The Sea of Galilee: a place NOT to visit during holiday season

Unfortunately, there comes a time when we have to hand out some home truths about the Holy Land. Yes, we do love the place, as you might have guessed already, but as we’re also here to give you the lowdown (the crap) on what really happens here in Israel, it’s time we should tell you about visiting the Sea of Galilee during the holiday season…

In a nutshell, visiting the Sea of Galilee during peak holiday season (a week in Passover/Pessach, a week or two over the Jewish New Year (usually in September), and most of July and August – check out our guide on the best time to visit Israel) is not for the faint-hearted. Seriously, if you can handle very crowded beaches, litter everywhere, music blasting from cars and tents, and with hordes of arseim to complement the scene, feel free to check out the Sea of Galilee in holiday season. Otherwise, you might want to steer clear. Very clear.

Some might say that every major tourist attraction in Israel is the same during the high season, and yes, crowds will certainly be a factor. But there’s something special about the Sea of Galilee that brings out the worst in Israel.

Maybe it’s my aversion to the ding-a-ling Mediterranean music blasting out from every possible tent, phone, stereo or singalong-an-arseim campfire session. Or the fact that the beach facilities just cannot take the volume of people and their accompanying litter (despite the local authorities promises pre-holiday season). Or the fact that camping out at the Sea of Galilee (great to do, just not in holiday season) is a mad race to grab a spot which quickly turns into a battle not to be overrun. Yes, try swinging a cat at the entrance to your tent and see how many arseim you can take out.

Yes, camping out at the Sea of Galilee, and even swimming there, is not the funnest thing ever in holiday season. Of course, there are plenty of other attractions in the area, including some of Christianity’s holiest sites, and they’ll still be accessible and very enjoyable (I doubt you’ll even spot any arseim). But really, when there, aren’t you going to want to dip your feet into some of that shimmering, enticing Sea of Galilee water…?

And no, this isn’t an article knocking the Sea of Galilee. I live just 15 minutes away and it’s one of the most amazing and beautiful places in Israel. It’s just you need to know when to really appreciate it and have that warm, fuzzy feeling stay with you, long after you’ve returned home…

4 Comments

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  4. Tim

    April 9, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    “Yes, try swinging a cat at the entrance to your tent and see how many arseim you can take out.” – lovely turn of phrase!

    Like you say, you have to pick the right moment to head up there. We stayed at Ein Gev right at the beginning of last September and had a wonderful time.

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