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Northern Israel destination thoughts?

Northern Israel destination thoughts?

Old Jul 22, 19, 2:42 pm
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Northern Israel destination thoughts?

Hi - I haven't been to Israel for about 20 years and am thinking of taking a 10-day trip in September. I figure I'll spend a few nights in Jerusalem and a few nights in TA, but I'd also like to take a couple of days up north, where I've only been once on a bus tour. Would Tiberias be a good home base for a relaxing two nights or so? I'd like to go somewhere that's not a big city, where I can relax and read a book but still find some stuff to do at night and decent restaurants.

I was also thinking Tzfat, but from what I remember it's a beautiful place but rather small, and I'm thinking I might get bored in the evening. Plus Tiberias has the lake, which would at least be nice to look at.

I'd be grateful for any recommendations, both in Galilee and the Golan - places to stay, restaurants, things to see, whatever. Thanks very much!
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Old Jul 23, 19, 2:21 pm
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Don't miss the Roman-era excavations at Sepphoris (Tsippori), near Nazareth. They had barely started uncovering them twenty years ago, and a one-day bus tour probably wouldn't have stopped there (though one might today, especially if Nazareth is on its itinerary).
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Old Jul 23, 19, 7:44 pm
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Akko (Acre) is a great place to get good hummus.
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Old Jul 23, 19, 11:58 pm
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Will you rent a car or go by public transport ?
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Old Jul 24, 19, 1:50 am
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If you're looking for a Jewish city, then Tiberias is the best choice. If you're looking for an Arab city, choose Nazareth. I'm not too familiar with the restaurants in either city, but Arab cities are typically better for Middle Eastern food like hummus and falafel, while Jewish cities are better for international food like Chinese, Indian, or Mexican.

I would recommend a rental car for the trip to the north. From Tiberias, a good day trip would involve going up to Mount Hermon. Tel Dan at the foot of the mountain is a real gem, both its history and the nature. Also, stop and see the view into Syria from Mount Bental on the Golan. Get some good food in a Druze city, either Massada or Majdal Shams. Great nature reserves on the Golan are Gamla and Yehudiya. If you're a Christian or interested in New Testament history, places like Capernaum and the Jesus Boat museum are musts.
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Old Jul 24, 19, 9:47 am
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The "stuff to do at night" variety might be a bit limited in anywhere that is "not a big city", there are a lot of nice places in the small villages around the Galilee/Golan heights which would offer a lot of privacy and quietness, and usually very nice view (of the lake, or otherwise of something else), but it will generally require driving to get dinner, some of them includes breakfast in some variation or the other.
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Old Jul 25, 19, 8:45 am
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Thanks to all for the tips! I appreciate all the input.

I'll be doing public transportation. I'd like to go back to Tzfat, as I only ever went once as part of a very rapid-fire Egged bus tour. It would be nice to wander around a bit by myself. As far as I can tell, it's pretty easy to get there and back by bus from Tiberias.

I really enjoyed Akko, and would love to go to Rosh Hanikra too, but I'm not sure this trip will be the one. I want to spend a few days in both Jerusalem (where I did an ulpan eons ago) and TA, and that doesn't leave a whole lot of extra time. And I'd kind of like to check out the bike path around the Kinneret.

The Golan and Bet Shean are also possibilities. The problem with Israel is that, when you look into it, there's just a ridiculously huge number of fascinating things to check out, and it's almost impossible to narrow it down. An embarrassment of riches.
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Old Jul 25, 19, 11:42 pm
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Akko and Bet Shean are easy to get to by train. Look at the Israel Railways website for schedules and fares. Tzfat and Tiberias are easy to get to by bus. Look at www.bus.co.il for schedules. There is a local bus from Nahariya to Rosh Hanikra. Other sites in the Galilee and the Golan are difficult to get to because public transportation is inconvenient or nonexistent. You should consider renting a car for a day or two.
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Old Jul 26, 19, 8:08 am
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Originally Posted by mbgg View Post
Akko and Bet Shean are easy to get to by train. Look at the Israel Railways website for schedules and fares. Tzfat and Tiberias are easy to get to by bus. Look at www.bus.co.il for schedules. There is a local bus from Nahariya to Rosh Hanikra. Other sites in the Galilee and the Golan are difficult to get to because public transportation is inconvenient or nonexistent. You should consider renting a car for a day or two.
Wow - I had absolutely no idea there was now a train in Bet Shean! Thanks for that info. I actually took the train to Akko one winter years ago with a friend from Petah Tikva. Ugh... I really need a month to do everything I'd really like to do...
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Old Jul 26, 19, 8:39 am
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Originally Posted by M60_to_LGA View Post
... I really need a month to do everything I'd really like to do...
Since the tourist visa you get on entry is good for 90 days, there would seem to be an obvious solution.
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Old Jul 26, 19, 8:49 am
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Originally Posted by Efrem View Post
Since the tourist visa you get on entry is good for 90 days, there would seem to be an obvious solution.
I'm not quite sure work would be on board for that, sadly.
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Old Jul 28, 19, 2:46 pm
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A few years ago, I used Auberge Shulamit in Rosh Pina as my base to visit the upper Galilee and the Golan. I even met @Dovster for dinner one night. Tsfat was only about 20 minutes away. I highly recommend it, but I did have a rental car. I have no idea how convenient Rosh Pina is by public transportation.

I've heard wonderful things about The Scots Hotel in Tiberias from friends and relatives who stayed there (my late father was born in Tiberias). The rest of the town, though, appeared to me like a dump.
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Old Jul 30, 19, 9:36 am
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Originally Posted by mbgg View Post
Akko and Bet Shean are easy to get to by train. Look at the Israel Railways website for schedules and fares. Tzfat and Tiberias are easy to get to by bus. Look at www.bus.co.il for schedules. There is a local bus from Nahariya to Rosh Hanikra. Other sites in the Galilee and the Golan are difficult to get to because public transportation is inconvenient or nonexistent. You should consider renting a car for a day or two.
A big caveat for Rosh Hanikra. We took the train (from Haifa) to Nahariya, and then a taxi up. When we were done, we tried to get a taxi via GETT and the thing would just spin and spin. There was a taxi in the parking lot, but wasn't available. No taxis came. We found out that the next bus would be coming in about 2 hours.

After 30+ minutes (maybe 45), I decided that we'd try and hitchhike, something I hadn't done since I was 16, also in Israel. After a few minutes, a car stopped, but didn't have room for 2. After another few minutes, another car stopped. This lovely couple with an infant moved the car seat to the center of the back seat, we all somehow barely fit in this tiny car, and they brought us to the train station in Nahariya. In that short drive, we were invited to visit them in Jerusalem, had a lovely chat, and my traveling companion got a good flavor of how Israelis are when not in a commercial setting. So, I'd not recommend Rosh Hanikra unless you've got a pre-arranged way out.
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Old Jul 31, 19, 11:05 pm
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If you take a taxi to Rosh Hanikra, you should ask the driver how to arrange a taxi for the ride back, i.e. get his phone number, the number of the taxi company in Nahariya, etc.
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Old Aug 1, 19, 9:33 am
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Originally Posted by mbgg View Post
If you take a taxi to Rosh Hanikra, you should ask the driver how to arrange a taxi for the ride back, i.e. get his phone number, the number of the taxi company in Nahariya, etc.
And that would be the pre-arranged way back. We just had no idea there would be an issue.

By the way, Rosh Hanikra is on my "must see" list. I just haven't had great timing. I was first there in 1980 and it left a great impression. On the 1981 trip, the area was closed. Next trip in 2006, the entire north was as good as closed, Last year was the first opportunity to return.
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