Dead Sea Attractions and Activities
Updated and Verified Information - January 2024
What Is So Special About The Dea Sea?
- The Dead Sea, or as it is called in Hebrew: Yam Ha-Melakh (the Sea of Salt) is a must-visit attraction for tourists planning a trip to Israel. It is a natural landlocked lake of cobalt-blue salty water surrounded by stunning moon-like landscapes of the desert. Measuring 64 kilometers (40 miles) in length and situated 430.5 meters (1,412 ft) below sea level The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth and the world’s largest natural spa. Since biblical times it has been a popular destination offering peaceful and quiet atmosphere for locals and tourists from all over the world wishing to relax and recharge while utilizing its therapeutic powers.
- The water of The Dead Sea is almost 10 times saltier than typical sea or ocean water. This fact makes it impossible for aquatic life to survive, hence the name. While swimming or diving is nearly impossible in The Dead Sea, floating on its surface is a fun experience that happens almost instantly due to the high concentration of salt in the water. Just remember to avoid splashes as the salt can irritate your eyes severely.
- The abundance of therapeutic minerals in the water of The Dead Sea such as magnesium, potassium, and bromide together with the dry climate and the oxygen-rich atmosphere are said to have extraordinary restorative and healing properties. Salt-rubs and mud-baths have been found to be particularly beneficial for those who suffer from skin disorders and various inflammatory diseases. In addition, they may help in reducing body stress and decreasing symptoms of respiratory conditions such as asthma or allergies. Mineral-rich mud and salt from The Dead Sea are widely used in a variety of cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and health products all around the world.
Attractions in The Dead Sea Area
- The peaceful atmosphere at The Dead Sea is perfect for those seeking to relax and unwind. You are going to be very disappointed if you expect to find Dead Sea water sports in the lake. However, The Dead Sea region does offer several exciting attractions for those looking for activities in the area and willing to explore the desert outdoors despite the heat.
Masada: A Must-Visit Historical and Scenic Gem
- Masada National Park, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, is not only an impressive historical site, but one of the most impressive and important archaeological sites in Israel, attracting tourists from all around the world. Masada stands as a captivating testament to both the architectural prowess of King Herod the Great and the tragic resolve of Jewish patriots who chose collective suicide over enslavement in the face of the advancing Roman army. Perched on a flat-topped mountain 490 meters above the Dead Sea, Masada offers visitors a profound journey into the past and breathtaking views of the surrounding desert landscape.
- Originally constructed by King Herod as a palace complex, Masada’s remains on the mountain’s summit served as the winter residence from 35 CE. The architectural marvel comprised two palaces, living areas, a ballroom, food storage facilities, and an ingenious water management system. The Northern Palace stands as a testament to the grandeur of Herod’s design. As you stand atop Masada, gazing at the vast Judean Desert and the Dead Sea, the echoes of the past resonate, offering a profound appreciation for the resilience and heroism embedded in this ancient fortress.
- The modern and tourist-friendly visitor center provides essential information, maps, and brochures. The amenities include a kiosk, restaurant, souvenir shop, shaded picnic tables, public toilets, drinking water fountains, and numerous resting spots. After engaging in a fascinating presentation providing background information about the site, visitors can reach Masada’s summit by ascending the challenging “Snake Path” or choosing the convenient cable car. The cable car takes only a couple of minutes, while the hike along the Snake Path lasts about an hour, suitable for adults and children over five. The self-guided tour allows flexibility, or visitors can join a guided tour. The site’s thoughtful accessibility design makes it wheelchair-friendly, except for the Northern Palace.
Ein Gedi Nature Reserve
- Ein Gedi Nature Reserve is a beautiful oasis nestled within the arid Judean Desert. Renowned for its lush greenery and refreshing waterfalls, the reserve is a stark contrast to the surrounding desert terrain. Home to a diverse array of plant and animal species, Ein Gedi is a haven for nature enthusiasts and hikers alike. Visitors can choose from a network of trails that wind through the reserve, leading to one of four hidden springs, ancient caves, while enjoying breathtaking views. The highlight of Ein Gedi is the stunning David’s Waterfall, a cascade of freshwater that tumbles down rocky cliffs, providing a picturesque setting for relaxation. This natural sanctuary not only highlights the adaptability of life in a desert environment but also provides a unique and refreshing experience for those seeking a connection with the wonders of nature.
Arugot Stream (Nahal Arugot)
- This significant stream in the Judean Desert serves as the drainage basin for all rainwater in the region with a basin covering over 200 square kilometers. The stream flows into a 500-meter deep canyon, with year-round spring water. The impressive hiking trail starts at a parking lot, winding through a “hidden waterfall” to upper pools. While summer sees a reduced water flow, winter brings rainwater floods to the area.
David Stream (Nahal David)
- A year-round water hike in the northern part of the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve and home to herds of ibex and hyraxes, used to the presence of hikers. As you walk from the entrance past acacia trees, you’ll reach a stream with a small waterfall. Follow the path, climb stairs to a cave above a hidden waterfall and pool, and take a refreshing dip. A short walk leads to the Shulamit Waterfall, offering a water pool and lush greenery along the waterfall walls. Return on the south side of the stream to the reserve’s entrance.
Lower Nahal David
- A short, safe and very kid-friendly path, suitable for the entire family between water pools and small waterfalls to the beautiful Shulamit Waterfall.
Upper Nahal David
- This path begins at the David Waterfall and winds upwards towards the Shulamit Spring, ending in the Dodim Cave and Ein Gedi Spring, offering stunning views of the oasis and the Dead Sea. Archaeology lovers can also enjoy the Chalcolithic Temple, an ancient flour mill, as well as other ancient facilities.
AHAVA Visitor Center and Factory Store
- AHAVA is a world-renowned company specializing in the creation of an array of cosmetic products crafted from the rich resources of the Dead Sea. At the AHAVA visitor center you can watch a video that reveals the steps behind the scenes involved in the creation of each item, and then witness the entire production process unfold in real-time. The AHAVA store offers a selection of freshly crafted cosmetic products at attractive prices. A team of beauty advisors is on hand to provide personalized assistance in multiple languages. Entrance is free.
Other Activities in The Dead Sea Area
Travelers eager to infuse a touch of adventure into their Dead Sea vacation, will discover a wide range of activities waiting to be explored in the surrounding area, to name a few:
- Safari jeep tours
- Cave and canyon exploration
- Art workshops
- Agricultural farm tours
- Adventurous and physically fit travelers have the opportunity to explore the desert mountains and streams surrounding the Dead Sea area through their feet. There are several picturesque hiking trails in the Dead Sea area, ranging from easy family-friendly paths to more challenging routes for experienced hikers. Remember to check weather conditions in advance and ensure you have enough water for a safe and enjoyable hike.
About The Author
Moshe Barak is a highly knowledgeable and reputable private taxi service operator in Israel, renowned for his professional approach, friendly attitude, and attention to details.
With over 20 years of experience and a long list of satisfied customers he is the trusted choice by many international travelers seeking reliable transportation with a personal touch during their trip to Israel.