Our Travels: Tel Aviv, Israel

At World Words, we put our money where our mouth is and get out there exploring and experiencing first hand all of the amazing places we write about. One of us can always be found off somewhere, whether an exotic far-flung destination such as The Gambia, Guatemala or India, or a city break closer to home like Tallinn, Lisbon or Venice.

When we’re at our desks, all those experiences come tumbling out, creating insightful, factual and inspiring travel content. We love to relive our personal trips, and do so for our clients in the forms of blogs, guides and web copy.

This month, World Words writer Samantha recounts her trip to Tel Aviv, a city capable of surprising even the most unflappable of travellers. Cosmopolitan, edgy yet also child-friendly, it is Israel’s hippest destination. Here’s why…

Sam and her family enjoying one of Tel Aviv’s beautifully sheltered, sandy beaches.

Why I went to Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv is a city I know well and have visited many times, partly because my in-laws live there, but mainly because it’s just so darn cool. This trip was different however, because my husband and I took our three-year-old daughter, and experienced it not as culture vultures by day and bar-hoppers by night, but through the very different eyes of a toddler-toting family. It proved to be an enlightening experience as we uncovered a whole new side to Tel Aviv.

My highlight of the trip
Tel Aviv has a lot to show off. From Bauhaus architecture to world-class museums and edgy art galleries. But none of that would have entertained a three year old, so we set off to the vast HaYarkon Park, which quickly became the highlight of our trip. Stretching along the southern portion of the non-stop city, Tel Aviv’s famous green lung is a swathe of calm and serenity amid the urban hubbub. New York has Central Park, Tel Aviv has HaYarkon. There’s a stream and small wildlife park. There are walks and play parks, sports courts, and even a 10 acre Rock Garden, showcasing Israel’s geological diversity. We spent a long sunny day eating pitta, hummus and olives for our picnic, watching fish in the Tropical Garden, and hiring bikes and cycling along the river path.

What else I love about Tel Aviv
Two words… brunches and beaches. There is nothing more Tel Avivian than a gigantic, decadent brunch enjoyed alfresco as the low humdrum of traffic, dog-walkers, electric bikes and pedestrians whizz past. Be sure to try local feasts of hummus, pita, salads and cheeses, or shakshuka (eggs in tomato sauce).

Few cities in the world can match Tel Aviv for magnificent, sandy beaches. Wide, sheltered and lifeguarded (and with all the amenities you’ll need) it makes a day out at the beach as easy as walking a few steps from your hotel.

While our pint-sized traveller is still a little too young for most museums, they should be top on any must-see list. There are national institutions including the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Eretz Israel Museum, and Beit Hatfutsot: The Museum of the Jewish People. But there are also a number of specialist museums, such as the History of Tel Aviv-Yafo, the Bauhaus Museum, and Bialik Museum, home of the first great modern Hebrew poet.

HaYarkon Park is a delightful place to while away a day cycling and picnicking.

Why you should go
Go for the brunches, the beaches, the museums, the parks and for the delightful year-round summer holiday vibe. In Tel Aviv, flip flops are standard attire, the cafés and restaurants are pouring-onto-the-pavement full at any given time of the day, and you’ll meet a delightfully eclectic cross-section of Israel’s population. If you’re going without children and are able to enjoy the legendary nightlife scene, prepare to let your hair down and let the party start.

How you can visit
Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport is the country’s main gateway and there are flights from around the globe landing here, including many budget carriers. Public transport into the city is a doddle, with the train working 24 hours a day. Alternatively, all the usual suspect car hire agencies have offices there. Get about by foot, by bike or by bus.

If this has whetted your appetite for travelling in Israel, you can read some more of the projects we’ve written on our projects page. Oh, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for the latest destinations and travel news.

– Article and photography by Samantha Wilson.

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