Sea of Galilee from mount Arbel at sunrise, Northern Israel

Things to do in  Galilee

A lake of Biblical proportions

Green, lush, and dense with farms and vineyards, Galilee encompasses much of northern Israel—including the biblical Sea of Galilee, the UNESCO World Heritage–listed city of Acre, and the Baha’i shrines of Haifa. Christians and Jews alike will find plenty of things to do in Galilee, including two of Judaism’s four holy cities, Safed and Tiberias. Christians flock to lus Capernaum, Magdala, and Tabgha, and to Jesus’ hometown Nazareth, Yardenit, where some believe he was baptized. But you don’t need to be religious to enjoy the region’s cheese, wine, and fresh produce.

Top 8 attractions in Galilee

Rosh Hanikra

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Perched 210 feet (64 meters) over the Mediterranean Sea in northwestern Israel, the Rosh Hanikra kibbutz is part of the Achziv Natural Reserve. The area is known for its interesting geological formations—namely sea caves and limestone grottoes made over millennia by the sea washing over rocks and creating tunnels and caverns in the cliffside.More

Church of the Annunciation (Basilica of the Annunciation)

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In Christian doctrine, the angel Gabriel came to Mary in Nazareth and told her she was going to give birth to Jesus. Built over the Grotto of the Annunciation, where some believe Gabriel appeared, the Roman Catholic Basilica of the Annunciation celebrates this miracle. Don’t confuse it with the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation.More

Church of St. Joseph

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This quaint Church of St. Joseph in Nazareth was built in 1914—but don’t let this relatively recent date fool you. It’s constructed atop the remains of a crusader-era chapel and the underground crypt contains an ancient basin, mosaics, and cisterns from Roman times. Christians have long believed that this church also sits on the site of the carpentry workshop of Jesus’s father, Joseph.More

Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret)

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Set in north Israel, the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret) is the country’s biggest freshwater lake. Bordered by lush countryside and fed by the Jordan River, it’s there that you’ll find farming villages and bustling towns among ancient ruins and biblical sites where Jesus lived, ministered, and is said to have performed miracles.More

Yardenit (Jordan River Baptismal Site)

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Located where the Jordan River flows from the Sea of Galilee into the Dead Sea, Yardenit (Jordan River Baptismal Site) is one of the world’s most important places of Christian pilgrimage. It's believed to be where John the Baptist baptized Jesus Christ.More

Golan Heights

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The Golan Heights, a lush, rocky region on the Syria-Israel border, has been under Israeli occupation since 1967, and is a site of political and territorial conflict. It is also a popular tourist destination, thanks to its desirable wine region, Israel’s only ski resort, nature areas with abundant wildlife and outdoor activities, and more.More

Church of the Multiplication (Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes)

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During the twentieth century ancient church ruins in Tabgha were excavated, uncovering a stunning mosaic basilica floor from a Byzantine era church, hidden for some 1,300 years. In 1936 a replica of the Byzantine basilica was built on the same site, believed to be the ‘solitary place’ where Jesus miraculously multiplied five loaves and bread and two fish to feed 5,000 listeners.These loaves and fish, which give the Church of the Multiplication its full name (the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes), are depicted in the mosaic just in front of the altar. Other parts of the tile mosaic show a variety of birds and plants from the Galilee region.A 2015 arson attack badly damaged parts of the church, but luckily the fifth century mosaics remained unharmed.More

Pella

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The ancient city of Pella, one of Jordan’s most underrated attractions, is also one of the country’s most important archeological sites. Humans have been living in and around Pella continuously for more than 6,000 years. Among the ruins in the area are the remnants of a Greco-Roman theater, a Chalcolithic settlement dating back to the fourth millennium BC, Byzantine churches, Bronze and Iron age walled cities and early Islamic residential neighborhoods. Excavations in Pella have been ongoing since 1979, and there are still countless sites left to be excavated.More
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All about Galilee

When to visit

Northern Israel has a mellower, more Mediterranean climate than the Red Sea coast, but the July-August summer peak and the Christmas boom bring large crowds to Galilee hot spots. Late spring (mid-March through May) and early fall (September through mid-November) are generally the sweet spots, but watch out for the Sukkot and Passover school breaks: Sukkot usually falls in late September or early October, and Passover usually falls in April or late March.

Getting around

Coastal Haifa and Acre have rail connections, but there’s currently no train service in the Sea of Galilee area. Regular bus services link important cities and towns such as Tiberias, Safed, and Nazareth, but reaching smaller spots like Capernaum on public transit is time-consuming. To tick off Galilee’s New Testament sites, vineyards, and lakeside beaches, join a tour to cover more attractions in less time.

Traveler tips

Nestled in the hills of Galilee, the Goats with the Wind restaurant offers delicious dairy and organic produce in palm huts during summer and by an open fire in winter. The founders keep a large herd of goats and produce organic cheeses inspired by Italian and French originals—not to mention making their own red wine. You can live on the farm, volunteering work in exchange for food and board—although the minimum commitment is one month.

Local Currency
Israeli New Shekel (₪)
Time Zone
IST (UTC +2)
Country Code
+972
Language(s)
Hebrew
Attractions
8
Tours
37
Reviews
246
EN
1034917b-294c-4680-9d90-aec136df9d6a
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People Also Ask

What is the Galilee region known for?

The Galilee religion is known for Christian and Jewish sacred spots, and fresh produce, including wine, cheese, fruit, and vegetables. Two of Judaism’s four holy cities—Safed and Tiberias—lie here, as does Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth, Mary Magdalene’s hometown of Magdala, and miracle sites including Cana, Tabgha, and Capernaum.

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Is it worth visiting the Sea of Galilee?

It depends. For people raised in the Christian tradition, the Sea of Galilee is a magical location imbued with power: It was here, the Bible says, that Jesus walked on water. For people raised in different religions, it’s an attractive lake in a beautiful setting but not necessarily a must-visit.

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How long does it take to drive around the Sea of Galilee?

It doesn’t take long to drive around the Sea of Galilee: the main road covers about 40 miles (65 kilometers) and most travelers drive it in around 1.5 hours. Walking around the Sea of Galilee takes considerably longer. The Kinneret Trail is not finished and some believe it never will be.

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Can you swim across the Sea of Galilee?

Yes, you can swim across the Sea of Galilee—or even try for one of several Sea of Galilee swimming world records. At about 13 miles (21 kilometers) long and about 8 miles (13 kilometers) wide, it’s a serious athletic endeavor, particularly as the waters are often choppy in the afternoon.

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Does the Sea of Galilee have sharks?

No, the Sea of Galilee does not have sharks. Despite its name, the Sea of Galilee is a landlocked freshwater lake. While some dangerous sharks, notably bull sharks, may be found in some freshwater lakes, the Sea of Galilee has no sharks of any kind. So you can swim without fear.

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What towns are near the Sea of Galilee?

Tiberias, a 2,000-year old sacred city that’s also a popular resort town, is the most famous city on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Many travelers base here to explore inland Galilee more broadly, including Biblical destinations such as Nazareth, Safed, Capernaum, Cana, Tabgha, and the Mount of Beatitudes.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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