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Nestled in southern Israel, Mitzpe Ramon is a far cry from the more tourist-driven areas of the country. But that’s the main reason why I loved it! Somewhat reminiscent of the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, Mitzpe Raom is eerily quiet, yet spectacularly beautiful. If you get a chance, I would absolutely recommend visiting Mitzpe Ramon on your travels through Israel.
Why should you visit Mitzpe Ramon?
One of the main draws of Mitzpe Ramon is its proximity to the Ramon Crater. The town is right on the edge of the crater, which you can discover more about further down this blog post. The visitor centre and museum for the creator is located in the town, too.
We loved just looking out at the view. There were barely any tourists and it was really peaceful. There are some ruins around the area and random statues too.
Another reason to visit Mitzpe Ramon is its Spice Quarter. Warehouses and hangars have been transformed into businesses, both cultural and touristic. Cafés, hotels, a bakery, a dance school, a jazz club and more can be found within the Spice Quarter.
Israel’s only alpaca farm can be found in Mitzpe Ramon, too. It costs NIS 25 (under £6 sterling) for entry, and there are alpacas, llamas and horses. Children can ride the llamas and alpacas, and anyone can ride the horses. This is a working farm, and visitors can explore the weaving factory as well as feeding the animals.
Mitzpe Ramon is also a great base for accessing Zin Valley and Ein Avdat, which are brilliant hiking locations. There are jeep tours, bike trails and wine tasting experiences nearby, too.
Getting to Mitzpe Ramon
The closest airport to the town is the new (as of 2019) Ramon Airport. It is just over 130km away from Mitzpe Ramon, and around 1.5 hour drive. Public transport takes around 2.5 hours. Due to how recently the airport opened, not a lot of flight routes have been established. There are not a lot of direct international flights operating at present – more seasonal flights are due to be released over the next few months, however.
The second closest airport to Mitzpe Ramon is Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. This is the largest international airport in the country, and flights operate to and from a variety of major cities worldwide. You can fly here from London , New York , Munich and more. At just over 180km from Mitzpe Ramon, and a 2 hour drive, it isn’t too far to consider flying here. Car rental services are available from Ben Gurion Airport.
Read also: Visiting Masada: Everything you need to know
Weather in Mitzpe Ramon
The average high temperature ranges from around 13°C in January, to 31°C in July. The average low temperature ranges from 6.6°C in January, to 19.7°C in July.
The hottest months are between May and September. The coldest months are between December and March. However, the location above the crater means that the wind is fairly strong – this means that it often feels colder than it is in Mitzpe Ramon.
Where to stay in Mitzpe Ramon
There are plenty of places to stay within the Mitzpe Ramon area. Take a look at the map below for a full list of options or take a look at my personal recommendations underneath.
Ramon Suites by Smart Hotels offer comfortable suites in a great location. The suites have private bathrooms and free WiFi (the hotel also provide laptops you can use if need be) as well as free private parking, a 24-hour front desk, luggage storage and more. With bright and modern decor, spacious seating areas and brilliant access to the crater, this is a great choice if you’re looking for a hotel in the area.
VILA KEDEM is a private villa that sleeps 13. It offers true luxury: a private pool, hot tub, terrace and barbecue facilities as well as stunning decor, gorgeous views, free WiFi, and a whole 2368 ft² so you have plenty of space. Located in the town of Mitzpe Ramon, this is the perfect choice if there’s a big group of you travelling together. With a large kitchen, soundproof rooms and three bathrooms there is plenty of opportunity for privacy, too.
Spice Quarter Inn offers a variety of different room types. There are family rooms and dorm-style rooms, all with private bathrooms. The hotel is said to have a lovely community feeling, with a shared lounge area and a sun terrace. Pets are allowed here, and the hotel can arrange activities such as archery, horse riding, pub crawls and more! This is the ideal hotel for a family trip to Israel, and as it’s located in the Spice Quarter there is plenty to do in the immediate surrounding areas.
What is the Ramon Crater?
Now you know a bit more about planning trip to Mitzpe Ramon, let’s talk about the main attraction! The Ramon Crater – also know as Makhtesh Ramon – is an erosion crater. This type of landform is unique to the Negev Desert in Israel, where the Ramon Crater is, and to Egypt’s Sinai Desert.
Read also: Visiting Haifa: Everything you need to know
An erosion crater or makhtesh is a large erosion cirque. They were caused around 220 million years ago, when the areas were covered by oceans. The Ramon Crater is around 40km long, and between 2 and 10km wide. The Ramon Nature Reserve is Israel’s largest national park.
What to do at the Ramon Crater
There is plenty to do at the Ramon Crater, such as:
- Stargazing (with snacks and mattresses to ensure comfort)
- Abseiling (also known as rappelling)
- Camel Lookout viewpoint
- The Albert Promenade (decorated with environmental structures, and leading to the so-called bird balcony where birds will soar below your feet)
- Jeep and 4X4 tours
You can also camp in the Ramon Crater. Khan Be’erot Camping Ground is the only location within the crater itself, and has a capacity of 700 people. You can bring your own tent, or come in a group (such as a school or university trip) and stay in the larger tents available with mattresses. There are also ‘staff’ rooms with bunk beds.
The camping ground has electrical outlets, barbecues, a kitchen, drinking water, tables with benches, and some showers and toilets. You can find more information here.
So there you have it – the ultimate guide to visiting Israel’s Mitzpe Ramon and seeing the crater. It’s a beautiful part of the world, and one that’s unlikely to disappoint if you do happen to pay a visit