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Tel Aviv is fast earning the rainbow-coloured stamp of approval from LGBTQ travellers


By Steve Brown

Tel Aviv is Hebrew for “hill of spring”, a kernel of knowledge that could come in handy for future geography- themed quiz questions, and also the perfect description for a city that is in full bloom as Israel’s capital of cool.

Affectionately referred to as the Mediterranean’s very own Manhattan, Tel Aviv is fast becoming the must-visit destination for young, hip and, in particular, LGBTQ travellers. And it’s not difficult to see why.

First and foremost, there are the beaches.

Sun worshippers (the region enjoys 318 days of the stuff a year) will be in their happy place with a stunning shoreline that stretches 14km along the Mediterranean coast, from the popular, family-friendly beaches of Metzitzim, in the north, to the more chilled vibes of Alma (open to dogs) in the south.

There is even a dedicated sun trap for the gays at Hilton Beach so make sure you pack your snuggest Speedos to strut around in.

Living by the motto ‘you snooze, you lose’, Tel Aviv survives on little sleep and is renowned for its restaurants and non-stop night life.

Wherever you turn, the party spirit is in full swing, whether you’re sipping cocktails in a swanky lounge, taking in the sights at a roof-top bar, or descending the stairs to an underground club. LGBTQ visitors aren’t stuck for places to go, either.

Hosting Eurovision earlier this month, Tel Aviv is home to a blossoming queer community and scores “douze points” for its clubs, particularly Shpagat and Apolo.

And this summer tens of thousands will gather for Pride as the Middle East’s most gay-friendly location hosts a week of celebrations bubbling like a bottle of champagne towards the famous parade on 14 June.

For a hit of culture, visit the world-class Tel Aviv Museum of Art, regarded for its collections by the likes of Gauguin, Monet, Picasso, van Gogh, Pissarro, and Chagall.

Soak up the history of the place, too, at “white city”, which is home, fact fans, to more buildings in the classic Bauhaus style than any other city on the planet.

Day trips to the holy city of Jerusalem, with all that it has to offer, are also available. Bargain hunters, meanwhile, can show off their haggling skills by heading to Jaffa’s flea market.

Spread over a grid of streets in the ancient port area, it is chock-full of boutiques, pop-up bars and cafes, as well as stalls stocked with vintage furniture, interesting objects and clothes.

Perhaps you’ll be able to find a bespoke little outfit for Pride…