The Largest Deserts in the World are great for travelers looking to explore new places and experience different cultures. There is something about a desert that draws you in. That sense of adventure, the history, the feeling of being immersed into a foreign world – there’s no better way to say it than simply “deserts rock!”

Largest deserts in the world

What makes deserts so awesome? Largeness! We will take you on tour from North America to Africa and show you some of the Largest Deserts in the World.

What is a desert?

A Desert is a treeless area of land, or generally with limited vegetation that receives less than 250mm (about 10 inches) of rainfall per year.

That makes you think about giant sand dunes and scorching heat, but you cannot be more wrong; the largest desert in the world is not hot at all, as the Largest Desert in the World is Antarctica.

Location map of the largest deserts

Where are the Largest Deserts in the world?

Antarctic Desert – 5.5 million square miles

Antarctica is considered a polar desert because it rains on average only 10 mm a year. Experts believe parts of the Antarctic have not seen rain in the past 14 million years. Ninety-eight per cent of the land surface is permanently covered in the ice sheet.

The Antarctic has the world’s smallest amount of rainfall per year in almost every year, measuring an average of 1.6mm, but at the same time is covered by an ice sheet that holds 90% of the freshwater.

Winter living conditions in Antarctica doesn’t permit any human residents. It is the coldest country in the world, with cold temperatures as low as -89. During summer, there are between 1000 to 5000 scientists living here in various research stations. 

million square kilometers
Antarctic desert is the world’s Largest Desert. – Emperor Penguins

Arctic Polar Desert – 5.4 million square miles

The Arctic Polar Desert (tundra) is the only other polar desert in the world. It measures a whopping 5.4 million square miles (13.9 million sq. km). It gets much less rain than the Antarctic, though it only receives about six to ten inches of rain a year. It is also considered to be a desert due to the lack of moisture due to its frigid air being too cold to hold moisture. The Arctic desert spans numerous northern countries, such as Canada, Greenland, Russia, and Asia.

Sahara desert – 3.5 million square miles

The Sahara Desert is the largest subtropical desert in the world, covering 9 million square miles. Located in North Africa and spanning eleven countries, the Sahara covers nearly a third of the continent.

Despite its harsh conditions, the desert is home to numerous desert animals, including camels, lizards, scorpions and scorpions. Water sources are rare, but there are two rivers, including the second-longest river in the world. The Sahara desert is most known for its scorching hot climate and sand dunes that reach over 300 feet.

Read more interesting facts about Sahara.

Typical Sahara desert landspaces

Arabian Desert – 1.0 million square miles

The Arabian Desert is the world’s second-largest subtropical desert. The Arabian peninsula is a barren and sandy landscape rich in natural resources. Locust and dung beetles are native to this bleak and barren desert. Summer temperatures can go as high as fifty degrees Celsius during the day but drop drastically at night. The desert region is rich in oil, sulfur, sulfur and natural resources such as sulphur and oil.

The Arabian Desert is found in nine individual countries. It is classified as subtropical, meaning it is one of the world’s most hot deserts. It contains an ideal environment for reptiles, such as lizards, snakes, and geckos, but it also has many native species that live in the region. The Arabian Camel, Arabian Wolf, Sand Gazelle and Nubian Ibex are the only species that inhabit the desert. 

The Arabian Desert is the largest desert in Asia (western Asia), and its heart, called the Empty Quarter, is shared between Suadi Arabia, Oman, Emirates, and Yemen


Gobi Desert – 0.5 million square miles

The Gobi Desert is the second-largest single desert in Asia and fifth-largest in the world. Situated along the border of China and Mongolia, it is located along the ancient Silk Road. It is classified as a rain shadow desert, which means that a nearby mountain range is blocking rain systems. Far from being completely inhospitable, the desert is home to diverse species of species such as Bactrian Camel and Black-Tailed Gazelle. The most common plant in the Gobi desert is the Saxaul tree, which is able to retain moisture within its bark. In the Gobi desert, there are some species of flora that have become incredibly adept at surviving the harsh desert conditions….

Gobi Desert – Mongolia

Patagonian Desert – 0.26 million square miles

The Patagonian Desert is one of the cold winter deserts that stretches across the south of Argentina and the southern coast of Chile. The cold climate – average temperature is between 3-12 degrees.

Patagonian desert (Patagonian step) due to its location close to the Andes is a rain shadow desert.

Largest deserts in the world

Great Victoria Desert – 0.25 million square miles

Great Victoria is a subtropical desert located in Australia. The Great Victoria receives eight to ten inches of rain every year. During the summer, temperatures rise up to forty degrees Celsius. It is a harsh environment of sand, rocks, hard packed-earth, and grassland. The desert is 7% warmer than normal but is still very hot during the summer and is cooler during the winter, but still hot in the winter in Australia’s northern part of the country, especially during periods of heavy rain.

Great Victoria Desert was named by Ernest Giles – British Explorer first European who crossed the Largest Australian Desert.

Kalahari Desert – 0.22 million square miles

The Kalahari Desert is located in southern Africa; It spans over parts of Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa. It covers 0.22 million square miles. It is a semi-desert region that receives up to eight inches of rain per year. Wild animals such as meerkat, hyena, kudu, and wildebeest are also present in the area. The sub-tropical desert is known as the eighth largest in the world at 0.2 million sq. km. It also receives more rain during special wet years than the rest of the country, with ten inches of it being considered a ‘desert’…

Great Basin – 0.19 million square miles

The Great Basin is one of the “big four’s” deserts in North America. Located directly north of the Mojave Desert, it is a dry expanse of clay, silt, and sand. It is said to be at 4,950 years old, a local Bristlecone Pine is the world’s oldest living thing, and it receives a fair amount of snow during the winter months in the desert’s semiarid winters. It spans over United States, covering most of Nevada and Utah

Syrian desert – 0.19 million square miles

The Syrian Desert, Syrian or Jordanian Steppe, is the tenth-largest desert in the world, measuring approximately 0.19 million square miles. It spans multiple Middle Eastern countries, including Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Despite its name, it is a barren landscape of rock and gravel. What wildlife is able to thrive in such a barren environment is under threat from drought, over-grazing, and hunting. The desert is a subtropical desert, covering more of Jordan than Syria, but is currently home to wildlife …

Chihuahuan Desert- 0.87 million square miles

The Chihuahuan Desert is the third largest desert in North America and stretches between New Mexico, Arizona and Northern parts of Central Texas. Lying southeast from the US-Mexican border to Durango in central México, it covers about one-quarter of all Mexican territory (including a large part of the states of Chihuahua, Coahuila and Sonora)


Karakum Desert

The Karakum Desert, located in central Asia, has a surface area of 135k square miles. 70% of the Karakum Deserts lies in Turkmenistan. 

World’s largest deserts

The largest desert in the world is not just a hot or cold, dry place with sand. Desert regions are also home to some of the most remarkable sights and wonders our planet has to offer. From deep canyons carved by rivers long ago to vast mountain ranges that stretch for miles across its surface, these deserts are worth visiting if you ever get the chance!

What is the largest desert in the World – Pin it

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