Easily one of the world’s very oldest natural health spas (frequented by noteworthy figures from Herod the Great on down), The Dead Sea (also known as the Salt Sea) is a legendary salt lake in Israel bordering Jordan and the West Bank.
The eerie beauty of the Dead Sea has been the stuff of myth and legend for thousands of years, and the ethereal and restorative properties of this ancient body of water certainly live up to their billing. Though not technically “dead” (there is microbial life), the salinity of the lake does preclude the possibility of fish or plant life. Interestingly, the area is famous for its health-giving effects. Due to its altitude (at 1,388 feet below sea level, its shores are the lowest surface level position on the planet), the area is perfect for people with skin conditions and other people who benefit from exposure to dry air and sunlight without the regular level of ultraviolet rays. People with extreme allergies and asthma also benefit from the purity of the air.
The nearby oases of Ein Gedi National Park offer a distinct counterpoint to the stark landscape of the lake shore. However, vacationers in search of the year-round crystal clear skies and sunny weather of the region as a whole rarely complain about either destination.
Travel to nearby Jordan to take in the Mujib nature reserve, Mount Nebo, or the famous baptism site at the Jordan River, or simply avail yourself of the lake’s salinity by taking a float in its waters.