The part of the country that’s probably the least visited is the South. Most tourists spend time in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and the North. Except for the quick visit to Masada, the southern region is often an afterthought, especially in the scorching summers. The South, however, offers many travel opportunities that shouldn’t be missed. Traveling to the region from your Jerusalem hotel usually requires a car, but public transportation is a possibility. The farthest point south from your Jerusalem hotel takes about four and a half hours by car.
If you have a few days to spend in the South, your first stop should be the Dead Sea region. It’s less than two-hour drive from your Jerusalem hotel. It’s an easy drive on a modern highway. The Dead Sea area is the lowest point on Earth, at close to 1,400 ft. below sea level. It’s located in the Dead Sea Rift, which is part of the Great Rift Valley. Its natural healing powers have attracted visitors since the times of King David. In fact, people suffering from asthma and psoriasis from around the world visit the Dead Sea’s healing environment. In fact, your Jerusalem hotel’s gift shop probably carries Dead Sea mineral salts. Besides the soothing salt baths, you can enjoy the spectacular Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, where you can hike among the cascading waterfalls and view the desert flora and wildlife.
Less than a half-hour away from the Dead Sea is the awe-inspiring fortress of Masada. Masada is where the Jews fought against the Romans in a last ditch effort to overcome their enemies. You can either hike up the 45-minute steep mountainous path or take the cable cars to reach the fortress’ ruins. You might even be able to get coupons for the cable car ride at your Jerusalem hotel.
Your final destination should definitely be Eilat, the southern most point in the country. It’s approximately three more hours from the Dead Sea. This resort city offers year round sunshine, fantastic beaches, excellent snorkeling, and coral reefs filled with exotic, multi-colored tropical fish. Don’t miss the spectacular Underwater Observatory and Aquarium, the Coral Beach Nature Reserve, and the Dolphin reef, where you can actually swim with the dolphins.
Although your Jerusalem hotel is less than a five-hour drive away, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to another country in this desert oasis.