Stargazing in Israel is one of the greatest experiences one can have in the country, with multiple places offering great clear skies and even one world-class stargazing spot to enjoy.
But why should you stargaze in Israel? While Israel is more than beautiful and enjoyable during the day, visitors ought to witness the magnificence that is its night sky. Since there is little light pollution in these places, the moon, the stars, and all other celestial objects are clearly visible to the eye. This country has many amazing spots for stargazing for you to visit while on a tour to Israel, but the most beautiful are found in two extremely different areas: the desert and the sea.
Where can I stargaze in Israel?
You’d be surprised at how many remote locations you can find in such a small country. Some of the best places to stargaze are in the Negev Desert, where the sky is clear and the night sky is perfect for stargazing. Some of the best places are near the Israel National Trail.
- Night Safari in the Negev Desert
- Bedouin Hospitality
- Mitzpe Ramon
- The Portable Observatory
- Hadera River Park
- Timna Valley
- Borot Lutz
- Ein Bokek
- Ein Gedi
- Neve Zohar
There are plenty of great places to see the stars in Israel, but what can you see from those locations?
Can you see the Milky Way in Israel?
You can see the Milky Way from the highest point in the Negev Desert, Mitzpe Ramon. This is especially possible with a powerful telescope! If you want to drive to see the Milky Way, the Arava road can lead you to many stargazing locations.
Plenty of these locations are remote, so you must be prepared.
What do you wear to stargazing?
Stargazing takes place at night, so it’s likely it’ll be cold. The desert in particular is a region of extremes. Nights in the desert and on the higher ground tend to get chilly. We recommend layers, a scarf, and gloves or mittens. Pack extras in a backpack just in case the temperatures drop while you’re stargazing.
The best spots for stargazing in Israel:
1. Night Safari in the Negev Desert
Deserts are not lifeless. As a matter of fact, the Negev is home to various wonderful creatures – from owls, bats and foxes, to snakes, hedgehogs, leopards, and hyenas. When the darkness falls, they come out of their hiding places and go about their business.
Visitors can join a night safari, drive around the Negev under the moonlight, meet these gorgeous animals, and observe the clear night sky all at once. This is a perfect place to explore astronomy in Israel. Who knows? You might even see a meteor shower.
2. Bedouin Hospitality
Bedouin culture and tradition are famous for the emphasis put on hospitality. It is imperative for Bedouins to welcome and receive their guests warmly, and offer drinks and delicious, traditional home-cooked food.
The visitors can enjoy Bedouin entertainment and even camel rides. But before going to sleep in a comfortable tent, the guests are free to take in the night’s sights, surrounded by fresh, quiet, desert air.
3. Mitzpe Ramon
One of the ultimate ways to enjoy the desert night sky is to rent your own hut in the middle of the Negev wilderness, far away from the cities’ lights, and stargaze in the famous Mitzpe Ramon crater.
You can get all the roughness of the desert combined with all the modern facilities. It is both a private and an environment-friendly way to admire the beauty of the clearest and the darkest night sky in the country.
4. The Portable Observatory
Ira ‘The Starman’ Machefsky can not only help you see the celestial objects better but actually explain what it is you are looking at by using his ‘portable observatory’. An astronomy expert with over forty years of experience in the field, Ira offers tours in the desert behind Mitzpe Ramon, which include naked-eye observation of the sky, identifying constellations, learning about the motion of the sky, etc. This is the best place to observe stars in Israel.
5. Hadera River Park
Surprisingly, this park stands near an old sewage system and a power station but has been beautifully cleaned and renovated, so much so that a night walk along the Hadera River to Givat Olga Beach is a must for stargazers.
The park’s trail is simply marvelous under the moonlight, and there are man-made waterfalls and pools along the way, as well as archaeological and historic sites.
6. Timna Valley
Just north of Eilat lies a historic site and an ancient attraction – Timna Park. One can’t go wrong with a night full of stargazing of the Israeli night sky on top of the ancient copper mines, while surrounded by magnificent natural formations created by wind, humidity, and water erosion, such as Solomon’s Pillars, the Mushroom, and the Arches. Overnight camping is available to anybody who is interested.
7. Borot Lutz
If you are a fan of floral aromas that fill the night air while you are stargazing, then you must visit the Lutz Cisterns! At the end of winter / in early spring, the yellow desert gets covered with various lovely flowers, such as anemones and tulips.
There is a free campground site there, and a circular walking trail that takes you to the amazing lookouts, ancient agricultural terraces and cisterns, and even a Nabatean farmhouse.
8. Ein Bokek
For a more pampering type of stargazing experience, you can visit Ein Bokek – a resort district on the shore of the Dead Sea, where you can enjoy various types of spas and health treatments.
You can explore the archaeological findings, like the ruins of a small Roman-era fortress, and the remains of an ancient perfume and medicine factory. A visit to the Bokek Stream, a canyon-like gorge with water springs and exceptional fauna and flora, is a must.
9. Ein Gedi
Ein Gedi, which means ‘spring of the kid’ or ‘young goat’, is a one-of-a-kind oasis, nature reserve, and hiking spot in Israel, located west of the Dead Sea, in the Judean Desert, near Masada and the Qumran Caves.
It has beautiful, diverse landscapes, botanical gardens, and remains from the Neolithic to the Byzantine periods. Imagine stargazing in this historic, fairytale-like place.
10. Neve Zohar
Whether you prefer to go down to the beach or up towards the village, Neve Zohar has various options for you to sit down (or lie down) and observe the stars in perfect tranquility. Neve Zohar is a small community settlement in southern Israel, and the lowest village in the world, with a museum showcasing Dead Sea-related items.
It was named after the Zohar Stream that flows into the Dead Sea. The Zohar Hot Springs is rich in sulfur and are believed to possess healing properties. There is also an unused airfield situated southeast of the village.
Stargazing is only one of the reasons to visit the Negev Desert. Check out our trips around the Negev Desert for more amazing activities.