Tel Aviv Travel Guide
Social Media / El Al / Israel Travel / Tel Aviv Travel / Airlines / Airline News / Facebook / Expedia / → All Tags
I am going to Tel Aviv. I've never been to Tel Aviv, nor to Israel as a whole. I am going for 10 days and flying around 27 hours without factoring in layovers. Total decision and booking time was about 15 minutes and the flights are only costing me $353.60.
Why? Because, in case you haven't already heard, El Al Airlines had an error in their online bookings earlier this week that left the fuel surcharge off of ticket prices, making a roundtrip from New York to Tel Aviv less than a roundtrip from New York to Las Vegas.
I scored this deal on Expedia as soon as news of it hit social media, as did thousands others. A friend who attempted to book after me had the deal pulled as soon as she clicked "purchase"; the trip price had rocketed up to $999. What compels me to discuss this now is not joy or bragging over grabbing the ultra-cheap flights, but to point out how El Al has handled the potential catastrophe and inadvertently turned it into what is quite possibly the best thing to happen to them in a while.
Gay Travel / LGBT Travel / Jerusalem Travel / Tel Aviv Travel / Israel Travel / Jerusalem / Tel Aviv / Israel / Green Travel / Green Tourism / → All Tags
Israel tourism has been in an upward spiral over the last few years. Every year brings a new crop of travelers to the Jewish Statereflected in now-routine "this was the best tourism year ever" headlinesand they go home and tell their friends. That's how you end up with niche surveys about the popularity of Israel travel, like Israel being the number two destination for Russians.
Obviously part of Israel's tourism revolves around the country being a destination for religion travel. Jerusalem is and will remain by far Israel's most-visited destination (see our insidery tips for making the most of a Jerusalem visit here and here). But other parts of Israel are becoming famous for appealing to other demographics.
Forest-filled Haifa recently got the nod of being Israel's cleanest tourism city, part of a campaign to bolster green travel to and around Israel (El Al passengers flying from LHR to TLV can even purchase carbon off-sets).
And then there's Tel Aviv, which has just been voted the world's single best gay travel destination.
Try Turkish in Tel Aviv? It sounded like a tongue twister to us, but we jumped on the opportunity to sit down to the swankiest version of Kosher Turkish food in town at Pasha. One of a two-restaurant chain (the other, original branch is in Jerusalem), Pasha is decked out in Asian decor, but serves authentic Turkish dishes. It's family style, so sit back and down kebobs of all kinds mixed with rices, soups, dips, and veggies that continue to keep coming. The eggplant dip is deliciously smoky and the koftes (meat dumplings) were spiced and perfectly shaped.
After a morning walk through the extensive flea markets of Tel Aviv's port city, Jaffa, don't shortchange yourself with a standard falafel that's easily gettable at any nearby stand. Instead, head to the Doctor's--Dr. Shakshuka's that is.
Serving traditional (Kosher) Libyan and Moroccan cuisine, Dr. Shakshuka's is like stepping into a family's house for a meal. Long wooden tables line the indoor and outdoor eating areas and guests are encouraged fill them, mingle and try everything.
We're major fans of visiting open-air markets while traveling, and Tel Aviv's got one of the best: The Carmel Market, at the intersection of Allenby, Nahalat Binyamin, King George and Sheinkin Streets. Make sure you set aside ample time to stroll through the hundreds of stalls where you can pick up everything from sunhats to nuts to nougats to spices, fruits, coffee and more.
Skip the "Clothing Only" section at the start (unless you are looking for overpriced Levi's) and walk towards Sheinkin Street for a great path through all the food stands. The Mediterranean produce is amazing and cheap and vendors are happy to comply with taste-testing for potential buyers.
We scored ourselves some delish burekas (traditional breakfast bites with filling) and fresh strawberries to take to the beach later.
Jaunted Field Trips / Embedded Travel Guides / Tel Aviv Field Trip / Restaurants / Tel Aviv Travel / → All Tags
Jaunted contributor Sedona recently spent a week in Tel Aviv, which is throwing itself a year-long fiesta in honor of its 100th birthday. She headed to the Holyland expecting seven days of hummus, pita and falafel but she left pleasantly surprised by the city's fabulous food scene. This week she's filling us in on her favorite picks, none of which involve chickpeas.
Benjamin Siegel Bistro & Bar is neatly tucked into the Opera Tower (above) on Tel Aviv's famous beachfront promenade and it's a great alternative to the fast-food shacks and stands along the water. And yes, it was named for the famous Las Vegas mobster, Bugsy Siegel. (Something to do with the desert, say the owners.)
The decor is on the Baroque side with plenty of twinkly crystals and interesting knickknacks to keep it from being too dark. Also, the atmosphere's more on the elegant side, so don't wander in with sandy flip-flops.
Prices aren't cheap (around $20 for an entree) but the daily fish specials are worth it, prepped to order with a Mediterranean bent (usually a special sauce or dip). We say get there early and watch the sunset with a signature cocktail. Later on, a DJ will spin some tunes giving you the best of the both worlds.
The restaurant is open Sunday-Thursday from 12:30pm to 1am, Fridays from 9:30am to 2am and Saturdays from 9:30am to 1am.
· Benjamin Siegel [Official Site]
· Where Does Bar Refaeli Dine When She's Home in Tel Aviv? [Jaunted]
· The secrets of a successful bar [Jerusalem Post] [Photo: hanneorla]
One of the most-covered travel stories over the past few years has been the rise of voluntourism and do-gooder vacations. But we've also noticed an uptick in do-good-for-yourself vacations—scheduling a trip around a big athletic event like a marathon or bike race.
So as spring marathon season swings into full gear, we'll be looking at some of the marquee 26-milers around the world (especially the ones in places we love to visit).
Coming up on April 24 is a somewhat surprising entry—the Tel Aviv Marathon. The race is back after a 15-year hiatus, starting up again as part of this Israeli city's centennial celebration. The marathon course is appealing for anyone who wants to get a good look at this diverse city—it winds through the Old City and Park HaYarkon, ending along Tel Aviv's main draw—the stunning Mediterranean beachfront. The race, which also includes 5K and 10K versions, is expected to bring 15,000 runners.
· Run the Tel Aviv Marathon for 100 years of history [Israel 21c]
· Marathons coverage [Jaunted]
· Israel travel coverage [Jaunted]
Music / Music Travel / Kutiman / YouTube / → All Tags
Man, ever since I discovered Kutiman last Thursday, I can not stop watching his amazing collection of videos. Normally I try to curb my enthusiasm when the latest meme catches afire, but this guy is simply amazing and deserves all the viral fame he's getting. Kutiman is the pen name for Ophir Kutiel, a Tel Aviv-based musician and producer who recently spent three months deconstructing YouTube clips in his bedroom and creating a series of music videos that literally tap the best talent that can be found on the web. The resulting mash-up is nothing short of astounding, and I wouldn't be surprised if some of the featured artists - and Kutiman himself - soon found themselves on the top of the musical game.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport on Monday to meet with leaders of Israel's political parties. Despite being continually dogged by accusations of low safety standards, including a recent salvo from the European Aviation Safety Agency, Ben Gurion International continues to welcome high-profile and high-security guests like the Pope, who's scheduled to pass through there May 11 en route to say a papal mass in Nazareth
We don't know if she immediately made a pit stop in order to see if her boss Barry sent her some TPS reports to fill out, but she could have using the free WiFi in Terminal 3. Whether you're the public face of a world power or just the CEO of your own life, let us know which airports are best for business and we'll add 'em to our Airport WiFi map.
· Clinton arrives in Israel on first visit as top US diplomat [AFP via Google]
· EASA may ban Israeli flights into Europe [Port2Port.com]
· Vatican picks Nazareth as venue for papal mass [Haaretz]
· Airport WiFi Map [Jaunted]
Tel Aviv is Israel's largest city and the center of the country's secular life. The residents recline on glistening beaches. They dance in bustling clubs. They shop in skyscraper malls. And every morning they sit on Freeway 2 and share one of the Middle East's worst commutes with two million of their closest friends.
In between all that, they still found time to give unto the world Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model Bar Refaeli. Let us pause and give thanks.
Could this be what we've all been waiting for? Israel's Ben-Gurion International has added a gizmo called MagShoe to its security checkpoints in Terminal 3, meaning some passengers will be able to leave their shoes on.
MagShoe specifically scans the feet and ankles of fliers, and while it doesn't sniff for explosives, it can presumably detect batteries and wires packed into the heels of a potential bomber's kicks. (It picks up both ferrous and non-ferrous metals, though the manufacturer says the device "ignores metal normally found inside shoes to reduce false alarms.")
A foot scan with MagShoe takes only two seconds, which is substantially less time than it takes us to horn our shoes back on while juggling our laptop after clearing a TSA checkpoint.
Talk about an entourage! Paul McCartney played his first ever show in Israel last night to a crowd of 50,000--not including the 5,000 security guards he hired to guard Tel Aviv's Yarkon Park for the show.
Sir Paul opened the show with "Hello Goodbye" after a full day of visits to a local music school (where his attempt to play the violin made children merry) and Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity. Of course, with 5,000 guards, he probably had a very large presence in the country, from which The Beatles were disinvited in 1965.
That beefed-up security probably made him feel safer, but it had to attract a lot of attention when McCartney was in Israel. Who is better to travel with: 5,000 security personnel or a few well-placed ninjas?
· Fab McCartney Wows Israel [The Jerusalem Post]
· Sir Paul McCartney Shacks up at Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv [HC]
· Celeb Travel coverage [Jaunted]
[Photo: Bruce's MidEast Soundbites]