Visit Israel's Negev: History, Biblical References & Must-Visit Travel Spots Today

By Itai Schimmel

Published October 14, 2022.

Negev desert ruins

The Negev is a desert region in the south of Israel; a vast place of breathtaking beauty.. Whether you're interested in biblical history or just want to explore scenic desert areas with diverse landscapes, there are so many amazing things to do and see when traveling through the Negev.

History of Negev

The Hebrew word Negev translates to "dry" or "arid," but although this desert region that covers 60 percent of southern Israel may seem like an uninhabitable space, history paints us a story quite different.

It is also home to many nomadic Bedouin tribes who have lived there since ancient times, and today Israeli community have been working hard to transform this inhospitable land into an agricultural powerhouse—a place where they can grow their food, raise their families, and live in harmony.

Biblical References for Negev

Negev is rooted in biblical references, sharing a bridge between ancient past, and today. It was in Negev that Moses led his people after they were freed from slavery under Pharoah (Exodus 3:1-22). The Psalms describe this region as dry, desolate, and lacking in resources (Psalm 63:1-2). Yet they also describe how God will lead His people through this wilderness into a land of abundance (Psalm 84:5-7).

"Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev." Genesis 12:9

Must-Visit Travel Spots Today

The Negev region is so vast that you could spend an entire month exploring the different nooks and crannies that make up this beautiful area. Here are some amazing spots to visit and incredible experiences you can have in the Negev.

Timna Park

Timna Park is a national park in Israel. It is located in the Arava Valley, near Eilat and the Jordanian border. Timna is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to the oldest copper mines in the world. The ancient mines were discovered by accident when archaeologists were searching for an Egyptian temple that was known to be built there at one point during history (the temple was never found).

The park remains open year-round for hiking through desert landscapes, exploring ancient ruins and visiting other historical sites like those of King Solomon's Mines from biblical references.

Negev Desert sunsets

Makhtesh Ramon

Makhtesh Ramon, also known as the Ramon Crater, is a crater-like geological formation in the Negev desert. It's a popular tourist destination and one of Israel's most popular national parks. The park was established in 1960, but it took decades for it to become fully protected by law. In 2013, Makhtesh Ramon became a nature reserve.

Makhtesh Ramon has been used by humans since prehistoric times, who would have lived there seasonally as they followed their food sources between the Mediterranean Sea and Jericho (in what is now Palestine). Later on, Egyptians who built towns like Avaris had access to this area due to its abundant natural resources like wood and stone; they even constructed roads through here during their reign over Canaanite lands around 1550 BC!

Ein Avdat

Ein Avdat is a beautiful oasis in the Negev desert. It's situated near the Dead Sea, and as such, it's a popular tourist destination for Israelis and international travelers alike. If you're looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of life in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, then head out to Ein Avdat!

This historic site dates back over 3,000 years; archaeologists discovered ancient artifacts believed to have belonged to nomadic tribes that once lived there. Today, you can explore this natural wonder while hiking through its palm groves and frolicking among waterfalls (there are several).


The Negev region is vast and full of rich history, but it’s also a place that you can enjoy today. The best way to experience all of this is by renting a car and visiting the sites during your stay in Israel. The country has so much to offer from culture, food, and beautiful landscapes so don’t miss out on any opportunity! You can get a real taste of the Negev through our Artza Negev Box which delivers the most beautiful products from local businesses and charities in the Negev region to your door. Get your Artza box today 🎁