Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus Christ, is the largest city in Israel’s Northern Galilee—also known as the Arab capital of the country. A plethora of sites deeply rooted in religious significance are located here, including Mary’s Well and Saint Joseph’s Church.
The region has a lot to offer and you should take advantage: Nazareth Village is an open-air museum and restored farm built on ancient land, which features a wine press, first-century house replicas and a synagogue. In the city itself is the Synagogue Church, where Jesus was rumored to worship in his younger years. Also worth mentioning is Megiddo National Park—around 30 minutes from Nazareth to Bethlehem—a UNESCO World Heritage Site where the remains of century-old palaces, temples and gates rest from the Canaanite period.
Tours & Experiences
Abraham has several exciting opportunities in Nazareth that delve into religion, explore the culture and celebrate the heart and soul of local cuisine.
- Eat, Pray, Love Tour: Includes a snapshot of the Old City of Nazareth, including sites of religious significance for both Christians and Muslims, visiting the oldest mill in Nazareth, a local tasting tour and a stop at Israel’s original coffee shop.
- Nazareth Free Tour: Our daily free tour of Nazareth is a trip spanning two millennia, back when the city was a rural Jewish village. Explore the Old City Market, visit Mary’s Well, The White Mosque and hear legendary stories on this tip-based tour through one of Israel’s largest northern cities.
- Traditional Cooking Workshop: This cooking workshop at Fauzi Azar is a discovery of local tastes with a home-cooked meal. Expect local spices to be a staple of every dish! Vegetarian and vegan options are available.
- Jesus Trail: Nazareth is the perfect springboard to venture onto Cana and further afield, in the footsteps of Jesus. History, religion and spirituality collide on this once-in-a-lifetime trail through time.
Fauzi Azar by Abraham
Nazareth’s Fauzi Azar is a 19th-century mansion turned one-of-a-kind guesthouse that reopened in 2005 after undergoing a transformation. The hostel welcomes guests from all over the world and is located near the renowned Nazareth market, one of the city’s most interesting attractions that have likely drawn you to this very city.
An open courtyard mansion formerly owned by the Azar family is now a hostel welcoming people from all backgrounds and faiths to join together in community spirit. As an impetus for attracting crowds of tourists to the area, the hotel offers grand private rooms, guest kitchens, lounges, and even Arabic classes.
Fauzi Azar By Abraham
Bethlehem, a predominantly Muslim town in the West Bank, is where you will find the Church of the Nativity—the birthplace of Jesus. It’s also the Christian pilgrimage epicenter, where thousands annually immerse in the Christmas spirit and true essence of the festival. If you find yourself embarking on a journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, there’s much to do and much to see—this quaint little town is full of wonder. Here’s where to start:
- Milk Grotto Church: Also known as the Grotto of Our Lady, the church, built in 1872, is claimed to be where Mary spilled a drop of milk whilst nursing a young Jesus, turning the stone to white. It’s also the traditional place where the Holy Family was said to seek refuge during the Massacre of the Innocents, prior to their fleeing to Egypt. Open to the public daily, visiting hours vary slightly between summer and winter.
- Church of Shepherds’ Field: Two sites commemorate where the angel first announced the birth of Jesus Christ. The Greek-Orthodox site features a red domed church rising above remains from the Byzantine era, whereas the Roman-Catholic Site, less than a quarter mile away, is distinguished for its delicate murals depicting the nativity of Jesus and the Shepherds.
- Rachel’s Tomb: As the burial place of prominent biblical figure Rachel, the beloved wife of Jacob, this white-domed tomb is significant among Christians, Muslims and Jewish people. The exact place of Rachel’s burial is still disputed to this day, with some certain it’s further north, although many agree it rests on the ancient road between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
- Herodion National Park: Just 5km southeast of Bethlehem is the ancient fortress and town known as Herodion. The national park is where King Herod the Great built an incredible palace and town following his victory over the Parthians—and named it after himself. The ancient site contains preserved ruins, ritual baths and other remains from over 2,000 years ago.
Nazareth to Bethlehem
Bethlehem is located approximately 10km south of Jerusalem in the West Bank. You can travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem by bus, although it will require you to switch more than once, with a total journey time of around three hours. As there is no Israeli bus service to Bethlehem, you will need to take a Palestinian-operated bus company from the East Jerusalem Bus Station. The 231 bus runs from early morning to evening and costs $2 per journey. Expect a journey time somewhere between 30-45 minutes, including checkpoints. Private shuttles are another option to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem, although they can be very costly.
- Bethlehem Tour: Capturing the character and culture of Bethlehem, this tour is steeped in religion and spirituality. Highlights of The Church of the Nativity and the Milk Grotto are accompanied by gripping tales of this historical, world-famous city.
- Best of the West Bank Tour: A jam-packed day exploring Bethlehem, Jericho and Ramallah, this tour gives a fascinating insight into an occupied region that’s no stranger to controversy. You’ll visit the special baptism site of Jesus at Qasr-el-Yahud, wander the modern-day streets of Ramallah, head to the famous sites of Bethlehem and see the barrier separating the West Bank with Israel, decorated with artwork by none other than Banksy.