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Eilat

Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in eilat

Free Travel guide Ooaj.com A free travel guide for holidays. Hotels in eilat, Bed and Breakfast!


Eilat (אילת, also transliterated Elat) is an oddity in Israel: a tourist town without a hint of history, which is purely Jewish and purely secular. Located at the southern-most tip of the country, within its small "window on the Red Sea", Eilat is first and foremost a resort town these days, devoted to sun, fun, diving, partying and desert-based activities. 200 miles away from the tension often felt in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, Eilat is a convenient escape for Israelis on vacation, but also attracts thousands of foreign travellers each year.

eilat Travel Guide :

Eilat

Understand

Eilat is the southernmost town in Israel, and it covers all of Israel's 7-kilometer coastline on the Red Sea. Originally just a military outpost to prevent neighbors Egypt and Jordan from snapping shut Israel's access to the Red Sea, Eilat's first incarnation was as a port, used for shipping goods like oil and cars from Asia. But in the 1970s people started to realize that the coral reefs of the sea, the sandy beaches of the coast and the guaranteed sunshine of the desert climate would also make a tourist attraction, and the place took off.

Today, the 2-kilometer northern beach strip is boxed solid with opulent hotels with names like Herod's Palace Sheraton and Queen of Sheba Hilton. The Tayelet promenade extending the length of the beach is now complete, making this by far the most attractive part of town in a Disneylandish way. The southern beach, which has the coral reefs, is divided up into nature reserves, public beaches and scuba diving shops. (The navy outpost, a fortress of barbed wire in the middle of the town, is now being gradually removed.) The actual town of Eilat, where its 55,000 permanent inhabitants live, stretches off into the desert to the north and west of the coast.

At the southern tip is the border with Egypt, featuring the Taba Hilton, whose primary attraction is its casino (gambling being illegal in Israel). The Sinai desert starts here. To the east is the AravaArava border with Jordan and the immediately adjacent town of Aqaba, Jordan's largest port and a burgeoning tourist attraction on its own, especially with the added attraction of nearby Petra.

Eilat

Get in

Eilat

By plane

Eilat's domestic airport is right in the middle of the city. Flights to Tel Aviv are frequent and take only 50 minutes, but expect to pay around 250 shekels for a one-way trip.

Most tourists arrive in Eilat on charter flights via the Ovda International airport, 65 kilometers and nearly an hour's drive out of town.

Eilat

By bus

All buses in Eilat leave from the Central Bus Station on HaTemarim Boulevard, a 10-minute walk east from the city.

Egged express buses drive from Tel Aviv to Eilat hourly, the trip takes around 4 hours and costs around 60 shekels.

Local bus 15 shuttles from the bus station both to the Jordanian border at AravaArava, for connecting to Aqaba, and also the Egyptian border at Taba, from where you can continue on south into Sinai.

Eilat

By car

There are a couple of ways to drive from Tel Aviv to Eilat. One is via Mitzpe Ramon. Another nice alternative is from Tel Aviv to the Dead Sea via Arad, stay a couple of days there or just make a short stop and then continue to Eilat. It is about 5 hours of driving.

Eilat

See

Parrotfish among coral at Coral BeachParrotfish among coral at Coral Beach
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Parrotfish among coral at Coral Beach

The two reasons people come to Eilat are the beaches (which some consider overrated), and the coral reefs, which are currently under some pressure from humanity and pollution. The good beach is in the north, which is owned by the hotels and packed tighter than a sardine can in season. The coral used to be among the world's finest, but excessive traffic -- both boats and the two-legged type -- has killed off over 90% of the reefs - despite the valiant efforts of the nature reserve it will possibly take centuries for them to grow back. Most serious divers head down the Egyptian Sinai coast to Dahab or Sharm el-Sheikh now to experience the best diving conditions (of course, this only puts pressure on other Red Sea reefs....)

  • Coral Beach is the best of the bunch and a more than adequate place for an introductory dive or a little snorkeling.
  • Underwater Observatory. Has a plethora of aquaria, the Oceanarium "simulator motion theater" and the Observatory itself, a large glass-walled chamber 4 meters below the surface that gives you a surprisingly good look at the live reef.
  • Dolphin Reef 1 (http://www.dolphinreef.co.il/), Southern Beach (3 km south of the town on the Arava Road leading to the Egyptian border crossing point), tel +972-8-637-1846, fax +972-8-637-5921, entry NIS 42 adults, NIS 28 children. Not just a tourist trap, the staff actually work to rehabilitate dolphins for life in the open sea. Various paid options are available for interacting with the dolphins close up, starting with snorkelling with the dolphins at NIS 227.
Eilat

Do

  • The Negev desert surrounds the entire area and there are plenty of jeep safaris, camel rides and hikes available.
Eilat

Eat

The beachfront is packed with stylish but expensive restaurants catering to tourists with money to burn.

  • The Underground Pub (New Tourist Centre, corner of Derech Yotam and Derech Mitsrayim) is an Eilat institution, offering cheap beer and (extremely!) basic pub grub at the lowest prices in town.
  • For cheap yet excellent falafel, check out the falafel joint just across the street from the bus station at the International Birdwatching Centre, on HaTemarim Boulevard.
Eilat

Drink

Eilat

Sleep

Eilat

Budget

The hillside around the Central Bus Station is home to many cheap but dingy backpacker dives.

Eilat

Luxury

Eilat's North Beach is positively packed with luxury hotels, but in season rates can be as high as US$200 per night.

  • Dan Eilat 2 (http://www.danhotels.com/danSite/eng/hotelHomepage.asp?hotelNo=8&top=8) is centrally located with a semi-private beach, luxuriously furnished and has one of the best pool areas in town
  • Sheraton Herods Palace 3 (http://www.starwood.com/sheraton/search/hotel_detail.html?propertyID=1147) is a "near Las Vegas" experience, with staff in togas wandering around a pompously decorated palace. Service isn't quite up to scratch though, although the (separately charged) Vitalis spa is excellent by any standard
Eilat

Stay safe

Eilat

Get out

Eilat

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