Israel, Eilat – escape from winter, a perfect plan for the weekend! Part I
It was a cold weekend in November, and I had just come back from sunny Israel. The level of my depression reached its peak. To kill the time, or maybe with a glimmer of hope, I started looking for cheap airline tickets. And then it happened, in front of my eyes appeared return tickets from Warsaw – Modlin to Ejlat in Israel for barely 20€!
Less than 2 weeks before I had been in this popular tourist destination, but I had just been passing by and I couldn’t visit some of the attractions at the time. Before I thought it over, tickets had already been on my e-mail. On cold Thursday 5th December we said goodbye to Poland and only after 4 hours of flight we were welcomed by a warm Israeli evening.
There is a dry desert climate in Eilat, and rains are rare here. During our stay, the air temperature was between 24 and 26 Celsius degrees, while the water in the Red Sea was about 24°C. The perfect conditions for swimming, sunbathing and sightseeing.
Eilat Coral Beach Nature Reserve
Israel has only 13 km of coastline at the Red Sea, and all of it is located in the area of Eilat. Fans of swimming and water sports will surely find a lot of attractions on this small piece of the coast.
In addition to diving and snorkeling, you can swim with dolphins in the so-called Dolphin Reef (adm. 69 shekels and optional swimming with dolphins – 300 shekels) or visit huge aquarium. However, the most interesting and budget attraction is Eilat Coral Beach Nature Reserve.
Admission costs 35 shekels and this is the most profitable option to see the reef during your stay in Eilat. In the park you can swim and dive in crystal clear water surrounded by amazing coral reef and colourful fish. The Reef can be seen, also from two piers.
Timna Park – a short trip to the moon
While in Eilat, it’s worth taking a trip to Timna Valley, located less than 30 km north of Eilat.
From the route no 90 you should turn left just behind the brown signpost directing to Timna Park. The turn can be recognised by the huge Egyptian statues on the left side of the road.
Because two thousand years before our era, the area was inhabited by the Egyptians. The first copper mine in the world was operating here.
The entrance to the park is quite expensive because it amounts to 49 shekels – around 15€. The characteristic lunar landscape, huge cliffs, interesting rock formations and a surprising variety of colors are worth their price.
In the price of the ticket you’ll get a souvenir for free – a bottle that you can fill with coloured sand form the park. It’s best to explore the park by car, as the attractions are quite far from each other. There’s a decent road through the park so no 4WD car is needed.
Of course, it is also an option to explore the park on foot, but I don’t recommend it during the summer months, as the temperature in Timna reaches then up to 40°C. There is also an option to rent bikes on the spot, but prices are said to be high.
You can use public transport to get to the park. Egged buses no 394 and 397 stop at Elifaz Park Timna 90 (stop on demand), located on the main road close to the turn to Timna. The road from the stop to the park takes about 40 minutes.
The first attraction in the park is the spiral mountain. The way there resembles the famous Route 66 in the United States.
Right behind the mountain, you can see the first mushroom, actually half of it. This is an interesting rock in a characteristic red color.
The next attraction is the second mushroom – the most recognisable spot in Timna Valley, It surprises with intensive pink color. Near the mushroom you can see the ancient pits – the remains of copper smelting.
An amazing rock formation are the Salomon’s Pillars, huge high columns built from sandstone and interestingly formed by erosion.
The next point is a rock shaped like a sphinx.
The tour ends in oasis, where you can find restaurant and a gift shop. In the shop you can pick up the bottles mentioned earlier, which can be filled with yellow, red, green and black sand.
Check out the next part here: