Top Ten Extreme Destinations

Some people push life to the limits, seeking out locations from the pages of Guinness World Records like they are a packing to-do list. These ten destinations represent the most extreme climates in the world and offer unparalleled stories once you land back on home turf.
By Jodi Helmer
Dead Sea, Israel
Tourists flock to soak in the healing salts of the Dead Sea. (Gusjer/Flickr)

Lowest: Dead Sea
At 1,312 feet below sea level, the Dead Sea is by far the lowest place on earth.

Also known as the Salt Sea, the Dead Sea lies between Jordan and Israel. It's 42 miles long and 11 miles wide at its widest point. It earned its moniker because of its high salt content, which makes it impossible for aquatic animals to survive.

Once water from tributaries like the Jordan River reaches the land-locked Dead Sea, there is nowhere for it to go. The water evaporates, leaving behind salts and minerals like magnesium, potassium, and bromine. These healing substances have become staples for spas in the area, attracting tourists from all over the world seeking a Dead Sea body scrub. This technique dates back for centuries—Cleopatra and King Herod are believed to have once soaked in the mineral-rich waters.

The Dead Sea holds a few other records as well. It's the deepest salt lake in the world, reaching depths of 1,240 feet in some places, and is one of the world's saltiest bodies of water, with 8.6 times more salt than ocean water.


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »