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At 423 metres (or 1,388 feet) below sea level, the Dead Sea 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 hotel & spa resorts.
Bruce & his wife Karen floating in the Dead Sea
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.
Facts about the Sea of Salt - did you know:
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.
My 3 daughters covered from head to toe in mud
at Ein Bokek beach
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.
The waterfall at the
Ein Bokek spring
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. 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.
3 Top Tips
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Bikur Na'eem (Have a good visit in Hebrew)
Did you have a great visit to the Dead Sea? We would love you to share with us your experience. Tell us what you did, where you stayed and where you ate.
Click on the links below to see some great reviews of the Dead Sea by other visitors to this page.
My Dead Sea experience
Thank you Lisa and ITS for all your helpful information. The reason I visited the dead sea was because my 12 year old son suffers from Eczema and the...