Ever since I first traveled to Israel, Tveriah has been my favorite destination. I felt at home there from the beginning. If you call it Tiberias, very few locals will understand you. In Hebrew, the town’s name is Tveriah, which in English is called Tiberias.
Visit Tveriah (Tiberias)
Tveriah is filled with beauty, surrounded by huge palm trees, with scents of wild rosemary and thyme growing on the ground. Its mountains and lake hold special places in my heart forever.
Tveriah is located on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, also known as Kinneret Lake. Kinneret comes from the Hebrew kinor, which means violin. The lake is indeed shaped like a violin. There are many beaches one can access freely. It is very relaxing to bathe in the water, especially in the morning. If you are the spiritual type, you can also try meditating during your immersion.
During eight preceding trips, I used Tveriah as my departure point to explore other northern Israeli cities. But during my ninth trip in February 2020, I had been granted seven months in the Galilean city, which allowed me to explore it in depth – even during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mystical Encounter with Kinneret Lake
I remember my first trip to Tveriah when I asked people where the lake was located. I arrived from Tel Aviv on bus 836 to the Tveriah Central Bus station, hungry, because it was almost 11:30 a.m.
After eating a delicious vegetarian sandwich, I went down to the lake that is just 5 minutes away from the station. As I reached the tayelet’ (the Hebrew word for promenade), I first glanced at the lake.
Tears started streaming down my cheeks. I knew I was coming home, literally. Since then, I have always felt that I belong here and my love for the Galilean town has only increased.
It is worth getting up early to be able to watch sunrises upon the beautiful lake. When the sun goes down, the lake is enveloped with a mystical veil. The atmosphere is unique and very soothing for the soul.
During my latest trip, I enjoyed bathing in Kinneret and meditating. I simply entered fully clothed, with my robe, immersing myself and letting the water reach my head. Although I cannot swim, I enjoy the contact with water and its smell.
After 15 minutes, I got out and let the hot Tiverian sun dry my clothes. Coming wet out of the water has the advantage of keeping your body cool during the heat. Kinneret is described as a lake, but it very often behaves like a sea and its waves are strong during wintertime.
I haven’t done it yet, but it is possible to rent a boat on the lake.
Getting Around in Tveriah
Tveriah is a mid-sized town, and it’s easy to find your way in the town center. There are two main streets: Rehov HaGalil and Rehov HaBanim. From Rehov HaBanim, you will access the tayelet (the promenade).
The whole town is divided into four main areas. From Shikun Alef you can go to the mountains. I have been blessed to see horses and ponies walking freely and even a peacock going from house to house. From Shikun Alef you will access Rachel’s tomb and the cemetery where many Tzaddikim (spiritual leaders) are buried.
I used to pray at Machluf Kubi’s tomb (he is respected as a great Tzaddik), who is the grandfather of the ancient mayor, Ron Kubi.
The other three areas, Shikun Beth, Gimel and Daleth, are set higher. There are many ascents to access different quarters. While some people prefer buses, I prefer walking, even when the temperatures are on the rise.
The very heights of Tveriah are called Tveriah Illit. From there, you will be blessed with magnificent panoramic views.
Where to Eat and Drink in Tveriah
Because of the dismissal of its mayor Ron Kubi, in January 2020, who had done much for tourism, and the coronavirus crisis that followed, Tveriah has suffered economical losses.
The former mayor used to keep most places open on Shabbat, but now it is more difficult for visitors to find a restaurant on Saturday. The ones I mention here are those I know for sure are open.
Tveriah is the best place in the world for falafels. There are many little snacks that make delicious falafels. I like the texture of the tasty green falafel sandwiches, and my mouth waters each time I am out of the country and I picture them in my mind.
Maybe it is the strong coriander and pepper mixture that I enjoy so much. There is one snack place I recommend, in particular, located at 32 Hagalil Street. At the entrance of Rehov HaGalil No. 1 there is also a nice snack place called Taim Taim. For a falafel pita expect to pay between 16 and 20 shekels ($4.68-$5.85).
Besides falafel, there are little grocery stores that have all kinds of delicious sandwiches and various plates of food at very reasonable prices.
If you prefer restaurants, Hermitage on the tayelet offers Arabic meals and is also ideal for a drink. The ambiance is joyous and musical, as well, and the waiters are friendly.
If you are fond of hummus, Beer Myriam is a good restaurant that also serves meat and fish from the lake. It is located at the entrance of the tayelet. Meat lovers can give El Rancho a try. Also, you will find a lot of restaurants inside the Big Daniloff center 5 minutes from the Central Bus Station (on Route 77). Café Greg provides delicious Israeli salads.
You should know that the Israeli breakfast is very big and usually includes salad, eggs, cheese and many vegetables. There are options for vegans and vegetarians.
Near Donna Gracia hotel, you will find the shuk (market) that is stocked daily with fresh fruit, spices, fresh fish and meat. Not only is buying from the market much cheaper, but it will also help the local economy that has suffered from local politics and the coronavirus.
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Tveriah, the Holy City
Tveriah is one of four holy cities in Israel, along with Jerusalem, Hebron and Tsfat (Safed).
Many sages of Judaism are buried there, including Rabbi Meir Baal ha Ness, the Rambam (Moshe Maimonides), Rabbi Akiva and his wife Rachel (Rabbi Akiva is buried on the heights of Tveriah and his wife is buried on the way to Baal ha Ness), and Rabbi Hiyya.
I have visited all of the Jewish holy sites, except for Rabbi Hiyya’s tomb. You should cover your arms when you are visiting religious sites. Also, remember that women and men pray on different sides.
Rabbi Meir’s tomb is a powerful place of miracles. I know a French-speaking rabbi there who prayed for my mom when she was very sick and she recovered fast. Also, it is very common in Judaism to recite prayers at a Tzaddik’s tomb. Actually, you are not praying to a dead person, but you are requesting from the Almighty to be heard, thanks to the merits of the deceased Tzaddik.
Tveriah is also a holy place in Christianity. Here Yeshua (Jesus) walked on water. There is a Greek orthodox monastery (near the Hermitage restaurant on the tayelet). Also located on the tayelet, you will find St. Peter Church (Catholic) and St. Andrew Church (Protestant). There are a few Jewish Messianic (Jewish communities that believe in Yeshua) in town as well.
You will also see the Muslim influence in Tveriah: an abandoned Mosque used before the 1948 War of Independence is very visible near the tayelet, and the remains of another mosque can be seen on the tayelet itself.
In many parts of Tveriah, you will notice the traces of Roman occupation that go back to the time of Tiberius, hence the name of the city. If you are interested in archeology, this is definitely the right place to be.
Near Leonardo Plaza, you can find an amphitheater and observe the remains of an old synagogue from the early century.
Hamat Tveriah is also an interesting historical and archeological site with hot thermal waters at 30C and 40C (86F and 104F). There is a small entry fee.
Book a Rental in Tveriah
You can search places to rent via Trip Advisor, Air Bnb and Booking.com, or you can book a hotel directly from the Internet.
But, you probably will find better prices if you search Israeli websites like homeless.co.il. There you have access to local landlords and you will pay local prices. Of course, speaking Hebrew is always a plus. It will help your budget a lot.
When to Visit Tveriah
Tveriah has very hot temperatures. Its average is 37C (98.6F) and it is hot and sunny for nearly nine months a year. Bring a hat with you to protect your head and always have water with you. Drink a lot of water. The heat is bearable because of the presence of the lake and the winds.
It can be rainy in December, January and February. When it rains, it pours. The rain is often heavy, like tropical rain. The evenings are usually very nice to be outside. The winds can be strong, starting from 5 p.m.
The way to Rabbi Meir’s tomb is excellent for walking and jogging. Every year, in January, the municipality organizes a marathon for runners.
If You Go to Tveriah
For more info about Tveriah, visit :
Author Bio: Isabelle Esling is a trilingual published author with 15+ years of experience in the field of writing, blogging and freelance music journalism. Since August 2012, she has published 12 paperbacks on various themes (musical biographies, spiritual books, self-development, science-fiction, Parisian novels and love stories). She also has many e-books, most of which are travel books. Being a lover of nature, history, archeology, Hebrew language and culture, Israel is her favorite destination.