Beersheva, Negev and Eilat

Customized travel. Authentic experiences. Life changing journeys.
Beersheva, Negev and Eilat

Be’ersheva, Eilat and the Negev Desert Travel Overview


The land expanse from Be’ersheva to Eilat forms the Negev Desert triangle. The north and northwestern region may have limited rainfall but are excellent for agriculture and support many of the farms, whether the kibbutz collective type or the semi-collective moshav style most of which were established over the past 60 years. During winters with average rainfall or beyond one can watch the greening of the parched fields.

About half of the area of Israel is desert. There are two deserts in the country: The small one, is known as the Judean Desert, is created by the mountain ridge of the Judean Hills while the second and much larger desert, the Negev, is the main desert of Israel. It covers all of the southern half of the country, and it is part of the worldwide deserts expanses which are found around the 30 degrees latitude north and south of the equator.

While mostly a rocky desert, the Negev has some sand dunes on its north-west and in small locations within the center and east. As you travel south, the annual rainfall declines. In Be’er Sheva, the northern edge of the desert there is approximately 200 mm of rain while further south in Mitzpe Ramon approximately 130 mm of rain falls annually. The most southern point in Israel, the  Eilat Mountains, receives only 25 mm of rain on average.



Be’ersheva Highlights


Today the ancient city of Be’ersheva is a thriving city with some 200,000 residents and serves as the Negev capital. The city boasts the Soroka Medical Center, Ben Gurion University and a well developed industrial infrastructure. Sixty years ago, immediately after Israel’s 1948 War of Independence this former Beduin trading post town was earmarked for major development by Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion who believed the Negev was the gateway to the future success of the Jewish State. Much of the massive immigration of the 1950s, in particular Jews from Arab/Muslem countries settled in and developed the town. Through the 1970s and again in the 1990s Russian Jews arrived as did Ethiopians in the last two decades.

Highlights include Hatzerim Airforce Museum-The Israeli Air Force museum showcases more than 150 planes on display and a museum full of history and artifacts.

The Tel Be’er Sheva National Park is UNESCO World Heritage archaeological park  believed to be the remains of old Biblical Be’er Sheva. It is preserved and accessible to guests.

On the economic front Be’ersheva is Israel’s major manufacturing center in the south and is connected to Israel’s main port at Ashdod in less than an hour’s time by an efficient highway system. These two cities are the major pillars of Ben Gurion’s plan for moving the center of the country southwards through increased development, transportation and communications.


Recommended sites include:


Sde Boker – Kibbutz home of Israels first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion who worked the earth with his own hands to fulfill his dream of making the desert bloom. He and his wife, Paula, are buried on the kibbutz grounds. Visit the gravesite and loo out over the expansive breaks in the rock that form the Zin Valley.

Their home is an important historical museum.


Ein Avdat National Park  – beautiful desert canyon hike


Ancient Avdat – a UNESCO World heritage site, is was a strategic  Nabatean site along the ancient spice trading route


Tel Beersheva – a UNESCO World Heritage site, Tel Beersheva features a 3,000 year old settlement including an advanced water system, an ancient well and many other important antiquities like hewn-stone alter and 200 foot deep cistern.


Mizpe Ramon – the home of Israel’s largest crater, or machtesh. This creater developed as a result of an unusual geological process where erosion caused the collapse of heavy limestone that covered the softer sandstone underneath. There are only six in the world and three of them are in Israel.  The crater is 40 km long, between 1 and 15 km wide and over 500 meters deep.  Jeep rides, desert biking, rappelling, stargazing, desert hospitality are some of the many activities that can be arranged in and around Mizpe Ramon


Nahal Hauverim – one of the most popular desert hikes, this walk is particulary impressive on a full moon. Go with a private guide, good walking shoes and well equipped with head flashlights.


Ein Afek – a beautiful water spring deep in the Zin valley. This is a lovely hike (4 – 5 hours by foot to get there or, go by desert jeep).


Hatzerim Air Force Museum – This open air museum tells the story of Israel’s elite Air Force.


Ilan Ramon Visitors Center – located on the edge of the Ramon crater, the center tells lan Ramon’s story  service in the Air Force, through his training with NASA and ending with the tragic crash of the Columbia shuttle on Saturday, February 1, 2003. The visitors center at Mitzpe Ramon tells Ramon’s story alongside the story of the unique geological crater known as Mitzpe Ramon Ilan Ramon’s son, Captain Assaf Ramon, who followed in his fathers footsteps and graduated the Air Force flying course with honors, is also commemorated within the center. He lost his life as well during a training flight. His plane crashed on Mount Hebron. The visitor center offers numerous photos, as well as large replicated model of the Columbia shuttle. A circular elevator takes visitors to the top of the shuttle.

The visitor center over looks the beautiful desert landscape and attracts travelers passing through the area on their way to Eilat and back or who may be visiting the city as part of rest and relaxation at one of the hotels in the area.

The geogological wonders of the area are portrayed within the exhibition as well.

Kornmehl Farm – Family owned dairy is known for its cheeses, and its lovely restaurant


Nana Winery – This boutique winery is situated in Mizpe Ramon and is well worth a visit.


Carmey Avdat Winery – This family owned winery is situated just north of Mizpe Ramon


Ramat Negev Winery –boutique winery located in Sde Boker, next to the Kedma hotel


Be’ersheva and the Bible


Be’ersheva is mentioned in Genesis of the Hebrew Scriptures (Tanakh) where Abraham and Isaac dug wells and formed alliances by oath with the Philistine King Avimelekh. Seven sheep were set aside, hence the term “beer” meaning “well” and “sheva” which is the same root for “oath” and “seven”. Other references to Be’ersheva are made throughout the Biblical narrative.



Eilat and the Negev Desert


One traverses the entire Negev from north to south arriving at Eilat (pop. 47,000), Israel’s southern port city on the Red Sea established in the mid-1950s and serving as the gateway to Africa and the Far East. Eilat is mentioned in the Bible, and in particular the region was known for the development of Etzion-Geber, King Solomon’s southern port whose archeological remains straddle the border region with Jordan. The port was used by later conquerors of the Land of Israel. Situated between the Elot Mountains and the sea, one can go hiking north of the city, take a boat ride, swim and scuba dive or enjoy the hotel and night life in this seaside resort.

But from Beersheva to Eilat is half the distance of the State of Israel running north – south. To the northeast there are three major makhteshim or “craters” with wonderful hiking paths as exist throughout much of the Negev. Development towns established in the 1950s are scattered throughout the landscape in especially in the north with Sderot, Netivot and Ofakim situated between Beersheva and the Gaza Strip while Arad, Dimona and Yerucham are to the east. In the south central Negev overlooking Makhtesh Ramon we find Mitzpe Ramon. Except for the mainly agricultural communities lining the Arava highway bordering Jordan there is little human habitation from Mitzpe to Eilat as rainfall drops to several centimeters annually and summer temperatures soar to 40 – 44 degrees centigrade (104 – 111 degrees Fahrenheit).



Eilat and the Negev Highlights


Timna National Park- Located 25 km to the North of Eilat, this National Park has been mined since 5th century BCE for copper. There are both archaeological sites and great hikes to walk. Just be sure to bring enough water! To learn more about this park we recommend you check out this Timna Travel guide by Erez.

Machtesh Ramon- The world’s biggest machtesh- or “valley surrounded by steep walls and drained by a single wadi”  ( . It is 25 miles long and 5 miles wide at its longest point. Located by the city of Mitzpe Ramon, this site is a must see.

Plan your trip

    9.7 Superb
    This special Holyland journey begins with understanding the Roman conquest of the region and how this impacted the early life of Jesus. We will explore Herod’s Caesarea, and the early life of Jesus growing up in the Galilee and beginning his ministry. We will visit the town of his youth, Nazareth, the village of Capernaum, where he ministered, and sites of his miracles. We will continue to Jerusalem tracing his last days before his crucifixion. With daily prayer sessions planned at some of the most important Holy Land sites, you…
    With our perfectly curated Jewish heritage program for first timers, you will not only learn about Jewish history but also explore the modern state and cultures of Israel. Experience many highlights of Israel such as Masada, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the Dead Sea, Galilee and Golan, and enjoy stunning landscapes and the best museums. Taste the food, walk through the markets and mingle with the people that make Israel such a fascinating country.
    Mazal tov! Celebrating a bar or bat mitzvah in Israel is the most meaningful way possible to mark such an important milestone event. It is an extraordinary and life changing opportunity to experience a bar/bat mitzvah in Israel - the one Jewish country in the world. Surrounded by family, traveling the country together, exploring ancient and modern history, food, culture, nature and much more is an exciting and transformative experience. Our programs are all specially curated to meet the needs of your group. Whether you are coming as a nuclear…