Tiberias is considered to be one of the four holiest cities in Israel and a truly excellent holiday resort for the entire family. Interestingly enough, it is the lowest city in Israel at 200 meters (over 600 feet) below sea level. While the Dead Sea is the lowest place on Earth, it is not a city.
South tip of lake
The Sea of Galilee (Kinneret in Hebrew) is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth; (the Dead Sea being the lowest saltwater lake) and is situated in the northeast next to Tiberias in the Lower Galilee (Galil in Hebrew). The Jordan River actually runs through the lake from North to South, but it is also partially fed by underground springs.
The historical, as well as ecological significance, of this body of water is truly remarkable.
The area attracts millions of visitors globally each year from all walks of life.
Interesting Fact: According to the Bible, Jesus performed many miracles on the shores of the Galilee (most notably walking on water and calming the storm; see Holy Land).
The beaches surrounding the Sea of Galilee feature an abbundance of attractions for all ages:
Sea of Galilee
Camping at the Sea of Galilee - my top recommendations.
Ein Gev camping beach on the south eastern end of the lake is a great place for family camping trips. This resort offers attractions for kids and adults alike such as water sports, slides, pools etc. Facilities include, lifegard services, showers & restrooms, restaurant, shaded camping area with barbeque stands. Tel: 04-6658008
Amnon Beach near Kfar Nachum at the north end of the lake has great facilities for any camping enthusiast. Offering in the high season an array of activities from water sports, fishing and plenty of attractions for kids. Tel: 050-7103420
Hakuk beach on the north western side of the lake is a lovely, well-kept beach. There are plenty of shaded lawns and quite green areas for camping and barbequeing. Tel: 04-6715440
Sorry, but fishing has been banned since early 2011
because of overfishing and some fish in danger of extinction.
The significance of the Kinneret as Israel's largest fresh water reservoir cannot be overstated. It literally supplies over 25% (50% domestic) of the entire country's water supply (a portion goes to Jordan as well). In recent years, water levels have dropped dangerously low due to the combination of increased population demands and decreased winter rainfall. See the table below:
|Current Water Level as of 02/11/2011||-213.63 meters below sea level|
|Lower Red Line||-213.18|
|Upper Red Line||-208.9|
The depleting water level on the lake
If water levels dip below the black line, the lake will run the risk of becoming irreversibly
polluted by the salt water springs lying beneath the lake. The weight of the freshwater must
remain significant enough to keep these springs from infiltrating the freshwater. Currently,
the country is in the process of building de-desalinization plants to provide alternative sources
of freshwater. Unfortunately, these are still years away from completion - so you might say it is
a race against time.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Look at the pic below and the dramatic drop in the water level is quite obvious. Yes, that is a boat dock indicating the original water level.
Top Tip: You can actually bike around the Sea of Galilee in about 5-6 hours at a moderate pace.
I am an avid biker and I highly recommend this ride. The total distance is about 55km (34 miles) all on paved roads. The terrain is relatively flat with a few relatively mild climbs. A few words to the wise:
Just opened: In April 2011, Israel unveiled a 64km (40-mile) hiking trail in the Galilee
specifically targeted for Christian pilgrim visitors (see Holy Land) called the 'Jesus Trail'.
The trail features hiking, road, and bicycle paths linking sites central to the lives of Jesus
and his disciples.
Whether you come to Israel for a religious pilgrimage to the Holy Land, historical sites, recreation, or just plain relaxation, the Sea of Galilee offers it all.
See you later (Le'Hitra'ot in Hebrew)