Once regarded as a virtual wasteland, today tourism is booming in Israel’s arid Negev desert. Visitors can enjoy anything from the beautiful desert scenery, to learning how Israeli agriculturists grow unusually sweet cherry tomatoes using a mixture of brackish underground salt water and fresh water.

Negev desert

Photo by Flash90
Barren, stark, and beautiful, Israel’s Negev desert is proving increasingly attractive to tourists.

While some tourists choose to follow parts of the ancient Spice Route that once stretched from Yemen to Gaza, others prefer to see the ancient wine presses at nearby Avdat National Park, where winemaking took place thousands of years ago.

Along the way, they can stop for the night at a newly opened luxury hotel overlooking the huge, heart-shaped Ramon Crater, or at the ecologically conscious Carmey Avdat Farm & Winery.