Panoramic view of the central public beach of Eilat

Things to do in  Eilat

Where Israel goes to play

Brash, modern, and dotted with high-rises, Eilat squats over most of Israel’s few miles of Red Sea coast. The main things to do in Eilat itself are watery: snorkeling or diving the Coral Beach Nature Reserve or checking out sea life in the Underwater Observatory Marine Park. Timna Park and Ramon Crater beckon travelers into the Negev Desert, but the best things to do from Eilat lie across the border in Jordan or Egypt: Petra, Wadi Rum, St. Catherine’s Monastery, and Mt. Sinai are within 1–2.5 hours’ drive.

Top 3 attractions in Eilat

Coral Beach Nature Reserve

Home to some of the world’s most northerly tropical coral reefs, Coral Beach Nature Reserve offers Eilat’s—and likely Israel’s—best snorkeling. Seagrass patches draw hawksbill turtles, seahorses, and more; hundreds of different coral species lure aquarium favorites including lionfish, angelfish, and clownfish.More
Red Sea

Red Sea

The Red Sea channel draws tendrils of Indian Ocean water up through Africa and Arabia to Egypt, Jordan, and Israel. Divers and snorkelers appreciate the Red Sea’s clear waters and colorful coral and marine life, while sandy beaches lure sun worshippers from around the world.More
Underwater Observatory Marine Park

Underwater Observatory Marine Park

Surrounded by coral reef marine life off the Israeli coast, the Underwater Observatory Marine Park offers a window into the Red Sea's natural aquarium. On a visit to the tower observatory, you descend 40 feet (12 meters) below the surface of the Gulf of Aqaba—without getting wet—to see the underwater world from glass-lined halls.More

All about Eilat

When to visit

Europeans flock to Eilat for winter sun, but nights can be surprisingly cool December–February, often dropping to around 45–50°F (7–10°C). The summer peak season (June–August) sees crowded beaches, with temperatures soaring up to 104°F (40°C). Shoulder seasons of March–May and September–November hit the sweet spot for value and weather.

Getting around

Eilat is a small city and generally pedestrian-friendly, but there are also public buses, including along the main coast road that leads south to Coral Beach Nature Reserve and the Underwater Observatory. Many travelers feel comfortable driving around Eilat, which has right-side driving, or you can use metered taxis, the homegrown Gett ridesharing app, or book a tour with transportation.

Traveler tips

Eilat may not have much Red Sea coast, but it does offer some fantastic coral—including many shallower sites, such as the Japanese Garden, which are perfect for learners or absolute beginners. Discover scuba packages let you explore underwater without spending days training and studying. While diving in Eilat is more expensive than diving in Jordan or Egypt, safety standards are generally higher. And Dolphin Reef offers the chance of diving with dolphins—although you’ll need to wake up for sunrise.

Local Currency
Israeli New Shekel (₪)
Time Zone
IDT (UTC +2)
Country Code

People Also Ask

Is it worth visiting Eilat, Israel?

Honestly, there are better places to visit in Israel. The country has many fascinating historic cities, including on the Mediterranean coast. If you’re after a Gulf of Aqaba sunshine vacation, Aqaba, across the border in Jordan, and Dahab and Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt’s Sinai are a better value.

What is Eilat known for?

Eilat is a beach city, known for fun in the sun, from snorkeling or diving the Red Sea to the usual water sports. Outside the city lie the Eilat Mountains and Negev Desert, home to the Ramon Crater and Timna Park, which has one of the world’s oldest copper mines.

Is Eilat still a holiday destination?

Yes. Like almost all of Israel and the West Bank Eilat is still considered safe, and visitor numbers have bounced back after the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost all vacationers visit on package holidays, with flight, accommodation, and perhaps some meals included. Eilat is not popular with independent travelers.

Is Eilat, Israel, expensive?

Yes, by regional standards Eilat is expensive. Eilat is noticeably more expensive than its Red Sea neighbors, Jordan and Egypt, and can work out more expensive than southern European vacation hot spots such as Spain or Italy, depending on your activities. It’s cheaper than France, the UK, or the Nordics.

Can I go from Eilat to Egypt?

Yes, you can go from Eilat to Egypt at Taba, 6 miles (10 kilometers) from central Eilat. You’ll need to pay border crossing fees on both sides. Some nationalities enjoy visa-free entry to the Sinai Peninsula, but to travel further into Egypt everyone needs to buy a visa in advance.

Can you visit Petra from Eilat?

Yes. Petra is just an 85-mile (135-kilometer) drive from Eilat, which makes it a practical day trip. You cross into Aqaba, 2 miles (3 kilometers) north of Eilat—you’ll need to pay border crossing fees on both sides—and travelers from many countries can buy their Jordan visa at the border.

Frequently Asked Questions
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