Haifa, Acre and Rosh Hanikra – A Day Trip from Nazareth
I already wanted to visit Haifa on my first trip to Israel 3 years ago, but somehow it did not work out. That’s why, on my third trip, I absolutely wanted to visit Haifa on my research trip for the Tel Aviv Guide for Digitale Nomads. So I immediately booked a tour once I arrived in the Abraham Hostel in Nazareth. A tour to Haifa, Acre, and Rosh Hanikra.
Stop #1 Mount of Precipice
Our first stop of the day was a biblical sight – Mount Precipice. These are supposed to be the cliffs, where the angry mob of citizens of Nazareth wanted to kill Jesus, because they did not approve of his teachings at the synagogue (Luke 4, 16-30). Mount Precipice is located south of Nazareth on the cliffs of Mount Kedumim.
The panorama of the Jezreel Valley and Mount Tabor is fantastic and is said to be very picturesque at dawn. I couldn’t make if for sunrise, however, as I didn’t have a private transportation.
We stay here for half an hour to take photos and marvel at the scenery. After that, onwards to the port town Haifa.
Stop #2 Haifa
Haifa is the third biggest city in Israel, after Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Here, you can find the Bahá’í Gardens, that are a UNESCO world heritage site and also the most beautiful spot of the city. It is the spiritual and administrative centre of the Bahá’í faith. The gardens are on Mount Karmel and include i.e. the shrine of Bab, where the keep the mortal remains of Bab, the founder of Babism. It is the building with the golden dome on the following picture. Many travellers and pilgrims come here.
That’s why we come here, as well. There are several levels. First, we have a look at the gardens itself. Beware – as this is a holy site you are required to cover your shoulder as well as your knees. After about 30 minutes we take a car to the upper levels, where you can enjoy the view. Strangely enough, you don’t have to cover up here.
Stop #3 Acre
Acre (or Akko/Akkon – very confusing) is also a port town at the north coast of Israel. Findings from the bronce age show, that already 3 millenias before christ people where settling there. Acre is famous for its old town, situated at on a peninsula on the northern end of the bay of Haifa. It is surrounded by old military fortifications.
The people living here are mostly Israeli Arabs and Acre is one of the most oriental cities of Israel. Visitors can experience this on the big Shouk – the huge Arabian market offering clothes, local gimmicks, spices, fruits and vegetables.
For centuries, the city’s port was important in the eastern Mediterranean area. Nowadays, it’s mainly used for the ferry rides between Haifa and Acre, round trips and other boats tours.
Also famous is the 350 meter long tunnel from the Templar fortress in the west to the port in the east, discovered in 1994. The tunnel is carved into natural stone and is one of the attractions of Acre. I decided against walking the tunnel, as I did not want to pay entry for those 250 meters and rather take pictures in the streets and by the sea.
We had two hours to explore Acre. That is barely enough time to see the old town and get lunch. Then, we went on to the caves of Rosh Hanikra.
Stop #4 Rosh Hanikra
The grottoes of Rosh Hanikra are directly at the border to Lebanon. At the top end of the road, there’s even a (tightly locked) gate, separating Lebanon and Israel.
This spot has become a tourist attraction because the sea had carved beautiful grottoes into the limestone. The grottoes can be accessed and are connected by an easy path.
From the parking area, you can take a cable car down to the entrance of the grottoes or drive there by car. Since we had been late already this day, our minivan took us there. Using a staircase, you can then go deeper into the cliffs.
In the grottoes itself, you can hear the water crashing against the limestone walls. If you’re (un)lucky – like me – you might catch a splash of the waves and get soaking wet, which seems to be peak entertainment for attending children.
All in all, the path seemed very short. I expected more. Nevertheless, Rosh Hanikra is a beautiful place and the moment you leave the caves is breathtaking. The white limestone is a stark contrast to the turquoise of the Mediterranean Sea and blinding after the darkness of the caves. I admit that was an unexpected highlight.
The tour to Haifa, Acre, and Rosh Hanikra was a highlight of my Israel tour this year. As I mentioned before, Haifa was on my To-Do list since my first visit and I had also heard about Acre. Rosh Hanikra was new to me but is now definitely on my Israel Must See list. I am really glad I took this day trip!
Have you been to one of these spots? Leave a comment!
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