The third largest city in Israel and the largest in the north of the country, Haifa has a history that spans more than 3000 years. Almost 300,000 people live in Haifa itself and an additional similar number of people live in the adjacent towns, creating a large urban block spreading over mountain and valley all the way to the Mediterranean sea.
Haifa is also home to several of the major and most important contributors to Israel’s advanced technology and talent pool: The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Development Centers of Google, Apple, IBM, Pharmaceutical companies, Rambam Hospital and many others.
Haifa offers a taste of the best essence of Israel to anyone with any interest.
Fine arts & history in Haifa
Haifa is home of fine art museums and theme museums. These include: The Haifa Museum of Art, The Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art, The National Maritime Museum, The Haifa City Museum, The Mane-Katz Museum and the Herman Struck Museum. In addition there are exhibitions of archeology and history at the University of Haifa.
If it’s History and antiques you’re interested in, Haifa City has a very unique section of the downtown area with a permanent flea market. While it may not look much when you first arrive, there are treasures to be discovered and recovered there.
Downtown is the Jaffa street, where the city promotes young artists to open galleries and workshops, is a home to many interesting jewelry artists, fashion designers, cobblers and much more.
Music in Haifa
Haifa is quite the musical city. For the classics lovers there is the Haifa Philharmonic Orchestra, which plays at the Auditorium located in the heart of the Carmel Center, up on the mountain. Haifa also offers concerts and live shows for any music genre and taste, often combined with the experience of intimate bars and pubs.
Once a year there is also a very large outdoors music festival (usually at the end of the summer), with 3 days of concerts and shows on the beach (The “Beer City” festival and the “Youth City” festival).
Other festivals in Haifa
Every autumn, during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, Haifa holds an international film festival lasting a whole week. The festival draws not only film lovers and cinema aficionados, but also famous producers and actors from all around the world.
In the Spring, usually during the holiday of Shavuot, Haifa holds the traditional Wine & Cheese 2 day festival. This festival brings together boutique wineries and cheese makers from all around the country, artisan bread bakers and chocolate makers. It is a truly fun feast of good food, great music and fine alcohol.
Food in Haifa
Haifa is an amazing place for foodies. Anything and everything from high-end gourmet restaurants for all tastes and styles, all the way to legendary Falafel stands and awesome street food.
Haifa is home to some legends in the culinary world. The highlights (but not the only ones for sure!) are restaurants such as “Hanamal” (The Port) – a gourmet French restaurant, Café Louise – a Vegetarian / vegan haven born in Haifa and now franchised throughout the country, the well-known “Taiwan” and the less known (but even better) “Yan-Yan” – both owned by Chinese immigrants and offering authentic Chinese food, “Voila” – a legendary Swiss restaurant that used to operate in another part of Haifa, closed down and re-opened several years ago right in the center of the Carmel mountain and many more.
If it is traditional street food you love, you can experience the best of all worlds with the mythical Falafel and Shawarma stands downtown. Be sure to explore them all and don’t skip any! You’ll get to taste great food, prepared with love by generations atop generations and hear stories of family recipes being handed down the line.
With beaches and woods seeded with hiking trails, Haifa and its surroundings are a perfect place for nature getaways. The beaches offer more than just walks on the sand and swimming. Water sports are popular in Haifa with many options like windsurfing, board surfing, scuba diving and more.
The Carmel woods offer walks for all levels of difficulty from easy family friendly trails to extreme hikes and even mountain and rock climbing spots. Depending on the season, you may even be able to enjoy walking in and among cool streams of water, enjoying colorful flora and occasionally watching a deer or two.
Religion – a city of many faiths
Haifa is a city of many facets and many religions. It is a city that promotes tolerance simply by creating a haven where Jews, Muslims, Christians and other people with other faiths can live together, work together and thrive together.
Haifa is also home to the Bahá’í world center, the spiritual and administrative center of the Bahá’í faith. The center includes the majestic gardens, open to the public, the shrine and the Archives library. Bahá’í pilgrims come to Haifa to pray and to stay, working at the center for a year or longer.
Adjacent to Haifa and part of its heritage is a cluster of Druze villages. The Druze have their own secret religion, which they may be reluctant to talk about, but they will be happy to host you and show you around.
Technology, innovation and start-ups – Haifa as a leader of innovation
Israel is known as the “Start-up Nation” and not for nothing. It is an immense talent and knowledge pool, where many of the world’s most important inventions and innovations come from. Haifa, is a very concentrated pool of this knowledge and technology, because it is home to the Technion – Israel’s Institute of technology. It all started from there, but now Haifa boasts communal working spaces, Incubators, trendy hubs and large technology centers: Matam – the oldest and largest, the Life Science park (see ahead) and the IBM development center adjacent to the University of Haifa. Add to that the technology centers in Tirat HaCarmel, Haifa’s neighbor to the south and in the nearby Yokneam, Misgav and Tefen and you got yourself nearly a third of the country, full of bright companies, budding start-ups, industry giants like Google, Intel, IBM, Apple and education hubs.
Life sciences and healthcare – creating an atmosphere of discovery in Haifa
Being a technology and innovation hub, Haifa is also one of the major centers for medical and life sciences development. Once again the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology’s presence in the city plays a major role.
The Technion has one of the best schools of medicine in the world and the teaching hospital Rambam, which is home to the faculty and also resides in Haifa is one of the most advanced research centers in the world.
Adjacent to the Technology center of Matam and to the Congress Center in the south of the city, Haifa developed a life sciences park, which is aimed at hosting research centers, labs and med-tech start-ups.
In addition to Rambam, Haifa is home to 2 more public hospitals (Carmel and Bney-Zion hospital) and several private hospitals offering high quality care for everyone. This also makes Haifa a preferred destination for a medical tourism.
Business in Haifa
Haifa is a port city and also has an airport. Combined with the technology and industry in and around it, Haifa becomes a global center for business people to come and seek partnerships and collaboration in many business fields.