Step into the ancient footsteps of Jesus in the Galilee. It is a journey that begins in Nazareth and takes in the sites of miracles on the Sea of Galilee. A region of orchards, wildflower meadows and mountain panoramas in northern Israel, the natural beauty of the Galilee cannot be overstated. Its historic and religious sites are also second to none.
The largest city in the Galilee, Nazareth is the hub of Israel’s Arab population. It’s low lying old city is the childhood home of both the Virgin Mary and later Jesus. The Holy Family returned here after their flight to Egypt to escape King Herod. The old city’s souks (open-air markets) are full of the noise of the region, but dominated by the Basilica of the Annunciation. This modern church stands over the grotto where Mary is said to have lived and was told by the Archangel Gabriel that she was to give birth to Jesus. Check out this private tour to fully explore all Nazareth’s historic significance.
Sea of Galilee
The source of the River Jordan, the Sea of Galilee is actually a freshwater lake. It was the setting for several of Jesus’ miracles, including calming the storm and walking on water. It was from its settlements that Jesus took his apostles. Explore the whole area with this Galilee day tour.
Yardenit is the traditional site of Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. A pleasant section of the newly-formed river, it remains a pastural idyll. Birdsong comes from its overhanging trees and otters splash about in the waters of the river. Join the pilgrims here with this tour.
Tabgha, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, is famous as the location for the feeding of the five thousand. While a contemporary construction, the Church of the Multiplication contains elements of one 1,500 years older, including beautiful segments of mosaic flooring. Another church nearby marks the spot of Christ’s fourth resurrection appearance.
Jesus Boat Nof Ginosar
Discovered in 1986 by two brothers, the Jesus Boat is an important historical find. It dates from the lifetime of Christ – the first century AD. It is also an incredibly rare example of a fishing boat from this period in Galilee’s existence. Before its unearthing, only ancient texts could guide scholars to their appearance. At over eight meters long and two meters wide, it sits pride of place in Ginosar Museum.
Probable birthplace of Mary Magdalene, Magdala is today a fishing village on the banks of the Sea of Galilee. It met an untimely end when it was destroyed by the Romans after the Jewish Revolt of 66 AD. However, many intriguing ruins remain. These include the oldest synagogue discovered in Galilee, and the only menorah seven-branched candlestick motif ever found outside of Jerusalem. You can uncover all Magdala’s treasures on this Christian Galilee tour.
Capernaum is another lakeside city with an impressive collection of ruins. These include substantial remains of a columned fourth-century synagogue, and the possible home of Saint Peter. Later converted into a place of worship by the Byzantines, it can be viewed from inside a modern glass-floored memorial. Don’t miss it by joining this tour that includes a stop at Capernaum.
The site of Jesus’ first miracle is today a magnificent church from 1879. The neighboring Greek Orthodox Church of Saint George is from the same period. It houses two jars which are supposed to have contained the water that was turned into wine at the wedding feast. A stunning stop on your adventure, it’s one of the most breathtaking stops of the footsteps of Jesus in the Galilee.
Mount of Beatitudes
The beautiful Mount of Beatitudes is the hill from which Jesus is reputed to have given the Sermon on the Mount. Now perhaps as well-known from Monty Python’s Life of Brian, the hill lies between Capernaum and Ginosar. Celebrated for more than 1600 years, its summit lies roughly 25 meters below sea level.
Touring the Galilee
The Galilee is closely connected to the life and times of Jesus, from his birth to the years of his ministry. When you follow the footsteps of Jesus in the Galilee, you’re connecting to centuries of history. Its an area of Israel you should not miss, and there’s plenty to do outside of these stops! See our favorite spots in the Galilee and our best hotels in northern Israel.