By Simon Brandon
Israel’s second-biggest city and its economic centre is a world-class beach resort, global technology hub and living historical site all rolled into one.
Bordered by beaches
Lying about 55km north-west of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv is bordered by 14km of west-facing Mediterranean beaches. Gordon Beach is closest to the city centre — perfect for a lunchtime dip. Further south, Banana Beach, home to the Banana Beach café, is a popular evening spot to have a drink and watch the sunset.
Tel Aviv has a climate to match its beautiful beaches: the city enjoys warm Mediterranean summers and mild winters. Summer lasts from June until October, and temperatures in the coolest months average 13C.
With its cluster of technology companies and start-ups, Tel Aviv is at the heart of Israel’s Silicon Wadi, the Middle East’s answer to Silicon Valley. Around one in 10 jobs in the city are in the technology sector, according to a report by Tel Aviv Global, the city’s global economic development unit. Some of the world’s biggest technology companies, including Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon, have research and development centres in or near Tel Aviv.
Another city that never sleeps
With a nod to New York’s celebrated insomnia, Tel Aviv has been dubbed The Big Orange. The party starts late at its numerous bars and nightclubs, and finishes even later. The Block club is known for its all-night danceathons that last well into the next day. You can recover in the morning with a breakfast of shakshuka — eggs baked in a spiced tomato stew. The version served at Bucke Cafe is considered among the city’s finest.
Culture, ancient and modern
From the ancient port of Jaffa, where Tel Aviv has its origins and which has been continuously inhabited for thousands of years, to the Unesco World Heritage Site of White City, a cluster of 4,000 buildings in the Bauhaus style designed by German Jewish architects in the 1930s, Tel Aviv is rich in spoils for the culturally curious. The Eretz Israel Museum, which tells the history of Israel itself, has a live archaeological excavation — of a Philistine city from the 12th century BC — at its centre.
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