Eilat On a BudgetEilat serves as the gateway to Israel from Egypt. It's located at the southern tip of the country and sits on the Red Sea with views of the Gulf of Aqaba. It's location in the Negev Desert along the beautiful coast make it appealing to both domestic and international vacationers.
Eilat is a resort town with many dive shops and snorkeling opportunities. The population of about 50,000 can easily be overshadowed by vacationers. With no shortage of sun, entertainment, bars, and partying, you will find both Israeli and international tourists looking for an oasis of fun and relaxation.
Although the area's coral reefs were being damaged by overuse, the removal of contraversial fish cages in 2008 has led to a slow recovery and an improvement in the quality of diving and snorkeling in the area. There are also less crowds than you will find in Sharm el-Sheikh or Dahab, Egypt.
Eilat has a hot desert climate. The summers are hot and dry and the winters are warm and dry. Temperatures in the winter can range from 52 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit and summer temperatures are usually between 79 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
SightsThe two main beach areas in Eilat are the North beach and the south beach (Coral Beach). The marine life in the area has begun improve in recent years following the removal of controversial fish cages in 2008.
One of the top sights in Eilat is the Underwater Observatory, which offers a great way to see the Red Sea without getting wet. It is also worth visiting Dolphin Reef, which is a facility that helps to rehabilitate sick and injured dolphins. Kings City in Eilat is a theme park that is designed with a bible theme. The park is divided into four sections: Journey to the Past, Cave of Illusions and Wisdome, Bible Cave, and King Solomon Falls.
NeighborhoodsThe main beach area in Eilat is the two kilometer stretch of waterfront known as the North Beach area. The area is lined with fancy hotels and there's a promenade that has plenty of artist stalls, restaurants, and shopping options. It's a great place to take a walk during the evening when the activities are in full force. Another beach area, the southern beach, has more coral reef areas and is better for snorkeling. It is protected by the Israel Nature Reserve Authority, but there are many public beaches and a handful of scuba diving shops that offer trips. You do need transportation to travel to this southern beach area.
ActivitiesThe obvious activities in Eilat are snorkeling, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Another interesting option is to take a tour into the Negev desert, which surrounds Eilat. There are many hiking trails and some very impressive scenery that are most easily visited through an organized tour.
The Red City Music Festival is held every summer and has several all night performances that feature hip-hop, rock, and trance music. This festival is held on the beach and attracts crowds. The Red Sea Jazz Festival is also held the last week in August. Musicians come from all over the world to perform here.
Food and DiningThere are countless restaurants throughout Eilat, most of which cater to tourists. Along the main promenade areas you'll find the highest concentration of restaurants, many of which are very expensive. Some of Israel's master chefs serve up delicious dishes that you won't find anywhere else. Many of the restaurants are owned by major hotel chains, and the atmosphere is trendy and stylish.
Off the promenade area you will find plenty of other restaurants which, while not cheap, are usually more reasonably priced. Falafel is probably the cheapest option, and is predictably good. There are also several restaurants that serve up international food for a reasonable price.
TransportationIt's easy to walk around central Eilat but the hot summer temperatures can make the experience unpleasant. There is a bus system that can take you to the south beach and many of the city's suburbs. There are taxis available as well, and they are easy to find on most major streets. As always, insist that the driver use the meter or at least agree on a price in advance.
Looking for a hostel in Delhi or Goa? Heading to Kathmandu or want a party in Tel Aviv?