Haifa stretches from the foot of the spectacular Mount Carmel all the way to some of the Mediterranean's premium white-sand beaches. This city has both geographical and cultural tiers to explore, with ancient Israeli landmarks and the bustling industrial vibe of the port. You'll also be in the right place for some serious surfing opportunities, natural beauty in plentiful gardens and an offbeat local art scene.
Stay at a Haifa hostel that's decorated with antique furniture or, to catch a breeze, take a break at a place with an outdoor courtyard. You could also choose a hostel right in the centre in a historic German stone house. To save money, you could organise your own dinner at accommodation with self-catering facilities, or go for somewhere that offers bike rental to get around more easily. Most hostels in Haifa have Wi-Fi for plotting your next stop too.
Haifa's central German Colony is where you'll find historic buildings blending with traditional hookah bars, so you can relax with a coffee and shisha after a day of exploring. There's also plenty of nightlife here, with some restaurants hosting live music. Head to the Arab neighbourhood of Wadi Nisnas to spot street art and shop at local markets. Up in the mountains, the residential Carmel Centre area is home to boutique cafés.
The magnificent Bahá'í Gardens sit at the foot of Mount Carmel. Home to the city's gold-domed shrine, this should be top of your list for photo opportunities. To learn about some of the region's religious history, visit the Cave of Elijah, believed to be the home of the Hebrew prophet. The Stella Maris is a church, monastery and hospice where you can take a peaceful walk. See the ancient side of the city at Château Pèlerin, the remains of an old crusader fort. If you're an art lover, head to the Haifa Museum of Art to discover works by contemporary Israeli artists.
If you're arriving by plane, you'll land at Haifa Airport. It's close to the city and a taxi will take about 12 minutes to reach the centre. Alternatively, you can take the shuttle bus and arrive in 30 minutes. Haifa Centre HaShmona railway station is the hub for trains to and from Tel Aviv and beyond. To get around the city, there's a subway network or you can hop on one of the local buses.