Eilat and The Red Sea
Eilat, on the southernmost tip of Israel, bursts upon the senses with very little warning. One minute you are traversing the southern Negev Highlands and Arava Desert, with their red, grey, yellow and white rocks and mountains, and the next minute you are at the Gulf of Eilat on the shores of the Red Sea. This is where the Queen of Sheba arrived on her historic visit to King Solomon, and this is where sun worshippers, diving enthusiasts, and desert aficionados now find a special cure.
Boiling hot in June, July and August with temperatures soaring to 45° C (160° F) and higher, it is easy to see why Eilat is so popular in winter. April and October are peak times. Lapped by the Red Sea and surrounded by red granite mountains, Eilat is Israel's top resort. Situated at the bottom point of the Negev Desert, it is a good base for tours into Egypt and Jordan's Petra. Tourism and copper mining are the two of the most important industries in the area. The best things to do in Eilat involve beaches and cool green sea. Underwater activities such as snorkelling and scuba diving will introduce you to an amazing, colourful world of coral and different types of fish. You can windsurf, dive or take a cruise (go at night when you can see the lights of Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia). The Coral World Underwater Observatory and Aquarium offers a close view of brilliant fish and coral, and Dolphin Reef gives you the chance to swim with dolphins or watch a show. For bird watchers, the first half of the year sees more than 30 species of birds migrating from the south. The International Bird Watching Centre gives tours and programmes and runs a bird watchers' festival in March. Children can enjoy the Luna Park's rides, and the Camel Ranch offers camel riding tours into the desert. Eilat's nightlife during peak seasons buzzes with discos, pubs, restaurants, theatres, cinemas and concerts. In August there are two festivals: the Hebrew Rock Festival and the Red Sea Jazz Festival. The desert scenery around Eilat is awesome. Visit Red Canyon Gorge, Amram's Pillars, Timna Valley and the towering King Solomon's Pillars. Further north is the Hai Bar Biblical Nature Reserve where you can spot leopards, wolves, hyenas, rabbits, gazelles, donkeys and ostriches. Close by is Kibbutz Yotvata which makes the famous, delicious dairy products you will find throughout Israel.