Beer-Sheva (alternately spelled Beersheba) is the largest city in south Israel’s Negev Desert and often referred to as the “capital of the Negev.” In Hebrew, a “be’er” is a well, while “sheva” can mean either an oath or the number seven. For that reason, the city’s name is believed to mean either “well of the oath” or “seven wells.”
Beer-Sheva is accessible via road, railway, and air. It is 53 miles (80 kilometers) from Ben Gurion International Airport and 58 miles (93 kilometers) from El Arish International Airport. It has two railway stations within its area as well. Additionally, visitors can reach the city via highways. From Tel Aviv, just 71 miles (115 kilometers) away, visitors can take Highway 40 to Beer-Sheva. From Jerusalem, 75 miles (120 kilometers) removed, Highway 60 will lead right to the city as well.
Within the borders of Beer-Sheva, tourists can easily get around using the Metrodan Beersheba bus system to get around, traveling between their accommodations and points on their itineraries.
Hostels in Beer-Sheva are few and far between. They usually are very clean and provide complimentary, full breakfasts. The hosts tend to speak English, which will make communication easy. Since hostels are sparse in the area, you may choose to stay in other budget accommodations. One option would be to stay in a kibbutz, especially if you are traveling in a group. Many guests enjoy the communal feeling involved in staying in a kibbutz-style lodging.
Once you are all settled into a hostel, you will be ready to explore. For your first stop on your itinerary, you may want to visit the Moshav Nevatim Cochin cultural center in order to learn more about one part of the diverse Jewish population of Beer-Sheva. Be sure to contact them ahead of your arrival to ascertain that they will be open. A curator will guide you through the museum where you will see clothing, jewelry, art and artifacts from the Cochin Jews. A short film, available with English audio, will depict how this group of Jews journeyed from their homeland in India to Israel. You will be shown their community synagogue as well. At the end of the entire presentation, guests will appreciate how a group left behind its home and integrated into life in Israel while still maintaining its cultural identity.
There are many different Jewish communities from around the world that have settled in Beer-Sheva. Enjoy your stay in this culturally rich place and use the chance to learn how several distinct groups can co-inhabit the same place while maintaining their respective, unique features.
Hi, I'm Jakob Lombardi,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Beersheba hostels. Welcome.