The desert in bloom: best places to watch the spring flowers in Israel

It's the most wonderful time of the year - if you ask me! The heavy rain and cold temperatures are behind us (at least, mostly) and the sun is getting warmer. The almond trees are blossoming, which is the very first sign of spring in Israel. When the almond tree is in blossom, it means the poppies are also blooming. The red poppies in the south are 'world famous' among Israelis, but not so much among tourists. If you are visiting Israel in February- beginning of March, seeing the lush green fields with carpets of red poppies and yellow wildflowers truly is a special experience, especially since from April this area, which borders the Negev desert, will get dryer than dry for most of the year.

All of the below locations are only reachable by car, but there is one beautiful spot that is very easy to reach from Tel Aviv by train and/or bus: the Iris Reserve in Netanya ( Here, the famous purple poppies are in bloom this time of year. It's a dune reserve, with beautiful views of the Mediterranean! I advice visiting the reserve during the week, because in weekends it will be very crowded. It's not a large reserve, so there will be too many photo bombers to edit out ;)

If you have a car, the drive to the flower fields in the south will be approximately an hour from Tel Aviv. You will have to head south on road 4 towards Ashdod & Ashkelon. If you take road all the way south, passed Ashkelon, you will find a stand with information about the flower fields at the junctions of Yad Mordechai. There, volunteers are handing out maps and give directions to reach the various flower fields. The areas with flower fields in general are marked with large red flags you can see from the road. The flower fields around Yad Mordechai are the busiest, and though they're beautiful I recommend going a bit off the beaten track!

The most beautiful flower fields are around kibbutz Ruhama. All the photos in this blog post were taken there, the combination of yellow and red flowers is just perfect. Even better, these fields are much more quiet than the ones around Yad Mordechai! My favorite spot is to park the car right before the entrance to the kibbutz and than walk downhill. The further you walk down, the better the flower fields get! If you follow the main road, right after the kibbutz you can find another beautiful spot, because it's a bit higher up, the views are stunning.

Note: if you visit the flower fields around Ruhama, there won't be many restaurants, gas stations, etc. This area is really rural!

In February, the south has it's own festival called Darom Adom (The red south), with lots of activities, like free open-air concerts, poetry readings, mountain bike marathons, etc.

Just remember, don't pick the flowers and avoid stepping on them!


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