Best hotels and hostels in Lower Galilee

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Nazareth

    Fauzi Azar Inn

    Hidden away in a gorgeous, two-century-old stone house in the Old City, this place has oodles of charm – and so do the staff. The 14 rooms are simple but tasteful, though they’re no match for the lounge’s arched windows, marble floors and 5m-high frescoed ceiling. A great place to meet other travellers – or to volunteer (see website). Anyone with a passport stamp from Lebanon, Iraqi Kurdistan or Iran gets the first night in a dorm bed free. Doing laundry costs 15NIS.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Sea of Galilee

    Genghis Khan in the Golan

    Hosts Sara and Bentzi Zafrir offer the warmest of welcomes and a fantastic independent-travel vibe here. Inspired by the yurts (gers) used by the nomads of Mongolia, they designed and handmade five colour-coded yurts with space for up to 10 on comfortable foam mattresses. Powerful air-con units make sure you stay cool in summer and toasty warm in winter. Private bathrooms are located right outside each yurt. In the kitchen, the pans, plates and fridge space are, like the tents, colour-coded, and guests can cook with fresh thyme, lemongrass and mint grown in the herb garden (a row of recycled tyres). A number of the hiking paths pass by here. Situated on the western slopes of the Golan 13km southeast of Kursi (Kursy) Junction (the intersection of Rtes 92 and 789). Bus 51 links Giv’at Yoav with Tiberias (35 minutes, eight daily Sunday to Thursday, six on Friday, one on Saturday night); Sara is happy to pick up guests at the bus stop.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Tiberias

    Arbel Guest House

    Moshav Arbel is just 8km northwest of central Tiberias, but this tranquil B&B feels a world away when you’re lazing in a hammock by the 12.5m pool or relaxing among bougainvillea, grape arbours and 60 kinds of fruit tree. The six two-room units, each with space for four or five, are eclectically decorated, and all have hot tub and kitchenette. Excellent value. Superb breakfasts cost US$13.50. Arbel is 80m above sea level, so it’s cooler than Tiberias in summer and warmer than the Golan in winter.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Jezreel & Beit She'an Valleys

    Ein Harod Guest House

    Perched on a hilltop with clear-day views of Mt Carmel, Mt Hermon and the mountains of Gilead in Jordan, this welcoming guesthouse has both traditional kibbutz rooms and romantic wooden ‘Iris’ chalets with 50 sq metres of luxury. By car, take Rte 716 to Kibbutz Ein Harod Ichud – the entrance is 1km north of Rte 71. Facilities include 50 rooms (including eight set to open in 2018) and a 50m swimming pool (open May to October). Tours of the kibbutz's agricultural branches are available on request.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Sea of Galilee

    Pilgerhaus Tabgha

    Opened in 1889, this 72-room German Catholic guesthouse – geared to Christian pilgrims but open to all – is a tranquil place with glorious gardens, right on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Renovated in 2016, it’s ideal for meditation and reflection amid exemplary Germanic cleanliness and order. Wheelchair accessible. Reserve well in advance, especially in the spring and fall. Situated about 500m from Capernaum Junction.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Nazareth

    Al Mutran Guest House

    Adjacent to the residence of Nazareth’s Greek Orthodox mutran (‘bishop’ in Arabic), this family-run gem, with 11 rooms, occupies a gorgeous, 200-year-old mansion with 4.5m-high ceilings, Ottoman arches and antique floor tiles. Breakfast is served in the stylish lobby, decorated with embroidered pillows and Bedouin textiles.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Tiberias

    Tiberias Hostel

    Yet another excellent ILH hostel, this place has a real backpacker vibe, a rooftop chill-out area with fairy lights, a full kitchen for guests and friendly staff who are happy to provide tips on local sights and activities. Breakfast costs just 15NIS; the non-meat Friday dinner is also a bargain (15NIS to 35NIS).

  • Lodging in Tiberias

    Rimonim Galei Kinnereth

    A favourite of David Ben-Gurion back in the 1950s, the doyen of the Tiberias hotel scene – opened in 1946 – retains some of its late-Mandate-era charm. Amenities include a pebbly private beach, a spa and a kids club for children aged five to 10 (daily in July and August, on Friday and Saturday the rest of the year). See if you can identify some of the hotel’s more famous guests in the mural behind reception. There’s a small exhibition on the hotel’s storied history in the Hermon Room (2nd floor).

  • Lodging in Tiberias

    Scots Hotel

    Built in the 1890s as a hospital, this sumptuously restored complex – still owned by the Church of Scotland – is graced by meticulously tended gardens, breezy courtyards and a dazzling lake-view pool (open April to October). Has 69 rooms and a spa with Turkish hammam, hot tub and massage. Discounts are often available. Nonguests can visit the gorgeous, tranquil gardens from about 10am to 4pm on Sunday to Wednesday.

  • Lodging in Sea of Galilee

    Inbar Country Lodging

    Israel's smallest kibbutz (just five families) runs a delightful hillside guesthouse, part of the ILH network, where hammocks swing amid tranquil, fragrant gardens of mint, rosemary and luisa. The 19 rooms are spacious, neat and comfortable, with all-tile bathrooms – great value. Situated 21km west-northwest of the Mount of the Beatitudes, 32km southwest of Tsfat and 38km east of Akko.

  • Lodging in Nazareth

    Vitrage Guesthouse

    More a homestay than a B&B, this simply furnished nine-room guesthouse is run by Bishara, a retired vitrage ('stained glass' in French) artisan, who grew up here (and was baptised in the garden pool), and his wife. He's happy to show visitors how stained glass is made and often invites guests to dine with the family. Excellent value.

  • Lodging in Sea of Galilee

    Nof Ginosar Hotel

    This kibbutz old-timer, founded in 1964, has 170 elegant hotel rooms, 75 'country lodging' rooms, a gym (opened in 2017), flowery grounds and its very own Sea of Galilee beach. The peanut-shaped pool is open from April to October. Situated 200m from the Ancient Galilee Boat and 8km north of Tiberias.

  • Lodging in Nazareth

    AlReda Guesthouse

    On the top floor of an Ottoman mansion, this vast, all-wood studio apartment affords breathtaking views. Unbelievably romantic.

  • Lodging in Sea of Galilee

    Ein Gev Holiday Resort

    From 1948 to 1967, when most of the Sea of Galilee’s eastern coast was under Syrian control, the only way to get to Kibbutz Ein Gev was by boat. Today, the seaside kibbutz owns banana, citrus, date, avocado, mango and lychee orchards, a cowshed and this delightful 178-room hotel, which boasts the Sea of Galilee’s only natural sand beach. Options include sunny beachfront family units (US$268 to US$308) and romantic, couples-only 'Sea Rooms' (890NIS to 1330NIS); 30 rooms were totally renovated in 2017. Situated about 1.5km south along Rte 92 from the vehicle entrance to Kibbutz Ein Gev and its port area.

  • Lodging in Sea of Galilee

    HI – Karei Deshe Guest House & Youth Hostel

    This sparkling-white facility, right on the lakeshore, has 82 rooms (with 18 more set to come in 2018), a sandy beach and lots of trees and grass. Dorm beds are available, in rooms with four or six beds, except on Friday, Saturday and Jewish holidays and in July and August. These are also the times when the hostel is most often booked out. Hukuk Beach is next door. The nearest bus stop, on Rte 90 next to the Sapir water-pumping station (3km southwest of Capernaum Junction), is served by all buses heading north from Tiberias; from there it’s a 1.2km walk to the hostel.

  • Lodging in Nazareth

    Sisters of Nazareth Guest House

    Set around a flowery courtyard with archaeological excavations underneath, this 61-room establishment, in a building that dates from 1855 (a new wing opened in 2017), is run by the Sisters of Nazareth, a French Catholic order. The spotless, barracks-like dorm rooms, with four to six beds each, are single-sex. Note that the gate is locked for the night at 10.30pm sharp. Breakfast costs 25NIS. Reservations can be made by email or fax up to one or two weeks ahead; walk-ins are welcome.

  • Lodging in Sea of Galilee

    Setai Sea of Galilee

    Opened in 2017, this premium luxury hotel is gorgeously sited just metres from the seashore. When you're not relaxing in the infinity pool or being pampered in the spa, you can have a vegetarian lunch in the lounge restaurant or dinner in the chic, modern restaurant, which could be in Miami Beach (where the Setai chain is based). Has 110 huge rooms (at least 46 sq metres); 43 private villas, each with private pool, are under construction.

  • Lodging in Tiberias

    Emily's Boutique Hotel

    Run by a local family, this hotel is a good bet all around. The 48 rooms are spacious (28 sq metres) and come with parquet floors, high ceilings, sparkling tile-and-brass bathrooms and sea views. The atrium lobby has a koi pond, while the halls are decorated with historic B&W photos of Tiberias. Let them know ahead if you'd like the delicious buffet (80NIS to 100NIS).

  • Lodging in Nazareth

    Simsim Backpackers

    Run by friendly Sami and Silke, this attractive guesthouse has 23 dorm beds (mostly bunks), seven of them in an all-female room. Amenities include kitchen facilities. Great value. Reception is inside the adjacent Liwan Cultural Cafe.

  • Lodging in Tiberias

    Aviv Holiday Flats

    The 30 handsome, modern studio apartments have at least 30 sq metres of space, balconies, kitchenettes, comfy sheets and new mattresses in 2017. One of the best deals in town. A copious buffet breakfast costs 50NIS.