The Sea of Galilee is known by several different names, including Lake Kinneret, but they all refer to the same body of water: the largest freshwater lake in Israel. It is the lowest freshwater lake in the world, and the second-lowest body of water overall, after the Dead Sea. The main source is the Jordan River, though there are several underground springs that feed into the sea. The Sea of Galilee is thriving with life, making fishing an important source of income for many locals for more than 2,000 years, though tourism has become the main source, as many vacationers come seeking the beauty and serenity of Lake Kinneret.
The lake has been mentioned in the history of several civilizations, from the ancient Egyptians to biblical references. The Egyptians remarked on the healthful benefits of the saltwater springs surrounding the lake, and the Sea of Galilee, referred to by a variety of different names in the Bible, was an important body of water during the life of Jesus and his disciples; along the banks, visitors can find the site of the Sermon on the Mount and the ancient ruins of the Capernaum Synagogue.
It is said that Jesus spent much of his time in Galilee Israel; four of his disciples were found, fishing in the sea, when he called them to be his followers. He is also said to have performed several miracles here as well, including walking on the water, calming the storm, and feeding 5,000 people with only a miniscule amount of bread and fish. Travelers who are coming to Israel for pilgrimages or those who are simply interested in religious history are sure to find this site worth a visit.
Many civilizations occupied the shores of Lake Kinneret, including the Greeks, Romans, the Byzantine Empire, and the Arabians. Tiberias was one of the most famous of settlements along the shores of the lake, hence another popular name for the sea: Lake Tiberias. The Sea of Galilee was once a border between Israel and Syria; however, Israel took control of the opposite shore of the lake, Golan Heights, during the Six-Day War in 1967, and the sea is now completely part of Israel, though the effects of that conflict are still evident in the politics of the Middle East.
There are several Galilee tours available to guests, which include stops at Christian historical sites, ancient ruins of the Roman Empire, the Nimrod Castle, and a 2,000-year-old fishing boat. These Galilee tours are offered in a variety of different ways, from day tours to weekend trips to journeys across the Holy Land with the Sea of Galilee included on the itinerary.
Visitors to Israel often gravitate towards the great Sea of Galilee for the history and beauty locked into the landscape surrounding the quiet waters. Tourists are welcome to travel through the area on their own if they don't choose to book one of the professional Galilee tours, but be sure to make plans in advance. The city of Tiberias, on the edge of the sea, has plenty of hotels and hostels available for travelers who wish to stay here and use it as a base to explore the area. Tiberias is easily reached by bus from Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, or you can travel there by rental car.