Home » How to Visit Ein Bokek Resort, the free Dead Sea beach

How to Visit Ein Bokek Resort, the free Dead Sea beach

by backpackisrael
Published: Updated: 22 minutes read

One of Israel’s most popular resort districts is Ein Bokek, located on the southern side of the Dead Sea. There are four declared beaches along the Dead Sea: Kalia Beach, Biankini Beach, Neve Midbar Beach, and Ein Bokek Beach. Ein Bokek is the only free-of-charge beach that’s also declared. That’s why I stop there whenever I want to float in the water for free. So, what do you need to know about Ein Bokek Resort? And do you have to book a night at a hotel to enjoy the place? Hopefully, you’ll find all the answers in this guide.

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A bit about the Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is a natural wonder. It’s a huge lake of salt located at the lowest point on Earth. In Hebrew, we call it “Yam Ha-Melach,” which means “The Sea of Salt.” Its average salt concentration is about 34 percent, about 10 times saltier than the Mediterranean Sea!

Today, the lake’s level is about 430 meters below sea level, but it keeps dropping around one meter every year. The truth is that the lake located next to the Ein Bokek Resort is artificial. The southern basin of the Dead Sea has dried up completely and has been replaced by evaporation pools built by the Dead Sea factories. But don’t worry – you probably won’t feel the difference.  

The Dead Sea from a distance
The Dead Sea from a distance

What’s the weather like in the Dead Sea area?

The Dead Sea, including the Ein Bokek Resort, is in a “rain shadow desert.” On one side, there’s the Dead Sea, and on the other, the Judean Mountains. The mountains block humid air from entering the area, so prepare for a dry climate. Rainfall is very rare, and when it does occur, it usually leads to flash floods. So, if you plan on hiking in the wadis in the area, make sure there are no flash flood alerts. 

In the summer (June to September), temperatures can reach over 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit)! That’s hot! If you want to feel like you’re visiting an outdoor sauna, you can visit at this time of year. Just make sure to put on sunscreen.

In winter (December to February), the temperature is chilly and can be around 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit) during the day. It’s not the ideal time to float in the Dead Sea because it’s not so fun to float in the cool water when it’s chilly outside. But if you’re staying at a hotel or going to one of the spas, there are usually heated pools which you can enjoy. 

During the rest of the year, the weather is usually pleasant. March could still be a bit chilly, but it’s a matter of luck. 

How to get to Ein Bokek?

Ein Bokek is quite accessible. You can visit it as part of a one-day trip from Jerusalem. Here is how you can get to Ein Bokek:

By car

This is the easiest way to get to Ein Bokek. It takes about 1.5 hours to get to Ein Bokek by car from Jerusalem.

However, you should note that parking is not free. It costs 6 ILS per hour. Read more about parking in Israel to learn about the payment methods.  If you’re staying at a hotel in Ein Bokek, you will most likely have free parking. 

By bus

Ein Bokek is well connected by bus. If you’re coming by bus, I recommend leaving from Jerusalem. The ride from Jerusalem costs 16 ILS. From the Central Station in Jerusalem, you can take bus number 486 or 444. For bus number 444, you need to reserve a seat in advance. Check out my guide here. The ride takes about an hour and 40 minutes, depending on traffic. Line 486 takes longer, about 2 hours. If you also want to visit Eilatyou can stop at Ein Bokek and then continue on line 444 to Eilat. 

Be’er Sheva is also close, about 1.5 hours by bus. From Be’er Sheva, you can take bus number 384. 

If you’re coming from Tel Aviv, there is no direct bus. You will need to travel to Jerusalem and then catch the bus to Ein Bokek. Check out my guide to getting from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

In any case, I recommend using an app that will tell you the best travel route for you based on your location. You can use Moovit or Google Maps

By tour

Finally, you can get to Ein Bokek by joining a guided tour. Many companies operate tours to the Dead Sea, which usually include a visit to Masada. If you only want to visit the Dead Sea, you can check out the Dead Sea Chill Out Tour by Abraham Tours. 

If you prefer a private tour, you can contact me at [email protected]. I don’t drive, but I can arrange a car and driver for you. I can also join you in your rented car or travel with you by bus. It’s fully customizable. 

Things to do in Ein Bokek

The Ein Bokek Resort is all about relaxation. Some come here for a few hours, some for a full day, and some for several days. But everyone comes to experience the wonder of the Dead Sea and relax. So, the main thing you can do in Ein Bokek is float in the Dead Sea. If your budget allows it, you can also order some special treatments at one of the spas. 

Other than that, there’s not much to do. The beach strip is dotted with luxurious hotels, a few restaurants, and shops. There’s also the new Dead Sea Mall that opened in 2018. I’ve looked around the mall and didn’t find anything too interesting besides shops selling Dead Sea mud. But maybe that’s just because I don’t like shopping malls in general.

Nevertheless, here are some of the best things to do at Ein Bokek. 

Floating in the Dead Sea
Floating....

Enjoy the Ein Bokek Beach

So, the best thing to do at the Ein Bokek Resort is to chill out on the beach and float in the water. The whole floor of the Dead Sea is covered with salt crystals, so water shoes could help (find good water shoes on Amazon). The moment you enter, you can slowly bring up your feet, look up to the sky, and enjoy the feeling of floating. You’ll also feel the salt all around you, nurturing your skin.

The free Ein Bokek Beach is very long, and there are many lifeguard towers, so you can feel safe entering anywhere you see a lifeguard. Just make sure to follow the guidelines that I’ll write about shortly.

On the beach, there are toilets, outdoor showers, and changing “rooms.” The rooms aren’t exactly rooms because there are no doors, but if you have someone with you, they can block the entrance for you.

There are also many spots with overhead shade. There are even some shaded open pavilions INSIDE the water.

If you want a chair, you’ll need to rent one. I always bring a beach mat. The sand is very flat, and if you don’t have problems sitting on the ground, it’s comfortable.  

The beach is always open, but the lifeguard service works only until 5 PM every day.

Changing rooms at Ein Bokek Beach
The "changing rooms" on the beach

Try the Dead Sea mud

When you’ll be at Ein Bokek, you’ll probably see many people covered in mud. The Dead Sea mud is rich with minerals, helps improve blood circulation, and soothes your skin. In Ein Bokek, you can’t find any mud on the beach itself. You need to go to one of the shops on the promenade to buy a package of mud. Just look around and you’ll find it. It should cost around 5-10 shekels (1.5-2.5 USD) for a package and the package has enough mud for two people. I bought my mud from the Dead Sea Cosmetics shop in the Dead Sea Mall.

Once you get the mud, put the package in the sun for about 3-4 minutes, and then apply the mud onto your skin. Read the instructions on the package. Then wait for the mud to dry up and go wash it off in the Dead Sea. It’s fun and feels nice!

Walk the promenade

If the weather is nice or if you’re staying in the evening at Ein Bokek, you can walk along the lakeside promenade. It stretches to a length of over 5.5 kilometers, so you’ll have plenty of walking time. It’s nice to walk, look at the beautiful view of the Dead Sea and the Jordanian mountains, and do some people-watching. If you have an option, you can also bring a bike and cycle along the promenade.

The view of the Dead Sea and the Jordanian mountains

Visit other places in the area

If you have a car, you can explore other sites in the area, like Masada National Park (about 15 minutes away) and Ein Gedi Nature Reserve (about 25 minutes away). There are also some nice hiking trails in the area, including the Mount Sodom Hike and Nahal Arugot Hike, both around 15-25 minutes from Ein Bokek. 

“Fun Day” at the Dead Sea

Many Israelis go on a “Fun Day” at the Dead Sea. In Hebrew, we call it “Yom Kef.” Many Ein Bokek hotels offer this concept, which usually includes access to the hotel’s spa and facilities and breakfast or lunch in the hotel’s dining room. If it’s within your budget, it could be a nice experience, especially if you are traveling as a couple. Just call the hotels and compare prices.

When you book a “Fun Day” at a hotel, you also get to park in the hotel’s parking lot for free.  

Are there lockers on the beach?

If you’re coming for a few hours and want to keep your valuables safe, there are lockers adjacent to the backside of the Dead Sea Mall. You will need a 5 shekels coin to open the locker. Then, you’ll need to take the key with you and use it later to open the locker. The key won’t work if you’ll put it inside the water, so make sure to keep it in a dry place.

If you arrived at Ein Bokek with a car, I think the safest option is to keep your stuff in the car as long as they’re not visible from the windows. I haven’t heard about car breaks in Ein Bokek. Another option is to just put your stuff on the beach, hidden in your clothes or bag or something, and hope that you won’t fall on a thief. I’ve left my stuff several times on the beach, and no one touched it. Just keep an eye on it when you’re in the water.  

Lockers next to the Dead Sea Mall
The lockers next to the Dead Sea Mall

Some safety guidelines and general recommendations

      • Do not put your face in the water! Remember it’s full of salt, which can burn your eyes and harm your vision.

      • Do not swallow the water. If you’ll swallow too much, it may lead to death!

      • Make sure to drink a lot of water to avoid sunstroke.

      • If you have any open wounds, DO NOT enter the Dead Sea! It’s going to be very painful because the salt hurts in contact with cuts and scrapes.

      • If you need to shave your legs or other parts of the body, make sure to do it at least 24 hours before you arrive at Ein Bokek. 48 hours is even better. Entering the Dead Sea a short while after shaving could be painful. 

      • Stay in the Dead Sea for up to 20 minutes each time. Too much continuous time in the water may cause dehydration and other problems. So, enjoy some time and do some onshore breaks in between. 

      • Use flip-flops or water shoes to walk on the beach and get into the water. The beach might get very hot during the afternoon, so it’s not fun walking on it barefoot. 

      • After you get out of the water, make sure to wash off the salt with fresh water. Don’t touch your face before washing your hands. 

    What are the overnight stay options at Ein Bokek? 

    There are many ways to experience the Dead Sea. Most tourists visit the Dead Sea – including the Ein Bokek beach – as part of a day trip, but if you don’t want to be rushed, you can also stay overnight. Here are some overnight options at Ein Bokek: 

    Camping at Ein Bokek

    There are many luxurious hotels at Ein Bokek, but you don’t have to stay at any of them. At the northern entrance to Ein Bokek, there’s a new free-of-charge campground with toilets and drinking water. I haven’t stayed there yet, but it looks very nice. However, keep in mind that it’s right next to the road, and there’s no security. So, keep your eyes on your stuff. Read more about Israel’s camping basics here.

    The declared Ein Bokek Beach is a short walk from there on the promenade.

    Note that it is illegal to camp anywhere else in the Ein Bokek Resort, so make sure to camp only in the designated area to avoid a fine!

    Tent at the Dead Sea
    Some people camping next to the Dead Sea

    Staying at a hotel

    If you still prefer the hotels, I can personally recommend the Noga (Ganim) Hotel by Isrotel Collection. It offers a fabulous breakfast, a wonderful swimming pool, two heated salt pools, and friendly staff. The room was clean, spacious, and nicely designed.

    If you’re looking for cheaper options, you might want to stay outside of Ein Bokek, at Masada or Ein Gedi, both within a short driving distance. At Masada, you can stay at the HI Masada Hostel. 

    Isrotel Noga Hotel (Ganim)
    The white hotel is the Noga (Ganim) by Isrotel Hotel

    Are there good restaurants at Ein Bokek?

    There aren’t many good food options at Ein Bokek. There are some fast food and chain restaurants on the beach, but nothing too special. The only decent place is Mul Hayam, but it’s also not perfect. There’s a new restaurant called the Ein Bokek Restaurant that has recently opened at the Ein Bokek gas station, near the northern entrance to the hotel area. It’s got good reviews, but I haven’t tried it.

    If you’re coming for a day trip, I recommend preparing something in advance and bringing it with you.

    Conclusion

    Ein Bokek Resort is a relaxing place open to everyone. You can come for a few hours, a full day, or more than a day—whatever is right for you! While other declared beaches require payment, Ein Bokek Beach is free of charge, making it perfect for budget travelers. I hope the information in this guide helped you plan your trip.

    Think this post is useful or helpful? Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment 🙂

    Also, check out my Facebook page, Backpack Israel.

    Need help planning your trip? I offer trip planning service.

    Yours,

    Lior

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    8 comments

    david September 6, 2022 - 5:32 pm

    amazing!!!

    Reply
    david September 6, 2022 - 5:32 pm

    thank you for fantastic tips

    Reply
    Ana November 9, 2022 - 10:37 pm

    Hi! How can I identify the free part of the beach? Is the parking near it?

    Reply
    backpackisrael November 9, 2022 - 10:54 pm

    The entire beach in the Ein Bokek area is free of charge. All along the promenade. There are some parking lots very close to the beach.

    Reply
    Charlotte_travel January 19, 2023 - 4:13 pm

    I agree that it is very hot here in the summer.You write that in March it is comfortable to relax on the Dead Sea. But I was 2 years ago at that time and it was cold and windy. When do the winds stop? Is it better to come in spring or autumn for a beach holiday?

    Reply
    backpackisrael January 19, 2023 - 7:29 pm

    It can be windy any time of year, especially in winter and sometimes in springtime. Weather always changes, and there aren’t clear seasons anymore. If you want less chance of wind, maybe October could be a good time. Also, usually, April-May is not too windy. But it can change.

    Reply
    Etty May 3, 2023 - 3:16 pm

    Can I buy a Day pass at any of the hotels in Ein Bokek? My kids would love a fresh water pool to use.

    Reply
    backpackisrael May 8, 2023 - 5:53 pm

    Hi, sorry for the late response. Many hotels in Ein Bokek offer a “fun day” that includes access to the pool.

    Reply

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