There’s nothing shy and retiring about the Israeli city of Haifa. It’s the third largest city in Israel and occupies a distinctive position on the slopes of Mount Carmel, spilling down into the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. It’s crowned by its most distinctive feature, the a Baha’i Shrine and Gardens. Exquisitely manicured and irresistibly colourful, the gardens occupy a total of 19 terraces and culminate in the domed shrine. You can take daily tours to discover the gardens in all of their resplendent glory, and don’t miss the viewing platform at the very top. On one of our Haifa cruises, don’t miss the German Colony, which is located just beneath the a Baha’i Gardens. It was established in the late 1860s, and is brimming with hip cafés, shops and restaurants. There are plenty of other diverse areas to explore, including Masada Street, where you can indulge in some traditional Arabic fare. Stop in at any one of the trendy eateries to sample labneh, za’atar and more (accompanied by some rich, strong coffee of course). Soak up some culture before leaving Haifa by visiting the Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery (translating as star of the sea) which sits at the northern section of Mt Carmel.