Tiberias OverviewTiberias is a major tourist destination in Israel. It's positioned on the western side of the Sea of Galilee and is a popular spot for Israeli and international tourists alike. The town itself offers great views of the beautiful blue waters and the surrounding green hills. Tiberias is also considered to be one of the Jewish Four Holy Cities. Many people also use Tiberias as a jumping off point to explore the Golan Heights area.
Tiberias has a population of about 42,000. Most of the population is Jewish, as the majority of the Arab population was evacuated under British military protection in 1948. The city has an elevation of between -200 and 200 meters. The climate is a hot summer, Mediterranean climate combined with a hot semi-arid climate. The summers are very hot with highs climbing to around 97 degrees Fahrenheit and lows only dropping to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The winters are mild and pleasant with temperatures ranging from 65 degrees Fahrenheit to 46 degrees Fahrenheit.
SightsWithin Tiberias itself you can see a handful of sights. These include Rambam's Tomb, the Church & Monastery of the Apostles, the tomb of Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon, St Peter's Church, the Citadel, the Jewish Court, the Berko Park, the Khan, Al-Amari Mosque, the Tomb of Meir Ba'al Hanes, and the Antiquities Museum. Tiberias is also a fascinating place to observe Israelis on vacation. You'll see all types, from Hasidic Jews to Muslims and the nonreligious all intermingling and enjoying a vacation on the lake's shores.
NeighborhoodsMuch of ancient and medieval Tiberias was destroyed by earthquakes and the majority of the construction prior to 1934 was wiped out by a flood. Following the Six-Day War there was wide scale development in the area including the construction of a waterfront promenade, the creation of parkland and shopping streets, and the development of restaurants and modern hotels. The remaining historic buildings, including several churches, two mosques, and several synagogues were preserved. There are also several remaining parts of the ancient wall, the Ottoman-era citadel and several other historic buildings.
ActivitiesOne popular activity in Tiberias is to rent a bike and cycle around the lake. The trip is approximately 60 kilometers and takes close to a full day if you stop off at some sights along the way. If the weather is particularly hot, or you're not in the best shape, it is recommended that you get up early to begin your trip before the heat of the day. There are some great swimming beaches on the other side of the lake that can offer you a refreshing place to cool off and rest your legs. Also around the lake are some interesting sights that are of religious significance. These include Capernaum with the House of Peter, Kinnarot Cemetery, and Tabgha, where the Feeding of Multitude occurred.
Other activities around Tiberias include walking along the promenade, visiting the City Spa which has thermal and sulphur pools, and taking a swim in the lake.
Food and DiningTiberias is a popular tourist destination, so there are plenty of restaurants that cater to all budgets. Falafel is a good, cheap option. There are also plenty of sweets available including ice cream and slushees.
Hostels in the area usually have a kitchen, so if you're on a particularly tight budget, it's possible to pick up ingredients and prepare your own meal. Confirm the quality of the kitchen before you book the room though, if you plan to rely on it.
Although there are less pubs and bars in Tiberias than in many Israel towns, there are a few decent places to grab a drink and hang out with fellow travelers. Ask around to find out what is recommended by the locals.