WITH a new air route opening to Tel Aviv, Israel’s party city should be the first on your bucket list after lockdown.
The city boasts top beaches, great food and wild nightlife.
WHY SHOULD I GO?
With its bohemian beachfront, booming foodie scene and chic nightlife, Israel’s metropolis on the Med is the coolest of city-break destinations.
The sun-drenched city is a slick blend of heritage and hi-tech, comprising the ancient port of Jaffa and the tech start-up hub of Tel Aviv.
Virgin Atlantic launched daily flights to the hip beach destination before the lockdown.
Flights are temporarily on hold but the airline is currently selling flexible tickets with a no-fee change from April 27 onwards.
ARE THESE STREETS MADE FOR WALKING?
The flea market neighborhood of old Jaffa is full of the cozy cafes, decorated with plants in pots, colourful rugs and wooden details, its a very popular place among touristsCredit: Getty – Contributor
The city is easy to amble around and you are better off on your own two feet if it means avoiding the notorious traffic.
If you really want to live like a local then unlock one of the electric rental scooters that are dotted about the city.
Tech-savvy Tel Avivians have embraced the micro-mobility craze like no other, weaving through traffic with death-defying speed, sometimes two to a scooter.
Tourists should try to stick to a more sedate ride along the cycle path that runs the length of the city’s promenade.
ANYTHING FOR THE BUCKET LIST?
Tel Aviv’s most famous son, spoon-bender and TV personality Uri Geller, has just opened a museum and gallery in Jaffa Port.
You can’t miss it — just look for the massive bent spoon lying on the ground outside. No, really.
The contorted cutlery proudly hosts a Guinness World Records plaque, stating that Geller had not quite bent but most definitely “achieved” the “World’s Largest Steel Spoon”.
While the nearby district around Jaffa flea market is now one of Tel Aviv’s hippest, it is still a must-visit for a taste of times gone by.
Barter for trinkets and antiques at this traditional Middle-Eastern market place, then head to the White City for a modernist architectural tour.
The Tel Aviv neighbourhood, built from the 1930s to 1950s, boasts the largest number of Bauhaus-designed buildings of any city in the world.
A new high-speed rail line means Jerusalem is now just half an hour away, so it is worth taking a train trip to the Holy City.
An ordinance that all buildings be built with facades of Jerusalem stone means that modern Jerusalem looks like no other on Earth, with its uniform colour scheme of light limestone.
While inside the old city walls, join pilgrims from all three Abrahamic religions in the place where history collides with the present.
Make time to see the Wailing Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Tower of David.
WHERE SHOULD I EAT?
Don’t miss Puaa in Jaffa flea market, serving homely food in kitsch, cosy surroundings.
The expansive menu offers everything from an omelette sandwich to curried pumpkin dumplings and in a nod to the neighbourhood, all of the cafe’s retro furniture is for sale.
Or stroll along the old port of Jaffa, for centuries the gateway to Jerusalem, now a warren of artists’ shops, galleries and that one giant spoon.
Warehouses in the port itself now house trendy restaurants with outdoor seating.
At the opposite end of the prom you will find modern Tel Aviv port, with a similar set-up — warehouses converted into bars and a trendy food market.
I FANCY A DRINK
Soak up the atmosphere and sink some cocktails at Banana Beach bar, one of the best of the beachfront drinking holes.
Or for a throwback to the early days of Tel Aviv under the British Mandate, check out the Imperial Cocktail Bar for upscale drinks and colonial decor.
For wraparound views of the city, party at Haiku Skybar on the 18th floor of the Lighthouse Hotel, open until 4am at the weekend.
WHERE SHOULD I STAY?
The 5H Isrotel Royal Beach on the Tel Aviv seafront sits slap bang in the middle of the Tel Aviv prom.
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