Tel Aviv and Jerusalem may get most of the glory for things to do in Israel, but the Sea of Galilee (aka “the Kinneret”) should not be overlooked. Offering a unique mix of Jewish holy sites and dazzling beaches – both sandy and rocky – this unique spot is both breathtakingly beautiful and historically rich. We know it can be hard to tear yourself away from the markets in Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv coastline, but with places like the Tiberias Promenade and Bora Bora Beach, you won't need extra convincing. Here’s a look at all of the beaches and sites that make the Sea of Galilee such a worthy destination.
The best sites in the Sea of Galilee
These waters reportedly speed up cell renewal and relieve urinary tract and digestive issues. A separate-ticket Spa Village contains a secluded area offering a range of treatments and hot and wet saunas. Four restaurants include kosher fish/meat and vegetarian options.
Looking for a place to hunker down after a long day of activities at the Kinneret? For some well-deserved R&R, hop over to Kibbutz Ein Gev on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. With its own private beach, this holiday resort is a perfect spot to check-in for an evening and recharge before another adventure-packed day at the array of sites nearby, including the Hamat Gader hot springs, the Jordan River, and a handful of archeological sites.
A 25 acre park, Korazim is one of the most well preserved ancient cities dating back to the Second Temple era. Korazim is mentioned in the New Testament as one of the three cities cursed by Jesus (along with Bethsaida and Capernaum). Antiquities are a dime a dozen here, and the stones are stained black having been hewed from the volcanic basalt rock. Check out the basaltic fourth century synagogue and ancient ritual bath, or mikve.
Nestled peacefully between Israel and Jordan, where the Yarmouk River meets the Jordan River, is Naharayim Park. Literally “two rivers” in Hebrew, this scenic park offers a variety of informative, riveting tours. Discover how the “Chagal” site creates “green” electricity from organic materials, follow in the footsteps of poet Naomi Shemer, or listen to the myths of the Jordan Valley. No matter which tour you choose, you’re in for a truly unique educational experience.
Every year, thousands of tourists flock to Tiberias, Israel’s lowest city, for its wide variety of attractions and activities. After a long day at the water park and a delicious meal, take an evening stroll down the promenade for its newest addition: a magnificent multisensory music and light show. With dancing fountains, pyrotechnics, and a state-of-the-art laser show, your senses won’t know what hit them.
Known in the Talmud for their curative powers, these mineral-rich waters are now paired with modern accoutrements, including indoor/outdoor thermal pools, a lap pool (heated in winter), free beach access, gym, dry and wet sauna, mud wraps, massage and more.
The Shvil Sovev Kinneret, a 35 km long trail, is one of the most magical, ambitious trails that the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel offers the public to enjoy the Sea of Galilee at no cost. The trail winds around the Kinneret and involves hiking on 2-5 km sections covered by eucalyptus trees, fish pools, historic sites and local wildlife. If you get tired, you can freshen up with a dip in the sea, so don't forget to bring your swimsuit.
The best beaches in the Sea of Galilee
Known for its historic and biblical importance in Judaism, Islam and Christianity, the Sea (actually a lake) of Galilee is one of Israel's most famous and beautiful attractions. Surrounded by mountains and hills, it is a perfect area for hiking and taking in the panoramic views of the Kinneret. After hiking, cool off in the fresh water at one of the many beaches in the area. From quiet getaways to more crowded, lively beaches, the Kinneret has something for everyone.
Don’t be turned off by the entrance fee, this beautifully maintained beach is worth every shekel. Bora Bora’s proprietors have invested heavily to create a perfect entertainment experience. Two levels of shaded seating, on the water or the terrace, with genuine and synthetic grass at your feet, comfortable sofas, a loop of Santana and Dire Straits, two bars and food that’s fresh, pampering and surprising. The beach provides clean showers and restrooms all day long and is open from early morning until the wee hours so that it’s suitable for families and couples, social events (including water sports and more) and happenings for the partying set.
Israel’s largest freshwater lake, the Sea of Galilee (also known as Lake Kinneret) divides the Golan Heights from the Galilee in the northern part of the country. Tsemach Beach is a popular destination on the eastern side of the lake, near the Jordan Valley. For a small price, this family-friendly beach provides the full spectrum of amenities – lifeguards, chairs, umbrellas, a café, camping and dining facilities, and in the summertime Tsemach beach becomes a music festival venue. There’s also a water park with giant slides on site.
Gofra beach on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee is one of Israel’s most popular beach camping sites. It’s replete with eucalyptus trees so there’s plenty of shade for your tents. For those who want a camping experience with a little more comfort, you can opt for an upgraded area in which you get a fridge, a lighted area you control, and picnic tables among other amenities.