Friday 2 December 2016

The Dead Sea: Need to know

Chrissie Russell

Published 11/06/2011 | 05:00

GETTING THERE

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The easiest way to get to Jordan from Ireland is with BMI (01-407 3036; flybmi.com), which flies

direct to Amman from Heathrow. Fares from Dublin cost from €409 return.

STAYING THERE

Jordan's Dead Sea hotels are huddled around the most northeasterly point of the lake, close to Amman and less than an hour's drive from Queen Alia International Airport (€45 approximately for a taxi).

The Kempinski Ishtar (0096 253 568 888; kempinski.com/ en/deadsea), pictured below, has doubles from €160.

Next door the Movenpick (009 625 356 1111; moven pick-hotels.com) has a village feel in a calming oasis. Rooms from €128.

The Dead Sea Spa (0096 255 356 1012; jordandead sea.com) is the only four-star resort on the shores of the Dead Sea offering more modest accommodation, with doubles from €89.

TOP TIPS

Wear shoes in the Dead Sea -- the sharp salt crystals on the sea floor will cut your feet to ribbons otherwise. The Kempinski offers the use of free Crocs for guests. And wear an old swimsuit -- the salt is not kind to silky fabrics.

Remember than Jordan is a Muslim country and you should dress appropriately.

The best time to visit is spring (March to May) and autumn (October and November), when temperatures are in the high 20s. Summer -- June to August -- is oppressive.

FIVE GREAT THINGS TO DO

Dip a toe in the warm waters at the Evason Ma'in Hot Springs. A short drive into the hills from the Dead Sea, this spa resort is built around ancient hot springs with plunge pools and waterfalls, warmed to 30-60°C. (sixsenses.com/ evason- ma-in).

Visit Petra at night -- it's stunningly beautiful by the light of thousands of candles.

Take a walking tour of Amman's historic centre. The Bronze Age area known as the Citadel sits on the highest hill in the city, where you can soak up the views and visit the National Archaeological Museum.

Spend a night in the desert, sipping mint tea with local Bedouin and sleeping under the stars at the Wadi Feynan Ecolodge (feynan.com).

Enjoy an eastern feast of tasty mezze at the Haret Jdoudna in a restored house in Madaba (see (haretjdoudna.com). Nearby, St George's church is home to the world's oldest mosaic map.dating back to AD 560.

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