We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Planner the finer details - Masada and Ein Gedi

London, United...
Level Contributor
24 posts
Save Topic
Planner the finer details - Masada and Ein Gedi

Hi All,

As part of a two week trip to Israel, my husband and I will be spending one night in Massada. We'll be driving route 90 from Tiberius on the morning of Sunday 13th October.

Our plan is to get the cable car up Masada before sunrise on the Monday morning but I wanted to ask for your opinion on how to spend the day on Sunday. I presume we will aim to arrive in Masada by lunch time - would you suggest driving straight to Masada and checking in and then driving back to Ein Gedi for lunch and to float in the dead sea or will there be options to eat in Masada? Alternatively, would it make more sense to drive from Tiberius to Ein Gedi, eat there and spend the afternoon there (dead sea and gardens) and then drive on later to Masada just to sleep?

Sorry to be so specific but its really hard to know when you haven't visited before how to use your time well. We don't really want to be spending ages in the car driving back on ourselves but also don't know if its a great idea to spend the afternoon in Ein Gedi with our luggage left in the hire car.

Also any tips for eating lunch in Massada before driving onto Jerusalem on the Monday would be great!

Thank you knowledgeable ones :)

Lucy x

Tel-Aviv
Destination Expert
for Tel Aviv
Level Contributor
9,538 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Planner the finer details - Masada and Ein Gedi

The distance from Ein Gedi to Massda is 20 km and the driving time is less than 20 minutes so you can drive to Massada and back to Ein Gedi if you are uncomfortable with leaving the luggage in the car.

I assume that you already have reservations at the Massada Hostel.

You cannot take the cable car at Massada before sunrise as it starts operating only at 8 AM. You can only climb the snake path before sunrise.

parks.org.il/parks/…default.aspx

When at Ein Gedi you should also vist the Nature Reserve and climb up to the waterfall. It is an easy hike and should takeabout 2 hours.

parks.org.il/parks/…En-Gedi.aspx

Edited: 12 September 2013, 12:10
Tel Aviv, Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
4,535 posts
70 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Planner the finer details - Masada and Ein Gedi

In terms of lunch, the best place to eat would be in the food court at the Masada visitors center. The only other reasonable place to have lunch in that immediate vicinity is at the Ein Gedi spa (not the nature reserve).

For your Dead Sea float, I suggest "Mineral Beach."

London, United...
Level Contributor
24 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Planner the finer details - Masada and Ein Gedi

Thanks!

I think we'll drive straight to Masada then in the morning and check in and then go and find a nice dead sea spot - Is there a cafe or anywhere to get food at Mineral Beach? Do they sell mud there? And is there a charge to visit the Ein Gedi nature reserve? Would love to see the waterfall but not sure about hiking as I'm pregnant. Is it a gentle walk??

And thanks for the tip with the cable car times. We were really hoping to get up there to watch the sunrise but we'll have to come back for that experience another time!

xx

Ottawa, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jerusalem, Galilee, Tel Aviv
Level Contributor
5,922 posts
142 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Planner the finer details - Masada and Ein Gedi

Food places are surprisingly few and far between on the this strip of the Dead Sea.

For your day on the way down from Tiberias, you could stop at Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Shouldn't be a problem leaving luggage in the car here, it is an isolated kind of place. You could drop your luggage at Masada next if you feel more comfortable than leaving it in your car and backtrack the short distance to Ein Gedi (Nahal David) National Park. A walk through this oasis is a piece of heaven. Wear your bathing suits under your clothes and bring a towel. You can take dips in the spring water pools along the way. You dry off quickly in the desert heat. Walking shoes are a must. Across the road and down less than a kilometer is the public beach of Ein Gedi. It is a bit rough to take your dip in the sea here but is an option. At the gas station there is a small restaurant. Another alternative is to continue to the Ein Gedi Spa. This has one of the best food options in the area with a full service cafeteria. I have used this spa for the Dead Sea, mud and it is fine. Not a spa in the sense you think of a spa in Europe. It also has a fresh water pool but the food option makes it a good option for you. If you opt for the Spa then then Cacti Gardens are on the way. Then you can continue to Masada. There is a food court there and food is good but- well, it is a food court. On the Monday, before you go to Jerusalem, you will have the full breakfast at the youth hostel which with only a piece of fruit, yoghurt and plenty to drink, will keep you going until you get to Jerusalem. There is a gas station/restaurant/camel photo stop right on your way to Jerusalem a the bend in Highway 90 just at the north end of the Dead Sea if you need to refuel your body (as well as your car).

London, United...
Level Contributor
24 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Planner the finer details - Masada and Ein Gedi

Thank you, so helpful. Do you know if the Masada Hostel serves breakfast early enough to eat before going to get the cable car? I guess we'll go for 8am so not sure if we'll get to eat first but I guess if not we can eat at the top of Masada?

Sounds like I'm obsessed with food but don't want to be caught out! Have had fairly constant morning sickness which will hopefully ease off by the time we travel but making sure I'm not hungry really helps!! :)

Ottawa, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jerusalem, Galilee, Tel Aviv
Level Contributor
5,922 posts
142 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Planner the finer details - Masada and Ein Gedi

The walk at Ein Gedi is fine for pregnant, healthy women. It has some stone stairs but it is an easy walk. Bring lots of drinking water. Ein Gedi is a national park and has an entrance fee.

Mineral Beach has some food, packaged sandwiches, ice cream and pizza. Enough to keep you going but not a 'restaurant' as such. The mud there is in bins by the water's edge and you can help yourself to as much as you want and can get on your body.

If you are staying at the youth hostel, you can still get up and watch the sunrise, it still rises and you can still see it from the bottom of the mountain but what is really spectacular is the moon rise over the Dead Sea, especially a full moon. As the light of the moon rising lights the desert all around, the water reflects the light and it looks like liquid silver. The time of month has to be right. I have seen the sunrise from the top of Masada and quite frankly, the sunsets in the desert as well as the moonrises are more beautiful in my opinion. You will have a great experience even if you don't see sunrise from the top.

Ottawa, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jerusalem, Galilee, Tel Aviv
Level Contributor
5,922 posts
142 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Planner the finer details - Masada and Ein Gedi

I get the food thing. You should have breakfast before going up the cable car. Breakfast at the hostel will be earlier than 8am, so no problem. You should plan to spend about 2 hours up top. There is nothing to eat up top but when you come down, you can grab something at the food court that you could eat there or take away if you don't feel quite up to eating at that time.

Hopefully your morning sickness will be better by then :)

Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
14,906 posts
283 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Planner the finer details - Masada and Ein Gedi

Breakfast is usually serviced from 7 a.m. until 9 or 9:30 a.m. at the Masada Youth Hostel, similar to most hotels.

Chana

Israel

London, United...
Level Contributor
24 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: Planner the finer details - Masada and Ein Gedi

Thank you :) Great to know I can keep hunger at bay, and I'll be into the 2nd trimester then so perhaps I'll be feeling as amazing as everyone says, haha! We'll see. Love the sound of the moon rises. Just so excited about this whole trip, I've never had to do so much planning for a holiday before but it's because Israel has so much to see and do! Can't wait.

Thanks so much for your help and insider knowledge x

Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
16,642 posts
82 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Planner the finer details - Masada and Ein Gedi

At Mineral Beach, in addition to snacks and packaged sandwiches there is a small deli counter where they make sandwiches and salads.

Not only is there no food available on top of Masada, but technically no food is allowed in national parks.

As you say, you'll be in your second trimester so hopefully will be over morning sickness and probably not as hungry either. Enjoy.

Get answers to your questions about Ein Gedi