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. Beyond the historical value, beauty, and ties to so many religions, its also a magical area in its own right. With our professional local guides, and comprehensive itineraries, you can discover the area in a unique and unforgettable way. Read our guide on how to follow the footsteps of Jesus in the Galilee.
The largest city in the Galilee, Nazareth is the hub of Israel’s Arab population. It’s low lying old city is believed to be 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 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. Set at the bottom of rolling hills nearby, the sparkling sapphire waters are a popular tourist destination. It’s also home to a number of cities, both ancient and modern, and surprises many with its outdoor activities. 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. However, for Christians exploring the country for a longer period of time, take our exciting 4 Day Christian Tour, where you’ll wander other religiously significant sites in the north, leaving the logistics up to us. Additionally, if you want an extra day relaxing in the south, this 5 Day Christian Tour is a perfect choice.
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. If you want, it is possible to get baptized in these same waters. Inquire when booking for more information.
Tabgha, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, is the place where the miracle of feeding the 5,000 took place. 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. Additionally, this has given rise to more historical boat rides across the Sea of Galilee. The boats are replicas of the most popular vehicles for fishing from the time of Jesus and offer a unique experience in the North.
Probable birthplace of Mary Magdalene, Magdala is an ancient city that sits 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 tour. It’s one of the top stops on our 9 Day Christian Tour Package as well.
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. Or stay nearby in some of the best hotels in Northern Israel.
The site of Jesus’ first miracle now houses a church built in 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. For those looking to really connect to the area, it’s possible to marry at this church. It’s actually known as The Wedding Church! While not for everyone, a vow renewal or ceremony here will connect you to Israel in a very special way.
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 1,600 years, its summit lies roughly 25 meters below sea level. It’s also popular with hikers, offering a number of different trails that cross its storied slopes. Dive more fully into its history with our 13 Day Jordan and Israel Catholic Tour Package.
Touring the Galilee
The Galilee is an integral part of the life and times of Jesus. Its an unmissable area of Israel famous for its beauty, history, and pastoral tranquility. Also keep in mind that although we’ve provided a list of tours, you can always book a fully private custom Catholic tour. All of these options allow you different ways to follow the footsteps of Jesus in the Galilee.