Tel Aviv, The White City: A Tourist’s Guide

Tel Aviv, the White City, the City that Never Stops, kissing the beautiful Mediterranean to the west, is perhaps one of the best cities for tourists in the world. In this one city, tourists can go to concerts, films (in English!), go dancing, go to the beach, spend the day on a jet ski, and eat some of the best cuisine in the world. Tel Aviv is a cosmopolitan center for shopping, culture, arts, and leisure, and is also an architectural marvel. Though only one hundred years old, the Tel Aviv history is as rich as any rival city in Europe.

Tel Aviv is celebrating its centennial this year, and what a century it has been for the city that was born out of the sands just a little to the north of Jaffa. Tel Aviv was created to be the jewel of the Jewish resettlement of Israel, a center of culture and European sensibilities. Wide boulevards and gardened houses were designed for beauty, and although it grew haphazardly at first, by the 1930’s, it began to grow in a more designed manner. Some of the best examples of the Bauhaus Architecture school are built in Tel Aviv, and the city has recently been classified as a “White City” – a city whose Bauhaus buildings are preserved by an international foundation. Walking down the leafy Rothschild boulevard provides numerous classic Bauhaus buildings. The rounded terraces and classically clean lines embrace the first boulevard in Tel Aviv, returning you to the 1930’s.

If walking is your passion, Tel Aviv is one of the best places for it. A promenade stretches all the way from Jaffa in the south to the Tel Aviv harbor in the north following the beach, dotted with beach caf?and restaurants. The exquisite southern neighborhood of Newe Zedek is filled with lovely little alleys and houses, galleries and small shops, caf?and restaurants. A bicycle and foot path has been constructed along the banks of the Yarkon stream through a lovely green park. It is possible to rent bicycles and to ride for a day all the way to the eastern end of the Yarkon, where the old Ottoman water mills are still visible. It is even lovely just strolling along Nordau Boulevard under the tall fichus trees, stopping at any of the numerous kiosks for a glass of freshly squeezed juice.

Gourmets and gourmands will adore the variety of restaurants and caf?in Tel Aviv. Fusion is the latest range in local cuisine, and Asian restaurants sit side by side with French bistros and American style Diners with the best hamburgers just about anywhere. A short trip to Jaffa provides some of the best middle eastern food available in the world, whether your passion is hummus, baba ganoush, or the famous Israeli Salad with lots of olive oil and lemon and really fresh tomatoes. If you just want a little rest while wandering, sit in one of the hundreds of sidewalk caf?and order an espresso or latte, and just enjoy the sunshine while munching on a freshly made ciabetta roll and cheese. Many of the hotels in Tel Aviv also have wonderful restaurants, some considered world class.

If art and culture is what you adore, you’ll find plenty of it in the White City. A short walk down Gordon street provides you with a multitude of galleries to wander into, exhibiting local and international artists. The Tel Aviv Museum shows some of the loveliest art in the world, and always has an intriguing exhibition. For music fans, the Israeli Opera house opens its doors to many of the best international operatic productions, there are often rock concerts in the Yarkon Park, and many of the smaller venues have jazz shows and local Israeli performers.

And the best of all, getting to Tel Aviv is an absolute breeze. Flights to Israel originate from over two hundred cities around the world, and the new terminal at Ben Gurion International Airport is one of the most beautiful and comfortable terminals anywhere. A train can take you directly from the terminal to the center of Tel Aviv, where a taxi to your hotel can be found easily. The Airport is only a short 30-40 minute drive away, and the train can take even less time. Those who love shopping will be overjoyed when arriving at the airport on the way home, since the Israeli Duty Free shops are famed for their variety and low prices.

With all these advantages, why wait? If you haven’t considered Tel Aviv as the perfect vacation spot, think again. Whatever you love doing for your holiday, you’ll find it in Tel Aviv, after all. And since Israel is such a small country, Tel Aviv is only a hop and a skip away from other wonderful attractions such as Caesarea, Acre, Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee, and even remote Eilat (only a 5 hour drive or 1 hour flight). Come discover Tel Aviv and celebrate its centennial!

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