Jamie Webster, a member of the On the Beach team, recently visited Israel to learn more about the cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Find out more in our beginner’s guide to Tel Aviv…
Tel Aviv – Floridian-style beaches, Balearic sunsets and mind-bending food
Nothing can quite prepare you for what an experience a trip to Israel is. All your senses will come alive as you wander safely through ancient markets, cycle along developed seafront promenades, barter with friendly shop owners and taste heavenly foods.
The experience starts upon arrival at Tel Aviv’s huge, modern airport and once you’ve passed passport control, you’re quickly on your way. Our friendly transfer driver sped into the night, with Tel Aviv’s modern skyscrapers lit up ahead. Our hotel was based about 10km north of the city centre.
The stylishly refurbished 5* Dan Accadia Herzliya is positioned just a stones throw from the pristine white sands of Herzliya and there’s a handful bars and restaurants just outside if you prefer to eat out. Not that you need to as the food is amazing and refreshingly different to most typical Med hotels.
We recommend: 5* Dan Accadia Herzliya
Jaffa, one of the world’s oldest ports, makes a great starting point for a day in Tel Aviv. It was once the arrival point for millions of pilgrims heading inland to Jerusalem. Now, its pristine cobblestone alleyways are dotted with churches, cafes and jewellery shops. The old fishing port has been cleaned up and restored, and the bars lining the old wharfs make a good place to stop off for refreshments or a traditional shot of Arak.
Cycling along Tel Aviv’s beachfront felt more like being in Florida or Australia than just a stone’s throw from Europe. The promenade is modern and interspersed with grassy parks featuring popular outdoor gyms. There’s plenty of room for everyone and the clean beaches are busy with hip youngsters playing volleyball and surfing against a backdrop of modern skyscrapers.
The food in Israel has a wonderful mix of Mediterranean, North African and Middle Eastern influences and does not disappoint (ever). Everything we ate was a taste sensation. From the mind-bending humus and falafels (literally nothing like what we get back home) to the freshly squeezed pomegranate juice at a street stall. If you like your food – you’ll love it here.
Walking back to our hotel after a long day in Tel Aviv we were treated to an unexpectedly stunning Ibiza-esque sunset. All we needed was some classic Balearic house music and we could have been at a Café Del Mar sunset party. The end to a perfect day.
Part two: Beginner’s guide to Jerusalem