Often overlooked, take a trip to see the awe-inspiring Israel desert landscape in the Negev.
You can drive down on your own using the Negev map below, or learn more about our one day, private Negev Desert Tour.
The largest desert in Israel, the Negev makes up more than half of Israel's territory! It covers 16,000 square kilometers (6,200 square miles) in the southern half of the country starting in Beer-Sheva down to Eilat on the Red Sea.
Besides its majestic desert scenery, there are fascinating historical remains in Hanegev Israel.
Abraham the Patriarch made his permanent home in Beer Sheva. The Jews, Canaanites, Philistines, Edomites, Nabataean traders, Romans and Byzantine Christians all left their mark in the Negev Israel.
The other smaller Israeli desert that tourists usually visit is the Judean Desert near Jerusalem, home of Masada, the Dead Sea and much more. Learn more about the the Judean Desert here.
You can use the map of the Negev Desert below to find the location of each place of interest.
In the northern tip of the Negev Desert lies the modern town of Beer Sheva. Just nearby is Tel Sheva, thought to be the location of the Biblical town of Beer Sheva, from the days of Abraham, King Saul and King David. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You can visit the excavations and descend into the ancient, water supply system, built over 3,000 years ago!
How they built it without modern technology is truly a miracle.
Kibbutz Sde Boker was the desert home of Israel's 'Founding Father' and its first and charismatic Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion.
Sde Boker was founded by pioneers as a horse and cattle ranch, hence its name which means cowboy field.
Ben Gurion loved the Negev and requested Kibbutz members to accept him. He eventually retired there with his wife Paula. You can learn a lot about this incredible man by visiting his modest home, certainly unlike that of most national leaders.
The house is filled with his collection of 5,000 books!
Ben Gurion hung only three pictures in his house: depicting Moses, Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi. They say so much about the man. You can read more about David Ben Gurion here.
From the Ben Gurion Memorial where he is buried, you can enjoy stunning desert views near Sde Boker.
Just south of Sde Boker is the strikingly beautiful Ein Avdat Canyon.
Ein Avdat, a UNESCO World Heritage site was one of the trading cities of the Nabateans, probably chosen because the oasis has water year round, fed by the Zin Stream (Nahal Zin).
The Nabateans peopled the Negev Desert around the year 300 B.C. and were famous for moving goods on camels along the Spice and Incense Route which originated in the Persian Gulf, through the Negev to the Mediterranean Sea.
The Romans settled in Ein Avdat.
Hundreds of years laters, the Nabateans converted to Christianity and during the Byzantine era, Catholic monks lived there, before Ein Avdat was destroyed in an earthquake.
Ein Avdat is also great place for hiking and camping with marked trails.
The small city of Mitzpe Ramon sits atop the Ramon Crater, a unique geological formation called "Makhtesh".The Ramon Makhtesh is the world’s largest erosion canyon, created 220 million years ago when ancient oceans covered this area. Makhtesh Ramon, or Ramon Crater in the Negev Desert is often called the Grand Canyon of Israel.
The crater is 500 meters deep. The views are breathtaking with moonlike landscapes and multi-colored slopes and rocks.
As everywhere else in the Negev desert, there are ibex everywhere.
This is the largest park in Israel and is full of hiking, biking, and rappelling trails.
You may also be interested in:
What to See and Do in Israel
Hanegev Israel Desert