Eilat Israel
Our Own Beach Riviera

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

I came first to Eilat with a group of friend back in July 1959 for my 17th birthday (now, don't start calculating). I 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 beach full of Sun and Fun

The Amazing Red Mountains surrounding Eilat Israel

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 Eilat Beach is an invitation for all. I came for the first time to Eilat in summer of 1959. It was a small town with not even one hotel on its shores. I repeat, the only shades on the beach were a few umbrellas and not one hotel. Just one year later in 1960 the first hotel on the beach was built, the Queen of Sheba Hotel.

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

The breathtaking red mountains surrounding the city of Eilat Israel

Holiday in Eilat and 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 Eilat Israel 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 Eilat’s 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.

After a long day at the beach (remember to use sunscreen) it is time to get ready for the perfect finale – The sunset in Eilat Israel. 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 Mines in Timna north of Eilat Israel

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 2014 will substitute both the Ovdat military airport and the Eilat local airport. It is going to be located just 18 km north of Eilat and will be available for all schedule airlines to fly from Europe and elsewhere direct to Eilat Israel.

Eilat's North Beach is where most of the hotels are located

Eilat 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 Eilat 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.

"El Khazneh" or "The Treasury" in Petra Jordan

Tours from Eilat

  • Petra Jordan – This is the number one tour that tourist do when in Eilat. For one or two days they cross the border at the Arava crossing, north of Eilat 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 Eilat 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.

Image Credits:
eilat beach by avishai teicher
timna by little savage
eilat north beach by sendelbach
eilat city mountains by ilan sharif
petra n/a

All courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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