Abigail Klein Leichman

No matter whether you call it the Sea of Galilee or Lake Kinneret, this beautiful freshwater lake in northern Israel, surrounded by picturesque scenery, is a much-loved vacation spot.

When you stay in any of the hotels of Tiberias or other cities ringing the lake, you’ll have a wide choice of outdoor and indoor activities – beaches, boating, cycling, hiking, hot springs, bird watching at nearby Agamon-Hula Nature Park, archeology sites, key Jewish and Christian history sites, museums and even a chocolate farm.

Here are 14 of our favorites among the many hotels in the Sea of Galilee area.

GOMEH

Photo courtesy of Gomeh/Isrotel

This 212-room Isrotel Design property (formerly the Sea of Galilee Hotel) on the Migdal shore near Kibbutz Ginosar affords beautiful views of the northwestern edge of the lake, the Galilee mountains and Mount Arbel.

Address: Migdal
Amenities: Outdoor pool, adjacent beach, kosher restaurant, lobby bar, gym, meeting rooms, outdoor deck, playroom, babysitting services for a fee, accessible rooms and parking spaces

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GALEI KINNERET

Artist Gilad Keinan’s aluminum tree shades the poolside bar at Galei Kinneret hotel. Photo courtesy of Saar Zafrir Design

Saar Zafrir Design recently completed a redesign of this 123-room Tiberias beachside resort, using a design concept rooted in local archeology. Initially built in 1946, Galei Kinneret was one of Israel’s first luxury hotels, founded by entrepreneur Lotte Eisenberg in the style of the Villa d’Este Hotel in Lake Como. The suites have outdoor Jacuzzis; all rooms have a view of the lake or the mountains.

Address: 1 Eliezer Kaplan Street, Tiberias
Amenities: Indoor and outdoor bar, outdoor glass-bottom swimming pool, outdoor yoga deck, spa, gym, private beach and boat, kosher chef restaurant under the direction of Asaf Granit.

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SETAI SEA OF GALILEE

Photo of spa lobby courtesy of Setai Sea of Galilee Hotel.

The Setai Sea of Galilee, opened in 2017, is a pastoral hotel on the eastern shore of Lake Kinneret with 158 units including standard rooms and luxury villas. Ground-floor villas have private infinity pools while second-floor villas have outdoor hot tubs. Guest-room balconies afford views of the Golan Heights to the northeast and the city of Tiberias across the sea.

Address: Tza’alon Beach near Ein Gev
Amenities: Outdoor infinity swimming pool, spa with indoor pool, fitness center, kosher chef restaurant, wading pool, children’s club, business lounge, free bicycles

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MAGDALA

The Magdala Hotel is situated next to an archeological site. Photo courtesy of Magdala Tourism Center

The Magdala is one of Israel´s newest hotels in the Galilee, with 150 rooms decorated in aqua and beige tones. It’s named for its location, the recently discovered first century town of Magdala (Migdal) on the seashore and is adjacent to an archeological park open daily from 8-6. Here you can see an excavated first-century synagogue and other Roman-era ruins at the crossroads of Jewish and Christian history.

Address: Migdal Junction
Amenities: Outdoor pool, gym, gardens, chef restaurant (not kosher), coffee & bar, accessible and connecting rooms available, meeting facilities, direct access to an undeclared beach

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SCOTS HOTEL

Photo courtesy of The Scots Hotel, Tiberias

Housed in a three-building complex constructed in 1894 as a hospital run by the Scottish Church, The Scots Hotel opened in 1999 offering 50 rooms in the main building and eight rooms each in the smaller, magnificently reconstructed former hospital director’s residence and maternity hospital. Original basalt rock and high ceilings have been preserved.

Address: 1 Gdud Barak St., Tiberias
Amenities: Swimming pool, beach garden, art gallery, restaurant (not kosher), wine cellar and bar, health center with spa

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LAKE HOUSE KINNERET

Photo courtesy of Lake House Kinneret

 This Israel-Canada Hotels resort on the Tiberias waterfront is situated in a lush 54-acre garden with views of the city and the Golan Heights. There are 250 rooms, some with balconies, and two suites.

Address: Hamarchatzot Street, Tiberias
Amenities: Tiberias Hot Springs Country Club with thermo-mineral pools, freshwater outdoor swimming pool, event venue, Thai spa, restaurant, bar, tennis courts, gym, children’s club, conference rooms

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SOFIA SEA OF GALILEE HOTEL

Located in and next to a restored 19th-century stone house in Tiberias, this 120-room spa and leisure hotel is a few minutes’ walk from the city center and the western shore of the lake.

The hotel is named for Sofia Srugo, mother of the property’s late owner, Reuven Srugo. Sofia set out on a long journey from the Syrian city of Damascus to Argentina, where she was to meet her future husband for the first time. On the way, she made a stop in Tiberias.

Address: 12 HaPalmach Street, Tiberias
Amenities: Spa complex, hammam (Turkish bath), kosher restaurant featuring Galilean cuisine, rooftop restaurant/bar, lobby bar, wine cellar, study and culture room, infinity swimming pool, accessible rooms

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GAI BEACH HOTEL

The water park on the grounds of Gai Beach Hotel, Tiberias. Photo courtesy of Gai Beach Hotel

Gai Beach Hotel on the seashores in Tiberias is lovely on its own but the bonus attraction for families is its onsite private beach and water park with fun activities for all ages (the latter is open from Passover through October). The property has 198 guest rooms and two suites, some with balconies and lake or mountain views.

Address: Eliezer Kaplan Street, Tiberias
Amenities: Outdoor swimming pool and toddler pool, indoor pool, spa, fitness center, kosher dining room, children’s club, convention/meeting facilities, basketball and volleyball courts

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KINAR GALILEE HOTEL

This 140-room resort hotel on the quiet northeastern shore of the Kinneret caters to religious Jewish families, with a wide range of rooms varying in size and décor (including adjoining rooms), play areas, a synagogue and mikvah, gender-separate swimming hours and a high standard of kashrut. All of this is set in 15 acres of green lawns with walking paths.

Address: Ramot Junction, Hof Golan
Amenities: Semi-Olympic outdoor pool, private beach, children’s club, playground, tennis court, basketball court, ping-pong table, fitness center, spa

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NOF GINOSAR HOTEL

Photo courtesy of Nof Ginosar Hotel

 This kibbutz hotel, open since 1964, sits on the shores of the Sea of Galilee at the foot of Mount Arbel. Ten acres of gardens, a private beach and an abundance of recreation possibilities surround the property, including the kibbutz’s Yigal Allon Center housing archeological gems such as the Magdala Stone and the “Jesus boat.” There are 245 rooms: 75 village rooms and 170 deluxe rooms.

Address: Kibbutz Ginosar, Upper Galilee
Amenities: Outdoor pool, gym, kosher restaurant and cafeteria, lobby bar, private beach, souvenir shop, kibbutz tours, conference center, tennis court, picnic tables, private beach with boat rides and fisherman’s wharf

CASA DONA GRACIA HOTEL AND MUSEUM

Casa Doña Gracia in Tiberias combines a hotel and a museum. Photo courtesy of Casa Dona Gracia

This unusual hotel/museum is dedicated to the legacy of Doña Gracia Mendes Nasi, a 16th century Portuguese Jewish businesswoman who helped build up Tiberias. It’s a short walk to the seashore, which can be seen from the 66 modest guest rooms. The life of Doña Gracia is depicted in quaint dioramas, and you can dress up in period clothing for an immersive Renaissance experience.

Address: Prahim Street, Tiberias
Amenities: Kosher dining room, cultural activities and shows, meeting/banquet facilities

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SHIRAT HAYAM BOUTIQUE HOTEL

Shirat Hayam Boutique Hotel is on the Tiberias beach boardwalk. Photo courtesy of Shirat Hayam

Conveniently and charmingly situated on the Tiberias beach boardwalk next to a public sculpture park, Shirat Hayam is the latest incarnation of a 19th century stone hotel structure. It has just 11 rooms and suites, all decorated in an antique style befitting the setting, and most of them with lake views.

Address: 1 HaYarden Street, Tiberias
Amenities: Kosher breakfast served in lobby or outdoors. Suites and deluxe rooms have Jacuzzis in the living or bedroom areas. (Note: as a preserved historical site, the hotel is not accessible for people with motor disabilities.)

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EIN GEV HOLIDAY RESORT HOTEL

The “New View” room at Ein Gev Holiday Resort Hotel. Photo courtesy of Kibbutz Ein Gev

The Ein Gev Resort on the eastern shore of Kinneret at the base of the Golan Heights offers 166 rooms, 96 family villas and 70 couples’ rooms – making this one of the largest hospitality options in the Sea of Galilee area. Many of the units include kitchenettes.

Address: Kibbutz Ein Gev
Amenities: Kosher dining room, bar, private beach with kiosk, playground, game room for children, indoor billiards and ping-pong tables, outdoor sports facilities, laundromat, conference halls

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PORIYAH KINNERET YOUTH HOSTEL

Courtyard of Poriyah Kinneret Youth Hostel. Photo courtesy of Israel Youth Hostels Association

You cannot beat this one for budget accommodations. Poriyah Kinneret, part of the Israel Youth Hostels Association, is close to the southern beaches of the Sea of Galilee at the entrance to the Swiss Forest, adjacent to the Israel National Trail. It has 22 air-conditioned wood bungalows and 36 rooms suited to couples, groups, families or singles. Each room has its own bathroom, fridge, TV, coffee corner and free Wi-Fi, and a bountiful breakfast is part of the package.

Address: Poriyah Mountain Ridge
Amenities: Expansive lawns, rooftop balcony, outdoor fitness equipment, kosher dining room, kosher packed lunches available, accessible rooms

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