With summer upon us and schoolchildren officially on summer break, it’s time to discuss vacation venues.
There’s probably no one who lives in Israel who has never vacationed in Eilat, and this city remains one of the most popular holiday destinations for locals and tourists alike. This week and next week, I will be providing you with a whole slew of excellent options from which you can create the ultimate vacation plan in Israel’s southernmost city.
In earlier years, Eilat was known for its pristine beaches, resorts brimming with swimming pools and a promenade featuring souvenir shops that sold kitschy souvenir key chains. Over the last couple of decades, Eilat has evolved significantly and now offers a wide range of vacation options so that everyone can find something that is just right for them. If you are the type of person who detests having to deal with the pressure of standing in endless lines and going through invasive security checks at airports, then keep on reading. Below, I will provide you with an extensive list of places where you can sleep, eat and enjoy yourself in Eilat.
One of the best things about vacationing in Eilat is that you don’t need to feel like you should be visiting every single must-see attraction just so you can check them off your list. Whether you’re on a romantic getaway with your partner, or a family vacation with the kids, Eilat is a great place to kick up your legs, let down your hair and relax. Luckily, there’s a plethora of activities that are all located close to the sea.
1. Liliana and Marco’s House of Magic Sounds
One of my favorite places to begin my visits to Eilat is Liliana and Marco’s House of Magic Sounds. This charming couple – Liliana hails from Argentina and Marco from Brazil – are musicians, married for 30 years, who have dedicated their lives to healing through the sounds of ancient instruments. I promise that you will come away from this experience more relaxed and worry-free; which is why it’s the perfect place to help you chill and slowly transition into vacation mode. And if you’re hungry, you can stay for a meal of homemade Argentinian delicacies any day of the week (except for Wednesday mornings).
Price: NIS 70 per person. Details: 052-727-1200.
2. Royal Beach Hotel
If you’re looking for a hotel where you can relax in style, I recommend the Royal Beach Hotel, which is part of the Isrotel chain, and is located near Eilat’s northern beaches. Rooms at the Royal Beach have great views of the Red Sea, as well as of the Edom Mountains. Moreover, since the rooms and suites at this hotel do not come cheap, you can be guaranteed that the clientele will also be of a different caliber. Royal Beach is known for its top-quality spa treatments and breakfast spreads. If you’re in the mood for a gourmet meat meal, you can hop over next door and dine at Ranch House, which imports its beef from Nebraska, in the “good ole USA.” If, after dinner, you’re not quite ready to go back to the hotel, you can head on over to the Three Monkeys Pub, an English-style drinking establishment with DJ entertainment and live music, starting each evening at 8 and lasting until the last guest leaves.
3. Isrotel Agamim Hotel
If you’re looking for a hotel that’s more on the chill side, you might want to check out the Isrotel Agamim Hotel. Its newly renovated rooms lead straight out onto the pool area, which is equipped with an amazing pool bar. There are tons of cabanas with beds, as well as lounge chairs and poolside sun umbrellas, with lots of wait staff on call to take your drink orders.
4. Royal Garden Hotel
The Royal Garden Hotel by Isrotel is a great pick for families vacationing with children. The suites are equipped with a kitchenette and dining area, and the hotel features tropical pools with water slides, a pool designed like a real beach, palm-filled gardens, a kids club and a beautiful shopping promenade with leading designer stores.
Moreover, Isrotel Theater hosts a show every night, including the famous WOW production. For those who haven’t heard or experienced it yet, WOW is a show featuring acrobats, dancers, and actors from around the world, with dazzling costumes and impressive stunts. The show takes place every evening from Monday to Saturday at 8:30. Children must be at least four years old, and the show lasts approximately 1.5 hours without an intermission.
When you’ve fully gotten into the groove and are ready to go have some fun, I recommend going to E-Eilat, a floating island (it’s really just a huge raft) near Neviot Beach. On E-Eilat, you can order cocktails and snacks, which you can enjoy as you relax on the lounge chairs and wade in the saltwater pools. There are freshwater showers, and the “island” can be booked for private parties.
You can reach E-Eilat on boats that set out from Neviot Beach.
Hours: Sunday-Friday 12 p.m.–6 p.m. Best to book ahead. Price: Playboard NIS 390 per person; JetCar (holds 3 people + guide), NIS 400 per couple; Banana NIS 50; Ring NIS 70; Crazy NIS 80; Parachute NIS 180.
6. Via Clara Eilat
If you’re an alcohol or cigar enthusiast, you should definitely make sure to leave time in your schedule for a visit to Via Clara Eilat. They have a cigar lounge, a boutique wine shop and a delicatessen. They stock a wide variety of whiskey, as well as wines that are imported from all around the world, in addition to some of the best Israeli wines. Their delicatessen offers sandwiches, cheese platters, vegan dishes and tapas.
Location: 2 Tamarim Street, Eilat. Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 8 a.m. – 11 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
During the summer months, you can enjoy a wealth of culture in Eilat, including performances and shows that are suitable for children and adults, as well as art exhibitions featuring local artists.
7. Plants as Healing Tools
Adam Raktov Yosefa was born in Kibbutz Nahal Oz and has been a resident of Eilat for the last 23 years. He is a happily married a father of two and a multidisciplinary social entrepreneur, engaged in therapeutic gardening and post-traumatic growth. Adam’s personal story is captivating. He shares his own post-traumatic growth, as well as the effect growing bonsai trees has had on his life. As visitors gather in his courtyard, Adam talks about the principles of growing bonsai trees, and creates a dialogue about abundance, flourishing, needs, and growth – both of trees and of people. It’s an emotional and empowering experience during which each participant plants a tree and receives a potted plant as a souvenir to take home. It’s a wonderful way to start your vacation.
Price: NIS 70. Pre-registration required.Details: 050-205-2749.
8. Elad Theater
The Elad Theater puts on high-quality performances for adults and children. For example, there’s a show playing now called Reefresh, which involves great music, lots of passion and a gold fish. It tells the story of someone who is trying to escape from something, and another person who is escaping toward something.
Price: NIS 150 (NIS 110 for Eilat residents).
Translated by Hannah Hochner.