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Masada and the Dead Sea's insider take:

Even for the most jaded traveler, a day in the Judean desert is not easy to forget. There are two ways to see Masada: For the fit, wake up early and climb to the Roman fort overlooking the shores of the Dead Sea below; there are two hiking paths, and of the pair, the Snake Path is toughest. For a less stressful ascent, take the cable car up the mountain (972-8-658-4207; Either way, the reward is a stroll through its reasonably well-preserved living quarters, storage rooms, and cisterns followed by a dip in the Dead Sea, the lowest point on the planet. The waters are so rich in salt and minerals that people come from all over the globe to cure skin ailments and to float, as if weightless, on the surface. The main beaches also offer mineral-rich muds and sulfuric baths and are easy to find off the waterside Highway 90 in the Ein Boqeq region.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.