how to go there
Masada is located 20km S of Ein Gedi, 16km N of En Bokek, 100km SE of Jerusalem, 160km SE of Tel Aviv.
you can drive there through Road 90 that runs down along the Dead Sea coast. There’s a big parking to leave the car and then walk up (you can hike through the path or take the lift which still requires some walk until you reach the ticket booth before you take the cable car)
We were in Ein Gedi and just took the first morning bus at about 8.25am but there were about 10 buses that day. You can also take the bus 486 from Jerusalem or 421 from Tel Aviv.
Single ticket from Jerusalem costs 44nis (summer 2014 price)
The easiest way to reach the archaeological site of Masada is via the cable car that is located on the east side of the horst (close to the Dead Sea). The bus dropped us off the parking lot and then we had to walk up to the entrance (where the ticket booth and the museum is anyway).
There’s one every 10’ so it never really gets packed and I had plenty of space to take aerial photos of the general area.
The ticket for the cable car is 29nis (one way), 47nis(round trip), 76nis(including the entrance fee for the park).
We had pass for many different parks so we just payed for the cable car.
The cable car runs from 8.00am to 17.00 (till 16.00 in winter), so if you want to catch the sunrise the cable car wont do (in this case you have to walk up the snake path which is free but also not so comfortable). But still you have to pay for the park (29nis)
If you don’t want to go up to Masada site by the cable car you can hike along the snake path! Although it will take more time it’s a good way to save some money as you don’t have to pay for this (but still you have to pay for the park fee 29nis). Some people take the cable car up and then walk down through the snake path.
But the snake path is the only option for you if you plan to watch the sunrise from Masada, don’t forget the site opens an hour before sunrise (the cable car operates after 8.00am) so if you start early you’ll be there on time (and it’s not very hard without the burning sun above your head).
We took pictures of the path from the cable car, it was a hot day and we felt sorry for them :) If you do it take hat, sunscreen (you need them for the site anyway) and a bottle of water. Normally it takes about 40’-60’ to walk up (the path includes tracks and steps), about 20’ to go down.
Don’t forget this was the original route taken to access Masada in ancient times along with horses and mules…
You can also try the Roman Ramp from the west side (it requires a 40’ drive detour as it’s not located near the main Dead Sea road).
- Budget Travel
Walk the snakepath
Walk the path the Romans walked......many do this at sunset or sunrise to see the beautiful views. The snakepath has little railings and doesnt look bad to walk, but will take longer, so allow some time to walk that way.
Transportation up the mountain
Transportation up the mountain is basically a ski lift... When i visited masada in 2006, the lift was fairly new. Its huge and can fit a lot of people inside and people like me who are afraid of heights are ok in here because it is so large and it has seats. It has tremendous views as well.
The "Snake Path" to Masada
Quite a few visitors enjoy taking the cable car up to Masada and walking back down on The Snake Path.
The admission fees cover a roundtrip on the cable car with admission, just going up using the cable car and admission, or just admission.
The Snake Path which is a moderate walk and takes about 45 to 50 minutes.
It is advised to visit Masada early in the day during the summer.
The cable car to the top of Masada
The cable car operates throughout the year (excluding Yom Kippur) from 8:00 to 16:00 October to March and 8:00 to 17:00 April to September.
On Friday nights and holidays-operation ends one hour before the park is closed.
The cable car takes visitors to the upper stop leaving 80 stops still to be ascended.
The best option to get to the dead sea
The Dead Sea is an isolated place - not in the center of Israel.
The best thing is to drive with a car.
You can go from 2 ways - Arad and Jerusalem.
Arad is the best road because the other one is a little bit dangerous (arab villages).
There are two ways up to Masada: by foot or by cable car.
If I had come here on my own, the footpath might have been my choice. Many people do this to see the sunrise. I am told it takes about 45 minutes to hike the path. Since we were on a guided day trip, the cable car ride was in order. After watching the informative video in the visitor center, we were taken swiftly up the steep flanks of Masada. The view gets better and better as you ascend to the fortress.
- Historical Travel
The Cable Car up to Masada
Unless you want to walk up the remains of the Roman ramp on the north side of the mountain, the only way up to the ruins of Masada is by cable car. This is not to be taken by those who are afraid of heights as you will find out while you are soaring over the desert.
The snake path
If you want to climb to Masada you can enjoy a route called snake path , this is the route of the old times.
It can take you 2-3 hours to climb.