This post is all about our favourite way to experience the Dead Sea in Israel by taking a unique day trip - starting by watching the sunrise from the Masada Fortress over looking the desert, exploring the springs of Ein Gedi Nature Reserve and exfoliating with that rich Dead Sea mud at the beach! The day tour can be taken from both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, although we recommend you do it from Jerusalem, which makes for a shorter drive.
This tour we took in March 2020 was one of the best days we spent in Israel. Bathing in the Dead Sea (the lowest point on Earth!) in Israel is an activity that enriches any travel itinerary here. The best part about it is that the day trip also has 2 other stops/activities (exploring the Masada Fortress at sunrise and walking around the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve) which just as exciting as the Dead Sea in Israel experience itself!
Experience summary: hike the Masada Fortress early to watch sunrise over the desert, explore Ein Gedi Reserve's natural waterfalls, float in the Dead Sea
Price per person: about 78 EUR (87 USD) p.p (if going from Jerusalem)
you can get 10% off the tour with our exclusive discount code at the bottom of this post
Total time: 7-8 hours
The highlight of the day: the early morning hike and sunrise over the desert!
First stop: Hiking the fortress in Masada National Park
Depending on which city you're starting the tour (day trip tours available from Jerusalem & Tel Aviv), be ready to leave anywhere from 2:30 am to 3:30 am (also depends on the season). About a 1 hour's drive later, you'll arrive in the Masada National Park, an a part of the country not far from the Dead Sea in Israel.
Reaching the top of the fortress for sunrise requires some work, about an hour's worth of hiking up the mountain. We're not very experienced hikers and found the trail on the more difficult side, with quite a few mountainous steps. If you want to make it to the top for sunrise, you'll have to keep a good pace, so come prepared with water and comfortable shoes.
Once at the top for sunrise, you can walk around and look out onto some of the ruins of the fortress, enjoying 360° views of the desert and the dead sea around you.
Note: If an uphill climb seems like your worst nightmare, don't be put off! You can definitely choose to walk up only as much as you wish & still enjoy the beautiful views from where ever you choose to stop on the trail.
Next stop: Exploring the Ein Gedi Reserve
Once you make it down from the fortress at Masada, it's a short, beautiful drive to stop number 2 - Ein Gedi Reserve. This is a popular nature site in Israel, where you'll find natural spring waterfalls and a variety of beautiful vegetation and wildlife.
The tour allows you to explore the reserve at your own pace, having a total time of about 1 1/2 hours.
Our recommendation - walk about 20 minutes into the park until you come across one of the waterfalls. Most people from the tour will check them out & wander further into the reserve, so if you want to take it easy after the morning sunrise hike, you can perch youself on a comfy rock & stick your feet into the cool spring water!
Last stop: The Dead Sea
The last part of the tour will be a visit to one of the beaches of the Dead Sea in Israel. If you don't know already, the Dead Sea is the lowest place on earth based on elevation. The water here is so salty, you'll float immediately after relaxing and laying down in the water, making for a truly unmissable experience.
You'll be taken to a beach on the north end of the Dead Sea Israel coast, which is plentiful in the iconic mud, rich minerals. Make sure you use the opportunity to cover yourself in the precious mud and exfoliate!
Towels will be provided for you in by the tour company and the beach has lockers and showers to store your belongings safely whilst you enjoy your swim. There are also a few cafés to get food and lunch with a very nice view.
Top tip - the salty water can sometimes sting your skin! This is nothing to be concerned about, just try not to shave the day before you go!
After a 1,5 hours free time at the dead sea, you will have about a 12:30 hour drive back into the city.
What to bring with you
Breakfast and other snacks (there's no food to purchase available really until you're last stop of the day)
Sunhats & sunscreen
Bathing suit, flip flops or water shoes (also, consider that the mud might stain your swimmers, so don't wear your nicest white bikini!)
Toiletries for showering
Plastic bag for storing your wet items after the Dead Sea swim
Costs & Your Exclusive Discount
The price for the tour includes all your transport for the day and some of the entry fees to attractions. You will however need to pay 50 shekels (14 EUR) and 32 shekels (9 EUR) for entrance to the Masada and Ein Gedi Parks, so have the cash ready for this.
This itinerary was organised by a great company called Abraham Tours, who offer the tour (called Masada Sunrise Tour) from both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. If you're interested in reserving your tour from Jerusalem online, they've kindly given us an exclusive code to share with you, which gets you 10% off the tour. Just use the code OFTENCOMMUNITY when booking online here.
Some other great tours to complement your trip:
We wish you a great day of exploring the Dead Sea in Israel's unique nature scene & let us know if you visit!
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