Tiberias is a town that seems to face in two directions at once. It’s one of the four holy cities of Judaism, home to the tombs of venerated sages and ancient ritual baths, and is a popular holiday spot for the ultraorthodox, who combine treatment of the body with purification of the soul. But it’s also one of the tackiest resorts in Israel, with a lake-side strip crammed with high-rise hotels that have hardly seen an update since Ben-Gurion last visited, and a dearth of decent bars or restaurants.
What with the traffic, and the full-on heat in the summer months, it’s not surprising that many travellers head straight to the other side of the lake (the Sea of Galilee). But if you arrive late in the day, Tiberias has some good-value accommodation, and it’s the easiest place to rent a bike in the area.