Tel Aviv is Israel’s second city – and modern coastal hub – likened by its fans to Barcelona and Miami. In a region shaped by history, it presents an altogether more contemporary face to the world, from Bauhaus architecture to the performing arts and pulsating nightlife. Begun scarcely 100 years ago on sand dunes, it’s since evolved into an outward-looking and optimistic place to explore 21st Century Israel.
Tel Aviv's shopping scene is eclectic, young and fizzing with energy. There are lots of boutiques to browse through, as well as up-and-coming local fashion and jewellery designers, and art galleries galore. The Old Jaffa district has some of the quirkiest shops in town, making it the perfect place to hunt for original gifts. After browsing the modern boutiques, head into Jaffa Flea Market (Yefet Street) to hunt down antiques and textiles. Back in the centre, it wouldn't be a trip to Tel Aviv without at least a wander through Carmel Market (Allenby Street). It may be overcrowded and well known on the tourist trail, but it's the best place to pick up saffron and other spices.
Food & Drink
Tel Aviv's culinary scene has lashings of fusion flair. Dine in style at Catit (4 Heihal HaTalmud Street), where French haute cuisine is given a Middle Eastern twist. For creative dishes full of fresh seafood, head to Bertie (88 Hamelech George Street). Or, if you're saving your pennies, the best hummus in town is at Abu Hassan (1 Dolphin Street) in Jaffa. The nightlife scene is full of the hip, young and beautiful. Join the Tel Aviv locals at the plentiful bars within the Florentine and Neve Tzedek neighbourhoods.
Tel Aviv Jazz Festival
One of Israel's most important jazz festivals, this long-running event hosts a packed programme of concerts attracting some of the most famous musicians of the genre in the world.
This festival commemorates the foiling of Hamam's plot to kill the Jews of the Persian Empire, as told in the Old Testament Book of Esther. In Israel as a whole, this day is celebrated with festival-style parties. In Tel Aviv, the colourful Purim Street Party is the big event during the day, but keen clubbers should also check out the party that goes on until dawn in the Florentine district.
This international film festival showcases the latest documentaries from local directors as well as new productions from overseas. Open-air screenings and workshops are among the many events during the nine-day, big-screen extravaganza.
The 'White Night' festival is a one-night-only feast of concerts, cultural events, exhibitions and parties, which celebrates Tel Aviv's 'White City’s' UNESCO World Heritage status. Events go on until dawn at various venues throughout the city.
Tel Aviv Pride
The highlight of this animated week-long event is Tel Aviv's long-running Pride Parade, which has more than 100,000 participants. The action culminates in a massive beach party with surrounding palm trees draped in rainbow flags, lively music and numerous activities.
Tel Aviv’s balmy Mediterranean climate and hot nightclubbing action have led to its growing popularity amongst trendsetters, many of whom hang out at the city’s hippest hotel district, Neve Tzedek. The city centre, around beachside Herbert Samuel Street, is home to the widest range of accommodation. With stunning vistas across the sea, the InterContinental David Tel Aviv (12 Kaufman Street) is the top luxury pick here. For comfortable rooms at mid-range prices, Arbel Suites Hotel (11 Hulda Street) provides one of the best deals in town. Those watching their wallets, meanwhile, can bed down at pretty Sun Aviv Hotel (9 Montifiori Street).