The diverse landscapes of Israel

Discover the myriad shades of Israel

By Muhammad Ali Bandial

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Tel Aviv skyline at night — Photo by Barak Brinker
Tel Aviv skyline at night — Photo by Barak Brinker

Published: Thu 18 Nov 2021, 12:57 PM

Last updated: Thu 18 Nov 2021, 12:59 PM

The past year has undoubtedly been a defining milestone for regional travel in the Middle East. For tourists and businesspeople alike from the region and beyond, the Abraham Accords signed by the State of Israel, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have rapidly transformed our corner of the world as we know it. The launch of direct flights by several airlines, promises a brisk flow of tourists between the two nations, making it possible to travel freely between the Middle East's most vibrant hubs of culture, technology and investment and across geopolitical barriers that once prevented world-changing collaborations between the region's brightest minds.

Ben Gurion airport, Israel's largest airport, is a short three-hour flight from Abu Dhabi and 3.5 hours from Dubai. The airport is located just 20 minutes by taxi or train from the Tel Aviv city center, making the overall journey short and convenient – perfect for a holiday or a city break!

Upon arrival in the city, one can choose from a range of accommodations, from small boutique hotels like Vera, Ink or the Norman, to a vast selection of Airbnb, to international household names like Hilton, Sheraton, Intercontinental and more. Tel Aviv-Yafo is very accessible, and most places can be reached by foot or both bicycles and scooters that can be rented throughout the bustling streets. If preferred, you can always opt for a car rental or an official taxi as well. Acclaimed local fashion designers, artists, jewellers, and restaurateurs rub shoulders with both historic and modern buildings making every corner of the city a place worth visiting. Due to its proximity and central location within the country, Tel Aviv-Yafo really offers the perfect base for anyone visiting the country. Whether you’re after the historic beauty of Akko, a desert getaway in the Ramon area, a relaxing and healing dip in the Dead Sea, the greenery and relaxation of Tiberias or the beautiful Bahai gardens of Haifa – all are available as day trips conveniently departing from Tel Aviv-Yafo. Local tourist guides, speaking both English and Arabic, will gladly advise and accompany you on the best destinations within the country of Israel.

It is important to note that only 66 kilometres – a short drive or train journey – separate the innovation and culture of Tel Aviv-Yafo from the ancient history and religions of the holy city of Jerusalem, one of the holiest sites internationally, bringing together Islam, Judaism and Christianity. The city boasts a rich history with holy sites around every corner, colorful shuks, interesting museums and delectable restaurants. The two contrasting cities are complementary in their nature, fusing old with new and religious with secular, going back thousands of years. For a truly local and urban Tel Avivian experience, you can head over to Rothschild Boulevard, one of Tel Aviv’s first and most iconic streets. Locals and tourists alike love strolling or biking along this tree-lined avenue full of outdoor coffee stands, restaurants, cafés, and eclectic and Bauhaus-style buildings. The boulevard is also known as the city’s financial district and is a business hub for start-ups, multinationals, and more. At night, it transforms into a lively nightlife scene full of trendy restaurants. The famed boulevard and its surrounding streets are among the leading locations for an outstanding dinner. Eat alongside Tel Aviv's movers-and-shakers at Cantina (Rothschild Blvd.), experience modern Israeli cuisine at Port Said (Har Sinai St.) or Japanese-inspired establishment Herzl 16. For dessert, don't miss the chance to grab an ice cream or frozen yoghurt while picking up a flyer from the tourist information center to follow the Independence Trail and discover the riveting history of the area.

While discovering that area, be sure to take a few minutes to do some people watching at HaBima Square, where you can enjoy classical music by the acclaimed Israeli Philharmonic, bursting through the square's wooden bleachers or visit the adjacent Museum of modern art. As a natural extension and integral part of the urban city, come the sandy beaches stretched 14 kilometers over the whole shore. With 300 days of enjoyable, not scorching, sun per year, you will not want to skip a visit to the award-winning beaches, which due to the size of the city are never more than a 15-minute brisk walk away!

Old Jaffa Port — Photo by Guy Yechiely
Old Jaffa Port — Photo by Guy Yechiely

Further, down the coastline, you will find Old Jaffa – The most visited place in Tel Aviv-Yafo, and number three in Israel overall - with its iconic clock tower, luxury hotels, historic buildings (dating back many centuries), its delicious world-renowned Halal restaurants, and beautiful antique and modern mosques. Conveniently, all signs, street names, and information documents are displayed in Hebrew, English and Arabic – making it user-friendly for everyone. A stone’s throw away from Jaffa’s picturesque Old City and ancient Clock Tower lies the Jaffa Flea Market (Shuk HaPishpeshim), one of the three main Shuks of the city, where vendors sell antiques, second-hand, and handmade items. The area is widely considered one of Tel Aviv’s trendiest spots. As you wander around, you will discover a wide selection of cafes and laid-back bars, ideal for having lunch. Sit down for a delicious meal at the iconic Cafe Puaa (where every piece of furniture is for sale!), enjoy art while you eat at Beit Kandinof or relax at the famous Abu-Hassan hummus restaurant.

Additionally, Tel Aviv-Yafo is a perfect destination for sports lovers. With its multiple private indoor gyms including world-renowned clubs like CrossFit, Rebel1 and F45 and outdoor public gyms, in parks and along the beach; running and cycling tracks throughout the city; sup (paddle board), sail, windsurf, and surf clubs spread out on the shore; and large scale events like the night run and marathon – The city has got you covered to burn those calories following that irresistible plate of Hummus.

To conclude, whether you’re visiting the Start-up city for business or pleasure (or both), whether you’re coming alone, with your partner or with the whole family – we got you covered with an offering that is hard to refuse. New visitors will soon discover why Tel Aviv-Yafo is often dubbed the city that never sleeps.

It’s time to book your flights and pack your bags. We cannot wait to welcome you with open arms, and hearts.

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