Many pilgrims visit the Holy Land to “walk in the footsteps of Jesus,” but spend most of their time on a bus! The Jesus Trail, a 60-kilometer pilgrimage hiking trail in the Galilee region of Israel, aims to provide an alternative way of experiencing the sites on foot. The Jesus Trail connects sites from the life of the Jesus, as well as beautiful scenery and other sites of historical interest.
The Jesus Trail begins in Nazareth, Jesus’ childhood home and now the largest Arab city in Israel. Hikers can enjoy the hustle and bustle of the Old City market, learn about the time period of Jesus at the open air museum Nazareth Village, sample delicious local sweets, and even spend the night in a restored Ottoman mansion at the Fauzi Azar Inn.
The first day, hikers walk from Nazareth to Zippori, an impressive archeological site that was an important administrative city at the time of Jesus. From Zippori, the trail continues through the village of Meshhed to Kfar Cana, the traditional site of Jesus’ first miracle of turning water to wine. A small family-run guesthouse has started in Cana where walkers can enjoy hospitality with a local family.
The next day, the trail continues through tranquil forests to the Moshav of Ilaniya, where an organic goat farm offers charming rustic cabins and fresh goat cheese. Or if hikers continue a bit further, they can stay at Hotel Lavi, in one of Israel’s few religious kibbutzim. The third day is the most scenic, as the trail winds over the Horns of Hattin with its magnificent view of the entire trail, and continues to Nebi Shu’eib, the holiest site in the Druze religion and a peaceful place to stop for lunch and refill water bottles.
From there, hikers continue through ancient olive groves in the Arbel Valley to arrive at Moshav Arbel for an overnight in this peaceful village. The final day, the trail continues down the dramatic Arbel Cliffs, which provide an amazing view of the entire Sea of Galilee. Through the plain of Ginosar, hikers then arrive to the northern Sea of Galilee to visit sites such as Tabgha, the site of the multiplication of loaves and fishes, St. Peter’s Primacy church on the peaceful shoreline, and finally Capernaum, the base of Jesus’ ministry.
The Jesus Trail philosophy is that hiking trails are a way to bring people together and build bridges between different communities. The Jesus Trail aims to provide excellent resources for hikers, to connect diverse communities, to encourage economic development in rural areas and to encourage environmental awareness and protection. An excellent guidebook to the trail is available:
Hiking the Jesus Trail and Other Biblical Walks in the Galilee
It is also possible to book 7-day/6-night tour packages on the trail.
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