We had various family visits here in Jerusalem, so of course we tried to take our guests to the most important parts of the country. Since my mom and sister stayed 10 days we organized a quick trip of a couple of days to the northern coast and we visited Caesarea, Haifa and Acre.
Haifa, where we slept two nights, was our base and around that we tried to make the most of the three days we had. We left Jerusalem early morning direction Caesaria. We opted to travel by train: it’s more expensive than the bus, but the Israeli trains are very confortable and I actually feel a bit sick on long bus trips, especially in the mornings (the 4-hours journey on our way to Petra was a bit hard for me, but at least I was able to sleep). Anyway we took a train from Jerusalem Malha Railway Station, changed train in Tel Aviv and stopped in Binyamina (2.20 h. – NIS 46,50). There is a train station in Caesarea (Pardes Hana), but searching online I saw that it would have been easier to stop in Binyamina, since it is actually closer to Caesarea National Park.
From the train station we took a taxi that for 30-40 NIS took us to the entrance of the archeological site. If you plan to go back to the train station, you should ask the number of the driver so you can call him to come pick you up once you’re done with the visit. This is what we did and it worked out pretty well.
Caesarea is an incredibly beatiful place to visit. The Roman ruins still stand in front of the sea. It is just unbelievable: the Romans always picked the best spots to build their town and palaces!
The only defect to the eye when standing in between the ruins and looking at the surroundings, is the huge Orot Rabin Powerstation, that is located slightly to the south of Caesarea and gives 23% of the electrical demand of the country.
Caesarea National Park
Summer Sat-Thu 9 am-6 pm/Fri 9 am-4 pm
Winter Sat-Thu 9 am-4 pm/Fri 9 am-3 pm
(Last display one hour before the closure)
Adult NIS 40 – Kids NIS 24
Once we had walked for a couple of hours, had a nice meal in one of the restaurants inside the park and savored the athmosphere of the magical Caesarea, we headed back to the train station of Binyamina. From there we took a train to our next stop: Haifa (Haifa Center HaSmona – 38 min. – NIS 24). We slept there two night in a cute guest house in the German Colony and we split the visit of the city in two afternoons: the first one arriving from Caesarea and the second the next day once back from our visit of Acre.
Haifa, one of the most important cities of the country, was built on the Mount Carmel, looking out onto the bay. The famous Baha’i World Center, one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites, with its white building and golden dome, sits in the center of the city on the slopes of the mountains and it is probably its most striking trait.
But the city hides some other really amazing spots. If you take the Carmelit, a tiny underground funicular railway, you easily reach some very nice places. First you should have a walk in Wadi Nisnas, the arab neighborhood of the city center: in its narrow streets, almost like a labyrith, you can discover beautiful houses, a small market and a permanent art exhibition of graffiti.
Second, you can do some shopping, have a nice dinner and a drink in the upper city (Carmel and Ahuza neighborhoods). And third have a strool on the Louis Promenade, from where you’ll have the breathtaking view of the bay.
If you have time you can add a visit to the museum opened in the Israel grain terminal, a big building between Haifa port and the central station.
Bahá’í Temple and Gardens
Modest dress. The entrace to the Temple is permitted only to Baha’is.
Inner Gardens – Daily 9 am-12 pm
Outer Gardens – Daily 9 am-17 pm
Dagon Grain Museum
Free admission – Guided tours in Hebrew, German and English Fri-Sat from 10.30 am (previous appointment) – Plummer Square, Haifa
The next morning we jump on a train to Acre, which is an old fishing town north of Haifa (26 min. – NIS 16). The Old City of Acre, that you reach from the train station with a 15-20 minutes walk or a 15 NIS taxi ride, is one of the jewels of the country. The alleys, the stoned walls, the tall vaults take you back to the times when they were builted: you almost feel like a kid playing and discovering tunnels and old passages that lead you to the other side of the city.
Once visited the more turist things, we just enjoyed the old markets, the view of the sea, the sun. Before leaving we also had a really tasty falafel (10 NIS + drink 5 NIS) made with love by a kind woman on Salah a-Din St. (right before the curve towards Weizman St.) and after that an incredible baklava with coffee in a pastry shop on the same street (just slightly before).
To visit the Old City you can purchase different kind of tickets, just have a look here for the combinations and prices. We bought the “Combined Ticket”, that for 27 NIS gives access to the Templar’s Tunnel, the Okashi Museum (not worth the visit), the Knights Halls and the Treasures in the Walls Ethnographic Museum. I really enjoyed the second museum: it has some amazing pieces that I would have brought home of course!
Akko old city
In that same afternoon we went back to Haifa and concluded our visit of the city, including a dinner at the Fattoush Restaurant on Sderot Ben Gurion: it has amazing food and a great atmosphere!
The day after we headed back to Jerusalem: a very smooth train trip of about 2 and a half hours (NIS 50.5) with a change in Tel Aviv (HaHagana).