Haifa located in the north of Israel abut 92 kilometers from Tel Aviv, where Israel’s biggest international airport is (Ben Gurion Airport – almost 100 km (62 miles) away from Haifa). Most of the Haifa tourists arrive to Israel by air, landing at Ben Gurion Airport, where they then find a best way to get to Haifa.
Usually, there is no point in renting a car in order to get to Haifa only: a train or taxi will sever you better. But if it’s a longer stay and you plan to go out of Haifa and see more of the northern Israel, you may want to be able to drive yourself around. Haifa direction is accessible in many ways, no matter how long you stay in Israel and whether or not Haifa is your first, last or only stop on the trip.
Getting to Haifa
Getting to Haifa by train – 45 min(!) up to 1.5 hour
There is a train station at the Ben Gurion airport with a direct train to Haifa. You can simply go out of the airport, get a ticket and hop on a train. This way is our favorite.
- Fast & comfortable: travel time of 1 – 1.5 hours
- Reasonably priced (41.5 ILS, about $10 to $12 US per person)
- Free WiFi and electricity on the train
- For an additional 5 Shekels you can get a reserved seat in the quiet wagon (where phones are kept silent, allowing you to catch some Z’s on the way)
- May be late but in matter of minutes
- Sometimes is cramped – not enough space for luggage and trains are usually very full – depending on the time of day
- Trains in Israel do not run all day and all week. If you arrive during the weekend the trains are not operating from Friday evening until Saturday very late at night.
- The train can drop you off only in one of the 3 Haifa train stations: Hof HaCarmel, Bat Galim or Haifa Center, but all of them are downtown (by the sea) and to reach your hotel you’ll probably need take another bus or taxi from the train station.
Driving to Haifa, 1:30 – 2:00 hrs
Car rentals are available throughout the airport, but we recommend renting your car in advance before you arrive. It will usually be cheaper and you can be sure you have a car waiting for you when you land.
- Freedom to travel wherever and whenever you want
- Small country with rather straight highways cutting across it so it is hard to get lost
- The awesome navigation app, WAZE, is developed in Israel and works great here because it is constantly updated. With high speed mobile internet and cheap mobile plans prices, you can use it all the time
- Comfortable and private
- Price – renting a car isn’t cheap and depending on the size of car you need can go rather high
- Traffic (Israel is a rather small country and despite its great highway system you can get caught in traffic for a long time)
- Parking (in Haifa but also in other places it is usually hard to find parking and it also adds to your costs)
- Fuel prices are not very cheap and that too will add to your trip costs
Getting to Haifa by Taxi, 1:30 – 2:30 hrs
You have two options if you wish to take a taxi to Haifa from the airport: a “public service taxi” and a “special taxi”.
1. The “special” taxi is a private town car that drives only you directly to your destination. 1:30 hrs
- Price (can reach 500 ILS – about $130 US)
2. The “public” taxi is a service where vans drive 7-10 people together to Haifa and then make rounds to drop each of them off at their destination or just stop on every bus station to take/drop passengers (like a bus). up to 2:30
- Cheaper than the special taxi (usually around 100 ILS per person – about $27 US)
- Usually fills up fast so no long wait
- If you arrive in a late flight you may need to wait until there are enough passengers to fill up a van
- The drive isn’t very comfortable
- The round once you reach Haifa may be long (if you have the misfortune to be the last to be dropped off for example)
Getting to Haifa by bus – 1:30 up to 3:30 hrs
There is no direct bus line between Haifa and Ben Gurion Airport, so if you arrive to the airport and wish to travel by bus, you will have to take a bus to Tel Aviv first (plenty of lines that go there), get to Tel Aviv’s central bus station and then take any of the direct lines that go from Tel Aviv to Haifa.
The faster alternative is to take a bus from the Ben Gurion airport to the “El-Al Junction” (only 5 minutes ride) and then catch the direct 947 line to Haifa from there (1.5 hours ride).
- Comfortable – Israel’s highway buses are usually new and have very comfortable seats
- WiFi – most of the buses have WiFi now (free!)
- Priced reasonably, similarly to the train
- No direct line from the airport
- Buses, like trains, don’t run all day and all week
- Bus only gets you as far as the Haifa central station in Hof HaCarmel, where you’ll probably need to get a taxi or another bus to get to your hotel
Getting to Haifa via the local airport – 15 minutes flights
Haifa has its own airport. The Haifa airport is a small one and flights to and from it are mostly done by one Israeli airline: Arkia and its daughter airline company: Israir. There are two other domestic airlines flying in and out of that airport: Lahak aviation and FNA.
From (and to) the Haifa airport, Arkia usually flies domestic (to and from Sede Dov in Tel Aviv and Eilat in the south), but also to and from various destinations throughout the Mediterranean area. The Haifa airport offers flights to (and from) nearby Cyprus, Greece, Jordan and other close destinations. The City of Haifa plans to extend the runway as part of the Seaport and airport expansion plan so it will be able to serve other, more far destinations.
For now though, you can use the Haifa airport as your point of entry if you are arriving from Cyprus or Greece, or if you began your Israel trip in Eilat.
Alternatively, you can arrive from any other place in the world to the International Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv and get to Haifa from there by one of the many other ways detailed further ahead.
- Perfect for short or domestic flights (example: a Mediterranean island hopping trip)
- Connected to Haifa city by public transportation
- Quiet and not so busy as the large international airports
- Great for a combined itinerary of Israel’s north (with Haifa as a base) and South (with Eilat as the main attraction)
- You can’t get to it from the U.S.A or any other far destination in Europe or anywhere else
Getting to Haifa by the Sea – 0.5/1 day
Haifa is a port city. As such it is one of the landing bases for many cruise ships of various sizes and origins. Haifa’s sea port was ranked 4th in the world by the OECD in efficiency and every year it serves tens of thousands of passengers going in and out of the country by the sea.
Haifa’s port has several advantages:
- It is located in an inner protected bay allowing ship traffic throughout the year regardless of weather
- It is connected to the rest of Israel by highways and railway
- It is very close to the Haifa’s airport