dead sea

The Dead Sea is considered by many to be one of the highlights when visiting Israel. This calm, eerie salt lake with its translucent azure waters and the golden hills surrounding it, make the Dead Sea a hauntingly beautiful spot and incredibly relaxing spa resort. But wait, there’s more: the Dead Sea area is rich in fascinating historic sites and gorgeous nature reserves to explore. For those of you who prefer more active holidays than just lying on the beach, we’ve gathered the most interesting places to visit and the most exciting activities to participate in.

Dead Sea hikes you shouldn’t miss

qumran hiking

If you’re in an adventurous mood and prepared to exert your muscles, the Dead Sea and surrounding area offer a myriad of great hikes. Here are several recommended ones:

  • Nahal Arugot – a part of the Ein Gedi nature reserve, Nahal Arugot is a lovely stream winding between limestone rocks. The hiking path offers a dry route, on the rocky trail above the stream, which is more challenging; and a wet route, which takes you into the water and is easier and especially pleasant on hot days. Both routes eventually reach a beautiful, 10-meter “hidden” waterfall and the upper pools – a collection of large, deep pools, perfect for a refreshing dip. The hike takes 3-4 hours.
  • Masada Snake Path – Masada is one of the best-known attractions of the Dead Sea; the story of the siege of Masada is considered to be a shining example of bravery and determination in the face of religious oppression. The ruins of the fortress are scattered on the summit of the steep hill of Masada. The adventurous way to get to the top is hiking a snake-shaped trail twisting along the side of the hill. The hike takes roughly two hours, and to make it really special, it is recommended to do it at sunrise.
  • Qumran – The Qumran Caves are the site of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient Jewish manuscripts dating back to the 4th century BC. While the scrolls are currently displayed at the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem, one can still find lots to see and do at Qumran: a multimedia center where you can learn about the lives of the ancient Essenes, a great view of the Dead Sea, and of the caves and a great opportunity for a long hike from Nahal Qumran to Einot Tzukim. In this four-hour hike, you’ll see deep ravines, a majestic waterfall, wild animals (ibexes, hyraxes, foxes, and possibly a leopard) hidden pools, magical springs, and the ruins of an ancient farm.   

Dead Sea activities which are pure fun

If you’re not really into hiking but would still like to make the most of your trip to the Dead Sea, there are plenty of other Dead Sea activities you could do.

  • Jeep rides – for an adrenaline-filled adventure, join an organized jeep ride through the Judaean Desert. There are several companies that organize such trips, which will allow you to experience all the thrills of rocky, winding roads with astounding views of ragged hills and mysterious canyons.
  • Fantasy Island – those of you with kids, or the young of heart, would greatly enjoy the Fantasy Island complex at Leonardo Club Hotel. The complex includes a state-of-the-art 7D cinema with exciting effects such as wind, water, smoke, movement, and more; and the Fear Factor maze filled with the stuff nightmares are made of.

Dead Sea Tourism is not limited to spa resorts

Keep in mind that Dead Sea tourism is not limited to lying on the beach and smearing healing mud all over your body – there’s plenty more you can do to make this trip the experience of a lifetime!