Though most people associate Eilat with swimming in the Red Sea and hanging on the beach, there are plenty of things you can do in the winter.
Table of Contents
- 1 The Benefits of Visiting Eilat in the Winter
- 2 Day 1 – The Road To Eilat
- 3 Day 2 – Red Canyon and Underwater Observatory Marine Park
- 4 Shopping In Eilat
- 5 Day 3 – Sailing, Dolphin Reef, and Musical Fountain
- 6 Day 4 – Timna Park and Makhtesh Ramon
- 7 Summary
The Benefits of Visiting Eilat in the Winter
There are three main advantages of visiting Eilat in the winter.
- The first one is the weather. As you can see from the following graph, it is sweltering in Eilat during the summer.
- Eilat is cheaper in the winter. And that is primarily because of hotel prices. Moreover, if you are not looking for indoor pools and breakfast, the more affordable option would be renting an apartment. In the following widget, you can see the prices and availability of both hotels and flats.
And if you are visiting Eilat on a budget, you can stay at a campsite. You can find the following campsites: Neot Midbar Eilat, Solomon River campground, Campingplatz, Elifaz, Timna Park, and Hai-Bar Yotvata Nature Reserve.
- Eilat is less crowded in the winter.
Points #2 and #3 are valid for the winter except for the holidays. So, for example, during the Hanukkah vacation (Hanukkah usually occurs in December), the prices will go up, and there will be many people.
The main downside of winter is that the sea is cold. But if you are not afraid of 21 degrees, then you can swim in the Red Sea in the winter as well (we swam in December, it was a little chilly at the beginning, but after a couple of minutes, you got used to it).
- If you are looking for a place to stay, see Best Hotels in Eilat.
- You can find additional travel ideas in the guide to Eilat.
Day 1 – The Road To Eilat
We decided to visit Eilat during the Hanukkah vacation. And when we told our family this, some of our relatives were puzzled. Many people associate Eilat with swimming in the Red Sea and hanging on the beach.
Driving to Eilat from the center takes around four hours. And we always add at least one stop on the way. Since we had a Hanukkah show for kids in the morning, we started driving to the South only in the afternoon. The late exit, the drive, and two stops meant we reached Eilat in the evening. Thus the first day was mainly dedicated to the road and attractions on the way. Where did we stop?
Tamar Observation Point
When driving on road #25, not far from Mamshit National Park, we stopped at Tamar Observation Point.
Map of the area:
There is dedicated parking with an information sign.
The parking is on the right, near the police car.
From Tamar Observation Point, you can see the Eastern part of the Negev. In the North (from the viewpoint, not in the following photo), you can see the evaporation pools of the Dead Sea. Near the border with Jordan, there are two moshavs, Ein Tamar and Neot Hakikar. People in these moshavs work mainly in agriculture and tourism. Fruits and vegetables grown in these harsh conditions and salty land are known for their tasty flavors and are exported worldwide. And the mountains in front of us are Moab and Edom Mountains in Jordan.
We reached our next stop within a half-hour drive from Tamar Observation Point.
Crocoloco Crocodile Farm
The visit took more than an hour, and then we continued to Eilat. We arrived at Eilat after 18:00, headed to a rented apartment, and stayed there for the rest of the evening.
These are only two suggested places. And you can find the complete list at 41 Attractions on the way to Eilat.
Day 2 – Red Canyon and Underwater Observatory Marine Park
One of the reasons we did not go out the evening before was a fully packed second day. Our plan included starting the Red Canyon trail at 8:00 am since I wanted to get to Coral World Underwater Observatory by 11:00 and see shark feeding.
Here is the link to check out the full details about the Red Canyon.
Underwater Observatory Marine Park
To make this post more fluent, I moved this topic into its article, so check the link to Underwater Observatory Marine Park, where you can find all details.
Evening Walk At Eilat Promenade
After late lunch, we headed to Eilat Promenade.
The promenade has not changed much over the last decades.
The only change I saw was moving the stalls in this area into a dedicated small market.
The promenade is quite dull, and it is not much you can do there. However, we enjoyed the sea breeze and saw several small attractions, like carousels. Also, there were several street artists.
Shopping In Eilat
As you probably know, Eilat was declared a free trade zone by law. Therefore there is a reduced tax there. Theoretically, items should be around 17% cheaper, but this is not the case. From our experience, this is not the case. Some things were less expensive than in other cities in Israel, while others were more expensive.
My wife checked out some clothing and accessories stores on the promenade. Additionally, she visited Mall Hayam on another day, and after both times, she was disappointed. She said the variety of items and shops was limited and the whole experience boring. And the prices are about the same. But many Israeli do buy electronics and camera equipment in Eilat.
I took this photo from the bridge, and this is the place most sails start from. So we will return here tomorrow.
Day 3 – Sailing, Dolphin Reef, and Musical Fountain
Sailing On a Boat at the Red Sea
I preordered tickets for a sail on the red sea. Thus, the following day we returned to Hananya Beach (the same spot we saw on the promenade the evening before).
We had some time till our sail, so we hung out on Hananya Beach. According to my daughter, hanging out is throwing stones into the water, as seen in the water circles in the photo above.
We started sailing, and here you can see the hotel area.
Here is the Dolphin Reef. And we will return to it later today.
The cruise boat we took was not an ordinary one. It is a two-level cruise boat with another level underwater. The underwater hall has many windows, allowing you to see the coral reef and marine life.
The trip from Hananya Beach to the coral reef took about 40 minutes. During this time, we heard some explanations about Eilat, the port, and other things. Also, the underwater space was closed all this time. When we reached the coral reef near Coral World Underwater Observatory, the crew opened the sunken room, and we went down.
I took this photo from the upper deck while we approached Underwater Observatory Marine Park.
A man is snorkeling at the coral reef. And yes, it is winter.
Here we are in underwater space.
When we left the coral reef, the lower deck was closed, and we returned to the upper one. The ship has restrooms and a small cafe, which might be handy since the cruise took almost two hours.
Overall, it was a pleasant experience. Kids love such things, and you can sit and relax for almost two hours. But, on the flip side, you will be disappointed if you want to see the coral reef. Everybody I talk to says that the coral reef was in much better shape thirty years ago. Today, not much is left ( 🙁 ), and if your primary goal is to see corals and marine life, visit Underwater Observatory Marine Park.
Also, this is not the only boat with glass floors/walls in Eilat. Several firms offer similar cruises.
After returning to Hananya Beach, we headed to Dolphin Reef.
You can find the full post about this place at Dolphin Reef.
I heard about a new Musical Fountain in Eilat. And after the Dolphin Reef, we visited the fountain. It is located at Gan Binyamin Central Park.
Map of the area:
The musical fountain is free, and there are two half-hour sessions four times every week. The opening hours are:
Winter (1/11 – 31/3)
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday: 19:30 and 20:30
Summer (1/4 – 31/10)
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday: 20:30 and 21:30
It was a lovely half-hour show divided into popular world music, movie hits, and Israeli schlagers.
The Musical Fountain is located next to the IMAX building.
Maybe it was not the best musical fountain, but it was lovely, and we loved it.
Day 4 – Timna Park and Makhtesh Ramon
After our last night in Eilat, we headed to Timna Park.
I have visited Timna Park several times previously, but there was a special event this time. The event called “A Day In The Life Of An Archaeologist” allowed regular people to experience archeology. Check out Timna Park for additional info.
Stop at Makhtesh Ramon
On our way back, we passed Makhtesh Ramon during the sunset. Thus we decided to make a short stop, stretch our legs, and have a snack.
And here is the link to my complete guide about Mitzpe Ramon And Makhtesh Ramon.
Many people come to the edge of the crater to enjoy the views.
And not only people 😉
That was our last stop before reaching home. I hope you enjoyed this post and gave fresh ideas for your next adventure.
As you can see, there are plenty of things to do in Eilat and its surrounding area during the winter. Even though the city does not offer many attractions, there are plenty of nature and animal-related places to visit. We enjoyed the long weekend, and I hope you will too.
What are your favorite attractions in the Eilat area? Let us know in the comments below.
That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!
Additional ResourcesHere are several resources that I created to help travelers:
- Israel Trip Planner is the page that will help you to create your perfect travel route.
- National Parks And Nature Reserves page lists and put all national parks on the map. There is also a top list, information about ticket types and campsites.
- If you are looking for things to do, here are the pages for Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Sea Of Galilee, and Makhtesh Ramon.
- Wondering what events are there in Israel? Here is the Events And Festivals By Season guide.