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Yachts for Days
Take a day trip to the Herzylia Marina and charter a boat or private yacht for the afternoon to sail the high Mediterranean waters – truly treat. Via Maris Yacht Club offers highly skilled instructors and a friendly, professional crew who can set up any kind of sailing experience you have in mind; sunrise and sunset tours, culinary excursions on the water, sailing to diving destinations and more. With the salty wind cooling your core and the freedom of the Sea before you, the summer heat subsides significantly and the adventure is as memorable as they come.
Visiting Ein Gedi, with is desert borders and a stunning backdrop of glowing rust and rose-colored mountains framing one of the most stunning treasures on Earth – the Dead Sea, you may think you have found paradise. Close to 70 years ago, pioneers established a kibbutz in the area, and today the fruits of their labor is a sprawling community with recreational areas, a hotel, a luxury spa and two pools, a stunning botanical garden that is the only one of its kind in the world, and a host of special events. Admist fig and pomegranate trees, as well as the famous, mythical African Baobab tree, the lush vegetation at the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve offers a reprieve from the heat, and of course, the luxury Synergy Spa, with entirely modern facilities, including an extensive list of unique and pampering treatments, a hammam, a sauna, an indoor pool with healing salt waters from the Dead Sea, and a lounge seating all offer pure relaxation. For the hikers amongst you, there are a total of nine different trails which vary in levels of difficulty in Ein Gedi. Wadi David is the most popular, providing relatively easy access to the breathtaking David’s Waterfall after about an hour’s hike. On further, towards Ein Gedi Spring, dip in any one of the natural pools along the way and be sure to take in the dramatic scenery of the Dead Sea below you.
Eilat is for Divers
Take Vegas’ hedonistic offering of casinos and luxury accommodations paired with Cancun’s music-blaring, skin-baring, party-hopping locales and throw in the Red Sea — a stretch of pure blue known the world over for its treasured diving portals — and you’ve got Eilat: Israel’s most infamous resort town. The shoreline of Eilat wraps around the Red Sea where the water temperature remains between 21-24 degrees C (70-76 F) year-round. The area is ideal for wind and water sports and paddleboats, motorboats, parasails, sailboats and jet ski rentals are all available. This hyper-fun cocktail of sea and sun, plus the annual Red Sea Jazz Festival every August, puts Eilat at the top of Israel’s most visited summer destinations. The Northern Beach area (North Shore) is the location of most of the major hotels and the Southern Beach boasts a diving and snorkeling center, the Dolphin Reef, Coral Beach Natural Reserve and Coral World Underwater Observatory, perfect for day trips out of the sweltering heat. The Dolphin Reef is where animal-lovers can observe the dolphins from the floating piers and observation points, as well as snorkel and dive with them. This ecologically unique site for both Israel and the world, houses a pod of bottle-nosed dolphins, where onlookers can witness them living first-hand in their natural habitat: playing, hunting and socializing. 10,000 square meters of open-ended sea allow the dolphins to come and go at will – none of them are captive.
At the snorkeling center, the Coral Beach Nature Reserve, contains a 1,200 meter-long reef just 20 meters off the shoreline. The northernmost coral reef in the world and the only one in Israel, the warm temperatures and clear water of the region create a perfect environment for the coral to thrive, providing a haven for more than 100 kinds of coral. Sea anemones, sponges, urchins, sea stars, as well as tropical fish, butterfly fish and the occasional shark all find shelter and food in this extensive reef.
At the Nature Reserve sits the Coral Beach Underwater Observatory Marine Park, offering a myriad of activities in the spectacular underwater universe, incorporating underwater observatories, a nature museum, 40 fish tanks, a sea turtle/stingray pool and a shark pool. There’s even a darkroom specifically designed to showcase the fascinating bioluminescent fish. Climb 90 steps to the Peace Terrace for expansive views of Israel, Jordan and Egypt. Science-lovers will ooh and aww at the Coral Beach Nature Reserve’s Oceanarium: a virtual-reality, science-fiction movie with interactive moving seats and a large screens.
Beginner and experienced divers should check out Aqua Sport, offering traditional diving and specialized outings such as visiting underwater grottos and ruins. While you’re out there in the surf, try a uniquely Israeli invention, Snuba. The love child of snorkeling and scuba diving, the air tank stays above the water while you go below.
Local tip: Eilat is Israel’s only duty-free shopping destination, so head to Mall Hayam (which is centrally located and pumps constant icy thrills) is significantly less painless than other locales in the country — 17% less to be exact.