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At 395 metres below sea level, the Dead Sea is the lowest point in the world as well as the world’s deepest hypersaline lake. It is 35 miles long and 11 miles wide, and sits between Jordan and Israel. On the Jordan side, it is in the King’s Highway district, which is home to the famous Madaba Map, the Wadi Rum desert and the Citadel of Kerak, all of which can easily be visited from the Dead Sea. There is no public transportation around this body of water though buses make the trip here from large cities, such as Amman. This means that visitors must get around by self-drive, with car rental the most convenient way to discover the beaches and nearby sights and attractions.
Who to Book With
Hertz is the main car hire supplier here though other agents, such as Argus and 121, have a presence. Since car rental is the preferred way to get around, vehicles often get booked up. To avoid being left in the dark, be sure to arrange a car well in advance.
Best Time to Go
The Dead Sea is sunny and dry year round though its busiest season falls between April and August. During this time, the temperature ranges from 30°C to upwards of 40°C, but don’t let the heat put you off. In fact, it is the high season rise in prices that should make you consider visiting in the cooler months that run from December to March. The only problem at this time of the year is that floods can occur on rainy days though it is still possible to get out and explore non-flooded areas in the region.
Need to Know Essentials
When you go to pick up your vehicle, you will need to present the following documents:
- Both a UK driver’s licence and an International Driving Permit
- A second piece of identification
- The credit card used to make the reservation
- Confirmation of booking
The main road (Highway 65/Dead Sea Highway) that runs along the east coast of the Dead Sea is a dual carriageway that is in great condition. This route makes the area accessible from all areas of Jordan. Parking can easily be found and most resorts have a car park for their guests. Those visitors just planning to spend a day here can purchase a day pass from one of the resorts that allows the use of the hotel’s facilities, including the car park.
See more tips on driving here by looking at our guide to Jordan.
Highway 65 is the only access route to the Dead Sea. Some hotels have paid shuttle bus service to and from Amman, and regular buses also make this trip. Taxis are difficult to find at the Dead Sea but may be booked for a day through the resorts.
There is no train service to the Dead Sea. The closest railway station is in Amman, which can be reached by taxi or by bus. The Hedjaz Jordan Railway is the only line serviced here, running between Amman and Damascus, Syria. Trains leave Amman every Monday and Thursday at 08:00.
There are no buses that run along the Dead Sea. However, mini run between the beaches and Amman, with the last bus running at 16:00. There are also bus services between the Dead Sea resort area and Madaba. Buses in Jordan are cheap, with the journey between the Dead Sea and Amman costing less than £1.
Taxis are not readily available here, as they are usually called by staff at the reception of resorts. Taxis can be hired for a day for sightseeing or a set trip. A taxi for the day to and from Amman will cost around £30, while a one-way trip costs around £18.
The Dead Sea is an attraction in its own right though it also happens to be surrounded by many other draws. Caves, hot springs, waterfalls and ancient ruins are all just a daytrip away.
Bethany Beyond the Jordan – More commonly known as the baptism site of Jesus, this location is just a 10-minute drive north of the Dead Sea’s resort area, along Highway 65. A baptismal robe needs to be worn in order to visit the site, which includes the remains of the Baptismal Site and John the Baptist Church along the riverbank of the Jordan River. Visitors are not allowed to go into the water but can dip a foot in it.
Mujib Reserve – The world’s lowest natural reserve spreads across 137 square miles in the mountainous landscape southeast of the Dead Sea resort area. It is home to over 300 plant species, rare animals and numerous species of birds. Its landscape includes mountains, rivers, canyons, desert and gorges.
Petra – It is almost impossible to visit the Dead Sea without making a daytrip to the magnificent archaeological city of Petra. This UNESCO World Heritage site is famous for its incredible architecture that was cut right into the stone. The site dates back as far as 312 BC and was believed to have been the capital of the Nabataean Kingdom. Petra was hidden to most of the world until it was discovered by Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812 though it wasn’t until 1929 that the first major excavation took place here. Since then, it has become Jordan’s most visited attraction.