Eilat Mini Guide
What can you Tell me About Eilat?
Eilat was the original Red Sea resort and for many years was the winter destination of European sun seekers. Its proximity to the troubled areas in the seventies meant that its popularity declined and many of the hotels lost their gloss with reduced revenue. Matters weren’t helped by the growth of Egyptian Red Sea resorts in the nineties but of late, Eilat has begun a fight back with renovated five star hotels, improved facilities and better marketing campaigns. Still, most of the visitors are Israelis on short breaks but for a holiday with a little more class than Hurghada or Sharm, Eilat is definitely worth a visit for its great beaches and world class diving.
How can I get to Eilat?
Eilat has two airports, Eilat and Ovda with Ovda being outside the city but capable of receiving international flights and is used by most of the major tour operators. As the British traveller is more inclined to travel to the Egyptian resorts, no flights operate from the UK
. British tourists need to take a flight to Paris
first before onward travel to Eilat. You may even want to consider flying to the Egyptian airport of Taba, close by, and cross the border.
What is There to See and Do in Eilat?
There’s a fascinating range of things to do in Eilat and that’s ignoring the diving. Try to visit the underwater observatory, a tower built down into the sea from which, through large windows, you can watch the life of the reef. There’s Dolphin Reef which combines a great beach with dolphin activities and an outdoor spa including great relaxation pools. Moving completely away from the sea you have the ‘What’s Up’ observatory where all ages can watch the stars and the planets through state of the art equipment. And then there’s the diving! Beautiful coral reefs in protected national parks reward divers, who can enter from the shore, with stunning fish and colourful coral formations.
What Can I Buy in Eilat?
Most of the souvenirs there are based on the resort’s underwater attractions with chunks of coral, shells and other marine mementos. Be warned though that much of what is sold doesn’t come from the seas around Eilat and that whilst that protects the reefs off the resort, it means that reefs elsewhere, usually the Far East, are being destroyed. Apart from such items, much of the rest of the products are cheap and cheerful souvenirs that will soon end up at car boot sales.
How do People party in Eilat?
In the summer, in the blazing heat, the city hosts the Red City Music Festival with days and nights of concerts and dance parties. Thousands of young people descend on the city for the festival. Later in the summer the Red Sea Jazz Festival comes to town with jazz musicians from all over the world entertaining hundreds of jazz fans.
Eilat is Israel’s premier resort and it lives up to its billing with beautiful beaches, year round good weather and excellent snorkelling and diving. Surprisingly, very few Israelis choose to holiday there and so the majority of the tourists are European with the winter months being the peak season.
After dark, the city comes alive as bars and clubs open. After years of tension, you can now hire a car and drive into Jordan. Take the opportunity to visit historic Petra in Jordan. The journey takes you on a single desert road across miles of barren but beautiful country.