Haifa Travel Guide

Haifa © Michael Paul Gollmer

Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel. It's an attractive seaport and one of the most culturally mixed and cosmopolitan cities in the country. The Israeli saying 'Haifa works, Jerusalem prays, Tel Aviv plays' gestures toward the city's blue-collar roots.

In the 1950s a concerted effort was made to make Haifa more culturally sophisticated, with the Haifa Theatre, the Krieger Centre for Performing Arts, and the Ein Hod artists' colony being established. Haifa also hosts an annual (and well-attended) International Film Festival, and the Haifa Rock and Blues Festival, which has attracted top performers over the years (such as Bob Dylan, Nick Cave and PJ Harvey, to name a few).

There are numerous interesting attractions in Haifa, including a wealth of museums, gorgeous temples and mosques, and sunny, child-friendly beaches. For those fascinated with biblical history, Tel Megiddo ('Armageddon' in Ancient Greek) - the supposed site of the end of the world - is located about 20 miles (32km) southwest of Haifa.

The majority of visitors to Haifa go there for the amazing gardens of the Baha'í World Centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, once known as the Hanging Gardens of Haifa. This magical place, with a golden shrine and lovingly maintained terraces in nine concentric circles, is deemed by followers of the Baha'i faith to be a 'gift to all humanity'. The beauty of the gardens and the amount of care that goes into their upkeep is both palpable and inspiring. The gardens are one of Israel's most-visited tourist attractions, welcoming over half a million visitors every year.

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