The US state of Nevada is best known for its deserts, the legendary Death Valley, and the gaming capital of Las Vegas. However, you will find many surprises in the "Silver State" if you take a closer look. Join us on a breathtaking journey through the desert state in the west of the USA.

Nevada facts

Hauptstadt Carson City
Area 286,000 km²
Population about 3.1 million
Location West of the USA
Nickname The Silver State
State animal Bighorn sheep
Time zone Pacific: UTC-8/-7
Mountain: UTC-7/-6

Nevada: location & population

The US state of Nevada, located in the western United States, is bordered by Idaho, Utah, Arizona, California, and Oregon. Most of Nevada lies in the Great Basin, an arid landscape between the Sierra Nevada mountain ranges, the Cascades, and the Rocky Mountains.

Originally, Nevada was inhabited exclusively by Native Americans, namely the Paiute, Shoshone, and Washoe tribes. In the 1850s, the first settlements of Mormons began. They still live in large numbers in the Sierra Nevada intermountain regions.

For a very long time, Nevada was a sparsely populated place. Today, however, the "Silver State" is the fastest-growing state in America.

Culture and people in Nevada differ greatly depending on whether you are in metropolises like Reno and Las Vegas or the more rural areas. Las Vegas, in particular, as a city of immigrants, is a melting pot of cultures.

The most common ancestries in Nevada include Mexican, German, Irish, English, Italian and Asian. Over 90% of Nevada residents are American citizens, while nearly 20% were born outside the United States.

The biggest cities in Nevada

There are two "Las Vegas" ranking first and fourth on the list of most populous cities in Nevada. The smaller "North Las Vegas" is part of the Las Vegas metropolitan region in Clark County but defines itself as a city of its own.

City population
Las Vegas 651,000
Henderson 320,000
Reno 256,000
North Las Vegas 252,000
Paradise 240,000
Spring Valley 210,000

With a population of only 56,000, the capital city of Carson City is relatively small.

Climate and nature in Nevada

The US state of Nevada has a desert climate with hot summers above 30 °C, mild winters, and typical cold nights almost everywhere. Due to the extreme dryness, temperatures can differ by up to 25 °C between day and night.

Although Nevada is mostly desert, some areas have snow for half of the year. This affects the Sierra Nevada on the California border in the west, and the Ruby Mountains range in the northern part of Nevada.

Besides desert, mountains, and canyons, Nevada also surprises its visitors with mysterious caves, hidden lakes, more than 60,000 wild horses, and rare gems growing on fossilized prehistoric woods.

The best time to visit Nevada

Pick a time to travel to Nevada in the spring or fall, such as March, April, October, or November. The Silver State is summery then, but without the desert heat.

Nevada in the summer

Despite the scorching heat, countless people are drawn to the desert state at the end of August. The reason is the legendary Burning Man Festival in the Black Rock Desert. 80,000 daredevil art and techno fans then travel to the desert with building materials for an entire city, including dance clubs and art exhibitions. However, this trip must be well considered because the festival conditions are a real challenge with sandstorms, burning sun, sub-zero temperatures at night, and sometimes rainstorms with flooding.

Nevada in the winter

The fact that Nevada translates as "snow-covered" is only a mystery until you leave the desert areas and head for the mountains.

In winter, Nevada is one of the most popular ski regions in the USA. You'll find guaranteed snow at Lake Tahoe and in the Spring Mountains, which are only an hour's drive from Las Vegas.

How to get to Nevada

If you fly to Nevada from Europe, you will be on the road for between 15 and 20 hours. Depending on the airline, you can expect at least one stop.

KLM, Delta, Air France, Lufthansa, British Airways, and other airlines will get you to Las Vegas or Reno for between €400 and €800, with the cheapest flights usually landing in Las Vegas.

If you fly from Asia, you have to dig a little deeper into your pocket with more than $1,000. Only flights from Australia are even more expensive at over $2,000.

The most important airports in Nevada are:

  • McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas
  • Reno/Tahoe International Airport
  • Boulder City Municipal Airport

Boulder City Airport is among them only because tourists take off from here for sightseeing flights to Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, and the Grand Canyon.

Nevada entry permit

If you do not have a Green Card and are not a US citizen, you will need to apply for an ESTA or US Visa for your trip to Nevada.

ESTA – visa-free to the USA

With an ESTA, you can stay 90 days visa-free in the USA. Apply online now!

Nevada airport transfer

After landing in Nevada, you have many different transfer options. The most beautiful one is to be found in Las Vegas: in 20 minutes (e.g., Hyatt Hotel), 40 minutes (e.g., Luxor or Excalibur) or 50 minutes (e.g., Hotel Flamingo) you can easily walk from the airport to your first accommodation!

Of course, this decision also depends on the size and heaviness of your luggage. Other transfer options are:


There are eight different cab companies and limousine services at the Las Vegas airport and nine in Reno.

Shuttle bus

Various inter-city shuttles will take you from the airport to different cities and regions in Nevada. Some even have door-to-door service.

Public Transportation

In Nevada, it's no problem to take a bus from the airport to town for a few dollars. The company RTC (Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada) even provides you with the convenient rideRTC app to plan your travels.

Other options

There are several pick-up points for Lyft and UBER ride services at the Las Vegas and Reno airports.

For longer distances, you can also take Greyhound and AMTRAK buses and trains. However, you will need to find the bus stops or train stations first.

In Las Vegas, the Greyhound station is located downtown and is called "Las Vegas Bus Station." From the airport, it's best to take a cab to get there, because the RTC bus takes almost an hour. The same goes for Reno: forget about the bus connection and just take a taxi to the Greyhound Bus Stop or the AMTRAK station.

If you want a little more luxury and flexibility: various car rental companies are waiting at the airports for you to be a customer.

National Parks and natural wonders in Nevada

Nevada has so much more to offer than deserts and gambling. With its striking colors, bizarre shapes, and many hidden surprises, the nature in the "Silver State" will surely inspire you. Here are the most beautiful places in Nevada:

Great Basin Nationalpark

A lot of vastness and silence, some crystal clear mountain lakes, and wonderful hiking trails await you in the Great Basin National Park. Far away from the tourist hustle and bustle, you can breathe easy here at an altitude of 3,000 meters. If ice and snow prevent you from reaching the top (sometimes there is still snow even in June), we recommend a cave tour through the beautiful Lehman Caves.

Death Valley Nationalpark

When you arrive at Death Valley National Park, be sure to get a guide to show you all the beauty and history of this place. Far from being an empty wasteland, Death Valley is a magical place filled with canyons, craters, rock formations, and historic sites. You can even participate in wine tastings and watch the Milky Way glow in the sky at night.

Red Rock Canyon

Not far from Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon winds through the glowing red rocks of the rolling Mars-esque landscape. Pack solid shoes and hike to one of the viewpoints (there is also a bus that goes to the top). By car, you can take a two-hour round trip for about $15.

Cathedral Gorge State Park

Cathedral Gorge State Park is located on the Great Basin Highway and invites you for a walk between the canyon's high walls. Most of the time, you don't meet many people here and enjoy this hidden jewel in peace. Hiking trails lead you through bizarre rock formations and mysterious caves. You can also camp here!

Valley of Fire State Park

The blazing colors and incredible shapes in the "Valley of Fire" will blow your mind! The oldest and largest state park in Nevada is located between Las Vegas and Zion National Park. Plan to spend at least two hours here and take at least one of the two spectacular hiking trails, "Fire Wave Trail" and "White Domes Trail." Beware, just like at Death Valley, it can get very hot here, so pack plenty of water!

Top 10 sightseeing highlights in Nevada

The following places in Nevada are must-sees and should be on your travel list:

  • Hoover Dam
  • Las Vegas Strip
  • Red Rock Canyon
  • Valley Of Fire State Park
  • Neon Museum, Las Vegas
  • Great Basin Nationalpark
  • Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe
  • Fly Geyser
  • Black Rock Desert
  • Sand Harbor Beach

Nevada city trips

From neon-lit gambling capitals to creepy UFO small towns, there is something for everyone in Nevada. Most people in Nevada can be found relatively close to the California border.

City highlights Las Vegas

The vibrant center of gambling and instant weddings is also known as the "Disneyland for adults." Located in the middle of the Mojave Desert, the City of Sin, with its abundance of attractions and shows, draws millions of tourists every year.

These are the things you should see in Las Vegas:

  • Las Vegas Strip
  • Fremont Street Experience
  • Neon Museum
  • Hotel Venetian
  • Stratosphere Tower

City highlights Reno

Reno calls itself the "largest small town in the world" and has grown into a comfortable vacation and residential destination in recent decades. Every year, the city is used as the "Gateway to the Desert" by Burning Man Festival tourists. But it is also known for museums, nature parks, and - of course - gambling.

Don't miss these things in Reno:

  • National Automobile Museum
  • Rancho San Rafael Regional Park
  • Sparks Marina Park
  • Mt. Rose Ski Resort
  • Nevada Museum of Art

City highlights Paradise

Paradise is often mistakenly thought to be part of Las Vegas because both the airport and the legendary Las Vegas city sign are within its city limits. Also, several hotels on the famous Las Vegas Strip are located in the northwest corner of Paradise.

When in Paradise, don't miss the following attractions:

  • Las Vegas Sign
  • Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay
  • Luxor Hotel-Pyramiden
  • Hotel New York
  • Bellagio Hotel

City highlights Henderson

The second-largest city in Nevada is located between Las Vegas and the Hoover Dam. Henderson is especially popular with golfers, but it's also an ideal starting point for tours to Red Rock Canyon, Death Valley, or a rafting trip on the Colorado River.

These are the places you should see in Henderson:

  • Lion Habitat Ranch
  • Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve
  • Lake Las Vegas
  • Sunset Station Hotel and Casino
  • Ethel M Botanical Cactus Garden

Nevada road trip

Nevada's highways, national parks, and natural wonders are perfect for extended road trips. In the Silver State, it's also worth taking less-traveled roads to discover ghost towns, hot springs, and artwork in the middle of the desert.

Be enchanted by the endless vastness of the Mojave Desert or the crystal clear waters of Lake Tahoe, ask locals about legendary Area 51 in the UFO town of Rachel, or experience a true wild-west feeling on a drive along the so-called "Cowboy Corridor."

A 1.5 million-acre natural recreation area with mountains, canyons, and crystal-clear lakes awaits you at Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Here, not far from Las Vegas, you can spend days swimming, paddling, camping, horseback riding, hiking, and whatever else you can think of in the beautiful wilderness.

Instagram hotspots in Nevada

The beauty and magic of Nevada are something you have to see with your own eyes. But since you can't take all your friends with you on your trip to the USA, the best way to keep them up to date is with your Instagram channel.

Here are our top 5 Instagram hotspots in Nevada:

  • Seven Magic Mountains
  • Secret Cove, Sand Harbor Beach
  • Las Vegas Sign
  • Valley Of Fire
  • Burning Man Festival

Nevada food highlights

In terms of cuisine, Nevada stands out for one thing in particular: meat. Also, due to the substantial immigration of Mexicans, the spicy variety of Mexican cuisine is widespread.

So when you're out and about in Nevada, you'll find plenty of barbeque (preferably grilled over an open fire), tacos, and burgers.

Also, the all-you-can-eat culture with its shrimp cocktails, paella skillets, and fried finger foods is popular here. Grab the following treats from the buffet:

  • Navajo Tacos - fried bread with spicy meat filling
  • Steak & Eggs - a typical casino snack of beef and fried egg, served at any time of the day or night
  • Cornish Pasties - dumplings filled with meat

Nevada fun facts

You probably haven't heard these exciting facts about Nevada:

  • Although Nevada is the Silver State, most of the United States' gold comes from here.
  • Virginia City regularly hosts the toilet stall race world championship.
  • Highway 50 is the loneliest highway in the USA. There are only a few service checks on the 460 km stretch between Ely and Fernley.
  • State Route 375 between Alamo and Tonopah is called "The Extraterrestrial Highway" because many people claim to have seen UFOs here. A popular restaurant stop is in the small UFO town of Rachel.
  • After faulty drilling, a failed borehole near the desert town of Gerlach became an artificial geyser. The "Fly Geyser" has now reached a size of 1.5 meters.
  • Nevada is pronounced "Nev-ADD-ah" by locals. According to the inhabitants of Nevada, the frequently chosen pronunciation with a long A (Nev-AH-da) is wrong.

Moving to Nevada

Dreaming of a life in Nevada? Then the following facts about everyday and professional life in the Silver State will help you:

Working in Nevada

Nearly all industries have benefited from Nevada's strong growth in recent decades, and the attractive tax climate continues to attract companies.

Major industries in Nevada include tourism, including hospitality and entertainment, agriculture, logistics, and manufacturing. In addition, aerospace and mining have increased demand for employees in Nevada.

Living in Nevada

Compared to the rest of the USA, the cost of living in Nevada is somewhat higher, although the individual regions differ greatly. In Las Vegas and Reno, you can expect costs to be about 12-16% higher. In Paradise, on the other hand, the average is only 4%.

Nevada is one of seven US states without an individual income tax. The sales tax of 6.85% is in the upper third. Due to the rapid growth, real estate prices have also risen. No wonder that more than half of Nevada's residents prefer to rent.

Living in Nevada with a Green Card

If you want to live and work in the USA permanently, you need a Green Card. The easiest way to get the desired US immigrant visa is through the annual Green Card Lottery. Each year, the US government gives away 55,000 Green Cards to participants from all over the world.

In contrast to the easier lottery, it is much more difficult to get a Green Card through other ways. Hence our tip: Always try your luck in the Green Card Lottery in parallel. It only takes a few minutes to register and, if you are lucky, it will save you years of struggling with US authorities and potential employers.

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