Cheap flights to Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv is not your usual Middle Eastern city. This modern metropolis is all about the sun, sea and party after party. At just over 100 years old, Tel Aviv is a mere teenager on the scale of world cities, and it shows.
This is not your typical Middle Eastern city of crusader castles, mosques and churches. Instead it is one of colourful high-rise apartment blocks, cutting edge skyscrapers and a clutch of Bauhaus and Art Deco structures that look like they came fresh from Miami Beach. And just like its Floridian counterpart, Tel Aviv’s heart is where the beach is, making this one of the most popular holiday destinations in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Walk the length of Rothschild Boulevard, one of the world's great city streets, admiring the renovated Bauhaus buildings and stopping mid-boulevard to refresh at one of the many cafes and sushi bars punctuating the central reservation.
Head for the beach on a Friday afternoon and watch the parties getting going. Open to all, they're a unique aspect of Tel Aviv life. Shops and many restaurants may close for the Sabbath on Friday nights and Saturday, but it's non-stop party time all along the city's golden sands.
Winter is a great time to explore Tel Aviv's museums, and the Diaspora Museum (Klausner Street, Tel Aviv University Campus) gives a fascinating glimpse of Jewish life all over the world. The Art Museum in the city centre (27 Shaul Hamelech Boulevard) is also very rewarding, with a fine permanent collection as well as a striking sculpture garden.
Pay a visit to the Sarona Center on Kaplan Boulevard, a newly-completed renovation of 19th-century Templar houses that is home to an atmospheric outdoor dining and shopping complex in the heart of the city centre. It's particularly enchanting by night, when locals party in the bars till the small hours.
Dolphinarium Beach is the place to head for on a Friday afternoon, when drummers and performance artists gather to hail the Sabbath, which in Tel Aviv always includes a beach party or three.
On a clear day, head north to Caesarea by road or rail to see some of the most impressive Roman ruins in the Middle East. Herod's grandiose port city retains a fabulous amphitheatre and some amazing pillars and pediments of golden stone. Make time for lunch at the excellent Helena (Old Town, Ceasarea Port).
Spend Saturday, when Tel Aviv's shops and some restaurants are closed, in Jerusalem, where the old city teems with bazaars and cafes. Get there by noon in order to see the story of the city's dramatic history entertainingly spelled out at the Tower of David Museum in the ancient citadel, opposite the Jaffa Gate. towerofdavid.org.il
Jerusalem, less than 90 minutes from Tel Aviv, is a great place to spend Saturday. Dress respectfully to visit the Western Wall, where a variety of Sabbath services take place simultaneously, then wander through the lively stalls and houmous shacks of the Arab Quarter.