2. From Tel Aviv: Masada & the Dead Sea Small Group Day Trip
On this full-day tour to the Judean desert and the shores of the Dead Sea including Masada, the site of one of the most remarkable stories in Jewish history. Perched on a high plateau, the ancient fortified palace of Masada became a refuge for Zealots who took a stand against the Romans, until the mass suicide of the Zealots in 73 AD.
The ruins sit precariously on a plateau some 1,300 feet above sea level and measure 2,000 foot long by 1,000 foot wide. They boast extraordinary views of the Dead Sea and the Judean Desert. It is an exhausting climb, but you will ascend by cable car to make life easier. Explore the fortress built by King Herod in around 37 BC. Visit the remains of the palaces and see mosaic floors, Roman baths and other findings. Masada was also home to the oldest synagogue in Israel, but one of the most remarkable features are the 12 water cisterns, each with a capacity of up to 140,000 cubic feet.
Following the tour of Masada, you will drive to the Dead Sea Mineral Beach. Located in the Jordan Rift Valley, between Jordan and the West Bank, it is the lowest place on earth and its high density of salt makes for a unique experience as you float on the beautiful aquamarine surface. Take a mud bath and benefit from the therapeutic qualities of the natural Dead Sea mud. You will then drive back to the hotel in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv with an en route view of the Qumran cave, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.