For a city drawn up in the sand dunes, Tel Aviv is a staggeringly modern metropolis. New low-cost flights have drawn Brits seeking an alternative weekend break among its sparkling skyscrapers, Arab enclaves and sandy beaches. Tel Aviv’s hedonistic spirit has seen it christened ‘The Bubble’ and sets it a world apart from Israel’s holy cities.
Take in the Bauhaus buildings of Tel Aviv’s UNESCO World Heritage quarter before mingling with the beautiful people along Rothschild Avenue in the White City.
Manhattan by the Med
The White City may have earned Tel Aviv its ‘Miami of the Middle East’ moniker, but bars on Dizengoff Street have also had the city compared with the Big Apple — it’s packed with visiting Jewish New Yorkers and really doesn’t sleep. Start the evening with a killer cocktail at 223 and then follow the crowds. 223 Dizengoff Street
Ilana Goor is a gallery with great views, inside and out, stocked with wild sculptures by this iconic Tiberias-born female Israeli artist.
Start the weekend on Friday morning at Ha Carmel Market (corner of King George and Allenby), a good mix of hawkers, cheap designer goods and superb street food.
Holy sites: Head beyond the vibrancy of Tel Aviv and make for Jerusalem’s holy sites, which are little more than an hour away by road.
Museum: The innovative Diaspora Museum tells the ongoing tale of where and how the Jews settled worldwide, in multi-sensory exhibitions. www.bh.org.il
Murals: Artplus is a new 62-room hotel featuring the work of five local artists, including Zabok Ben-David and Sigalit Landau, set flip-flopping distance from the city’s hip beachfront. Enjoy the cool retro-style design. www.atlas.co.il
Published in in the May/June 2011 isuue of © National Geographic Traveller