Visiting Masada: Everything you need to know

Sep 6, 2019 | Asia, Global travel, Israel

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase an item that I link to then I may make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

(Last updated on: 02/04/2020)

Masada, in the Southern District of Israel, is an ancient fortification on top of an isolated rock plateau. On the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert, it’s a popular place to see when visiting Israel.

We visited during our tour through Israel. It was actually one of the highlights of our trip, although we were very under prepared (we often to hike, in 35 degree heat, in flip flops…). I wish that we had done a little more research prior to visiting Masada so to help others I I put together this complete guide to visiting Masada!


How to get to Masada

Masada is the perfect day trip and there are organised tours from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. You can also drive to Masada if you have rented a car, like we did.

It takes approximately 1.5 hours to drive from Jerusalem to Masada, and just over two hours to get there from Tel Aviv. You can also get the bus if you are travelling on more of a budget. From Jerusalem, catch the 486 bus. It runs 5 times per day, stopping at the Masada Junction a short walk from the entrance to Masada National Park. From Tel Aviv, there is one bus per day (number 421).

Read also: Visiting Bethlehem: A complete guide

Things to do at Masada

One of the main things to do at Masada is hiking. There are two hiking trails available, depending on your fitness levels and preferences. You can take a short walk along the Ramp Trail from the western side of the mountain, or a longer hike up Snake Path.

If walking isn’t for you, or if you are travelling in the height of summer like we did, there is a cable car that takes you to the summit. It leaves every 10 minutes from the visitor’s centre. Whatever way you get there, you’re guaranteed fantastic views!

Taking the cable car back down

As well as being the departure point for the cable car, the visitor’s centre also has a museum. Masada is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the museum tells its story. There are excavated artefacts and plenty of information about the history of Masada.

Check out this drone footage of Masada!

Set across three levels, you can see Herod’s Northern Palace at the northern tip of the plateau. With a staircase, terraces, baths and more, it’s absolutely fascinating to behold.

Plenty of other ancient architecture can be seen. There is a synagogue at Masada, one of the oldest in the world – as well as a bath house, a Byzantine church, and the western palace which was actually Herod’s official residence. Wander around these incredible buildings and their reminds, and you’ll be completely awestruck.

Exploring the ruins after a long climb

There is a light show too. Twice a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) during the summer months between March and October, visitors flock to the Masada amphitheater. This can only be reached on the road from Arad. The light and sound show tells the history of Masada.

The best time to visit Masada

Israel is a hot country. However, the winter months do see lower temperatures at times. In January the temperature in Masada can get as low as 10°C with highs of 21°C – but in July and August, it goes up to around 40°C. If you can handle the heat you’ll be able to visit and hike Masada at any time of year, but it is something to bear in mind!

In terms of what time of day to visit Masada, sunrise is recommended. Not only is it not yet the hottest point of the day, it is also absolutely beautiful to see the sun rise above the desert. Tours are often arranged to arrive in time to see this.

Read also: Visiting Mitzpe Ramon: A complete guide

If you are wanting to hike, you definitely need to get there early. The Snake Path is one of the most iconic hikes in Israel. At 400m long, it takes between one hour and ninety minutes to climb. The path opens around one hour before sunrise but on hot days, it will be closed by 9am for visitors’ safety.

The view at Masada

To visit the museum and the rest of the national park, the opening times are as follows:

Summer opening times

April to September: 8am-5pm

Winter opening times

October to March: 8am-4pm

Fridays and holiday-eve opening times

Summer: 8am-4pm

Winter: 8am-3pm

Masada: practical information

To enter the Masada National Park, there is an entrance fee. The tariff is as follows:

Entrance with cable car (two ways)

  • Adult: NIS 77
  • Child: NIS 45
  • Israeli senior citizen: NIS 62

Entrance with cable car (one way)

  • Adult: NIS 59
  • Child: NIS 31
  • Israeli senior citizen: NIS 30

Entrance to eastern side/Snake Path

  • Adult: NIS 31
  • Child: NIS 17
  • Israeli senior citizen: NIS 16

The entry fees for the light show are as follows:

  • Adult: NIS 41
  • Child: NIS 34

For groups of over 30 people, adult tickets are NIS 37 and child tickets are NIS 28. The light show starts at 9pm between March and August, with shows in September and October starting at 8pm. You are advised to arrive 30 minutes beforehand.

Where to stay when visiting Masada

If you are taking a day trip from Jerusalem, Tel Aviv or elsewhere then you likely have your accommodation sorted. However, you may be looking to spend the night closer to Masada. There are a few options available depending on what you are looking for:

Or Gani is a guest house with WiFi, free private parking, air condition and private bathrooms. Reviews cite the host as being kind and caring with excellent breakfast-making skills! With Masada around 9 miles away, it’s one of the closest authentic-style accommodations to the national park.

Dead Sea Yehuda Apartments are self-catering, and located around 10 miles from Masada. With free parking and free WiFi as well as your own kitchen and bathroom, the accommodation has everything you need.

For a hotel, check out the Daniel Dead Sea Hotel around 8.5 miles from Masada. Free WiFi, free parking, a pool & spa as well as sea views and a kid’s club make it perfect for everyone. The beach is nearby, too!

If you’re looking for luxury, Spa Club Dead Sea Hotel is the place for you. Again, it’s around 8.5 miles away from Masada and parking is available. The hotel ticks a lot of boxes in terms of accessibility, and offers an extensive list of spa treatments.

To see a more comprehensive range of accommodation options available close to Masada use the map below. You can zoom out to see more places to stay, although beware that the further away from Masada your hotel is, the further you will need to travel!

There’s your complete guide to visiting Masada, Israel. With so much to see at the national park, it’s an easy day trip to make or one that could be extended into an overnight stay!



  1. Visiting Mitzpe Ramon: A complete guide | Lifeasabutterfly - […] Read also: Visiting Masada: Everything you need to know […]
  2. Visiting the Jerusalem Old City: A complete guide | Lifeasabutterfly - […] Read also: Visiting Masada: Everything you need to know […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Hi, am Dr Hayley Stainton

I’ve been travelling, studying and teaching travel and tourism since I was 16. Through Tourism Teacher I share my knowledge on the principles and practice of travel and tourism management from both an academic and practical perspective.

Follow Me


Homestay tourism: What is a homestay?

What is a homestay? Homestay is a relatively new concept that has been introduced to the tourism sphere. In fact, the very notion of 'home' seems somewhat contradictory when we talk about tourism, doesn't it? I mean, we travel to get away from home... Well, it turns...

Types of rail transport | Understanding tourism

There are so many types of rail transport used in the tourism industry. From high speed trains to funiculars, there are many different types of rail transport used around the world. In this article I will introduce you to these types of rail transport and give you...

What does the World Travel and Tourism Council do?

The World Travel and Tourism Council is an important player in the world of travel. But chances are, you might not have even heard of them! This post looks at what the WTTC is, and what it does… What is the World Travel and Tourism Council? Founded in 1990, the WTTC...

How to renew a UK passport | A step by step guide

Are you wondering how to renew a UK passport? When it comes to travelling abroad, there is one thing you need that is more important than anything else. And that’s a passport! You can’t travel across country borders without one, except in very particular circumstances...

The sex hotel: What, where and why

Whilst many people are ignorantly unaware of the concept of the sex hotel, others are frequenting them on a regular basis. An important part of the tourism industry in some parts of the world, sex hotels give people a safe and secure place for intimacy and bring in...