The Dead Sea, so dense with salt and other minerals that it’s impossible to sink, is the lowest point by far on the face of the earth. It’s also the most otherworldly body of water on the planet.

The southern part of the Dead Sea, where travelers like to experience the floating sensation, can have a metallic sheen in soft daylight, while in noon sunlight, it can be sky blue with miragelike white “saltbergs” floating on its surface. The northern coast (along Hwy. 1) is rugged and beautiful. At Ein Gedi and the spa hotel strip at Ein Bokek, the water is the most dense and helpful for skin diseases such as psoriasis. These were Cleopatra’s favorite waters for her beauty needs, and today the water and the mud are said to be cleansing for the skin and scalp, improving skin texture and even smoothing wrinkles.