8 perfect places to spend the night under the stars

Written by
Yoni Cohen
Israel is a beautiful place to explore during the day, but when the sun goes down and the moon and stars start to glitter, the landscapes take on a whole new level – offering a very different appreciation for the local “nightlife." Head to the great outdoors and soak up the peaceful quiet.

1. Bedouin Hospitality

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In Bedouin culture, primary importance is placed on receiving guests with warm, open-hearted hospitality, as they enjoy an exotic and delicious home-cooked feast served in authentic tradition, followed by an evening of pleasant Bedouin entertainment. Fall asleep under the stars Bedouin-style in a large luxurious tent of soft cushions and blankets surrounded by the tranquility of the desert air. Many Bedouin experiences also include camel rides and desert trips for the following day. 
Mamshit Ranch (08-9436882, 08-6552829) Off route 25, about 3.5 miles from Dimona.

2. ‘Star man’ night tours 

Star man

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Star gazing under the desert sky can be a really beautiful experience, but what if you actually knew what you were looking at? Astronomy expert Ira “The Starman” Machefsky is famous for his insightful tours that include naked eye observation of the sky, identifying constellations, and understanding how the sky works. Ira, who has over 40 years of astronomy experience, uses his “portable observatory” in the vast desert behind Mitzpe Ramon - the clearest, darkest skies in the country - to reveal the hidden treasures of the universe, and what has been in front of you all along.

Astronomy Israel (052-5449789/astronomyisrael.com)

3. Hut it up

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There’s no better way to take in the night’s sights and sounds than by sleeping in your own private hut in the middle of the Negev wilderness. Succah in the Desert is an ecological dwelling just west of the Mitzpe Ramon crater that combines the ruggedness of the desert with modern amenities. The eight cozy succot (huts) each enjoy their own unique sense of privacy so that nothing can get in the way of a night full of star gazing. Far away from the city lights of the center of the country, this environmentally friendly hideaway is nestled in the middle of nowhere - the perfect place to enjoy a clear night’s sky. 

Off Route 40 (08-6586280/succah.co.il)

4. Hadera River Park

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Walking in the grounds of an old sewage works next to a giant power station may not sound appealing, but a night hike along the Hadera River to Givat Olga Beach is a surprisingly alluring experience. The area has been cleaned up and painstakingly renovated and the park now offers a beautiful trail that’s perfect by moonlight. This unique hike, complete with man-made waterfalls and jacuzzis, is a great alternative. At the end of the hike, sleep under the stars at the nearby Sdot Yam Beach.
Adjacent to Orot Rabin Power Station, Hadera

5. Night safari tour

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The Negev desert can sometimes seem like a lifeless wilderness at daytime, but at night the barren landscape comes alive with a whole host of exotic animals. With the only light coming from the moon, this night safari tour is a great chance to meet some of the animals that only come out when darkness falls. From majestic owls and desert foxes to hedgehogs and bats, the desert is full of weird and wonderful creatures that thrive after sundown. It’s also the time when snakes, leopards and hyenas come out to play and make things even more exciting. Whichever animals you end up seeing, this nighttime adventure is a must. 

Negev Jeep Tours, Sde Boker (054-5343797/negevjeep.co.il)

6. Timna Park


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Just north of Eilat, Timna Park covers around 15,000 acres and at its core lies Mount Timna, perched 1,500 feet above sea level. The historic site offers a range of ancient attractions, including hiking through rock formations like The Mushroom, The Arches, Solomon’s Pillars and The Valley of Rock Drawings, and an on-site smattering of activities like rappelling, zip-lining, and bike tours. For those who want a total desert experience, overnight camping is available and various tours after dark can be arranged with advanced booking. Contact the reservation desk for speciifc events going on in July and August by night.


7. Havarim Stream 

The expansive, white chalk stone of the Havarim Stream area in the middle of the desert makes hiking there feel like you could be on a different planet at the best of times, but when done at night under the light of a full moon it’s a truly out-of-this-world experience. Located just south of Kibbutz Sde Boker, the Havarim Stream has to be seen to be believed, and luckily when hiked at night during the right time of the month, it’s possible to see exactly where you are going because the light of the full moon is enough to lead the way. Get out of the city for a night and connect with one of Israel’s most beautiful landscapes.

Hike begins at Havarim Pit, just off Route40

8. Jordan Park Campground

Camping is always fun, but having the opportunity to sleep outside under the stars without a tent takes the experience to a whole new level. One of the best places to do this is in the area around the Sea of Galilee because of the warm weather and the amazing sunrise views. The Jordan Park campground just north of the lake lends itself to sleeping outside, au natural, because it’s huge and has plenty space of set up camp. The campground is free to enter if you walk in but there is a fee per car. 

Route 888, 2.5 km from Bethsaida Junction (04-6923422)

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