Tel Aviv, Israel’s second largest city is a youthful, vibrant and cosmopolitan hub with beaches competing with the likes of Miami, Rio de Janeiro or Cape Town! It has a vibrant art scene, beach restaurants, chic bars and is famous for its exciting nightlife – the 24 hour culture made it known as ‘The City that Never Stops’. It does not take long until you are sucked into the laid back way of life of this dynamic coastal city where life is lived outdoors!
With various attractive beaches, each with its own distinct character and crowd, it is not surprising that Tel Aviv made it into the top 10 Beach Cities on National Geographic as well as the Lonely Planet! The blissfully balmy beaches spread over 8 miles (13 km) where sun seekers, dog lovers, families and surfers all find their individual spot.
The long beach promenade attracts an active crowd of skateboarders, street artists, joggers, dog walkers and bikers that make the most of the extensive bicycle paths.
Cycling became one of the hippest ways to get around Tel Aviv especially since Tel-O-Fun has been introduced in 2011 – a bike sharing rental system that is of course available 24/7 (a bit like the ‘Boris’ cycle hire scheme’ in London). The coastal cycle path goes on for miles and miles with great views of the turquoise waters.
Rather than hiring a bike I made use of the free bicycles available at my hotel (While Villa – more about that later) which allowed me to explore the rough coast and empty beaches that lay passed the buzzing, lively beaches closer to the centre.
Yoga on paddle boards is the coolest new trend under yogis and of course available in a trendy beach city like Tel Aviv!
Dogs also form a big part of everyday life – they come along to cafes, shops as well as the beach – I loved watching the little dog having fun on a paddle board with his owner who dipped him into the ocean to cool him down every now and then 🙂
Located a little bit away from the beaches was the beautiful boutique White Villa Hotel where we stayed for a few nights. The cream white and black interior was my kind of design where I immediately felt at home. The intimate hotel with its airy and light rooms offered an authentic Tel Aviv experience with a most friendly and helpful team!
At the rooftop of the hotel was a small chill out area for hotel guests, offering a hideaway from the hustling and buzzing of the city below.
Right in front of the hotel was a green stretch where young people chilled out in the afternoons and evenings.
They were able to buy small pastries and drinks from a trendy and very popular coffee shop nearby.
White Villa was in a great neighbourhood with fantastic cafes and restaurants and even the beach could be reached by bicycle in about 10 minutes. Bucke Cafe Ahad Ha’am בוקה (above) became my absolute favourite cafe in the area with a lovely chilled out atmosphere and delicious small bites to eat.
It is also the place to discover small designer cafes and food stalls run by celebrated chefs.
One of the best places for food, however, is Sarona food market – a sophisticated indoor market with the most incredible food stores and shops!
For a cultural afternoon, the Museum of Art is a prime spot in Tel Aviv, showcasing a comprehensive collection of modern art by local as well as international artists in an amazing building. The permanent exhibition includes works of Picasso, Chagall, Dali, Klimt to name just a few.
Another hotel that we tried during our stay was the Carlton which had the most amazing rooftop pool and close proximity to the beach!
From the rooftop pool area we had incredible views of Tel Aviv’s beach front and admired the impressive private outdoor pool underneath (picture above).
Breakfast was served at Carlton’s beachfront deck where we leisurely read our papers while enjoying the sea breeze!
The recently developed port was also right in front of us where we watched the harbour life go by …
By the end of our stay in Tel Aviv we became accustomed to the laid back, easy going way of life which made it hard to leave!