At 431m below sea level – the lowest point on earth – the Dead Sea is a body of intense blue water, polished smooth like oiled skin on a windless day in winter and ruffled into whitecaps by the summer winds.
Dead Sea salts and minerals have long been exploited for their skin-friendly properties. While swimming, the extreme salinity will help you discover cuts you never knew you had (don’t shave beforehand), and be prepared for a few minutes of agony if any water gets in your eyes. 'Swimming’ is actually a misnomer – the buoyancy makes it difficult to do much more than happily bob.
The northeast coast is lined with luxury resorts. Here you can enjoy a spa treatment, watch the sunset across the water and look across to the West Bank and the distant lights of Jerusalem.
The Dead Sea is also an easy day trip from Amman or Madaba.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Dead Sea.
This public facility goes under the full title of Amman Beach Tourism Resort, Restaurant & Pools. The beach, 2km south of the main resort strip, gives affordable access to the Dead Sea. The grounds are attractively landscaped and the beach is clean, with sun umbrellas and freshwater showers.
This private beach, stepped down the hillside in a series of landscaped terraces and infinity pools, is a great way to enjoy the Dead Sea in comfort without paying for a night in one of the neighbouring hotels. The rocky beach area was still being remodelled when we visited and should be much improved. There are several restaurants and bars, and a weekend buffet. A range of spa treatments are also available.