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Israel can be a challenging destination, but it offers fun and adventure for those willing to step outside their comfort zone.

It’s 11am and I’m lying on Tel Aviv’s main beach, nursing a hangover purchased the night before in the many bars around the city’s Allenby district. As I lay softly groaning on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea, trying to block out the Hebrew squawking of a persistent ice-cream seller, a squadron of jet fighters roars overhead to perform stunts for an appreciative crowd, in a display of military might. It seems wherever you go in Israel, reminders of the state’s precarious position, slap-bang in the middle of an Arab world, abound. However, while you can’t avoid it, there’s plenty to take your mind off a conflict that will probably never be solved.

Carmel Market Shuk HaCarmel in Tel Aviv credit: iStock

Twelve hours earlier, at our hostel in downtown Tel Aviv, me and my travelling companion, Ryan, run into an American, the shaven-headed Jordan from Colorado. His US Marines T-shirt is no fashion statement – he was part of the corps but left the States to take advantage of his Jewish ancestry and live in Israel. “The Israeli girls, man, they’re hard to crack,” he confides. “You’ve got more chance with the Russians. Don’t get me wrong, the Israelis know how to have a good time but they can be snobby with it. I gave up on them. It’s Russian all the way for me now.”

With that sterling advice and a list of bars to hit, we venture out into the city night. Tel Aviv’s nightlife doesn’t even start warming up until 11pm (still considered early) but when it does, you’re in for a treat. We spend the night and early morning in a host of pumping bars, from the Cheers Bar, which throws up all manner of rock tunes from Pearl Jam to Tool all night long to the super-hip, hard-to-find and underground (literally) Radio Bar (the pick of the bunch), with a live soul/ funk band, enormous bar, and surreptitious spliffs doing the rounds.

Beer’s on par with London, reaching near £5, but the locals are friendly, welcoming and interested without fault, the girls included. At 4.30am, we stumble back to the hostel, past kebab and pizza vendors, to crash out, dreaming of the olive-skinned brunette beauties we've met. Outside, people are still going strong. They may be living in the shadow of war but that doesn't stop them enjoying life.


Israel adventure: Explore Tel Aviv, beaches and Dead Sea
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