The city of Eilat is located at the southernmost point of Israel. For this reason it is not always included in travel itineraries. Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and other top destinations in Israel are relatively close together but reaching Eilat requires a short flight or a long drive. However leaving Eilat off your travel itinerary is a big mistake! Eilat is unlike any other city in the country.
It is the ultimate beach resort city and the Eilat weather is perfect. From early spring to late autumn the Eilat weather is sunny and virtually without rain. Summers are very hot and humid while the winters are cooler with occasional showers.
Eilat is located on the edge of the Red Sea where there is crystal clear water and coral reefs close enough to the shore to explore safely and independently. You simple have to rent a snorkel and wade into the water to see the tropical fish and coral reefs. The Red Sea is Eilat’s major attraction. There are many beaches and companies offering boating excursions and water sports. Eilat is home to the Dolphin Reef, a unique site where dolphins are free to come and go from an enclosure where they are fed and cared for. The dolphins move between the open sea and the enclosed area while people come to see them being fed and even to dive with the dolphins.
Some of Israel’s finest hotels are in Eilat. Eilat hotels offer resort-style accommodation with lavish swimming pools, all-inclusive deals, entertainment and stunning sea views. There are Eilat hotels to suit every budget from hostel accommodation to five star luxury. Among the Eilat hotels there is a hotel which is adults-only; a hotel which is focused on offering sport activities and several spa hotels.
In addition to the beach, water sports and dolphins Eilat has many land-based attractions. There is King’s City, a theme park featuring stories from the First Testament and the Coral World Underwater Observatory, an aquarium complex on the Red Sea. At night you can enjoy a waterfront market; a musical fountain; clubs; bars or go to the IMAX Theatre. If you go into the surrounding desert you can visit Timna Park, an area of natural rock formations, stunning scenery and archaeological sites.
Shopping in Eilat
Eilat is a Free Port Zone which means that there is no value added tax on items you buy. Shopping in Eilat is cheaper than in any other part of the country and the city boasts several malls. The Ice Mall is a large shopping complex built in a circle around a huge ice rink. You can rent skates or watch ice skating performances which are presented regularly throughout the day in the summer.
Getting to Eilat
The easiest and fastest way to reach Eilat is to fly from Tel Aviv to the Eilat airport. The flight takes about 30 minutes. There are flights from Tel Aviv’ Sde Dov Airport and from Ben Gurion. The Eilat airport is in the city center so on arrival you will already be close to your hotel. Alternatively you could take a bus to Eilat or an organized tour. Along the way see sites like Masada and the Dead Sea.