If you’re coming to Israel looking for stunning desert scenery, a visit to Timna Park is an essential addition to your itinerary!
Many renowned geologists regard Timna Park as one of the Middle East’s top attractions for sheer geological interest, and its gorgeous multicolored sand, combined with its towering sandstone pillars are a sight sure to amaze even the most jaded of tourists.
Getting to Timna Park is a simple matter of taking a short drive north from the city of Eilat. The drive is about 17 miles from Eilat and should take you about half an hour. Alternatively, when heading down to Eilat (don’t miss our guide to Eilat), allocate some time to stopover at this amazing desert site…don’t just drive by!
When to visit
The best time to visit Timna Park is probably somewhere between the months of November and April. During this period, the weather is pleasantly cool and dry and you’ll be able to participate in all of the fantastic outdoor activities that Timna Park is famous for. October (during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot) is also a good time to come for the legendary Timna Park Balloon Festival!
Alternatively, if you’re not a fan of outdoor sports, you may want to consider visiting in the height of summer instead. Of course, summer tends to be swelteringly hot, so if you’re visiting during this period, don’t forget to pack cool, dry clothes and drink lots and lots of water.
What to see at Timna Park
One of the must-see attractions in Timna Park is the group of sandstone columns known as Solomon’s Pillars. Pictures cannot do justice to the sheer, awe-inspiring size of these monoliths. What’s more, these pillars have been molded by the erosion of wind and water into various extremely interesting shapes which add a great deal of visual interest to the scene. One of the most popular pillars is the one known as “The Mushroom”. Don’t forget to pose for pictures with these pillars!
Another Timna Park experience you simply cannot miss is that of exploring the copper mines beneath the park’s surface. Scientists and historians agree that the Timna copper mines are very likely to have been the first mines ever built on earth. The mines are at least six thousand years old and were mined both by ancient Egyptians, by order of their pharaoh, and the Israelites under the rule of King Solomon. Best of all, visitors to Timna Park have the rare opportunity to explore these ancient mines!
If you decide to take the plunge, the moment you step into the cavernous mine shafts you cannot help but imagine the miners of old hacking away at the stone with their hammer and chisel. It really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
To fully appreciate the rich history of the area, make sure you read up on King Solomon as well as Rameses III, the latter of whom is likely to have overseen the mines’ construction.
Note there are also restaurants, overnight camping facilities, and sunset and night tours available.
So, if you’re planning on visiting Eilat and want the ultimate desert spot to stopover in along the way, don’t forget to plan for Timna Park. Its geographical complexity, beautiful scenery and rich history will require a full day to take in, so make sure you allocate sufficient time to explore this fascinating destination.
Timna Park is open from 08:00 to 16:00 hours in the winter (September through June, but it will close a little earlier on holidays and at the weekend) and 08:00 to 13:00 hours in the summer (July – August, but is open in the evenings on Tuesdays for special sunset tours). Ticket prices start at 34 shekels for seniors.
For further information, see the official site, or call 08-6316756 for more details.