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Tiberias, one of the four Holiest cities (as mentioned in the Torah), should be an awesome city with a reputation so grand. Sadly, apart from Maimonadies grave, the city itself isn't the most fascinating spot. It does have a center with some cafes, smoothie stands, and little booth-like shops, but for the most part its a bit frantic and smelly. I'd like to point out some nice places surrounding Tiberias so that you can say you've been there but not have to spend too much of your trip in the city itself.
Walking out of the Central Bus Station, eastward towards the Sea of Galilee, you should make a left on the first street. Two blocks up you will smell the potent aroma of baked bread wafting from Maafiat Elit. This bakery has many fresh breads and the occasional pastry. The benefit here is that they use butter in all of their products, including many whole grain options. The garlic rolls are really good. Garlic bread in hebrew: "lekhem shoom".
Go back down towards the Bus Station with your newly aquired snacks and head Eastward again. Go about two blocks and you'll hit about 3 shoe stores in a row. Know that Tiberians take fashion very seriously. You'll have plenty of shopping options in this area.
Make a right onto Golani Street and you've hit the center. If you come during the holidays you may see Orthodox men waving chickens in the air, but thats only for those with good timing.
On your left you will pass some clothes stores and ultimately reach the largest central building, Bank HaPoalim. You can go down the stairs to check out some hair salons, eyeglass stores, and other smaller shops or you can keep walking past it--its a little grimy down there anyway. Cotinuing on Golani, there is a street with a stoplight with cobblestones on the left side and the open air market on the right. Cobblestones tend to have little booths on Friday before the Sabbath, sometimes selling art or hand made jewelry.
My favorite Cafe is on this cobblestone street, called Ci-Cafe. Try to get a table upstairs--its quiet and smoke free. They also have tasty food and desserts.
Head down towards the direction of the water and you'll reach a decent promenade. At night is comes more alive with merchants selling jewlery. Don't be surprised if you hear a lot of loud music: this doesnt mean that a club is nearby. Its common to see people park their cars, open the doors, and blast their radios, particularly on a Saturday night.
I don't recommend eating at Big Ben. If you are eating in Tiberias, eat at Hummus Issa.
Tiberias also has a few ancient sites, such as the burial site of Maimonidies (RamBam in Hebrew), an old mosque by the Northbound exit of the city, and some sort of Scottish Tower.
If you do happen to be staying in Tiberias, there is a very nice bar at the bottom of the promenade. Turn left when you walk down towards the Sea, and shortly you will see a sign called Papaya (I think, unless I'm getting my fruit mixed up). The inside is mostly open air so all of the irritating cigarette smoke can fly free. Only the bar is covered. The best bartender is Vic who will make you a drink to match your mood. I really liked the Chichi which was like a spruced up Pina colada but the Kangaroo was also a good recommendation. They also serve food: the mini toasts are good to share.
If its a hot day, you'll want to get to the water. There is a water park right outside of Tiberias, called Hof Gai. Not the most high tech of water parks but its a good place to get your feet wet. Oddly located across the street from a Cemetary...nice dichotamy.
The Tiberias Hot Springs are right near by, with an old, original bath house (hamam) on the side of the road (cemetary side). The modern hot springs on the other side of the street has hot pools, jacuzzis and spa facilities. The tomb of Rabbi Meir, one of Rabbi Akiva's closest students, is recognizable by its blue dome.
If the cemetary sounds more interesting to you, head further South to another interesting cemetary where famous Israeli poet, "Rachel", is burried. The cemetary is called Kinneret Cemetary, and you can participate in the Jewish custom of placing a stone on her grave. Suggested: read her poetry, which can be found in translation, before checking it out. Shes a very prominent figure in Israeli history. Keeping her company are many pioneers who died at young ages after coming to Israel to cultivate it. "Kadima" is a good movie directed by Amos Oz that will give you a look at the life of these early pioneers.
Keep going south and you'll approach Kibbutz Kinneret, said to be one of the oldest Kibbutzim in Israel. Running along the outskirt of the kibbutz is the Jordan River and located right on the river is a great bistro-bar called "Al ha Nahar" (trans: On the River). They are working on bringing out English menus but the atmosphere is great, especially in the evenings. Kibbutz Kinneret is a successful kibbutz because of its date production. Appropriately, they have a store with all sorts of date products called tamarim Plus.
It would be silly of me not to recommend a visit to Kibbutz Ginosar. Why? Because in addition to a nice hotel with a fabulous Saturday morning breakfast (35 shekels for a sumptuous buffet), we have a neat Museum called the Yigal Alon Center. Come learn about one of Israel's militia fighters who was also a great liason between the Jewish and Arab communities of the North. Climb (or take an elevator) to the top of the museum for a panoramic view of the region, including a lookout over the Sea where you can spot Kibbutz En Gev on the other side (weather permitting).
The museum hosts many different art exibits, in addition to a permanent exibit of a 2,000 ancient boat. Learn about how this boat was discovered, preserved, and transported into the museum through the collaboration of the IDF, archeologists and volunteers. While you are here, you can do some shopping at an extensive gift store called the Jesus Boat store (featuring Judaica, Christian and Messianic products) or take a boat tour on the Sea itself.
On Friday afternoons, I believe you can sign up for a tractor ride of the kibbutz if you go to the front desk of the hotel.