The Ein Gedi Baths (also known as the Ein Gedi Hot Springs) are located in the Dead Sea area of Israel, about a 45-minute drive south of Jerusalem. Opened in 1963, they were the first ‘health center’ of their kind to be opened in the country. Today, they offer a wide variety of health treatments but also serve as a popular leisure attraction, both for tourists and locals.
In the beginning, the ‘spa’ was nothing more than a small cabin (made of asbestos) located close to a thermo-mineral well. Only in the 1980s were the facilities upgraded and the Ein Gedi Hotel was built (replacing the nearby youth hostel). The baths here are officially known as the ‘Sea of Spa’ offering visitors both a relaxing experience and an opportunity to remedy different health ailments.
The popularity of these baths has much to do with the fact that the hot waters of the surrounding mineral springs contain high levels of sulphur. Sulphur (which gives off an ‘eggy’ smell) has natural anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, making it ideal for treating conditions like acne or dermatitis. The extremely hot temperatures of the baths are excellent for relaxing aching muscles and joints.
Set against the backdrop of the Dead Sea, offer visitors a chance to swim amidst spectacular scenery. Run by the Kibbutz Ein Gedi, they offer six thermo-mineral pools, as well as a large outdoor fresh-water pool that is open in the warmer months. A number of treatments are also available from professionals, including massage and black mud facials. Free shuttle service to the Dead Sea is included in the price, and there is both a restaurant and cafe on the premises.
Ein Gedi Nature Reserve
Close to the baths is the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, one of Israel’s most beautiful hiking spots. It offers visitors a number of trails (ranging in difficulty), with a number of them passing through ‘Wadi David’. What makes this interesting is that whilst a wadi is traditionally a dry river stream in the desert, here water is flowing. From here, the hike leads onto the ‘David Waterfalls’. For those who relish a challenge, and are prepared for some climbing, the trail leads through sweet water pools, culminating at the Ein Gedi Spring. Wildlife in the area includes wolves, foxes, ibex, eagles, and the fabled Ein Gedi leopard.