This activity-packed day trip will take you to the lovely areas across Israel's northern region. You will visit some of the most historically significant Jewish and Christian sites and witness the breathtaking scenery of mountains and valleys typical to the Galilee area. A private day tour is the best way to see as much as possible in one day and collect unforgettable memories for a lifetime. Enjoy magnificent views, explore cities full of history, eat lunch on the shore of The Sea of Galilee and conclude the journey at the Yardenit baptismal site on the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized.
Keep reading for a suggested customizable itinerary to help you plan the best day tour of Nazareth, The Galilee region and Jordan River.
Traveling with a private driver for the whole day gives you the best accessibility, the most flexibility and the indispensible knowledge of a driver who knows the area as if it was the palm of his hand. This allows you to travel at your own pace, soak up the atmosphere, stay at each destination for as long as you wish and reach locations that no organized tour will get you to. You can even alter the route during the day to include additional stops as long as time allows. Anything to help you reach all the locations on your bucket list, take the nicest photos, eat some great local food and generally get the most out of your day before heading back to your hotel.
Having said that, being time-efficient along this busy day is strongly recommended in order to cover as many points of interest as possible. Keep in mind that the route requires a fair share of driving so traffic plays a key role during the day. In addition, many sites are visited by large numbers of tourists year round, so lines are another major factor that needs to be considered together with opening hours at several locations. So to sum up - hit the road early, be ahead of other tourists, follow my tips and you will have the best day tour to Nazareth and the Galilee.
The point of departure can be wherever you request to get picked up from. Departing from Haifa the drive to Nazareth takes about 40 minutes and from Haifa to the Sea of Galilee up to an hour. Departing from Tel Aviv it is roughly 1.5 hours to Nazareth and 2 hours to the Sea of Galilee. Getting picked up from Jerusalem is another possibility, in that case add at least 50-60 minutes to the aforementioned times from Tel Aviv.
The Galilee area is rich in beautiful parks and nature reserves, exciting historical sites and fascinating diverse culture. The following suggested itinerary includes the most popular highlights that the vast majority of travelers wish to visit on a day tour to Nazareth and the Galilee. Please note that the suggested route is fully customizable, meaning you can choose which sites to skip or add, based on your interests, in order to have the most enjoyable day trip. You can find a list of optional sites and destinations further down this page.
- Depart Tel Aviv or Jerusalem as early as possible to minimize delays caused by traffic.
- Drive north through the Valley of Armageddon and pass by the archaeological mound of Megiddo, where various ancient battles took place during history over this strategic crossroads. It is the prophesied location of the gathering of armies for a battle during the end of the world.
- First stop - Nazareth, The largest Arab city in Israel. Visit the Church of the Annunciation established where angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary and announced that she would give birth to Jesus. The Grotto inside the church is believed by many Christians to be the remains of the original childhood home of Mary. The courtyard of the church is full of impressive mosaics from all over the world representing Marian devotions in different countries. The nearby Church of St. Joseph is located where the carpentry workshop of Joseph, father of Jesus once was.
- Mount Precipice, also known as Mount of Precipitation or Mount of the Leap of the Lord, just outside Nazareth, is believed to be the place where Jesus escaped from the angry people of Nazareth who did not accept him as Messiah and tried to push him from the mountain. The lookout from Mount Precipice offers wonderful views of the surrounding Galilee area and Mount Tabor to the east.
- Cana of Galilee – On the way east it is possible to stop at The Cana wedding church where Jesus performed the first miracle of turning water into wine. Then continue to drive east through the beautiful countryside and enjoy the landscapes of rolling green hills typical to the Galilee region.
- The Sea of Galilee where Jesus walked on water soon comes into view with its mesmerizing crystal blue water and the Golan Heights overlooking the lake from the opposite side. Driving along the western shore the road passes through Tiberias, considered to be one of the four holy cities in Judaism together with Jerusalem, Hebron and Safed.
- Mount of Beatitudes is traditional believed to be the site where Jesus gave his Sermon on the Mount. The Roman Catholic chapel on top of the mount offers magnificent panoramic views of the sea of Galilee and the surrounding valley.
- Tabgha - Church of the Loaves and Fish, also called The Church of Multiplication on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee is where Jesus performed the miracle of the multiplication of loaves and fish. It is also the site where Jesus appeared for the fourth time after his resurrection.
- Capernaum nearby, located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, is an ancient fishing village believed to have been the home of Saint Peter. The site offers impressive archeological excavations revealing ruins of houses churches and synagogues belonging to different historic periods. A modern memorial built on top of the archeological site has a glass floor that allows direct views of the ruins below.
- Yardenit - The baptismal site on the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized by John is located at the southern end of the Sea of Galilee near the point where the Jordan River starts to make its way south. It attracts thousands of pilgrims every year who wish to follow the tradition and undergo baptism in the Jordan River as a once in a lifetime spiritual experience.
- On the way back pass by the half-sphere shaped Mount Tabor and see the Church of Transfiguration on its peak.
Optional Locations and Attractions
- Tiberias hot springs – Recently renovated and reopened, this site in Tiberias offers its visitors mineral-rich water up to 60 C° that emerges from 17 hot springs located deep underground. There is a variety of indoor and outdoor pools, dry and wet saunas, Spa treatments, a boutique hotel and a restaurant.
- Hamat Gader Hot Springs - A site of natural hot springs close to the border tripoint of Israel Jordan and Syria. In addition to open swimming pools and hot mineral springs up to 50 C° this site located 150 meters under sea level also offers a boutique hotel, a camping site and an alligator Farm.
- Bet She'an National Park - One of the most exciting archaeological sites in Israel considered a must-visit attraction by many travelers to the region. It is a well-preserved Roman city with historic ruins of an ancient bath house, an impressive Roman theater, colonnaded streets, houses and more.
- Tzipori National Park – Zippori was once the capital of the Galilee, the seat of the Sanhedrin and the place where the Mishna was completed. Among the impressive archeological ruins is the theater, the Jewish quarter, the crusader castle and Dionysus house.
- Sea of Galilee Boat – Also known as the Jesus Boat, is an ancient fishing boat discovered in 1986 on the north-west shore of the Sea of Galilee and dated to the 1st century AD. It is kept in a special hall in the Yigal Alon Museum in Kibbutz Ginosar.
- Magdala – Once a prosperous fishing town on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, between Capernaum and Tiberias, it is believed to be the birthplace of Mary Magdalene. Today it is an archaeological park and a Catholic center.
- Sailing on the Sea of Galilee - Sail on wooden boats where Jesus miraculously walked on water. This attraction provides a spiritual experience to pilgrims who wish to feel the power of the Sea of Galilee.
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