An up and coming major Israeli city, Tel Aviv is the perfect weekend break for those who want to explore a city fringed with golden sandy beaches says Olivia Palamountain…
48 Hours in Tel Aviv
Thanks to the city’s multicultural heritage and Jewish influences, from America to Ashkenazi Eastern Europe, the Mizrachi Yemen, and, in recent years, many from Russia, Israel’s thriving second city is a melting pot of attitudes and flavours, set against fabulous beaches, Bauhaus architecture and some of the most beautiful people on the planet. Add a 24-hour party culture to the mix and you’ve got one helluva weekend. The picturesque port town of Jaffa is evolving into a destination in its own right, with easy access to some of Tel Aviv’s best beaches and a cool ancient-meets-modern vibe, thanks to the growing band of artists and young bohemians that are making it their home.
The phenomenal Museum of Art is another must-see, for its huge collection of Israeli art as well as highlights from the greats including Chagall, Klimt, Kandinsky and Picasso. Don’t miss the vast Lichtensteins that hang in the foyer – just a hint of what’s to come. After a day of culture gear up for a night on the town with pre-party drinks in the Florentin neighbourhood, then a night on the tiles at either Beit Maariv or The Block. These are the go-to clubs for intense house and techno nights, attracting the cream of international DJs.
The Norman is an Art Deco gem, situated on a quiet street near Rothschild Boulevard. Widely regarded as the best hotel in the city, movers and shakers check in here for all the five-star bells and whistles of a larger property. Doubles, from £332 per room per night, excluding tax.
The Shuk Hapishpeshim flea market has been trading for over 100 years. A labyrinth of cafés, bars and shops, selling everything from antiques to hip clothing from young designers.
Food is the heart and soul of Tel Aviv. If hummus is a religion here then Abu Hassan is God. Creamy, rich in tahini and served still warm from the mixer. Port Sa’id, hidden in a square behind the Great Synagogue, is the place for people watching.
Shenkin Street is packed with Israeli fashion and design boutiques, from Maya Geller’s new store selling statement jewellery worn by the likes of Alexa Chung, to Scorcher, a favourite run by a mother/daughter team.