Israel on a Budget: Haifa & Nazareth (Part 2 of 3)
After my first two days covered in Israel on a Budget: Flights & Tel Aviv (Part 1) it was time to head north. I heard many great things about Haifa’s culture of co-existence, great locals and amazing street food. I also knew someone who lived there and she invited me to couchsurf with her. I happily agreed and headed to Haifa via Israel Railways for about $7. Based on what I found on this part of my journey, here is Israel on a Budget: Haifa & Nazareth.
What to do in Haifa (2 nights)
- Bahai Gardens: Beautiful gardens run down the side of the tallest mountain in Haifa. They were built by the Bahai religion, which promotes co-existence and tolerance among all groups and religions. Free tours are given daily and tipping is not allowed. Check out their site for a list of the free tour schedule of days, times and languages.
- Talpiot Market: Haifa’s largest fruit and vegetable market is a must-see. Also ask to taste their nuts and other dried fruits. The cashew and dates were some of the best I’ve had.
- On the Water: Walk the beaches, Old Port and promenades overlooking the ocean.
- German Colony: Explore the beautiful old block buildings of the German Colony in central Haifa that was built in the 1860s.
- Street Art: Look for some of the local street art, a growing trend in this dynamic city.
- Talk to Locals: When grabbing a coffee or enjoying some great food, strike up a conversation with the owner or some locals sitting nearby. It’s amazing how friendly and welcoming they are to travelers.
- Day Trip: Head north to Acre to see the walled Old City UNESCO site that was originally built by Crusaders more than 900 years ago.
Where to Eat in Haifa
- Humus Fadi: One of the most engaging conversations I had with a local friend was in this wonderful little hummus spot. We talked peace, co-existence and many other aspects of why Haifa is such a complex and interesting city. Order the mshawashe to start and try the hummus with minced meat as a second course. My full story can be found at Haifa’s Hummus & Culture of Coexistence.
- Ha Sandwichem shel Bracha: Hebrew for Bracha’s Sandwiches, this nice lady is one of the most interesting characters I’ve met so far. With attitude and some serious skills, come see what 40 years of making these filling sandwiches can do for your taste buds. Take a look at Haifa Street Food Favorites for more of the details.
- Falafel Micheal: My favorite local spot for falafel will make your mouth sing at an affordable price. I also love the sauce bar. More information can be found in Haifa Street Food Favorites.
Where to Stay in Haifa
- HostelWorld: Single dorm beds on HostelWorld start around $22 and private doubles are listed from $35-$50.
- Couchsurfing: 424 hosts who have logged in during the last month are currently or may be accepting guests. I managed to couchsurf with a friend who showed me around and had a wonderful experience.
- AirBnB: The average cost for one person is $113 or a couple for $122.
What to do in Nazareth (2 nights)
- Basilica of the Annunciation: Built on top of the ruins of the home where Mary from the Bible once lived.
- White Mosque: The oldest mosque in Nazareth.
- Mount Precipice: The site mentioned in the Bible where an angry mob attempted to throw Jesus from the highest cliff.
Sea of Galilee Day Trip
- Tiberius Day Trip: Take a quick day trip to Tiberius like I did to see the Sea of Galilee. While there, grab a quick meal at Falafel Orit, a favorite spot among locals that I greatly enjoyed while passing through. The bus and your time in the city can be done in about 4-5 hours. The bus is only a few dollars depending on the route you take.
- Day Trip to a Kibbutz: These communities were created in the early 20th century across Israel for communal farming and living. There are still around 270 of varying sizes across the country. Many have opportunities to visit and sometimes stay and work there. For a complete listing and more information check out Kibbutz Program Center.
- Day Trip to Golan Heights: The Golan Heights are in the mountainous northern part of Israel and offer many beautiful scenic views and archaeological sites.
Where to Eat in Nazareth
- Falafel Wisam Jabali: This great falafel pita and Wisam’s welcoming attitude and spirit are not to be missed in the north end of town. Check out my full review separate from Israel on a Budget: Haifa & Nazareth in The Best in Nazareth: Falafel Wisam Jabali.
- Shawarma, falafel and pizza shops can be found north of one of the bus stations on Tawfiq Ziad St. I tried a few and didn’t find them remarkable but when in a hurry, it’s good to know they’re there.
- Local Recommendations: Fauzi Azar (and other hostels) have staff who have maps and favorites to share. I was unfortunately a little rushed in Nazareth and didn’t have enough time to try more of the food.
Where to Stay in Nazareth
- Fauzi Azar: One of the most beautiful hostel buildings I’ve ever stayed in, this place has great staff, offers a tour of house and the rest of Nazareth and some of the best tea available, activities like movie nights and breakfast, all for free. Single dorm beds start around $19 and double bed privates start at $60.
- Couchsurfing: 149 hosts who have logged in during the last month are currently or may be accepting guests.
- AirBnB: Single prices average $119 with couples averaging $126.
Next, on to Jerusalem & Mitzpe Ramon!
I hope you enjoyed Israel on a Budget: Haifa & Nazareth! Next, I travel south in Israel on a Budget: Jerusalem & Mitzpe Ramon (Part 3).
La Chaim! (Cheers in Hebrew)
What’s your favorite thing on a budget in Haifa or Narareth? Comment below!
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