter. The round-trip ticket costs 28 Israeli Shekels (NIS), which is just $8 USD.
Go to Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery
Thought to be one of the oldest monasteries in the world, Stella Maris dates back to 1291 AD. It’s a gorgeous place to explore – and it’s free, in a country where everything is very expensive. The views from there are stunning.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: You can get to the monastery by cable car. It’s open every day from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm and 3:00 to 6:00 pm.
Visit Elijah’s Cave
Elijah’s Cave is a chapel thought to be the place where Prophet Elijah’s used to live in the 9th century BC. It’s where he taught and many of his life events took place. This place of religious worship for Christians, Muslims, Jews and even Druze is located at the foot of Carmel Mountain.
Hit the beach
Haifa easily wins the title for best beaches in Israel. Bat Galim and Dado are two of the best beaches in Haifa, and both are excellent places to practice sports such as surfing, kite-surfing, wind-surfing, paddle-boarding.
Bat Gali is a lovely neighborhood with a nice promenade, restaurants and cafés perfect for a walk in any season. The cable car that connects Haifa to Stella Maris Monastery departs from Bat Galim.
Dado Beach is famous for the long boardwalk and the well kept gardens, and a favorite of locals.
Have a picnic in Carmel Park
Carmel Mountain National Park is the largest national park in Israel and it’s at just 20 minutes drive from Haifa. It’s a wonderful place to have a family picnic, to walk and even bike around and from there you can reach several archeological sites.
Browse around the Flea Market
If you are in search of a bargain or just want to peek around the stalls, one of the nicest things to do in Haifa is visiting the flea market. This is open daily, but the best day to visit is Saturday, when you’ll find the largest variety of objects – from vintage jewelry to used clothing and art pieces.
Hang out in Masada Street
One of the nicest things to do in Haifa is hanging out in Masada Street. This part of town is very artsy – you will find bohemian looking people enjoying a drink; vintage shops; cute coffee shops and a lot of street art.
Walk along Louis Promenade
Known as the Balcony of the Country, Louis Promenade was built in 1992 and it’s just 400 meters long. It’s a short but nice walk through the Mediterranean woods with benches and pergolas perfect for a break and with incredible views of the sea – a great place to hang around in the late afternoon, especially in the spring and summer months.
Practical Tips To Organize Your Trip To Haifa
Where to stay in Haifa
Haifa has a good selection of places to stay. You can decide to stay either near the beach or in the city center. The following are just a few places for your consideration:
- City Port Hotel is a small hotel near the center of Haifa, from where you can easily reach all attractions and even the beach. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
- Schumacher Hotel Haifa has spacious, stylish modern rooms close to the center of Haifa and within easy distance from the best beaches. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
- Haifa Hostel has plain but clean dorms and is within easy walking distance from Quiet Beach. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
When to visit Haifa
Haifa is great at any time of year. I’d suggest going in the spring and summer months to enjoy the beaches and the lovely nightlife, but keep in mind Israel tends to get very hot in August. The rainiest month is January, so you may want to avoid that.
How to get to Haifa
Haifa is well connected to the rest of Israel. The easiest way to get there from Tel Aviv is by train. There are frequent trains and the overall journey lasts around 45 minutes to one hour. Alternatively, you can take bus 910 from Tel Aviv Central Bus Station all the way to Haifa Hof Ha Carmel bus station. It takes around 90 minutes.
Keep in mind that public transportation does not work in Israel during Shabbat, so from Friday afternoon until Saturday afternoon. If you want to go during that time, your best bet is a car rental. You can book your car here.
How to move around Haifa
Public transportation works really well in Haifa – it’s actually the best in the country – and you can count on the bus, the light rail, the Carmelit (metro) and on a great web of service taxis to get around efficiently and cheaply.
Other useful information
I recommend getting a good travel insurance for your trip to Israel. Get yours here.
Check out my post “Why You Need A Good Travel Insurance.”
Further readings about Israel
If you are planning a trip to Israel, make sure to read all my other posts:
- The 10 Best Places To Visit During A Trip To Israel
- Traditional and Alternative Things To Do In Jerusalem
- 21 Absolutely Unmissable Things To Do In Tel Aviv
- Where To Stay In Tel Aviv: Recommendations By An Almost Local
- Tel Aviv Vegan Food Guide – The Best Vegan Restaurants In Tel Aviv
- 17 Unmissable Things To Do In Eilat, Israel
- My Jerusalem: Places I Love In This Timeless City
- Everything You Need To Know To Hike The Jesus Trail
- Why I took a Dual Narrative Tour of Hebron
- A Complete Guide To Israeli Food