The town of Mitzpe Ramon sits on the edge of the Ramon Crater in the Negev Desert of Southern Israel. A town of 3,000 people, it has a reputation in Israel of being a dusty backwater on the way south towards Eilat, however, in recent years Mitzpe Ramon has seen a renaissance with many new innovative and unique touristic businesses and attractions opening in and around the town. There also plenty of exciting tours that explore the Negev Desert from Mitzpe Ramon.
Things to do in Mitzpe Ramon
Mitzpe Ramon sits on the northern cliffs of the unique and magical Ramon Crater, and is the best place to stay if you want to explore the makhtesh, hike or bike in it, or explore its nature and wildlife. It is also the perfect place from which to take a jeep tour of the Ramon Crater.
Within Mitzpe Ramon is the newly opened Ramon Crater Mitzpe Ramon Visitor Center which tells the geological story of the formation of the makhtesh, the largest landform of its type in the world. As part of the exhibition is the Ilan Ramon Memorial, telling the story of Israel’s first astronaut, Ilan Ramon who died in the 2003 Colombia Disaster, and loved the Ramon Crater and surrounding desert area.
In the north of the town, the Mitzpe Ramon Spice Quarter has been developed over the past 10 or so years, with old hangars and warehouses converted into cultural and touristic businesses. Among the businesses here is Hadassar, a cafe and showcase of the many natural products produced in farms across the Negev. Opposite Hadasaar is the Adama Dance Company, an international dance troupe like no other, who moved to Mitzpe Ramon from Tel Aviv over 10 years ago, and today tours nationally and internationally, also hosting major festivals throughout the year.
To the west of Mitzpe Ramon is the Alpaca Farm, one of Israel’s most impressive wildlife successes, bringing South American animals to live in the desert environment.
Surrounding Mitzpe Ramon are many great things to do. In the Ramat Hanegev region to the north is the famous kibbutz of Sde Boker and the museum dedicated to the life of Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, and the beautiful Zin Valley and Ein Avdat, a favored location for hiking. The region is also a great place to bike with hundreds of kilometers of bike trails in the Negev, explore with a jeep tour, or even sand board. There is also the series of farms making up the Negev Wine Route, some of which are wineries, but others produce boutique products and feature accommodation.
Where to Stay in Mitzpe Ramon
Mitzpe Ramon has developed a great selection of accommodations for travelers who want to experience the charms of this quiet town in the middle of the Negev Desert, and on the edge of one of the world’s most unique desert landforms. Among Mitzpe Ramon’s greatest assets are, at the hostel end of the spectrum, the popular Green Backpackers, the Negev’s first real backpackers hostel, and at the luxury hotel end of the spectrum, the space-age Beresheet Hotel, built onto the cliffs of the makhtesh.