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What you need to know about visiting the Dead Sea

What you need to know about visiting the Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is a unique part of the world and also has the claim to fame of being the lowest place on earth! At -427 metres below sea level, the Dead Sea has an amazing amount of benefits including increased oxygen levels and minerals in the water. Read on for some tips and what you need to know about visiting the Dead Sea!

Tips on visiting the Dead Sea

For directions on getting to the Dead Sea by car from Jerusalem, see my previous post on visiting Masada and Ein Gedi. We managed to cover all three places in a day which was doable if you are short on time. Like I said in my previous post, there’s many day tours that can take you from Jerusalem but if you would prefer to save money, have the freedom of doing it yourself or are on your way driving to Eilat, here’s everything you need to know about visiting the Dead Sea.

Our last stop on our trip to Eilat was of course the Dead Sea. Continuing South from Masada, Ein Bokek (boqeq) is around another 20 minutes drive from Masada and is a holiday oasis of hotels right on the edge of the Dead Sea. Here there is a free public beach for swimming with showers and change room facilities (although there are no individual cubicles). The Dead Sea was surprisingly beautiful – we wished we could have stayed longer! The only downside to swimming at the Ein Bokek location was that we couldn’t find any of the famous mud in this section. There is another swimming area north near Ein Gedi that may have the mud.

Swimmers at the Dead Sea at Ein Bokek

Floating in the Dead Sea

It is an amazing feeling to walk into the Dead Sea and suddenly your legs start to get buoyant beneath you. We couldn’t help but laugh as we bobbed up and down like corks! The salt levels in the Dead Sea sit at about 30%, which is why you are able to float. It is also full of minerals that leave your skin amazingly silky-soft when you get out of the water. Because it is so far below sea level (-427 metres!) there is also a denser amount of oxygen in the area that is also good for you.

Things to note:
-The beach is free but you need to pay for parking, there was an inspector there when we arrived
-You’re not meant to stay in the water too long
-Do NOT put your head under water as your eyes will sting badly
-No splashing (because of getting water in other’s eyes)
-Be careful of floating on your stomach as there is a possibility you can be flipped under the water
-Don’t taste the water – I took one for the team and licked it off the back of my hand and it is the worst taste and so strong. Just don’t go there.
-If you have any cuts of wounds the water will sting them. We also found some private areas got a bit stingy once we were in the water for awhile (maybe why you’re not meant to stay in too long).

Once we had finished swimming we drove a little further down the road and found a quiet area of salt flats. It was the golden hour (nearing sunset) and I’m so glad we stopped again to just walk out on the salt and take in the Dead Sea from another perspective. The water was amazingly green and different colours popped off the water and salt as the sun went down. We even found a couple of salt crystals. I loved the way the water washed the salty edge into patterns that looked like coral.

Sun rays at the Dead Sea

Ein Bokek on the Dead Sea at the golden hour

Dead Sea salt flats

The salt flat that we walked out upon

Dead Sea salt rock

Amazing colours at sunset!

The water's edge on the Dead Sea

Emerald green Dead Sea water

The water's edge where the salt forms coral-like patterns

Incredible coral-like patterns in the salt at the water’s edge

crystal clear Dead Sea salt

Crystal clear Dead Sea salt

dead sea horizon at sunset

The view back to Ein Bokek at the Dead Sea

Looking back from the salt flats towards Ein Bokek

Ein Bokek on the edge of the Dead Sea is only a small hotel town but we would have loved to stay a night or two in the area! If you’re planning on visiting the Dead Sea, think about having a day or more relaxing by the Sea and perhaps even having some spa treatments done.

Feel free to contact me or comment below if you have any questions on Israel or visiting the Dead Sea. I would love to hear what you’re planning!

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Comments (4)

  • Dear Emily and Julian, thank you so much for sharing your trip to Israel in such a comprehensive and helpful manner! I am planning a trip there and your posts are certainly valuable resources for me.

    I have several questions about travelling in Israel and hope you can share your opinions with me.

    Is December an ideal month to travel there? I plan to cover as many places as possible, from Akko all the way to the Church of the Nativity. Is two weeks sufficient for that?

    Also, would you recommend staying for 2D1N at a resort near the dead sea? Was thinking it would allow a slower pace of enjoying the dead sea and Ein Gedi, but not sure if it’d be worth it.

    Thank you in advance 🙂

    • Emily Connett

      Hi! Thanks for your comments, so glad the info has been helpful for you 🙂 December would be winter so may be a bit cooler in some areas of Israel. We were there in Oct – early Nov and it was warm most of the time but definitely cooler around Jerusalem as it is inland. I think two weeks should be enough time to visit Israel. Travel times are low as the country is small, so you can generally expect to spend an hour or two traveling/driving to a new place.
      We did Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea in one day traveling from Jerusalem to Eilat, but one thing we said was that it would have been great to spend overnight at the Dead Sea! We still had enough time to visit it, but it was such a unique place it would be great to spend a night there.
      Hope that’s helpful! Let me know if you have any more questions 🙂

  • Thank you very much for your advice! Was it troublesome getting to a toilet to rinse off after the Dead Sea? This is one of my main considerations as for whether I should stay overnight there and get a hotel room.

    Also, I’m hoping to cover Israel all the way from Acre at the top to Bethlehem, where do you suggest I begin the journey?

    Thank you in advance!

    • Emily Connett

      Hi, it’s no trouble rinsing off after the Dead Sea- they have open public showers and change rooms right on the beach. As Israel is quite small it would be easy to travel in whatever direction you like first – we started in Tel Aviv and did a loop going north first. Haifa / Akko, Tiberius, Jerusalem and then Eilat. Hope that helps!


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