Haifa is Israel’s third largest city, often referred to as the “Capital of the North”. Slowly but surely, it is coming out of the shadows of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to become a tourist destination in its own right. From its sumptuous street food and dynamic cultural scene to its religious diversity and stunning Mediterranean coastline, here are 8 ways to experience the city at its best.
These pristine gardens are one of Haifa’s main attractions, and it’s no surprise why. A sacred site to the 6 million members of the Bahai religion, a small number of whom reside in Israel, the gardens are delightful for an afternoon stroll. From its peak, you have a postcard view overlooking the gardens and Haifa’s Bay.
Nestled between the German Colony and the recently renovated downtown area is the small Arab neighbourhood of Wadi Nisnas, home to some 8,000 residents. Head to its authentic shuk and sample the culinary delights on offer, which include stuffed eggplants, hummus, and Arab pastries.
Haifa has a robust cultural scene and often hosts festivals, from A-sham, the Arab Food Festival heading into its fourth year, to the annual International Film Festival, which was established in 1983 and typically takes place in Autumn.
Haifa is where you’ll find some of the best street food in Israel. Shawarma Emil and Shawarma Hazan serve up the best shawarma in the city, and Falafel HaZkenim in Wadi Nisna is the place to go for the classic deep fried chickpea balls.
Falafel Ha’zkenim, 18 Wadi Street, Haifa, Israel, +972 4-851-4959
Shawarma Emil, Derech Allenby 33, Haifa, Israel, +972 4-851-7096
Shawarma Hazan, Jaffa Street 140, Haifa, Israel , +972 4-855-8075
Haifa has great beaches, such as Dado Beach and Bat Galim Beach, both of which are popular surfing spots. Moreover, it is home to 5 kilometres of paved coastline, full of restaurants, cafes, and ice cream shops. Enjoy the sea breeze as you stroll along, or sit down and watch the joggers, dogs, and families go about their business.