Follow the early life of Jesus on this exclusive full-day excursion tour to Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee.
Departing from the pier in Haifa, you will travel over the Carmel coastal range to Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus, approximately 45 minutes away.
Upon arrival in Nazareth, you will visit the Basilica of the Annunciation. The current church was constructed in 1969 over the site of two earlier churches. Inside, the lower level contains the Grotto of the Annunciation, believed by many Christians to be the remains of the original childhood home of Mary. A large structure was commissioned by Emperor Constantine I, who had directed his mother, Saint Helena, to found churches commemorating important events in Jesus Christ's life. The Church of the Annunciation was founded around the same time as the Church of the Nativity (the birthplace) and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (the tomb). The Franciscan Church of St. Jospeh, believed to be built on the location of Joseph's workshop, is nearby. You will have a short time for browsing in the Arab Bazaar or to purchase a beverage.
You will then drive through the nearby town of Cana (Kafr Kanna), which is believed to be where Jesus performed his first public miracle, the turning of a large quantity of water into wine at a wedding feast. You will arrive at the sea of Galilee, where time will be taken for lunch on your own.
After lunch you will tour the Galilee region. Traditionally divided into Upper, Lower and Western Galilee, most of Galilee consists of rocky terrain, at heights of between 1,600 and 2,300 feet above sea level. There are several high mountains including Mount Tabor, thought to be the site of the Transfiguration of Jesus, and Mount Meron, the highest point in Israel at over 3,900 feet. The region has relatively mild temperatures and high rainfall. As a result, it has very green areas with flora and wildlife. You will drive to Tabgha, the traditional site of the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes.
Further along the Sea of Galilee are the ruins of Capernaum. This was the home of the apostles Peter, Andrew, James and John, as well as the tax collector Matthew. According to the New Testament, Jesus taught in the synagogue in Capernaum on the Sabbath days. Time allowing, a photo stop will be made at the Mount of Beatitude.
At the place where the Jordan River flows out of the Sea of Galilee is Yardenit, where some believe the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist took place. You will have approximately 40 minutes of free time to watch the pilgrims being baptized, browse through the extensive collection of religious items for sale, dip your toes in the Jordan or just sit and have a coffee. After your visit, you will begin the drive back to Haifa.
Please note: Due to traffic or crowds at the sites, the tour itinerary may be altered in an attempt to avoid delays. All sites mentioned in the tour will be visited and crowds are to be expected. Tour duration is an approximation based on usual crowds and traffic.
This is a very beautiful area looking down on Galilee. Our guide was very personable and experienced. As we toured the various sights, she read passages from the New Testament relating to the locations we were in, making them more meaningful. We were far from the sites where the trouble is. You can look across Galilee to see the Golan Heights and understand why it is so strategically important to Israel. We looked at Joseph's and Mary's houses which were very close. Joseph's family was much better off than Mary's. On the return , we stopped at the site where Jesus was Baptized in the Jordan and watched some some ceremonial Baptisms by immersion. The Baptisms weren't part of the tour but several in our party were Baptised.
The tour guide and driver made this trip memorable and unique. They avoided the crowds and provided us with every opportunity to best visit the places we came to see. I am so grateful we booked this excursion.