Tuesday’s Travel Tips #5 — The Swiss Forest

Many tour/study groups have enjoyed and profited from the view offered above the cliffs of Arbel looking over the Plain of Gennesaret and the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Plain of Gennesaret from the top of the Arbel Cliffs

However, since the Israel Nature and Parks Authority has taken control of the site, groups must enter before 4:00 pm (3:00 in winter; earlier on Shabbat) and this really cramps its availability for groups that are use to arriving in the Sea of Galilee area around 5:00 or 6:00 pm.

For groups arriving to late to visit the Arbel Cliffs a reasonable alternative is a visit and stop in the “Swiss Forest” (Heb. Ya’ar Shvaits).  A good paved road runs through this forest and a number of observation platforms have been constructed.

From the Swiss Forest looking down on to Tiberias to the north

From them one has great views (especially in the late afternoon sun) looking down on Tiberias, Hamat Tiberias, the south end of the Sea of Galilee and of course across the sea to the Golan Heights.

In this quiet setting the tour leader/guide can talk about the history of Tiberias, pointing out ancient, medieval, and modern landmarks.

For additional images from the Swiss Forest Click Here.

Directions — you will need to consult a map but the road (not numbered) is parallel to and between highways 90 and 768.  The north entrance to the Swiss Forest road is from highway 77 that leads into Tiberias (a right turn east, at the gas station just before the “normal” left turn to go to the Arbel Cliffs and then a left at the first roundabout).  The south entrance is east of Poriya Ilit (turn east off of Hwy 768 on to 7677 and then head north on the Swiss Forest road,  just before reaching the newly remodeled Youth Hostel).  The observation platforms are along the northern 1/3 of the road.

The classic views from the top of the Arbel of the north shore of the Sea of Galilee, the Plain of Gennesaret, the Nahal Amud, and the hills of Upper Galilee are missing (sigh!), but if the Arbel is not an option, you may want to consider the Swiss Forest.

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