“You really opened our eyes to a part of the world that is different than any place we have been in the past.”

Lyle Benson

The Galilee & Golan Heights

“Time has three dimensions and one positive pitch or direction. It is therefore not so much like any river or any sea as like the Sea of Galilee, which has the Jordan running through it and giving a current to the whole.” – Gerard Manley Hopkins

The Sea of Galilee itself – also known as The Kinneret – was one of the earliest settled areas in Israel and today boasts archaeological ruins, religious sites and myriad outdoor pursuits. Follow the Sea of Galilee Trail around the lake or the Jesus Trail from Nazareth to the biblically important site of Capernaum. Take in the lake views from the Tiberias Promenade. Visit the Church of Loaves and the Fishes in Tabgha. Visit Degania Alef, the first kibbutz in Israel or the old farming settlement of Moshavat Kinneret.

Explore the northern volcanic plateau of Golan Heights by off-road jeep from Merom Golan. Depending on the season, the landscape is arid and brown or strewn with wildflowers. Look out over Syria from atop Mount Bental, while listening to the story of the Yom Kippur War. Visit the abandoned Syrian outpost of Mitzpe Gadot. Stroll through the impressive Aniam artist village, stopping into artists’ workshops. Pause and reflect at the Mount of Beatitudes, where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, and in Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee, the hometown of Jesus and his disciples and the birthplace of Peter. Wander along the beautiful streams of the Banyas River, one of the main sources of the Jordan River, visiting a cascading waterfall and an ancient flour mill.

Beit Shean, one of Israel’s oldest cities, is also one of its largest archaeological sites. Excavations to this point have uncovered a 7,000-person, 2nd-century theater for dramatic performances, an amphitheater used for gladiatorial contests, the ruins of a Roman temple, a large bathhouse and a mosaic of Tyche, Roman goddess of good fortune. Immerse yourself in the 5th century BC as you marvel at the remains of an entire Roman-Byzantine city.

In the Hula Nature Reserve, look skyward to glimpse more than 200 species of migrating birds and waterfowl – including cormorants, herons, pelicans, storks and cranes. Hike through the lagoons of the Majrassa Nature Reserve or raft down the Jordan River. Feeling fearless? Rappel down a cliff near the stunning Keshet Cave.

Discover the Mystical City of Tzfat (also known as Safed), a lovely mountaintop town rich in lovely synagogues, picturesque alleyways and artists’ colony. Meet the residents of Kibbutz Malkiya on the Lebanese border and learn more about their life living in this tenuous region and their experience during the 2nd Lebanon War. Watch a live demonstration by Kabbalistic glass-blower Sheva Chaya.

Savor the flavors of Galilee on a culinary tour that showcases places only locals would know, including goat and sheep cheese dairies and a coffee roaster, and a home-cooked Druze meal in a local village. Sample the goods at Golan Heights Distillery, producers of the country’s first single malt, corn mash and single-malted rye whiskey. Taste wines at local boutique wineries and enjoy lunch at the family-owned Adir Winery in Dalton. Indulge at the De Karina Chocolate Boutique Factory and meet Karina Chaplinski, a third-generation chocolatier.

This is one of Israel’s most culturally and naturally rich regions. Whether you’re seeking active adventure, culinary experiences, or historical insights, the Galilee and Golan Heights area will captivate you.