Early 2018, Céline and I, Bert, headed for Tel Aviv Jaffa in Israel. The city is perfect for a short, affordable and trendy city trip. A return ticket costing €330 p.p., Brussels Airlines took us to Gurion in Tel Aviv in about 5 hours. The warm sun of the Middle East made for lovely weather. The month of June is the perfect time for a trip there!
Visiting Tel Aviv, you promptly discover the city’s immense contrasts: modernized quarters alternating with abandoned yet charming neighbourhoods. Not only do you get to know the local population, you also meet the ‘hipsters’. And let’s not forget: ‘lisromm’ or ‘chill’. Escape from our western hustle and bustle for a while. That positive attitude allows you to fully enjoy the splendour of Tel Aviv.
Wonderful (culinary) stay-over in the old seaport town of Jaffa
We stayed at the magnificent Airbnb of Dalit in the heart of Jaffa, an old seaport town, yet a wonderful and trendy quarter of Tel Aviv as well. Strolling the narrow streets, you spot urban paintings, cosy bars and trendy restaurants. Over here ‘hipster’ means young, innovative catering businesses where quality food prevails over appearance of the interior. The casual decoration makes for an authentic experience that makes you feel like a real local.
All around the old city quarters you get to smell and taste the authentic atmosphere. It’s no coincidence that Jaffa, or Hebrew Yafo, means ‘beautiful’. A must-do here: visiting the only just opened ‘Setai Hotel’, one of Israel’s most gorgeous hotels in colonial style, embracing the rich heritage of Jaffa. Being ‘old hands’ in the field, skipping this was not an option. Make sure you visit the Flea market in this part of town, all “Instagram-proof”.
Explore the commercial Rotschild Boulevard
Across a large part of the tourist centre runs the Rotschild Boulevard: a lavishly looking street with lovely food and drink spots. Ideal for taking a breather. The fruit stands, with ripening fruit hanging down, immediately strike the eye. In a Hebrew bar we enjoyed the local drink ‘Ayran’, a typical, non-sweet yoghurt-drink that presented the perfect refreshment.
Sunbathing at Alma Beach
In for some stretched out sun adoration? Alma Beach is great for sunbathing. Here, you’ll stumble on both locals and tourists. And the beach offers a lovely view of the old neighbourhood Jaffa.
Tel Aviv truly is the ultimate city trip for foodies. We expected a lot of the rich international kitchen. We went ‘totally local’ and weren’t let down at all. Prices for a restaurant visit are similar to what you pay in our regions. The main difference is the food culture: whereas we like to dine sumptuously, a restaurant experience in Israel is more accessible and speedier.
To me, hummus is Israeli kitchen at its purest. And it makes for a lovely combination with pitta bread and fresh vegetables, the perfect side-dish to an Israeli brunch. Israeli adore ‘baba ganoush' and ‘labne’. Baba ganoush originates in the Lebanese kitchen and is a salad with smoky aubergines, sesame pasta and local spices. Labne is a savoury, drained, and strained yoghurt.
We gladly take you to the food hotspots we discovered, so you don’t miss out on them! Our list of places to visit:
Got time for a daytrip from Tel Aviv? Jerusalem is no more than an hour away and transport between both cities is extremely well organized by comfortable bus transportation. A return ticket is priced at a mere €7,77.
The highlights for a flash visit to Jerusalem:
Jerusalem is noticeably busier than Tel Aviv and also the range of restaurant is more limited here. After a quite a quest we found a delicious salad at Mr. Green – Salads & Bagels (Yafo Road). A fantastic concept that is shining at n° 7 in the top 10 of best delis in town. Moreover, this (take-away) restaurant is listed as a Mehadrin restaurant: the strictest level in which ‘kosher’ food is processed. Expect no service here, no smile, nor any sympathy for customers.
We were very much impressed with Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and absolutely recommend Israel!
Written on 18/03/2019 by Bert