Israel's easy-breezy Mediterranean city is an effortlessly cool place of beach worship and night-time revelry. Tel Aviv has it all - dynamic culture, characterful food and the trademark sweeps of pristine sand that are perfect for soaking up lashings of ever-present sunshine. Arrive on Israel's shores at Haifa, which sits below Mount Carmel, and is surrounded by elaborate places of worship, as well as the Baha'i Hanging Gardens - a terraced green UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As you reach the bright lights of Tel Aviv, you'll find a relaxed, energetic and youthful city waiting for you. Crowded with afternoon strollers, joggers, and beach revellers, a walk along the Tayelet promenade - from Tel Aviv's skyscrapers to Jaffa's historic charm – is a fantastic introduction to this dynamic city. Jaffa's watchtower is the perfect landmark to orientate around, as the cobbled streets of the old town unravel, and flea markets flog exotic goods. Head to Neve Tzedek, to explore the city's oldest neighbourhood, which has been successfully rejuvenated and re-energised as an artsy warren. Dilapidated old houses have been repurposed into lively galleries and creative spaces.
Nearby Carmel Market's stalls overflow with exotic spices, jams and dried fruit. Wade in, but be prepared to strike a hard bargain. The White City, meanwhile, is a 4,000 strong collection of UNESCO protected Bauhaus style buildings, built for German immigrants fleeing persecution in the 1930s, and designed to mirror Europe's cafe culture. New and exciting restaurants open on a nightly basis all over Tel Aviv, and you can enjoy street food and Middle Eastern staples - like fresh Hummus and fluffy pitas stuffed with spiced falafels.into a cosmopolitan city whose port served the entire Middle East. The climate is gentle, the beaches beautiful, and the locals friendly. You won't see the religious garb of Jerusalem or the tattoos and piercings of Tel Aviv in this diverse but fairly conservative city. In fact, you can't always tell at a glance who is part of an Arab or Jewish Israeli family, or if someone is a more recent immigrant from the former Soviet Union. Israel’s "city on the hill" is divided into three main levels, each crisscrossed by parks and gardens: the port down below; Hadar, a commercial area in the middle; and Merkaz Carmel (known as "the Merkaz"), with the posher hotels and many restaurants, on the crest of Mt. Carmel. Thanks to the beneficence of the Baha'is, you can enjoy a walking tour that takes you through the stunning terraces that lie like multicolored jewels from the crest of the city at Mt. Carmel to the German Colony below.