Venture into northern Israel and you’ll discover local cheese and wine, moments of wildlife wonder in vast nature preserves, hip nightlife and liberal conversation in Haifa, ancient walled cities and welcoming artist colonies.
Northern Israel’s Haifa, known as the country’s third city, is a sun-drenched oasis on the Mediterranean shores. A bit off the beaten path, the city has a funky side – sandwiching it neatly between the reserved and religious ambience of Jerusalem and the cosmopolitan nature of Tel Aviv. Explore Wadi Nisnas, an old Arab Quarter, and partake of a traditional Middle Eastern meal. Then, prepare to be stunned by the beauty of the Baha’i Gardens, almost unreal in their vibrant colors and fairytale aura.
The Old City of Acre (or Akko), a UNESCO World Heritage Center is in stark contrast to Haifa’s quirky vibe. This walled port city has been continuously settled since the Phoenician period and you’ll find characteristics reminiscent of the Ottomans of the 18th and 19th centuries. Tour the remains of the Crusader town from 1104 to 1291, mostly intact above and below today’s street level – the underground tunnels and halls were used as headquarters by the Knights of St. John.
Continue on, nearly to the Lebanon border, to gawk at the white cliffs and rock formations of Rosh Hanikra. The pounding of the waves over the centuries has resulted in a labyrinth of caves and limestone grottos. Keep an eye out for loggerhead turtles and bats.
Board the new ferry that runs from Akko to Haifa, snapping photographs of the fishing port of Akko, the northern coastline, downtown Haifa and the Carmel Mountains. Visit the Ein Hod Artists’ Village and tour the Janco Dada Museum. Finally, stop to see the storied Roman ruins and wander the ancient streets of Caesaria.
This region has a little bit of everything. Let us introduce you to its many facets on a trip to Haifa and the Northern Coast.