Spending time in Eilat without paying – Israel

How many times have you said, or heard others say, an expensive and cheaper query to fly for a vacation abroad? Probably, quite a few times. So let us innovate for you: Beyond accommodation and food, for which you can pay a lot or less, depending on your choice and preference, you can spend Cheap in Eilat, not just cheap, without spending a penny.

The corona, as is well known, has brought many changes to our lives, some of which, it turns out, are actually successful. The Eilat Tourism Corporation, for example, launched a campaign a year ago that offered free attractions to those who stayed in Eilat. This campaign is repeated this year under the heading “101 experiences, zero shekels, one Eilat”. And what does it include? Just as the name suggests – more than 100 unique experiences at no cost. Whether you want to practice yoga in front of the sea in the morning or Pilates at sunset, participate in a creative workshop for the whole family or go on a culinary tour – just visit the website of the Eilat Tourism Corporation, in the tab 101 experiences, Check what activities take place during your visit and sign up. Since the activities are held in small groups and some fill up quickly, you should register in advance, even before you head south.

Hiking in the Eilat Mountains Reserve. One of 101 free experiences in and around the city The photographs in the article: Rotem Bar Cohen

101 experiences, zero shekels

We went down to Eilat, then, to check what you can get for zero shekels during a vacation in the southern city. Here are some options, all of which are successful and can easily make your stay in the city interesting and fun, without opening your wallet. By the way, all the free activities are intended for visitors and residents of Eilat, who also sometimes discover places and activities they did not know in their city.

Songs and bread

One of the pleasures that awaits visitors to Eilat is the meeting with the local community. This is exactly what happens in an activity called From songs to bread, Which takes place at the home of Galit Ivgi Cohen. Galit is an impressive and active woman, who with the corona went to work from her job as an air hostess. But no woman like her would sit at home embracing, and so, for the first time in her life, she started baking sourdough breads. The neighbors come to get bread. From here everything rolled quickly, and today Galit hosts people at her house for a handmade brunch, which includes a reading of songs she wrote. This meeting is not free, but as part of 101 experiences, zero shekels, you can visit her at home, learn about making sourdough bread , Hear her read songs and end with a tasting of breads. The session lasts about an hour and is suitable for the whole family. And as mentioned, it does not cost money.

Galit Ivgi Cohen hosts songs and bread at home

Galit Ivgi Cohen hosts songs and bread at home

Between desert and sea

Eilat is not only beaches and sea, it is also a desert and mountains and amazing nature. During your vacation in Eilat, there is nothing like going for a walk outside the city in desert landscapes that are second to none. We joined the trip with Bnei Gamliel, a veteran and experienced guide and an entertaining man full of stories like a pomegranate. We hiked in the Eilat Mountains Reserve, to the pillars of Amram. Walking in the creek, among rocks in a variety of shapes and colors, brought us to the spectacularly beautiful stone pillars. Even if you have traveled in charming places around the world, this place full of grandeur will undoubtedly impress you. Attach explanations of the geology, geography and history of the area and you will understand why you should sign up for this trip (yes, it is also free), and if you get organized in advance, you may have time for another guided tour or even two before you return home.

Amram pillars.  Even if you have traveled the world, you can not remain indifferent to this spectacular sight

Amram pillars. Even if you have traveled the world, you can not remain indifferent to this spectacular sight

Among the trips included in 101 experiences: a hike in the Upper Gesheron River, a sunset hike along the agricultural route in the southern Arava, a morning hike to Slate Mountain and many more hikes. The tours are conducted in private cars, self-driving, and are accompanied by the guidance of a certified guide.

11 hours by bus without air conditioning

Despite the physical distance from the center of the country, today getting to Eilat is easy and simple, whether you arrive by flight or a few hours drive. Once upon a time, the situation was completely different: in 1951, a newspaper published an article about the opening of the first bus line between Tel Aviv and Eilat. The bus, the newspaper said, is expected to depart twice a week, and the journey takes 11 hours. Imagine! If you want to see what they were traveling on in those days, at the entrance of the Eilat City Museum stands the same bus from the 1950s, which connected the center of the country to its southern end. The stiff seats, the wire they pulled to stop at the station, the small windows, all of these take travelers back to another time, when there was no air conditioner to cool the hot air during the long-long ride.

Exhibition at the Eilat Iri Museum, where the historical tour begins

Exhibition at the Eilat Iri Museum, where the historical tour begins

A visit to the Eilat Iri Museum, which gracefully documents life in the city over the years, is the beginning of a new historical tour, which traces the history of the city in a particularly fascinating way. Among other things, the tour goes through beautiful views, from which you can observe ancient roads and the new neighborhoods that pop up on the mountains above the bay and hear stories about the first settlers and life in the city, then and now. The tour is guided by Yael Lerner, who herself made the trip from Tel Aviv to the south a few years ago, and today not only does she live in the area with her family, she conducts culinary tours, art tours, city tours and now also the historical tour, all as part of 101 experiences, zero Shekels.

A view from the Red Sea lookout over the new neighborhoods, the bay and the mountains across the border

A view from the Red Sea lookout over the new neighborhoods, the bay and the mountains across the border

Art for the people

Among the various free experiences there are quite a few art workshops, suitable for a wide range of ages. These workshops are conducted by local artists and creators and usually do not require prior knowledge or experience. Among other things, you can participate in a guided painting workshop (with wine and beer for added joy), a handicraft workshop in the spirit of anthroposophy, a quilling workshop (art of rolling paper and creating decorative details), a charcoal drawing workshop in front of the landscape, a glass painting workshop and many more.

We participated in a workshop called Max Hacks led by artist Hila Shai. This is a fun creative activity for the whole family, during which you learn how to upgrade items from Max Stock using various tools and techniques of painting and product design. Under our hands (the unskilled, it should be noted) small jars became a series of hanging flower pots, a simple plank became a designed sign for the house door, plastic boxes were decorated and turned storage spaces into small collections and so on. Apart from the finished product, which can be taken home at the end of the workshop, it is great fun to see older people, who sit in the office in front of the computer every day, happily running around between stencils, glue guns, paints, glitter, jars and small plastic animals.

Product design workshop from items found in stock stores

Product design workshop from items found in stock stores

Move the body

Vacation is a time to rest and relax, but it is also a great opportunity to do things that you routinely put off, for example engaging in enjoyable exercise. In this area, too, particularly equal experiences are offered, from rowing in the Red Sea, through a flamenco and rhythm workshop, to shaping and toning the body at sunset. You can also join in the practice of Pilates, yoga or tai chi in front of the spectacular view of the Gulf of Eilat. In the oriental dance show of the dancer Avishag Efrati, which is also included in 101 experiences, although she does most of the work, it is doubtful if you will be able to stand still without moving to the sounds of the sweeping music.

Who said SAP and didn't get it (for free)?  |  Photo: Omar Harpaz

Who said SAP and didn’t get it (for free)? | Photo: Omar Harpaz

Where to eat in Eilat?

Walking, exercising, paddling in the SAP, drawing and even knitting (yes, there is also a knitting workshop), it’s time to eat something good. Among the many restaurants in Eilat, here are recommendations for some excellent places I really liked:

Omar’s. Tal Hershkovitz’s restaurant, named after his daughter Omar, has moved to a new and pleasant place, and this is a great opportunity to stop for a good meal at much lower prices than in the center of the country. The dishes are served as sandwiches or in pans, and either way they are incredibly delicious. Among other things, we tried a decomposed chicken pan, a dish that includes chicken baked in a sesame and soy marinade, seared in a plum sauce with tehini, roasted vegetable salsa, rosé salsa and green leaves. The same dish is also served as a sandwich. If you are a fan of red meat, go for the specials: we were delighted with a butcher’s made from just the right amount, even choosing an entrecote steak turned out to be very good. Address: 26 HaTamarim Boulevard, Eilat, site

Entrecote steak at Omar's.  Do not worry, vegetarians also have many delicious options

Entrecote steak at Omar’s. Do not worry, vegetarians also have many delicious options

Varkada. A fish restaurant with a design reminiscent of a happy Greek tavern. The fish here is the heart of the matter: among the starters you will find salmon carpaccio, tuna tataki, mullet shawarma, alongside these there is also a selection of salads and dips; For the mains you can choose between whole fish (mullet, dennis or leek), stuffed fish or fried fish – fish and chips or barbons. If someone at the table is less attached to fish, there is also Greek pizza and two types of pasta. The desserts remain in the Mediterranean region, with a twist: disassembled malabi, white chocolate knapsack and focaccia with mascarpone and nutella. Address: 12 Tarshish Street, next to the Soleil Hotel, site

Varkada Restaurant

Varkada Restaurant. Fish is the main thing here

Fortuna imprisons pizza. A perfect place for pizza lovers (and between us, who is not?) With great pizzas, a happy alcohol menu and a young and lively atmosphere. Fortuna, named after the owner’s aunt, opened recently, but you’ll have a hard time finding a vacant table there. The pizzas – margarita, eggplant and zucchini, anchovies, mushrooms, pepperoni and Fortuna pizza that includes artichoke, hyssop, chili, arugula and parmesan – are served on paper, directly on the table, as are some of the starters, like beef and antipasti carpaccio. Everything is delicious-delicious, fresh and full of joy. Fun of a place. Address: Coral 15, Eilat.

Fortuna imprisons pizza.  The pizzas are served right on the table and how delicious they are!

Fortuna imprisons pizza. The pizzas are served right on the table and how delicious they are!

Finnish nail polish. Leave room for dessert: The oldest ice cream parlor in Eilat may not look shiny and fluffy, but believe us you should stop here. The excellent ice cream, in a variety of flavors (do not give up the apricot), is served in a rolled waffle prepared on the spot. And if you’ve already thrown the diet to hell, why not add over a mountain of whipped cream and colorful candies? Open daily from 13:00 until midnight. 102 Eilot Street, Eilat.

Finnish nail polish.  Forget the diet and do not give up the whipped cream and waffle that are prepared on the spot

Finnish nail polish. Forget the diet and do not give up the whipped cream and waffle that are prepared on the spot

Where should you stay in Eilat?

Eilat offers a variety of accommodation options, at different price levels, so that everyone can find a place for their dog. Here are three options, very different from each other:

Royal Beach. The flagship hotel of the Isrotel chain in Eilat is located on the northern promenade facing the sea. The very spacious rooms have been recently renovated and upgraded. All rooms and suites have views of the pools and the sea, allowing for a perfect view of the bay and mountains – especially beautiful at sunset and sunrise. The hotel has seafront pools, a quality spa, restaurants, a business lounge, conference and event halls and a beach strip with water sports activities. The hotel is suitable for couples and families. More details bsite.

Balcony at Royal Beach.  All rooms face the pool and the sea

Balcony at Royal Beach. All rooms face the pool and the sea

hotel NOW. A new boutique hotel for adults over the age of 21, located a few minutes walk from the promenade. The hotel has two designed pools, a limited number of rooms and several suites with a garden and a private plunge pool. There is a chef’s restaurant, MOOD by name, and even if you are not hosted here, you should have a cocktail by the pool and from there continue to dinner at the restaurant. More details bsite.

Room at the NOW Boutique Hotel

Room at the NOW Boutique Hotel

Avraham Hostel Eilat. If you want to pay a sane amount for accommodation and want to connect with a young and happy vibe, this is the place for you. Avraham Hostel Eilat continues the line of the group, which has hostels in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Nazareth. The design plays a major role here, with unique lighting fixtures and a particularly colorful color palette. There is a self-catering kitchen, a lively bar and a nice pool.

Particularly happy colors, the lobby and bar at Avraham Hostel Eilat  Photo: Maya Maimoni

Particularly happy colors, the lobby and bar at Avraham Hostel Eilat Photo: Maya Maimoni

The rooms are divided into dorm rooms for shared accommodation, double rooms and spacious family rooms. The hostel is located downtown, not far from some nice places to eat (including Fortuna Prison Pizza and Brightman Bread). The subsidiary, Avraham Tours, offers tours and guided tours in and around Eilat, including a cruise in the Red Sea and a hike in the Red Canyon. More details bsite


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