If you’re looking for some real fun and sun, with some snorkeling and diving thrown into the mix, Eilat has to be your destination. And after many visits to Eilat over the years, we’ve managed to build a list of the ten must see attractions in Eilat, the things you really must see and do if you get to visit Israel’s southern-most town.
Because of its location right at the southern tip of Israel, and the good 5 hour drive from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, Eilat often gets missed out by many visitors to the Holy Land. OK, Eilat doesn’t have the holy sites that Jerusalem does, or the multitude of things to see and do that Tel Aviv has, but Eilat is a place you really should check out.
The following list should hopefully convince any of you doubters…
- Snorkel or Dive at Aqua Beach
- Visit the Underwater Observatory Marine Park
- Swim with the Dolphins at Dolphin Reef
- Take a Trek in the Red Canyon
- Take a Tour Boat out into the Red Sea
- Go on a Jeep Safari
- Have a Beer at The Three Monkeys Pub
- Visit the Timna National Park
- Go extreme at Top 94
- Take a Day Trip to Sinai or Petra
1. Snorkel or Dive at Aqua Beach
If you’re looking for the best spot to dive or snorkel in Israel, this is the beach for you. Aqua Beach has all the facilities you’ll ever need for diving and snorkeling in Eilat. It also has a great beach, free to enter, where you can snorkel to your heart’s desire in the Red Sea (head to the right along the coast for the best snorkeling). This has to be one of the top things to see and do in Eilat!
I’ve been here many times and it’s my favorite spot for snorkeling in Eilat. Fairly easy to get to, it’s on your left as you head out of Eilat towards the Egyptian border. Check out the Aqua Sport website for more details about the various dive courses available.
2. Visit the Underwater Observatory Marine Park
A must see attraction in Eilat is the Underwater Observatory Marine Park, which gives you an amazing view of the underwater world of the Red Sea. It has an amazing array of aquariums, including a crazily good shark tank, turtle and stingray pools, plus, of course, underwater observatories that enable us to take a peek at life beneath the waves.
And don’t forget to pop up to the Peace Terrace of the Observatory Tower for an amazing view of the Red Sea. This is the Golden Triangle of the Red Sea; you can see four countries from here – Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, and, of course, Israel.
3. Swim with the Dolphins at Dolphin Reef
Another great family spot in Eilat, at the Dolphin Reef you can enjoy all the pleasures of a typical Red Sea beach, with the opportunity of meeting and observing dolphins in their natural habitat. You can get to see the dolphins from floating piers and observation points or during a guided swim or dive, which is open to all over 10 years old. A half-hour swim with the dolphins will set you back approximately 300 shekels ($75).
Check their official website for more details.
4. Take a Trek in the Red Canyon
If you’re feeling a little adventurous and fancy some hiking in amazing desert scenery, head out of Eilat to the Red Canyon (head out west on Road 12). You’ll probably want to book a tour just to be on the safe side, and the tour will likely include a number of other sites, depending on what you want, but of course, you can always go solo (but please take lots of water with you!).
The Red Canyon itself is approximately 150 meters long and 2-3 meters wide, reaching a height of some 30 meters. And why is it the Red Canyon? Well, the canyon is mostly deep red sandstone, with additional shades of red, purple and white. Any tour of the Red Canyon takes about two hours, possibly more if you’re out of shape!
5. Take a Tour Boat out into the Red Sea
For a boat trip out into the magical Red Sea, head to Eilat Marina (at the Eastern end of Eilat), which hosts a few glass-bottomed boats for tourists wanting to check out the Red Sea up close and personal. And you don’t even have to get your feet wet!
These trips usually last for around two hours, and you’ll be taken along the coast towards Egypt. You can chill out on deck, catching some sun and some amazing views across Eilat and Jordan, or watch the ocean and coral reefs, complete with shoals of amazingly-colored fish, passing below the boat. Some boats even stop off and let you snorkel in the beautifully refreshing Red Sea…
Perfect way for families and especially kids to enjoy Eilat’s amazing coral reef. Prices range wildly due to the types of cruise available, but check your hotel/hostel for the latest deals. Or just “window-shop” at the Marina until you find the right boat for you.
6. Go on a Jeep Safari
As Eilat stands at the edge of the Southern Negev desert, you’re in the perfect place to take a jeep safari out into the desert and experience some amazing scenery and hospitality!
The scenery comes courtesy of some amazing desert locations, such as Wadi Solomon, Wadi Rehav’am, Darb el Hadge (the old Muslim road to Mecca), and Mount Yoash (where you’ll get a great view of the area!). Alternatively, you can take a night safari with the stars above and search for nocturnal wildlife, including wolves and hyenas! The hospitality comes courtesy of some Bedouin-style tea, pita and cookies, at night round an open fire!
Prices range due to the types of jeep safari available, but will probably start at around $30 per person. But check your hotel/hostel for the latest deals.
7. Have a Beer at The Three Monkeys Pub
After all that diving, snorkeling and general sightseeing in Eilat, you’ll be looking for a bit of late-night fun, if you have any energy left of course. The Three Monkeys pub has been around for donkey’s years, but is still one of the premier locations for a beer and some good entertainment. The action usually kicks off late into the night (it only opens at 9pm) and there is also a live show (international performers, and usually not Israelis) every night. Worth checking out.
Call for reservations: 08-6368989 or check out their details on a Hebrew-language site.
For a list of other pubs in Eilat, take a look at this list (again, Hebrew only).
8. Visit the Timna National Park
Located approximately 25km north of Eilat, Timna Park offers more family attractions and a great opportunity to check out the geology of the region amidst amazing mushroom-shaped pillars of rock, more red sandstone cliffs (Solomon’s Pillars) and the world’s oldest copper mine (dating back some 6000 years).
Check out the multimedia presentation to get a great taste of what the area is all about, historically and geologically. Entrance fee of 69 shekels for adults, 59 shekels for children. During Sukkot, the park is also host to an amazing hot air balloon festival.
Check the official website for more details.
9. Go extreme at Top 94
Launched in 2015, Top 94 looks like being one of the must-try spots if you fancy blowing away the cobwebs! Set in the industrial zone of Eilat, on the outskirts of the city, Top 94 is a great place for all the family, with huge climbing walls, paintball, rappelling, a mini bungee, archery, and a great go kart track! We took the kids and they loved it, just bear in mind some of the activities might be off-limits for the smaller ones (for example, you HAVE to be at least 1.35 m to try the go karts).
Tickets are priced according to the course you choose (blue, yellow, grey etc). Check their official website for more details.
10. Take a Day Trip to Sinai or Petra
Once in Eilat, you are of course only a step away from the magnificent Petra in Jordan and also the Sinai Peninsula. It’s fairly easy to arrange a day trip to either of these destinations, you can join our trusted tour guide partners on their regular tours to Petra, or you’ll find plenty of tour operators in Eilat, perhaps even in the lobby of your hotel or hostel.
The Sinai tour will probably include St Catherine’s monastery and Mount Sinai, so expect to walk hard! Day trips to Petra might be a little pricier, but seeing those amazing rock monuments is certainly worth the price – in fact, you might prefer a 2-day trip to really appreciate the amazing scenery.
Note that you can also make your own way to Sinai or Petra, just make sure your passport meets the visa requirements (see our guide to getting to Petra from Israel). Once through immigration you’ll find many tour guides willing to take you to your chosen destination.
…er, and an honorary No. 11, 12, 13 and 14 – Catch some tunes at the Red Sea International Jazz Festival, marvel at the new interactive water fountains, skate away at the Ice Park ice-rink, and skydive in Eilat – oh yeah!
OK, so this list has to include another few must see attractions in Eilat, as Eilat seems to be getting ever more popular!
First up, there’s the Red Sea Jazz Festival. If you’re around in the last week of August, this four day event is highly recommended. Lots of concerts, jamming sessions and even clinics, featuring some of the biggest international names in jazz, from New Orleans style to contemporary style to world music. Check out the official website for more details.
Then there are the new interactive water fountains, well worth a visit in the evening as the light and water show might just knock your socks off.
The fairly new Ice Park ice-rink, which is also part of a huge new shopping mall, is also one to check out. So shop till you drop, and then skate away those credit card woes :-)
Finally, if you’re in the mood for a complete adrenaline rush, you can’t get any better than a skydive over the skies of Eilat (in tandem with a pro, but still…)!
And just to tempt you still further, here’s an awesome clip of Eilat, well worth a couple of minutes of your time…