At 423m below sea level, the Dead Sea marks the Earth's lowest elevation on land. The sea is a natural collection point for salts and minerals, with salinity up to ten times that of ocean water – so dense that swimmers float on its surface, while animals and plants struggle to flourish (hence the name). The sea’s mineral-laden waters have been revered for their magic healing properties for thousands of years – King Solomon, the Queen of Sheba, Cleopatra and King Herod all came to bathe here.
The Dead Sea is accessible from both Amman (90 minutes by car) and Aqaba (3 hours). Self-drive is easy, or you can book taxis for the whole day (agree a price first). Many excellent hotels there sell day passes that include full use of hotel facilities as well as their Dead Sea beachfronts (and can arrange transfers). Alternatively, 2km from the hotel area, the Amman Tourist Beach has pools and changing rooms for minimal fees.
The resort spas are open all year round, seven days a week. The Amman Tourist Beach is open 8am-midnight. Spring and autumn are best – winter is a bit too cold to swim and sunbathe, and summer is ferociously hot. Early morning is best to avoid the crowds (and cameras).
Anantara Spa Dead Sea
The largest spa on the Dead Sea, with Moroccan hammam, ice cave, Watsu pool and indoor/outdoor Jacuzzis. The setting is sleek and luxurious and the array of treatments features local ingredients in addition to the brand's renowned Asian offerings. www.spa.anantara.com.
Evason Ma’In Hot Springs
Located directly underneath one of the waterfalls at Ma’In Hot Springs, this idyllic spa benefits from Six Senses' eco-philosophy and commitment to preserving local atmosphere. The springs provide a natural source of mineral-rich waters for use in its distinctive treatments. www.sixsenses.com.
This spa is the place to experience the health-giving properties of the unusual Dead Sea waters, using the unique salt and mud of the sea to deliver a distinctive spa experience. In addition to the superb quality and range of treatments, the facilities are extensive. www.zaraspa.com.
The magical mineral-rich waters are said to ease discomfort from arthritis, soothe fiery skin conditions like acne and eczema, heal allergies and boost circulation so helping with detoxing.
The sting in the salt
While it’s great to schedule relaxation time to rest after Petra or Wadi Rum, any cuts or abrasions will sting when you hit the Dead Sea waters.
- Type Lake
- Place Balqa
- Notoriety Well known
- Price guide $$$$$
- Adults price from £10
- Recommended duration 1+ day
- Available Jan-Dec
- Booking requirement Booking not required
- Wheelchair friendly No
- Physical difficulty
- Fear factor
- Authentic & unspoilt
- Cultural insight
- Address Balqa, Jordan