The Gulf of Aqaba is a large gulf located at the northern tip of the Red Sea, east of the Sinai Peninsula and west of the Arabian mainland. Its coastline is divided between four countries: Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. In Israel, it is often referred to as the Gulf of Eilat, after Eilat, the predominant Israeli city at its northern end.
The Gulf is located to the east of the Sinai Peninsula and west of the Arabian mainland. This and the Gulf of Suez are the two gulfs extending from the northern portion of the Red Sea; the Gulf of Aqaba is east of the Gulf of Suez. Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia all have coastlines on the Gulf. It reaches a maximum depth of 1,850 m in its central area (the Gulf of Suez is significantly wider but less than 100 m deep).
The Gulf of Aqaba measures 24 kilometres (15 mi) at its widest point and stretches some 160 kilometres (99 mi) north from the Straits of Tiran to a point where the border of Israel meets the borders of Egypt and Jordan. The Gulf of Aqaba, like the coastal waters of the Red Sea, is one of the world's premier sites for diving. The area is especially rich in coral and other marine biodiversity and contains a number of underwater wrecks, some accidental shipwrecks, others vessels deliberately sunk in an effort to provide a habitat for marine organisms and bolster the local dive tourism industry.
At this northern end of the Gulf are three important cities: Taba in Egypt, Eilat in Israel, and Aqaba in Jordan. All three cities serve both as strategically important commercial ports and as popular resort destinations for tourists seeking to enjoy the warm climate of the region. Further south, Haql is the largest Saudi Arabian city on the gulf. On Sinai, Sharm el-Sheikh and Dahab are the major centers. The largest population center on the Gulf of Aqaba is Aqaba, with a population of 108,000 inhabitants (2009), followed by Eilat with a population of 48,000 (2009).
The Gulf of Aqaba is one of the most popular diving destinations in the world. About 250,000 dives are performed annually in Eilat's 11 km Gulf of Aqaba coastline, and diving represents 10% of the tourism income of this area. The Landscape of Wadi Rum to the east of the northern edge of the gulf is also a popular destination. Other touristic destinations are the ruins of the iron-age civilization of Ayla in the city of Aqaba, which was also the site of the historic Battle of Aqaba, a World War I battle, led by Lawrence of Arabia.