Eilat, Israel’s southernmost city, offers visitors an abundance of outdoor activities, thanks to nearly year-round sunny weather. From world-class scuba diving opportunities and spectacular hiking trails to idyllic beaches and a burgeoning nightlife scene, there is something here for everyone.
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), narrow, winding trails, and towering rock formations, this is a must-visit attraction. The trails cater to both beginners and advanced hikers, and Tourist Israel, a well-established tour company, runs a shuttle service to and from the mountains.
A magical and largely unknown spot tucked away in the steep cliffs of Timna Park, the Hidden Lake is truly a treasure in Israel’s south. It is just around 20 minutes by car from the city of Eilat via Route 90, and the contrast between the reddish cliffs and the turquoise lake water creates a spectacular sight. Since the water is salty, be careful not to swallow it or enter with open wounds.
Israelis and foreigners alike flock to Eilat throughout the year for its crystal-clear waters and diverse sea life, which includes a colourful array of tropical fish, dolphin sightings, and breathtaking coral formations. Head to the Coral Beach Nature Reserve and explore one of the world’s most densely populated coral reefs. There are sun loungers and umbrellas, so you can also relax and work on your tan in between your dives.
Having made a name for itself as one of Tel Aviv’s best cocktail bars, Jasper John’s has recently opened a second branch, under the name Jasper 08, in Israel’s southernmost city. Located inside the newly renovated Agamim Hotel, one of the finest places to stay in Eilat, this establishment has well and truly raised the bar in terms of the local nightlife scene’s quality and elegance. The contemporary New York atmosphere and design is complemented by expertly crafted cocktails and equally delicious food (expect a Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Asian fusion, featuring plenty of fish). For a night out in style, this is the place to go in Eilat.
This is where you’ll find the most spectacular views in Eilat. Merely a 15-minute drive from the city on Route 12, this mountain’s peak overlooks Israel, Egypt and Jordan. If you want to have the best experience, stay there until sunset. To combine your picnic with more sightseeing and outdoor adventures in the mountainous region, check out Desert Eco Tours.
Head to Eilat’s Dolphin Reef beach, home to a dolphin population living in its natural habitat, and get up close with these magnificent creatures. For approximately 290 shekels (US$84), you can swim with them for thirty minutes. This is one of the main attractions in Eilat and should not be missed.
If you want to explore the diverse sea life of the Red Sea but scuba diving or snorkeling isn’t your thing, then simply go to the Coral Beach Underwater Observatory. A tower submerged 12 metres below the water, this observatory comprises two display halls with large glass windows that offer stunning natural views of Eilat’s underwater world. The marine park also features a darkroom that enables visitors to observe awesome bioluminescent ‘flashlight’ fish, 40 fish tanks, a shark pool and an immersive oceanarium.
Eilat boasts numerous tranquil beaches, but none is more idyllic than Mosh’s Beach. With a backdrop of the Jordan’s Aqaba Mountains, it offers a relaxed setting dotted with comfortable sun loungers, mats and mattresses. There are restaurants nearby and a Bedouin pita stand on the beach, making this beach the perfect place to spend an afternoon and enjoy the sunset. Entrance is free but you’re not allowed to bring your own food and drinks.