Floating in the Dead Sea is the kind of experiences you might have only once in your life. (Or is it?) After swimming in the Dead Sea not once, but four times, I feel like I tried different beaches and I now know where the best one is. In this post, you’ll find my top Dead Sea tips to help you plan an epic Dead Sea trip.
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What exactly is the Dead Sea?
The Dead Sea is known to be the lowest point on earth and got its popularity with its unusual properties. The water is so salty over there that it makes you float without efforts. This also means that there isn’t anything that can live in this water (although, they did find some kind of bacterias that can survive in the water).
A lot of people decide to visit the Dead Sea while in Israel or Jordan so they can benefit from the salty water. It could help people with skin conditions by making your skin healthier.
We call it a sea, but it actually is a big salty lake.
Where is the Dead Sea?
The Dead Sea is located between three territories or borders: Israel, Palestinian West Bank and Jordan. Although, you should know that the Dead Sea is right in the middle of the desert and started to disappear, unfortunately. So you might want to go check it out while it’s still there.
Visiting the Dead Sea – Day Trip or Overnight Stay?
There are different ways to access the Dead Sea. You could do it yourself, join a tour, or stay overnight in the area. That being said, depending on your decision, you might find yourself in different beaches or area.
After visiting a few different beaches around the Dead Sea on Israel side, I finally found my favorite spot. Although, there are two main spots to pick from when visiting the Dead Sea – the north or the south. As I prefer to avoid touristy areas, I always preferred the southern shore.
I personally visited three different spots:
To help you decide, I thought about giving you a quick description of each place.
Kalia Beach is located in the North and is quite busy. It’s the most popular spot when it comes to day trips. You’ll find a restaurant, shop, and bar on site. It’s a muddy beach which means it’s great if you’re planning on covering your body with the famous Dead Sea mud. This also means that the water isn’t that beautiful though. Personally, I was a bit disappointed with this beach – but I still went there twice – go figure!
Ein Bokek is located in the South with all the resorts and hotels. Although, there’s a public beach area which means you don’t have to stay the night to dip in the Dead Sea. The beaches in this area aren’t muddy which means you’ll have to bring your own mud if you want to have the full mud mask experience. It’s also where the famous island with the tree is.
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If you decide to stay the night, you should know that hotels normally have their own private beach (which is still in Ein Bokek area), but this means that you can forget about the crowds. You’ll have a quiet Dead Sea experience and possibly the most beautiful beach.
Where is the best place to visit the Dead Sea?
Personally, my pick goes to the private beach. We stayed at Isrotel Dead Sea – which had a beautiful private beach.
Again, it depends on your length of stay though. Are you going to visit the Dead Sea on a day trip or will you stay the night? Most tours go to Kalia Beach. If you do it yourself then, you could head to Ein Bokek, which is better in my opinion.
Is it safe to visit the Dead Sea?
Yes, it is. Although, if your real question is about Israel as a whole – then, head here to read more about travel safety in Israel.
Visiting the Dead Sea should be a smooth experience – but there are a few things to keep in mind.
- There are sinkholes around the Dead Sea – that said, if you’re traveling around on your own, make sure you don’t go too far on your own. These beautiful sinkholes might be appealing, but they could also be dangerous.
- You might be floating, but you can still drown in the Dead Sea. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to swallow this salty water by mistake. To avoid this, make sure to go to a beach where there is supervision.
- The salty water can sometimes be painful for some people – avoid going in the water if you have open wounds. I’ll give you all my top tips for the Dead Sea towards the end of this post. Keep reading.
How to get to the Dead Sea?
Whether you book a tour, take the bus or rent your own car to get to the Dead Sea – it’s going to be a long drive.
Getting to the Dead Sea with a tour
My first experience at the Dead Sea was with a tour. I joined a day trip which was covering destinations like Masada, Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea. You can read more about this cool day trip offered from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem here.
Getting to the Dead Sea by bus
You can reach the Dead Sea by bus. This is also a great option if you want to avoid handling the checkpoints on your own. Going to the Dead Sea by bus also means you could decide to stay the night in the area.
You can find the bus schedules from Jerusalem and details here.
Getting to the Dead Sea by car
If you decide to rent a car to visit the Dead Sea, you should know that you’ll pass checkpoints at some point. The checkpoints are normally located in some places between Israel and the West Bank. If you have your passport or copy of your passport with you, it should be okay.
How long is the drive from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea?
It depends on the traffic and the beach you’re planning on going, but it can take around one hour.
How long is the drive from Tel Aviv to the Dead Sea?
It depends on the traffic and the beach you’re planning on going, but it can take around two hours.
Dead Sea Tips
Apart from the “sit back and relax” or in this case “sit back and float” – there are some important things to know about the Dead Sea.
Here are my tips for a better experience:
- Avoid shaving the day you’re going to visit the Dead Sea. I remember suffering after shaving my legs and believe, this was NO FUN. Shaving two days before was brilliant though – I wasn’t in pain at all the last time I went for a swim in the Dead Sea.
- Bring sunscreen – being in the desert also means being in the sun.
- Stay hydrated – with all this sun you’ll need a lot of water. Even the water won’t be refreshing your body – it’s like stepping in a very hot bath.
- The last thing you want is having water in your eyes or your mouth – avoid splashes, avoid jumping in the water and more importantly, do not dive in the water. If you have fresh cuts or open wounds, then you should avoid getting in the water.
- Bring a dark swimsuit to make sure not to ruin your “white sexy swimsuit”.
- If you decide to bring your waterproof camera, make sure to rinse it with sweetwater afterward.
- The sand gets really hot, so I suggest you bring your flip-flops or water shoes with you. Even in the water, you could easily hurt yourself with the salt (which can be quite sharp).
- After swimming in the dead sea, make sure to use the showers on the beach to rinse yourself.
Can you swim in the Dead Sea?
Well. In theory – yes. But swimming in the Dead Sea creates splashes and splashes should be avoided. There’s no need to swim as you already float.
Can you float in the Dead Sea?
Yes. I can personally float pretty much everywhere but this is next level, my friends. You do not have to put any efforts. Everyone can float in the Dead Sea.
Dead Sea Where to Stay
If you’re planning on staying the night, you might want to book your accommodation in advance. It can get quite busy and as there aren’t this many hotels with good locations, you won’t want to miss this great opportunity.
Isrotel Dead Sea Hotel: That’s where we stayed and I would strongly recommend it. The private beach was beautiful – the best I had experienced until now in this region. The buffet was huge and great (for both dinners and breakfasts). It wasn’t the most modern hotel on earth, but still, the view was great, the pool was tempting and did I mention the private beach?!
Crowne Plaza Dead Sea Hotel: This hotel seems to be another popular option when it comes to staying around the Dead Sea. It’s located right next to the famous island with the three.
Hi Hostels: If you’re on a budget, you could consider staying at Massada Hostel or Ein Gedi Hostel. Keep in mind that these places are still quite expensive like any other hostels in Israel, but they are much cheaper than the hotels mentioned above. They aren’t located at the Dead Sea, but they aren’t too far either.
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Disclaimer: This post may include affiliate links. Thanks to MediaCentral for inviting me to Israel. As always, all opinions are my own. Happy travels.