Hit the beach - Haifa has great free, clean beaches - a local favorite in Haifa? Dado Beach. Go in the morning, but plan to enjoy a sea side luncheon when the heat gets too much. With water temperature always very pleasant in the summer, the beaches here are a lot of fun - just watch out for jellyfish for a few weeks in July. Tip: Don't leave your possessions unattended on the beach.
Baha'i Shrine, Persian Garden - This gold-domed building, a shrine of the Bab (the Baha'i prophet) dominates the city of Haifa. The Bab was buried in the original shrine on this site over 100 years ago, and Haifa is now the Baha'i world center. The gardens are a beautiful and tranquil place to visit. Be sure to cover your shoulders and dress modestly for entrance to the shrine.
The Carmel Center - A great spot to spend an afternoon. Lovely walks, a playground, cafe, even outdoor concerts (in the summer months), round out the main attractions: the Moshe Stekelis Museum of Prehistory and the Zoo. While small, the zoo has been designed to let visitors come close to the animals. There's even a petting zoo with small animals for little kids. Tip: Strollers may be a problem (zoo is not well designed for wheels).
Horse-riding Farm - Located in Carmel you can spend the day horseback riding, taking a walking or biking tour. Call ahead to find out about the barbecues as well.
Jabotinsky Forest and picnic site (Shuni) - Another great one-stop wonder, the Jabotinsky is both a camp ground and a museum, with a Roman theater where you can watch light and sound shows. Once used by the Romans for their water festival and also serving as a spa, the beautiful relics found here now grace the museum. The camping areas include picnic tables if you want to go rustic - or take advantage of a guided tour and the restaurant.
Mount Carmel National Park - The largest national park in Israel, it encompasses 20,000 acres of woods, ruins of different cultural settlements (including sites holy to Jews, Christians, Muslims), prehistoric caves, and wonderful views. There are picnic areas and footpaths that make this a really pleasant place to spend a day.
Muhraka Monastery - Built on the highest isolated perch of the Carmel (Kerem-El), this monastery commemorates the Prophet Elijah, and overlooks the valley of Armageddon where the battle between Egyptians and the Hittite took place, and where Jesus prophesized that the last battle would take place, between all the nations of the world. The main significance of the monastery is its location and the connecting history. Don't miss the statue of Elijah at the top. For those with knowledge of the Bible, retelling the story of Elijah and Ahab makes the site come to life.
Village markets - About ten minutes east of Haifa, you'll find Druze towns with wonderful artisan work in the markets (check for market days) - along the coast. The Druze often sport turban headdress (men, that is), live in picturesque mountain towns and excel in high-quality Turkish coffee popular with tourists, and goat cheese. Try a Druze pita for a light snack. They are especially large and thin pitas smeared with fresh labaneh (Arab yogurt that's thick like Greek yogurt) and Druze herbs.
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