Tel Aviv is arguably the most unique city in Israel and one that fascinates, bewilders and mesmerizes visitors.
Built a mere century ago on inhospitable sand dunes, the city has risen to become a thriving economic hub, and a center of scientific, technological and artistic innovation that supports a friendly, relaxed, lively and creative population. It shares little of the beautiful architecture, political tensions and spiritual atmosphere that characterize Jerusalem and for this reason is not what many expect when they visit. Tel Aviv is still Israel, but is nicknamed ‘Habuah’ (‘The Bubble’), for its carefree and fun-loving atmosphere, in which the difficult politics of the region rarely intrudes and art, fashion, nightlife and beach fun prevail. This relaxed, open vibe has seen Tel Aviv named ‘the gay capital of the Middle East’ by Out Magazine, with a flourishing LGBT community and regular pride parades. The city has a well-deserved reputation for all-night partying – sharing the epithet ‘the city that never sleeps’ with New York – with stylish mega-clubs packed with chic young things that don’t get going until ten and don’t stop until dawn. Central Tel Aviv’s striking early 20th century Bauhaus architecture, dubbed ‘the White City’, is not instantly attractive, but has made the city a World Heritage Site, and its golden beaches, lapped by the clear azure Mediterranean, are beautiful places for beautiful people. Those seeking a glimpse of Israel’s ancient heritage will enjoy the millenniaold buildings and ancient alleys of the old town of Jaffa – which has been a part of the city since 1950 – while the contemporary pleasures of chic designer boutiques and elegant bars are very much in abundance.