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Beaches -- Haifa's great secret is its beaches. Starting with Bat Galim and moving south to the broader, more beautiful Dado and Zamir beaches, the miles of golden sands are dotted with changing facilities and simple beach cafes. Admission is free; take bus no. 41, 42, 43, 45, 3a, or 99. In winter, at least one restaurant pavilion remains open until 7pm; in summer until 8:30pm. A meal costs around NIS 60 ($15/£7.50). Dinner at a simple stand at the beach in summer, watching the sunset over the Mediterranean at the end of an afternoon of swimming in the warm turquoise sea, is an experience Haifans love.

Cycling -- Look into Mountain Bike Haifa (www.geocities.com/Pipeline/5850), a local cycling club. The Haifa Tourism Development Association office will provide you with current biking information.

Folk Dancing -- Israeli folk dancing sessions meet at Haifa University and at Bet Ha-Student at the Technion. International Folk Dancers meet Thursday at Bet Rothschild, to the side of the Haifa Auditorium on Ha-Nassi Boulevard. Check with the Haifa Tourism Development Association for current schedules.

Swimming -- In the Central Carmel section you'll find the Maccabi swimming pool on Bikkurim Street (tel. 04/838-8341), heated in winter and serviced by bus no. 21, 22, or 23 and by the Carmelit. Admission is NIS 25 ($6.25/£3.10), but the fee doubles in winter. Don't forget the pleasant gardened pool at the Dan Carmel Hotel, where an outsider can buy a whole day's worth of pool privileges, as well as the use of shaded swings and slides for kids, for NIS 80 ($20/£10).

Tennis & Squash -- At the Haifa Tennis Center (tel. 04/852-2721 or 04/853-2014) you can rent a court (for two people or more) at NIS 40 ($10/£5) per hour in the evenings; NIS 30 ($7.50/£3.75) per hour during the day. The Haifa Squash Center (tel. 04/853-9160) is generally for members, but for a one-time payment of NIS 60 ($15/£7.50), you can purchase a multiple-entry, short-term pass. Both centers are a 15-minute ride south of downtown Haifa, in the Kefar Zamir suburb; take bus no. 43 or 3A. Call in advance to reserve a court.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.