How to visit the Dead Sea in Jordan (2024 travel guide)

Everything you need to know for preparing your trip to the Dead Sea in Jordan - where to swim, where to stay, what to do and when to visit

The Dead Sea in Jordan appeals to everyone’s imagination. Situated at the lowest elevation on Earth, the shores of the Dead Sea are approximately 430 meters below sea level. The water is nearly ten times saltier than normal ocean water, making it inhospitable to most forms of life. The high salinity of the water makes you float in the water, making it a popular tourist destination.

But it’s not only the high salinity that attracts visitors. The mud and mineral-rich water has lured visitors for centuries, because it is associated with huge health benefits. Not only the water and mud have health benefits. Watching the landscape and seeing the sun go down at the Dead Sea is definitely also curing for your mind. In this travel guide, we will explain to you how to visit the Dead Sea: how to get there, where to swim, where to stay and what to do. 

dead sea in jordan people standing on the shore

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How to get to the Dead Sea

To explore the Dead Sea region, we highly recommend renting a car in Amman. This will allow you to explore the region at your own pace. Having your own rental car will allow you to park wherever you want, to admire the beauty of the landscape or to descend to the shores whenever you want. We highly recommend discovercars.com to rent your car from in Jordan. As they are a world-leading rental car company, they offer great prices and service. As they offer free cancellation and full coverage insurance, they are the car rental company we always use for our road trips.

Matthias stepping in rental car next to a road in the mountains

Check current prices and availability at discovercars.com below:

The Dead Sea is located in the Jordan Rift Valley, bordering Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. Getting to the northern part of the Dead Sea in Jordan takes a 50 minute (50 kilometers) drive from Amman. The roads from Amman to the Dead Sea are well maintained.

You will notice that you descend almost the entire drive: Amman lies 777 meters above sea level, the Dead Sea lies at 430 meters below sea level. The northern part is the closest to the capital Amman and it is here that the resorts are located. To reach the southern part of the Dead Sea you have to continue driving for about 50 kilometers. Most of the tourists drive from the North to the South, and visit the Dead Sea on their way to the Wadi Rum desert.

icon read on Read more: best tips and advice to book a Wadi Rum tour.

Don’t have much time or not opting for a rental car? No problem! There are several tour companies in Jordan that offer a visit to the Dead Sea from Amman, sometimes with a visit to Madaba included. Below you can find a highly recommended day tour from Amman. This tour includes a pick up in Amman and takes you to the private beach at the Holiday Inn Resort. At the resort, you have 6 hours to enjoy the landscapes, float in the water and relax. 

icon book ticket Book the above tour to the Dead Sea here

Matthias standing on the shore of the Dead Sea

Is it safe to travel to the Dead Sea in Jordan?

Given the current conflicts in the Middle East, we receive a lot of questions whether it is safe to travel to Jordan and the Dead Sea in particular. When we visited the region in February 2024 we always felt very safe. Along the way we sometimes encountered police checkpoints but as soon as they saw we were tourists they just had a friendly chat with us and we could continue our drive.

Jordan also remains neutral in conflicts in the Middle East and makes a lot of efforts to make tourists feel welcome and safe in their country. At the moment, it is advised against visiting the regions along the Syrian border. However, this should have no impact on your travel itinerary. We do recommend always checking your country’s foreign diplomacy office advice when traveling to Jordan or any other country you are planning to visit. 

flag of jardin in the wind with the dead sea in the background

Where to swim at the Dead Sea

If you travel to Jordan, floating in the Dead Sea is very likely to be on your bucket list. However, when we started planning our trip, we found it very daunting at first to find the perfect spots for swimming. There is a 50 kilometers long shoreline but many parts are fenced or there is a danger sign indicating it is not allowed to swim there. So let us help you save some time and explain to you where to find the best spots to access the water. 

In summary, you have four options. You either stay at one of the resorts that offer a private beach with access to the water or buy a day pass at the resort, you visit one of the free swimming spots, or you book a tour. They all have their pros and cons, so let us explain in more detail:

1. Private access to the beaches of the resorts: overnight stay

At the northern part of the Dead Sea there are some stunning resorts with access to a private beach and the water. Staying at one of these resorts definitely has some advantages. The main advantage for us was the ability to have a shower after our swim. Although the water is healing, a lot of the salt and minerals remain on your body. Being able to rinse these off in the shower was a huge advantage.

The resorts also offer private access to the beach. For female travelers, this will make you feel more comfortable in your normal swimwear as bikinis and swimsuits are more normal here. Another advantage is the access to spa treatments, sunbathing options and swimming pools. That way, you have some time to relax after or before your other adventures in Jordan. 

swimming guard at beach dead sea
Salt coast dead sea

One of the disadvantages, according to us, is the fact that the beaches at these resorts are not the prettiest. The further south, the beaches become more natural with salt formations. Another disadvantage is the price. These resorts are in general more expensive than other accommodation options in Jordan and sometimes the price is not in line with the quality you get. So it’s best to always check the reviews and set the right expectations. Below, we give you our top three picks of resorts near the Dead Sea.

Dead Sea Spa Resort

During our stay at the Dead Sea, we stayed at the Dead Sea Spa Resort and we were really happy with the room and service we got. It is one of the more affordable resorts, but the rooms were large, clean and luxurious. We had a splendid view over the Dead Sea and could even see the sun setting from our window. The private beach was a 10 minute walk from the resort. Along the way, you can pick up some towels at the swimming pools. At the beach, there are three showers to rinse the salt off. We really did enjoy our time here and think it was well worth the money. 

Check prices and availability on booking.com

dead sea spa resort room view
dead sea spa resort room

Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea

If you are looking to indulge yourself in luxury, then the Kempinski Hotel Ishtar at the Dead Sea is the place to be. All rooms are set between palm and olive trees and all come with a balcony and sea view. There are different (infinity) pools and the hotel has a private beach at the Dead Sea. 

Check prices and availability on booking.com

Dead Sea Marriott Resort & Spa

The Dead Sea Marriott Resort & Spa is also more to the high-end section of the resorts, but the renovated, spacious rooms with all modern comfort and private balconies with sea view make the money worth it. There are multiple indoor and outdoor pools. Again, this resort has private access to the Dead Sea beach. 

Check prices and availability on booking.com

2. Private access to the beaches of the resorts: day pass

If you don’t have the time (or money) to stay at one of the resorts, you can also opt to buy a day pass from one of the resorts. Depending on the specific resort, this day pass will give you entrance to the hotel’s private beach and sometimes the pools as well. 

At the Dead Sea Spa Resort, a day pass will cost you 20 JOD and will give you entrance to the pools and the beach. A day pass for the Dead Sea Marriott Resort and Spa is about 40 JOD. Normally, you don’t have to buy these daypasses upfront, but it’s never a bad idea to contact the hotel to check the price and availability.

matthias floating in dead sea with sun rays

3. Swim at one of the free swimming spots  

Along the Dead Sea highway, there are different parking lots where you can park your car and descend to the Dead Sea. We explored several and our favorite was a spot located nearby a local coffee shop. You can find the exact coordinates here. At this place you can park your car and then it is a short hike down to the beach. What is really nice about this place is that you can take a shower afterwards for 2 JOD. 

However, there are plenty of other spots to check out. If you look on Google Maps there are different indications of salt beaches so it’s definitely worth making a stop at these places and checking it out. If you swim at a free swimming spot, do keep the following disadvantages in mind:

  • If there is no shower available, make sure to bring your own water to rinse the salt off. You can find large 10 liter bottles along the way and one bottle should be sufficient to shower afterwards. 
  • You will have to change in the car. Most of the time there are no dressing rooms available, so your car will be the only private place you have available. 
  • Make sure to wear the appropriate clothes. Bikinis and naked skin are, compared to the resorts, a no-go at the free swimming spots. For females we would suggest wearing a t-shirt and trousers below the knees. 

The main advantage of swimming at these free swimming spots is that the beaches here are real salt beaches and look more natural than the beaches near the resorts. And another advantage: it’s for free! 

Salt formation on shore of dead sea detail
salt formation at the southern part of the dead sea

4. Book a tour to the Dead Sea from Amman  

Another way to visit the Dead Sea is via an organized tour from Amman. This is a perfect option if you don’t have a lot of time or if you don’t have a rental car. Booking a tour can be convenient, as you don’t have to drive yourself and don’t have to find a parking spot for your car.

Most day tours involve the transfer to one of the Dead Sea resorts where you then have access to the private beach and the sea. There are several tours available but here we list the tours with the best reviews: this tour is a half-day private tour and this tour is a full-day tour at the Holiday Inn Resort at the Dead Sea. 

The main disadvantage of this option is that your visit is restricted to the resorts and you will not discover the more southern region of the Dead Sea. 

What is the best time to visit the Dead Sea in Jordan?

The best time to visit the Dead Sea in Jordan is during the spring or autumn months, typically from March to May or September to November. During these months, the weather is pleasantly warm, making it ideal for floating in the water. Additionally, these shoulder seasons avoid the extreme temperatures of the summer months. But swimming during the winter months is also possible. During winter months, the temperature of the water will be warmer than the outside temperatures. 

sunset over the dead sea with clouds and mirror

What to do when visiting the Dead Sea in Jordan?

The main activity when visiting the Dead Sea is ofcourse floating in the Dead Sea. But there are some other nice things to do.

matthias floating in the dead sea
  1. Drive the Dead Sea highway – even if you are staying at a resort at the northern part of the Dead Sea, we highly recommend driving along the Dead Sea highway to the southern part. Along the way, you will see the most beautiful landscapes: fifty shades of blue against the red and orange colors of the mountains. 
  2. Take a walk along the coastline – Make sure to park your car at one of the parking lots and make your way down to the sea. Take a little stroll and admire the beautiful salt formations. You will also see how far inland the sea used to be and how it is slowly retreating. 
  3. Visit Madaba – Not far from the Dead Sea, you can find Madaba, a historic town that is world-famous for its many mosaics. If you have time, it is definitely worth a visit.
  4. Visit Mount Nebo – Another location near the Dead Sea is Mount Nebo. This is the place where Moses is believed to have seen the Promised Land before his death. From Mount Nebo summit, you can enjoy panoramic views of the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea, and even Jerusalem on clear days. 

icon book ticket If you want to visit Madaba or Mount Nebo together with a visit to the Dead Sea, consider this organized tour

  1. Visit Wadi Mujib – We were in Jordan during winter months, so we had to skip this activity, but we hear really good things about Wadi Mujib. And after our wadi adventures in Oman, we know wadis in the Middle East are not te be missed! Often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of Jordan,” Wadi Mujib is a gorge in the mountains of Jordan. Here you can hike through its narrow passageways, waterfalls, and refreshing pools, making this one of the best outdoor experiences in Jordan. 

icon book ticket Book a tour to Wadi Mujib from Amman

dead sea shore with salt and mountains

We hope this travel guide will help you with your travel preparations for the Dead Sea. If you have any questions, let us know via e-mail of social media.

Happy travels,

Matthias and Mieke

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