Beautiful desert attractions in Israel

June 18th 2018

There are two desert regions within Israel – the Judean Desert and the Negev Desert. Both are breathtakingly beautiful and offer tourists a wide array of desert attractions, active adventures, and places of historical significance.

The Judean Desert is situated just east of Jerusalem and descends into the Dead Sea, which is the lowest point on Earth. It’s considered one of the smallest desert areas in the world and features a large number of wadis (water channels) which cut through the rock.

The Negev Desert covers the entire southern section of Israel, all the way down to the Red Sea city of Eilat. It comprises 55% of Israel’s total land area but just over 8% of the country’s population. Due to its vast size, there is some variation in its features from the northern region surrounding Beersheba to the more southern drier and hotter regions.

The beauty of Israel’s deserts

Deserts have a quiet beauty and power. The tranquility they provide is matched with the awe-inspiring landscapes that echo the majesty of nature. It’s rare to find the complete silence found in the desert, especially at night, anywhere else.

The two deserts of Israel offer all of this and a lot more. They’ve also provided a backdrop to some of the most significant historical and cultural events in both the region and the world. From ancient Biblical times to the modern day, the Judean and Negev deserts have numerous stories to reveal.

They also have plenty of modern day activities for all ages and interests, from adventurous treks and camel rides to more sedate archaeological explorations and cultural tours.

Some of our favorite desert attractions include:

Masada Mountain Ruins

The Masada fortress, built in 30 BCE by King Herod, is situated on a high plateau overlooking the Dead Sea. The UNESCO World Heritage Site features well preserved ruins and spectacular views across the Judean Desert. Special tours go into detail about the history of the fortress including the bravery and sacrifice of 960 Jewish rebels who single-handedly took on the might of the Roman Empire.

Genesis Land Camel Rides

Enjoy camel rides through the ancient Judean Desert and learn about fascinating events from Jewish history while doing so. Genesis Land, situated close to Jerusalem, provides an insight into the patriarchs’ way of life by recreating the journeys from the old Biblical stories. As well as riding by camel, you get to make and bake your own pita, write ancient Hebrew on parchment scrolls, and join a drumming circle at sunset, plus more.

Tel Be’er Sheva National Park

History and beauty combine when visiting the Tel Be’er Sheva National Park located in the Negev Desert. The UNESCO World Heritage Site features the partially reconstructed ruins of an ancient village dating back to the time of the biblical patriarch, Abraham. Built in the 8th century BCE, visitors can explore the streets, dwellings, storehouses, and city gates of this remarkable archaeological site, with stunning views of the surrounding desert.

These are just three desert attractions to be enjoyed when visiting Israel. There are many more including the natural wonder that is the Ramon Crater, the Kfar HaNokdim Bedouin Village, the Ein Gedi National Park, and jeep tours through the desert.