Fly Nonstop from Boston to Tel Aviv
El Al to Tel Aviv, Israel (Nonstop Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday)
What to Bring:
Plenty of layers for an easy transition between hot afternoons and chilly evenings, with an umbrella for the hard winter rainfalls that come and go quickly
Tel Aviv, situated on the warm coast of the Mediterranean Sea, is renowned for many things, not the least of which are its markets. Each of these outdoor, year-round shuks offers a fresh lens through which to view Israeli culture, whether it’s the smoky spices of the Levinsky Market, in the quirky southern neighborhood of Florentin, or the crammed antiques and vintage clothing stalls of Jaffa’s Shuk Hapishpeshim.
But nowhere can you get a better taste of Israel than at the Carmel Market. There, stalls heaped with vibrant produce and ice-packed fish compete for attention with bakers’ seed-studded breads, roasted nuts, and exotic dried fruits. Falafel, hummus, fresh juices, espresso, even burritos—it’s a dizzying array of food, and a feast for the senses.
A fascinating mix of surfboard culture melded with hip design, art, and culinary scenes, Tel Aviv is a world-class metropolis that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Even at the height of rush hour—the city is overflowing with finance and tech companies—the vibe is all casual, as locals saunter around in jeans and flip-flops many months of the year. Thanks to the beach and the perennially warm weather, people live outside here, biking and scooting everywhere, often with their kids and dogs in tow.
One reason to head indoors, however, is the renowned Tel Aviv Museum of Art, a soaring space of modern and contemporary works. Or soak up the city’s culture in the charming Neve Tzedek neighborhood, home to quaint cafés, chic boutiques, and the Suzanne Dellal Center for Dance and Theater, which hosts the modern dance troupe Batsheva.
Should you prefer to soak up the sun instead, it’s easy to rent bikes at one of many sidewalk kiosks. Peddle up and down the boardwalk along the shore, starting at the northern port and riding all the way south, where Tel Aviv meets Jaffa, its artsy sister city. Along the way, be sure to pull up a low-slung chair at one of the outdoor bars along the beach and, digging feet into cool sand, watch the best show of all: the gentle waves of the Mediterranean.
For higher-end dining, two restaurants have created the standard for all others. Manta Ray, overlooking the beach, specializes in fish and other seafood, but also offers a hearty Israeli breakfast each morning. If you go for dinner, be sure to get there in time for sunset. Yaffo-Tel Aviv, from the renowned Israeli chef Haim Cohen, serves up the freshest ingredients with an intriguing wine list.
Designed by architect Karim Rashid, the shiny new Poli House (starting at $198 per night) is a fusion of space-age décor and original Bauhaus architecture in the middle of the action. *Hotel prices are for the January through March range.
It’s worth hiring a guide to see the best of Tel Aviv’s markets and design scenes—Delicious Israel takes visitors through the shuks, while TLV Style specializes in custom tours for fashion and design lovers. If you’re there for an extended period, consider a side trip to Jerusalem to see the Western Wall and more of the area’s abundant history.