What was especially welcome was the Israelis’ kindness at the border, the smooth operation and the arrival in our beautiful hotel. I realized I wasn’t made for a long-lasting adventure in nature when I felt so happy being back in the civilization.
Nothing better than relaxing at a place where the sun shines 360 days a year.
Eilat – Israel’s Las Vegas
Eilat is the place where Israelis go on vacation. It’s the only access Israel has to the Red Sea and it is used mercilessly. Eilat is not a cheap place, but rather more it’s peaceful and everything is based on fun and consumerism. As Eilat is a customs- and VAT-free area, full of hotels, shopping, and consumerism, we call it Israel’s Las Vegas. (Yes, it’s a bit exaggerated. But it kind of fits.)
The airport in Eilat is a little bit funny and a little bit annoying as it is in the city center. I mean, literally in the middle of the city. There aren’t certainly many planes coming here, but if they do, it’s really loud and the whole city can enjoy it.
Eilat’s location is politically charged. You can see Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia from the beach – which makes it a really badass place. Firstly ist surrounded by Islamic Countries and secondly those aren’t really best friends of Israel. Women being veiled in the neighbor countries and Israel being the only democracy in the Middle East – you won’t notice anything about that in Eilat.
Generally, when in Israel you won’t notice any of these problems. It felt good to be back in a place not being gawked at as a woman. People run around in ‚normal‘ summer clothing (which is common on the beach in our opinion with our cultural education.)
Eilat is nothing else than the west at the Red Sea. Which makes Eilat a radical consumer-driven, but peaceful paradise in the region.
The hotel’s location is very good. It’s not directly at the beach but maybe only a five-minute walk there. The rooms are clean and the breakfast is outstanding.
We never had a breakfast like that in any hotel ever. Regarding this, we might be corrupted forever. Thanks for that! The pool was also great for relaxing.
Eating in Eilat
Generally, there’s everything here. But restaurants are quite pricey and if you don’t want to eat shawarma every day (which is also way pricier than anywhere else in Israel), you have to look a little bit closer. As we were only one day/one night in Eilat, we can only recommend you a small but popular self-service restaurant. It’s called Pina Ba’Yam and is located directly at the promenade right behind the huge Dan Eilat Hotel. The seafood and the Israeli white wine were affordable and really delicious. You can sit at the promenade and the owners are really friendly.
The Negev desert
As said before, we only stayed one day and night in Eilar before we headed towards the Dead Sea with our rental car – right through the unbelievable desert landscape. It looks so surreal and could easily be the backdrop of some fantasy movie (like Wadi Rum).
Shortly after Eilat, you will drive along a very long barbed wire fence at the border to Egypt. Actually, this is the moment you realize in what kind of conflict region you are in.
Furthermore, you’ll see how far outside the cheaper airport in Eilat is located. It’s really far. It’s in the middle of the desert and the bus drive to Eilat takes about an hour. It’s also not really obvious when the next bus will arrive. Everything about this isn’t really trustworthy. The plans for a new airport close to the city, therefore, seem like quite a good idea here.
So if you’re on the road in the Negev, take a good amount of water and some food with you. And don’t forget to fill up the tank, as there aren’t any shops or gas stations for quite a while. If you have a drone, take it with you. The landscape must be insane from above!
What was easy to find in the Negev was the Red Canyon, half an hour from Eilat. The Red Canyon is a beautiful canyon, easy to reach by car and free of entrance. We would recommend you to take the parking at the end of the gravel road.
The hike through the canyon takes about one and a half hour. At the end of this canyon, there’s a river valley. You’ll walk in the shadow most of the time and the trails are easy to walk. They’re very well-developed and can easily be done with kids, too.
The morning here was quiet and there were only a few other people here. Temperatures were perfect for this little hike.
What we definitely recommend you is NOT to take the alternative way back. It’s badly signposted and we almost evaporated.
Red Canyon should be definitely on your list when you’re around Eilat or heading towards north from there. It’s definitely worth it.
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