Tuesday, 20 November 2018

15 Fabulous, Free Places to Visit in Haifa.

Why spend a fortune of family outings when there are so many free places to visit in Haifa?

It's easy to spend a few hundred shekels a day on family outings and it can become depressingly expensive.  Follow our guide to brilliant free places to to visit in Haifa, and have a fun-filled day without spending a fortune.

haifa free places sto visit nesher park

The suspension bridge at Nesher Park

The Bahai Temple

The Bahai Temple in Haifa is probably the city's most popular attraction.  The golden dome of the Bahai Temple is a landmark and shines brightly in the summer.

There are 4 options for viewing the grounds:

1) The Temple (Shrine of the Baab) on Sderot HaZionut

2)  From the lookout on Yefe Nof Street in the Central Carmel 

3) A per-arranged tour of the terraces starting on Yefe Nof

4) A spectacular view from Ben Gurion Blvd in the German Colony.

Entrance to the daily terrace tour (except Wednesday) is free of charge and no reservations are needed - it's on a first-come-first-served basis. This tour is not recommended for people with walking difficulties or health issues.  Starting at 45 Yefe Nof Street, and lasting 50 minutes, the tour ends at the garden's entrance on Hatzionut Avenue.  English tours are at midday.

Wear comfortable shoes and have plenty of water. The terrace tour maybe difficult for small children and once you begin there is no turning back.

2.  The Hecht Museum at the University of Haifa

The Hecht Museum is an archaeological museum at the Haifa University on Abba Houshy Road, Mount Carmel, Haifa.

For an English tour, coordinate your visit in advance with the Visitor's Center at 04-8240097.  This is an interesting outing for the whole family and also for your out-of-town guests.

Bus no. 24, 37 and 37A get you to the university.

3.  Clandestine Immigration & Naval Museum

Located at 204 Allenby St, the Clandestine Immigration and Naval Museum is dedicated to the illegal immigrants around the time of Israel's independence and their right and struggle to live in this country.   The museum is also dedicated to the history of the Israeli Navy. Climb aboard the ship "Af-Al-Pi-Chen", which brought 434 immigrants to Israel.  Also on view is the Dakar submarine that sank in 1967.  Thirty years later its conning tower was discovered. A visit to the Illegal Immigrants’ Detainee Camp in Atlit is well worth a visit after your visit to the Clandestine Immigration Museum.

The museum Is open from 08:30 – 16:00 on weekdays.  Buses: 1, 2, 5, 26, 44, 45 and the Haifa Metronit. Plenty of parking. Phone 04-8536249 for details. 

4. The Dagon Grain Museum & Silo

The enormous Dagon grain museum and silo is a distinctive fortress like construction on Ha'atzmaut St, near the Haifa port.   It can easily be seen from the top of the Carmel.  Guided tours of the museum and the plant are available The oldest exhibits are millstones and other items from Jericho dating from the eighth millennium B.C.

Museum opening hours: Daily from 08:00 – 10:30 (closed on Saturday). A guided tour can be arranged from Sun-Fri. at 10.30am; by appointment (tel. 04-866-4221). Entrance is free although one has to pay for a guided tour. 

If you are coming from out of town, the easiest way to get there is by train - get off at Haifa-Hashmona-Central Station and Dagon is on your door-step.

5.  The Israel Electric Company (Hevrat HaHashmal)

The Haifa electric power station visitor's center offers an interesting explanation of how electricity is manufactured and distributed in Israel.  The visit includes a tour of the power plant.  The power station is located on Tuvim Rd in the Industrial Zone.

You can pre-arrange your visit to the power station on-line.  Wear closed flat shoes otherwise you will not be allowed into the power plant.  It’s a pity to miss it. 

A visit to the much larger power station in Hadera (half way between Haifa and Tel Aviv) is well worth it too.

6. Muhraka

Muhraka - The Horn of the Carmel is an old monastery that belongs to the Carmelit Order, who arrived in Israel from Europe in the 17th century. According to the conventional belief of Christians, Muslims, Druze and Jews, it is at this location that the dramatic battle between Elijah and the prophets of Baal took place. 

The monastery is situated behind the Druze villages.

Take route 672 from Haifa University, pass Daliat El Carmel and make a left turn to Muhraka.  Visiting hours: 09:00-12:00 and 13:00-17:00.  If you are using public transport to reach this outlying attraction then use your Rav Kav daily Travel Pass for a much more affordable travel option.

7. Haifa's Beaches

Haifa has miles and miles of soft, sandy, golden beaches. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer months until 18:00. There are toilet and shower facilities.  Plenty of bars and cafes along the promenade and kosher options too. 

Bat Galim and the Surfers Beach in the northern suburbs are accessible by train - the nearest station is Haifa Bat Galim. 

Moving south; the Carmel Beach, Nirvana, Zamir, Dado, Dado South and the Student’s Beach (Train and bus stations - Haifa Hof HaCarmel - are located opposite). 

Beaches are also easily accessible by bus and Metronit. Free parking.

8. Gan HaEm (Mother's Park)

Gan Ha'em is adjacent to the last station (Gan HaEm staion) of the Carmelit Underground  which recently re-opened after the fire) in the Central Carmel neighborhood.  It is also adjacent to the Haifa zoological gardens and Wadi Lotem.  Gan Haem is a fairly large park and playground; swings, see-saws, slides, climbing apparatus.  It is a great place for a family picnic and picnic tables are plentiful. 

Free concerts in the park on Wednesday nights in July and August.  Bring your own chairs.

9. Wadi Lotem

Appreciate nature and meander through the recently cleaned up Wadi Lotem trail. 

The trail starts just next to the events pavilion in Gan Ha'em, it's easy and suitable for the whole family. The trail takes you from the Carmel down to the  coast - about a 3 kilometer walk.

10. Wadi Nisnas

Wadi Nisnas, is an Arab neighborhood in Haifa with a population of about 8,000 inhabitants.

It boasts a fresh fruit and vegetable market which is open 7 days a week.  You'll discover specialized food stores, interesting restaurants and the best felafel Haifa has to offer.  Wadi Nisnas is known for the open art and sculpture exhibition.  Alleys and walkways hide interesting artworks on doorways, the sides and fronts of buildings.

A do-it-yourself walking trail is demarcated from the Central Carmel to Wadi Nisnas.  It will take about an hour to descend from the Carmel down to the Wadi.  (Wadi NisNas, in December:  The Haifa Festival of Festivals - Chag HaChagim)

11.  The Carmel Forest National Park

“Little Switzerland” is part of the Carmel Forest National Park and is a short drive on from the Haifa University on Abba Hushi Rd., en-route to the Druze villages. Hundreds of acres of pine forests, walking trails and picnic spots. In the springtime you can enjoy the wild flowers that carpet the forest floor.

12.  The Hai Bar

The Hai Bar is part of the Carmel Forest National Park.  This animal sanctuary has re-introduced numerous native species to the area. Visit the forest in the spring to enjoy a mass of wild flowers. Purchase an annual membership – Matmom - from the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.  You get free entrance to most of the parks in Israel and 50% discount to others. Tourists can buy a similar card called "The Green Card".  For around 80 shekels you get entrance to 6 sites operated by the Israel Nature Parks Authority.  Entrance on Saturdays only from 08:00 – 16:00.  Call *3639.

13.  Nesher Park

If you are adventurous and not afraid of heights, the main feature of the 200 dunam (50 acres), Nesher Park, to the north-east of Haifa, is the 70 meter suspension bridge that spans a seasonal, winter river - Nahal Katia.  After a 15 minute walk from the parking area on trails that meander through the vegetation and shrubbery you reach the bridge. Additional facilities include a picnic area, lookout plaza, access trails and landscaped rock ledges. Follow Harub (Carob)Rd. in Ramot Yitzhak as far as the road sign that says KKL-JNF Nesher Park. Park your car in the car park and follow the sign  “To Nahal Katiya “.

14.  Stella Maris

The Stella Maris Church -  The Star of the Sea - was built on its current site in 1836.  It serves as a center to the Carmelit Order throughout the world.

The ceiling of the main hall is roofed and decorated by colorful paintings based on motifs from The Old and New Testaments

15.  Stella Maris Lighthouse & Elijah's Cave

Your little boys will love this outing. Opposite the Stella Maris Church, Haifa's lighthouse guides ships and naval traffic into Haifa Bay.

You can then stroll down a pathway which leads you to Elijah's Cave.  An important shrine to many religions, the chapel includes the very cave in which the prophet Elijah is believed to have lived and taught.