There are endless things to do and see in Israel, and no trip to the Holy Land would be complete without a dip in the medicinal water of the Dead Sea. If you find yourself based in Tel Aviv, a day trip from Tel Aviv to the Dead Sea is a must! Located on the opposite coast of Tel Aviv, and south of Jerusalem, the famous Dead Sea is a must see. Here is everything you must know for your day trip from Tel Aviv to the Dead Sea.
The Dead Sea is the lowest point in the world, and driving down there can be uncomfortable due to the changing altitude. Thankfully there are breathtaking views to distract you from your popping ears which only lasts a few minutes. There are public buses that take you from Tel Aviv to the Dead Sea, but if you are prone to car-sickness, we recommend going in a private vehicle due to the winding roads leading you south. Unfortunately, there is no train that can take you to the Dead Sea, but there are many places to travel to via train if cars or buses aren't your thing. Check out where to travel via train here.
Day trips from Tel Aviv to the Dead Sea can be a full day excursion as it can take up to 2 hours to arrive there alone. The Dead Sea is significantly closer to Jerusalem so if you would like to combine the Dead Sea and Jerusalem in one day, we recommend traveling to Jerusalem after your day trip from Tel Aviv to the Dead Sea for an evening of exploration in Jerusalem.
Sunrise in Masada
Located in the Judean Desert, Masada is a fortress that is situated on a rock plateau with endless views of the Dead Sea and Jordanian mountains. Masada is one of the most visited places in Israel, as it is known for its beauty and extensive history that the stone fortification holds. Exploring the old fortress of Masada is fascinating and you see how this city-like fortress functioned and was built prior to running water and electricity.
Many visitors climb the steep hike up to the top of Masada before sunrise, but garnering accessibility to all, there is a cable car that will take visitors straight to the top in a scenic ride hanging over the path up to the top. Temperatures can be extreme once the sun is up, and therefore in the summer months, the path to hike up will be closed midday to prevent dehydration and heat stroke, and the only access up will be via cable car. You can purchase tickets for the cable car by the entrance, and can choose to either take the cable car both ways, or just up, so you can take the hike back down.
Since Masada is south, it will be warmer weather year round, and therefore bringing refillable bottles of water and sun-protection is an absolute must when visiting Masada. Because of the unbeatable views Masada has, we recommend on your day trip from Tel Aviv to the Dead Sea, to visit this historical landmark to catch the sunrise views that can’t be seen anywhere else.
Located near the Dead Sea, this nature reserve and archeological site is a great pit stop on your day trip from Tel Aviv to the Dead Sea. Located east of the Dead Sea, Ein Gedi is an oasis filled with natural spring water and surrounded by thick, ancient vegetation. It’s estimated that 1 million people come here every year for various activities like hiking, swimming in natural pools or simply relaxing in nature.
The beauty of Ein Gedi begins at its entrance where visitors pass through an overgrown canopy lined with palm trees and figs. Offering spectacular views over the desert landscape below on one side and the beautiful mountain ranges across Jordan on the other side, visitors can choose between exploring their surroundings on foot or by jeep.
As well as the abundance of nearby hikes and attractions, Ein Gedi also has a number of cafes (mostly situated near the entrance) offering food and drinks as well as souvenirs shops selling local items such as hand-woven baskets or pottery.
Visiting Ein Gedi on your day trip from Tel Aviv to the Dead Sea is the best way to explore this part of Israel, as traveling to Masada, Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea is the most efficient way to fully immerse yourself in the beauty and historical significance in this part of Israel.
The Dead Sea is the lowest place on earth and the saltiest body of water on earth. The Dead Sea's salinity makes it a buoyant body of water, meaning that without any effort, you can float, which is both a fun and humorous situation to be in and watch your friends struggle to acclimate to this strange experience.
The salty waters of the Dead Sea makes this body of water and its surrounding mud high with medicinal properties. Visitors come from all over the world to sit in the salty waters to help alleviate skin diseases, like cirrhosis and eczema. When feeling the water for the first time, you will feel how the water almost feels oily and silky, and very unlike any other liquid you may feel. The water is so salty that there are no sea creatures or plants that are able to live in such conditions, which is why it's called the “Dead” Sea. You can purchase the Dead Sea mud in any of the readily available shops you see on the coast of the Dead Sea, or you can find it yourself by the shallow parts of the water, where you will see all visitors slather themselves with the healing mud. There are many Dead Sea beaches to choose from, which offer spas, restaurants, pools and so much more. They are all based around the Dead Sea so if the amenities offered in each different beach don’t hold much attraction for you, it doesn’t matter which beach you choose to go to. Whichever beach you decide to go to, you are guaranteed to find a store that will sell water, mud and other paraphernalia you may need.
How to Prepare for Visiting the Dead Sea
The Dead Sea experience needs preparation and adequate knowledge of its salty waters prior to immersion. Because of the high salt content, any open wounds that come into contact with the water will sting and burn, no matter how minor. Do not shave or wax prior to going to the Dead Sea to minimize any pain you may feel, as even an unknown papercut will make itself known the second it comes into contact with the water. Do not wear contact lenses, as the salt water can accidentally get into eyes which can be highly uncomfortable even without lenses, and contacts can restrict rinsing the salt water from your eyes. For open wounds that you would like to protect, a thin layer of Vaseline over the affected area prior to immersion will prevent the salt water from coming into contact and make the experience that much more enjoyable.
Dipping in the Dead Sea is not a recommended experience for children due to the high salt content and pain that might come along with it. Check out children friendly excursions in Israel here. Additionally, the experience has been known to be slightly more uncomfortable for women. The majority of the time, the Dead Sea experience will not be uncomfortable at all, especially if you have no open cuts, or rashes, and if you do, there is no better way to heal then by going for a dip! So it's a win win either way.
The initial burn your wounds might feel when dipping, will cease after a few minutes and will overall be a highly pleasant experience. The moisturization properties of the water will make your skin feel brand new, and it is definitely something to do in your trip to Israel. Don’t forget to bring water, a camera and adequate sun protection on your day trip from Tel Aviv to the Dead Sea!