I asked a guy in a cafe to lend me his phone and paid him the call back.
“Hello Yaron? Do you remember me? This is Giulia the travel blogger”…
The first thing I did when I crossed the border from Aqaba (Jordan) to Eilat (Israel) was calling Yaron, one of the owners of the worldwide notorius Abraham Hostel in Jerusalem.
I crossed the border after days without a working internet connection, then Petra, then the desert of Wadi Rum… so once in Eilat I had no idea what to do. I had no booking, no itinerary. But Yaron saved my life!
All I had to do was take a bus to Jerusalem and have a good night of sleep.
The following morning, Yaron met me with a map, stretched it out on the table, and showed me all my options. Thanks to the free ILH map, I suddenly had a whole range of choice for my upcoming nights just under my nose.
In case you are wondering, YES they have options for the West Bank too (and I will definitely check those out too next time!).
It wasn’t hard to pick! Here is where I stayed during my trip in Israel:
Abraham Hostel, Jerusalem
Fauzi Azar Inn, Nazareth
Prices: from €18/night in a dorm, up.
Gengis Khan Camp, Golan Heights
When I saw the photo of the Gengis Khan Camp, I decided I wanted to go. Mongolian tents, AKA Yurts, sounded too cool to be skipped. I’ve always wanted to go to Mongolia, so I guessed that could be a good training!
These tents are really big and can hold up to 10 people.
Sleeping on the mattress in the Yurt was very comfortable and definitely a new experience. I find this a perfect solution for families, or in general groups of people who travel together. You have your comfort, your privacy, and a pinch of adventure!
Of course this is a very fancy version of yurt! Every tent has A/C, and a private bathroom on the side.
Watch: how the Yurts were built!
There’s a big, nicely equipped shared kitchen and a garden with any herb you may need for your tea.
If you plan to visit the Golan Heights, I suggest you to have a car in order to explore it freely. There are not many buses up there, even if you can always easily and safely hitchhike.
The surrounding area offers many activities, such as hiking (lots of it), rafting, bathing at water springs, kite surfing in the Sea of Galilee, and of course the holy places such as ‘Kursi’, the place where the miracle of the swine is said to have taken place.
Price: from €20/person/night.
The Negev Camel Ranch, Negev Desert
You know I love the desert! I wanted to sleep in the Negev ever since I stepped into Israel, and finally I found the perfect place! The Negev Camel Ranch looked just perfect.
Most people go there for camel rides, but I was happy with observing them and taking photos! The owners live in the ranch and breed camels for passion. As they state on their website, “one can have a camel ride for 1 hour or up to 2 days!”.
Accommodation comes in huts. Every hut has a lot of privacy and mine also had a nice view on the desert, a lovely setting where I took a nice nap before dinner.
The Negev Camel Ranch is on the ancient Incense Route, and not far from the camp you can visit the Nabatean city of Mamshit.
Vegetarian food is available on request… so request it! It’s seriously great food.
Price: from €28/night/person.
The Green Backpackers, Mitzpe Ramon
The Green Backpackers is a tiny little hostel that feels more like a house, in the pretty much deserted town of Mitzpe Ramon.
I just loved the details of this place. Vintage and recycle here are combined and taken to another level… with cute results!
So what is so interesting about a deserted town in the middle of… pretty much nowhere?
Well, you just have to walk a couple of hundred meters to find out.
Mitzpe Ramon lays on the edge of what is erroneously referred to as “a crater”, but was formed by erosion and not by a meteorite. This kind of geological formation is called a “Makhtesh”. These are extremely rare and there are only a handful of these in the world.
Mitzpe Ramon is paradise of hikers. You can cross the whole Makhtesh following different paths and climb the edges on the sides. Did I tell you that Makhtesh Ramon has the shape of a heart? It’s so romantic for you couple travelers!
The green backpackers is very close to another famous landmark of Mitzpe Ramon: the camel shaped rock. Can you see it on the right?
Dorms are basic, cozy and clean. I had a really good night of sleep here!
Private rooms are more than beautiful! See? It really looks like a house… this is why I like this place so much.
You can check the board for what’s up at the hostel…
…Have a free introductory tour of the Makhtesh… which I highly recommend. Here is Lee, the owner of the hostel, explaining us how the crater was formed and showing us the main hiking trails.
…or just leave a message!
Apart from the Makhtesh and the camel shaped rock, there’s not much to do in Mitzpe Ramon. Walking around made me feel like I was in a ghost town. Then I had an unexpected encounter.
Price: from €15/night in a dorm, up.
I hope you enjoyed the tour of these five unique forms of accommodation. Did you stay at any of them? Would you suggest other places?