|Languages :||Hebrew (official), Arabic, English most common foreign language|
|Currency :||Israeli Shekel (ILS)|
|Time Zone :||EST +7hrs|
|Capital City :||Jerusalem|
|Population :||6 Million|
|Government :||Parliamentary Democracy|
|Total Area :||8,019 mi²|
|Climate :||Temperate; hot and dry in southern and eastern desert areas|
|National Holidays:||Independence Day, 14 May|
Eilat is a tourist resort and port located on the Red Sea, at the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba arm of the Indian Ocean. It is Israel's southernmost city and part of the Southern Negev Desert, at the south end of the Arava. It is popular for its Coral Beach Nature Reserve, an underwater marine reserve of tropical marine flora and fauna, Coral World, an underwater observatory that allows visitors to view marine life in its own habitat, and Skin diving, snorkeling and scuba diving, with equipment for hire on or near all major beaches.
Despite its small size, Israel is home to a variety of geographic features, from the Negev desert in the south to the mountain ranges of the Galilee, Carmel, and the Golan in the north.
The Desert: Accessible from Eilat, try the Nahal Tzofit trail - the hike is mostly through a wadi (valley/canyon). These features are formed like any other canyon; water forms a channel in the rock and over the eons it cuts a groove. The canyon is cut by flash floods which occur once or twice a year. The colorful multilayered mountains and the natural beauty of the desert make it highly exhilarative traveling to fascinating sites, such as King Solomon's Pillars, Timna Valley Park, the Red Canyon, Ein Netafim and Pillars of Amram.
Most of the Galilee consists of rocky terrain. There are several high mountains such as Mount Tabor and Mount Meron. The relatively low temperatures and the large amounts of rainfall every year made the Galilee a center of flora and wildlife, and many birds pass by every year in their migration and create an attraction. The Hulah Valley resort is a welcoming home for them. The streams and waterfalls, the latter mainly in the Upper Galilee, along with vast fields of greenery and colorful wildflowers make it a popular tourist attraction in Israel.
A rather large project is ongoing and has been ongoing in Israel for the past decade to adapt the existing National Trail into a north-south bike trail - the Israel Bike Trail. The project is close to completion and many sections are now available to the adventure biker. Each section is of varying length, terrain, difficulty, and can be ridden in a day by a moderately fit rider. Each section usually finishes with accommodation in the vicinity if needed.
Also check out the Mount Carmel National Park (the Israel Bike Trail passes right by it) - Israel's largest national park covering an area of about 21,000 acres. There are many cycle routes here - from beginners (4.5 miles) to intermediate (15 miles) to advanced (up to 22 miles). The advanced trail includes some of the best biking available in the area and offers breathtaking scenery and a combination of trail types.
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