When you stand on the edge of Mitzpe Ramon – a little desert town deep in the Negev desert – it feels you are on the edge of the world. Stretched out in front of you, there is nothing but miles and miles of desert moon landscape. It is so serene, the first time I stood there it took my breath away. This 40km wide and 2km long crater is the world’s biggest erosion crater – unbelievable that this seemingly desolate desert landscape once was an ocean filled with life! If you are visiting Israel and you are planning to spend some time in the desert, make sure Mitzpe Ramon is on your list. Just look at the photo below, isn’t that worth the drive south?
About three hours south of Tel Aviv lies Mitzpe Ramon, from where you can explore the makhtesh (crater in Hebrew). This little desert town was created to build the road to Eilat in the 1950’s, but has become a bohemian hub since then, like many desert towns in Israel. The town itself is not exactly a tourist attraction, but from there are all the activities into the crater. Because the drive to Tel Aviv is quite long, I do not recommend driving here for a day trip. On the way itself you will find many interesting viewpoints and sights you would most likely want to do a stopover, so it is quite impossible to do it all in one day. Mitzpe Ramon is also the astronomical hotspot of Israel with the least air pollution, at night there are stargazing tours available that are well worth staying for. Moreover, the sunset and sunrise over the crater is a once in a lifetime magical experience!
Getting to Mitzpe Ramon
By far the most comfortable way to get there is by car. Not that public transport is uncomfortable, but by bus you do not have the liberty to pull over and enjoy the scenery on the way south. If you are driving, I definitely recommend you to stop for a bite at the Kornmehl farm. This is an organic goat farm with a restaurant where they serve homemade delicious dishes, all made from goat cheese. You will also pass by the famous canyon of Ein Avdat, about which you can also find a blog on this site. I recommend you to visit the Ein Avdat viewpoint (higher entrance) right after Sde Boker – this is a little walk from the car (you have to pay entrance fee though) and you will have a magnificent view on the canyon.
If you cannot get there by car, the bus is a very good alternative. From Beer Sheva, the main hub in the Negev desert, busses to Mitzpe Ramon run regularly and are comfortable. It will drop you off right in the middle of town, from where you can easily walk to where you are staying. From Tel Aviv, the whole journey will take you approximately 3,5 hours.