The Negev was once considered an isolated region devoid of potential. In recent years, however, the Negev Desert in southern Israel has developed extensively, and currently offers a wide variety of Israel tourist attractions that cater to people of all ages and interests.
Tourist Attractions in Israel – Wine Tasting
The production of Boutique wines in the Negev began with a small group of enthusiasts who were willing to invest everything they had in their passion for winemaking. Winemakers in the Negev were once regarded with cynicism, but today they have earned a highly-respected reputation in the world of Israeli wine production. The Negev is now known for its fine and unique wines, and many wine connoisseurs come to the Negev in search of the unique flavors and bouquets that Negev wines have to offer.
Negev wineries have opened their doors to the public and conduct tours to explain about the cultivation of grapes in the desert and about wine production.
We grow Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes in the vineyard at Carmey Avdat and produce various wines, including a rose, a blush called Somek, Cabernet, and Merlot of which various vintages are available for tasting, a blend of Cabernet and Merlot called Kedem, a sweet, port-style dessert wine, and various liqueurs from the fruits in our orchards.
Carmey Avdat Farm is an Israel tourist attraction and offers visitors free wine tasting tours without prior arrangement. Paid tours for larger groups can be arranged in advance.
For further details, see Boutique Winery.
Israel Tourist Attractions in the South: Guest Accommodations
The Negev has a wide variety of guest accommodations from Bedouin tents to luxurious zimmers. Bedouin tents offer visitors a taste of Bedouin hospitality and Oriental traditions, a Bedouin-style meal, and lodging on mattresses on the floor. There are also desert khans where several families can enjoy more modern comforts. Authentic country lodging and unique zimmers that are built with ecology in mind offer guests comforts and luxuries while they enjoy the serene atmosphere of the desert.
As part of Israel tourist attractions in the south, Carmey Avdat Farm offers six unique zimmers overlooking Nahal Zin. Each zimmer has a private bathing pool made of natural rock.
For further details, see Zimmers in the South.
Israel Tourist Attractions in the South – Agriculture
Many branches of agriculture have become well-established in the Negev. Crops that were previously considered to be suitable to the northern areas of the country have proven to be successful in the Negev. In the center of the country citrus groves have been cut down and replaced with housing projects, while the expanses of the Negev are now filled with rows of citrus trees.
Olive groves thrive on underground saline water. Dairy cows favor the hot, dry climate and produce record-breaking quantities of milk, and herbs and spices thrive in the Negev soil.
For further details, see Boutique Winery.
Israel Tourist Attractions in the South – Food Products
Cottage industries of family - owned boutique wineries, dairies, fruit preserves, and honey production have developed alongside these agricultural crops. These places are open to the public, giving visitors a close-up view of life in the Negev and of the production of these home-made products. These tours, which are a fascinating Israel tourist attraction, enable tourists to taste the produce and purchase it at wholesale prices directly from the manufacturer.
Tourist Attractions in Israel – Hikes and Excursions in the South
The Negev has been considered a Garden of Eden for adventurers since the establishment of the State of Israel. Backpackers wandered along its paths without encountering a single living soul, drivers of land rovers sought the wide empty expanses of the desert, cyclist s discovered the goat paths of the Negev and turned them into attractive single track bicycle paths, and horseback and camel riders traveled on excursions from one place to another.
Israel Tourist Attractions in the South – Astronomy
The clear skies of the Negev throughout the year and wide open spaces far from the city lights have drawn astronomers to the Negev. Thousands of tourists flock to the Negev during the month of August when thousands of falling stars are visible in the night skies. Throughout the year astronomers in the Negev train their telescopes towards the clear skies.
The largest observatory in the Middle East, which belongs to Tel Aviv University, is located in Mitzpeh Ramon. As a tourist attraction in Israel in the south, we host many astronomers in our zimmers from Israel and abroad. The lights on the farm are turned off – revealing the desert skies in their full glory.
Israel Tourist Attractions in the South – History and Archeology
Archeological remains are scattered throughout the Negev and attract numerous tourists. Many of them have recently been renovated and restored and the Spice Route that passes through the Negev has been recognized as an International Heritage Site by UNESCO. Tourists visiting these sites have an opportunity to explore the wonders of the past.
Christian churches in the ancient Nabatean cities of Avdat, Shifta, and Mamshit are an Israeli tourist attraction for Christian pilgrims who wish to visit and pray. The ancient wine cellars and olive presses serve as a connection between today's wine and olive production in the Negev with that of the past.
Visitors can explore ancient underground burial caves, remnants of agricultural settlements, and water cisterns that still operate today and offer a shady spot on hot summer days. As part of Israeli tourist attractions in the south, we offer guided tours of the ancient rock drawings found on the farm – some of which are 4,000 years old, and the Tomoli burial structures scatted around the farm. We also tour the vineyard and explain how we use the archeological remains of the ancient vineyards that existed here for cultivating our grapes today.
The modern-day Negev is identified with David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first Prime Minister. His famous quote: "The people in Israel will be tested in the Negev" is evidence of the great importance Ben Gurion attributed to the Negev in the renewed State of Israel.
Ben Gurion's vision took some time to be materialized, and the State of Israel invested numerous resources in other areas. Despite this, we see an exciting trend of settlement that reflects s Ben Gurion's pioneering spirit. Today families are building their homes in the Negev inspired by Zionism and ideology, and are walking the paths that were paved for them by Ben Gurion more than 60 years ago.
Religious Jews living in community settlements, farmers in the moshavim filled with motivation who are prepared to cope with many difficulties, families on single-family farms, and groups who have settled in the development towns all welcome visitors and are eager to explain why they came to the Negev and show them their way of life.
The desert landscape is extremely vulnerable to any modern changes that people introduce such as tire tracks, litter, dirt, and rubbish. Since rainfall is sparse, the natural ability of the desert to rehabilitate itself takes longer, and people must therefore exert extreme caution in any actions they take that might alter the landscape. Many people who have come here out of love for the vast expanses of the desert have chosen a way of life that revolves around ecology and ensures the continuity of the vast expanses of the desert.
At Carmey Avdat Farm we recycle gray water and use it for irrigating the fruit trees. We recycle all organic waste into food for animals on the farm. Glass and plastic are reused or sent to the recycling center at the Ben Gurion Institute.
The buildings on the farm were built ecologically, and were planned and built to take advantage of the direction of the desert sun and wind. All infrastructures are buried underground to avoid infringing upon the natural panorama.
Most of the electricity that is required on the farm is produced using solar energy, and any excess is sold to the electric company. Floodwaters are used to irrigate the vineyards just as they were 1500 years ago. All the zimmers on the farm have energy-saving systems that shut off the power when the rooms are not in use. The landscaping on the farm consists of indigenous fruit trees that were planted in the riverbeds to utilize the floodwaters and save water.
Israel Tourist Attractions in the South – Alternative Sources of Energy
The Israeli government made a decision to devote part of our national resources to producing solar – generated electricity. The Negev was ready and willing to take on this challenge. The Negev enjoys clear skies and excellent solar radiation throughout most of the year, and is therefore an ideal area for producing electricity using solar energy. Photo-electronic panels have been installed on many rooftops in the Negev that utilize the sun's energy for producing electricity, and there are plans to construct large farms for producing electricity from solar energy in the near future.
There are solar panels for producing electricity on the roof of the winery at Carmey Avdat that produce most of the electricity that the farm requires.
Israel Tourist Attractions in the South – Desert Architecture
The Faculty of Desert Architecture of Ben Gurion University is located at the Ben Gurion Institute and has an international reputation. The faculty conducts research on desert construction and adaptation of buildings to the difficult conditions of the Negev Desert. The famous mud house that was built at Sde Boker is an Israeli tourist attraction for people interested in desert architecture. A company has recently begun to produce mud bricks that can be used to build houses based upon principles of green ecological construction.
The zimmers at the Carmey Avdat Farm were built with ecology in mind, and exhibit many of the principles of desert architecture. The zimmers are built below the ridge so that they do not interfere with the natural line of the horizon, and face the pleasant desert breezes to save the cost of unnecessary air conditioning. The roofs of the zimmers have eaves that extend an additional half meter on the southern side and cast shade on the southern walls. This prevents the zimmers from overheating in the summer and helps keep them warm during the winter. The zimmers have double insulation that saves costs of heating and cooling all year round.
Tourist Attractions in Israel – Ein Avdat – 5 Minutes from Carmey Avdat Farm
Ein Avdat is the largest spring in the area of Sde Boker. The spring flows through a breathtaking canyon and has water flowing throughout the year. IT is an Israel tourist attraction that visitors to the Negev Mountains should not miss. Ibexes are almost always visible as they skip along the canyon walls and drink from the spring. The route up the canyon has ladders for hikers to ascend to the top, ancient caves used by Byzantine monks, impressive waterfalls and beautiful poplar trees. There are several additional springs at Ramat Avdat such as Ein Akev, Ein Zik, and Ein Sharav that can be reached on foot or with a land vehicle.
Call Ein Avdat at 08-655-4418 or Contact Us for further details.
Tourist Attractions in Israel – The Hiking Route through Nahal Haverim in Ein Avdat
There is a circular hiking route to and from the farm through Ein Avdat and Ein Haverim. The hike takes 4-5 hours and begins on a dirt road from the farm, crosses to the east side of the road, and continues northward on a path parallel to the road. At the bottom of the hill the route turns right into Nahal Haverim. The route is marked in red. At the end of the riverbed the markings change to black and lead to Ein Avdat. The route leads southward to the entrance to the Ein Avdat Nature Reserve. There is an entrance fee and visitors should check about the opening hours ahead of time. The hike through the canyon continues along the spring and ascends up flights of carved stone steps and steel ladders that lead to a grove of poplar trees and Byzantine caves at the top of the canyon. There is a lookout point at the top of the 60-meter high waterfall of Ein Ma'arif. From there the route leads across the plain back to the farm. (The route is not marked).
Tourist Attractions – Circular Cycle Routes from Carmey Avdat Farm
There are several attractive bicycle routes to and from the farm that can be used throughout the year. The routes are of varying levels of difficulty and are suitable for beginners and children as well as experienced riders.
The Ancient City of Avdat – 5 Minutes from Carmey Avdat Farm
The ancient city of Avdat was an important city that provided services to merchants traveling along the Spice Route from Yemen to Gaza. The remnants of the ancient city contain the large regional winery where caravans of camels came laden with grapes during the harvest season. The city also contains wine cellars where wine was stored before it was transported to different parts of the empire.
Ben Gurion's Cabin – 10 Minutes from Carmey Avdat
Ben Gurion's Cabin at Kibbutz Sde Boker is a popular Israel tourist attraction for school field trips, youth movements, and tourists from Israel and abroad. The humble simplicity of the cabin where Ben Gurion spent the last years of his life are a sharp contrast to his great spirit and vision that serve as an inspiration to everyone. The cabin invokes deep feelings of nostalgia for days gone by. Visitors to the Negev can also see the graves of David and Paula Ben Gurion at the Ben Gurion Institute. The grave site is surrounded by a lovely park overlooking the breathtaking view of Nahal Zin. The site is especially beautiful at sunrise and sunset.
For further details, call the Avdat Nature Reserve at 08-6551511.
Israel Tourist Attractions in the South – The Visitors' Center at Mitzpeh Ramon – 20 minutes from Carmey Avdat
The visitors' center at Mitzpeh Ramon is an excellent entry point into the Machtesh Ramon, or the Great Crater. The center offers visitors an exciting audio-visual presentation about the crater and the surrounding area and excellent video movies. The center also offers visitors information about hiking routes, weather conditions, and other placesin he area to explore and visit. Road maps and additional material can be purchased at the center's shop.
Israel Tourist Attractions in the South - Naveh Midbar Spa – 20 Minutes from Carmey Avdat
Naveh Midbar (Oasis)is a source of flowing water in the heart of the desert. Drilling in the area revealed an underground hot spring with medicinal properties. Visitors to the Naveh Midbar Spa can enjoy hot and cold water pools, Jacuzzis, sauna, massage, and a restaurant. Guests at Carmey Avdat receive a discount at the spa.
For further details Contact Us or call Naveh Midbar Spa at 08-6579666.
Tourist Attractions in Israel - The Alpaca Farm – 25 Minutes from Carmey Avdat
The Alpaca Farm at Mitzpeh Ramon has a herd of 600 alpacas, lamas, and other animals. Visitors can hand-feed the alpacas and take a guided tour of the farm, and no previous arrangements are required. Activities for children include lama and camel rides and weaving alpaca wool. Horseback rides into the Great Crater are also available and are highly recommended and should be arranged ahead of time. The rides are for adults and children 8 years and older. No previous riding experience is required.
For further details Contact Us call the Alpaca Farm at 08-6588047.
Israel Tourist Attractions – Hai Negev Zoological Park and Ecological African Village at Kibbutz Revivim – 25 minutes from Carmey Avdat
The African Village at Kibbutz Revivim has unique mud huts , African wood cabins, and tents for relaxing and sleeping. The zoological park offers visitors a close-up encounter with monkeys, ostriches, predatory animals, water birds, birds of prey, and other large mammals. The animals are housed in special areas that allow visitors to approach them at close range. There are also sections for feeding and petting the animals. Desert – style lodging, homemade labeneh (goat cheese), olive oil and za'atar (hyssop), fresh vegetables, spicy homemade olives and hot drinks are included in the entry fee. Other activities at the site include an "archeological dig," an activity about dinosaurs, a ride around the park on a miniature train, and building adobe bricks.
For further details and reservations, call 08-6562688 or 054 – 2401150.
Israel Tourist Attractions in the South: Machtesh Ramon – The Great Crater - 30 minutes from Carmey Avdat
The Great Crater is the largest of the craters in the Negev. The crater features breathtaking panoramas and a variety of unique geological phenomena: sand dunes crisscrossed by dikes that are millions of years old, colored sands, flowing springs, canyons, cliffs, and the "carpentry shop" – an area covered with sandstone and basalt prismatic formations that resemble piles of boards in a lumberyard.
For details call the Mitzpeh Ramon Visitors Center at 08-6588698.
For details call the Mitzpeh Ramon Visitors Center at 08-6588698. Contact Us for further details.
Israel Tourist Attractions in the South – Bedouin Lodging
Many Bedouins still live in the mountains of the Negev who continue to adhere to their traditional Bedouin lifestyle. They live in tents, herd sheep, camels, and goats, and cook over open fires. There are several Bedouin tents in the Negev that offer tourists the opportunity to experience the Bedouin way of life. Visitors are invited to drink hot tea boiled over a campfire, eat fresh goat cheese with pita bread, and listen to tales of the Bedouin way of life. There are also several Bedouin families in the area who open their tents to visitors for a more authentic experience.
For details, call Be'erot Campground: 057-7375265
or Khan Hashayarot – 08-6535777.
Israel Tourist Attractions – Camel Rides
Visitors today often wish to cross the expanses of the Negev desert in the traditional manner by riding on horses, donkeys, or camels. Hikers can ride on the camels themselves, or load their gear on the camel's backs and set out on excursions for several days. One of the most exciting experiences is to set out with camels along the ancient Spice Route, stopping to sleep at ancient khans or lodging places, and discovering ancient watering holes along the way. Short camel rides of an hour or more are also available.
For details call Khan Hashayarot at 08-6535777.
Tourist Attractions in Israel for Adventurers
The mountains of the Negev are a Garden of Eden for adventurers. The cliffs are some of the best rappelling sites in the country, and there are countless roads that wind through the Negev that offer endless possibilities for jeep excursions, mountain biking, buggy tours, and other sports. Mountain bikes are available for rent in the area. Visitors should confer with the National Parks Authority before setting out to ensure their safety and to ensure that such excursions will not alter the natural panorama of the Negev.
National Parks Authority - 08-6588698
Jeeps and Rappelling – Adam Sela – 050-5308272
Domla Jeeps – 052-3962715
Geofen Mountain Bikes – 050-6576623
Rawling – 054-7366306
Safari Truck Excursions – 052-2867489
Tom Car – 08-6595333 Contact Us for further details.