9 Places to See in Southern Israel
It’s been a few years now since we started to travel in early March. It is our way of escaping the cold winter we have in Romania, and to mark the end of the first sale season of the year for my handmade business, Fata cu Flori de Hartie.
Last December, we traveled for the first time to Eilat, Israel. We enjoyed the warm weather, and having the opportunity to swim with coral reef fish, dolphins, and generally to soak in the sun. This time, we had even better weather, although the wind when we went to the beach. This second time, we also rented a car, and took trips further away from Eilat, up to the Dead Sea.
If you’re thinking about visiting Israel, here’s what you can see in its Southern part, in the Southern Negev Desert. In both our trips, we were there for 4 days each, and we had more than enough time to see all of these places.
Dead Sea, near Metsoke Dragot
For this lovely Dead Sea trip, I have my friend Shiran to thank for. He is a breathing practitioner, and we collaborated for a short while some years ago. We actually met for the first time, in person, during this trip to the Dead Sea, where he introduced us to its magic energy. The desert is a powerful experience, and so is the Dead Sea. These are not nature elements to take lightly, and you need to treat both experiences with respect, and prepare accordingly. I’ll tell you more about that another time.
But, yes, you float like a boat in the Dead Sea. There are small islands there and there, and they look like ice shelves. There are sinkholes on the coast of the Dead Sea, again, another first time for us. All in all, a trip to the Dead Sea is a must. The colors are amazing, Jordan’s mountains look magical at sunset, and if you go in the spring, you might even find flowers blooming in the desert.
Red Canyon, route 12, near Eilat
Our 2h hike at Red Canyon was our first experience of the desert, and it was a unique experience to say the least. I never thought I’d say it, but I liked the desert, the silence, the textures, the colors, and even the plants.
Free access. Bring water with you, and a sun hat. If it’s in the morning, I strongly recommend you dress to keep you warm. We started our hike at 11 am in the morning, 15C, and it was chilly.
Crocoloco Crocodile Farm, Orvot
We saw this place on our way back from the Dead Sea, and it was an interesting experience to say the least. I saw a picture of this place on Google Maps, and they had what looked like dozens of crocrodiles, in the middle of the desert. So we stopped by and got to see the most crocodiles I’ve ever seen, plus a huge on, an 18-year old. Oh and the baby crocs, although are little monsters, they are very cute.
If you have the time, talk to the owners. We met the wife, and talked a lot about how she and her husband discovered their love for crocodiles. Turns out they actually lived in Africa for a while, and that’s how they got this unusual passion. Oh and they are badasses. They take care of the entire park, maybe over 100 crocodiles, by themselves.
Underwater Observatory Park, Eilat
The place is close to Eilat, you just jump on the bus, and depending on traffic, in 30-40 minutes you’re there. It’s a pretty big place with different aquariums. They even have a big one, filled with large sharks, and you can chill in front of it. It’s pretty mesmerizing to watch big beasts with only glass in between.
The best feature is the underwater observatory, which is in the middle of a reef that’s full of life, and color. When we met it was Hanukkah, and the place was filled with many, many kids, and it was quite crowded, nonetheless, we were mesmerized by the different species of fish we were seeing.
Ticket needed. 99 NIS Adult Ticket, 79 NIS Child Ticket. Restaurant, kid-friendly play spaces on the premises.
Eilat Coral Beach Nature Reserve, Eilat
Eilat is our first common coral reef snorkeling experience, and we love that it is only 3hrs away from where we live. There aren’t many beaches on the Red Sea coast of Israel, but this one is really worth it if you want the coral reef experience. The water is filled with corals, and fish! We’ve seen dozens of species there.
Ticket needed. 35 NIS Adult Ticket, 21 NIS Child Ticket.
Dolphins Beach, Eilat
I was a bit reticent to visit this place. Again, I am not a fan of zoos and I wasn’t going to pay to see dolphins kept in “cages”. Turns out the dolphins are free to roam wherever, although they seem to enjoy spending time near this beach. There’s also an area where you can snorkel around a reef, and you can do the same with dolphins too for a fee. The beach itself is kid-friendly, with a restaurant, and coffee shop on site. However, it’s a one-day experience. You get more out of going to Coral Beach if you’re going to go snorkeling.
Musical Fountain Eilat
When we visited Eilat the first time, back in December, we saw the show put on by the Musical Fountain, in the center of the city. It was prettier than expected, and it was quite a colorful sight for a December evening.
Free to attend.
The Botanical Garden, Eilat
This was the first place we saw when we took our second trip to Eilat. We spent about 2 hours over there, soaking in the exotic flora, and the breathtaking sight over Jordan’s mountains, and shore.
I didn’t see as many exotic plants in bloom, but there are definitely a few good spot to see in Eilat’s Botanical Garden. I loved the cozy bird nest made with actual branches, the rain forest section, the panoramic view, the many different swings (makes for some awesome Insta pictures), and their plant store. I dare to say it was my favorite feature of Botanical Garden.
Eilat Ornithological Park, Eilat
We planned to visit the Ornithological Park, right after going to the Botanical Garden. We passed this eventually, and left it for another trip, but if you’re going to The Botanical Garden, then you can see this one too, it’s 10 min away.