4 Ways Get from Tel Aviv to the Dead Sea

By Sarah Mann | Published on 5/20/2024
The Dead Sea is a unique and extraordinary place, so it’s not surprising that it’s one of Israel’s most popular tourist spots. The lowest point on earth, its waters are so salty that no living thing can survive in them…and the experience of floating in its waters, unable physically to put your legs down on its bottom, whilst you gaze over at Jordan or stare at the astonishing salt formations is indescribable.

The Dead Sea sits in the Judean desert, about half an hour’s drive from the ancient fortress of Masada and a 45-minute drive from Jerusalem.  Essentially it’s a landlocked salt lake that is shared between Israel and Jordan (who own its western and eastern shores respectively).  With a warm climate, a range of beaches and a number of top-end hotels (complete with spas and local mud treatments) it’s a fantastic destination for a weekend getaway or simply just a few hours of relaxation.

So how do you get to the Dead Sea from Tel Aviv?  The good news is you’ve got plenty of options because Israel might be a small country but it’s extremely modern with excellent infrastructure.  This means that whether you opt for public transport, car rental, private transfer or an organized day trip, you’re not going to have too many problems journeying south, for an outing you'll never forget.

The highway along the coast of the Dead Sea

The highway along the coast of the Dead Sea

1. Public Transport

There is excellent public transport in Israel - both in the form of trains and buses - that run from early in the morning until late at night.  It’s modern, efficient, cheap and fast so this can be a cost-effective way to travel around.  

The best way to get from Tel Aviv to the Dead Sea by public transport is with Egged bus number 421.  It departs from the Sabidor (‘Tel Aviv 2000 Terminal’) station in the north of the city, on the Namir Road, which intersects with Arlozorov Street.  

The 421 bus leaves both at 9 am and 12 noon, Sunday to Thursday, and takes approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes.  It’s a direct route, with air-con on the buses, and will cost you around 75 NIS (approx $20) for a one-way ticket.  You can pay the driver in cash, when you get on, or buy tickets online beforehand from Egged, or load up a Rav Kav card with credit (which is easy to purchase).  

Buses return along the route at various times in the afternoon and if by any chance you miss the direct bus back, you can return to Tel Aviv via Jerusalem (which involves an easy change).  The 486 and 444 will drop you directly at the Jerusalem Central Bus Station and from there there are two different buses to Tel Aviv - the 405 and 480 - which leave every 15 minutes to Tel Aviv’s two main bus stations.

Egged bus is picking up passengers on the way to the Dead Sea

Egged bus is picking up passengers on the way to the Dead Sea

2. Organised Day Trip

If you’re traveling to Israel independently, you might have Tel Aviv or Jerusalem as a base but are keen to see a bit more of the country.  If you don’t want to rent a car (for whatever reason) and want to get out and out, then booking an organized tour is the way to go.

With an organized day tour to the Dead Sea, you’ll be picked up from your hotel (or a pre-arranged pick-up point in central Tel Aviv) early in the morning and be driven there along with other travelers.  You’ll have the services of a qualified and licensed guide, who speaks excellent English (therefore circumventing any language issues) and knows the area well and transport will be with a comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle.

Not only will you have a guide to answer all your questions and be on hand to deal with unforeseen circumstances, but you’ll also meet other tourists visiting Israel, which is something quite appealing for many solo travelers.  Many of these day trips to the Dead Sea also incorporate a visit to Masada, which is an added bonus!  For those who don’t want the hassle of public transport but aren’t looking to splash out on a private transfer/tour, this is definitely an excellent option.

How to get from Tel Aviv to the Dead Sea

A group of tourists on a guided tour of Masada and the Dead Sea

3. Car Rental

Renting a car in Israel is surprisingly easy and affordable and there are lots of car rental agencies in Tel Aviv with which you can hire a vehicle, giving you plenty of freedom to plan your own journey.  Hertz, Eldan, and Shlomo Sixt are among the providers, and all you will need is your international driver’s license and a credit card.  

From Tel Aviv to the Dead Sea, take the Ayalon Highway south and look out for Highway 1 which will take you to Jerusalem.  Continue on Highway 1 until you reach Highway 90 - this road will take you directly to the Dead Sea and you can then choose the beach you like the look of.  With a car, it’s also easy to make a visit to the nearby Ein Gedi Nature Reserve. (beautiful waterfalls, wonderful hiking trails) or the wow-factor Masada fortress (about half an hour’s drive from the Dead Sea). 

Car rental lot in Tel Aviv

Car rental lot in Tel Aviv

4. Private Transfer

This is by far and away the most convenient way to travel since once you’ve booked and paid for your transfer, everything will be taken care of. You’ll be picked up either at your hotel or your private accommodation and driven directly to the Dead Sea, in a luxurious, air-conditioned vehicle, with an English-speaking driver. 

You will be able to spend as much time as you want in the area before being driven back to Tel Aviv and, of course, if you’d like to see other spots in the area whilst you’re there, you can discuss this with your driver. This is definitely not a cheap option but it is the most stress-free.  Enquire with your hotel concierge or with us here at Bein Harim for approximate prices.

Of course, you can also take a private tour of the Dead Sea with a company such as ours, where you’ll have not just a driver but the services of your own personal guide for the day. 

Last Words

The Dead Sea offers an unparalleled experience that blends natural wonder, historical significance, and modern convenience.
Whether you choose the efficiency of public transport, the sociability of an organized day trip, the flexibility of renting a car, or the luxury of a private transfer, your journey from Tel Aviv to this unique destination will be straightforward and memorable.
So, pack your swimsuit, prepare to float effortlessly in the buoyant waters, and get ready to explore one of the most extraordinary places on earth. The Dead Sea is waiting, promising an adventure filled with relaxation and awe.