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Visiting the Sea of Galilee: Best Things to Do and Tips for Travel

When it comes to visiting Israel, the Sea of Galilee is one of the most famous (and stunning) natural wonders in the country. Despite its name in English, this body of water is no “sea,” but actually the lowest freshwater lake on Earth. Famous for its associations with the Old Testament, the Sea of Galilee is one of the most visited sites in Israel today. And it’s not just the Sea of Galilee itself that’s a must-see: this region of Israel has plenty of rich historical sites, natural beauty, and one-of-a-kind landmarks. If you want to visit the Sea of Galilee, here’s everything you need to know, including the best things to do in the region. 


Sea of Galilee: What You Should Know

The Sea of Galilee is known widely for its Biblical significance: it was relevant in the life of Jesus Christ, and home to many places named in the Old Testament. Today, there are several main cities and small towns along the shores of the Sea of Galilee, as well as beaches and farms that you can visit. In the area surrounding the Sea of Galilee, there are many sites with religious and historical significance that you should definitely add to your itinerary.

As we mentioned, the Sea of Galilee is actually a freshwater lake, and the second-lowest lake in the world (with the lowest lake being the Dead Sea). Water feeds into the Sea of Galilee from the Jordan River, and from the south, water continues to flow until it reaches the Dead Sea. You can visit the Sea of Galilee all year round, but the summer months are best for hot weather, clear skies, and swimming. If you visit in the cooler months, be prepared for possible clouds, wet weather, and storms. 

In Hebrew, the Sea of Galilee is called the Kinneret.


sea of galilee


Places to Visit

There are two main cities near the Sea of Galilee, Nazareth and Tiberias. Both have rich local culture and history, as well as sprawling religious significance. 


Nazareth is known as the hometown of young Jesus Christ. It was a Jewish village in ancient times, but became important in Christianity during the Crusades. Traveling to Nazareth today is like stepping back in time: you can visit ancient attractions in the Old City, nestled next to modern restaurants and coffee shops, and explore the revived Nazareth Market. Outside of the Old City, you can also visit Nazareth’s two city centers.

Nazareth often attracts Christian visitors, but there are sites that are interesting for all to visit and appreciate. The Basilica of the Annunciation, the White Mosque, and the Greek Orthodox St. Gabriel’s Church are all within walking distance of one another.

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Nazareth, Fauzi Azar by Abraham is waiting to welcome you. This guesthouse is located in a 200-year-old Arab mansion, dominated by Ottoman architecture. You can unwind in our quiet courtyard and enjoy the peaceful spaces. Plus, when you stay with us, you receive a daily breakfast of fresh, local food, and can enjoy evening activities (such as Arabic lessons and cooking workshops).



Nazareth. Photo by Mike Yudin



Founded by Roman ruler Herod Antipas in the year 18 CE, Tiberias was a flourishing Jewish city in the region, and for many centuries was the largest. Over the years, it was conquered and came under various rules, and although the Jewish community declined at times, it started to grow again in the 1800s. 

Today, Tiberias is considered one of the four holy cities in Judaism (alongside Jerusalem, Hebron, and Safed), and there are many notable places to visit. You can see the tomb of Maimonides (who died in the year 1204) and the tombs of Jewish sages (Yoḥanan ben Zakkai and Akiba ben Joseph) and famous rabbis.

Tiberias is also known for its hot springs: people have been visiting these thermal baths for thousands of years. Because of these springs, the beaches, and generally pleasant weather, Tiberias is home to many hotels and resorts. 


sea of galilee


Some other notable locations that you should visit around the Sea of Galilee include:

  • 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 Tippori. You can visit this ecological olive oil production house, where traditional methods of making olive oil come to life. 


 Church of the Beatitudes

Church of the Beatitudes


How to Get To the Sea of Galilee

The Sea of Galilee is located in the north of Israel, and the main cities in the area, such as Tiberias and Nazareth, are well-connected by Israel’s public transit system. From Tel Aviv and Jerusalem you can take buses from the respective central bus stations, but both journeys require a transfer. Refer to Google Maps or the app Moovit for the most up-to-date directions by public transit, and to see the most efficient bus route.

If you wish to visit other places in the Galilee (such as the various religious sites or a specific beach), it might be best to travel by car, private transport, or tour. These options are also recommended if you plan to visit multiple locations or travel outside of the city centers. You might find public bus options for some of these locations, but keep in mind they’re in a more “rural” part of the country, and public transit might not be able to take you to all of your destinations.

Eager to see the best of the Galilee? Join our Galilee Tour, which takes you to the best historic, religious, and natural sites in the region. This tour starts in the Old City of Nazareth, and takes you to Mount of Beatitudes, Capernaum (Kfar Nahum), Ginosar Beach, and Reish Lakish. All transportation is included, and while you have partial guidance, you have time to explore. You also have the option of extending your stay in Nazareth, by staying at our Fauzi Azar Inn. Just let our staff know in advance so arrangements can be made. 

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