This private tour starts with a drive up Israel’s beautiful Mediterranean coast past the ancient Roman port city of Caesarea to Haifa. The first stop is at the Baha’i Gardens viewing balcony on Mount Carmel. The gardens’ 18 terraces cascade down the mount to the city. The gardens are the setting for the gold-domed Shrine of the Bab, where the founders of the Baha’i faith are buried. With prior arrangement, it is possible to take an hour-long walking tour of the gardens and visit the shrine which is open until midday.
At the foot of Mt. Carmel, is the historic German Colony established by German Templers in 1868. This quaint village-within-a city has been restored and now the cobbled streets lined with stone houses hold unique one-off stores, boutique hotels, and gourmet restaurants. The tour continues to the Hecht Museum of Archaeology at Haifa University. While on campus, take in the views from the 30th-floor observatory of Eshkol Tower.
Next stop at the Druze village of Daliyat al-Carmel. Visit the Druze market and Lawrence Oliphant House, former home of Sir Laurence Oliphant (1829-1888) and his secretary Naftali Herz Imbar, who penned Israel’s national anthem. Also, see the Yad Lebanim memorial to Druze soldiers who fell in the service of the Israeli army.
The tour stops on the south-eastern peak of Mt. Carmel at Muhraka or Place of Fire where the Prophet Elijah challenged Jezebel’s pagan priests. Today the site is home to the Carmelite Stella Maris Monastery, built in 1836. See the main church where the altar is situated above a cave associated with Prophet Elijah.
A footpath from the monastery leads down to Elijah’s Grotto where he is said to have meditated before encountering the priests of Baal. The tour takes you to a lookout point above the church for unrivaled views of the tree-covered mountain, the city of Haifa, and the dramatic arc of Haifa bay.
Additional Options in the Area:
1. Experience the hospitality of a Druze family in the village of Daliyat el-Carmel.
2. Beit She’arim Archaeological Park
3. Atlit Immigration Museum (Detention Camp Museum)
4. Ein Hod Artists’ Village
5. HaMizgaga Museum of Archaeology and Glass, Kibbutz Nahsholim, Dor Beach
6. Israeli National Maritime Museum
7. Hike trails through Little Switzerland on other Mt. Carmel trails