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Lower Galilee Travel Guide

  • Photo: Protasov AN / Shutterstock

Plan Your Lower Galilee Vacation

The Lower Galilee is a history-soaked region where scores of events in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament took place. Blessed with forested hills, fertile valleys, gushing springs, and the Sea of Galilee, it has strong appeal. The graves of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Druze holy men attract those seeking spiritual solace, but the region is also the scene of earthly delights, including

fine restaurants and spas.

To most Israelis, the Galilee is synonymous with "the North," a land of nature reserves and national parks. In short, they claim, it's a great place to visit but not a place to live: it's provincial and remote. Still, the Lower Galilee has its own quiet beauty and varied landscape. Whatever your agenda is—spiritual, historical, recreational, or restful—savor your time here. Follow a hiking trail above the Sea of Galilee. Wade through fields of irises in the spring. Bathe in a warm mineral spa. Buy some good goat cheese. Nazareth, the region's administrative center, has character and deserves some time.

Farming and tourism form the economic base. The region's kibbutzim and a smaller number of moshavim (Jewish family-farm villages) are concentrated in the Jezreel and Jordan valleys and around the Sea of Galilee. The rockier hill country is predominantly Arab (Israeli Arab; this isn’t disputed territory) and Israeli Druze. For the last half century, the communities—Jewish, Druze, and Arab—have been attempting neighborly relations despite the ethnic tensions that swirl around them. By and large, they've succeeded.

Culture and entertainment aren’t this region's strong suits. A number of annual festivals and events are the highlights. Tiberias's pubs and restaurants probably come closest to providing lively nightlife, but there are worse ways to spend an evening than sitting by a moonlit lake washing down a good St. Peter's fish or a lamb kebab with an excellent Israeli wine.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Sunset on the Sea of Galilee The lake at sundown is always evocative, often beautiful, and occasionally spectacular. Walk a beach, sip a drink, or take a sail as dusk slowly settles.
  2. Zippori The distant past is palpable at this archaeological site, once a worldly Jewish and Hellenistic city. Set amid woods, it has the loveliest ancient mosaics in the land.
  3. Nazareth Tradition and modernity collide in the town where Jesus grew up. Today it’s a city of baklava and BMWs, new politics and ancient passions. Talk to a local as you sample Middle Eastern delicacies.
  4. Mount Gilboa This little-visited region offers local beauty and grand views for the independent traveler who has a bit of time and no checklist of must-see famous sites.
  5. A spiritual source Tune your ear to the Galilee's spiritual reverberations. Listen as pilgrims chant a Mass at the Mount of Beatitudes or sit meditatively on Tabgha's shore.

When To Go

When to Go

The Galilee is prettiest in the spring months of March and April when it’s covered with wildflowers, and its hills are draped in green. Summer...

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