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Swimming in the Dead Sea in Jordan and Israel [2023]

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Want to go swimming in the Dead Sea? You’re in the right place! This experience was high on my bucket list, and I finally ticked it off while visiting Jordan as a digital nomad. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting the Dead Sea.

The Dead Sea, a salt lake bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel to the west, is one of the world’s most unique bodies of water.

Sitting more than 429 meters below sea level, it is the lowest point on the surface of the Earth.

Known for its hypersaline water and mineral-rich mud, the Dead Sea is not only a surreal swimming experience (where you effortlessly float due to the high salt concentration) but it’s also believed to have therapeutic qualities benefiting skin health and other conditions.

I loved my experience at the Dead Sea and am sharing my best tips to help you plan an amazing experience there.



Dead Sea Tour

✅  Private half-day trip to the Dead Sea with round-trip transport from Amman

✅ Float in the unique, salt-rich waters and relax on the beach

✅ Upgrade to enjoy the swimming pools

What Is The Dead Sea?

lora swimming in the dead sea

The Dead Sea is a saltwater lake in the Jordan Rift Valley. The lake’s surface lies 1,412 feet below sea level, making it the lowest point on Earth.

What makes it even more unique is that it has the world’s highest salt concentration of any body of water.

While the world’s oceans have an average salinity of 4%, the Dead Sea has almost 35% – that’s almost 9x saltier!

This high salt concentration means no animals or plant life can survive here, hence why it’s named the Dead Sea.

girl floating in the dead sea\

This high salt concentration also changes the lake’s density, making Dead Sea swimming nearly impossible. Instead, you’ll float on the water without any effort. 

It’s one of the craziest sensations I’ve ever experienced; you can’t push any part of your body down. Even trying to swim is a struggle, so just lie back and relax.

The Dead Sea is also known to have therapeutic properties due to the high amount of minerals like potassium and magnesium. It was one of the world’s first natural spas!

The reduced UV and higher oxygen concentration (about 15% more) also have specific health benefits. You’re guaranteed to leave feeling happier than you came!

girl covered in mud at the dead sea

The proper way to experience the healing properties of the Dead Sea is by first swimming in the ocean for about 15 minutes, coming out and covering yourself in the natural mud (available at the resorts), and waiting for it to dry (about 15 minutes).

After that, you go back into the lake to remove the mud, which is easier done with some assistance. Afterward, rinse off with fresh water at one of the outdoor showers.

The high mineral content acts as a natural moisturizer, so your skin will be super soft afterward, and your hair will shine!

If you love the feeling, you can buy Dead Sea products in many shops throughout Jordan to take home with you or as gifts.

Swimming in the Dead Sea Jordan

people swimming in the dead sea in jordan

If you’re visiting from Jordan, the main resort area is along the eastern coast, known as the Dead Sea Coast. It is about an hour’s drive from Amman, the capital of Jordan. You can rent a car, take a taxi, or take a guided tour.

The views of the Dead Sea are spectacular from Jordan, making it one of the best places to visit in the country.

However, it’s not easy to find accessible spots to swim in the Dead Sea that aren’t owned by private hotels.

Thankfully, many hotels and resorts offer day passes that include showers, mud, and use of their amenities – without paying the full price to stay there!

I highly recommend paying for a day pass at one of the hotels, as being unable to shower in fresh water afterward will be awful. Your skin will be covered in dry salt – it is not a comfortable feeling!

We visited the Dead Sea using the facilities at the Holiday Inn Resort while traveling in Jordan with Traverse Journeys.

tourists putting on mud at the holiday inn
Putting on mud at the Holiday Inn Dead Sea in Jordan

The hotel provides towels, mud, and outdoor/indoor showering stations. They also have outdoor heated swimming pools and hot tubs, which are lovely to relax in afterward as you can only be in the ocean for so long.

Dead Sea Hotels in Jordan

If you have limited time in Jordan, you can easily visit the Dead Sea as a day trip, as you only need a few hours to experience it. But if you have extra time and want to relax for a night, this is a good place.

There are also some nice hiking trails and hot springs nearby the Dead Sea.

Here are some recommendations for hotels by the Dead Sea in Jordan:

If you’re craving a bit of luxury, the 5-star Kempinski Hotel may be for you. Just a one-minute walk to the beach, this gorgeous hotel offers rooms set among palm trees and olive groves, with balconies overlooking the sea.

They have nine freshwater pools on-site, private beach access with mud stations, several restaurants, cocktail bars, a state of the start fitness center, yoga classes, and a spa with Thai massages and hammam sessions.

two girls covered in mud at the dead sea in jordan

The: Holiday Inn is an excellent mid-range option. It’s on the edge of the Dead Sea, with a private beach area including mud and outdoor showers.

I didn’t stay here but got to use the facilities as part of the day pass, which were excellent.

The hotel facilities include a lush garden, several heated outdoor pools, sun loungers, and a hot tub.

There’s also a health club, three restaurants and bars, a beach bar, and some cute cats wandering around.

Dead sea tours from Amman

If you’re on a tighter schedule, the Dead Sea can easily be done as a day trip from Amman, the capital of Jordan.

The easiest way to visit the Dead Sea from Amman is by joining a tour. This private half-day tour includes pick-up from your hotel and ample free time to ‘swim’ in the water.

There’s also the option to upgrade to a hotel to enjoy their facilities, including outdoor swimming pools, showers, and a spa offering Dead Sea mud treatments.

“A lovely drive from Amman with a very well spoken driver in a comfortable car. The hotel was lovely and it was a great experience to float in the Dead Sea. A dream achieved while travelling on my own in Jordan.” – Clare (read more reviews)

Another option is renting a car and driving here. Driving from Amman (60 km) takes less than an hour. The roads along the coastline are beautiful, and you can continue to Petra on the same day.

If you’re visiting Jordan on a budget, you can also take the public JETT buses from Amman.

Swimming in the Dead Sea Israel

The Dead Sea isn’t just accessible from Jordan; you can also visit it in Israel (which you can see from the Jordan side).

I haven’t visited Israel yet, so I’ve asked Veronika of Travel Geekery to share her experience there.

dead sea israel
Dead Sea Israel | Photo by Veronika of Travel Geekery

Would you rather visit the Dead Sea in Israel? You can do so in the Ein Bokek area on a public beach or through a resort. Kalia Beach is a lesser-known location in the North where you can access a public beach for a fee.

Getting close to the Dead Sea anywhere other than the marked places is illegal because there’s the danger of sinkholes, especially in the North. There used to be an option to swim at Ein Gedi, but that area closed down because of the sinkholes.

Unlike the Jordan side, here the beaches are mostly sandy. Still, it’s advisable to bring water shoes in case there are sharp salt crystals. 

dead sea landscape israel

Dead sea hotels in Israel

I went to the Dead Sea in the Premier Dead Sea Spa Resort, which is also a famous brand of Dead Sea products. However, It appears that it recently closed down.

Other resorts on the Dead Sea shore with private beaches include Isrotel Dead Sea Hotel and Spa (formerly known as Caesar Premier Dead Sea), Vert Dead Sea Hotel, and Mövenpick Dead Sea.

For a day fee, these resorts provide chairs and loungers, showers, mud for treatment, changing facilities, and often a café or a restaurant.

Photo by Veronika of Travel Geekery

Typically, the area to swim is cordoned off with buoys so that you don’t float away. There’s also at least one lifeguard on watch to assist swimmers who may have gotten salt water in their eyes.

Otherwise, swimming here is as awesome as on the Jordan side. You ‘sit’ on the water, get halfway submerged, and enjoy the unique feeling of floating on the Dead Sea.

It’s recommended to just peacefully float rather than swim since the incredibly salty water could get into your eyes while you’d try to flap away.

After getting out of the water, cover yourself with the mud that will be prepared for you. Let it dry, and then shower it off well. Your skin will be as smooth as ever!

I don’t have personal experience with going to a public beach. If you go to a public beach at Ein Bokek, you can still enjoy a Dead Sea experience and take a shower – you’ll have to pay for things like sun chairs, parking, and such. Also, there may be no free mud to use.

mountain landscapes by dead sea in israel

Dead sea day trips in Israel

Many tour companies offer trips to the Dead Sea, often combined with the UNESCO-listed Masada Fortress.

While the Dead Sea is a lot of fun, I highly recommend you check out Masada too. It’s a unique historical site on top of a mountain, which you can ride access via a cable car up or hike up a steep path. 

While you could stay at one of the hotels mentioned above, you can also enjoy the Dead Sea on a day trip from Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. 

This full-day tour from Jerusalem combines Masada and the Dead Sea into one memorable day, including hotel pick-up and drop-off, guide, and AC. This tour is similar but also includes Ein Gedi.

If you want to visit from Tel Aviv, this full-day tour takes you to the Dead Sea and Masada, including a ride up the cable car.

Dead Sea Swimming Tips

Due to the high salt concentration, it’s essential not to let any water get in your eyes, mouth, ears, or nose. It really burns, so be sure to rinse off with fresh water immediately if you do get it in your eyes.

You will feel the burn if you have any minor cuts, abrasions, or have recently shaved.

Try not to shave the few days before visiting the Dead Sea; your body will thank you. If you have any cuts or scrapes, wrap them heavily in a waterproof bandage before getting in the water.

lora floating in the dead sea

If you’re visiting a resort, wearing a bikini is OK. However, avoid wearing any light colors as the mud can stain clothes. If you’re going to a public beach, you may want to wear more conservative clothing to avoid unwanted attention.

Don’t stay in the water for more than 20 minutes at one time.

Don’t jump around or splash anyone in the water – a few drops in the eye can ruin the experience!

While you’ll naturally float in the Dead Sea due to its high salinity, remember that the buoyancy can make it challenging to stand or swim in the conventional sense. Don’t try to swim face-down as in normal waters.

Enjoy the Mud: The Dead Sea’s mud is rich in minerals and is renowned for its therapeutic properties. Don’t miss the chance to cover yourself in it for a natural spa experience!

Rinse Off After: After your dip, rinse off at one of the freshwater showers typically found at organized beaches or resorts. This helps to remove the salty residue from your skin and swimwear.

Hydrate and Protect from the Sun: The region can get very hot, so it’s crucial to stay hydrated and use sun protection to prevent sunburn.

lora floating in the dead sea in jordan

Best time to visit the Dead Sea

The Dead Sea can be visited year-round, but for the most comfortable experience, consider planning your visit during the spring (March to May) or fall (September to November).

The weather is generally warm but not too hot during these seasons, making it ideal for outdoor activities.

The summer months (June to August) can be sweltering, especially for those unaccustomed to high desert temperatures. In contrast, the winter (December to February) can be cooler, although it rarely gets cold.

We visited the Dead Sea at the end of March, and the weather was colder than average, but I found it pleasant once I got in.

10 Amazing Facts About The Dead Sea

  1. Lowest Point on Earth: The Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth’s surface, sitting 429 meters (1,407 feet) below sea level.
  2. Hyper-saline Water: The Dead Sea is one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world, nearly 10 times saltier than ordinary seawater.
  3. Natural Floatation: Due to its high salt concentration, you can easily float on the Dead Sea without any effort.
  4. No Marine Life: Its name, “Dead Sea”, comes from the fact that it’s too salty to support most marine life.
  5. Healing Properties: The mineral-rich mud and water are renowned for their therapeutic and beauty benefits.
  6. Biblical References: The Dead Sea has several Biblical references, including the story of Lot’s wife turning into a pillar of salt.
  7. Shrinking Size: The Dead Sea is shrinking at a rate of about 1 meter (3 feet) per year due to water diversion from its main source, the Jordan River.
  8. Famous for Dead Sea Scrolls: The Dead Sea is famous for the Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient Jewish texts discovered in the mid-20th century.
  9. Rich in Minerals: The water of the Dead Sea is rich in minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, and bromide.
  10. Borders Jordan and Israel: The Dead Sea is bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west, making it a significant location in the Middle East.

FAQ: Dead Sea Swimming

Is the Dead Sea OK to swim in?

Yes, it’s safe to swim in the Dead Sea, but because of the high salinity, it’s more like floating on the Dead Sea rather than traditional swimming.

Is swimming in the Dead Sea good for your skin?

Yes, swimming in the Dead Sea can benefit your skin as the water and mud are rich in minerals like magnesium, sodium, and potassium, which are known to improve skin health.

How long can you stay in the Dead Sea water?

While there’s no set limit, it’s recommended to stay in the Dead Sea water for no more than 20 minutes at a time to avoid dehydrating your skin due to the high salt content.

Should I shower after the Dead Sea?

Yes, it’s recommended to rinse off with fresh water after a dip in the Dead Sea to remove the salty residue from your skin and swimwear.

Why is the Dead Sea not swimmable?

The high salinity of the Dead Sea makes it challenging to swim in the traditional sense because the buoyant water pushes you to the surface, making normal swimming motions challenging.

What happens if you swim in the Dead Sea for too long?

If you stay in the Dead Sea for too long, the high salt concentration may dry out and irritate your skin, and if ingested, can cause discomfort.

Can you get sunburned in the Dead Sea?

Yes, the sun can be quite intense at the Dead Sea, and the reflection off the water can increase the chance of sunburn, so it’s essential to use sun protection.

Why is the Dead Sea so healing?

The Dead Sea is considered healing due to its mineral-rich water and mud, which are believed to have therapeutic effects on skin conditions.

Are water shoes needed for the Dead Sea?

Water shoes are recommended for the Dead Sea because the salt crystals on the sea bottom can be sharp, and the shoes can provide the necessary protection.

What should you not do before swimming in the Dead Sea?

Before swimming in the Dead Sea, it’s recommended to avoid shaving, as the high salt concentration can sting any cuts or abrasions.

Are there sharks in the Dead Sea?

No, there are no sharks or other large aquatic life in the Dead Sea due to its high salt concentration, which is inhospitable for most marine species.

Is the Dead Sea dangerous?

The Dead Sea is generally safe for visitors. However, due to its high salinity, it’s important not to get the water in your eyes or mouth as it can cause discomfort.

How big is the Dead Sea?

The Dead Sea spans about 605 sq km (234 sq miles). It is approximately 50 km (31 miles) long and 15 km (9 miles) wide at its widest point.

Can you drown in the Dead Sea?

It is extremely difficult to drown in the Dead Sea due to the high salt concentration, which causes anyone in it to float on the surface. However, it’s not entirely impossible, particularly if a person were to get flipped onto their stomach and was unable to right themselves.

Why is the Dead Sea called the Dead Sea?

The Dead Sea is so named because its high salinity prevents any form of marine life, such as fish and aquatic plants from living in it, except for a few types of bacteria and microbial fungi.

How deep is the Dead Sea?

The Dead Sea is quite deep, with a maximum depth of about 304 meters (997 feet). However, its exact depth can vary depending on water levels, which have been decreasing over the years.

Can you float in the dead sea?

Yes, you can definitely float in the Dead Sea. In fact, it’s one of the most famous features of this unique body of water. It’s such a unique experience!

group of friends jumping in front of the dead sea

Final thoughts: Swimming in the Dead Sea

A trip to the Dead Sea, whether from the Jordanian or Israeli side, is sure to be a highlight of your trip.

From therapeutic mud treatments to the surreal sensation of floating on the Dead Sea, a trip here promises a truly unforgettable experience.

Remember the tips provided to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit, and don’t forget to take a moment to appreciate the unique beauty of this natural marvel.

Traveling the Middle East? Check out these other posts!


  • Lora Pope

    Lora is a full-time digital nomad on a quest to visit every country in the world and pet as many dogs as she can along the way. Over the last 15 years, she has traveled to 70+ countries and six continents solo. She currently calls Puerto Vallarta, Mexico home and enjoys ending each day with sunset and tacos on the beach.

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