The first thing visitors notice about weekends in Israel is that the weekend starts on Thursday night. Friday and Saturday are weekend days; Sunday is a regular work day. Weekend rates for getaways are for Friday and Saturday.
A favorite weekend getaway for Jerusalemites is the Dead Sea. The resort area of Ein Bokek where the large hotels are located is a little more than an hour’s drive from Jerusalem. And since the Dead Sea is the lowest place on earth, it’s all downhill!
Dead Sea hotels range from the simple but clean to the grand deluxe spa numbers. At one time, all the hotels were on the shores of the Dead Sea, but heavy erosion of the mineral-filled sea means that you’ll have quite a walk or sometimes a shuttle ride down to the water and the famous Dead Sea mud.
In the immediate area of the hotels there are some beautiful hikes through the majestic wadis, and a short distance away is the Ein Fascha nature reserve and the Ahava Dead Sea beauty products visitor center. The Ein Gedi Botanical Garden is a short drive away, filled with exotic plants, cacti and trees.
When it’s cold and rainy in Jerusalem, drive east out of the city through the Judean desert toward the Dead Sea, where it’s generally at least 15 or 20 degrees warmer and the sun will be shining. Enjoy a rejuvenating dip in your hotel pool and relax with a spa treatment. You’ll head back to the Holy City refreshed and reinvigorated.