The Dead Sea Israel at 423 metres (or 1,388 feet) below sea level, is the lowest point on the earth and is known in Hebrew as Yam Hamelach or the Sea of Salt due to its high saline concentration. In fact, it is the deepest hypersaline lake in the world
As its name would suggest, no living thing can survive in these waters. Still, the lake offers many therapeutic treatments for any number of skin ailments, and attracts up to one million visitors annually, who enjoy its amazing hotels & spa resorts.
Hot and dry throughout the year, the area is a winter vacation spot popular with oversees travelers and locals alike. Only an hour’s drive from Jerusalem and close to two hours from Tel Aviv this area offers spectacular attractions for the entire family.
We have organized an entire photo album with Amazing Dead Sea Pictures
Interesting Facts about the Dead Sea Israel
Facts about the Yam Hamelach – did you know:
- It isn’t actually a sea but a large saltwater lake.
- The lake is 3 million years old.
- The high mineral and salt content of the waters make it impossible for fish or plants to live.
- The high saline content (33%) in the water makes swimming impossible – the salty water makes you buoyant.
- Deadsea mud is packed with minerals including calcium, iodine, potassium, and bromide.
- Deadsea salt is used to treat dozens of skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, hives, cellulite, dry skin, dandruff, stress, muscle aches, and more. Some visitors travel to the area exclusively for health reasons.
- Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is less harmful here as it has to travel through extra atmosphere.
A Day Trip to the Dead Sea Israel
I recently spent a couple of days in the area (April 2011) with my family, spending the night at the Ein Gedi Youth hostel.
We had a fun filled first day, which started with a visit to the ‘Inn of the Good Samaritan‘ on the road from Maaleh Adumim. The site is filled with Byzantine ruins alongside a beautiful modern museum containing colorful mosaics from churches and synagogues all around Israel – definitely worth stopping by !
We followed it up with even more ruins at the Qumran caves where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered by two shepherds in 1947.
After visiting the Qumran caves we carried on to the public beach at Ein Bokek, a 50 minute drive further south, to swim or rather float in the lake. Though Ein Gedi has a beach as well, Ein Bokek is a great place to break for lunch, with several restaurants in the area and picnic facilities on the beach. Ein Bokek also has an artificial sandy area with beach umbrellas for shade.
WARNING – it is not advisable for very young children to bath in the lake.
We concluded the day with a short hike to the beautiful Ein Bokek oasis across the main road from the hotels. The canyon-like gorge is filled with local desert flora and fauna. Along the way, the spring fills several fresh water pools, which flow down to a small waterfall. It’s a brilliant way to end the salty day in the desert.
If you’re active and an outdoorsy type (like me), there are many other attractions like camel riding, sky diving, Jeep tours, mountain biking and beautiful hiking trails. For a really challenging hike, try the Wadi Darga. See Dead-Sea and Masada tours and attractions for more activities. On the other hand, if you prefer a more pampering visit, you’ll find lots of resort hotels, spa treatments, and restaurants to choose from.
- Wear an old swimsuit so you can mud yourself all over without ruining your best one.
- Wear shoes suitable for water as the ground is stony and difficult to walk on.
- Do not enter the water if you have open wounds – it will be very painful!
- If you’re short for time, then you can plan a full day tour of the area along with Masada either from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.
- Visit the site of the Qumran caves where the ancient DeadSea scrolls were discovered by two shepherds in 1947.
- Visit the beautiful oasis of the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve with streams and waterfalls all year round.
- Treat yourself to an amazing spa treatment at one of the hotel spas and resorts in the area.
- Discover the benefits of DeadSea mud, bath salts and dead sea products for your skin and overall health.
- Visit the Ahava factory that specializes in DeadSea products for skin treatments.
More about Israel from Israel Travel Secrets.
Enjoy the Dead Sea