Mount Tabor

Beautiful landscapes, flowers, and churches, in Mount Tabor, the tallest mountain of the Lower Galilee. Experience nature and history in this gem in Northern Israel.
Church of Transfiguration, Mt Tabor

Mount Tabor: views and history in the Lower Galilee.

At an altitude of 575 meters/1,886 feet, Mount Tabor stands tall above the surrounding area, with a dominant and impressive look from below, and even more beautiful views from the mountain top. Featuring two important churches and interesting stories from the bible, Mt Tabor is a gem of a place to visit in the Galilee.
Church of the Transfiguration, Mount Tabor
Jezreel Valley, Northern Israel
Old arch in Mount Tabor

The story of Mount Tabor

Mount Tabor has played a huge role in the history of the region. Its shape, its big difference in elevation above the environment, and its strategic location have made it an important stronghold since biblical times. Due to Mount Tabor’s location, countless wars have been fought on and around it. Those include the Great Revolt of 66, Napoleon’s occupation in 1799, and the 1948 Israel War of Independence.

According to Christian tradition, Jesus ascended a high mountain where the miracle of transfiguration happened to him. The Byzantines attributed the miracle to Mount Tabor, sanctified it, and thus made it a pilgrimage center. During the Byzantine time, three large churches and a hostel for pilgrims were built there. At the end of the Muslim rule over the land, and on the eve of the Crusader invasion, one of the churches survived. The Crusaders gave the mountain a military and religious role and during their time, they built a magnificent church and a large monastery on Mount Tabor, in order to bring the pilgrims back to the mountain.

For over a hundred years later, the struggles continued over the mountain that changed hands and rulers. The Mamluk ruler Baybars was the last to destroy it, leaving Mount Tabor abandoned for hundreds of years. In the 17th century, the Ottomans allowed the Franciscans to return to the mountain, and only then were churches and monasteries rebuilt there. At the beginning of the 20th century, the impressive Church of the Transfiguration was built on the ruins of the Crusader Church. In 1964 during a visit to Israel, Pope John Paul VI came to the mountain and held a prayer in the Church of the Transfiguration.

Driving to Mount Tabor

A winding road goes up to Mount Tabor’s summit. The road is open to small vehicles but not to buses. The road leading up to the summit goes from the road that connects the settlements of Shibli and Daburiyya.

The narrow road twists sharply about 15 times until it reaches the top of the mountain, so make sure to drive carefully. At the top, take the right path which soon passes under an ancient stone gate. The narrow road continues between an avenue of trees until you reach the parking lot of the Church of Transfiguration. Parking here is free of charge.

Visiting the Church Of Transfiguration

The current church building was built here between 1921-1925 according to the plans of the Italian architects Antonio and Gols Berlozzi. In planning the building, the architects took into account references to the structure of the church from the Byzantine period that stood on the mountain. In front of the church are two magnificent towers. Inside each of the towers are chapels. The chapel on the right is in honor of Moses and the left is in honor of Elijah.

In the center of the entrance, you will see a mosaic depicting the story of the transformation. Underneath the building is the crypt, which is reached by a descent of 12 steps. Here you can see the foundations of the early church from the Byzantine period. In addition, inside the floor, under the wooden doors, you will see the rock on which it is believed that Jesus stood at the time of the transfiguration.

Operating hours:

every day 8:00-12:00, 14:-17:00.

Mount Tabor hiking trails

Mount Tabor Summit circuit

A short, 2-km/1.24-mile circular hike, going around Mount Tabor’s summit. The trail starts from the parking lot of the Church of the Transfiguration.

After crossing the road from the parking lot towards the green marked trail, we will begin a short descent until we reach the remains of a fortress on Mount Tabor.
We will reach a green and black trail intersection and begin a short ascent with the black-marked trail.

Further down the path, on the side of the church, we can see a hewn cave, the opening of which is decorated with a stone-built arch.
This part of the route is accompanied by spectacular views of the lower eastern Galilee, the Jezreel Valley, Tabor River, Mount Gilboa, and the Gilead Mountains beyond the Jordan River, and on clear days – you can even see Mount Hermon.
In the winter and spring months, you can see several magnificent flowers here.

Keep going, and you’ll reach the northeast corner of the medieval fortress, and see the impressive remains of the corner tower in the wall and the wide and deep moat cut in the rock. We will pass by a red-marked path, but we will continue with the black- marked path. Further on, the path turns slightly to the right and reveals the southern wing of the Church of the Transfiguration

Finally, the path goes back to the parking lot and passes through a pine grove that was planted here in the 1930s, during the British Mandate.

Hiking up and down Mount Tabor

A challenging, 5 KM/3.1-mils hike, spanning 4-5 hours. The trail starts at the Israel National Trail marking at the entrance to Kfar Shibli.
The route starts with a steep climb on the marked Israel Trail (also a blue-marked trail).
From here the climb is quite steep. If your’e coming here in the winter time, expect a host of wonderful blooms of  various beautiful flowers, such as winter crocus, daffodils, cyclamen, anemones, mountain tulips, and orchid species. The blooming only gets better as you gain altitude – so it’s worth the effort. The way up is not easy and it takes at least an hour and a half, but reaching the top is rewarding and will provide you with a great experience of the view and a sense of satisfaction.

From here, it’s highly recommended to walk the Mount Tabor Summit Circuit. Afterwards, you can come back on the same way.

Opening hours

Mount Tabor is open at all times.
The Church of Transfiguration is open every day from 8:00-12:00 and 14:-17:00.

Parking and transportation

There is a free parking lot right near the Church of Transfiguration.

Accessibility arrangements

  • The Church of Transfiguration is wheel-chair accessible

Search for posts and destinations

What would you like to find? Search here information and ideas about any location in Israel

Planning your trip to Israel?

Join our exclusive Facebook group for the latest travel tips, real-time updates, travel hacks, and connect with local experts & fellow Israel enthusiasts in our Facebook group