Things to do in Eilat
Eilat is Israel’s southernmost city on the edge of the Red Sea. It is a beach resort packed with attractions, idyllic beaches and perfect holiday weather most of the year. Now there is even a new international airport on the outskirts of the city so that visitors can arrive in Eilat directly from overseas. To make Eilat even more appealing it is a tax-free port which means it is the only city in Israel where you don’t pay tax on your purchases! Here is a breakdown of the top Eilat attractions and things to do when you visit Eilat.
Eilat’s Red Sea coastline offers a range of beaches from small, intimate sandy coves to wide popular beaches with all amenities. Many beaches are walking distance from the city center and most hotels while others are further west towards the border with Egypt. Choose your favorite beach from the hip, laid-back Mosh Beach; North Beach, best for swimming, water sports and accessibility from the city center; Princess Beach or Coral Beach Nature Reserve for snorkeling; Dolphin Reef Beach where you swim alongside dolphins or the small Harush Beach where there is a restaurant/bar on the sand and a diving school. At Harush and several other beaches you can rent a snorkel and mask to explore the coral reefs. Some of the beaches are devoted completely to water sports like Hanania Beach.
Eilat Water Attractions
Without a doubt the top attraction in Eilat is the sea whether it is relaxing on the beach, taking a boat excursion or doing water sports. Water sports in Eilat include parasailing, water skiing, jet skis, banana boats, tubing, kayaking, sup, canoeing and wind surfing. These activities are offered at many of the Eilat beaches for a reasonable price and with no need to pre-book. You can even rent a speed-boat and go out on the water by yourself. Another popular water attraction is diving and snorkeling. Even if you’ve never dived before you can take a short introductory course at one of Eilat’s dive schools. If you’d prefer to snorkel then rent a snorkel and mask from one of the beach stalls and explore the Eilat coral reefs that lie beneath the water just meters from the shore. You can literally walk into the water and find yourself facing stunning coral reefs teaming with colorful tropical fish. For a relaxing excursion on the water there are regular cruises that take visitors out in glass-bottom boats or on the water for lunch, a sundown dinner or a party where the cruise boat stops at sea and passengers can jump into the water.
At Dolphin Reef you can watch dolphins in their natural habitat; you can swim with the dolphins and watch them eat and play within an ecological site which is open to the sea so that dolphins can choose to come and go. The dolphins return to the site where they are fed and treated well yet they can go back out into the sea whenever they choose. The grounds of Dolphin Reef have lush vegetation, ponds, restaurant, a small cinema where films about the dolphins are shown, a souvenir store and a diving center. You can relax on Dolphin Reef beach, swim, see the dolphins being fed or go diving or snorkeling with the dolphins. Dolphin Reef is a private business and requires an entrance fee.
Petra Tours from Eilat
Why stay just in Eilat when it is so easy to make a day trip to Petra in Jordan. Petra is a UNESCO-listed archaeological site where a powerful Nabataeanian city once stood. This unique city was created in the Jordanian desert by carving structures out of rose-colored rock. Thanks to the climate and its remote location Petra has been well-preserved, surviving about 2,300 years. Visitors to Petra can see temples, tombs, cavernous chambers and structures from other eras including a Roman amphitheatre and Byzantine church. Day tours to Petra leave daily and include pick-up and drop-off from your Eilat hotel.
Underwater Observatory Park
This marine park displays sea creatures in a number of tanks including sharks and rare fish. There is a glass-bottomed boat that takes visitors out on the water to see the coral reefs up-close and a 4D movie about marine life in the Red Sea. The highlight of a visit to this site is the underwater observatory built off-shore where you can descend beneath sea-level and get a 360° view of the coral reefs and marine life. The marine park also has restaurants (including one in the observatory) and attractions for the whole family.
Eilat has several excellent malls but the most interesting is the Ice Mall. Here a large ice rink lies in the middle of the mall with stores arranged on two levels looking onto the rink. Visitors can rent skates by the hour and enjoy a break from shopping. During the summer there are regular skating performances throughout the day. The mall has several other attractions for kids as well as restaurants and cafes.
Just a few minutes inland from Eilat are the Red Mountains and the desert. You can take a desert excursion riding a camel, donkey or horse. There are also jeep safaris into the desert; ATV and RZR excursions; hike trails and eco-tours to the most scenic areas of the Negev Desert. If you go further inland you will reach Timna Park, a valley with awesome scenery and geological and archaeological wonders. Take a tour from Eilat to Masada and the Dead Sea located about 2.5hrs north.
Other Eilat Attractions
As if that’s not enough Eilat also offers an adventure rope park; Escape Rooms; IMAX 4D cinema; a skate park; musical fountain; climbing walls; bowling; karaoke; an amusement park and botanical garden.