Eilat
Israel's Riviera on the Red Sea


Eilat is spectacular, the waters are crystal clear and cold compared to the hot temperature outside. This is the southernmost city of the country on the shores of the Red Sea.

I came first here with a group of friend back in July 1959 for my 17th birthday (now, don't start calculating).

It was a small town of just a decade old. On the beach stretch that you see today full of hotels there was none, not even the Queen of Sheba Hotel that was inaugurated in 1960.

We slept under the sky...things you do when you are 17...




Eilat on the Israeli side and Aqaba on the Jordanian side

Eilat on the Israeli side and Aqaba on the Jordanian side


The Amazing Red Mountains surrounding Eilat

This resort town attracts tourists from all over the world looking for its great sights, warm weather year round and cool waters. It is an important place for scuba diving because of the spectacular corals and the variety of fish with incredible colors.

It is not only the city but the area surrounding it that makes it attractive to many Israelis and foreigners. On the north the Negev Desert with its rocks and formations in all colors is an ideal place for mount climbing and hiking. But above the Beach is an invitation for all. 

Today the shores boast the most beautiful hotels. They compete with all worldwide resorts in famous areas as Cancun or the Caribbean.




Red Mountains surrounding the city of Eilat

Red Mountains surrounding the city of Eilat


Vacations on its gorgeous beaches

The beaches scattered along the Red Sea run from the very border with Jordan on the east, they are divided in two groups:

  • North Coast Beaches is where the bulk of hotels are located. There is a promenade along the coast to be able to reach the hotels from the beach.

    This promenade takes you to downtown to the mall and many restaurants and cafes. If you are staying in one of the seaside hotels you just walk a few steps and go to the water. This area is great for sunbathers, swimmers and water sport worshipers.

  • Coral Beach area is located further south of downtown towards the Egyptian border. It serves as the main arena for scuba diving and snorkeling.

    Dotted with palm trees, straw parasols and lively bars playing music, most of the beaches offer vivacious, tropical atmosphere during the day and incredibly romantic feel at night.

At the beach, you are likely to see sunbathers from all over the world laying on beach beds just a few steps from the water. Others are busy dining at one of the nearby snack bars, playing “Matkot” or Israeli beach tennis, or simply relaxing in front of the fascinating vista.


Eilat

Spectacular sunset in Eilat

Spectacular sunset in Eilat


Sunset

After a long day at the beach (remember to use sunscreen) it is time to get ready for the perfect finale – The sunset. When the sun goes down beyond the hills of the city, just sit back and gaze at the gorgeous mountains of Aqaba across the sea, while they become amazingly red.

Finally, as the night falls over the city, you can join the festivity at one of the beaches, which are transformed into bustling locations for dancing parties and pubs.

There are sites for those of you seeking romanticism or maybe camping in a tent, where the beaches are less busy. Lying on the pebbles and the cool sand, listening to the whisper of the waves as they break into the shore, and staring at the moonlight gorgeously reflected on the water, is truly a remarkable experience.


King Solomon's Pillars near Eilat

King Solomon's Pillars near Eilat


Getting there

The airport used mainly for domestic flights is practically inside the town. The flight from Tel Aviv is approximately an hour. The drive from Jerusalem or Tel Aviv is a little more than four hours. Egged and other companies offer Non-Stop rides in luxury air conditioned buses.

Major military airport at nearby Ovdat is well prepared to receive big Jumbos with tourists mainly from Europe. It is being used for years for charter flights. The government of Israel just approved the construction of a second International Airport in Israel in the same category as Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv.

This new airport to be opened in 2016 will substitute both the Ovdat military airport and the local airport. It is going to be located just 18 km north and will be available for all schedule airlines to fly from Europe and elsewhere direct to Eilat-Israel.


Coral World Underwater Observatory in Eilat

Coral World Underwater Observatory in Eilat


This city and its surroundings have many attractions

  • The Coral World Underwater Observatory – This is the place for those that don’t want to scuba dive to observe the marine life from a safe and closed place surrounded by glass.

  • The Dolphin Reef – If you like you or your children to swim with the dolphins, this is the place.

  • Bird watching – It is not so well known that it is one of the world’s best places for bird watching. During the months of September to November millions upon millions of birds migrate from Europe to Africa and return back to Europe around March to May. The path is over Eilat and the Negev and the Hula Valley in the Jordan River.

  • Timna Valley National Park – It is good for hiking, jeep tours and camel riding. It is the area of the ancient King Solomon mines. In Hebrew they are called Amudei Shlomo or Solomon Pillars. The artificial lake at Timna has become a popular area for recreation for Israelis.

  • Hai Bar Wildlife Reserve – An area of 8,000 acres is home to many endangered wild animals. You may not see many of them during the hot hours of the day but there are hyenas, gazelles, cheetahs and many others in the park.


Petra in neighboring Jordan is a Wonder of the World

Petra in neighboring Jordan is a Wonder of the World


Tours to our neighbor

  • Petra Jordan – This is the number one tour that tourist do when here. For one or two days they cross the border at the Arava crossing, north of the city and enter Jordan for an unforgettable visit to the Nabataean City of Petra with its structures carved on the red rock of the mountains. This is an experience of a lifetime.

  • Aqaba Jordan – Eilat’s sister city on the Jordanian side of the border. Like ours it offers great hotels, beaches and entertainment.

I used to send many tourists to nearby Sinai Peninsula, but at this point, until things get clearer in the neighboring country, I would suggest refraining from crossing the border into Egypt.


For more information visit Israel Tourism Website


images are courtesy of wikimedia commons




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