Concierge.com's insider take:
Despite its bad rap among locals, Haifa—Israel's third-largest city (about 60 miles north of Tel Aviv) and one of the few with a mixed Arab–Jewish population—is well worth a visit. Spend a few hours here, beginning with the gardens at the Baha'i World Center, the city-center headquarters for this little-known religion. Book one of the free tours well in advance and explore the garden's manicured lawns, reflecting pools, sculptures, marble temples, and balustrades that span an entire face of Mount Carmel (972-4-835-8358; www.bahai.org). You'll find a pedestrian walkway lined with restaurants at the end of the gardens; stop for some modern Israeli or Mediterranean food before heading for a bit of downtime on Carmel Beach. On the way home to Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, stop in Daliat HaCarmel, about 30 minutes southeast of Haifa. This village is the largest Druze settlement in Israel, home to some 13,000 of the non-Muslim Arab minority, and is a good place to shop for colorful pottery, scarves, clothes, and sweets, and have a traditional Levantine dinner of tabouleh salad and kebabs at Misedet Hakeves (Main Street; 972-4-839-3510).