Eilat is a beautiful seaside resort in the south of Israel, wedged between Jordan and Egypt. Eilat has amazing coral reefs and sun all year round. The peak holiday season in Eilat is obviously during the summer months when the water is warmest and there is less wind. If you are looking for things to do in Eilat in Israel then check out the bullet point list below, watch the video and read the rest of the commentary underneath.
Related: This article is part of a series. Click the link to read the full itinerary of my holiday in Israel.
How to Get to Eilat
There are various bus services to Eilat from many cities across Israel. You can also fly direct to Eilat using domestic and international flights.
Driving to Eilat from Jerusalem takes about 4.5 hours passing the Dead Sea. Instead of driving to Eilat directly, you should take it easy like I did and stop along the way to swim in the Dead Sea and climb up to Masada. I broke my journey up and stayed at Ein Gedi for one night and enjoyed the free Dead Sea beach there for a couple of hours after I climbed the Masada early in the morning. This way I arrived in Eilat at around 3pm in the afternoon, just in time to check in to my youth hostel.
I spent three days by the beach and below is a list of things to do in Eilat while you are there:
- Swim at Dekel Beach
- Sunbath, take it easy and enjoy the sun!
- Eat at one of the many restaurants
- Shop at the Ice Mall Shopping Center
- Drive around Eilat and its southern coast
- Snorkel at Eilat Coral Reef Nature Reserve
- Have lunch at the McDonald’s in the Ice Mall
- Camp up at the beach for at least one night
- Have breakfast with the other campers on the beach
Watch This Video of Eilat to Get Inspired
Accommodation in Eilat
I booked a room at Almog Eilat Backpacker’s Inn for the night for $28. The hostel reception was only open until 530 so I had to make a dash for it but luckily I arrived at 3 pm. Unfortunately the “hotel” is more like a few apartments scattered across four blocks and it was a pain to check-in and find the apartment and I pretty much wasted all afternoon checking in and looking for the place. I would never book here again.
After checking in to the “hotel” I went down to the beach where I found out that some people simply camp up on the beach and spend the night there. So for my second night I decided to save some money and put my camp up right on the beach. The only problem I encountered was the wind and it kept blowing my tent and so I had to place several rocks inside to keep it in place.
For the third night I checked into SOHO Eilat, a hotel in the middle of the industrial estate. It was very cheap at $49 for the night, but it was miles from the beach next to the industrial dry cleaners. By this time I was so tired I just did not care, all I wanted to do was sleep.
The Beach in Eilat: Snorkelling Heaven!
Most people that visit the beaches come with a snorkelling kit to discover the amazing sea life under the surface of the water. I also bought myself an amateur snorkelling kit in one of the supermarkets and went out to see several times during my stay.
Most beaches are for free except the coral reserve and are perfect for snorkelling for all ages. If you want to support the nature reserve than go ahead and pay but if you want to save money just get in the water pretty much anywhere and you will still see plenty of fish.
Shopping in Downtown Eilat
Downtown Eilat has several main squares and the usual chain hotels and restaurants. The sunset was absolutely stunning both nights I was there. I sat by the sea and enjoyed the cool breeze while the sun dipped behind the mountains. The main shopping street is just by the sea front where it tends to get busy after sunset as holiday goers and locals both go out to get some ice cream or drink. If you want to save money on food, I would recommend visiting Cofix, a coffee chain that sells everything for six shekels and the food is actually quite tasty. I got a couple of portions of veggie fried noodle and a drink, all for 18 shekels.
One evening I decided to check out the Ice Mall, a huge shopping center with an ice ring at in the middle of the complex. It is absolutely fascinating how the temperature is nice and cool inside, but outside it is sweltering hot. The moment you enter the Ice Mall in Eilat you completely forget about everything else – trust me! The lights, the ambience, the temperature and the surreal site of an ice ring in the middle of it all will just blow your mind away!
I hope this article has gone some way to help you prepare for your trip to Eilat and that you have found some new things to do in Eilat.