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Nazareth: Day Trips and Tours from Tel Aviv

From the Church of the Annunciation to Mary’s Well, Nazareth is home to a range of sacred sites associated with Christianity, Judaism and Islam that have been standing for centuries.

In addition to witnessing its spiritual legacy, visitors can savor the distinguished architecture and vibrant markets of the city on a day trip to Nazareth from Tel Aviv.

Regardless of your religious beliefs, you’ll find yourself captivated by the charm of the “Arab Capital of Israel.”

Here's all you need to know about Nazareth, one of the most exciting day trips from Tel Aviv.

How to get to Nazareth from Tel Aviv?

Nazareth is located in the northern stretch of Israel. It is just over 100 kilometers from the capital city of Tel Aviv.

From Tel Aviv to Nazareth by car

The journey to Nazareth from Tel Aviv takes a little over an hour by car. The journey is easy and begins by following Route 6 north out of the city.

After approximately 40 kilometers, you’ll follow signs for Afula and merge onto Route 65, which transports you all the way to Nazareth.

From Tel Aviv to Nazareth by public transport

The quickest way to make the jaunt to Nazareth using public transport is by taking a bus. The route is direct and begins at Tel Aviv’s Azrieli Mall. It takes just over 1.5 hours to reach the town and buses run several times per hour throughout the day.

Guided tour to Nazareth from Tel Aviv

Another option is to book a guided excursion to Nazareth. You’ll benefit from a convenient hotel pickup service around 8 AM and these day trips usually last between 10, and 12 hours, returning you to Tel Aviv in the early evening.

What is the typical itinerary?

All Nazareth day trips follow a slightly different itinerary, depending on the additional sites they visit. However, there are often many similarities between them.

Starting your day in Tel Aviv, you’ll begin the drive to the ancient city of Nazareth, founded in 2,200 B.C.

Here, you’ll step inside the Church of the Annunciation — the most significant religious monument in the city — as well as other interesting landmarks, including the Church of St. Joseph.

Moving on, many Nazareth day tours travel to the Sea of Galilee from the city, in order to feel closer to God. This is the spot where Jesus is thought to have been christened by John the Baptist.

While you’re at this crucial religious spot, you may have the opportunity to watch devoted Christians be baptized in the water. Alternatively, you can choose to do the deed yourself and feel connected with Christ in the Holy Land.

Other excursions may take you to the holy cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. These types of adventures usually take place over a number of days, enabling you to spend longer in each destination and dig deeper into the history of each site.

In these locations, you’ll participate in a walking tour of important landmarks, such as the Church of the Nativity and the Garden of Gethsemane, before returning to Tel Aviv.

What kinds of tours are available?

Day tours to Nazareth usually include a myriad of other fascinating destinations. Whether you want to be baptized in the Sea of Galilee, see the birthplace of Christ or gain aerial views of Jerusalem, there’s a tour to match your interests.

Guided tour to Nazareth plus the Sea of Galilee from Tel Aviv

Your day trip begins at the Bibically-significant city of Nazareth. Here, you’ll visit the Church of the Annunciation where it’s believed the foundations of Christianity were laid by an angel visiting Mary Magdalene.

You’ll also step into the Church of St. Joseph before continuing on to the Sea of Galilee and its surrounding ancient ruins. End your excursion by choosing to be christened at the Tiberias baptism spot on the Jordan River.

Private tour to Nazareth plus Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee from Tel Aviv

On a private day tour of Nazareth, you’ll be able to visit even more renowned landmarks, including the Mount of Precipice lookout point, which offers staggering views across the Jezreel Valley.

You’ll also pay a visit to the town of Kfar Cana, which is said to be where Jesus turned water into wine. Other notable sites on this excursion include the verdant Mount Of Beatitudes, Tiberias and Mount Tabor.

4-Day Christian tour to Nazareth plus Jerusalem, Jericho and Bethlehem from Tel Aviv

Those who want to delve further into the religious landmarks of Israel can take a 4-day tour that includes the holiest sites across the country.

Wander among the ancient olive trees scattered throughout the Garden of Gethsemane, walk in the footsteps of Christ through the old city of Jerusalem and witness the birthplace of Jesus in Bethlehem.

Tour the Biblical city of Jericho, head to Nazareth to find out where Mary was spoken to by the angel Gabriel and see multiple baptisms along the banks of the Sea of Galilee.

How much does a day trip to Nazareth from Tel Aviv cost?

Day trips to Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee cost approximately US$90. This includes entry fees, a professional guide and round-trip transportation.

Alternatively, you can opt for a private tour for around US$480 each.

Multi-day trips to Nazareth that include several of Israel’s highlights start at US$750 per person. These range up to US$1,190 each, depending on the type of accommodation you choose.

What will you see and do?

Church of the Annunciation

The Church of the Annunciation is a key landmark in the Christian faith. It was here that the Bible reports Mary Magdalene was visited by the angel Gabriel, who informed her of her fate.

The angel is said to have come before Mary to deliver a message that she would conceive and bear the Son of God. Mary is believed to have been between 14 and 16 years old at the time, which, during the 1st century B.C., was an appropriate time for women to begin bearing children.

This religious landmark is the largest in the Middle East, with a towering cupola that can be seen from around the city.

The origins of the church date back to the 4th century. Emperor Constantine I is thought to have commissioned the grand structure at the wish of his mother — Saint Helena.

The revered woman founded several churches in locations that were thought to be directly linked with key moments in the life of Christ.

However, the current site that visitors can tour is a 20th-century design on the same site as the older monument.

Church of St. Joseph

The Church of St. Joseph is a 20th-century Franciscan Roman Catholic Church, built upon the remains of a 7th-century place of worship.

This religious landmark is said to be constructed upon the ground where Joseph — Mary Magdalene’s husband — set up his carpentry workshop.

The legal father of Jesus, Joseph was thought to be betrothed to Mary at the time of her immaculate conception.

His plans to cancel the wedding after learning of her pregnancy came to a halt after he was visited by an angel of the Lord. In this dream, he was convinced to marry Mary and name the baby, Jesus.

The Church of St. Joseph is set over a complex cave system and the chapel is home to several exquisite works of stained-glass art. These depict Bible scenes of Joseph and include his death in the arms of Mary, and Jesus.

When is the best time to visit Nazareth?

The best time to plan a day trip to Nazareth is during the spring or fall months when the temperatures are pleasant and range between 20, and 25 degrees Celsius.

There are many festivals that occur in Nazareth throughout the year, including during Hannukah. Check out the city’s annual calendar if you wish to see local customs and traditions come to life on your excursion.

Are there any tours to Nazareth from other cities in Israel?

Yes, there are tours departing from other cities in Israel:

Travel tips

  • Be respectful of local customs by dressing modestly on your Nazareth day tour. Your shoulders and knees must be covered, and women should carry a headscarf.
  • Much of Israel’s community is Jewish and as such, observes Shabbat every week. Because of this, many businesses, including shops and restaurants, are closed on Saturdays.
  • Visit Nazareth outside of the peak tourist months of July and August to enjoy cooler conditions, and a more peaceful tour of the city.