Top Things to See and Do in Southern Israel
There are a lot of activities to engage in while in Southern Israel that will be worth the time, these include swimming in the famous beaches in Eilat and hiking the rugged hills of the historic fortress of Masada. Southern Israel covers about 50% of the country’s territory and with the dispersed topography of its cities, they are a go-to destination for visitors and locals who desire to experience the nature and virgin terrains.
The city’s name is a derivative from a nearby erosion gully called the Makhtesh Ramon. The city is seated above the massive erosion crater, which started about 200 million ago. While in the city, you should visit the Ramon Nature Reserve, Israel’s largest Park, a beautiful scenery and home to various hiking tracks and a range of desert wildlife which includes hyenas, leopards, and Ibex. One of these hiking trails is the almost 7 km Loop, which requires between 2-3 hours to be completed and fairly tough to complete. The energy spent in trekking along this loop is compensated by the breathtaking scenery across the gully and its Martian topographies. There’s also the about 47km Ceremonial Mount Hike–the distance to and fro, back to the starting point–which will take more than a day to complete. Hiking along this route guarantees exceptional wildlife views and an opportunity to star-gaze while completing your hike. If you want a trip down the annals of Israeli history, then visit the Ilan Ramon Museum and Memorial, which tells the story of the astronaut Ilan Ramon and the natural history of the crater.
The Masada, a palatial structure built to survive blockades in style and famous for being the location where a company of Jewish Zealots mounted the last phase of resistance against the Roman Soldiers and when they were overpowered, chose to end their lives than become slaves of the Roman Empire. This tower of strength, built in a palatial manner since Herod’s reign as the emperor has lasted for centuries. From the top floor of the building, you can sight the Dead Sea and the intriguing reddish-brown Moab Mountains. If you want to explore the Dead Sea and Masada in one day, check out our tour options. You can also choose to hike through the Snake trail at Sunrise, for a memorable experience and if you’re fit for the task, no problem, there’s a cable car available to carry you to the top. Amidst the ruins that remain of the fortress, visitors can explore the classical Roman-style baths, the colorful murals and still peek at what is left of the Roman Camp, at the base of the mountain. Since the action of the Jewish devotees and their acts in their final moments, the Masada fortress has symbolized the power of human courageousness and strength. Just pay a visit to the monument soon.
The Dead Sea is situated at the deepest point of the Earth, with it’s lowest portions around 430 meters below sea level. Another fun fact about this water body is that it’s the saltiest ocean in the world. Healing powers have been attributed to the waters and the underlying mud and this is mostly because of the special mineral content of the waterbody. Along the shores of this sea, you’ll see many waterside spas offering massage sessions. There are many beachfront with access to the public, but your best at a remarkable experience will require that you pay for access to a private beach. If you’re looking forward to an opportunity to swim afloat on the seawater, you can visit the Kibbutz Kalia on the Northwest Edge or the Neve Midbar, some kilometers southward. The former is favorable for families on vacation while the latter is a hotbed for younger persons. Also lying Northwest is Qumran, where the Essene people settled in the 2nd Century BCE and wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls. So, If you’re one for rolling in the mud or a history aficionado, then the Dead Sea is a place to visit.
If there is a top list of places to visit while in Southern Israel, Ein Gedi is one of our picks. One of the largest Oasis in the Judean Desert, located at the shelf of the Dead Sea. This location allows you to enjoy the calm of the Dead Sea, the opulence of the park, and the beauty of Masada. If you desire a shady retreat, just put on your hiking boots and run along the paths leading through the park or hang around the botanical garden until all you can perceive is the sweet smell from the flowers. The most popular path for hikers is the 4 km Nahal Arugot loop, where they look forward to dipping their feet in the streamlets of water along the path, but for the family, the 1.5 km Nahal David track is more suitable. And, if you’re searching for an experience beyond hiking and lush greenery, there is the Tel Goren which allows you to look back in time. The dilapidated remains of what used to be a bastion, safeguarding an ancient community from nomadic intruding armies. Don’t rush the visit, take your time to enjoy the waterfall and falling springs of Ein Gedi, there are hotels and lodging facilities to cater for visitors.
The city of Eilat, replete with posh hotels, elite shopping centers, and bubbling with plenty of outdoor events like swimming with dolphins, walks through the Timna Park, and Scuba diving. You can practice all levels of scuba diving at the Coral Beach Nature Park and the adjacent shoals are ideal for a quick snorkel. Along the Dolphin Reef, visitors can get close to adorable sea animals. The Israeli government designated the city as a free trade zone, so snap the opportunity to shop at the Mall HaYam–one of Israeli’s largest shopping plazas. Also, because of its proximity to the Jordanian border, Eilat is now a tourism hub for visitors., who want to explore the historical sites in Petra, Jordan. Eilat has something to offer for every interest, just book a trip already.