Explore Golan Heights and the area surrounding the Sea of Galilee on a 2-day tour of northern Israel from Tel Aviv! With overnight accommodation in a traditional Israeli ‘kibbutz’ (family-run guesthouse) included, this must-do tour introduces you to local culture as well as northern Israel’s top sites. Visit the Hammat Gader border and the Talmudic village of Katzrin in the rugged Golan Heights region, and then head south to the Sea of Galilee to discover the delights of Nazareth, Capernaum, Yarendit baptismal site and more.
Day 1: Tel Aviv – Golan HeightsLeave your Tel Aviv hotel and travel north to Golan Heights, the gorgeous mountainous region in northern Israel. Golan Heights lies some 110 miles (180km) away from Tel Aviv, so two photo stops are worked in to the route to break up your journey.Ogle the views from the vantage point of Megiddo, where successive ancient settlements were built on top of each other, and then stretch your legs at Yarendit on the banks of the Jordan River.On reaching the national park, your first stop is Hammat Gader, a hot springs on the edge of the Syrian and Jordanian borders. Stop for photos, and then continue to Katzrin for a walking tour. Considered as the capital of Golan Heights, Katzrin is actually a Talmudic (ancient Jewish) village with incredible ruins scattered all around. Visit Katzrin’s synagogue, and admire the remains of the 6th-century building that still features original decorative details and inscriptions.After a break for lunch (own expense), travel to the top of Mount Bental – one of Golan Height’s dormant volcanoes. Towering above the Golan plateau, the mountain lends itself to breathtaking views over Syria’s Quneitra Valley. Stop for photos set against a former Syrian fortification in the valley, and then travel to your kibbutz for your overnight stay.Overnight: Nof Tavor kibbutz in the Golan Heights regionDay 2: Golan Heights – Nazareth – Sea of Galilee – Tel Aviv (B)Leave Golan Heights after breakfast, and then travel south to Nazareth. Nestled into the Galilean Hills, the city is home to a revered Christian shrine – the Church of the Annunciation – where the Angel Gabriel is said to have appeared to the Virgin Mary.Head inside the basilica, and learn of its significance as a Christian pilgrimage site while admiring the architecture. Another sacred site – St Joseph’s Church – is nearby, so stroll over to it next with your guide. Built on the spot where Joseph of Nazareth’s carpentry workshop is said to have stood, the church is fascinating to explore with a network of crypts beneath its main hall.After walking around the church with your guide, leave Nazareth and continue through the village of Cafa for a photo stop at the Church of the Multiplication on the Sea of Galilee. It was here that one of the New Testament’s parables – the feeding of the 5,000 – took place.Continue around the foot of Mount Beatitudes to the ancient fishing village of Capernaum, and see the ruins of Jesus’ much-celebrated synagogue on a walk with your guide. Stop for lunch (own expense) and then travel toward the Jordan River.Stop at Yarendit to walk along its sacred river banks and learn about the baptismal rituals that take place at the water’s edge. If you would like to get baptized, speak to your guide to see if it can be arranged. Enjoy the tranquil ambiance, return to your coach, and then return to Tel Aviv.