Israel Turns 61 and Tel Aviv Takes Center Stage

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Yesterday was Israel's 61st Independence Day. Celebrated across the country in different ways, it was one never to be forgotten, especially as it coincided with the 100th birthday of Tel Aviv, Israel's largest city, and the country's capital of cool.

With just so many pictures out there, we had a big problem picking out some to go here...

Be Cool in Israel

Eilat to be Upgraded & Hotels to Become Cheaper

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Israel's new tourism minister, Stas Misezhnikov might have overexaggerated this week when he said "There's nothing to do in Eilat" but he was right that there could be more for tourists to do in the city itself. At the moment, the great underwater observatory, beaches, and watersport attractions, are more or less all there is to do in the city iself. Although nearby there is much more.

But he didnt stop there..

The minister announced that he will be creating a tourism 'masterplan' for the south of the city. This will include more hotels, a new promenade, and more attractions.

The new Minister also announced that by building more hotels across the whole country, he would be able to reduce the cost of accomodation. More great news.

Tel Aviv Port to Get Bigger

Tel Aviv's Port was regenerated over the last ten years to create what is now one of the city's most trendy night and day life areas. Great restaurants, fashionable shops, and a wide broadwalk have transferred this derelict complex of warehouses and industrial buildings into one of Tel Aviv's hottest destinations.

But there was always something missing...

A large part of the port was held back, and the derelict warehouses have remained derelict. Until now that is. A deal signed this week means that this June all the walls around the port will come down, and a development of apartment buildings, bars, restaurants, clubs and shops will be built over the next few years....

...and we cant wait...

Israel's Most Popular Sites Announced

Sunday, 12 April 2009

This years league table of Israel's most popular tourist sites has just been released. The table has seen some changes since last year with ancient sites moving up and modern ones moving down:

  1. Masada, the ancient fortress in the Negev desert overlooking the Dead Sea is now Israel's most popular tourist site. Click here for more...
  2. The stunning ancient harbor of Caesarea is now Israel's second most popular tourist site. Visitor numbers here are even higher than this suggests as the large concerts held here throughout the summer attract even more visitors who dont enter the national park officially. Click here for more...
  3. Jerusalem's Biblical Zoo, previously Israel's most popular tourist site, is now third. This isnt such a big attraction for overseas visitors and has probably fallen as more overseas tourists have come. It does, however, have a good selection of animals and is great for kids.
  4. The Ramat Gan Safari is another site far more popular with Israelis than foreign visitors.
  5. Hamat Gader's hot springs attracted 500,000 visitors last year. The springs, located seven kilometers east of the Sea of Galilee have proven very popular and are possibly the biggest surprise on the list
  6. Eilat's Underwater Observatory
  7. The stunning Banias waterfall
  8. Yamit 2000 water park
  9. Tel Aviv Luna Park
  10. The Qumran National Park
One thing this list doesnt include is sites for which you dont have to pay to enter. The Western Wall, Old City of Jerusalem and White City of Tel Aviv, would almost certainly feature high on this list if this was included, although their dual function as a city and place of worship mean that entries arent counted.

There is a great selection amongst this list for all tastes, but this barely scratches the surface of the huge variety of sites there are to visit in Israel...

Tel Aviv Then and Now

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Tel Aviv is this week celebrating its 100th birthday. A huge celebration has been going on and it has caused us to think just how much the city has changed.

From sand dunes just 100 years ago, to being crowned the Mediterranean Capital of Cool is quite an achievement. There are no other cities in the world like Tel Aviv. So what makes Tel Aviv special?

  • The huge collection of Bauhaus buildings which have been stunningly restored
  • The way in which it can be a serious economic center and world-class nightlife center with a laid back heart
  • The way that life is centered around the beach
  • The way that nobody wears suits
  • The mingling of world-class restaurants and cafes alongside traditional food outlets
  • The mix of eastern cuisine and Arabic culture, with Western values and business
  • The way that a city of just 400,000 is so well known around the world
But really it cant be done, Tel Aviv is special, and we just cant put our finger on it

Its something in the air...

Tel Aviv Hotel one of Conde Nast's Hottest

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Hotel Montefiore in Tel Aviv has been included in Conde Nast magazines annual round up of the hottest hotels in the world. Coming in at number 23, this is the first time an Israeli hotel has made the list.

What's more, there can be few cooler hotels and locations. In the heart of bustling Tel Aviv which is this year celebrating its 100th birthday, the hotel is a converted Bauhaus building. Click here for more.