Submerge into the dazzling crimson shades of saltwater that slither between the continents of Asia and Europe, making what is known as the Erythraean or Red Sea. Covering an area of almost 500-kilometres squared, this water body is known for its significantly warm and salty waters, yet still it manages to abound in healthy marine life and coral, making it one of the most beloved things to do in Eilat. Sign up to a session of snorkelling or diving whilst here, taking in the wonder of the water from the only city in Israel that fringes the Red Sea.
Take a Trek in the Red Canyon
The geologically astounding Red Canyon of Eilat offers travellers a hiking experience like no other, with the narrow crevices offering a prehistoric walk of immense beauty. Venturing through a gorge formed within a sandstone rock, the hike itself is less than 300-metres, though the unpredictable terrain and high ladders make it seem a whole lot longer. If you time this trip correctly you can witness the changing landscape of the sun dancing along the lines of colour within the canyon.
Take a Day Trip to Sinai or Petra
Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan can all be reached from Eilat in under an hour by car. Though tight borders and regional conflicts should be considered when hopping about in this region, the 2-hour sojourn to Jordan’s masterpiece ancient city of Petra is relatively straightforward and immensely rewarding. With some records saying there are some 11,000 years of history to be found here, it’s impossible to overstate the historical significance of this rock-carved city, easily accessible on a simple day trip, and is commonly mentioned in many an Eilat guide.
Visit the Underwater Observatory Marine Park
The electric coloured tropical fish and vibrant coral of the Red Sea can be admired without a snorkel or submergence in the ocean thanks to the Underwater Observatory Marine Park. The glass tunnels of the observatory journey some 12-metres underground off the coast of the Gulf of Eilat, allowing visitors to admire sea life in its natural habitat without cages or fences. If that’s not enough, you can even board the glass bottom boat of Coral 2000 to admire marine mammals further offshore.
Go on a Jeep Safari
Prepare to have your perception of the desert completely altered, taking a Jeep safari through the diverse lands that surround the region of Eilat. Abounding in wildlife, a drive through the Negev Desert may see you watching hyenas slink in search of food or gazelle antelopes galloping at a speed of nearly 100-kilometres per hour. Sign up for a Jeep safari that falls over sunset for the chance to see the phases of the day dramatically transform the stunning setting. Archaeological ruins, springs and flamingo pools make a jeep safari in the desert of the most popular things to do in Eilat.
Visit the Timna National Park
Stunning sandstone cliffs and copper ore are just some of what draws visitors to Timna National Park. The site of many important archeological findings, as well as rare and obscure rock formations like the Mushroom, Solomon's Pillars and the Arches, a journey through Timna should be granted a full day of your Eilat itinerary. Visitors here can also see the remains of a small Egyptian temple that was built in 14th century BCE.
Things to do in Eilat
A Jewish celebration of liberation honoured for a week every year, Passover is momentous part of the Israeli calendar. Expect outdoor markets, street performances and overflowing restaurants, or accept the exceptional hospitality of Judaism devotees by attending a family passover meal.
The Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah falls in the Hebrew month of Tishrei, which usually pairs with the Gregorian calendar month of September. The time is marked by reverence, family time, shared meal and sweet treats, followed by a 10-day holiday.
Though Purim is a holiday linked traditionally to Judaism, the festivities are now honoured extensively across the country of Israel. The ways to celebrate are numerous and varied, but usually include giving gifts to the poor, eating traditional foods like hamantaschen pastries, and attending masquerade parties.
A highly important day for people of Jewish faith, Yom Kippur is usually marked by 25 hours of prayer and fasting within a synagogue or the family home. Commonly referred to as the Day of Atonement, the city of Eilat can be something of a ghost town for this holy day, falling 10 days after Rosh Hashana.
Eilat Chamber Music Festival
Both Israelis and international tourists flock to the city of Eilat for Chamber, the country’s biggest classical music festival. Held for 4-days each February, it has grown to be a highlight of the Eilat calendar of festivals.
Top 5 Festivals in Eilat
The Eilat calendar of festivals is marked by special national holidays, many that are religious in origin but have evolved to all-encompassing celebrations enjoyed by various faiths. From Rosh Hashana to Yom Kippur, Purim to Passover - consider yourself lucky if your trip falls over one of the top festivals in Eilat.
The City Museum gives visitors an intimate look at life in Eilat both today and in days gone by. Exhibitions showcase the fascinating fauna of the city’s coastline, the Red Sea Gulf, as well as the culture and foundations of this unique Israeli city.
With the weather in balmy Eilat rarely plummeting below 10 degrees celsius, Ice Space offers visitors the chance to sample frosty Arctic conditions. Rugged up upon entrance, this museum is made entirely of ice, and offers a bar of drinks served in ice glasses, as well as a slide to ride and sculptures to admire.
Drawing inspiration from the rebellious sex museums of Amsterdam, Israel’s Erotic Museum is a ground-breaking space for the country of Israel. Film screenings, ancient paintings and an S&M exhibition are just some of things that seduce visitors to this museum in Eilat.
Eilat Art Gallery
A proud feature of the Eilat museum collection, Eilat Art Gallery showcases only artists from the city of Eilat and its surrounds. With plenty of natural lighting, free entry, and the chance to purchase the artworks shown, this is great way to waste a few spare hours in Eliat.
Top 4 Museums and Galleries in Eilat
Though Eilat travel doesn’t boast the museum collection of Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, there are a few nooks in this city worth dedicating some time to. Escape the heat at Ice Space and learn the history of Eilat at City Museum, clearing time for the Erotic Museum to finish things off.
One of the region’s most beloved exports, the humble falafel has fans in every corner of the globe. Usually made from ground fava beans and/or chickpeas, mixed with herbs and deep fried, these tasty balls are commonly served in a pita bread pocket heaped with salad, tahini sauces and pickled vegetables.
Best eaten at Big Heart Restaurant, Sderot HaTmarim
A delectable bread with origins in Somali and Yemen, malawach will make you second guess your affection for sourdough. Made with pastry and usually served with dips and eggs, it can be sampled at Queen of Sheba when in Eilat.
Best eaten at Queen of Sheba, 8 Antib Road, North Shore
Nutty, sweet and utterly delicious, baklava is a beloved treat easily found across Israel. Supposedly enjoyed in the Middle East and eastern Europe since before the dawn of the Common Era, you can consume this honey coated pastry dish numerous times under the guise of culture and history.
Best eaten at Israelit, La Boulevard, St 5, Antibes St
Hummus, salad, lashing of grilled halloumi, fried eggs and baba ghanoush are just some of the delights dished up during breakfast hours in Israel. Eilat is also a great place to sample the Middle Eastern breakfast favourite of shakshouka, where eggs sit poached in a pan of tomato based stew filled with herbs.
Best eaten at Il Pentolino, Sderot HaTmarim 112
Food in Eilat
After a dive in the coral filled ocean it will be time to dive into a 3-course meal. One abounding in warm falafels, soft malawach bread and finished with the pastry treat of baklava covered in honey. Eilat food has all the joys of Israeli food famed across the world.