Eilat is one of the most popular targets for international arrivals in Israel. The resort city represents the extreme southern point of the Negev Desert triangle and borders Egypt and Jordan (and almost Saudi Arabia) on the north end of the Gulf of Eilat/Aqaba and Red Sea.
The city of close to 50,000 people depends heavily on the ebb and flow of annual tourism and, by extension, delivers most of the telltale characteristics of a reliable beach destination. The one difference, however, is that in addition to coral reefs, beaches, nightlife, leisure and entertainment, Eilat also serves as a gateway to remarkable nature reserves, spectacular desertscapes and singular archaeological sites. Wonderfully, all of this inherent allure unfolds within hours of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
A military base and strategic port for decades after the establishment of the State of Israel, Eilat's resort hub conversion began in earnest after peace was made with Egypt in 1979. In the decades thence, development on the coast has come fast and furious. A panoply of luxury hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and other modern attractions serve the needs of visitors today.
Eilat’s Top 10
10. Kings City is a Biblical theme park owned by controversial billionaire Lev Avnerovich Leviev.
5. Eilat Marina teems with pleasure watercraft.
9. Makhtesh Ramon looks like a massive impact crater but is actually a geological oddity endemic to the Negev Desert.
4. Timna Valley, north of Eilat, unfurls the ruins of a Neolithic copper mine and some of the most bizarre and photogenic topography in all of Israel.
8. Water sports, from scuba to snuba, form the backbone of Eilat recreation.
3. Bedouin Tours take visitors deep into the desert to elucidate on a venerable way of life.
7. Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve is the place to sniff out exotic species like the caracal, griffon vulture, oryx and wild ass.
2. Dolphin Reef is a pristine habitat for bottlenose dolphins on the shores of the Red Sea.
6. Underwater Observatory Marine Park brings all the wonders of the Red Sea vividly to life.
1. Coral Beach Nature Reserve is the crown jewel of Eilat and an underwater paradise for snorkelers.
- Ben Gurion’s Home – Stands to commemorate the Israeli leader as well as to discuss Jewish and Israeli heritage.
- Ben Gurion’s Tomb – The tranquil grave site is surrounded by a well-manicured garden of local fauna.
- Botanical Garden of Eilat – The amazing views from this garden made it an important site for the military in the past.
- Harbor Bridge –The famous bridge has historically been home to an annual music festival, which draws thousands of players.
- Straits of Tiran – This historic waterway opened in 1956 and established Eilat as a major shipping port and the gateway to the Orient.
Eilat Art & Culture
- Underwater Observatory and Marine Museum – Features collections of unique sea life.
- Eilat International Belly Dancing Festival – Three-day festival in January focuses on the art of belly dancing.
- Red Sea International Music Festival – This classical music festival is held in February and draws musicians from all over the world.
- Epson Red Sea World of Underwater Images Competition – In November, divers flock to Eilat to dive and try to get the best picture.
- Eilat Spring Migration Festival – March is a great time for bird watching, and during this festival guides will take visitors to the best spots.
- Mall Hayum – The largest array of shops in all of Eilat.
- Yotvata Kibbutz – Features a very large dairy centre, which makes it a nice place to go for ice cream.
- Big Center – This shopping mall is a good place to find just about anything, including items for the home.
- Le Boulevard – Located inside the Royal Garden Hotel and a great place for unique gifts and souvenirs.
- Eilat Flea Market – This market caters to tourists by selling all types of cheap gifts and souvenirs.
Gay & Lesbian Eilat
- Princess Hotel – This gay-friendly hotel offers great access to Taba Beach, a great place to catch some rays.
- Hotel Pierre – Upscale, gay-friendly hotel in Eilat caters to a trendy young crowd.
- Helena Bar – This bar is a favourite among gay and lesbian travellers.
- Eilat Gay Pride Parade – Annual parade is held in May that draws gay and lesbian visitors from around the world.
- Caeser Premire Hotel – This gay-friendly hotel is the epicentre of activities during the annual Gay Pride Parade.
- Bay of Eilat – For sailing or breathtaking views of the sea, this is the place to go.
- Coral Reserve – Some great fishing and diving can be done at this coral reef found at the south of the city.
- Dolphin Reef – A great area to observe or even swim with the dolphins that inhabit the reef.
- King’s City – This high-tech amusement park is based on Bible stories and is a great way to spend the day outdoors in Eilat.
- Eilat Mountains – A favourite among hikers for the well-marked trails and killer views.
- Take a hike around the trails at Timna National Park.
- Climb to the top of the red volcanic rock at Mt Timna.
- Snorkel in the pristine waters off of Princess Beach.
- Watch a game of basketball at the Isrotel Sport Club in Eilat.
- Come catch one of the Bnei Eilat F.C.’s football matches.
Eilat International Film Festival is the flagship event in the resort city.
Red Sea Jazz Festival takes place over four days in late August and lures tens of thousands to the city.
When To Go
Eilat has a typical desert climate with warm to hot and almost rainless weather throughout the year. Summers, in particular, wield a potent punch and feature temperatures in the 76°F (24°C) to 104°F (40°C) range. As a result, June to August swelters and demands visitors take special care while outdoors.
Winter, on the other hand, is low season in Eilat for a reason. With temperatures between 50°F (10°C) and 72°F (22°C), December to February is not exactly prime beach time.
The months of April and October, while still hot, offer a good compromise between the two extremes.
Eilat Airport provides service to and from Tel Aviv and Haifa. Average flight time is less than one hour. A good many tourists, however, fly in from the likes of London-Gatwick and Brussels to Taba International Airport in Egypt. A taxi from Taba to the border takes 40 minutes, with another 30, on average, to cross over. Eilat is another 10 minutes away.
Eilat Central Bus Station on HaTemarim Street offers regular daily service to and from Tel Aviv. The trip takes about 5 hours. It is advisable to purchase tickets in advance.
Visitors can also cross over from Aqaba, Jordan to Eilat and either walk from the border or take a taxi to the main resort area.
A plethora of cars for hire ferry visitors to and fro in Eilat. The central promenade, however, is small and quite manageable on foot.
As one of Israel's premier destinations, Eilat is well-situated at the southern tip of the country, with Egypt and Jordan on either side. The Negev Desert city of 50,000 people has become a popular vacation resort not only for Israelis, but hordes of Europeans as well. With a near-perfect climate that benefits from the warm Red Sea and rarely sees temperatures below 10°C, Eilat is idyllic throughout the year.
Eilat's origins were far from the beach playground the city is today however. A strategic military outpost and crucial port of trade for decades, Eilat's transformation into tourist hub began only after the Israel-Egypt peace treaty of 1979. Since then, development on the Red Sea and Gulf of Eilat coastline has been rampant, with a surfeit of luxury hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and other attractions available for visitors today. Other than sand and sun, Eilat and the biodiverse Negev area have several fine nature reserves to explore.
Attractions & Activities
- Coral Beach Nature Reserve
- Hai-Bar Yotvata Nature Reserve
- Kings City
- Timna Valley Park
- Eilat Marina
- Bedouin Tours
- Dolphin Reef
- Eilat International Film Festival
- Red Sea Jazz Festival
Restaurant & Nightlife
- Pago Pago
- Caso do Brazil
- Last Refuge
- The Three Monkeys
- Unplugged Bar
Eilat has a dry desert climate, with beautiful weather throughout the year.
- Winter (December to February) 10-22°C
- Spring (March to May) 14-35°C
- Summer (June to September) 24-40°C
- Fall (October to November) 16-33°C
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Corner of Bareket str. 21 and Eilot str 126. Map
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