Tel Aviv is one of the world's most vibrant cities and while it's brimming with buildings that are hundreds of years old, it's undeniably modern. It's the first to have free WiFi throughout the entire city and Tel Aviv is on the cutting edge when it comes to everything from tech to art.
You could spend weeks lounging on a beach along the Mediterranean, shopping local designer wears and indulging in the wide variety of culinary and nightlife offerings, but no visit would be complete without a day trip to the Western Wall. While there are serious dangers in much of the Middle East, you'd be hard pressed to sense any of them in Tel Aviv. For a look at where to sleep, shop, eat and more while vacationing on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline, check out our guide.
Where to Stay: Hilton
This is the place to be if you're looking to be social. The pool and lobby are always buzzing with see and be seen types.
Where to Stay: Renaissance
If you plan on spending most of your time on the beach, your best bet is the Renaissance, which is located directly on a sprawling beach.
Where to Stay: Royal Beach
Also located seaside is the just-opened Royal Beach, which is the first major hotel to open in Tel Aviv since 1999 (it's right by the beach, but your access isn't direct like at the Renaissance).
Where to Stay: Boutique Hotels
There's a burgeoning crop of boutique hotels in Tel Aviv. The two most notable are Hotel Montefiore and Alma Hotel. While these offer the latest in modern amenities and have a cool design-minded look, they're not in walking distance from the beach.
What to Do: Run
Israelis love to run and you'll see plenty of them doing just that, no matter the time of day, alongside the beach. When the sun starts to set is arguably the best time.
What to Do: Jaffa Sites
Walk or take a cab to Israel's old port city, Jaffa. There's a beautiful clocktower, churches, mosques and a monastery, all of which you can take in while looking out onto the Mediterranean.
What to Do: Markets
Don't be fooled, most of the jewelry lining the stalls at the Carmel and Jaffa Markets are from India, but there are still some gems to be found along with plenty of Jewish tchotchkes.
What to Do: Galleries
Most of the well-known galleries are located on Gordon Street and its cross streets, but you can also find an abundance on Rothschild Boulevard and in Jaffa.
What to Do: Shopping
In addition to the flea market, Jaffa is brimming with up-and-coming designer shops. Among the most notable are Sharon Brunsher (a mix of fashion, accessories and home decor), Ruby Star (fashion and jewelry), Asufa (concept design, products and home décor by Israeli designers) and Liat Azar (a designer who designs clothes that can be worn in a multitude of ways). There's also plenty to be found in Noga, which is known as the Soho of Tel Aviv and has lots of local designers, and in Neve Zedek where you'll also find the Susann Dalal Dance Center, which is worth stopping by for a photo op. Hatachana, which was once a railway station, and Masarique Square are similarly lined with boutiques and restaurants.
Where to Eat: Breakfast
Tel Aviv hotels — especially the big ones lining the beach — are known for their elaborate breakfasts. If you're not staying at one such hotel, however Dallal, Montefiore and Delicatessen are all great.
Where to Eat
The dining options in Tel Aviv are literally endless. Shulchan is a fantastic, laid-back place best known for their fish dishes; Cantina and Caffe Italia are Italian go-tos; Toto is one of the city's most well-known chef restaurants; Taqueria is known for its Mexican fare; Meat bar for their steak and chocolate mousse. Milgo & Milbar is a new trendy wine and fish bar; their salads and raw fish dishes are excellent and you can order any dish as a small or a big portion.
Where to Eat
Raphael is one of the city's most high-end restaurants as it's helmed by a famous local chef, Chaim Raphael. Yasu is a cool Greek restaurant with good music (very popular on Thursday nights), while Popina is for the adventurous looking for some molecular gastronomy. Mizlala is a low-key chef restaurant famed for their house bread (and conveniently located on one of Tel Aviv's most central streets in close proximity to many bars) and there's also Yuna, a seafood restaurant, located right at the Jaffa Port.
Where to Eat
Makom Shel Basar is known as "the place for meat," while the restaurant at Hotel Monifiore offers Indochine by way of Tel Aviv. North Abraxas is a lively restaurant where most dishes are eaten either with your fingers or without a plate.
Where to Eat: Bakery 29
Where to Go Out
There are plenty of bars around Rothchild, Nachalat Binyamin Street and Jaffa. Among the most popular are Habustan, Roof at the Brown hotel, Par Derrier (a wine bar), Port Said, Next Door, Malchi and Hamara at Raphael.