How to Spend 48 Hours in Eilat, Israel

A beach in Eilat, Israel
A beach in Eilat, Israel | © sergei25 / Shutterstock
Photo of Reuben Lewis
Israel Writer10 January 2018

Eilat is Israel’s southernmost city, known for its scuba diving and coral reefs, dolphin population, stunning hiking trails, beaches and sunburnt tourists. With an increasing number of airlines providing affordable direct flights from Europe to Eilat, it is now easier than ever to reach. Here’s how to make the most of your time there!

Eilat’s stunning turquoise waters on a secluded beach | © Rostislav Glinsky / Shutterstock

Day 1

Morning: Nature extravaganza

Scuba dive or snorkel at Coral Beach Nature Reserve, which is home to one of the world’s most densely populated coral reefs. It is also equipped with sun loungers and umbrellas, so you can relax and work on your tan in between exploring the wonders of Eilat’s underwater universe.

For a dryer yet equally impressive experience, we recommend taking a jeep tour of Eilat Mountain Nature Reserve. Desert Eco Tours will take you off the proverbial beaten track, first on camels and then by 4×4 up to the mountain’s summits, where you’ll see wildlife such as ibex in addition to spectacular views of the three neighbouring countries, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

A girl swimming along Eilat’s stunning coral reefs | © Irisphoto1 / Shutterstock

Afternoon: Go underwater, while staying dry!

Escape the sweltering afternoon heat by heading down to the Coral Beach Underwater Observatory where you can explore the wondrous sea life of the Red Sea. A tower that submerges 12 metres below the water, the observatory comprises two display halls with large glass windows that offer stunning natural views of Eilat’s breathtaking coral reefs and sea life. The marine park also features a darkroom that enables you to see the awesome bioluminescent ‘flashlight’ fish, 40 fish tanks, a shark pool and an immersive oceanarium.

Evening: Catch some live music or grab a cocktail

Three Monkeys Pub on the Royal Beach Promenade is the oldest pub in Eilat, very popular for its live music and DJ performances throughout the week. Open until late, it has a dance floor, decent pub grub and a pleasant outdoor seating area where you can relax while enjoying the sea breeze.

Alternatively, for a more high-end establishment look no further than 5th Avenue Eilat, a slick New York style cocktail bar and restaurant where inventive drinks are matched by excellent food and a buzzing atmosphere.

Day 2

Morning: Hike the stunning Red Canyon

Eilat is home to one of the most beautiful hiking trails in Israel. Wake up early to avoid the peak of the heat and hike along the Red Canyon, just outside of the city. Characterised by its vibrant red colour, a result of the beaming sunlight and its narrow, winding trail and towering rock formations, this is a hike not to be missed. The trails cater to beginners and advanced hikers, and Tourist Israel, a well-established tour company, runs a shuttle service to and from the mountains.

The stunning Red Canyon in Eilat Mountains | © andras_csontos / Shutterstock

For a less arduous activity that will also take you to the desert, go on a tour of Timna Park, one of the most popular sites in the Negev Desert due to its spectacular rock formations and historic sites, most notably the oldest copper mine recorded in human history.

Afternoon: Beach, mojitos and dolphins!

After a tiring hike, you’ll probably want to lounge by the beach. Lucky for you, Eilat is full of them: Mosh’s Beach, Princess Beach and Dekel Beach are arguably the most beautiful. Grab a sun lounger and a cocktail and enjoy the sea breeze!

For one of the most magical experiences you can have in Israel, head to the Dolphin Reef Beach, home to a school of dolphins living in their natural habitat (they are not held captive!). For approximately 290 shekels ($84), you can swim with them for thirty minutes! This is one of the main attractions in Eilat and it is not to be missed.

A man touching a dolphin in Eilat’s Dolphin Reef | © Shimon Bar / Shutterstock

Evening: Dine in style at Pedro Restaurant

Pedro is located away from the tourist traps in a residential area and is one of the finest restaurants in Eilat. Located in a charming, secluded garden, it specializes in fresh high-quality meat that is aged on site, in addition to an extensive wine collection. The food is an eclectic mix of wonderful flavours, from fish dishes (always fresh from the fisherman’s net), such as salmon and avocado ceviche to salads made from ingredients fresh from the market, and of course meat, including beef fillet served in a cream and pesto sauce with artichoke, garlic and cherry tomatoes. This is a culinary experience that will ensure you finish your trip in style!