Marvel at the natural and historical splendors of Israel's Dead Sea region on this private day trip from Jerusalem. Traveling in a private vehicle, drive south to UNESCO-listed Masada, where a fortress-palace built by King Herod tops a mountain plateau. Ascend via cable car to see the ruins and hear about the Jewish zealots who killed themselves here in the 1st century AD. Next, visit the Dead Sea for a revitalizing mud bath and swim in the salt-rich waters. Enjoy in-depth attention from a guide on this private tour.

Start your tour with a pickup from your centrally located hotel or prearranged location in Jerusalem and settle into your private minivan with meet your private driver-guide. Enjoy views of the rugged Judean Desert as you drive south, and feel free to ask your guide to customize your itinerary to suit your interests, perhaps with more time at a particular site.

Pass the Inn of the Good Samaritan, the location linked with the biblical parable, and catch views of ancient Jericho as you hear the Old Testament story of its conquest by the Israelite tribes. Then, drive along the Dead Sea to UNESCO-listed Masada, the mountain fortress-palace built by King Herod and later used by Jewish zealots as refuge against Romans in the 1st century BC.

After a roughly 1.5-hour journey, arrive at Masada and ride the cable car to the top, viewing the Snake Path, the route climbed by Herod's builders more than 2,000 years ago, as you go.

Explore the ruins as you hear tales of Herod and the zealots who ended a three-year Roman siege by committing mass suicide here. See Herod's bathhouses and other rooms, and inspect the 1st-century synagogue built by the zealots.

Next, pass the oasis of Ein Gedi and catch glimpses of the Qumran Caves, where the 900 or so ancient religious texts known as the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in the 1940s.

On arrival at the Dead Sea ' situated at the lowest point of Earth at 1,312 feet (400 meters) ' enjoy a swim in the salt-rich waters to experience the famous floating sensation first hand. Then, if you wish, enjoy a therapeutic mud bath, coating yourself in the revitalizing, mineral-rich clay.

When the time comes, return to Jerusalem, where your tour ends with a hotel drop-off.

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