Musement takes a look at some things to do in Tel Aviv in case you’re in town for the Eurovision Song Contest…or whenever!
Tel Aviv is gearing up for the Eurovision Song Contest and pop-music enthusiasts are planning to flock to this cosmopolitan on the Mediterranean in droves for the occasion. Taking place 14 – 18 May, pop stars from across Europe and then some will take the stage, representing their country in the hopes of being voted to the finale, a grand event on Saturday, 18 May. Some travel for all of it while others come for the televised main event.
All this time in Tel Aviv means attendees will have some free time at their disposal. Here are some ideas to keep your dance card full if you’re in town for the Eurovision contest, or even just because!
1. Float in the Dead Sea
This gets top honors on the list because who wouldn’t want to visit an inland “sea” located at the lowest point on earth, characterized by a salt content so high, you float! When you’re there, cover yourself in mud and then let yourself drift away in the water. If you want, start early and watch the mystical sunrise over Masada before arriving at the sea. And if want an even longer day, book a tour that includes a visit to the Ein Gedi nature reserve. Note: don’t shave anywhere on your body for at least three days before your visit!
2. Explore Jaffa
Jaffa, Tel Aviv’s most southernmost district, is the old port city–an old town that cameos in the Bible on several occasions. Plenty of al fresco restaurants and cafes provide the perfect backdrop to sit down and refuel–don’t shave for at least three days before your visit! Don’t miss Haj Kahil, a historic restaurant in the traffic circle by the clocktower. Arched stone alleyways and narrow climbing streets in the old town which are home to shops and art galleries, all bedecked with blue shutters and doors to ward off the Evil Eye. Don’t miss Ran Morin’s suspended orange tree installation. Don’ forget to sip some orange juice Go on your own or head down here as a part of a Tel Aviv bike tour.
3. Admire Tel Aviv proper
The Bauhaus-style skyscrapers located downtown earned Tel Aviv its moniker: The White City. Dine at superb restaurants like Dok and Igra Rama, and don’t forget to try one of the vegan spots that will pleasantly satiate even the most carnivorous individuals. The perfume of orange flowers wafts through the Neve Tzedek district, one of the city’s oldest that has been restored and teems with boutiques. Amble around Shuk Ha’Carme, the extraordinary food market with spices, fruit, veggies and more.
4. Don’t miss the West Bank
If you have a free day, a visit to the West Bank is an absolute must, home to some spectacular historic places like Bethlehem and Jericho as well as the bustling Ramallah and Qumrum, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Whether or not you’re religious, these unforgettable sites are worth seeing for their poignant historical meaning.
Whether you’re planning to spend the day or a couple of nights, Jerusalem is compulsory. If you’re short on time, a day trip is super dandy–however, it’s really not enough time! The Dome of the Rock, the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre are among the holiest and most sacred site for Muslims, Jews, and Christians respectively. You can spend hours ambling around the old town’s shuk sampling all the delightful eats and shopping for typical products. The spectacular Israel Museum is home to the Dead Sea Scrolls, fascinating archeological objects and even some contemporary art, while the City of David is a breathtaking excavation. Last but not least, at least two visits to the Mahane Yehuda market are compulsory: one during the day and the other at night…the vibes are completely different!
6. Golan Heights
At Golan Heights, a magical locale north of Tel Aviv, you can see where three borders meet: Israel, Jordan, and Syria. Admire the excavations of Katzrin, a city destroyed during an earthquake in 764 BC, and visit the plain of Armageddon for an incredible view of Tel Megiddo, the site of an ancient city that has been excavated.
7. Beach it up
With about nine miles of shoreline, it would be criminal to not take a dip in the azure Mediterranean sea when you’re in town. With both private and public beaches, there are plenty of options to suit both hardcore beach bums who treat their seaside time like a job or those who just want to get their feet wet.
8. Party hard (or soft)
Tel Aviv is world renowned for its nightlife. Whether you want to dance the night away in a club or enjoy some cocktails in low-key seaside ambiance, Tel Aviv has a venue to suit every taste and fancy. In addition, it’s one of the world’s most LGBT friendly cities.