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Exploring Nazareth: A Traveler’s Guide

Nestled in the Galilee region of northern Israel, the city of Nazareth is renowned for its religious significance, unique history, and rich tapestry of culture. While it’s particularly revered by Christians, Nazareth is a must-visit destination for anyone during a trip to Israel. Today, Nazareth boasts the distinction of being Israel’s largest Arab city, and when you visit, you can experience the unique blend of Christian and Muslim traditions, where ancient mosques stand alongside towering churches. 

Whether you’re visiting Nazareth seeking a religious and spiritual connection, or you’re a curious traveler eager to explore this vibrant, ancient Middle Eastern city, here’s everything you need to know about traveling to this one-of-a-kind destination. Approximately 110 km from Jerusalem, the Dead Sea is easily reachable from the holy city. It should definitely appear on your must-visit list whether it’s your first visit or the fifth! The city of Nazareth has a uniquely ancient history. Archeological evidence suggests settlements in the area date back to prehistoric times, and the city was a Jewish village during the Roman and Byzantine periods. Most significantly, it was the hometown of Jesus Christ, as well as the place of several notable Biblical episodes, cementing it as one of the holiest places in Christianity. 

History shaped Nazareth over the centuries, and the city changed hands many times. The Crusaders captured Nazareth in bitter battles, and they held it until the Ottoman Turks took the region. In the 1600s, Christians were allowed to return to the city. Modern-day Nazareth has a majority Arab population, both Christian and Muslims. 


things to do in nazareth


Things to See in Nazareth

When it comes to things to do in Nazareth, there are many iconic sites and landmarks to add to your to-do list, both religious and cultural.

Church of the Annunciation

Also called the Basilica of the Annunciation, this magnificent church is believed to be built over the grotto where the angel Gabriel announced the birthplace of Jesus to Mary. 

White Mosque

A beautiful landmark, this Ottoman-era mosque has elegant design and intricate details. 

Greek Orthodox St. Gabriel’s Church

This historic church offers another perspective on the Annunciation, and represents an alternative tradition of where the angel Gabriel first met Mary. 

Old Market (Shuk)

Immerse yourself in the vibrant heart of Nazareth in this revitalized marketplace, or shuk. Explore the maze of stalls where you can find fresh produce, local crafts, and fragrant spices. 

The Holy Caves

Descend into a network of ancient caves beneath Nazareth, believed to be used as a sanctuary for those fleeing persecution. 

Mary’s Well

This well, considered the main source of water for Nazareth for centuries, holds deep significance for Christians. Tradition suggests Mary drew water from here, and some believe it’s the site of the Annunciation according to the Greek Orthodox tradition.

Synagogue Church

This small church is believed to be built on the ruins of an ancient synagogue where Jesus prayed and studied. 

Aside from these things to see in Nazareth, there are plenty of other places outside the city center you should visit, which are highlights of the Sea of Galilee region in Israel. These attractions and sites include:

Around the City

Mount of Beatitudes

The site of a sermon by Jesus Christ, this hill is now home to a church that dates back to the 4th century. You can climb it, and enjoy breathtaking panoramic views. 

Capernaum (Kfar Nahum)

The ancient village of Capernaum, also called Kfar Nahum, was where Jesus lived during a period of his life, and it’s also said to be where he chose his disciples. There is a notable church here, archaeological treasures, and a synagogue, which was discovered during excavations and dates back to the 2nd century. 

Nof Ginosar Beach

Located in Kibbutz Ginosar, this beach is a great place to spend time on the shores of the lake, go for a swim, and enjoy local food. You can also visit the Yigal Along Museum, and see the Ancient Boat of Jesus. 

Tzipori National Park

This sprawling park is rich with historical monuments, from Roman theaters to its Byzantine mosaics.

Rish Lakish

This family olive-press is located in the village of Tzipori. You can visit this ecological olive oil production house, where traditional methods of making olive oil come to life. 

The Jesus Trail

If you’re interested in exploring the natural beauty of the region, the best way to do it is by hiking the Jesus Trail. This trail starts in Nazareth, and it is an epic walk through historic and natural wonders. It takes travelers on an authentic journey through sites which were significant to the life of Jesus, but it’s well-suited for anyone interested in exploring lush forests, ancient olive groves, rugged cliffs, and the stunning Sea of Galilee. 




Exploring Nazareth’s Reality with Hope

Here at Abraham, Nazareth holds a special place in our hearts. Founder Maoz Inon first opened a guesthouse in Nazareth in 2005, called the Fauzi Azar Inn, and this location became the first in the Abraham family of guesthouses and hostels. 

Before the Fauzi Azar Inn opened its doors, the 200-year-old Arab mansion where it’s located had been abandoned for years, and was once the home of the Azar family. When Maoz began to pursue his dream of opening guesthouses and hostels, and he found the abandoned Azar mansion, he began an unlikely partnership with the family. 

This guesthouse quickly became far more than just a guesthouse. It has left a profound impact on the city of Nazareth, has helped drive local social and business initiatives, and has been integral in fostering Jewish-Arab partnerships and Israeli-Palestinian collaborations.

In the wake of October 7th, Maoz is hosting a unique and profound tour of Nazareth, where you can explore the stark realities of the region through a lens of hope. On this tour you’ll meet Maoz in-person, and hear about his vision and venture. You’ll explore the Old City on a journey of hope, meeting the different business owners and young leaders who characterize present-day Nazareth. And of course, you’ll visit the beautiful Fauzi Inn guesthouse, where this journey began.

To see the dates of this eye-opening and inspiring experience, click here.


making hope with Maoz Inon


Planning Your Trip

When planning your trip to Nazareth, here are some things to keep in mind;

  • Weather: Nazareth enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate year-round, which means summers are hot and warm, and winters are slightly chilly, with some possible rain. In spring you can see wildflowers in the region.
  • Getting there: Nazareth is accessible from the major cities in Israel by bus. From Tel Aviv and Jerusalem you can take buses from the central stations, but you will likely need to transfer during your journey. Google Maps and Moovit have real-time public transit information. You can also rent a car to drive to Nazareth, or reach Nazareth by tour
  • Getting around: Nazareth (and especially the Old City) is compact and best explored by foot. The cobblestone streets and winding alleys give it an old-world atmosphere. If you want to reach specific destinations, especially outside the Old City, you can do so by bus, taxi, or car. 

Where to stay: When you visit Nazareth, Fauzi Azar is waiting to host you. You’ll love this charming and unique guesthouse, with its quiet outdoor spaces and lounge areas. We serve an authentic breakfast with local foods, and there are nightly events for guests. Plus, this guesthouse is perfectly situated in the Old City, and you can reach the major attractions in the Old City by foot.

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