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!
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.
We visited the Dead Sea on our own by renting a car, because we were on our way to Eilat. However there’s many day tours that can take you from Jerusalem that would have made the process a little easier. I’d recommend checking out Bein Harim’s Masada & Dead Sea Tour if you’d like to visit.
Navigating from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea was a little tricky and we ended up at the beach without the famous mud (if you’re at the Dead Sea, who doesn’t want to lather themselves in mud)! And be aware that you may also have to pay for parking. But to start, 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.
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.
Ein Bokek on the Dead Sea at the golden hour
The salt flat that we walked out upon
Amazing colours at sunset!
Incredible coral-like patterns in the salt at the water’s edge
Crystal clear Dead Sea salt
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!