At less than 45 kilometres from Nazareth, Haifa is often neglected when it comes to travel experiences. And understandably so, as Nazareth is definitely the superstar of the region. The pilgrimage site is certainly a must for all believers of all denominations, and the chance of seeing where Jesus spent his childhood is too good an opportunity to pass up for some. If, however you go expecting to find a bucolic utopia then think again. Nazareth today is bustling modern hub of a mega metropolis, which has grown up around the crumbling walls of the Old City.
Nazareth Old City is stunning, and the historic sites where Jesus is believed to have lived and preached prior to his death are certainly bucket list. These include the Basilica of the Annunciation, where the Angel Gabriel visited Mary to inform her of her virgin birth, the Church of Joseph, the ancient site of Joseph’s carpentry shop and Cana (located on the shores of the Sea of Galilee), where Jesus performed his first miracle of turning water into wine.
But that is not to say that Haifa itself is not worth a visit. The city – the third largest in Israel after Tel Aviv and Jerusalem – is a mosaic of cultures and faiths, with Jews, Christians, Muslims and Baháʼís all living peacefully side by side. The Baháʼí Gardens, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, are without a doubt the city’s main attraction. Set on the flanks of Mont Carmel and sloping into the Mediterranean Sea, both the gardens and the city offer stunning views.