Port of Tel Aviv

Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV)

Though Israel’s outside persona is buttoned up, don’t discount it — Tel Aviv provides a breath of fresh air to its southeastern cousin city of Jerusalem. To see Israel, you have to see it all, so take in the holy sites in the capital, and then head to Tel Aviv when you are ready to party with the locals, the tourists, or whoever happens to be around.

A young city (it’s only been around since 1909) that knows how to have a good time, Tel Aviv doesn’t skimp on clubs, art or sunsets over a glistening horizon. And for all these reasons and countless others (Food! Museums! Theater!), we are jet-setting to Israel as fast as we can.

Youth Shining Through

Start your beach vacation off right at the Jaffa, Tel Aviv’s ancient port turned hip weekend getaway. Here, you’ll find cafés, art galleries, and the architecture that, though dated, is truly a site to see. If you’re looking for more of a traditional setting — with a Tel Aviv flair, of course — head to Metzitzim beach with renovated accommodations and a playground for kids or the Hof Hatzuk beach, which has top notch facilities but an entrance fee. The culture of Israel, however, is perhaps most evident in the religious Separated Beach where there are days indicated specifically for women and days for men.

If you’re more inclined to stay in the city limits, Tel Aviv still has plenty for you to see and do. See the sights of the city in one of the first two Jewish neighborhoods: Neve Tzedek and Neve Shalom. Wander through the Tel Aviv Museum of Art chalk full of artwork that dates back to the 16th century. Or wander through the Nachlat Binyamin Pedestrian Mall, where locals sell their handmade crafts and goods.

Known fondly as “the city that never stops,” Tel Aviv’s party scene carries on into the early hours of the morning. Visit the Haoman 17, which is relatively new, opening its doors in 2005 or dance the night away at The Cat and The Dog. Grab a bite at Hummus Ashkara, which was recently voted to have the best hummus in Israel.

Mulling over a trip to the Middle East? You might try Jerusalem or Cairo.