Sea of Galilee

Hikes, history, and amazing views, in the biggest freshwater lake in Israel. Experience peaceful surroundings and beautiful beaches in the historic Sea of Galilee.
Sea Of Galilee. Northern Israel

Sea of Galilee: history and culture on the stunning lake.

Located between the beautiful Galilee Mountains and the Golan Heights, the Sea of Galilee, the biggest freshwater lake in Israel, and the lowest freshwater lake in the world, has something in store for any visitor. From several historical and religious sites of incredible importance, to beautiful beaches with water activities and hikes, a visit to the Sea of Galilee won’t disappoint you.
The Sea Of Galilee from the western side
Golan Heights overlooking the Sea of Galilee
Sea of Galilee, Northern Israel

The History of the Sea of Galilee

The Sea of ​​Galilee, also known as Lake Tiberias, is one of the places where Jesus is most identified with. In the New Testament, it is said that after the murder of John the Baptist, and after giving an innovative and unacceptable interpretation in a synagogue to a passage from the book of Isaiah, Jesus left his hometown of Nazareth, and moved to the Sea of ​​Galilee.

Why did Jesus choose the Sea of ​​Galilee? As a preacher who was considered revolutionary and radical, and who spoke against the rich and privileged, Jesus sought a way to improve the status of the oppressed and the weak. The North of the Sea of ​​Galilee was in those days a remote and forgotten region, populated mainly by the poor who made a living from fishing. Here Jesus found his first supporters, among the fishermen population, as a supportive community formed around him that attributed many miracles to him. Here he also gathered his first disciples and later chose the 12 apostles from among them.

In addition to the Sea of Galilee’s role in the beginning of Christianity, it played a huge role in numerous other historical events. That is mainly because this part of the Jordan Rift Valley served as a place of passage and meeting between countries, armies, and trade routes throughout history.
In total, there have been 28 known wars that had occurred around the shores of the Sea Of Galilee. Those range from biblical wars like the war of Aram and King Ahab to the First World War, as in 1917, the British army marched towards the Galilee and captured the land from the Turks in a bloody battle.

Best things to do in the Sea Of Galilee

Visit the religious sites

Many places around the Sea of Galilee played an important role in the life of Jesus and the spreading of his teachings.
Capernaum, “the town of Jesus”, is where he settled down after fleeing from Nazareth; Tabgha is the place of the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes; The Mount of Beatitude is considered the place where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, which includes some of the most important elements of the Christian religion; Bethsaida is the location of some of his adventures, and the hometown of three of Jesus’ apostles; And finally, Kursi is the site of the “Miracle of the Swine”.

In short, as the Sea of Galilee is a big part of the formation and early development of Christianity you can find some of the most major religious sites in the whole world around the Sea of Galilee. During the Byzantine period, magnificent churches were built here, which today serve as pilgrimage sites for thousands of pilgrims every year.

Bike and hike around the lake

One of the best ways to experience the Sea of Galilee is by biking or hiking around it. in the past few years, a path that goes around the entire Lake Tiberias has been marked. The 65-km/40.4-mile trail is a great opportunity to explore the stunning lake. Whether you are biking the entire trail in a day, or hiking through a short part of it, you will get rewarded with beautiful views and a peaceful atmosphere.

View the Sea of Galilee from above

Of course, there isn’t a better way to see the entire Sea of Galilee than going up to one of the mountains surrounding it. One of the best viewpoints overlooking the Lake, is the Segev Observation Point, just off the Northern edge of the Sea of Galilee.

From this quiet lookout, you can see the Golan Heights, the Bethsaida Valley, the Sea of ​​Galilee, and even the streams that flow from the Golan Heights into the Sea of ​​Galilee. The observation point is shaded and is a great peaceful place to sit in for long and enjoy the view. The observatory was established in memory of Segev Murdoch, a 13-year-old boy who died of cancer and grew up in the nearby village of Karkom.

Best beaches in the Sea of Galilee

As the Sea of Galilee features 40 different beaches, sometimes it’s hard to choose the best ones of them all. Here are our recommendations for Lake Tiberias’ Best beaches.

Sea of Galilee beaches entrance fee:

  • Free entrance without a car
  • Parking fee: 6.3 ILS per hour for the first 3 hours. Then 2.2 ILS per hour.

Amnun Beach

One of the popular public beaches is Amnun Beach – the northernmost beach in the Sea of ​​Galilee. Featuring a eucalyptus grove that provides plenty of natural shade, designated areas for camping, and lawns. It has lifeguard services in the swimming season, toilets and showers with cold water at a reasonable level of maintenance, night lighting, free water, and picnic tables.

Diamond Beach

Diamond Beach is a small nature reserve and a paradise for windsurfers thanks to the strong winds during the day. This wild beach is located just south of Tse’elon Beach. It is an open beach, without any facilities, and there is a walk of about 200 meters from the parking to the beach. During the week you will see many experienced windsurfers here, who catch the strong noon-afternoon winds of the Sea of ​​Galilee. On the weekends, it attracts many other travelers, who are looking for a quiet corner in nature for independent camping. Please note that the beach is not declared and there are no lifeguard services at all.

Chalukim, Lebanon and Kursi

A great option in the East of the Sea of ​​Galilee is the three adjacent public beaches – Chalukim, Lavnun, and Kursi – which are declared as quiet beaches. These are regulated beaches that are considered to be well-maintained compared to other Sea of Galilee beaches.

The three beaches feature showers with cold water, toilets, free drinking water, picnic tables, lighting, lifeguard services and first aid in season, a kiosk, and also trees that provide shade.

 

 

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