Located on the northern Mediterranean coast of Israel, Haifa is Israel's third largest city. It is also a beautiful, and strategic located city near the border with Lebanon. The population of Haifa, which is approximately 300,000, is surprisingly diverse. There are Jews, Muslim, and Chistian Arabs throughout the city. While Haifa is an industrial city, with a strong work ethic and a good job base, it is also a beautiful city with many gardens and a stunning coastline. Today the job base has increasingly become technology based with some large companies such as Google and Microsoft offering employment in the area. Haifa University is also the country's top technology university.
The best way to travel around Haifa is by the elaborate bus system. Buses are convenient and run every day of the week. Haifa is also a very walkable city, so with the exception of longer trips, most destinations can be reached on foot.
There are some great restaurants throughout Haifa, and some of the cheapest food options are the street food you might find. As elsewhere in Israel, falafel is readily available throughout the city. There are also plenty of shawarma stands that are great for grabbing a quick lunch. You'll also find plenty of international restaurants including Romanian and Italian options. Restaurants in Haifa, like elsewhere in Israel, are quite expensive, but the food is generally a high quality. You are expected to tip in most restaurants, and approximately 10% is considered customary. If you receive poor service, it is acceptable to tip less.
Major sights throughout Haifa include Bahai Gardens and World Center, which is a beautiful landmark of the city. It is open every day with the exception of Wednesdays. Also make sure you visit the Cave of Elijah, Stella Maris, and the National Museum of Science. In general, a day or two is sufficient to visit most of the sights in Haifa. While it is a beautiful city, and well worth a visit, there are not a large number of sights and attractions. The city is best visited as a whole, and not on a sight by sight basis.
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During busy times accommodation can be scarce and hard to come by in Haifa. Head to a few of the guesthouses, but if they're all full, ask at the desk if they know of any residents that rent out rooms to travelers. It's a fun way to experience local life in Haifa. We ended up staying at a retired couples home. They invited us onto their porch for drinks and we spent much of the evening swapping stories and learning what it's like to live in such a tension filled region. They do offer a very unique perspective on things. Most of the homes aren't air conditioned, but are built in a way that lets the outside breeze flow through. You spend a lot of time on the porch and it's actually quite relaxing.