If you like turquoise clear waters, spectacular undisturbed coral reefs, hiking in magnificent desert scenery, and the opportunity to swim with dolphins in their own natural habitat, then read on…..
We just spent two amazing days visiting Eilat and I could have stayed for much longer. Situated on the southernmost tip of Israel, Eilat offers the perfect combination of swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving, along with desert hiking and jeep adventures. If you like to spice it up a bit, there are also speed boats, Wave-runners, and any other imaginable water adventure. Also, let’s not forget the tax free shopping (No VAT) and a lively nightlife and restaurant scene.
A Day at Coral Beach
This is a “must do” and top contender for the bucket list. We spent the entire day at Coral Beach; now part of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. For a nominal entrance fee (about $9 for an adult, less for kids and retirees), you can enjoy the most spectacular world class Coral Reefs. Entirely accessible via two bridges that cross over the reefs and ramps allow you to enter the sea on the Eastern edge of the Coral reef; enjoying all of its native flora and fauna. The colorful fish swimming in the crystal clear turquoise waters is a sight to behold. The beaches are well maintained and clean, along with clean showers and lockers. If you choose, you can bring your own food and drink although there is a small snack bar and a few beach restaurants within walking distance as well. We tried the a beach restaurant next door and it was excellent.
Boardwalk and Shopping
There is a very lively downtown area complete with newer luxury hotels, a boardwalk, endless array of eateries, and very nice beaches as well. We chose to stay in a private Condo away from the hustle and bustle, but only a 5 minute drive from the center of town. I recommend checking this area out at night if you are looking for a bit more action. Eilat is considered a tax free zone, somewhat like the Duty Free in the airport however the prices for local products is much less. If you are planning to make some purchases of local products or souvenirs, this is going to be the best in all of Israel.
New Update: As of January of this year 2019, the brand new Eilat Ramon International Airport just opened so you can now fly directly to Eilat from many locations worldwide.
Previously Eilat was often overlooked for many tourists visiting Israel for a short visit. This was primarily due to its location (about 4-5 hours from Central Israel by car). However, now with the new airport and direct flights both within and outside of Israel, I think it is definitely a strong contender for must see places to visit on your next trip to the Holy Land. Not only that, but you can easily make Petra Jordan or Egypt a Day trip from Eilat as they are a short 10-15 minute drive to the North or South of Israel from Eilat.