Tiberias is one of the four holy cities of Judaism, the burial place of venerated sages, and a very popular base for Christians visiting holy sites around the Sea of Galilee. It's also one of the most aesthetically challenged resort towns in Israel, its sunbaked lakeside strip marred by 1970s architectural monstrosities.
Lower Galilee & Sea of Galilee
Blessed with rugged hills cloaked in wildflowers in spring, ancient stone synagogues and archaeological sites from the early centuries of Christianity, the Lower Galilee – the part of northern Israel south of Rte 85 (linking Akko with the Sea of Galilee) – is hugely popular with hikers, cyclists, Jewish- and Arab-Israeli families on holiday, Tel Aviv epicureans and, of course.
Surrounded by open fields where gazelles are a common sight, this moshav (cooperative settlement), 6km southeast of Kfar Tavor, is on both the Israel National Trail and a spur of the Jesus Trail. Getting There & Away Kavim bus 42 links Kfar Kisch with Afula (16.80NIS, 35 minutes, five or six daily Sunday to Friday).
Sea of Galilee
The shores of the Sea of Galilee (in Hebrew, Yam Kinneret or HaKinneret), by far Israel’s largest freshwater lake, are lined with great places to relax: beaches, camping grounds, cycling trails and walking tracks. Jesus spent most of his ministry around the Sea of Galilee.
A favourite of the Romans, whose impressive 2nd-century bath complex can still be seen, this 42°C natural hot spring – elevation: 150m below sea level – is hugely popular (except in the summer heat) with Jewish (especially Russian), Arab and Druze Israelis. Has picnic facilities and places to eat. You generally need to book ahead for spa treatments. Wheelchair accessible.
Umm Qais (Gadara)
And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. And behold, they cried out, ‘What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?’ Now a herd of many swine was feeding at some distance from them.