When considering a visit to the Dead Sea, you have a choice between Jordan and Israel. Nestled between Jordan’s eastern shore and Israel’s western shore, the Dead Sea is, without a doubt, one of the most fascinating wonders of the world, given its unique historical, geographic, and geological characteristics. With its origins dating back some four million years ago, the body of water is one of the lowest points on earth (431 meters below sea level), as well as one of the saltiest.
The Dead Sea, or ‘Al-Bahr Al-Mayyit’, will invariably feature prominently for any tour guide ‘worth their salt’! The only decision to be made is whether to experience the extraordinary lake through Jordan or Israel. To that end, this guide is intended to help you make the right decision.
Option 1: Visiting the Dead Sea in Jordan
The Dead Sea is the perfect spot to vacation in Jordan, allowing visitors to bask in the desert heat, perform spa-like rituals on the salty banks, and float in the tranquil waters. It is one of the most remarkable natural wonders of the world.
There is no shortage of hotels and spa resorts delivering affordable yet luxurious accommodations, soothing treatments, and massages using natural salts and mineral-rich mud from the sea. Alternatively, if you prefer a more ‘hands-on’ experience, slather yourself with mud and enter the calm, therapeutic waters yourself.The most popular beaches for visiting the Dead Sea in Jordan are Amman Beach, a casual beach resort, located just one hour from the capital city itself, and O Beach, a more luxurious alternative, located a mere 2 kilometers from Amman Beach. It offers pristine beaches, plush spas, and luxury poolside bars complete with local DJs.
What Else Can You Do at the Dead Sea in Jordan?
For something a little more adventurous, be sure to check out Wadi Mujib, which, although not a beach, per se, is a river that flows between spectacular canyons which rise out of the ground.
The Dead Sea Panorama Complex is a museum devoted to the Dead Sea. Nestled atop a cliff, this complex provides unforgettable views across the Judea Mountains. Along with a museum, the complex also boasts a restaurant and an exhilarating hiking trail that is accomplishable for all. The Dead Sea Panorama Complex is open daily from 8 am-10 pm and costs 2 Jordanian dinars (3 USD).
Ma’in is a sublime hot spring waterfall resort situated right beside the Dead Sea. Located just 30 kilometers from the city of Madaba, visitors can find themselves relaxing beside the Ma’in waterfalls and gazing up at the stunning mountainous backdrop in only 15 minutes.
At an impressive 264 meters below sea level, this resort is set within an idyllic landscape and visitors can choose to stay there for a few hours or even a few days. The resort also has excellent dining facilities, along with an array of rejuvenating spa treatments. A 2-day Tour from the Dead Sea is available and includes visits to Jerash, Madaba, Mount Nebo, and the Lost City of Petra.
How To Get To Jordan’s Dead Sea
Arriving at the Dead Sea in Jordan is a straightforward process, with a number of buses across Jordan traveling regularly there. Conversely, you can take a cab but be sure to negotiate a price in advance with the driver to remain there to drive you back because it can be difficult to find a taxi from the beaches. Car rental is another option, as the main Dead Sea Highway leads straight to the sea.
If you’re searching for a more convenient and rewarding experience, join a guided or private tour and see everything the region has to offer. If you’re planning a relaxing Dead Sea Jordan getaway, don’t worry: you can even take a tour to Jerusalem with tours to the Holy City from the Dead Sea, with pick up and drop off from your Jordanian Dead Sea hotel. The Dead Sea in Jordan and Israel are equally accessible.
Option 2: Visiting the Dead Sea in Israel
Israel’s Dead Sea counterpart is just as impressive, with a number of public beaches open along the shores of the sea. The two most popular spots are Neve Zohar, near Zohar Hot Spring Beach, and Ein Bokek, a bustling resort town with a wide selection of shops, restaurants, and bars. Note that some beaches charge an entry fee.
What Else Can You Do in Israel Near the Dead Sea?
Visiting the Dead Sea from Israel can also offer incredible historical insights, with Israel’s Dead Sea beaches located just minutes away from natural treasures such as Masada National Park and Ein Gedi Nature Reserve.
Masada is both an iconic and historical fortress that sits atop a flat plateau above the Dead Sea, built by King Herod in 30 BCE. The top can be reached by way of hiking the beautiful rocky ascent or riding a cable car. A guided tour is the best way to relive the historical significance of the Jewish zealots who made Masada their last stronghold during the great revolt against Rome.
Ein Gedi National Park, an ideal location with which to start your day, is only a few minutes north of Masada. It is home to mystic pools of fresh water along a fun hiking trail. The Nahal David Stream is extremely accessible and hosts the park’s main pools. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a quieter excursion, start at the Nahal Arugot entrance, and you’ll find a private oasis perfect for a unique photo op and you might even catch an ibex or Israeli Gazelle perched on top of a cliffside.
How To Get to the Dead Sea in Israel
The Dead Sea in Israel is far more remote to get to than Jordan’s side, taking over an hour from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. There are daily buses to the Dead Sea from the major cities, however, the easiest way to get to the Dead Sea yourself is on a shuttle, specially catered for one-day visits. You can take a taxi to the Dead Sea, but it will be pricey, and you can’t expect to catch one back easily.
You can always rent a car to give you flexibility on your trip. Or, for a full-day experience, you can get to Israel’s Dead Sea through one of these Dead Sea and Masada Tours, which leave every day from both of Israel’s main cities, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. A tour is the best way to make the most of the region, so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the magical salty lake and surrounding areas.
So Which Country Should You Choose: Jordan or Israel?
Regardless of whether you go through Jordan or Israel, the Dead Sea offers unique and wondrous benefits. There is simply an abundance of historic, geographical, and geological qualities, not to mention a host of luxurious resorts and sites on offer. Whichever side of the Dead Sea you decide to visit, you won’t be making a mistake. The Dead Sea in Jordan and Israel are both spectacular choices.
The Dead Sea is, without a doubt, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But if you still haven’t made your mind up, why not sample both sides of the iconic sea by joining a Jordan and Israel Package Tour? You won’t need to take this recommendation with a pinch of salt!