On top of their crazy nightlife and quality restaurants, Eilat—Israel's ultimate tourism city—offers a multitude of attractions for visitors of all ages and tastes: from laid-back beaches and soothing spas that give the Dead Sea a run for its money to non-stop activities both in and out of the crystal clear waters, world-class shows, and even two ice centers for the ultimate escape from the heat. And as if that isn’t enough, Israel’s largest jazz festival comes to town twice a year at winter and in the summer time. To make your utopic getaway to Eilat even better, we’ve rounded up a list of things to do in the area - here are our picks.
Eilat's top things to do
Located beyond Eilat’s port area, the Dolphin Reef offers an awe-inspiring atmosphere and experience for animal and nature seekers. Not only can you observe the dolphins from the floating piers and observation points, but you can also snorkel and dive among them. This ecologically unique site for both Israel and the world, houses a pod of bottle-nosed dolphins, where onlookers can witness them living first-hand in their natural habitat: playing, hunting and socializing. 10,000 square meters of open-ended sea allow the dolphins to come and go at will – none of them are captive.
Israel in general is famed for its many hiking trails winding their way over breathtaking heights in the north and lunar-like lows in the south. The routes are a fantastic way to see the country's beautiful landscape, and they all link up to form one giant hiking path that traverses the entire country, known as the Israel National Trail. Its northern end is at Dan, near the Lebanese border, and it extends to Eilat at the country's southernmost tip on the Red Sea. The trail is marked with three stripes (white, blue and orange) and has been named by National Geographic as one of the world’s best hikes.
The Coral Beach Underwater Observatory Marine Park offers a myriad of activities connected to a spectacular underwater universe, incorporating underwater observatories, a nature museum, 40 fish tanks, a sea turtle/stingray pool and a shark pool. There's even a darkroom specifically designed to showcase the fascinating flashlight fish: a bioluminescent fish that carries a glowing bacteria beneath their eyes, enabling them to "turn on and off" at will by raising or lowering a small flap of muscle. 100 meters from the shoreline is the underwater observatory containing two observation decks located below the surface, and one located above. Climb 90 steps to the Peace Terrace for expansive views of Israel, Jordan and Egypt. Science-lovers will ooh and aah at the Coral Beach Nature Reserve’s Oceanarium: a virtual-reality, science-fiction movie with interactive moving seats and a large screen.
Ice Park & Mall is an enormous glass-domed structure containing a mall and arcade/theme park. International and local designer stores offer VAT-free prices, while an Artist Market sells handcrafted jewelry. Whether your travels to the Middle East have you missing a true northern winter or you’re just plain sick of the blazing Eilat heat, come chill out in the mall’s one-of-a-kind indoor skating rink.
The southernmost city in Israel, Eilat, has been blessed with a spectacular coral reef. The Eilat coral reef, the northernmost reef in the world and a unique Israeli attraction, is the beating heart of the one-mile long nature reserve that stretches across the gulf of Eilat. Diving or snorkeling near the reef, you will see colorful coral gardens home to a variety of multi-hued tropical fish: parrotfish, butterfly fish, giant shellfish and a wide selection of intriguing species that only come out in the dark. About a ten-minute walk from the Egyptian border, you’ll find the southernmost scubadiving club in Israel, a small venue with plenty of peace and quiet. The club offers an introductory underwater excursion for those who have no previous diving experience.
Isrotel Yam Suf is 20 metres from the Red Sea. It features 3 swimming pools, and free parking. Free WiFi is available throughout.All rooms at the Yam Suf have a comfortable seating area with tea/coffee maker and cable TV. Some rooms also have a furnished balcony overlooking the hotel's private beach and the swimming pools.Isrotel Yam Suf Hotel also features a restaurant serving buffet meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.There is also a fitness centre with free entrance to the gym, while the spa and massages are available at extra costs.The hotel is just a short walk from the Coral Beach Nature Reserve, ideal for diving lovers. Manta Diving Centre is next to the Isrotel and here guests can rent diving equipment and attend courses.
Adventuring through rock formed passages less than two meters wide yet hundreds of meters high, the Eilat Mountains offer visitors a unique and stunning desert experience. Whether hiking or biking, advanced or beginner, an experience awaits every visitor. In great weather conditions, one can see Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia from the top of mountain, making this experience uniquely Middle Eastern!
This mobile underwater observatory, which is attached to a luxurious tour vessel, combines sailing with the spectacular underwater scenes visible through the submerged transparent sides of the boat. These impressive sights are accompanied by explanations and background music (and sometimes live performances). These vessels leave from the marina and spend about two hours cruising the calm waters between the Jordanian and Egyptian borders. You can kick back on the sun deck, perhaps with a beer or a coffee from the snack bar, and enjoy panoramic views of Eilat from the sea. Sail along the Eilat Bay and enjoy the underwater views of the coral reef and the Japanese Gardens, which are considered the most well preserved diving site in Eilat. The gardens encompass about 500 square meters of corals located on two different levels (the shallower level beginning almost at sea level and going 6-8 meters deep). The reef is a mix of labyrinths and small canyons boasting an abundance of life and color.
Eilat’s Bazaar offers a diverse – sometimes bizarre – mix of trinkets, handmade clothing, jewelry, henna tattoos, hair-braiding and printed T-shirts. The stalls are ideal for perusing during an evening stroll and there are plenty of food and beverage kiosks to keep you well fed and watered.
This wild coast is reminiscent of the beaches that have not yet been touched by man and have remained with beautiful mountains and blue water. The Beach entrance is marked by ropes with buoys because it is a part of the Coral Beach strip. It is also possible to enter the water by two iron bridges leading directly into deep water for those who want a quick and sand-free approach. Although it is a natural beach, the beach is clean, well-maintained and inviting. While Princess beach does not feature any organized facilities, it does feature unobstructed beauty, and is definitely worth checking out.