Israel is one of those places that everyone has on their bucket list. It’s unique for so many reasons, including the fact that it’s home to another bucket list item: A trip to the Dead Sea. If this is also on your list of places to go in your lifetime, keep reading. Here are the essentials that you need to know before your visit to the Dead Sea.
It’s One of the Lowest Places on Earth
You will definitely notice your descent on your drive to the Dead Sea. When you reach it, you’ll be a full 427 meters (1,400 feet) below sea level. And if you could go to the bottom of the Dead Sea (which you can’t do because you’ll just float), you would be an additional 306 meters (1,003 feet) down.
It’s One of the Saltiest Places on Earth
How salty is salty? The Dead Sea has 34% salinity, or saltiness. Compare that to the typical ocean at just 3.5%, and you start to realize just how salty that is. The water is so salty and mineral-rich because of the rocks around it (bring water shoes). As the rocks erode into the water over time, the saltiness and minerals are dissolved into the Dead Sea.
Yes, You Really will Float
The massive salinity of the water creates much more buoyancy than non-salty water. So, instead of sinking, or even swimming, you’ll float in the Dead Sea. Also, when you get out, you’ll feel kind of slippery due to the salt content and other minerals in the water.
Yes, You Can Wear Your Bathing Suit
Israel is in the Middle East, so you have to stay covered from head to toe, 24/7, right? Well, no. It’s definitely good to lean on the conservative side when choosing what to wear in most of Israel, but even Middle Eastern countries cut visitors some slack when there’s a beach situation involved. You don’t need to go out and buy a burkini. Maybe leave the string bikini at home, but yes, you can wear your regular bathing suit at the Dead Sea, and anywhere else there is a beach in Israel.
You Can Visit from Israel, the West Bank, or Jordan
The Dead Sea is big. It stretches over 37 miles in length, with Jordan on the east side, and Israel and the West Bank on the west side. The Jordanian side has the nicest resorts and beach areas for longer stays, but the beaches on the west side are great for a float and for the Dead Sea experience. The main beaches all have bathrooms, showers, shops, and restaurants, so you’ll have everything you need for your visit right there.
You Can Visit Other Nearby Sites on the Way
You can make the Dead Sea your entire goal for the day if you want. However, if you’re interested in seeing more along the way, think about putting Qumran, Masada, Ein Gedi, Jesus’ Baptismal Site, or Jericho on your itinerary. These are all easily reached by car, and you can spend as little or as much time as you want at any place.
Pro tip: Save your float in the Dead Sea for the end of your day trip. That way, you can just relax and enjoy the float, plus you won’t be wet during your visit to the other sites on your list.
Is the Dead Sea on your “must go” list for Israel?