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Right on the Red Sea, Eilat is a go-to spot for snorkelling and diving in Israel's southernmost region. It's also renowned as a city getaway for the country's citizens. It has a lively scene too, so whether you're looking to drink cocktails at the upmarket bars in town or snooze on Mosh’s Beach in front of the mountains of Jordan, this destination makes for a fascinating adventure.
Hostels in Eilat include places with well-kept courtyards and hammock-lined gardens for winding down after treks in the otherworldly landscape. If you're in the city specially for underwater explorations of the unbleached coral reefs, you could go for an Eilat hostel that organises scuba diving tours – there are even PADI-registered places with diving centres where you can get your licence. For somewhere with an exotic atmosphere, try a hacienda-style guesthouse. Most Eilat hostels here have air con and free Wi-Fi.
One of the top neighbourhoods in Eilat is the marina, which is home to a host of theatres, cool restaurants and cutting-edge clubs. Here, you can also stroll beside the yachts and high-rise hotels, stopping off for some tax-free shopping while you're at it. Just south of the city, North Beach features a boardwalk lined with juice bars and eateries, as well as a sandy shoreline with jet-skiing, parasailing and banana boating.
Among the best places to visit in Eilat is the protected Coral Beach Nature Reserve, with its crystalline waters and abundant marine life. You can watch dolphins in their natural habitat at The Dolphin Reef, or go hiking in dramatic scenery in the Red Canyon, which is a 25-minute drive from town. Located the same distance away from Eilat is the aqua-toned Hidden Lake in the Timna valley, which clashes beautifully against the colour of the rusty cliffs in the background.
Buses run from morning until later in the evening in Eilat, then after 9pm, the best way to get around is to take a metered taxi. The Eliat-Ramon International Airport is around 20km from the city, with shuttle buses from here serving passengers throughout the day. Inter-city buses arrive at the Central Bus Station on HaTmarim Boulevard, taking around five hours from Tel Aviv. You can also visit Eilat from Jordan's Aqaba, which is a 25-minute drive away, but you'll need to factor in time for the border crossing.