Named after the second ruler of the Roman Empire, Tiberias in Israel lives up to the grandeur of its name. It's one of the Jewish Four Holy Cities, and its Tomb of Maimonides and Abulafia (Etz Chaim) Synagogue are pilgrimage sites for Christians and Jews. For travellers, it holds sway as a glittering Sea of Galilee destination with golden beaches, ancient hot springs and a fun, floating water park.
Look out for hostels in Tiberias with outdoor common areas, from a designated chill-out terrace to a rooftop bar where you can sit and gaze at the freshwater lake. There also spots with leafy backyards with patios – perfect for barbecues. If you're here for the beaches, stay at a Tiberias hostel minutes away from the sands. Many places will give you custom-made city maps to help you get the best out of the region.
The old city of Tiberias is an atmospheric neighbourhood that's home to key sights like St Peter's Church and the Great Mosque. Yigal Alon Promenade is a little more modern with its restaurants dotted beside the water as well as a marina and fish market. For shopping, the only mall in the city is on Yehuda Halevi Street. There are 10 beaches in and around Tiberias; one of the most popular is Bora Bora Beach, which has a couple of bars, water sports and regular parties.
There's plenty to do here. Hamat Tveriya National Park has a series of 17 hot springs, used as far back as Roman times. There's also a 4th-century synagogue with an intricately designed Zodiac wheel mosaic, about 4km from the city centre. Back in Tiberias, you could climb to the Citadel, an Ottoman-era structure and Tiberias' highest point, which houses an art gallery. Active travellers can swim in the Sea of Galilee (also known as Lake Tiberias) or hire a bike and take on the 65-km circuit around it's shores.
Tiberias is small enough to stroll around, and you can hop on a bus from the Central Bus Station to northern or southern areas along the coast. You can get to the city from other traveller-friendly destinations like Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and Nazareth via the main bus station too. From Jenin, Nablus and Ramallah, shared taxis (sheruts) are available. Bus line No 5 stops at most of the attractions in town as well as the Big Fashion Daniloff Mall on Yehuda Halevi Street.