The entire Dead Sea landscape is dotted with ruins of magnificent palaces, strongholds, synagogues,
monasteries and mosques. Explore the traces of the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Christians, Moslems and
Jews. Essentially one large nature reserve, it's also a region where unique geological formations and a
variety of animals, birds and plant life can be seen.
Major Tourist Attractions in the Dead Sea Area
Baptism Site (Qasr Al-Yahud)
The place where, according to Christian tradition John the Baptist baptised Jesus and, according to Jewish tradition, the place where the Children of Israel crossed the Jordan River to enter the Land of Canaan after wandering through the desert for 40 years and also the place from where Elijah ascended to the heavens in a chariot of fire. Tel: 02 6504844; open all week except for saturdays. Operated by the Israel Nature & Parks Authority, located on the western shores of the Jordan River, a few kilometres north of the Dead Sea (website).
Beit Hassofer Museum - Kibbutz Almog Tel: 972-2-9945201
Audiovisual presentation featuring the history of Qumran and the Essens.
Qumran National Park and Visitors’ Center
National Park – Tel:02-5322499; Visitors’ Center – Tel: 02-336399
The ancient dwelling site of the Essenes and one of the most important sites in the area where ancient buildings from the Second Temple period were discovered and restored including public buildings, houses, a water system and religious sites. Nearby refuge caves along the river Qumran were also found and it is here that the remains of the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. The site offers: sound and light show on the life of the Essenes, large, modern Visitors’ Center, souvenir shop and self-service restaurant (website).
Micha and Atalia art and pottery studio at Kibbutz Kalya (open every day from 9am until 6pm), Tel:054-4876329/6 (website).\
Einot Zukim Nature Reserve Tel: 972-2-9942355
An spectacular strip of desert lying between the Dead Sea and the Negev desert. Visitors to the Tzukim Springs Nature Reserve is one of the most enchanting and breathtaking parks in the area, combining both the mystical and the exotic, particularly in view of the surrounding contradictions of nature. The main section of the park offers the visitor spring water baths to bathe in, picnic tables, shady booths as well as showers and toilets. The southern part of the Reserve boasts a secluded area offering a magical view of the local natural beauty. Visits to this section of the Reserve permitted with authorized guides only (website).
Metzoke Dragot Holiday Village, Tel: 1-700-70-180, is located in the heart of the Antiquities Park with spectacular panoramic views of the local beauty. The Holiday Village offers hostel-style rooms, tent motel, large camping site, Cliff Restaurant (book in advance), reception tent, coffee shop and sea views (website).
Ahava Visitors Center Tel: 972-2-9945117
Ahava produces cosmetic and health products based on mud, minerals
and salts found in the Dead Sea. On site a presentation explaining the
stages of production, a factory shop, a souvenir shop and a coffee bar.
Cactus4U (Desert Cactus),
telephone 052-2954282, visit the nursery for cactus plants, succulents and other desert plants (near the Mineral Beach), please book in advance (website)
Ein Gedi - Desert Oasis and Kibbutz
An oasis situated in the heart of the Judean Desert. Here the "Song of Songs" was composed.
Within this oasis the establishment of Kibbutz Ein Gedi and alongside its neighbour, the Nature Reserve, housing the desert fauna and the freshing, cool natural springs waters.
Ein Gedi Spa Tel: 972-8-6594813
Hot mineral spring waters, natural water swimming pool, natural black therapeutic mud,
Dead Sea and beach, massage treatment center.
Ein Gedi Botanical Gardens Tel: 972-8-6594726, 972-8-6594757
More than 1000 species of flora, world wide. The combination of a growing population amongst the growing vegetation.
Ein Gedi 5th century Mosaic Floor of an ancient synagogue nearby the Kibbutz. Tel: 972-8-6584285
Ein Gedi Nature Reserve Tel: 972-8-6584285
Near the kibbutz. Visitors have access to the adjacent nature reserve for viewing bird sanctuaries and wildlife of desert, including the Nubian ibex. Hikers follow trails past waterfalls, springs, caves, canyons, and an early Bronze Age temple. Visitors have a choice of hiking along two riverbeds: The David Spring nature reserve walking tour (1.5-3 km), including a short trek to two waterfalls, can take between one and a half hour to 3 hours. The Arugut reserve is adjacent to the David reserve and includes a series of shallow pools perfect for bathing. The 4 km circular hike can take up to four hours. A marked path leads to an impressive waterfall. Both reserves open seven days a week between 8:00 and 16:00.
Recommended: binoculars, bathing suits, drinking water and hats.
Massada National Park Tel: 972-8-6584207/8
Israel's second most popular tourist site after the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem.
A mountain top fortress which King Herod transformed in 35 BC into a three tiered winter home, boasts two luxurious palaces, bathhouses, storage rooms and impressive water cisterns. An eternal symbol of Jewish history and heritage, it is the site of heroic defiance by a few Jewish zealots who took their own lives rather than surrender to the might of the Roman empire. Masada offers fabulous views of the Dead Sea and Judean Desert. Easily accessible via a quick cable car ride or by hiking up the serpentine path. Located only 18 km north of the Ein Bokek hotel area. On site restaurants, cafeteria and gift shop. Open seven days a week. 8:00 first cable car. Closing times: October to March - 16:00. April to September - 17:00.
Massada Sound and Light Show Tel: 972-8-9959333
Recounts the dramatic history of Masada with special pyrotechnic effects. Spectators sit in a natural amphitheater on the west side of the mountain, reachable only via Arad, 20 km away. Rental of simultaneous translations into English, German, Russian, French and Spanish available. Special shows for groups can be scheduled by request at other times and days, including a "late night" show that culminates with a spectacular sunrise viewed from the Masada mountain top.
March to October - Tuesday and Thursday (excluding holiday eves). Running time: 40 minutes.
Site of most Dead Sea hotels. Features a few shops and restaurants. An ancient farm house is a stone's throw away from the hotels. Also a Roman customs house, reached by an easy ten minute walk on a footpath, overlooks the Ein Bokek spring. A two-hour hike in a circular path that begins and ends at the entrance to the wadi located 500 meters south of the main service road to Ein Bokek. There is a 3 km promenade along the beach between Ein Bokek and Neve Zohar.
A 12 km geological ridge of pure salt in the southern part of the Dead Sea, believed to be the infamous biblical city that perished together with gomorra. Features unique salt pillars dubbed Lot's Wife, whom biblical legend says became a pillar of salt when she looked back on the destruction of Sodom and Gomorra.
A short drive south from Ein Bokek. An intriguing 30 meters underground passage created by water erosion of the soft limestone located west of Mt. Sodom. Recommended: flashlights.
Zohar Fortress and Canyon
A canyon in white soft limestone. Above the canyon ridge, west of Neve Zohar, remains of two road fortresses from the Israelite and Roman eras. These two points can also be viewed from the observation point on the Dead Sea-Arad road.