After miles of burnt brown and beige desert rock, the green lushness of the Ein Gedi oasis leaps out in vivid and unexpected contrast. This nature reserve is one of the most beautiful places in Israel—with everything from hiking trails to ancient ruins. Settled for thousands of years, it inspired the writer of the Song of Songs to describe his beloved "as a cluster of henna in the vineyards of Ein Gedi." Loads of waterfalls and gurgling springs make this an option for summer hiking, too.
Fodor's Editorial Photo Intern Leonard Vargas snapped photos of this spring's wildflower explosion in Southern California.More