12 top visited tourist attractions in Eilat

Eilat is Israel’s only Red Sea resort, sitting on their small stretch of Red Sea coast squeezed between Jordan and Egypt. The big tourist attraction here is the famous Red Sea dive, and just south of town is the fantastic underwater world of Coral Beach Reserve. If you’re more of a landlubber than a diver, the beaches here are more than enough to keep you happy, with plenty of fun in the sun for all to enjoy. Just north of the city is the breathtaking, naturally sculpted world of Timna Park, one of Israel’s most beautiful and surreal things to do. These oddly shaped rocks and incredible landscapes are enough to get even the most devoted sun worshiper off the beach for a day of desert adventure and sightseeing.

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1 Marine Park underwater observatory

Underwater Observatory Marine Park

See the underwater world without getting wet. This underwater observatory is one of Eilat’s main points of interest for anyone wanting to view the fantasia of color below the sea’s surface. Of the tower observatory100 meters offshore, take the stairs down six meters below the water to witness the teeming marine life of the Red Sea. While on the coast there is also an excellent aquarium, with hundreds of red sea fish, turtles and sharks. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can also get one glass bottom boat tour to see the schools further away.

Location: Coral Beach, Eilat

Official site: www.coralworld.co.il

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2 Timna Park

Timna Park
Timna Park

This beautiful and fascinating national park has surreal desert landscapes and an intriguing ancient history of copper mining. It is known for its bizarre rock formations sculpted by wind and rain. The most famous of these is mentioned Solomon’s Pillars, a 50-meter high wall of sandstone rock, carved into pillar shapes by erosion. A staircase leads to the rock face to a relief with images of Pharaoh Ramses III making a sacrifice to the goddess Hathor.

Excavations in the area from 1959 have shown that copper has been present here since 3000 BC. Mining has been done systematically, with both the Egyptians and the Israelites working the mines at different times. Opposite Solomon’s Pillars is the Hill of the Slaves – a camp in which the miners of the 14th and 12th centuries BC. were housed. The surrounding camp walls and the remains of houses and workshops can still be seen.

Location: 30 kilometers north of Eilat

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3 Dolphin Reef

Dolphin Reef
Dolphin Reef

If you want to snorkel with dolphins, aptly named Dolphin Reef is the place to go. This private cove has a variety of tours and excursions where you can interact with the group of bottlenose dolphins that live in the water just offshore. There are snorkeling and swimming trips, and if you don’t want to get into the sea, there are a number of observation basins on the coast where you can watch the dolphins from dry land.

Location: South Beach, Eilat

Official site: www.dolphinreef.co.il

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4 Ice Space

Ice Space israeltourism / fotomodificatie
Ice Space israeltourism / fotomodificatie

Winning the award for wackiest tourist attraction in Eilat by a mile, Ice Space throws you out of the desert and into the frigid world of the Arctic. Inside, the temperature drops to a steady -7˚Centigrade as you walk among the various ice sculptures on display. No, we don’t know what it has to do with a desert city on the Red Sea coast either, but on a scalding hot summer day it’s a blissfully cool treat. Kids will love it too.

Location: North Beach, Eilat

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5 Coral Beach Reserve

Coral Beach Reserve
Coral Beach Reserve

Eilat’s premier diving and snorkeling spot is the protected Coral Beach Reserve, and the offshore waters are home to a vibrantly colorful world of coral and fluttering fish. If you are a diver, a trip here will be the highlight of your holiday in Eilat. Even newbie divers are well catered for with Eilat’s swag of dive tour agencies all able to cater to first-timers. If you don’t fancy the deep sea, the reefs just offshore are shallow enough to enjoy the fish life and coral just by snorkeling. Masks and goggles can be rented on the beach.

Location: Coral Beach, Eilat

6 Bird Watching Center

Birdwatching Center
Birdwatching Center

In the middle of the bird migration routes between Africa and Europe, the Eilat area is ideal for bird watching. Spring and fall are the best seasons for tourists wanting to see most of the species pass by, and this small Bird Watching Center, on the way to the Jordanian border post, is the best place to put out your binoculars. Within the reserve are well marked trails, with plenty of hides scattered along the trail in the best spots.

Location: 2 kilometers northeast of Eilat

7 botanical gardens

Botanical Gardens israeltourism / photo modified
Botanical Gardens israeltourism / photo modified

On the hill above Eilat, this botanical garden is a shady place with lush tropical trees and plants. It’s an excellent escape from the scorching sun and the abundance of greenery makes an interesting juxtaposition with the surrounding cloudless desert. It’s a great spot for an early evening stroll when the worst of the heat has subsided for the day and a good place to let the kids explore if you’re traveling with little ones in tow.

Address: Sheshet Hayamim Road, Eilat

8 King’s City Theme Park

King's City Theme Park israeltourism / fotomodificatie
King’s City Theme Park israeltourism / fotomodificatie

Kids need a break from the beach? No problem. Eilat is home to an amusement park with a distinct twist on the Holy Land. At the park, the rides take on a historical theme, with ancient King Solomon starring in the grand water ride and the entire cabin centered around a Middle Eastern castle style. It makes for a good family day out in the city, especially if the little ones are bored of the sun and sand and need to let off some steam.

Adres: Antibes Road, Eilat

9 the beach

the beach
the beach

Eilat is above all a seaside resort and most people come here just to flop on the sand. The best beaches hug the coast slightly outside the city, with family-friendly ones Coral Beach are the most popular. palm tree beach in Village Beach are more relaxed and quiet, yet offer great cafes and restaurants. All beaches have sun loungers and parasols for rent and all the facilities you could wish for for a day of sunbathing and swimming in the sun.

10 Hai-Bar Nature Reserve

Hai Bar Nature Reserve
Hai Bar Nature Reserve

The kibbutz of Yotvata sits at the entrance to the Hai Bar Nature Reserve, which was established in 1963. This sprawling 10,000-acre site is home to plenty of wildlife, such as antelopes, wild asses, hyenas, ostriches, and a whole host of other desert creatures. All animals have been reintroduced to the wilderness here since the park was established with the aim of populating the area with animals that would have lived here in ancient times. It makes for a great day out from Eilat’s beaches.

Location: 50 kilometers north of Eilat

11 Mount Zefahot Trail

Mount Zefahot Trail
Mount Zefahot Trail

This circular hiking trail, just south of Eilat, is a chance to get an incredible panoramic view of Eilat, with Jordan and the city of Aqaba to the north, Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula to the south, and Saudi Arabia’s escarpment across the shimmering Red Sea to the East. It takes about four hours to hike, and anyone with a decent level of fitness can tackle the well-marked trail. It is best to walk in the early morning before the heat of the day subsides.

Location: South of Eilat

12 Red Canyon

En route to the Egyptian border post, the Red Canyon offers a taste of adventure for hikers and nature lovers who don’t have time to explore the desert landscape further. A well-marked trail here, suitable for families, leads you to the canyon’s red-rimmed rock and takes about 30 minutes to complete with a bit of gentle scrambling. For those wishing to explore further afield, there is a longer, half-day circular route from the gorge that leads into a pleasant wadi (valley) and allows you to enjoy more of the arid landscape.

Location: South of Eilat


Eilat’s position at the Sinai land bridge, between Africa and Asia, has made it a transit point for centuries. In religious accounts, after Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, they walked through Sinai and “the way of the plain of Elath and of Ezion-gaber” and then into the desert of Moab, which was held by the “children of Lot” “(Deuteronomy 2,8-9). It is thus clear that the two cities of Eilath (probably on the site of modern Aqaba) and Ezion-gaber existed in pre-Israelite times. Ezion-geber, “the port of Solomon,” is believed to have been founded by the Edomites or by the Midianites who lived south of them on the Saudi Arabian coast. It was also visited by Egyptian ships transporting copper from the mines of Timna.

In the 10th century BC, Solomon had ships built at Ezion-Geber and manned with his own people and supplied with Phoenicians by King Hiram of Tyre. These ships “came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to King Solomon” (1 Kings 9, 26-28). Here, too, the Queen of Sheba landed on her way to visit Solomon in Jerusalem and “try him with hard questions” (1 Kings 10,1 ff).

In the 8th century BC, the Israelites lost the port. In the 3rd century BC. It passed to the Ptolemies who then ruled Egypt, then to the Nabataeans, and finally to the Romans, to whom it was known as Aila. The architect who built the Monastery of St. Catherine on Sinai, in the 6th century AD, was a native of Aila. In 1116, during the reign of King Baldwin I of Jerusalem, the Crusaders built a castle on the island adjacent to present-day Taba (in Sinai, just south of Eilat). The castle was taken by Saladin in 1170, recovered by Raynald of Châtillon, and then incorporated into the Muslim regions, held first by the Mamluks and later by the Turks. After World War I, Eilat was within the British mandated territory and in 1949 it became part of Israel.

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