In this post, you will find our guide to travel to Eilat in Israel, a city in southern Israel located by the Red Sea. If you want to know more before or during your trip to the city, read on. What to see in Eilat, what to do in Eilat, where to sleep in Eilat, how to get around this small city, and much more.
- 1 Information about Eilat …
- 2 What to see and what to do in Eilat
- 3 Important information to plan your trip to Eilat
- 4 How to get to Eilat
Information about Eilat …
Eilat is the only city in Israel that borders the Red Sea. Also, only a few kilometers away you can find the countries of Egypt and Jordan. If they didn’t have frontiers, you could step on the 3 countries in less than 30 minutes by car. This area, a few years ago, was a strategic military city and a port of commerce with Asia. Only in the 50’s people began to visit it as a tourist destination.
The city is loved by Israeli families who seek a time of rest on the beach and for European tourists who want to escape from the cold winter of their countries. Its greatest attraction is the sea and the underwater world with beautiful coral reefs where you can snorkel and scuba dive.
In general, Eilat is the starting point for organized tours to Petra or to Cairo. They go out every day with hundreds of tourists. Some are day trips and others are organized for 2 or 3 days.
What to see and what to do in Eilat
Water sports in the red sea.
The west coast of Eilat has very strong winds especially during the afternoon, which makes it special to practice Kitesurfing. If you have previous knowledge, there are kites available for renting. If not, you can take a class. Be careful not to go very far from the coast, because only a couple of kilometers south you would enter Egypt. The price of 1-hour rent is approx. 50 dollars and you can get them on the same beach where it is practiced. It is marked on our map.
One of the greatest attractions of Eilat is its underwater world. The Red Sea is known to harbor a marine flora and fauna that is seen in very few places in the world; besides having excellent visibility most of the year. Several diving centers in Eilat make immersions every day for beginners and experts.
If your thing is not diving or if you prefer to save those dollars, south on the west coast you can find the best spots to snorkel.
Underwater Observatory Marine Park:
A small aquarium, but with a big variety of fishes from around the world. Its main attractions are the sharks and the underwater observatory where you can see the animals in their natural habitat.
The adult ticket costs 99 NIS and the child ticket 79 NIS. For 10 NIS more, you can enter The Oceanarium, a virtual reality movie. By buying the tickets in advance online you get a little discount. Enter the observatory website here.
The city of Eilat
A fountain located in a public park in the city. Every Tuesday and Thursday between 7:30 and 8:30, the fountain is illuminated and its waters dance to the sound of music; which also varies every few weeks. A good way to have a nice time.
Do not forget to enjoy the beaches in the center of the city. These, in general, are full of people and tourists enjoying the sun and the sea, while trying to escape the heat of summer in the cold waters of the Red Sea.
The surroundings of Eilat: The desert
A beautiful canyon in the middle of the desert. Entering it is free and you can arrive in your own car or on an organized tour.
Located 20 minutes from Eilat, it is a very good way to enjoy the beauty of the desert. There are buses that reach it, but to cross it are several kilometers and walking them all with heat is not recommended. You will find cave paintings, gorges and very beautiful landscapes. There are also tours that leave every day from the city, in case you do not want to rent a car.
Tour to neighboring countries: Jordan and Egypt.
Tour to Petra:
You can go for 1, 2 or 3 days. The cost of the shared tours is $185 dollars per person for 1 day and $ 225 dollars for 2 days. To this, you must add the fee to cross the border and return, which is $65 dollars. For more information about Petra visit our post in the city.
Tour to Cairo:
The tour should last at least 2 days since from Eilat to Cairo are about 6 hours of travel if we count the time to go through the border. The prices are around $450 per person for a shared tour.
Important information to plan your trip to Eilat
Best time to travel to Eilat
The city has desert conditions, typical of the south of the country. Winters (December to April) are cool and rainy, with temperatures around 25ºC and January being the coldest month with temperatures of 20ºC. The summers are extremely hot, but at least the humidity is low, with temperatures that exceed 40ºC. The best time to travel to Eilat is in May, October, and November.
How to get to Eilat
Eilat is easy to access. For more information on how to get to Eilat, please read the Israel post where we tell you more about immigration policies and procedures.
The city has an airport in the center, so you can see the planes passing nearby. It operates only with local flights, mainly from Tel Aviv and Haifa. The taxi to the center from the airport cost 20 NIS and towards the aquarium area 50 NIS.
Crossing overland from Jordan (Aqaba):
Keep in mind that there is a border fee of 8 JD or $ 13 USD. The working hours of the frontier are between 08:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. except on Shabbat, which has reduced hours.
Crossing overland from Egypt:
Taba border crossing. You have to pay EGP 2 or $ 0.25 to cross the border. Open from 08:00 to 20:00 except on Shabbat and other parties with reduced hours.
Bus from other cities in Israel:
Tickets can be purchased online or at the same bus station. Buses do not operate on holidays and Shabbat. In the attached map you can see the location of the main bus station in Eilat.
Parking in the city is quite easy, there is a free parking next to the beach that we have marked on the map. In areas far from the coast, you can park as long as there is no yellow line. Bear in mind that it is mandatory to pay the rental company an insurance for damage to third parties, which will increase the rental price of the cars by at least 10 dollars per day.
What to do in Eilat
Eilat is made for tourists, it is a “resort city”. Its main attraction is enjoying the sea, eating in its various restaurants and shopping with Tax Free.
What to bring when visiting Eilat
Sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat should not be forgotten during your trip to Eilat. The city is in the desert, so temperatures can be very high, even over 40ªC.
Traveling tips to visit Eilat
Shabbat and other Jewish holidays
From the sunset on Friday to the sunset on Saturday, Shabbat is celebrated; the day of rest of the Jewish religion. During this day it is forbidden for them to perform any activity that interrupts their rest, which includes working and driving cars. You should know that this day most of the shops and markets (if not the majority) are closed, including supermarkets. Although not everyone respects it, you will see a big change in transit and people on the street if you are in Israel during this day. The same thing happens with other festivities. You can find more information in our Israel post here.
How to move around Eilat
The area where you will move in the center of the city is small and completely walkable, but the heat can be quite oppressive. If you want to get away a little, for example, to get to the observatory/aquarium, or just want to get faster to your destination, you have the following alternatives to move around Eilat in Israel.
The buses cross the road between Jordan and Egypt, bordering the Red Sea and making stops along the way. Buses 15 and 16 are those that run along the coast and the hotels area, leaving the bus station and arriving in Taba (border with Egypt) and in the opposite direction with the same stops. The ticket costs 4.2 NIS per trip or you can also buy it through the Rav Kav rechargeable card per day, 3 days or 1 week.
The most important thing is to ask for the meter to be used. A trip of 1 km can cost 10 NIS.
Most tourist areas have a parking meter. In general, parking is easy.
Many hotels and hostels have bicycle rentals; but remember to be careful with the high temperatures.
Accommodation in Eilat
Most of your time will be spent on the beach and in the city center, so you can choose one of these accommodation alternatives in Eilat:
Surroundings of Derekh Yotam:
The area marked on the map is 10 minutes walking from the beach (downhill, on the way back you will have to climb a little). It is much cheaper than the rest of the options.
Many hotels can be found on the beaches. The city was basically built as a tourist center so the whole beach is surrounded by hotels.
Where to eat in Eilat
This street is the main area with restaurants in the city, as well as several bars that are open late into the night. You will have many options just by walking a few meters, both prices and food styles.
Bars and restaurants on the beach:
On the beach, especially in the west, there are some restaurants from where you can watch the red sea while you eat a plate of Hummus. Prices are generally high, not lower than USD 30 per person.
Shopping in Eilat
It is a tax-free zone, but do not expect very cheap prices because you are still in Israel. In general, people buy technology, jewelry, and beauty products from the Dead Sea. There are several malls especially on the coast, but the largest and most varied in stores are:
- Big Eilat: It is the main commercial center if one of the objectives of the visit was to make purchases. You will find a variety of shops of all styles and with the best prices in the city.
- Ice Mall: Near the hotel zone, it has mainly luxury brands.
Scams and dangers in Eilat
Security in Israel is the first concern, so like other cities in the country, Eilat is pretty quiet and safe. However, it has also been the focus of some attacks due to its proximity to Jordan and Egypt. You must never be involved in political or religious acts, and you will be safe. This is the greatest danger you can find.
As in any city, you should also be careful with your belongings. Thefts are not common, but it never hurts to never leave your things unattended.