Negev Desert

Embark on a trip through this vast expanse of rock desert where ancient cultures, highly significant archaeological sites and abounding natural beauty await. 

The Negev Desert forms half of Israel and is, for the most part, a barren swathe of rocky desert land. Look a little closer however and you will discover an enticing region filled with life and beauty. In its heart sits the gargantuan geological phenomenon, the Ramon Crater. The small town of Mitzpe Ramon is the gateway to the desert pursuits on offer: hiking, rock climbing, abseiling, jeep tours and even desert archery.

The city of Beersheba marks the beginning of the Negev Desert. Visit the city’s market,wander through the cobbled lanes of the Turkish town (Old City), or visit Abraham’s Well archaeological site.

Visit Kibbutz Sde Boker for a slice of Israeli history. This was where the country’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, lived and died. See his house and go to his burial site where there are staggering views across the Zin Valley.

The Nabatean Incense Route once wove its way through the Negev Desert from the capital in Petra (present-day Jordan). Cities appeared along the route which catered to the often mile-long camel caravans. Visit the impressive remains of these once prosperous cities at the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Avdat, Haluza, Shivta and Mamshit.

The Negev Desert surprises in many different ways. Hiking opportunities abound, but there are many other ways to appreciate its beauty too. Visit one of the welcoming, family-run wineries, set off on a camel trek or enjoy some Bedouin hospitality and food in a traditional tent. Be sure not to miss out on visiting Ein Avdat National Park,where wildlife and waterfalls await.

The best way to visit the Negev Desert is by car, as public transportation is limited. This is a remote and sparsely populated region, but easy to navigate as there are few roads. Get swept up in the beauty, solitude and unique atmosphere of the vast stretches of sand.