Ein Gev, a kibbutz and holiday resort located on the eastern shores of the Sea of Galilee, has evolved over the last few years into a truly great attraction for all the family!
Originally founded in 1937, Ein Gev is one of Israel’s most famous kibbutzim, renowned just as much as for its front-line years as the target of Syrian shelling from the Golan hills behind it, as for its banana plantations and legendary fish restaurant.
Those of you bitten by the temptations of the beautiful Galilee region will be glad to know that the risk of Syrian shells has long gone (since Israel captured the Golan Heights in 1967) and Ein Gev has invested heavily in its tourism side to cater for all the family, with a great range of things to see and do, including:
There are also some great accommodation options at Ein Gev if you fall in love with the area (extremely possible!), with some of the holiday flats just meters from the lapping waves of the Sea of Galilee (see the official site for more details). You can also camp out at the adjacent Susita beach.
And if you’re just intent on whiling away a few leisurely hours at Ein Gev you’re still going to have a great time; we took a day out of our busy schedules to visit Ein Gev with the kids (aged 3, 6 and 7), and loved it (see below for more details on what we enjoyed, and don’t miss the video at the end of the article)!
Even if you don’t come for the attractions listed, Ein Gev is such a beautiful spot on the coast of the Sea of Galilee that it really is worth a stopover just for a walk along the recently renovated promenade and harbor. Sunset hour couldn’t be more magical…
The following list is what we managed to squeeze into a day’s visit to Ein Gev. Just be aware there’s lots to do at Ein Gev, you might not squeeze everything in!
No question, the boat ride on the Sea of Galilee was the attraction that wowed us most!
We set sail on a perfect Autumn morning from the small harbor at Ein Gev. The Sea of Galilee was as flat as a pancake, and the sky full of fluffy white clouds – perfect for sailing!
The ride typically lasts 45 minutes or so, but we struck it lucky when sailing by one of the kibbutz fishing boats out at sea, which had hauled in a mighty TEN tons of sardines in one catch (apparently it doesn’t happen often)! They treated us to a real shower of sardines being poured out of their nets and into a waiting barge. Hence our boat ride lasted for some 90 minutes.
Perhaps the real highlight, at least for the kids anyway, was on the return leg back to port. Armed with some pieces of stale bread, we all started throwing the bread out to see, much to the delight of the flock of seagulls that soon swarmed around the bow of the boat. It was quite spectacular watching some of the birds successfully diving after chunks of bread before they hit the water!
Our boat ride was on one of the bigger metal boats at Ein Gev that can take up to 150 people (the boats are actually part of Ein Gev Sailing, which runs a number of different cruises on the Sea of Galilee, including to Tiberias – check their official site for more details or call 04-6658036).
Cost: 30 shekels per person, under 5s ride for free. On Fridays there is a special boat ride that includes fishing, this ride costs 39 shekels.
In our opinion – worth every shekel!
This is definitely one for the kids, as Sabba Yossi (Grandad Yossi) and his merry band of helpers will turn any kid into a happy craftsman, complete with some self-made handiwork to take home!
You (or your kids) can choose what you’d like to build, and then get cracking, under the guidance of Yossi or one of his assistants. Your kids will learn how to paint and color their item, and then also get some hands-on drilling and hammering that will please them no end!
There is also an adjoining adventure park, made entirely from wood, which is great for the little ones to let off some steam. It’s also full of great little educational devices built by Yossi that will get those small brains working overtime! There’s also a chill-out zone for parents, who can sit back and relax as they watch their little cherubs.
Cost: The cost of the workshop will depend on the item you build, so check with Yossi about the range of options. The adventure park costs 25 shekels per child.
Take a ride on the Kibbutz Experience train that takes you through the grounds of the kibbutz (the train is hard to miss, you’ll find it parked in the main car park of Ein Gev).
You’ll get to see the kibbutz at work, including a ride through the kibbutz cow sheds (pinch your noses!), and a stopover in the banana plantations (including an explanation of how bananas grow – no spoilers here, I’m afraid!).
You’ll also get to see the more historical elements of the kibbutz, including the children’s house, where kibbutz children used to live and sleep, and the no-thrills accommodation options for other kibbutz members. And just a quick aside – Teddy Kolleck, the famous mayor of Jerusalem, was one of the founding members of the kibbutz.
An enjoyable ride round the kibbutz that the kids will love!
Cost: Adults 18 shekels, and children over 3, 16 shekels.
If you’re feeling peckish – and all that sea air will surely have you ready to slice up and eat a horse – you’ll be pleased to know there are a number of eating options at Ein Gev.
The main option is the renowned Ein Gev fish restaurant, a huge restaurant that typically caters for large groups of tourists, but that also has intimate little areas you can dine in, with a view of the Sea of Galilee to boot. The staff are friendly and very knowledgeable (and also very helpful in our goal for a gluten-free meal for our daughter), and the food delicious, even if you’re not a fish fan.
Our hot tip: try the local Saint Peter’s fish. Opening hours in the Summer are 11:30 – 22:00, and in the Winter 11:30 – 21:00. Telephone: 04-6658008.
Another option is the meat restaurant Marinado, which also includes a gluten-free menu. This is a unique kosher meat restaurant, overlooking the Sea of Galilee and the fishing and boat harbor. Typically open from noon til the last customer leaves. As it’s kosher, it is NOT open on Shabbat. Telephone: 04-6658037.
There is also a great little juice shop/cafe in the main car park (look for the huge plastic orange!), where you can find some fresh juices, coffees, cakes, and ice-creams.
All in all we loved Ein Gev, and can highly recommend it for some awesome Galilee goodness – for all the family!