6 Fun Things to do in Nazareth, Israel [Beyond Christian Pilgrimage Sites]

cool cafes nazareth
Quirky cool cafes all around the old city of Nazareth

Nazareth is said to be the Arab capital of Israel with immense biblical importance. This small, cute, hill town took me by surprise as my shuttle bus from Jerusalem drove through narrow steep cobbled paths. I found myself making mental notes and soon enough had a list of fun things to do in Nazareth Israel and places I would like to see.

nazareth israel

First look at Nazareth

With my rusty Biblical knowledge and zero planning skills, I was happy to see the beautiful quiet town of Nazareth and felt good about booking 3 nights in the old city.

I was told there’s not much to do in Nazareth and one or two days are generally sufficient. As a slow traveler, I had to take some time out to work, relax and explore Nazareth on foot and even after spending 3 nights in Nazareth, I felt there was a lot more to see and do in the town.

With some interesting Nazareth attractions on my wish list, I knew my Nazareth itinerary would be the right mix of relaxation and exploration.

Here are some top Nazareth day tours to try – Nazareth tour to Sea of Galilee or this day tour including Mount Tabor.

So let me show you the highlights of this town in my Nazareth blog.

6 Cool and Fun Things to do in Nazareth

things to do on Nazareth

Nazareth, like other cities of Israel, has many shrines and sites that hold special importance in Christianity and form part of routes like the popular ‘Jesus Trail’.  Places like – Mary’s well, Basilica of the Annunciation, St. Joseph’s Church, underground Synagogue and more commemorate biblical events and hence are part of every Nazareth itinerary.

However, I spent my time trying out other cool and fun things to do in Nazareth as I had my fair share of the religious circuit in Jerusalem. With so many places to visit in Nazareth it can be a daunting spot to pick what you want to do in a short time. So here are some options –

Take a Stroll Around Nazareth Old City

cool cafes nazareth

Quirky cool cafes all around the old city of Nazareth

Nazareth old city is a lot of fun to explore. With so many cute coffee shops, unique souvenir stores, cute cobbled streets, street food options and bookstores, there’s always a spot where you can spend sometime chilling. So if you are wondering what to do in Nazareth in a short time then a lazy stroll around the old city should definitely be on your list.

Stay in a 200-year-old Arab Mansion

fauzi azar inn

Stone walls and floors at Fauzi Azar add to the rustic atmosphere

Yes! You read it right. You can indeed stay inside a beautifully decorated 200-year-old Arab mansion in the heart of old city of Nazareth, called – Fauzi Azar Inn by Abraham Hostels

If you are wondering what to see in Nazareth, then this old Arab mansion should surely be on top of your Nazareth travel itinerary.

Ranked #7 hostel in the world by Lonely Planet in 2014,  Fauzi Azar oozes of old world atmosphere, elegance and grandeur. I must admit, the stay was one of the highlights of my visit to Nazareth.

Fauzi azar nazareth

Stunning lounge area of Fauzi Azar , at night!

If you happen to be in Nazareth, I would highly recommend booking this property. They have dorms as well as privates and family rooms, making it easy for all sorts of travelers. With free breakfast, daily free walking tours, live Arabic music nights, Arabic language classes, cooking classes and other exciting tours you can join –  this is the perfect base for exploring Nazareth.

Take a Free Walking Tour

Fauzi Azar by Abraham hostels, offers daily free walking tours. The tour takes you around local shops briefing you on the history of the old city, Fauzi Azar and Nazareth in general.

nazareth old town

Walking around the Old town of Nazareth on lovely cobbled streets

Our guide that day was Rabea and we instantly hit it off. He even invited me for some home cooked Arab meals and I knew I had made a new friend in this small town. I noticed Israeli’s were always kind, friendly and welcoming, which busts most myths we have heard back home. A big learning from my trip was to never judge a book by its cover – just read and find out for yourself.

Book a Day Tour

Since Nazareth is a small, quiet town, there is not much to do and see in the city itself. Hence, it is advisable to book a day trip to explore further or do the longer hike on the Jesus trail.

nazareth day tour

Visit to this Baha’i temple was part of my Haifa day tour ex Nazareth

From kayaking in the sea of Galilee to horse backing on the Jesus trail, there are plenty of options for day tours from Nazareth. My pick was Haife, Acre and Rosh Hanikra tour which I embarked on day two.

Click here to read my full review of the tour and what to expect.

Visit the Oldest Coffee Shop in Israel

The oldest cafe in Israel – Cafe Abu Salem, is often overlooked by both locals and tourists. Opened in the year 1914, it primarily consists of all-male elderly clientele playing backgammon with their hot mugs of “Inar” (traditional drink with cinnamon and nuts). As a rule of thumb, the person who loses, pays for the drinks. Just watching these elderly men reliving their yesteryear’s (some of them have been frequenting the place since over 50 years now) was amazing. I would say it is surely one of the coolest place to visit in Nazareth.

The current owner Wissam is wonderful to talk to and extremely welcoming. He made us all a mug of Inar and against my initial apprehensions (since I dislike cinnamon), I ended up enjoying this warm concoction.

cafe abu salem

With Wissam 🙂

Cafe Abu Salem is part of most day tours and walking tours in Nazareth so its surely a fun add on to your itinerary.

Learn How to Cook Freekeh

Book a traditional Arab cooking class at Fauzi Azar and learn one of the best local dishes called Freekeh. This delicacy is made from chick peas (Israeli’s love their chick peas – think hummus!), green wheat, spices and chicken and trust me it tastes wonderful. I could relate it somewhat with the dish “khichdi” we have in India but only the way it looked, in taste, it was totally different.

After cooking it together as a group, with guidance of Fauzi’s staff, we then gathered around to enjoy the meal. The hostel even had two bottles of wine sent for our group which made bonding easier and the whole experience that much more enjoyable.

arab cooking class

Enjoying Freekeh and wine with the cool cooking class group

Best Time to Visit Nazareth, Israel

April, May, September, and October are the best months to visit Nazareth as they are warm and dry. Winters can be wet with snowfall and summers can be very hot and humid.

Is Nazareth Safe to Visit?

As a solo female traveler in Nazareth, I never really felt unsafe anywhere. I was also there for a short time but walking around alone felt totally safe. I didn’t venture out at night as the quiet town was even quieter after sundown with not much to do.

I found this cool Nazareth travel vlog by an Israeli news channel with secrets on what to do in Nazareth Israel, offbeat spots, insider tips and more –

Where to Stay in Nazareth

There are many guest houses, hotels, homestays, apartments and hostels in Nazareth.

Budget sleeps in Nazareth

If you are on a shoestring budget and want to meet locals, you can try Couchsurfing as there aren’t many budget stays in general in Israel.

Mid-Range Accommodation in Nazareth

Fauzi Azar By Abraham Hostels – Surely the best accommodation in Nazareth with privates and dorms in a 200-year-old Arab renovated mansion. What better way to live and indulge in local culture than being a part of it?

eConci Apartments – Spacious apartments near Mary’s well.

Sage&Thyme Apartments – Suites in the heart of Nazareth – perfect for families.

Luxury Stays in Nazareth

There aren’t any luxury hotels or resorts in the small hill town of Nazareth. So most luxury stays are just lovely cozy apartments for the entire family or a bunch of friends. Here are some top-rated apartments in Nazareth for your next trip –

Emil House 

Mark House 

The Garden Apartment 

Nazareth Map

There are so many other things to do in Nazareth as well, if you plan on hitting the tourist spots aka Christian sites too. You will be surprised that it is actually easy to even spend a week in Nazareth without getting bored or running out of options. Simply reading a book in a cafe, walking up and down the steep paths or interacting with locals can make your trip to Nazareth a big success.

10 Comments

  1. hI WONDERFUL TO READ THIS. DID YOU TRAVEL ALONE TO ISRAEL? I AM PLANNING TO. WOULD LOVE TO TOUCHBASE WITH YOU.

  2. Hi can you please let me know if you had any problem getting a visa to israel? I am told it is difficult without going thru a travel agent. I am from India. can you please share your itinerary and transport mode from place to place? thank you. warm regards. bhanu

  3. Hi Jo, I have gone through your Israel Archives. I want to spend around 12 days in Israel-starting from Haifa(three nights-will do Acre one day, Masada one day, local one day), Nazarath(four nights will do Tiberias one day, golan heights and sea of galilee one day, and two extra days here),
    Jerusalem(four nights-will do local two days,Jericho o day and bethleham one day). from Jerusalem I fly to Amman.
    can You please tweek this itinerary for me-or is this adequate and doable by local transportation?

    I wanted to do eilat and cross over to Jordan from there but seems too far away and difficult. what is your suggestion for this? Thanks and regards. Bhanu

  4. Wow sounds quite good actually. I missed few of these attractions myself. I would highly recommend dead sea ( i think u will do that with the masada tour) , judean desert is also stunning. Arent you visiting Tel Aviv? I LOVED that city – so modern and vibrant.
    I haven’t been to Jordan yet so cannot help you there but for local transfers I used the Abraham bus shuttle which you can book on their website 🙂 Staying with them is also a big plus as a solo traveler and doing the group tours is the best way to meet people quickly 🙂

  5. would you like to join me for jordan? November first week 2019

  6. WOW. NEXT IN MY LIST FOR 2020. PLEASE TELL ME ABRAHAM’S HOSTEL IS AVAILABLE IN NAZARATH I KNOW. DO THEY HAVE A PREESENCE IN JERUSALEM AND HAIFA AS WELL? i AM NOT ABLE TO MAKE OUT FROM THEIR WEBSITE.

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