Standing 700 feet above the Sea of Galilee, the Cliffs of Arbel provide a panoramic view stretching from the Golan Heights to the Jordan River valley. The snow-capped Mount Herman can be seen in the distance on clear days. The two spectacular cliffs, Arbel and Nitay, were once a single mountain split apart by an earthquake. The peak is towering 380 meters above the surrounding area. It’s a part of Arbel National Park.

The Jesus Trail follows the Israel Trail blazes on a steep but beautiful route down the cliffs. Be careful as you descend. There are metal staples in the rock to assist you on the steepest section but they can be quite slippery when damp. Descending the cliff side you can see 17th century cliff dwellings built by the Druze as well as possible earlier Jewish dwellings, as well as the modern town of Wadi Hamam at the base of the cliffs.

The many caves and cliff dwellings of Arbel were used since ancient times by many, including holy men, robbers, and rebels against the Roman regime. The historian Josephus documented the Roman conquest of Hasmonean rebels living in the cliffs in the 1st century. The story goes that Herod the Great sent soldiers over the edge of the cliff by lowering huge baskets. The soldiers then reached into the cliff dwellings and hurled the Hasmoneans to their death, and set fire to the dwellings to finish the job.

An ancient synagogue with some unique elements puzzling archaeologists was discovered near the village of Arbel atop of the cliff, and some researchers argue it’s actually dating back to before Jesus’s time. Today, excavated and partially restored, it still serves as a worship site for locals and visitors. At the pleasant and welcoming agricultural village of Arbel situated atop the cliff, there are several accommodation options provided by local hosts.