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The Negev

The Negev is the only part of Israel that feels vast and boundless. Stretching from the Red Sea north for 250km, the region's rocky, treeless hills and dry gullies have been attracting travellers, traders and nomads since the time of Abraham (Genesis 12:9 and 20:1). These days, sun-seekers, scuba divers, birdwatchers and hikers flock to the resort city of Eilat, where the sun shines 360 days a year. North of there, the kibbutzim of the Arava – part of the Great Rift Valley – attract environmentalists and visitors interested in sustainable desert development. Other tourists follow in the footsteps of the Nabataeans, who established impressive cities not only at Petra (which can easily be visited from Eilat) but also at Avdat, Shivta and Mamshit, now Unesco World Heritage sites. Perched on the rim of Israel's multi-hued 'grand canyon', hip Mitzpe Ramon is a magnet for creative minds, quirky entrepreneurs and serenity seekers.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout The Negev.