By Lauren Kmec
Haifa
Israel
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Located in northern Israel between the Mediterranean Sea and Mount Carmel, Haifa is Israel’s largest seaport and third-largest city. The history of Haifa dates all the way back to Biblical times, and what a fascinating history it is, considering that Haifa has been ruled by so many different groups over the years (Phoenicians, Romans, Persians, Ottomans, British, and Israelis, to name a few). Haifa is known for its respected academic institutions (The University of Haifa and The Technion), as well as its air of religious tolerance: Muslims, Christians, Bahá’í, and Jews have coexisted peacefully here for many thousands of years.

EscapeWizard.com invites you to visit Haifa on your next vacation. Most flights to Haifa connect through Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV), Israel’s main airport, which is located in Tel Aviv, ~90 kilometers from the Haifa city limits. So one option is to fly here and take a direct train to the city; another possibility is to take a connecting flight to Haifa Airport (HFA), a smaller airport located in Haifa itself. Follow this link (www.escapewizard.com/flight.php) to peruse your flight options and take advantage of EscapeWizard.com’s excellent rates. EscapeWizard.com can also help you choose a hotel to meet all of your vacation needs; click here (www.escapewizard.com/hotels.php?flag=htl) to browse our top choices.

Once you have arrived, EscapeWizard.com urges you to make your first stop at the Bahá’í Shine and Gardens, probably Haifa’s most famous attraction and a definite must-see destination for all visitors. Located at the edge of the city center on Mt. Carmel’s northern slope, this spectacular complex is the second-holiest shine in the Bahá’í faith. The golden dome of the Shrine of the Báb, a central figure of the faith, is arguably the most recognizable symbol in Haifa. Other notable buildings at this site are the Bahá’í International Archives, modeled after the Parthenon, and the Bahá’í Universal House of Justice, featuring 58 statuesque marble columns and beautiful hanging gardens. The entire Bahá’í complex and its gardens have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008.

EscapeWizard.com also encourages tourists to visit the Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery, founded by the Carmelite Order of the Roman Catholic Church. In addition to a monastery, Stella Maris includes a church, a lighthouse, and a hospice on the site of a former military hospital that served Napoleon’s troops during the siege of Acre. Located at the peak of Mt. Carmel, Stella Maris is accessible via cable car or on foot, but it is definitely worth the trek. The church is beautifully designed from Italian marble, and its dome is painted with scenes depicting stories from the Old Testament. The monastery is connected by a footpath to the Cave of Elijah, a revered spot where the prophet Elijah is said to have lived during the reign of King Ahab. Legend has it that the Holy Family also took shelter in this cave one night on their return journey from Egypt.

If you are really looking to get away from it all, try spending a day on one of Haifa’s gorgeous, uncrowded beaches on the Mediterranean coast. EscapeWizard.com suggests Kiryat Haim Beach and Carmel Beach, best known for their waterfront gardens, and the aptly named Surfers’ Beach, which offers some of the best surfing in the Middle East. Try your luck at water sports such as windsurfing or sailing, stroll along the beachfront promenade and indulge in a meal at one of the many cafes, or simply soak up some rays on the beach. EscapeWizard.com recommends taking a boat cruise around the harbor for a unique view of the city and Mt. Carmel, or going scuba diving to explore amazing underwater sights such as the Old Turkish Ship, Carmel Reef, and the Spartan Reef Pottery Garden.

Finally, EscapeWizard.com encourages travelers to check out the Gan Ha-Psalim Sculpture Garden, which comprises 29 bronze sculptures donated to the city by the artist, Ursula Malbin. The sculptures reside in a beautiful garden overlooking the Haifa Bay and the landscape of Galilee.

Fostering a culture of tolerance and understanding, Haifa is a city that welcomes all visitors with open arms. So let EscapeWizard.com help you plan your next vacation to Haifa today!
Hotels in Haifa
By Tekisha Slack
Crowne Plaza
111 Yefe Nof Street, Haifa, Israel
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The Crowne Plaza Haifa hotel is a peaceful haven nestled in the green foothills of Mount Carmel in central Haifa and close to Haifa Bay.

You’ll feel inspired the moment you step inside the hotel’s soaring Lobby with its twinkling fairy-lit palm trees. Each of the stylish guest rooms offers balcony views of Mount Carmel Haifa Bay. High-speed internet access and large work desks make it possible for business travelers to remain productive. Pamper yourself in the marble bathroom or unwind with a beverage or snack from the room’s mini bar. Each guestroom also includes large picture windows, premium bedding, dual climate control, hair dryer, multi-line phone with voicemail, coffee and tea maker, cable TV service, and complimentary toiletries. Guests can also request turndown service, and wakeup calls.

Guests at the Crowne Plaza can refresh with a few laps of the mosaic-tiled indoor heated swimming pool or luxuriate in the jetted tub, sauna or steam room.  This hotel is also within short walking distance of the majestic Mount Carmel and Carmel Centre; which houses the city’s vibrant shopping malls and cafes as well as the Haifa Auditorium. A 15-minute taxi ride will bring you to Haifa Bay's sandy beaches, sparkling waters, lively promenades and natural harbor.

The hotel’s Louis Bar is a chic place to sip pre-dinner cocktails, and you can indulge in Mediterranean flavors from the meat and dairy menus at Rozmarine Restaurant. The Crowne Plaza can also prepare sumptuous private banquets for Bar Mitzvahs or other special occasions. You'll find complimentary wireless Internet in the 24-hour Business Lounge at Crowne Plaza Haifa, perfect for checking your email over the evening buffet.

EscapeWizard.com invites you to book your stay at the luxurious Crowne Plaza Haifa today. Just click on the link to get started (www.escapewizard.com/hotels.php?flag=htl).