The Dead Sea known in Hebrew as Yam Ha-Melah (the Sea of Salt) is the lowest point on earth, surrounded by the stunning landscape of the Negev Desert. The shores of the Dead Sea are the lowest point on the surface of the earth, and the saline water of the lake give lead to the name ‘Dead Sea’ because no fish can survive in the salty waters. The other result of the salty water of the Dead Sea are their renowned health and healing properties and the unique feature that one can float naturally in them.
Really just a lake, the Dead Sea is part of the long border between Israel and Jordan whose towering mountains can be seen from the Israeli side, part of the Judean and Negev deserts. Just a one-hour drive from Jerusalem, the Dead Sea is a place popular with Israeli’s wanting a few days relaxation, people taking advantage of the medical properties of the water, as well as tourists staying for a short time to experience the unique Sea and surroundings.
Masada, is, aside from the Dead Sea itself, the great attraction of the area. Atop a mountain to the side of the Sea lies this ancient fortress. With a steep history, and ascent, Masada is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is traditionally climbed early in the morning by tourists wishing to see the ruins at the top. Today it is not necessary to climb, as a cable car has been built.
Further North near the Dead Sea is Ein Gedi National Park. Situated in the famous Kibbutz, this park contains a range of cool water hiking trails which allow you to cool off in the heat. The higher you go, the quieter it will be and the more likely you will be able to find your own little oasis. Ein Gedi also has a public beach and spa which is much closer to Jerusalem than the majority of the beaches, if you have less time.
Hotels at the Dead Sea come in all shapes and sizes. In Ein Bokek is the main hotel area at the Dead Sea, and here there are around 15 large resort-style hotels catering to all types of budget. For those in search of a more unique experience, there are also some zimmers and more boutique hotels at the Dead Sea.