Krista the Explorer
2 Days at the Dead Sea in Israel: Things To Do & Where To Stay
Updated: 3 days ago
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Visiting the Dead Sea in Israel is one of the best options for a day trip from Jerusalem, and is also a fantastic choice if you’re basing yourself out of Tel Aviv. While many people will visit the Dead Sea for its healing properties or to access one of the many spas in the area, there are a lot of other unique things to do near the Dead Sea to fill your itinerary with. Of course, you can’t visit without floating in the Dead Sea at least once, but after spending a few hours at one of the beaches here, you’d really be missing out if you didn’t explore what else this area has to offer.
The shores of the Dead Sea are the lowest point on the earth’s surface. The sea itself is surrounded by Israel on one side and Jordan on the other, so it’s very easy to plan a day trip from Jordan to the Israeli side of the Dead Sea too. We spent 2 days at the Dead Sea in Israel and were able to visit a popular beach, explore less touristy parts of the Dead Sea, and set foot in one of Israel’s most important archaeological sites.
Gallery Minus 430
Gallery Minus 430 is a unique site near the Dead Sea to visit which sits at the entrance to Kalia Beach. These abandoned buildings were once part of a Jordanian camp until the area came under the control of Israel, and today more than 30 artists have turned them into an art project. Gallery minus 430 is the lowest art gallery in the world, sitting 430 metres below sea level, and aims to raise awareness of the death of the Dead Sea and its beaches due to global warming.
Ein Gedi Camp Lodge
On our way to Masada our bus stopped by the Ein Gedi Camp Lodge so we could take some photos of the unique accommodation that they offer. This is a very popular place to stay near the Dead Sea, with various camping options available depending on your preference. The double bedded Volkswagen camper vans are a huge hit though, and include air conditioning as well as a private hammock and seating area outside. There are plenty of hotels near the Dead Sea in Israel to choose from, but nothing comes close to this.
Masada National Park
One of the best things to do during 2 days at the Dead Sea in Israel is to visit the incredible Masada National Park. These ancient ruins sit isolated at the top of a cliffside and date back to the time of King Herod in the year 30 BC. There’s a tragic story behind its decline which you’ll learn about when you visit, and today the ruins still stand as a symbol of determination and heroism. To get the most out of your visit I would recommend joining a guided tour. Many people opt for a Masada sunrise guided tour from Jerusalem for the views, but we went around sunset and it was incredible too.
For those of you who don’t wish to go hiking at Masada, there’s the option of a cable car, with the last one running an hour before closing time. Entry is 31 shekels without the cable car and 46 shekels with the round trip cable car included. Masada is a one-of-a-kind UNESCO World Heritage Site, so during your trip to the Dead Sea you should allocate at least half a day to visit it.
Glamping -420 at Kalia Beach
Wondering where to stay at the Dead Sea in Israel? We stayed directly above Kalia Beach, which is the closest beach to Jerusalem. It’s a very popular spot which boasts a lot of amenities including shops and restaurants. They’ve recently opened Glamping -420 which is an unbelievable sleeping experience in luxury tents complete with air conditioning, a double bed, indoor seating, and a mini fridge. The shared shower and toilet facilities are spotless and have high-end toiletries in them too.
In the evening you can relax in the shallow pool or sit out under the stars next to a burning fire, and there’s an open air kitchen available for everyone to use as well. Breakfast at Glamping -420 is fantastic, with a lot of freshly prepared options available served inside the check-in tent. Staying here will also give you access to Kalia Beach for no extra charge. We will definitely be coming back here on our next visit to Israel!
Me Casa Restaurant
There are some restaurants to choose from along Kalia Beach itself, but we chose to go for a short drive to Me Casa Restaurant, located along one of the main roads. It’s a very nice Italian restaurant to dine at, with a large menu of pizzas, pastas, and meats. If you’re not feeling too hungry the pizzas are definitely big enough for two people, but I’d recommend ordering a few different dishes to share so you have a nice variety of food.
Kalia Beach for sunrise
The great thing about staying at Glamping -420 was the very close proximity to Kalia Beach. It took only 2 minutes to make our way down to the beach early in the morning for sunrise, and we had the entire area all to ourselves. Swimming at this time isn’t recommended as there are no lifeguards on duty, but you can always dip your toes in the water and no one will be any wiser. This beach gets very busy in the summer months so it’s definitely worth heading down to it early to reserve a spot for yourself.
Join a guided tour of the Dead Sea
There are many Dead Sea tours to choose from, but one of the most unique ones you can go on is with Dead Sea Bike. As the name suggests, this tour uses either manual or electric bikes as part of the experience, and the local guides will bring you to parts of the Dead Sea in Israel that aren’t accessible to the public - which is amazing! We didn’t have time to join one of the bike tours, so we hopped in a Jeep instead and then took a short walk to the shoreline where the mushroom-shaped salt formations were. If you’re spending 2 days at the Dead Sea in Israel or more, this is a fantastic option for a guided tour.
Our second day at the Dead Sea was much shorter than our first, but that’s because we needed to head back to Jerusalem earlier in the day. If this is your first time in Israel, spending 3 days in Jerusalem and another 2 days at the Dead Sea is a great way to see some of the highlights of this Middle Eastern country, and it will make you want to return so you can see what else Israel has to offer.
Have you been to the Dead Sea before? Whether you’ve visited on the Jordanian side or the Israeli side, I’d love to hear about your experiences, so please feel free to reach out via email or Instagram, or you can leave a comment below!