Tel Aviv has made its name as one of the ‘hottest’ cities in the world, not just in the Middle East. This melting pot of diverse culture, rich history, and flourishing music scene offers an enchanting buzz that is truly unique to this vibrant playground. Not to mention a foodie heaven, its unparalleled cuisine takes inspiration from a blend of Mediterranean and middle eastern flavours, offering a tantalization for all of the senses. The hi-tech hub boasts a variety of vibey coffee shops, where you’ll find funky artistic creatives at all hours of the day, and its booming wellness scene will impress even the most discerning of customers.
With mind, body and soul at its core, this holiday destination is worth adding to your bucket list. They say New York is the city that never sleeps but in Tel Aviv, the relaxed energy, sprawling seaside coast, and vitamin D offer visitors a heartfelt feeling of happiness no matter the hour. Tel Avivians pride themselves on making the most out of living, and Tel Aviv is no exception.
Taking the crown as one of the world’s friendliest vegan cities, each enchanting neighbourhood and lively pocket offers healthy, nutritious and delicious eateries, with fresh farm to table produce. From morning matcha, acai bowls and smoothies, to fresh Israeli breakfast trays that make your mouth water, you are guaranteed to go home with a full tummy and satisfied soul.
Stretching along the Mediterranean coast, lively beach bars, yoga classes, paddleboarding, sup yoga and surfing are among many outdoor sporting activities on offer. Or simply enjoy taking in the sunshine and meeting friendly (and beautiful) locals, whilst sipping on a signature Israeli blended iced coffee. Bask in the breeze with the sound of summer beats at Frisham beach, as locals enjoy bat and ball (known as matcot) and volleyball all hours of the day. For an afternoon adventure, hop on a Bird scooter for rent, and zip down the promenade for a real beach hopping experience.
Just a short hop away, The impressive Jaffa Hotel screams modern luxury blended with history. Once a 19th-century Monastery, the 5 star 120 room hotel invites you into a calming oasis amongst the hustle and bustle of city life. Turn your ‘Out Of Office’ mode on around its decadent pool area, where you can enjoy a boujie lunch, and if you need some more TLC, head to the state of the art spa to get pampered with famous Dead Sea scrubs. When walking through ancient inspired arched colonnades and gardens, you are transported into another world.
Just a short walk away, the Jaffa flea market is bustling with boutiques, bargains, cool cafes and flourishing Arabic delicacies to indulge in. Friday afternoon in Jaffa is the place to be.
The Norman Hotel is located in the heart of the city, just off the famous Rothschild Boulevard, lined with a beautiful canopy of trees, cool cafes and bars. This street is also a UNESCO world heritage site, adorned with old and restored Bauhaus buildings- a true architectural pleasure.
This boutique luxury hotel provides a relaxed atmosphere, where visitors can unwind by the rooftop pool while taking in the city skyline. The Norman brunch is famous and a must. Its buffet boasts an enticing array of European health-inspired dishes, impressive wines and a great atmosphere. Head for a drink in the evening and chill in the lounge bar. The menu is top-notch.
Soho House recently opened its doors in Jaffa; one of the city’s most dynamic neighbourhoods, the ancient port city adjacent to Tel Aviv. This part of town is lined with quaint cobbled streets and romantic passages boasting hidden little galleries, shops and delicious eateries. Whilst stepping inside visitors can delight in rich history, and marvel at the historic building overlooking the mediterranean sea.
The summer season is upon us, and this is when Tel Aviv becomes truly alive. So head to Soho House to see and be seen sipping on picantes around the plush pool. Passionate about their diverse wellness offerings, when you’re finished catching some rays, choose from a selection of classes to uplevel those good vibes. From yoga, pilates and movement classes, to sound healing, vision board making and empowerment workshops to dive into your-self care. In the evening the bar comes to life with high-vibe entertainment and parties.
Eyal Shani has made his name as one of Israel’s top chefs, with famous restaurants worldwide. Using fragrant, seasonal produce, he is responsible for transforming even the simplest ingredients into sexy and sophisticated plates. A trip to Tel Aviv must include a visit to Romano restaurant, situated in a funky warehouse hidden amongst a discreet neighbourhood. After devouring oven-roasted sweet potato, sizzling golden cauliflower that melts in your mouth, and fresh ceviche, the eatery turns into a party. With Friday the start of the weekend in Israel, you can enjoy dancing the night away.
Port Said his other noted restaurant is a hipster haven. Sharing tables on the side of the street invites diners to enjoy a casual yet buzzing atmosphere that truly encapsulates the energy of Tel Aviv. Hasalon- the most notable, now also open in Miami, New York and Ibiza, is known for offering a wild and lively night. Dinner is often paired with dancing on tables and throwing napkins in the air, with waiters bringing round shots and its open kitchen sending out arousing aromas. Book ahead, as tables are only available From Thursday to Saturday.
Whether day or night, Anastasia welcomes regulars and tourists for its coveted smoothie menu and raw desserts. It is not unusual for queues to be snaking around the street for high demand famous vegan breakfast trays. Situated off the popular Dizengoff street, its leafy patio provides the perfect place to while away an afternoon with an iced masala chai. From vegan scrambled eggs and ‘cheese’ plates, with homemade gluten-free bread, to coconut curry and luxurious cooling elixirs, you cannot leave without trying their frozen cheesecake and warm gooey chocolate cake.
With its slogan ‘Be Your Best’ this unique vegan restaurant has social and environmental awareness at its heart. A true culinary experience, Bana’s menu focuses on healthy, nutritious and delicious food. Blending fresh seasonal produce, with interesting flavours, one can enjoy its enticing menu from breakfast to dinner, and a cocktail is a must. Simple dishes done well, there is nothing that will disappoint, in fact, it will leave you wanting more.
From breakfast trays adorned with fresh salads, eggs, tahini, and middle eastern spreads, to roasted vegetable plates hot from the oven, to tofu scrambled sandwiches, and of course middle eastern special shakshuka, the coffee is delightful here too. The hot gluten-free cookies melt in your mouth and provide a deliciously decadent treat. If you’re going for it, try a bourekas, a signature Israeli breakfast snack, thin-crust light pastry pocket filled with cheese or vegetables.
On a hot summer’s day, a cold-pressed juice is a perfect accompaniment to topping up your tan. Head to Jusa juice and smoothie bar to fill up your beach bag from its huge fridge full of freshly pressed juices and smoothies, chia puddings, acai bowls, raw bowls, salads, sandwiches and high protein desserts. For sugar and dairy-free ice lollies, their exciting array of paletas provides a healthy refresher from the heat. Get some for on the go. If you’re looking for a cleanse, Jusa is your place. Offering health tonics, detox soups and one to five day cleanse programs, you can even get your daily juices delivered to your door.
From Crossfit to pilates, to rollerblading, acro yoga, and pole dancing, there is truly something for every desire when it comes to moving your body and calming your mind. With boutique studios across the city, and outdoor meditation and workout classes, you won’t be bored of choices. The beaches also provide workout parks across the promenade if you fancy getting a sweat on by the sea.
Locker Room is a fantastic place for gym bunnies experiencing separation anxiety from their favourite workout classes! Lots of styles are on offer from HIIT, functional training, yoga, reformer pilates, spin, strength and cardio classes, with locations around the city.
Ikigai Tel Aviv is a holistic wellness studio offering daily classes and a haven from the bustling streets. Enjoy rooftop meditation and yoga classes, Tibetan sound baths and treat yourself to a shiatsu massage or reflexology.
Or HaYoga is a quaint studio in a quiet central neighbourhood in the city, offering drop-in yoga classes for all levels. Whether you’re into Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa or a simple flow, there are a wide variety of classes and times to suit all desires. Take some time for yourself here, turn off your phone and come back home on the mat.
A spiritual side of Tel Aviv offers meditation classes, breathwork, sound healing, Full Moon circles and ecstatic dance parties, that offer individuals an opportunity to really tap into their self-love and soul nourishment, and give themselves a chance to breathe, and connect to themselves, away from everyday life.
The Self Love Club is a community with empowerment at its core, offering journaling workshops, monthly sharing circles, self-love events and wellness retreats, where locals, internationals and tourists can come together to feel inspired and connect to like-minded individuals, gain clarity and find balance in their lives.
A Tel Aviv food tour through the city’s famous bustling Carmel Market will take you into the depths of the Middle East, and immerse yourself in what Israeli cuisine has to offer. Of course, it’s your chance to dive into what real hummus tastes like to your heart’s content. A day trip here is highly recommended, to get lost amongst the local stalls, nibble on tasty treats and groove to Israeli beats. There are many bargains to be had, cool hippy style clothes, Israeli souvenirs and keepsakes. After the tour, find yourself meandering amongst the back streets into the Kerem neighbourhood, the old Yemenite quarter, with hip coffee shops and cafes. Head to Yom Tov street for people watching at Yom Tov cafe, with a delicious latte to hand.
Levinsky Market in the famous Florentine neighbourhood is renowned for its cool street art, hipster locals and its fantastic array of stalls, selling fresh local produce, juicy medjool dates, spices, dried fruit and nuts, and a mecca for humble home-made middle eastern dishes. This cultural gem has deep-rooted culinary influences from Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt.
words by Georgia Barnett, writer, self-love and empowerment coach