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Why you should book a flight to Tel Aviv

By: Virgin Atlantic

February 20, 2019

Tel Aviv sunset: Night view from Jaffa © Shutterstock

Tel Aviv sunset: Night view from Jaffa © Shutterstock

We’re delighted to be launching a new London Heathrow to Tel Aviv service in September, and with flights available to book from next week it’s time to start planning a trip to this exciting tech hub, beach city and all-round fantastic Mediterranean destination.

For a quick lowdown on the Tel Aviv vibe, we chatted to our head of customer loyalty Victoria White who’s been coming to the city for many years and knows it like the back of her hand. We began by asking her what makes Tel Aviv special and how travellers can make the most of their time in the city.

So Victoria, tell us why Tel Aviv is such a great place to visit?

Most of all, it’s a great beach destination. Hot and sunny, with life lived mostly outdoors. The nightlife scene is also buzzing. All the restaurants and bars are full in the evening, there’s a great vibe on the streets and it feels safe to walk around at night. There’s also a fantastic LGBT scene. And if you’re staying in a hotel, Israeli hotel breakfasts are like nothing you’ve seen before – tons of salads, cheeses, yoghurts, bakery goods, on the spot-made eggs, pizza, bureka and breads and so on.

Can you share some of your top tips for a first-time visitor? What would help them get a sense of the city?

First up, I’d encourage them to walk along the Tayelet (the promendade) which runs along the Mediterranean coastline from the port in north Tel Aviv all the way to Jaffa in the south. It’s a great thing to do at anytime of day, but particularly lovely around sunset. Stop at Frishman Beach, where there’s a great toasted meat sandwich place called Suduch directly on the beach, plus a wide selection of watersports.

The Jaffa flea market, or Shuk Hapishpishim in Hebrew, is a top spot for getting a glimpse of local life and you can browse the alleyways for all kinds of treasures like Persian pottery, textiles and antiques. Shuk HaCarmel is another large outdoor market; the largest in Tel Aviv in fact. Here you’ll find all kinds of amazing foodstuffs from Halva to spices and fresh fruits and vegetables. Consider taking a food tour through the market to discover all the diverse produce on offer.

One of the oldest and most upmarket districts is Neve Tzedek, where the narrow streets are full of art galleries and fashionable restaurants. One of my favourites is Rendezvous on Lilienblum Street, an Italian kosher venue which offers a great three-course deal at lunchtime.

How would you describe the perfect day in Tel Aviv?

I would start by having a great Israeli breakfast in my hotel, then hire a bike via the shared Tel-o-Fon bike scheme (which has 2,000 bikes across the city) and cycle along the promenade or around HaYarkon Park. The park is Tel Aviv’s ‘green lung’ and lies on the outskirts of the city, and it’s home to botanical gardens, lakes and a water park, as well as easy cycling trails.

I’d then head to the Sarona complex in the city centre, an area of restored buildings where you’ll find restaurants, cafes, ice-cream parlours and bars, as well as swanky shopping in the form of luxury boutiques and specialist stores. There’s also another market here which specialises in culinary experiences along the lines of Borough Market in London.

Around sunset, I might opt for a public open-air yoga session at the port, followed by cocktails at Esperanto bar on the beach (it’s open from May to October). For dinner, I’m a fan of Kanki sushi restaurant just back from the beach on Bograshov Street, which has a great outdoor terrace and vibe.

Stay tuned for more Tel Aviv tips from more in-the-know people at the airline.

London Heathrow to Tel Aviv flights are on sale from 25th February 2019, with the first flight departing on 25th September.

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