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.
Take a bus ride north to the handsome university campus, and while in the neighbourhood visit two of Tel Aviv's most absorbing museums (one dedicated to the underground forces which helped establish the State of Israel, the other to the Jews of the diaspora and their world traditions).
Hanging out on Tel Aviv's miles of beaches is de rigeur in the summer months. Get ready to join one of the impromptu parties on Friday afternoons, as locals get ready to dance the night away.
Celebrate the spring sunshine by renting a vintage Vespa from Telavespa to ride the length of seaside Tel Aviv from the port to Jaffa. telavespa.com
Head to the city centre and discover the excellent Museum of Art, showcasing international as well as Israeli artists. A sculpture garden and excellent cafe serving Mediterranean fare are further inducements to turn away from the beach in favour of air-conditioned culture (27 Sderot Sha'ul HaMelech, tamuseum.org.il).
Wander the length of beautiful Rothschild Boulevard to discover the fabulous Bauhaus buildings that have earnt Tel Aviv a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation and are gradually being renovated. Stop for coffee, or snack on sushi and other delights at various points along the central reservation.
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.
Head north on the train to the low key resort of Netanya for some autumn sunshine and a visit to Spicy Way, the emporium of homegrown herbs, spices and infusions which has taken Israel by storm. The train line also serves Caesaria, where the ruins of Herod's seaside palace are worth half a day's exploration, punctuated with a lunch or supper stop at Helena.
Ride the train up to Haifa and enjoy the serenity and stunning beauty of the Baha'i Gardens. After freshening up in the classy Dan Carmel hotel (danhotels.com) near the park gates, dive into the Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art next door (80 Sderot HaNassi).
Go to the central bus station any day but Saturday and jump on a ride to Jerusalem, less than 90 minutes' away. Walk the Via Dolorosa, visit the Western Wall and explore the Tower of David Museum opposite Jaffa Gate, which covers the city's millennia of history under all its different occupiers. goisrael.com
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).