Some compare Haifa, beautifully situated on a hill
overlooking a broad bay, to San Francisco or Naples.
Israel's third-largest metropolitan area (population
300,000) and the capital of the north, Haifa is like a
triple-decker sandwich. The industrial area that comprises
Israel's most important port is the lowest tier; the
business district (Hadar), higher up, is the second; and the
Carmel district, with its panoramic vistas, nestled even
higher on the upper pine slopes, constitutes the third.
Plans are now in progress to convert the beach areas
southwest of the port into Israel's own "Riviera;" you'll
see a great deal of hotel construction underway along the
shoreline during the next few years. The beaches are already
Very different from either Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, the city
is a pleasure to visit just to get a sense of its beauty and
lifestyle. In a society unlike any other in the Middle East,
Jews and Arabs live and work side by side; 25% of Haifa's
population is either Muslim or Christian.
Like the rest of the country, Haifa is booming. Construction
of new hotels (including a totally new hotel district down
near the shore) is already under way. Planned development of
the truly beautiful beaches just to the south of Haifa will
change the nature of the city as a travel destination over
the next few years.
Haifa is a good base for exploring this part of Israel. You
won't need to rent a car if you base yourself here; many
organized day tours originate in Haifa, or, since Haifa is a
major transportation hub, you can just use public
transportation to explore cities like Akko or even Safed on
your own. In the evening, after a day of touring the area,
Haifa offers a good choice of restaurants, films, and
concerts, or just urban strolling to keep you busy.
Haifa has been the area's principal seaport since the
British built its modern harbor (1929-34). Back in 1898,
when he sailed past the spot that was to become modern
Haifa, Theodor Herzl, the father of Zionism, saw a prophetic
vision: "Huge liners rode at anchor . . . at the top of the
mountain there were thousands of white homes and the
mountain itself was crowned with imposing villas. . . . A
beautiful city had been built close to the deep blue sea."
Herzl recorded this experience in his book, Altneuland (Old
New Land), and miraculously, the city developed precisely
along the lines he predicted.
On April 21, 1948, Haifa became the first major city
controlled by Jews after the end of the British Mandate and
the U.N. Partition decision in 1947. Although Haifa's
previous growth had already spurred development of
residential areas such as Bat Galim, Hadar Ha-Carmel, and
Neve-Shaanan, the new wave of immigration (more than
100,000) gave rise to others: Ramat Ramez, Kiryat Elizer,
Neveh Yosef, and Kiryat Shprinzak. Haifa Bay, east of the
port, became the backbone of the country's heavy industries,
with oil refineries and associated industries, foundries,
glass factories, fertilizer and chemical industries, cement
works, textile manufacturing, and yards for shipbuilding and
repair. Haifa is a workers' city and on political and social
issues it has a liberal tradition.
Haifa's intercity bus and train transportation center is at
its northernmost tip, in the district of Bat Galim, about 2
kilometers (1 1/2 miles) northwest of the downtown port area.
At Ben-Gurion Airport contact tourist information inside the
baggage claim area about taxi, sherut, and bus service to
Haifa, approximately a 2-hour trip. Service to Haifa and the
north is not as well organized as service to Tel Aviv and
For the return to Ben-Gurion, El Al Airlines has an early
baggage check-in service in Haifa, located at the Congress
Center, 2 Kedoshei Yassi St., open Sunday to Thursday from
noon to 11pm, Friday from 11am to 3pm, and Saturday after
Shabbat to 11pm. El Al also offers a daily early morning bus
transportation to Ben-Gurion Airport (available to anyone,
not only to El Al's customers). The bus leaves the Egged
central bus station daily at 3:30am, stopping at many hotels
along the way, with its final departure from the Dan Carmel
Hotel at 4:15am. It will pick you up anywhere along its
route if you call in advance to request it. You can purchase
tickets in advance from the El Al office, travel agents, or
hotels (but not directly from the bus driver). For further
information or to reserve a ticket, phone El Al's office
(Phone 04/670-170). Sherut (shared taxi) service from Haifa
to Ben-Gurion Airport can be arranged through Amahl Taxi
(Phone 04/866-2324). Fare is NIS 44 ($12.30) one way per
person. Another service to Ben-Gurion is Kavei Ha-Galil, 11
Berwarld St. (Phone 04/664-444, 04/664-445, or 04/664-446).
El Al passengers have the option of using a special
transport company, Tisa La Tisa (Phone 04/643-371), which
will pick them up at their hotel with a shared taxi or van,
and get them to Ben-Gurion Airport in time for El Al flights
for NIS 36 ($10) per person.
The New Central Railway Station is in Bat Galim. In the
station you'll find Olamei Hod, a cheerful air-conditioned
restaurant with set-price breakfasts or lunches if you're in
transit, open Sunday through Thursday from 5am to 7pm,
closing early on Friday and all day Saturday. There is also
the Old Railway Station in Plumer Square.
Trains to Netanya and Tel Aviv leave approximately every
hour from 5:45am to 7pm, Sunday through Thursday; the last
Friday train leaves at 2pm; there's no Saturday service.
Less frequent service to Akko and Nahariya is available. One
early morning train departs from Jerusalem on Sunday
morning. Train information can be obtained by calling Phone
The Egged Bus Terminal, with intercity buses to and from all
points in Israel, is next to the Central Railway Station in
Bat Galim. From here, you'll have to take a city bus to
either of my recommended hotel districts, in Hadar or
Central Carmel. For Hadar, catch no. 10 or 12; for Central
Carmel and the top of the mountain, you want no. 3, 22, or
24. Interurban bus information can be obtained by calling
Phone 04/854-9555. Right in the Egged Bus Station is the
Egged Restaurant, just right for a meal before or after a
long bus journey. There's a full set-price menu for lunch,
and it's open Sunday through Friday from 7am to 4pm; closed
Major highway networks connect Haifa with Tel Aviv,
Jerusalem, and the Galilee.
Your ship will dock in the port at the Maritime Passenger
Terminal. It's only a short walk to the Paris Square (Kikar
Paris) station of the Carmelit subway that climbs the
mountain to Hadar and Central Carmel.
The Haifa Tourist Board Office, 106 HaNassi Blvd. (Phone
04/837-4010), is in the Central Carmel neighborhood, just
across the street from the Nof Hotel. There is also a
downtown Tourist Information Office at 18 Herzl St., near
the intersection with Balfour (Phone 04/866-6521 or 04/666-
522), and a small Tourist Board Office in the Central Bus
Station (Phone 04/851-2208). All are open Sunday through
Thursday from 8:30am to 5pm (till 9:30pm at the Bus
Station), on Friday until 1pm; closed Saturday. Here you can
obtain the monthly calendar "Events in Haifa and the
Northern Region," plus detailed free maps, directions, and
any other information you might need. The Haifa Tourism
Development Association puts out a monthly poster, "Special
Events in Haifa," listing many events of interest; look for
it in the bus station, in hotels, in all the tourist
information offices, and in other places around town.
The Israel Students Tourist Association (ISSTA) has an
office in Hadar at 2 Balfour St. (Phone 04/867-0222). It's
open Sunday through Thursday from 8:30am to 1pm, plus 4 to
7pm; on Friday it is open from 8:30am to 1pm.
Of all its graces, Haifa is richest in panoramic views. For
purposes of orientation, you might think of Haifa as a city
built on three levels. Whether you come by ship, bus, or
train, you will arrive on the first, or port, level of the
city. The second level, Hadar Ha-Carmel, meaning "Glory of
the Carmel," is referred to simply as Hadar. This is the
business section as well as the home of the Haifa Museum,
and some very pleasant restaurants and budget hotels. At the
top of the hills is the Carmel District, a patchwork of
verdant residential neighborhoods with its own small but
busy commercial center called Central Carmel, numerous
hotels and pensions, restaurants, small museums, and two of
Haifa's brightest cultural beacons: Haifa Auditorium and Bet
Rothschild (the James de Rothschild Cultural Center).
Because Haifa is built all the way up the side of a
mountain, many of its main streets are sinuous switchbacks,
curving and recurving to accommodate the steep slopes of
Mount Carmel. The streets are always and forever
bewildering, and you will find yourself lost repeatedly. If
Haifa weren't so pleasant and beautiful, this would be a
chore. About the only straight road in Haifa is the one that
climbs the slopes of Carmel underground: the Carmelit.
2 Getting Around
The Carmelit is a fast and efficient means of getting up and
down Haifa's various levels. Its terminal station is located
on Jaffa Road, a few blocks north of the port entrance and
not far from the old (Merkaz) railway station.
Pulled on a long cable up and down the steep hill, the
Carmelit resembles a sort of scale-model M³tro, with only
1,800 yards of tunnel. It's picturesque, yes -- and it also
happens to be the fastest way to get from the port to Hadar
and Carmel. There are six stops in all. Starting from the
bottom of the mountain and going up to the top, they are:
(1) Paris Square (Kikar Paris, lower terminus, port area);
(2) Solel Boneh (Hassan Shukri Street); (3) Ha-Nevi'im
(Hadar business district, tourist office); (4) Masada
(Masada Street); (5) Eliezer Golomb (Eliezer Golomb Street);
(6) Gan Ha-Em (Central Carmel business district, upper
Trains run every 10 minutes. The Carmelit operates Sunday
through Thursday from 6:30am to midnight, Friday from 6:30am
to 3pm, and resumes service on Saturday from one-half hour
after the end of Shabbat until midnight; it is closed during
Sabbath. Ticket machines have English as well as Hebrew
instructions. The fare is NIS 3.40 ($1.10).
Bus fares are charged according to destination, so you must
tell the driver where you're going. Most fares to places
inside Haifa itself are NIS 3.40 ($1.10). Haifa's municipal
buses operate from 5am to 11:30pm Sunday through Thursday;
on Friday, bus service halts around 4:30pm; there is limited
Saturday service from 9am to midnight. For information on
buses inside Haifa, call Phone 04/854-9131; for interurban
lines, call Phone 04/854-9555.
Fast Facts: Haifa
American Express (Phone 08/867-1313)
See "Safety" below.
Banking hours are Sunday through Friday from 8:30am to
2:30pm. Afternoon hours are Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday
from 4 to 6pm.
Call the Rambam Hospital in Bat Galim (Phone 04/854-3111).
Standard hours are Sunday through Thursday from 8am to 1pm
and 4 to 7pm; Friday from 8am to 2pm. According to a
rotating schedule, one or two pharmacies remain on duty
nights and on Shabbat; their names will be posted in any
The U.S. consulate is at 12 Yerushalayim St. in Hadar (Phone
04/867-0615; fax 04/867-5757). Consular services are by
Dial 101 for Magen David Adom first aid services; 04/851-
2233 for an ambulance.
The Rambam Hospital in Bat Galim (Phone 04/854-3111), and
Carmel Hospital, 7 Michal St. (Phone 04/825-0211), will
The Rape Crisis Center telephone is 04/866-0111, daily 24
hours. Emotional First Aid (Phone 04/867-2222) is open 24
Laundromats in Haifa are not easily accessible from tourist
areas; ask at your hotel.
The main library is at 50 Pevsner St. (Phone 04/866-7766).
Hours are Sunday through Thursday from 9am to 7pm, Friday
9am to 1pm.
The Jerusalem Post, Jerusalem Report Magazine, and Eretz (a
magazine of history, nature, and travel) are readily
See "Emergencies" above.
Haifa's most accessible post office with the longest hours
is in Hadar, at the corner of Shabtai Levi and Ha-Nevi'im
streets (Phone 04/864-0917). It is open Sunday through
Thursday from 8am to 7pm; Friday 8am to 1:30pm; closed
English broadcasts are on Israeli radio 576 kHz and 1458 kHz
at 7am, 1, 5, and 8pm.
"Events in Haifa," available at Municipal Tourist
Information Offices, lists all major church, mosque, and
The Israel Student Travel Association (ISSTA), 2 Balfour
St., Hadar, can be reached at Phone 04/867-0222 or 04/866-
9139: discounts on plane and ferry tickets. Association of
Americans and Canadians in Israel (AACI), 8 Wedgewood Drive,
Haifa, can be reached at Phone 04/838-7140 or 04/838-4319:
help for absorption of North American immigrants, social and
cultural programs, tours, lectures, and activities.
Haifa is generally a low-crime city. Extra care should be
exercised near the port after dark.
For special taxis to destinations outside Haifa (including
Ben-Gurion Airport), call Kavei Ha-Galil, Phone 04/866-4444
Dial 171 for telegrams. You can send telegrams at the post
office (see "Post Office" above). Ask at your hotel for fax
Two Israeli channels carry many English-language programs.
Channel 2 is the more highbrow; Middle East television from
Lebanon specializes in American reruns.
The lower and middle areas of town, the port and Hadar, have
a few very reasonable hotels and pensions that put you right
at the center of the business district.
Central Carmel is quieter and has trees, gardens, and views,
and with the Carmelit, you're only minutes away from the
other parts of the city. On top of Mount Carmel, when you
climb the stairs out of the Gan Ha-Em Carmelit station,
you'll come above ground on busy Ha-Nassi Boulevard. Walk
southwest (up the slope) and in short order you'll arrive at
the main intersection of Central Carmel, Ha-Nassi, and Sea
Road (Derekh Ha-Yam). If you arrive in Central Carmel by
city bus no. 22, look for this same intersection to use as a
For bed-and-breakfast accommodations, contact the Haifa
Tourist Board (Phone 04/837-4010; fax 04/837-2953). They
will arrange for a variety of accommodations: doubles in an
apartment cost $40 without private bath, $55 with private
bath; and $60 for doubles with private bath and separate
entrance. Their reservations service is open Sunday to
Thursday from 9am to 3pm. Expect to pay host families in
cash; breakfast is usually $5 extra per person.
Haifa Tower Hotel. 63 Herzl St., Haifa. Phone 04/867-7111.
Fax 04/862-1863. 96 rms (all with bath or shower). A/C TV
TEL. $95-$120 double. Rates include breakfast. AE, DC, MC,
V. Carmelit: Ha-Nevi'im.
Located in a new 17-story office building in the downtown
Hadar section of Haifa, this upper-middle-ranking choice
has well-decorated and -designed rooms (all with views of
the harbor or the city, though not as spectacular as those
from the higher Carmel neighborhood) and very pleasant
public areas. Business class guest rooms, with better
furnishings and equipment, are $11 extra.
Dan Carmel Hotel. 85-87 Ha-Nassi Blvd., Haifa 34642. Phone
04/830-6306. Fax 04/ 838-7504. 219 rms (all with bath). A/C
TV TEL. $184-$300 double. 15% service charge. Rates include
breakfast. AE, DC, MC, V. Carmelit: Gan Ha-Em.
For 40 years, the Dan Carmel has reigned as Haifa's most
luxurious hotel. The building itself is a perfectly
maintained example of 1950s modernistic architecture and
decor -- a style just now reaching the age to be appreciated
for nostalgic as well as aesthetic value. There are spacious
public areas, overlooking beautiful gardens, a large country
club outdoor swimming pool, and a top-flight staff, all of
which add up to a relaxing, pleasant experience. Deluxe
rooms and suites, recently renovated, are beautifully
furnished and decorated, with wall panels of Chinese or
classic French textile designs that add a rich, intelligent
touch. Superior (standard) rooms have not yet been updated,
and show their age. Deluxe and Superior rooms are divided in
price between rooms with interesting views and rooms with
spectacular views. The in-house Rondo Restaurant, perhaps
the most elegant kosher choice in Haifa, is open Saturday
through Thursday evenings; a prix fixe meal here is a
worthwhile (kosher) splurge for a special occasion at $40
(Dan Carmel guests are exempt from the value-added tax (VAT)
if the tab is charged to their room).
Dining: Two restaurants, lobby lounge, pub, poolside snack
Services/Facilities: Executive business center, 24-hour room
service, hairdresser. Swimming pool, sauna, health club,
Dan Panorama. 107 Ha-Nassi Blvd., Haifa 34632. Phone 04/835-
2222. Fax 04/835-2235. 267 rms (all with bath). A/C TV TEL.
$150-$230 double. Rates include breakfast. 15% service
charge. AE, DC, MC, V. Carmelite: Gan Ha-Em.
This hotel, set in a high-rise built in 1986, is less
expensive and usually has a busier pace than its sister
hotel, the Dan Carmel, down the street. It's part of the
up-market Panorama shopping mall complex, which houses a
choice of clothing shops, small restaurants, and snack bars
just steps away from the hotel's polished stone lobby. The
pool has been fitted onto the roof of one of the building's
lower wings, and catches breezes on hot days. Rooms are
compact, of efficient, modern design (even lower-category
rooms have hair dryers), and classified in price according
to their views (windows in many rooms are not really big
enough to take in the views). The location, a short block
from the Carmelit stop and the Carmel shopping district, is
excellent. There are lots of pleasant Dan Hotel Chain
touches, like the wonderful breads at the breakfast buffet.
Dining/Entertainment: Three restaurants, piano bar lounge,
Services/Facilities: Business service bureau, 24-hour room
service. Outdoor pool, children's pool, fitness amenities,
Hotel Dvir. 124 Yefe Nof St., Haifa 34454. Phone 04/838-
9131. Fax 04/838-1068. 30 rms (all with bath or shower). A/C
TV TEL. $108 double. Rates include breakfast. AE, DC, MC, V.
Bus: 21, 28, or 37. Carmelit: Gan Ha-Em.
The 10 front rooms have an incredibly beautiful view of the
city, the harbor, and across Haifa Bay to Acre and the
mountains beyond. Each of these rooms has an entire wall
made of glass as well as a balcony; get one of these if you
can; back rooms are cramped and confining. But as
significant as the view is the service. The Dvir is run as a
hotel training school for the Dan Hotel Chain, and the young
people who serve you here are out to get good marks both
from you and from their supervisors. Other amenities include
clock radios, heat, and wall-to-wall carpeting and use of
the nearby Dan Panorama Hotel swimming pool. The long flight
of stairs from the street to the Dvir's front door is a
minus for many visitors (call ahead if you need assistance).
From Carmelit station, cross Ha-Nassi Boulevard, and look
for Shar Ha-Levanon Street; walk one block and turn right on
Panorama (Yefe Nof) Road.
Mount Carmel Hotel. 103 Derech HaYam, Haifa. Phone 04/838-
1413. Fax 04/838-1763. 100 rms all with bath. A/C TV TEL.
$75 single; $120 double. AE, DC, MC, V. Bus 3 from the
A short bus ride or a pleasant 20-minute downhill walk from
the Carmel Center through one of Haifa's nicest residential
areas, the Mount Carmel is a new hotel converted from a
sprawling four-story retreat surrounded by pleasant gardens;
in 1997, a swimming pool and health club were added. Rooms
are freshly done and comfortable; ask for one of the new
rooms added in 1997. You're not in the center of things
here, and the uphill walk to the Carmel Center is wearying,
but this is a moderate, relaxing alternative to the more
expensive hotels in the Carmel Center. Free parking is a
Nof Hotel. 101 Ha-Nassi Blvd., Haifa 31063. Phone 04/835-
4311. Fax 04/838-8810. 93 rms (all with bath). A/C TV TEL.
$125-$160 double. Lower prices Dec-Feb; higher prices July
15-Aug 31 and Jewish holidays. AE, DC, MC, V.
A stay at the Nof Hotel is always an enjoyable experience
and extremely good value. Nof means "view," and at the Nof
Hotel every room offers a magnificent panoramic view. Guest
rooms have especially large windows to take in their
dramatic vistas; room refurbishing and a new wing are
planned, but at present, decor in some rooms is starting to
wear thin. The hotel dining room is good, and the in-house
kosher Chinese restaurant (see "Where to Dine," below) is
excellent. A drawback in summer is the lack of a swimming
pool, but guests have free entrance to a local community
pool and there are special hotel shuttles down to the beach
in summer. Check about when planned construction is
scheduled before reserving.
The Nof's management has a real commitment to Haifa (it has
cosponsored some of the Haifa Museum's exceptional
exhibitions) and the staff will help make your stay
comfortable and interesting. Berte, the Nof's very efficient
assistant general manager, offers Frommer's readers who book
independently a 15% reduction if they stay 3 or more nights.
Hotel Beth Shalom Carmel. 110 Ha-Nassi Blvd. (P.O. Box
6208), Haifa 31060. Phone 04/ 837-7481 or 04/837-7482. Fax
04/837-2443. 30 rms (all with bath). A/C TEL. $44 single;
$66 double. Rates include breakfast. AE, DC, MC, V.
Carmelit: Gan Ha-Em.
This is a modern, efficient German Protestant guest house
equivalent to a three-star hotel, open to all comers, with
clean and airy rooms equipped with heating. Minimum stay is
3 nights. The location, just across the street from many
luxury hotels and a few doors from the Municipal Tourist
Office, is great; extra amenities include use of a small
garden and a library.
Near the Port
St. Charles German Hospice. 105 Jaffa Rd., Haifa. Phone
04/855-3705. Fax 04/851-4919. $27 single; $48 double with
breakfast. No credit cards.
On one of the port area's major thoroughfares, this hospice
is, surprisingly, a quiet place, set back from the street in
a large, stone-walled 120-year-old complex of gardens and
stone buildings. The hospice is run by the Sisters of the
Rosary, but it's open to all travelers. Rooms are simple,
two or three beds to a room, with high ceilings, spare and
practical furnishings, and running water in a sink in each
room, with ample toilet, bath, and shower facilities down
the hall, and a nice sitting room, too. You're welcome to
use the kitchen to prepare meals, and to relax in the large
garden. There is a 10pm curfew and 9am checkout.
On Carmel Beach
This beautiful beachfront area just being developed at the
edge of the city is served by buses during the day, but can
seem somewhat isolated from the rest of Haifa at night. The
area offers a beach resort atmosphere, but is also close to
the high-tech Matam Industrial Park, at the heart of
Israel's own Silicon Valley. It is also convenient to
Haifa's new International Convention Center. Parking here is
not yet a problem.
Carmel Beach Hotel and Suites. 10 David Elazar St., Carmel
Beach, Haifa. Phone 04/ 850-8888. Fax 04/850-0222. E-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org. 287 rms and suites all with bath.
A/C TV TEL. $220 single; $240 double. Rates include
breakfast. AE, DC, MC, V.
This lavish new high-rise hotel completed in 1997, part of
an entire complex to be built at one of Haifa's best bathing
beaches, offers superior (standard) guest rooms as well as
one-bedroom, one-bath suites and a variety of two-bedroom,
two-bath suites, all with well-planned kitchenette
facilities, private safes, and voice mail. Everything is
new, sleekly designed, and laptop-friendly. The variety of
accommodations makes this a good choice for vacationing
families as well as long term business travelers visiting or
working at the nearby Matam Industrial Park; kitchenettes
compensate for the fact that the site is not near shops and
restaurants. There are long term discount plans available;
ask about manger Neil Kaye's special: stay five nights, pay
for only four.
Dining/Entertainment: Three restaurants, piano bar, beach
Services/Facilities: Business and secretarial center,
24-hour room service. Swimming pool, children's pool, beach,
tennis court, shops, soccer on the beach. Health club for
extra fee. Free parking.
In the Hills South of Haifa
Isrotel Carmel Forest Spa Resort. Carmel Forest, P.O. Box
90000 Haifa 31900. Phone 888/ISROTEL or 201/816-0830 in the
U.S. and Canada; 0181/997-6423 in the U.K.; or 04/832-3111.
Fax 04/832-3988. E-mail email@example.com. 126
rms with baths. A/C TV TEL. $250-$450 single; $320-$490
double, full board included. Treatment programs extra. AE,
DC, MC V.
Opened in 1997, this is a luxury spa that offers a green,
tranquil alternative to the spa hotels at the Dead Sea.
Rooms are freshly decorated, overlooking the distant
Mediterranean or the acres of woods surrounding the hotel;
they have electric kettles and personal safes for extra
convenience. The spa includes indoor and outdoor pools, a
gym, Jacuzzi, dry and steam saunas, and a real Turkish steam
bath as well as a full array of weight loss, cosmetic,
exercise, massage, meditation, and outdoor nature programs.
You can arrange for everything from aromatherapy, seaweed
wrap, water aerobics, horseback riding, Tai Chi, and
mountain biking to Shiatsu, Reiki, reflexology, and Thai or
Swedish massage. Meals are well prepared, filled with
natural, wholesome ingredients.
Haifa can cater to every culinary taste and pocketbook.
Restaurants escalate in price and geographic level from the
falafel stands adjacent to the port area to the Dan Carmel
Grill Room overlooking the Mediterranean.
Hadar/Nordau Street Mall
After observing the success of Jerusalem's lively Ben-Yehuda
Street Pedestrian Mall, Haifa decided to take the plunge and
turn Nordau Street, one block above Herzl Street, into a
tree-lined pedestrian area. The result has brightened the
whole Hadar District, and has brought some really wonderful
restaurant choices to the center of town.
Voila. 21A Nordau St. Phone 04/866-4529. Reservations
recommended. Main courses NIS 36-70 ($10-$19.60);
fixed-price lunches NIS 58-65 ($l6.20-$18.20). AE, DC, MC.
Daily noon-midnight. SWISS/FRENCH.
A charming hideaway in the Nordau Street Mall, Voila is a
labor of love on the part of its owners, who have provided a
secluded, intimate atmosphere with specially designed rustic
French Alpine touches, both indoors and in the garden. The
style of the kitchen is rich, but this is a place where its
worth setting aside a diet. Choice appetizers include
mussels in a butter, garlic, parsley and white wine sauce
and mushrooms in herb butter stuffed with pät³ de foie gras,
white cheese, or stuffed shrimp. You can order a seafood
fondue served with four cheeses and a basket of sliced
baguette plus a salad (150 grams of shrimp, mussels, and
other seafood for $35; a considerably larger portion, which
two can share, is $40); a dazzling house-specialty meat
fondue for two ($30) served with five sauces on a sizzling
stone; or roasted mullard (hybrid of duck and goose) breast
in apple cider and date sauce. Less expensive are dishes
served with spaetzli (Swiss flour and egg dumplings). A pan
of Swiss rosti, a Voila specialty, or a salad, is served
with each main course. Consider dividing a lavish, original
Kapulsky's. 6 Nordau St. Phone 04/864-5633. Desserts NIS 14-
26 ($3-$7.50); light meals NIS 20-39 ($5.60-$11). MC, V. Sun-
Fri 9am-11pm, Sat 1pm-midnight. CAFE.
Long a Haifa landmark for lavish pastries and beautiful
light meals, Kapulsky's has a busy indoor cafe and outdoor
tables that are great for leisurely people watching. In
addition to its famous European-style pies and tortes,
Kapulsky's serves salads, souffl³s, and lasagna and other
light to major meals. Another branch of Kapulsky's is at the
Panorama Center in Central Carmel.
Villa Rose. 8 Machanaim St. Phone 04/838-2212. Reservations
required. Main courses NIS 55-100 ($15.50-$28.); business
lunch starting at NIS 40 ($11.20). AE, DC, MC, V. Sun-Fri
noon-3:30pm and 7-11pm; Sat noon-3:30pm. Carmelit: Gan
One of the few remaining villas that once dotted the crest
of the Carmel Range is the setting for this new restaurant,
the most luxurious in Haifa. The restaurant is divided into
a series of chandelier-lit rooms, with formal window
draperies and 19th-century paintings in gilded frames;
beside each table is a stand for chilled wine. The decor and
formal service match the menu, which is classic French with
just a touch of playful invention. The wine list ranges from
imported to Israeli choices, including a fine Yarden
champagne. Classic profiteroles filled with ice cream and
hot chocolate and house cr°pes Suzette head a rich dessert
menu. Luncheon specials are an excellent value.
New York, New York. 122 Ha-Nassi Blvd. Phone 04/836-1501.
Hamburgers and light meals NIS 28-40 ($7.80-$11.20); main
courses NIS 40-60 ($11.20-$16.80). AE, DC, MC, V. Daily
Step inside this convenient place located just beside the
Carmel Carmelit stop, and you'll think you're in a suburban
diner in the United States. Steaks and burgers, all weighing
in at 300 grams (about 2/3 pound) are the big draws here,
but you'll also find chicken and fish dishes served with
your choice of potato and salad. More expensive than its
American counterparts, this is a place to visit if you've
got a yen for home. There's a fresh, but unimaginative
one-time salad bar costing $8 or $6.50 if you order it with
a main course.
Nof Chinese Restaurant. 101 Ha-Nassi Blvd. Phone 04/835-
4311. Reservations recommended. Main courses NIS 45-65
($12.60-$18.20); business lunch NIS 55 ($15.40). AE, DC, MC,
V. Sun-Thurs noon-3pm and 7pm-midnight; Sat after Shabbat.
Closed Fri-Sat until after Shabbat. CHINESE.
A comfortable and well-known kosher Chinese restaurant, the
Nof Chinese specializes in hot-pot creations and a variety
of regional styles of preparation. The view in the daytime
Sea Waves Chinese Restaurant. 99 Yefe Nof St. Phone 04/837-
5602. Reservations recommended evenings and weekends. Main
courses NIS 40-80 ($11.20-$22.40); complete luncheon special
NIS 45-65 ($12.60-$18.20). AE, DC, MC, V. Daily noon-3:30pm
and 7-11:30pm. CHINESE.
With its fabulous views, Sea Waves offers a sophisticated
well-prepared menu with specialties that include skewered
meats served on sizzling iron plates and hot-pot dishes. It
also has a large menu of more standard Chinese dishes at
quite reasonable prices. Reserve a window table right up
against the view; especially during daylight hours, it makes
dining here memorable. Peking Duck (order in advance) is $25
per person; there're good spare ribs and a very nice crispy
duck with honey that you can order on the spot.
White Gallery. 125 Ha Nassi Blvd. Phone 04/837-5574.
Appetizers and main courses NIS 30-60 ($8.40-$16.80). AE,
DC, MC, V. Sun-Thurs 9:30am-1am; Fri 8am-3am; Sat 10:30am-
A stylish restaurant, both in terms of cuisine and design,
this place, with sleek minimalist decor and a sidewalk
terrace for people watching, is both popular and affordable.
Haifans come by for breakfast, which can be a simple coffee,
a full Israeli-style meal, or a soft sesame roll (known
locally as a bagel) with cream cheese and lox. For lunch and
dinner, choose from inventive salads (that are meals in
themselves) such as goose breast with fresh vegetables and
mozzarella; the Far East salad, with chopped lettuce,
chicken breast, rice noodles, and fresh vegetables in a
sweet-and-sour coriander sauce; or the Hot Gallery Salad of
lightly saut³ed vegetables in a tasty vinaigrette. Pasta
dishes are also a good choice, and include a rich lasagna
filled with mushrooms, spinach, garlic, and onions. Fajitas,
a variety of excellent chicken dishes, quality steaks, and a
good wine list and cheese platters round out the upmarket
end of the menu.
The Bank. 119 Ha-Nassi Blvd. Phone 04/838-9623. Light meals
NIS 15-36 ($4.20-$10). MC, V. Daily 10am-11pm or midnight.
Carmelit: Gan Ha-Em. CAFE.
This is a bright, stylish place, with summery furnishings,
where you can enjoy sitting at the sidewalk tables and
watching the activity around Central Carmel. The Bank is
great for light meals -- pancakes, blintzes, sandwiches,
salads, crepes, cakes, and cappuccino, or many kinds of ice
cream confections. The hefty Bank salad is especially
Chin Lung Chinese Restaurant. 126 Ha-Nassi Blvd. Phone
04/838-1308. Main courses NIS 30-65 ($8.40-$18.20); business
lunch NIS 40 ($11.20). MC, V. Daily noon-3pm and 6:30pm-
midnight Carmelit: Gan Ha-Em. CHINESE.
At first there seems to be no restaurant at all behind the
sign and posted menu near the corner of Sea Road (Derekh
Ha-Yam). But go down the adjoining steps and you'll discover
a cellar dining room with a small-town American-style folksy
Chinese decor in gold and crimson, with gold tablecloths and
fresh flowers. The food is mostly Szechuan style, which can
be spicy but needn't be if you don't like hot food. There
are 50 items to choose from here; shrimp and calamari dishes
are at the high end of the price range. Beer, wine, and
cocktails are served.
Ristorante Italiano. 119 Ha-Nassi Blvd. Phone 04/838-1336.
Main courses NIS 28-50 ($7.80-$14). AE, MC, V. Sat-Thurs
5:30-11pm; closed Fri. EUROPEAN/ITALIAN.
A real favorite with Americans, this is a small, family-run
restaurant where you can have a filling meal of spaghetti,
cannelloni, or a truly hefty pizza with fresh toppings for
less than $9. Breads and focaccia are served straight out
the oven with heaping salads and wonderful main courses such
as goulash just like Grandmother used to make, steaks,
American home-style hamburgers, trout, and Saint Peter's
fish. A rich bowl of vegetable soup and garlic bread makes a
fine inexpensive lunch. The management here is very friendly
and takes good care of returning customers.
Near the Port
Abu Yusuf. 1 Ha-Meginim St. Phone 04/866-3723. Middle
Eastern salad bar NIS 10 ($2.50) for one plate; main courses
NIS 25-44 ($7-$128). MC, V. Sat-Thurs 9am-midnight; Fri 7am-
4pm. Carmelit: Paris Square. ARABIC.
The sign is in Hebrew, English, and Arabic, and this
restaurant has been loved by speakers of all three languages
for decades. Newly redecorated but still basically no
frills, Abu Yusuf's food tends toward the Lebanese, with
kubbeh, hummus with meat, grilled heart (delicious!), and
roast chicken. One trip to the wonderful salad bar of 20
Middle Eastern dishes comes with a main course, or you can
order the salad bar alone and have a fine meal with fresh
pita bread and a shot ("jot") of anise-flavored arak brandy,
and two people will pay about $7 each. A meal with a large
main course would be $10 to $15. Abu Yusuf offers fresh fish
and grilled lamb dishes and has won awards several years in
a row. Very good value.
In the Market
Jacko's. 12 HaDekekim St. Phone04/866-8813. Reservations not
taken. Main courses: NIS 50-60 ($14-$16.80). No credit
cards. Sun-Thurs noon-11pm; Fri noon-5pm; Sat noon-6pm.
At this little no-frills place in the market, you'll find
the freshest, most delicious fish in town. It's run by
Jacko, a retired fisherman, and his entire family. As Jacko
originally came from Izmir on the coast of Turkey, you'll
also find a Sephardic-Aegean touch in first courses like the
Turkish-style "paella" or in the mezze of little salads that
comes with your main course. The sesame shrimp and the
shrimp saut³ed in wine and garlic are fresh and tasty.
Always ask the waiter what's special and what the catch of
the day is. From the Carmelit stop at Kikar Paris, walk two
blocks down S. Nathanson St. and turn right into the market.
From there, anyone will point out the place for you -- it's
a Haifa institution!
This neighborhood, filled with stone cottages built by
German Christians in the late 19th century, has great
potential for charm and is undergoing gentrification. The
Haifa Municipality is helping things along with the
construction of a new pedestrian promenade on the
neighborhood's main street, Ben-Gurion Boulevard, which is
perfectly aligned with the dramatic Bahai Shrine further up
the slopes of Mount Carmel.
1873 Restaurant. 102 Jaffa St. Phone 04/853-2211.
Reservations necessary. Main courses: NIS 40-85 ($11.20-
$23.80). AE, MC, V. Sun-Thurs noon-3pm; and 7:30-11pm; Fri
7:30-11pm; Sat 1-4pm and 7:30-11pm. FRENCH.
Occupying a restored German Colony cottage built in 1873,
this restaurant offers the most superb new kitchen to debut
in Israel in several years. Each dish is gracefully
inventive and presented with visual elegance; sauces are
fabulous. Among appetizers, look for giant mushrooms stuffed
with a forcemeat of goose breast in a smooth cream sauce;
giant New Zealand mussels in wine sauce accented by chopped
chives, or exquisite foie gras wrapped in thin slices of
smoked goose breast in a sauce of prune, apple, and wine or
with a slightly tart reduction of blueberries in plum sauce
(available also as a main course). Main courses, which
constantly change, may include grilled trout in an orange
sauce based on Grand Marnier; scaloppini of ostrich under
fruit glaze, or large, meaty quail stuffed with liver served
on a bed of lightly saut³ed vegetables in red wine sauce.
Vegetables are fascinating here, desserts perfect. Decor is
charming without being glitzy or pretentious. Ask about
special fixed-price dinners (true bargains) when you phone
for your reservation.
Bat Galim means "Daughter of the Waves" in Hebrew, and
you'll know how it got its name when you stroll along its
beachfront promenade. If you take a ride on the aerial cable
car between the beach and Mount Carmel, at the lower
terminal you'll be right at the end of Bat Galim. The
restaurants I'll mention are all within about a 5-minute
walk from there.
If you're not coming from the cable-car terminal, you can
easily walk over from the main bus or train stations -- Bat
Galim is located behind the stations. From the Central
Station, go through the underground tunnel that connects to
the train station; when you come out of the train station,
you'll be in Bat Galim. You can also take bus no. 40, 41,
42, or 44 from the bus station to the cable-car terminal. If
you're driving, come across at Hel Ha-Yam, the main
boulevard running just east of the bus station.
Dolphin. 13 Bat Galim Ave. Phone 04/852-3837. Reservations
recommended evenings. Main courses NIS 45-75 ($12.60-$21).
AE, DC, MC, V. Daily noon-4pm and 7pm-midnight. Bus: No. 40,
41, or 42. SEAFOOD.
è la carte prices are higher than in other neighborhood
choices, but the reputation of the restaurant is very good.
A typical dinner might include the excellent house fish
soup, tomato-based and richly herbed; shrimp cocktail or
fried calamari; followed by a main course of fresh fish.
It's one block inland from Bat Galim Promenade.
Yotvata. End of Bat Galim Promenade. Phone 04/852-6835.
Light meals NIS 17-27 ($4.75-$7.50); main courses NIS 25-60
($7-$16.80). AE, DC, MC, V. Daily 7am-4am. DAIRY/VEGETARIAN.
Right on the beach, at the lower terminus of Haifa's famous
aerial cable car, this is an extremely popular emporium for
dairy and vegetarian food. Everything is made from the
best-quality produce bought directly from kibbutzim and from
the famous dairy kibbutz at Yotvata. For under $10 there are
salads, cheese platters served with fresh herbs and
vegetables, blintzes, pancakes, vegetable pies, pastas, and
pizzas. At the upper end of the price range, you'll find a
selection of fish, chicken, pasta, and hamburgers as well as
bagels and lox. The mixtures of natural fruit juices are
famous, as are Yotvata's many ice-cream parlor desserts.
Cafes & Pastry
On the loft balcony above the dairy self-service Cafe Carmel
in the vast Panorama Center is the Viennese Gallery (Phone
04/835-2222). The view is incredible from up here, and the
distinctive architecture does everything to maximize it,
with a curved, two-story window wall. The cafe serves mostly
desserts and coffees; but there is also a selection of
quiches, salads, omelettes, soups, and cold platters, as
well Saint Peter's fish or "Dakar" fish (served with white
wine and caviar for $16). Although the surroundings are
fancy, prices really are quite reasonable. You can get a
gorgeous Viennese pastry with a whole pot of freshly brewed
tea or coffee for $6, or for $5, the "Viennese Fantasy," a
combination of as many flavors of ice cream and as many
toppings as you like -- you select the combinations. You'll
find it open from 10am to 11pm daily (until midnight Friday
and Saturday nights). If you're not a guest at the Panorama
Hotel and unable to put the tab on your VAT-free bill, you
will pay an extra 17% above the dollar prices.
In the downtown area, Exodus Conditoria, 31 Ha-Atzma'ut Rd.,
is just the place for a light breakfast, afternoon tea, or
dessert after lunch. The glass cases are crammed with
delicious croissants, chocolate cakes, pastries, strudels,
cream cakes, and the like. Coffee and tea are served, prices
are fatteningly low (that is, you're tempted to go for
another serving), and hours are 8am to 7pm, except Friday
when they close at 2pm, and Saturday when they're closed all
day. Coffee and pastry won't cost more than $3. The Exodus
is down the street from the American Consular Agency, on
Ha-Atzma'ut near the intersection with Eliyahu Ha-Navi
Street (that's the vegetable-and-fruit market street).
Another good bakery in this area is Hershko Melekh, which,
although the address is 21 Asfor St. (no phone), can be
found by walking down Ha-Meginim Street until you're
directly across from the Italian church; by this time you
will smell the bread baking, and you can just follow your
nose to find it (the sign outside is in Hebrew only). This
is not so much a sweets shop as it is a bakery for bagels,
rolls, pretzels with onions and spices, or pizza. Prices
here are good, and you stand an excellent chance of walking
in to find something coming piping hot out of the oven --
couldn't be any fresher than that. Another plus is that, no
matter when you come, you're sure to find it open -- it's
baking away 24 hours a day. This, too, is a popular place
with locals in the know.
Pinat Hatzaut (no phone), on the corner of Ha-Nevi'im and
Hehalutz streets, specializes in those Turkish pastries
dripping with honey and nuts, and whatever variety is your
special favorite, you'll probably find it here, with
extra-large sizes of all kinds priced at only NIS 2 (60¢).
There are also doughnuts, bagels, huge pretzels, and other
treats. Open Sunday through Thursday from 4am to midnight,
closing Friday afternoon and all day Saturday.
Over on Herzl Street, near the corner of Shemaryahu Levin
Street, look for Contidory Ha'uga, 14 Herzl St. (Phone
04/862-5288), a bakery doing a lively business in every kind
of baked goods, from simple rolls, bread, doughnuts, and
cookies, up to the most artistic refrigerated confections of
chocolate and whipped cream. You can get a cup of cappuccino
here too, and enjoy it with a sweet, but you'll have to
stand up along the coffee counter -- the place is so busy,
they've taken out the chairs to make room for all the
customers. Hours are Sunday through Thursday from 8am to
8pm, on Friday until 3pm; closed Saturday.
Before setting out, check with the Haifa Municipal
Information Office's "What's on in Haifa," which tells you
what's happening during the month that you're in town.
The Top Attractions
Bahá'í Shrine & Gardens.
Free admission. Modest dress
required. Shrine daily 9am-noon; gardens daily 9am-5pm. Bus:
22 from the port, 23, 25, and 26 from Hadar.
Haifa's most impressive sightseeing attraction is the
splendid Bahá'í Shrine and Gardens, reached from Zionism
(Ha-Zionut) Avenue. The immaculate, majestic Bahá'í gardens
-- with their stone peacocks and eagles, and delicately
manicured cypress trees -- are a restful, esthetic memorial
to the founders of the Bahá'í faith.
Haifa is the international headquarters for the Bahá'í
faith, which began in Persia in the mid-19th century in a
bloodbath of persecution. Bahá'ís believe in the unity of
all religions and see all religious leaders -- Christ,
Buddha, Muhammad, Moses -- as messengers of God, sent at
different times in history with doctrines varying to fit
changing social needs, but bringing substantially the same
message. The most recent of these heavenly teachers,
according to Bahá'ís, was Bahaullah. He was exiled by the
Turkish authorities to Acre, wrote his doctrines there, and
died a peaceful death in Bahji House just north of Acre.
In the Haifa gardens, the huge domed shrine entombs the
remains of the Bahaullah's herald, the Bab. The tomb is a
sight to see, with ornamental gold work and flowers in
almost every nook and cranny. The Bab's remains,
incidentally, were hidden for years after he died a martyr's
death in front of a firing squad. Eventually, however, his
followers secretly carried his remains to the Holy Land. At
the entrance to the shrine, where you must remove your
shoes, you will be given a pamphlet providing further
details on Bahá'í history and doctrine.
On a higher hilltop stands the Corinthian-style Bahá'í
International Archives building, modeled after the
Parthenon, and the Universal House of Justice, with 58
marble columns and hanging gardens behind. These are
business buildings, not open to visitors. They and the
shrine of the tomb of the Bab all face toward Acre, the
burial place of Bahaullah.
The beautiful grounds were planned by Shoghi Effendi, the
late Guardian of the Faith. In addition to curious visitors,
you'll see pilgrims who have come from all parts of the
world to pay homage to the first leaders of this universal
Note: The Bahá'í gardens are currently undergoing a massive
redesign that will make them into one of the horticultural
wonders of the world. You may be able to see part of the
hanging-garden concept of the design as it is completed, but
much will be under construction during the time span of this
Haifa Museum -- Modern Art Museum. 26 Shabtai Levi St. Phone
04/852-3255. Admission good for all 3 branches of Haifa
Museum NIS 16 ($4.50), NIS 12 ($3.40) students. Sun-Fri 10am-
1pm; also Tues-Thurs 5-8pm; Sat 10am-3pm. Bus: 12, 22, or
41. Carmelit: Ha-Nevi'im station in Hadar.
The Haifa Museum is composed of three branches. This is the
downtown branch, containing the Museum of Modern Art, a
collection of paintings, sculpture, and prints by Israeli
and foreign artists, with a strong emphasis on Israeli art.
The library and slide collection is open to the public;
lectures, art films, and slide presentations are held in the
Haifa Museum -- Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art. 89 Ha-Nassi
Blvd. Phone 04/838-3554. Admission good for all 3 Haifa
Museums NIS 16 ($4.50), Bus: 22 or 23. Carmelit: Gan Ha-Em
The Tikotin has examples of almost all kinds of Japanese art
and crafts, along with a library of approximately 3,000
books. The beautiful building hosts 10 to 12 special
exhibits of Japanese art and crafts, arranged to reflect the
changing seasons. It's located just north of the commercial
district in Central Carmel.
Haifa Museum -- National Maritime Museum. 198 Allenby Rd.
Phone 04/536-622. Admission good for all 3 Haifa museums NIS
16 ($4.50). Sun-Thurs 10am-4pm; Sat and holidays 10am-1pm.
Bus: 3, 5, 43, 44, or 45.
This third section of the Haifa Museum just up the street
from the Af-Al-Pi vessel, near Bat Galim, encompasses 5,000
years of seafaring in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. The
Museum of Ancient Art, recently relocated here from the
central Haifa Museum Complex, displays archeological
collections of Mediterranean cultures from the beginning of
history until the Islamic conquest in the 7th century. There
are outstanding collections of Greco-Roman culture, Coptic
art, painted portraits from Fayyum, coins of Caesarea and
Acre, terra-cottas of all periods, and finds from the Haifa
area. The artifacts obtained through underwater archeology
are particularly impressive.
Man³ Katz Museum. 89 Yefe Nof (Panorama Rd.). Phone 04/838-
3482. Admission donation. Sun-Mon and Wed-Thurs 10am-4pm;
Tues 2-6pm; Fri 10am-1pm; Sat 10am-2pm. Bus: 22, 23, or 31.
Carmelit: Central Carmel.
This building in Central Carmel, was once a rustic
mountaintop villa where the French artist Man³ Katz lived
(the neighborhood has certainly changed). The museum now
houses Man³ Katz's own work and personal collection --
drawings, aquarelles, gouaches, oil paintings, sculpture,
and Judaica -- as well as interesting, well planned visiting
exhibits of contemporary art.
Technion City. Free admission. Visitor center, Sun-Thurs 8am-
2pm. Cafeteria, Sun-Thurs 8am-2pm; Fri 8am-noon. Closed Sat.
Bus: 17 from Central Bus Station, 31 from Central Carmel, 19
from Hadar at Daniel St., next to the Armon Cinema on
Ha-Nevi'im St., just down from Masaryk Sq.
Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, is Israel's
version of MIT. Begun in 1954, its 300-acre campus now
consists of 50 buildings, including 12 dormitories, a
wind-tunnel laboratory, and the Churchill Auditorium. It's a
most impressive university complex with its view of the
city, the bay, the coastline clear to Lebanon, and the
snow-topped Syrian mountains. Most important, the reputation
of the school has grown so rapidly that it attracts students
from many foreign countries.
Because so many people come to see the Technion, the
Coler-California Visitor Center (Phone 04/832-0664) has been
established to introduce the campus to visitors.
You'll be greeted by a real working robot when you come in.
There's also a free 25-minute video showing the different
kinds of modern technology being practiced, researched, and
taught here. You'll also receive a pamphlet and map of the
campus, which you can use to take your own self-guided tour.
The student-priced cafeteria downstairs is highly
recommended for a good budget lunch.
There are activities held every evening (except Monday) at
Bet Student, the Technion's Student House (Phone 04/832-
0664; see "Haifa After Dark," below). You can stop in at Bet
Student's pub, cafeteria, or restaurant for a meal at
University of Haifa. Phone 04/824-0093, 04/240-007, or
04/824-0097 for free guided tour reservations. Campus tours
Sun-Thurs 10am-3:30pm. Bus: 24, 36, 37 or 37A.
On the Mount Carmel road from Haifa to the nearby Druze
village of Daliat-el-Carmel you'll see the buildings and
tower of the University of Haifa. Initially designed by the
architect of Brasilia, Oscar Niemeyer, new sections planned
by other architects were added in the 1990s.The university
began operation in 1963, under the joint auspices of the
City of Haifa and the Hebrew University. At that time, the
students numbered 650; now 13,000 full-time degree students
attend the university.
The campus offers a magnificent view. From the 30th (top)
observatory floor of the Eshkol Tower, which you can visit
on your own, Sunday through Thursday from 8am to 3:30pm
(admission free), you get an incredible view of practically
the entire north of Israel. Throughout the university's
public spaces you'll find a surprising amount of paintings
and sculpture. The large murals located in the university
lobby are especially notable.
The campus has several impressive art galleries. The Oscar
Ghez Gallery, on the tower's 30th floor, houses a moving
memorial collection of works by artists who perished in the
Holocaust, compiled by Mr. Ghez over a 30-year period. The
University Art Gallery in the Main Building displays
important works by Israeli and foreign artists. The Reuben
and Edith Hecht Museum contains a compact but impressive
Israeli archeology collection, with rotating exhibitions;
there is also a wing devoted to art -- paintings by
Impressionists and the Jewish School of Paris. Adjoining the
Hecht Museum, (at press time under construction) is the
Maagan Michael Ship Museum, slated to hold the world's
oldest vessel, a 2,400-year-old Phoenician era merchant ship
salvaged by university archaeologists off the coast just
south of Haifa. The art galleries and the museum are open
Sunday through Thursday from 10am to 4pm, Friday from 10am
to 1pm, Saturday from 10am to 2pm. Admission is free.
The Haifa University Students Association sponsors many
activities throughout the academic year. Call the Students
Association (Phone 04/824-0544) for information. There is
also a Hillel House (Phone 04/824-0762) with a full
schedule of activities.
Stella Maris Lighthouse and Carmelite Monastery. Stella
Maris Rd. Phone 04/833-7758. English masses Mon-Sat 6:30am;
Sun 7 and 9am. Modest dress required. Church open daily
6:30am-1:30pm and 3-6pm. Bus: 25, 26, or 31.
From Ha-Nassi Boulevard and Tchernichovsky Street go
northwest to the Stella Maris French Carmelite church,
monastery, and hospice (P.O. Box 9047). In the 12th century,
during the Crusader occupation of the region, religious
hermits began to inhabit the caves of the Carmel, in
emulation of Elijah the Prophet, whose life was strongly
identified with this mountain. Within a century, these
monastic hermits were organized into the Carmelite order.
Although the order spread throughout Europe, its founders on
the Carmel range were exiled at the time of the Mamluk
conquest in 1291 and did not return until the 18th century.
Construction of the present monastery and basilica was begun
in 1836. Situated across the street from the Old Lighthouse,
with a magnificent view of the sea, the entire ensemble of
buildings, including the Lighthouse,
is known as "Stella Maris." An earlier monastery complex on
this site served as a hospital for Napoleon's soldiers
during his unsuccessful siege of Acre in 1799. The pyramid
in front of the church entryway stands as a memorial to the
many abandoned French soldiers who were slaughtered by the
Turks after Napoleon had retreated from his toehold on the
coast near Akko. It bears the inscription "How are the
mighty fallen in battle," from King David's lamentation over
Saul and Jonathan.
The church is a beautiful structure, with Italian marble so
brightly and vividly patterned that visitors sometimes
mistakenly think the walls have been painted. Colorful
paintings on the dome, done by Brother Luigi Poggi (1924-
28), depict episodes from the Old Testament, the most
dramatic being the scene of Elijah swept up in a chariot of
fire; but the statue of the Virgin Mary, carved from cedar
of Lebanon, is also notable. The cave below the altar (which
you can walk down into) is believed to have been inhabited
Be sure to visit the rooms to the right of the entryway,
where you'll find a charming nativity scene, a museum with
artifacts from the Byzantine church occupying this same spot
before the Carmelites built here, and a small souvenir shop.
One of the monks will gladly give you a free pamphlet with
information about the history of this site, and the
Carmelite order, dating from the arrival of the Crusaders on
this mountain in the late 12th century. They will answer any
questions you may have, and guide you to the various
interesting details of the church, such as the many little
votive candles burning on the alter above the cave, each
representing a Carmelite community in another country (the
United States has its candle up on the left).
In the Port
Clandestine Immigration and Naval Museum. 204 Allenby Rd.
Phone 04/853-6249. Admission NIS 6 ($1.80) adults, NIS 3
(90¢) students. Mon and Wed-Thurs 8:30am-3pm; Sun and Tues
8:30am-4pm; Fri and holiday eves 9am-1pm. Closed Sat. Bus:
3, 5, 43, or 44.
The vessel Af-Al-Pi (Nevertheless) is now a part of this
museum, a memorial commemorating all the ships that defied
the British blockade to smuggle immigrants into Palestine.
This clandestine immigration movement, called "Aliya Beth,"
is one of the most harrowing phases of Israeli history, when
refugees from the Nazis and escapees from DP camps were
packed onto illegal ships. Many such ships succeeded in
making it undetected past British ships guarding Palestine's
Mediterranean coastline; others were not so fortunate. The
Struma, in 1941-42, waited for months at sea for some
country to accept the 765 refugees aboard until at last it
sank and all on board perished. Others, like the Patria,
went down in Haifa harbor; hundreds died. Still others, like
the Exodus, ran the British blockade only to have its
passengers shipped to a Cyprus detention camp, or,
pathetically enough, returned to a detention camp in
Germany. Farther along Jaffa Road, past the bus and train
stations, west in the direction of Tel Aviv, the road
changes names, becoming Sederot Ha-Hagana (Hagana
Boulevard). The Af-Al-Pi is on the left-hand side of the
The Rothschild Community House (Bet Rothschild), in Central
Carmel near Haifa Auditorium at 142 Ha-Nassi Blvd. (Phone
04/838-2749), often has something of interest for visitors.
Call to see what's up. Interesting, too, are the changing
art exhibits and folklore programs at Bet Ha-Gefen (Phone
04/852-5251), the Arab-Jewish Community Center, on Ha-Gefen
Street opposite the Chagall Artists' House.
Aerial Cable Car. Phone 04/833-5970. Round-trip NIS 18 ($5),
one-way NIS 10 ($2.80) adults. Sat-Thurs 10am-5:30pm; Fri
10am-1:45pm. Bus: 26, 28, or 31 to the top terminal, or bus
40, 41, or 42 to the bottom terminal.
Directly across the road from the Af-Al-Pi is the lower
terminal of the Haifa Aerial Cable Car, on your right-hand
side beside the sea. The popular Yotvata Dairy Restaurant,
famous for its salads and ice creams is also at the lower
terminal. The cable car rides through the air from the beach
at the western end of Bat Galim up to the tip of Mount
Carmel, the site of the Old Lighthouse and Stella Maris. The
round aerial cars, imported from Austria, are equipped with
recorded messages about what you're seeing as you go up and
down (flip the switch to choose English or Hebrew). The top
terminal also has a place for refreshments; the bottom
terminal's downstairs hall contains an exhibit of a
different featured artist's work each week.
Beit Dagon Grain Museum. Kikar Plumer. Phone 04/866-4221.
Free admission. Tours Sun-Fri 10:30am; call for
reservations. The museum is only open to the public for the
guided tours. Bus: 10, 12, or 22
On display are earthen storage jars, striking mosaic murals,
and various exhibits showing the development of one of
humankind's oldest industries -- the cultivation, handling,
storage, and distribution of grain from ancient to modern
times. There are even some grains of wheat here that are
more than 4,000 years old, as well as fertility statues and
flint grain sickles.
Chagall Artists' House. 24 Ha-Zionut Ave. Phone 04/852-2355.
Free Admission. Sun-Thurs 9am-1pm and 4-7pm; Sat 10am-1pm.
Bus: 10, 12, 22, 23, 25, 26, 32, or 41.
This gallery exhibits the works of contemporary Israeli
artists. In 1998, there will be a grand exhibition for the
50th anniversary of the State of Israel.
Elijah's Cave. 230 Allenby Rd. Phone 04/852-7430. Free
admission, but donations are accepted. Summer: Sun-Thurs 8am-
6pm; Fri 8am-1pm. Winter: Sun-Thurs 8am-5pm; Fri 8am-1pm.
Closed Sat and holidays. Bus: 3, 5, 44, or 45 will let you
off at the highway nearby.
From the Af-Al-Pi, it's just a short walk up to Elijah's
Cave, nestled at the base of steep Cape Carmel, below the
Stella Maris lighthouse and the Carmelite Monastery.
Tradition has it that Elijah hid here when fleeing the wrath
of King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel. It's also the site where
Elijah established his school upon his return from exile,
thus earning the name "School of the Prophets," where
Elijah, among others, studied. The cave is also said to be a
place where the Holy Family found shelter for a night on
their return from Egypt. The cave is sacred to Jews,
Christians, Muslims, and Druze, all of whom venerate the
prophet Elijah. Pilgrimages and huge dramatic ceremonies are
held at this cave many times each year. Head coverings are
available at the entrance to the cave.
Israel Edible Oil Museum. In the Sherman Oil Factory. Phone
04/865-4237. Admission NIS 10 ($2.80). Sun-Thurs 9am-2pm.
Many interesting items connected with the cooking oil
industry in Israel, from over 2,000 years ago up to the
present, are housed in the original old stone factory
Museum of Prehistory, the Zoo, and the Biological Institute.
124 Ha-Tishbi St. Phone 04/837-1833 for the museum, 04/837-
2886 for the zoo. Admission NIS 20 ($5.60), NIS 16 ($4.50)
students. Museum and Institute: Sun-Thurs 8am-3pm; Fri 8am-
1pm; Sat 10am-2pm. Zoo: Sept-June Sun-Thurs 8am-4pm, Fri 8am-
1pm, Sat 9am-4pm; July-Aug Sun-Thurs 8am-6pm. Bus: 22, 31,
or 37. Carmelit: Central Carmel.
The first of these maintains a permanent exhibit of fossils
and artifacts from the Carmel region. Each of the others, in
its own way, features the animal life of the country, with
particular attention to the fish indigenous to Israel's
waters and the fauna of the Carmel region.
National Museum of Science and Technology. Old Technion
Campus, Balfour St. Phone 04/862-8111. Admission NIS 14
($3.90) adults; discounts for students. Mon and Wed-Thurs
9am-5pm; Tues 9am-7pm; Fri 9am-1pm; Sat 10am-2pm. Bus: 18,
19, 21, 28, 37, 42, and 50 come nearby.
The old Technion campus is being developed as a museum site,
home of the Technoda -- the National Museum of Science and
Technology. This museum demonstrates the latest discoveries
in Israeli science. Walk up the hill from Herzl St., and
you'll find the entrance to the Old Technion campus, on the
Railway Museum. 40 Hativat Golani Ave. Phone 04/856-4293.
Admission NIS 8 ($2.30). Sun, Tues, and Thurs 9am-noon. Bus:
17, 42, or 193.
Two 1950s-vintage diesel locomotives, several cabooses, a
club car built in 1922, and a passenger coach dating from
1893 are the major exhibits, but there are also displays of
photographs, timetables, tickets, and other memorabilia
going all the way back to the railroad's construction in
Ottoman times (1882). This museum is in the old Haifa East
railway station near Feisal Square.
Parks & Gardens
The grounds of the Bahá'í gardens are split by Zionism
Avenue. Farther up the hill is the lovely Mitzpoor Ha-Shalom
(Peace View Park), also called the Ursula Malbin Sculpture
Garden, at the corner of Shnayim Be-November Street. Amid
trees, flowers, and sloping lawns are 18 bronze sculptures
by Ursula Malbin of men, women, children, and animals at
play. The view from here is magnificent -- you can see all
of Haifa's port area, Haifa Bay, Acre, Nahariya, and up to
Rosh Ha-Niqra at the Lebanese border, plus the mountains all
Mount Carmel National Park, Israel's largest national park,
has 25,000 acres of pine, eucalyptus, and cypress forest. It
encompasses a large area of the Carmel mountain range, and
contains many points of interest that are well marked and
easily reachable. And, of course, it also has picnic areas,
playgrounds, a restaurant, and rest rooms. Take bus 37.
6 Organized Tours
The Haifa Tourist Board (Phone 04/837-4010) offers a free
2 1/2-hour guided walking tour of Central Carmel (atop the
mountain) at 10am every Saturday morning. The meeting point,
marked by a sign, is on Panorama Road (Yefe Nof) at the
intersection with Shar Ha-Levanon; Ha-Levanon is the little
street that meets Ha-Nassi right behind the Gan Ha-Em
Carmelit station. Modest dress is required. Ha-Nassi curves
and heads northwest behind the Carmelit station. To reach
the meeting point, take bus no. 23 from Ha-Nevi'im Street,
or bus no. 21 from Herzl Street, both in Hadar; they run on
Saturday (note that the Carmelit does not).
The following companies have all sorts of tour plans of the
Haifa Region for your consideration: Egged Tours, 4 Nordau
St. (Phone 04/862-3131); and Mitzpa Tours, 1 Nordau St.
The Society for Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI), 18
Hillel St. (Phone 04/ 866-4135; fax 04/866-5825), does
excellent urban and nature trail tours of the Carmel
Mountains, and also sells excellent hiking and walking maps
of the Carmel range.
A 3-hour tour to the crafts village of Ein Hod (see "Day
Trips from Haifa," below) leaves most weekdays at 9:30am. It
includes a drive through the Carmel mountain range, visits
to University of Haifa and the Druze market of
Daliat-el-Carmel, and stops at art galleries, artists'
studios, and other points of interest. Check with the
tourist office for current schedules.
For bike tours of the Carmel region, contact Gideon at Phone
04/822-1288 or 050/413-239 for information about his tours
and group rides.
7 Sports, Outdoor & Other Pursuits
Ha-Peol and Maccabi are two sports leagues in Israel. By
contacting either of the leagues or the Haifa Tourist Board,
you can get the latest data on where to go to play tennis,
to exercise or work out in a gym, or take in sports events
as a spectator.
Carmel Beach (Hof Ha-Carmel) can be reached by bus no. 3 or
45 from Shapiro Street. In winter, at least one beach
restaurant pavilion remains open until 7pm; in summer until
8:30pm. Never more than $10, and usually less, dinner at the
beach in summer, with the sunset over the Mediterranean at
the end of an afternoon swimming in the warm turquoise sea,
is one of the most memorable dining experiences Haifa has to
Hof Shaket (Quiet Beach) in the harbor area of Bat Galim, is
open with a lifeguard year-round. It can be reached via bus
no. 40, 41, or 42. The Bat Galim sea beach is on the
opposite side of the small Bat Galim promontory. Entrance
fee is NIS 5 ($1.40),
There is also an adjoining beach, a sandy stretch known as
the Municipal Beach, free to all comers. These in-city
beaches are often crowded and not as clean as the more
distant strand of Hof Carmel. There's also a public beach at
Kiryat Haim, a Haifa suburb; take bus no. 51. South of town,
heading toward Tel Aviv, are a number of other good public
beaches, including Hof Zamir and Hof Dado.
Also see above, under "Organized Tours."
Israeli folk dancing sessions meet Monday at 8:30pm at Haifa
University and Tuesday and Thursday at 9pm at Bet Ha-Student
at the Technion. International Folk Dancers meet Thursday at
8:30pm at Bet Rothschild, to the side of the Haifa
Auditorium on Ha-Nassi Boulevard.
In the Central Carmel section you'll find the Maccabi
swimming pool on Bikkurim Street (Phone 04/838-8341), heated
in winter, and serviced by bus no. 21, 22, or 23 and by the
Carmelit. Admission is NIS 16 ($4.50), but the fee doubles
in winter. Don't forget the pleasant gardened pool at the
Dan Carmel Hotel, for a whole day's worth of pool, shower,
and sporting privileges.
TENNIS & SQUASH
A 15-minute ride south of downtown Haifa, in the Kefar Zamir
suburb, are the Haifa Tennis Center (Phone 04/852-2721 or
04/853-2014) and the Haifa Squash Center (Phone 04/853-
9160). Both have regular hours, and you're welcome to come
and play, but you must call in advance to reserve a court.
Take bus no. 43, 45, or 3A.
Haifa has a number of modern indoor shopping malls,
including the Panorama Center in Central Carmel, Migdal
Haneve'im in the Hadar District, and the Chorev Center on
Chorev Street at the intersection of Pica Street. The
Panorama Center is most easily accessible to visitors
staying in the Carmel Center, and offers branches of a
number of the country's best women's clothing stores,
including Dorin Frankfort and Oui Set. Herzl and Nordau
streets make for an interesting window-shopping stroll, but
the downtown center of Haifa is not what it once was for
Masada Street, with its own Carmelit stop halfway up the
mountain between Hadar and the Carmel Center has become home
to a number of small, offbeat antique and curiosity shops.
My favorite stop here is Yad B'homer Contemporary Ceramics
Cooperative Gallery at 9A Masada St. Phone 04/862-9239. Here
you can see the work of eight artisans of high quality, as
well as special exhibits of guest ceramists. There is also a
shelf of very reasonably priced Ethiopian figurines and
Judaica. It's open Sunday and Monday and Wednesday and
Thursday from 10am to 1pm and 4 to 7pm; Tuesday and Friday
from 10am to 2pm. Most shops on the street keep similar
hours. A walk down Masada Street gives you a feel for the
architectural structure of Haifa's residential
neighborhoods, with 1930s and 40s apartment buildings
virtually climbing up and down the mountain on either side
of the street.
There are branches of the Steimatzky Bookstores at 82
Ha-Atzma'ut St., 16 Herzl St. in Bet Ha-Kranot, 130 Ha-Nassi
Blvd., and in the Central Bus Station. For used books try
Beverly's Books, 18 Herzl St., second floor.
See "Day Trips from Haifa" for information about the
artists' village of Ein Hod, where you can shop for silver,
enamel, and gold jewelry, hand-blown glass, pottery, and
other contemporary crafts. Also see the section on the Druze
villages for handicrafts.
9 Haifa After Dark
Haifa does not have as much nightlife as Tel Aviv, or even
Jerusalem. Check in the Jerusalem Post, which despite its
name is a national newspaper covering events, cultural
offerings, and movies throughout Israel. The Friday-morning
edition includes the indispensable weekly calendar of
happenings, some of which are in Haifa. Better yet, call the
24-hour telephone hotline for "What's On in Haifa" (Phone
04/837-4253), and check with any of the tourist information
offices, to find out about special events happening around
At the Technion and at the University of Haifa,
entertainment of one kind or another goes on almost every
night. Every evening (except Monday) at Bet Student, the
Technion's Student House, there's folk, disco, and '60s
dancing, films, and other activities. Call Phone 04/832-0664
during the daytime for information. The many activities at
Haifa University include movies (free), disco, folk dancing,
performances by popular Israeli singers and bands, and more;
call the Students Association (Phone 04/824-0544) for
The Performing Arts
Haifa Auditorium. 138 Ha-Nassi Blvd. Phone 04/838-0013.
This is Haifa's largest concert hall, where you can find
symphony, opera, the Israel Philharmonic, dance concerts,
and many other cultural events and big happenings. There's
also usually an interesting art display in the lobby, which
you can see anytime for free, from 4 to 7pm (except Friday).
Haifa Auditorium is just a short distance south of the
Central Carmel commercial district, where Ha-Nassi Boulevard
becomes Moriah Avenue. Ticket prices vary with performance.
Haifa Municipal Theater. At the intersection of Pevsner,
Yehoshua, and Trumpeldor. Phone 04/862-1555. Box Office open
Sun-Thurs 9am-9pm; Fri 9am-1pm.
Lots of shows are offered at this theater where the play
performances are sometimes in Hebrew, sometimes in English,
and sometimes both, in simultaneous translation. Ticket
prices vary with performance; seats for many productions are
NIS 100 ($28).
James de Rothschild Cultural and Community Center. Bet
Rothschild, 142 Ha-Nassi Blvd. Phone 04/838-2749.
Next to Haifa Auditorium, this community center always has
something going on: a dance, exhibit, or concert. Also,
inside the community center is the Haifa Cin³-math²que (see
below under Films).
Clubs, Bars & Other Entertainment
Looking for a place to hang out, listen to music, have a
drink, and dance? The Haifa Tourist Board Office, 106
Ha-Nassi Blvd. in Central Carmel, across the street from the
Nof Hotel (Phone 04/374-010), has compiled a list of
recommendable spots; stop by for information. Haifa is a
port of call for the United States Mediterranean Fleet. with
a USO at 114 Yefe Nof St., around the corner from the Dan
Panorama Hotel, and when the fleet's in, pubs and bars all
over the city become busy.
Martef Esser (Cellar Ten), 140 Ha-Nassi Blvd. on the far
side of Rothschild Center (Phone 04/824-0762), was once a
Rothschild wine cellar. It's now a nightspot run by and for
students, with live music of many kinds (jazz, classical,
and more), and a nice wicker coffeehouse/bar atmosphere.
There is a cover charge on Friday.
Fever, Gan Ha-Em Promenade (no phone) is a favorite disco
with teenagers. Summer weekend evenings are busiest, and it
s open after 11pm. Thursdays are over-25 nights
Many of Haifa's restaurants have bars with entertainment.
Both the upper and lower terminals of the Aerial Cable Car
are enjoyable places to stop on an evening out, with
restaurants, bars, and dancing. You can ride the cable car
until 11pm; most of the year, until midnight.
Walking along the Bat Galim Promenade toward the cable-car
terminal, you'll pass Panass Boded (Phone 04/534-978), a
black-and-white pub/piano bar with an archway over the door.
Though the sign is in Hebrew, you'll know it's Panass Boded
by the entertainment listings posted out front. Inside,
you'll find Israeli Maccabee beer for NIS 7 ($2.10) and a
network of rock videos for decor. It's open daily in summer
8pm to 4am.
Haifa's Cin³math²que, 142 Ha-Nassi Blvd. (Phone 04/838-
3424), is housed in the James de Rothschild Cultural and
Community Center. This film repertory theater shows a wide
variety of international films (up to three different movies
every day, many in English, most with English subtitles),
including special-interest art film screenings. Tickets are
NIS 22 ($6.20). The Cin³math²que hosts the Haifa Film
Festival each fall at the time of Sukkot. Call for
information about what's going on.
10 Day Trips from Haifa
Daliat-el-Carmel & Isfiya
The Druze villages are located 15 minutes from the Ahuza
section of Carmel. If you're driving, just ask for the road
to Daliat-el-Carmel. Isfiya is the first village you'll
reach from Haifa; Daliat-el-Carmel is a very short ride
farther. The trip takes about half an hour, and it's a
splendid drive along the uppermost rim of Carmel. The
Mediterranean is way down below you, and so is the entire
city, the port, and the industrial area. Bring your camera.
Architecturally, the villages are no longer the quaint
enclaves of 30 or 40 years ago; instead, they've become part
of the urban sprawl at the outer edge of the city. Haifans
visit the villages for the many home-style Middle Eastern
restaurants that have sprung up, and for bargain basement
shopping (see below).
The Druze are Arabic-speaking people who are, however, not
Muslims. Theirs is a rather secretive religion; they draw
heavily on the Bible and venerate such personages as Jethro
(a Midianite priest and the non-Israelite father-in-law of
Moses). The Druze were loyal to Israel during the 1948 war,
and several of their brigades are highly respected
detachments in the Israeli army.
They are an industrious people; you'll see their terraced
hillsides, meticulously cared for and, as a result, very
fertile. Many houses are new, and also square and boxlike in
the Arabic style. Outside their own villages, Druze find
employment on kibbutzim as electricians, builders,
carpenters, and mechanics. Their hospitality is legendary.
In both villages, you can buy quite unusual souvenirs and
handcrafted items, such as new or antique baskets and trays
in the Druze style at moderate prices, but bargaining is
necessary. (Markets will be closed on Friday, the Druze
Sabbath day.) There are several pleasant cafes in both
villages. You'll see older men in flowing gowns and
headdresses, often wearing big mustaches, while the younger
men wear Western-style clothes.
You can reach the villages on bus no. 192, which leaves
infrequently from the Central Bus Station; but bus service
back to Haifa seems to vanish by 3pm. Various tours also go
to these villages (check with the Tourist Information Office
for details). There's a sherut service that leaves Haifa
during the evening from 6pm to 6am, departing from Hadar at
the corner of Shemaryahu Levin and Herzl streets. Between
6am and 6pm, the sherut service from the port area is at the
corner of Ha-Atzma'ut Road and Eliyahu Ha-Navi Street, near
Kikar Paris. The sherut takes 25 minutes to reach
Daliat-el-Carmel and the fare is the same as by bus.
Where to Stay
Stella Carmel Hospice. Isfiya (P.O. Box 7045), Haifa 31070.
Phone 04/839-1692. Dormitory and private rms. $28 single;
$56 double; $12 per person dormitory. Rates include
breakfast. No credit cards. Bus:192 from Haifa bus station.
A short bus trip from Haifa, this atmospheric place is
operated by the Anglican Church. It's in the style of an
old-fashioned Middle Eastern country inn. Public areas are
filled with crafts; private rooms are plain but adequate.
Only married couples may share double rooms. Lunch and
dinner, as well as breakfast, are available here.
Where to Dine
The Druze villages are lined with eating establishments
geared to the weekend crowd.
Ganei Daliyah. Isfiya-Daliat-el-Carmel Road. Phone 04/839-
5367. Reservations recommended on weekends. Main courses NIS
25-50 ($7-$14). AE, V. Daily 10am-11pm or midnight. MIDDLE
A pleasant garden filled with the sound of its fountain and
a covered dining terrace are presided over by a colorful
proprietor, Mr. Toufik Halaby. Standard Middle Eastern
dishes are a cut above normal, and there are a few
well-prepared unusual offerings. The pigeon stuffed with
onion, pine nuts, and sumac, grilled on an open fire, is
earthy and excellent, as is the homemade Druze bread, and
the oven-baked sweetbreads. This is a good choice for a
leisurely roadside repast. If you come late at night and
have had too much arak, Mr. Halaby rents rooms in a simple
hotel above the restaurant. Arabic and Hebrew are spoken.
Coming from Haifa, look for the restaurant with its front
garden and sign on the right as you leave Isfiya, and before
you enter Daliat-el-Carmel.
Half a mile south of Daliat-el-Carmel, the road to Muhraka
forks off to the left side of the main road. Its destination
is not posted, but it meanders and climbs through scrub oak
and pine woods to the monastery at Muhraka, the place where
Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal. You'll see a dramatic
stone statue of Elijah, sword raised to heaven, and a lovely
Carmelite monastery, open Monday through Saturday from 8am
to 1pm and again from 2:30 to 5pm (on Friday until noon
only). The view from the roof of the monastery (NIS 2
admission) is unsurpassed; you can see halfway across Israel
to Migdal Ha-Emek and the mountains near Nazareth. There are
tables for picnics on the grounds outside the monastery. The
name "Muhraka," or "place of burning," refers to a time when
this extraordinary vista point was a sacred high place for
burnt offerings and sacrifices in Canaanite and early
Israelite times. Interurban bus 192 or sheruts from downtown
Haifa will take you to the fork in the road that leads to
Muhraka for NIS 10 ($2.80). From there it's a half-hour
uphill walk; returning buses are few, and seem to end by
3pm. The Druze-Muhraka area is most easily visited by car,
or as a day-long bicycle excursion from Haifa.
In the coastal hills, 12 kilometers (7 miles) south of
Haifa, off highway 4 (the old Haifa-Tel Aviv road that runs
inland and parallel to Highway 2, the major coastal
highway), is the artists' village of Ein Hod. Road signs
will point the way for drivers, and from 10am to 5:30pm
there's Egged bus service all the way up the moun-tainside
to this famous colony. You can also take bus no. 921 to the
Ein Hod roadway that intersects with the older, more inland
Tel Aviv-Haifa Highway 4, and hitchhike up the mountainside
from there. (True hikers will find the half-hour uphill trek
a simple one.)
Ein Hod (Well of Beauty) was built over an abandoned Arab
village in 1953 by Israeli sculptors, painters, and potters,
under the guidance of Marcel Janco. The village now includes
a museum of surrealist art, several workshops, and an
outdoor theater. It's a picturesque place, tranquil and
rugged looking, with a view of sloping olive groves and the
broad Mediterranean that can inspire even the nonartistic.
Crumbling archways and Moorish vaults are relics of the
past. Most of Ein Hod's full-time residents are artisans,
and sell their work in a large, cooperative gallery.
Cooperation is emphasized: the village members have their
own council of elders; the handyman is employed by the
entire community; the gallery takes a much smaller
percentage on sales than do other galleries; the workshops
are shared; and the proceeds from the amphitheater's shows
and concerts, which range from folk and classical to hard
rock (summer weekends only), are used for the welfare of the
village. Call Phone 04/984-3152 or 04/984-2029 for
The Janco-Dada Museum (Phone 04/984-2350) is open Sunday to
Friday from 9:30am to 4pm, on Saturday until 5pm. There is a
pleasant snack bar/cafe for visitors.
The Ein Hod Gallery (Phone 04/984-2548) carries a good
selection of the village's work -- silver jewelry, lots of
ceramics, lithographs, etchings, oil paintings,
water-colors, tapestries and shawls, sculpture, and
woodwork. The gallery staff will box your purchases and mail
them to you wherever you live. Admission to the gallery is
by a small donation for adults. It's open Saturday to
Thursday from 9:30am to 5pm and Friday from 9:30am to 4pm;
Open every day except Yom Kippur.
Where to Stay
Nir Etzion Kibbutz Hotel. Carmel Beach 30808. Phone 04/984-
2541. Fax 04/984-3344. 74 rms (all with bath or shower). A/C
TV TEL. $90-$138 double. MC, V.
If you are driving and continue along the road that runs
through Ein Hod, you'll reach the delightful resort of Nir
Etzion. The kibbutz offers glatt kosher meals, an on-kibbutz
synagogue, in-season pool, children's playground,
baby-sitting service, transportation to nearby Dor Beach,
and a warm, friendly atmosphere. The kibbutz is also near
Mount Carmel Forest. Jewish holidays and weekends and July 5
to September 1, you may be required to take half or full
board, which adds an additional 30% to your bill. A Sabbath
atmosphere is maintained on Shabbat.
Frommer's Favorite Haifa Experiences
Promenading. The view of Haifa from the promenade in Central
Carmel makes you keep coming back for more. By day or night,
it's always lovely. Combine it with a meal that gives you a
table right by the edge, or coffee and an elysian vista with
dessert (see "Cafes," above).
Beachcombing. Haifa's great beaches are to the south of the
city, reachable by municipal bus or, in summer, by special
shuttle from the big Central Carmel hotels, as well as
sheruts. At Hof Ha-Carmel (Carmel Beach) or the quieter Hof
Dado just to the south, you can combine a dip in the warm
gentle waves with shish kebab or falafel from one of the
many beachside stands. Stay late and you'll see the sunset
over the Mediterranean.
A Day Trip to Old Akko. It's amazing to think that two such
different cities could be located on opposite ends of
Haifa's sweeping bay: modern Haifa with its panoramas, and
medieval Akko, with its labyrinth of bazaars, caravansaries,
and mosques. A short bus ride gets you the 14 miles up the
coast where you can explore this largely unrestored
architectural treasure, have lunch or dinner in true
Mediterranean style at an outdoor harborside cafe, and even
take a boat ride around the Old City walls.
Robert Ullian, Haifa., Frommer's Israel, 01-01-1998.