Getting There & Around
By Car-Nazareth is in the center of the lower Galilee, set in the largest and most fertile valley in Israel, the Yizreel Valley, often called simply Ha-Emek (“the valley”); it lies between the Galilee mountains to the north and the Samaria range to the south, midway between Haifa and Tiberias. From Tiberias, take Rte. 77, and turn south onto Rte. 754 near Kana, which will take you into Nazareth. From Haifa, take Rte. 75.
A warning: Nazareth has a “bypass,” a road that circles the town, which explains the confusing signs that point in opposite directions for the same destination. One of these destinations is Nazareth Elit (or Nazerat Illit—meaning Upper Nazareth), the new, modern, mostly Jewish area to the north, planned by the government to create a Jewish community beside the city of Nazareth. Its a separate municipality.
For Nazareth itself, you’ll want to go down Pope Paul VI Street and into the center of Nazareth, you follow the signs to the Basilica of the Annunciation, Nazareth’s principal religious monument off Pope Paul VI Street on Casa Nova Street (also known as Bishara or Annunciation St.).
By Bus-Major cities offer bus service to Nazareth, though there isn’t a central bus station: Intercity buses stop at Pope Paul VI Street near Bank Hapoalim. Egged Information is just across from the bank, open daily 6am-6pm, and is best to approach for the most convenient bus route for your destination. Buses to Haifa or Tiberias depart approximately every half hour. Nazareth Municipal Buses get you up the steep hill to the Salesian and Nazareth Illit neighborhoods. The website for the Jesus Trail organization provides the best information on travel to and from Nazareth. Abraham Hostels in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv also run minibus shuttles to Nazareth (a more private, direct option costing just a few dollars more each direction).
City Layout-Use the basilica’s huge cupola, topped by a beacon, as your landmark—everything you’ll need is within sight of the basilica. There are very few street signs, and building numbers are often in Arabic. Remember that it’s downhill to the basilica and the center of town from most points in the city. The main roadway downhill into Nazareth (and uphill out of it) is separated into a right-hand roadway, clogged with cars parking, unloading, and waiting; and a central, less-gridlocked roadway for (we hope) moving traffic.
Casa Nova Street is the approach to the basilica, and on it you’ll find restaurants, cafes, hotels, hospices, and the Tourist Information Office.
To get a feel for old Nazareth, turn into the narrow alleys that wind up and back into the terraced limestone ridges, and wander through the narrow cobbled streets of the Arab Market. Keep in mind that Nazareth is completely closed on Sunday and in full swing on Saturday. Interesting eateries, venues for small concerts, readings, and theatrical performances are opening in the beautiful, freshly restored old mansions off the main streets of the town center.
Visitor Information-The Nazareth Tourism Association Information Office (tel. 04/657-0555) is on Casa Nova Street (also called El Bishara St. or Annunciation St.) near the intersection with Pope Paul VI Street, open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 5pm, Saturday from 9am to 1pm. The Tourism Association’s website is filled with excellent information on places of interest, walks, shopping, and food. The Fauzi Azar Inn gives excellent and free walking tours of the Old City Mon-Fri at 9:30am and Sat at 12:30pm and is a helpful one-stop shop for maps and information about the area.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.