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Israel’s Colourful Red Sea Port

Set between the sea and the desert: Eilat is Israel’s only town on the Red Sea and a choice place for a family beach holiday, but also for scuba divers and adventurers. The resort town attracts with natural beaches, a fantastic wildlife and the Negev desert in the north.

Home to just under 50,000 inhabitants and situated on Israel’s southernmost tip, Eilat is nestled between the Gulf of Akaba and the Negev desert. The coastline of the only Israeli port on the Red Sea stretches for just 7.5 miles and is hemmed by a coral reef.

Quick facts Eilat

Flight time

4:30 h

Distance

3240 km

Time difference

+ 1 hour CET
Ø Temperature in December
22 °C

Exchange rate

CHF
1.00
=
ILS
3.79
Car rental & airport transfer

Language

Hebrew

A cup of cappuccino costs around

CHF 3.25

Swimming with dolphins

No wonder Eilat is considered a haven for divers and snorkelers, offering shallow, calm waters that are also suitable for beginners. The Coral Beach Nature Reserve even features buoy-marked underwater snorkelling trails right by the reef. The Japanese Gardens site is one of the nicest diving spots. The coral wall is protected, which means the number of divers is limited at any given time. Underwater adventurers won’t want to miss exploring the INS Sufa Wreck, a 45-metre-long speedboat that was sunk in the early 1990s.

Beach holiday aficionados definitely won’t feel short-changed in Eilat. Consistently pleasant air and water temperatures (just below 20 degrees Celsius in winter) make it an excellent year-round beach holiday destination. Eilat’s popular beaches include the Coral Reef Beach and the pebbled 9 Beach located in the centre of town! Another highlight is the Dolphin Reef, a sea-pen that covers an area of 12,000 square metres where visitors have the opportunity to swim, snorkel and scuba dive with dolphins.

Sea, desert – and shop till you drop

One of Eilat’s most popular landmarks is the Coral World Underwater Observatory. The tower-shaped building in the Red Sea can be reached via a boardwalk. The panorama windows of the Observatory are at six metres’ depth, from where visitors can admire the rich and colourful diversity of the underwater world by the reef. Those eager to see more can visit the Oceanarium or book a tour in a glass-bottom boat.

But Eilat is more than the Red Sea. Situated approximately sixteen miles north is the Timna National Park that covers some 15,000 acres and is shaped by huge rock formations. The Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve is located further north and home to some almost extinct and endangered animals. Anyone who fancies venturing on a day trip can visit the legendary “Lost City” of Petra in Jordan, the Avdat National Park situated in the heart of the desert or the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula. And last but not least: thanks to its duty free status, Eilat is a shopper’s paradise featuring a string of shops and boutiques along the promenade. Or, alternatively, there’s the Ice Park & Mall where shopping sprees can be complemented with a spin around the ice rink. Eilat: a city for every taste and interest!

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