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Where to stay in Haifa - using it as my home base

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Toronto
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Where to stay in Haifa - using it as my home base

Hi

I'll be travelling to Israel this fall and will be in Haifa for 5 days.

I am using it as my home base while we visit the various Christian sites in northern Israel - We will be renting a car and taking a number of day trips from Haifa -

I am not sure where my home base should be - I will be travelling from Jerusalem to Haifa for 5 days - then driving back to Tel Aviv and flying to Eilat.

While in Haifa I do not have a set itinerary but we plan to visit Stella Maris, Bahai, Ein Hod, Hosh Hanikra, Akka, Caesarea, Nazareth, Sea of Gallile, Tiberias, Elijah's cave, see the migrating birds. Clearly I can't do all of these things in 5 days - but definately plan to do the christian sites.

Is Haifa even the best place to make as my home base? Any advice?

If so, would you recommend I stay in Carmel Center or closer to the water?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Tel Aviv, Israel
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1. Re: Where to stay in Haifa - using it as my home base

I would say it does not really matter where you stay as long as

the accommodations have a parking space or there is a parking lot

nearby. Parking on the Carmel can be very difficult to find. So my advice is try looking for a hotel or wherever you chose to stay with the question of "where do I park the car" Is it free parking or, if not, how much per night.

For travel inside Haifa you might not need a car but use a bus, again parking is a painful issue. You could go one day to Rosh Hanikra and on the way also visit Akko. One day go to Tiberias via Nazareth . Ein Hod and Caesarea are also a one day trip. I mean, most of what you plan to see is totally feasible.

If you have some idea where you are staying in Haifa, let me know what you found and I will try to helkp.

israel
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for Tel Aviv, Galilee, Israel
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2. Re: Where to stay in Haifa - using it as my home base

We stayed last week for 1 night at hotel Nof in Haifa. Great location with great views. The hotel is adequate, the room was nice. They have free limited parking. If you are visiting during a low season it might work out fine.

Edited: 14 September 2010, 17:57
Haifa, Israel
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3. Re: Where to stay in Haifa - using it as my home base

If you ask me, I would choose to say at the hotel on the beach shore (there is only 1 hotel) because it's easier to get from there to anywhere you want in the north or the south However if nightlife is important to you DO NOT stay on the beach. If you stay in one of the hotels on the Carmel mountain it might be harder to navigate and sometimes the traffic is really bad. Even thou that is what most of the people choose.

Haifa is a great place to stay, you should definitely give some time to spend in the city it self.

Toronto
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4. Re: Where to stay in Haifa - using it as my home base

HI

thanks for the responses.

We have booked the Villa Carmel - however there is some flexibility in my booking - hence my post. Betina, i am told there is parking included.

I initially chose the Carmel Center location because we did not want to drive to restos and the like - we only have the car for day trips. We plan to leave early in the morning and return late at night - is there traffic 24/7?

However now that I read it may be difficult to navigate out of the center due to traffic, well I may reconsider - how bad is bad? I live in a large city in North America and drive in traffic on a daily basis.

Elad you write there is only one hotel on the beach? I have found several apartment options on the beach in Haifa.

thanks again.

Israel
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5. Re: Where to stay in Haifa - using it as my home base

Driving in Haifa is difficult not just because of regular traffic but because you are on a mountain with many oneway streets which can be very confusing. Be sure to hold a good road map and appoint a navigator, it will make your driving experience must less frustrating (goes for the entire country but especially in Haifa). There are excellent signs, use them to your benefit. There is only one standard hotel on the beach on the south end of the city. Most of the city is on the mountain with various neighborhoods closer to the waterfront which may offer apartments as you mentioned. I would keep the car to get from place to place and save time since you have alot of places you would like to visit.

Regarding migratory birds. You did not mention which month you will be here. The migratory birds arrive here in about mid-November (depends on the weather in Europe) and fly over, over a 2-3 week period. The best place to observe the migration is at the Agamon in the Hula Valley which about 1.5 drive from Haifa. The best time of day is at 7 a.m. or 4 p.m. when the Grey Cranes 'land' for feeding. Most migratory birds fly at night using the stars for navigation, if you look in the sky during migration you may be able to make them out, as well as hear them 'talking' to one another.

Chana

Israel

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6. Re: Where to stay in Haifa - using it as my home base

You wrote that you would like to visit a few sites in the north of Israel.

Note that some of the sites can be quite far from Haifa. Many Christian sites and most beautiful hikes in ramat hagolan can be a 2 hours drive or even more each way from Haifa. Places like Tzfat, Har meron, Rosh pina, and others are not very close to Haifa. Driving to those places and back in one day is possible but very tiring. There is also a lot of traffic both during the week (regular traffic), and on the weekends and holiday (travellers' traffic).

Therefore if you plan on visiting the north of Israel, using Haifa as the base camp for some sites is fine, but not for all. It's fine to hop from Haifa to Rosh hanikra in a day, but for the far north, I'd suggest sleeping elsewhere.

Edited: 15 September 2010, 12:59
Toronto
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7. Re: Where to stay in Haifa - using it as my home base

Thank you for all the replies

I think I am just going to keep my reservation & stay at the Villa Carmel.

The responses were quite mixed so I'm just going to take a chance.

Regarding the migrating birds - I will be in Haifa at the end of Oct beginning of Nov - too soon for the migration.

I don't mind traveling a couple of hours each way from Haifa for our day tours - I understand there us beautiful country to see - the advantage of driving ourselves is we can stop and explore whenever we like.

Thanks again for the advice.

Tel Aviv, Israel
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for Haifa
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8. Re: Where to stay in Haifa - using it as my home base

I would like to add just one thing about traffic from and to Haifa. If you want to leave early, for me early is 7 a.m. even a bit earlier, if you can't make it, try after 9, traffic in Haifa going "down from the mountain" is slow, many lights, everyone (so it seems) goes out and usually the traffic back starts around 3 p.m. by 7 p.m. the roads get a bit emptier. No doubt the later you return the better. You said you live in a big town and are used to traffic jams, OK, you will experience some traffic jams in Haifa and the area, some drivers are definitely not polite (even rude) and pushy, but I am sure you can handle it. There are several ways to get out of Haifa, a bit confusing but if you study carefully a map, you will find the ways.

Israel
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9. Re: Where to stay in Haifa - using it as my home base

Further to Betina's post, the difficulties of driving in Haifa are not the traffic but rather the steep roads and one way streets which can be very frustrating for one who does not know the territory. As she mentioned there are several ways to leave the city, and consulting not only a map but the hotel personnel they can direct you on the best possible route (even if it seem a bit longer on the map).

Chana

Israel

Haifa, Israel
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10. Re: Where to stay in Haifa - using it as my home base

ddb_toronto - Don't worry...it might be hard to learn the streets at first but I'm sure you will be OK. As I said there is only 1 hotel in the beach shore (It's a complex of 2 hotels but it's practically the same one).

The traffic can be bad, but it's Israel bad. it's nothing like the traffic in NYC. you can avoid the traffic if you will leave Haifa around 6:30 am and come back around 6 pm But even if not there are roads that go pass the traffic from the Carmel to the university and all the way down to Nesher and the industrial zone, ask about it in the hotel I'm sure they will direct you accordingly.

The Carmel area is great. you will love the night life. you must take one of the nights and go to the Stela Maris. The landscape from there on the sea and beach line is amazing and it's very romantic. If you come with your partner - consider surprise him/her with romantic dinner in the park near by.

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