Imagine spectacular green sea water with crystalline salt formations floating by or along the white coastline. The Dead Sea, in the borders of Israel, is the ultimate diving challenge for any diver. Not for its depth, no; neither for its marine life, because it has none. The highly saline water notoriously prevents a diver from reaching the bottom and the diver would have to fight against a natural phenomenon called buoyancy to be able to do that. Also named Salt Sea, it is abnormally concentrated with salt and minerals that it prevents any life form from inhabiting its sea bed and depths, thus its name. These same salts, minerals, and the sea bed mud are the source of healing and wellness for many of the visitors who come to this hypersaline lake. With its elevation of 1,388 feet below sea level, it is also endearingly called the lowest-elevation health spa in the world. If you are thinking of visiting the Dead Sea, read the following travel tips:
Best Time to Visit
Photo credit: http://cntraveler.com
Weekdays are preferred days of visit to the Dead Sea. The beaches and destinations are congested on weekends and Friday afternoons because these are the only days most locals take their families for a time off, too. Crowds could disrupt your slumber and block your view. Fall is a great time to visit because temperatures are generally pleasant and there are not too many people. The first weeks of summer are also a great time to explore the Dead Sea. However, as summer progresses, so does the temperature.
The best way to get around is to have your own vehicle. You can rent a car to avoid the complex and not very frequent bus system. It will also allow you to decide how long you would like to stay in any particular place or destination. If you are visiting on a day trip, then your transportation and everything else is taken care of.
The Ahava Dead Sea Festival is one of the major rock music festivals in the country and takes place in the magnificent Dead Sea. It features Israel’s prominent rock musicians. Though it might seem unusual to combine peace, quiet and relaxation with the vibrant thumps of the rock genre, you will be surprised at how that these two opposites go perfect together. If you are a rock music enthusiast and you are visiting the Dead Sea, then this festival is what you are waiting for. Hitch a flight in late March because that’s when the festival is going to take place.
What to Do
Much about your tour to the Dead Sea is what you don’t do. It is not about swimming or surfing; it is about floating. It is not about running around the city and catching the next tour itinerary; it is about lazing around the vicinity and waiting for your next spa treatment. The tour to the Dead Sea is much about effortless enjoyment. Just lay back and enjoy because everything is taken care of.
1) Relax on the Beaches and Float on the Waters
Float around in the most salty sea on earth and enjoy its medicinal properties. Before heading to the hotel, make sure to have a wrap of the sea’s mud that is known to be mineral-rich and great as a natural treat for the skin.
2) Visit a Spa
The message of wellness and treatment from the Dead Sea is well-fostered by most resorts. You can count on their luxuriously decadent spas with all sorts of beauty, relaxation, and health treatments that you can think of. Hotels offer various packages and combinations to their guests, but non-guests are also welcome to book for services they wish to enjoy. Linger at the spa and turn an afternoon into something extra-special with a massage, herbal wrap, mud treatment, sauna, facial and a soak in the sulphur pool.
3) Hike up to the Bokek Stream
Walk as you gaze around the diverse plant life until you reach this small stream that leads straight into the sea. There is a short trail by the Bokek Stream that leads you through a canyon and right across the water. During rainy season, volumes of runoff from the heavy downpour will fill the waterfalls and springs and entertain you with the rushing flow. When you chance upon the stream on a dry season, take a cool and refreshing dip in the stream. It will not be quite as exciting, but it will be enjoyable no less.
There is nothing quite like the Dead Sea in the whole wide world. Hence, people flock to the high-mineral sea and the mud, and that is understandable. Yet, if you look around, you will find that this area is also a place where you can connect with nature and explore historical sites.
1) Ein Gedi Antiquities National Park
You can find the remains of a byzantine synagogue with ancient inscriptions right in the middle of this antiquities reserve. Many historic objects of the time were unearthed and are on exhibit. Colorful mosaic tiles adorn the floor and attract visitors from all over the world. The whole area is shaded to protect it from the elements. The park is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
2) Masada Fortress
King Herod built this fortress and it tells of stories and history. It played an important role during the time when the Jews fought against the Romans. The Masada Fortress looks out to the Dead Sea. Take an early morning hike to avoid the scorching noon desert sun. Bring water and hydrate while you enjoy the view of Jordan and the Dead Sea.
Address: Road 90, Ein Gedi
3) Qumran Cave
This cave is not only geologic, it is also historic. Scrolls of ancient Hebrew manuscripts of the bible were said to have been found here. There is a museum where you can learn more about the find and the cave.
4) Ein Gedi Natural Reserve
The Ein Gedi Natural Reserve is a natural sanctuary in the middle of a desert. A wide variety of flora and fauna lends it such beauty and life. The reserve is home to numerous tropical plants, reptiles and birds. After the Dead Sea, this natural reserve is worth exploring with its two lukewarm springs. While hotels offer artificial lukewarm pools, you can head out to these natural options, instead.
5) Ein Bokek
Ein Bokek is a sun-drenched beach and a refreshing natural reserve right by the Dead Sea. Warm pools and natural waterfalls make it a scenic part of the Dead Sea vicinity. Teeming tropical flowers and lush foliage make the reserve a cool and perfect spot to relax.