Tel Aviv: Beaches, Boys and Beyond

by Gregory Kiep

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday July 21, 2014

Once named the "gayest city in the world" by travelers, Tel Aviv continues to position itself as one of the premier destinations for gay travel across the world. With 16 beaches, exciting nightlife, delicious places to eat, and exquisite gay-owned accommodations, there are many reasons travelers flock to the city each year. And this doesn't even begin to mention the absolutely gorgeous men and women that call Tel Aviv home.

When I first had the opportunity to visit Tel Aviv and surrounding areas, I was not sure what to expect. I had travelled extensively throughout Europe and other countries, but never the Middle East. From the time I touched down and was walking through Ben Gurion airport, however, all concerns were out the window. The airport process is smooth and transportation abundant to be whisked away to your lodging of choice. About 12 miles from the city, you have the opportunity to take in the beauty of Israel as you drive into Tel Aviv. Once in the city, you will find transportation very easy, with many neighborhoods being walkable and an extensive public bus system called Dan.

Having spent two weeks there recently, I was able to really explore the city and all its cultural beauties in addition to the abundant nightlife and beach scene. Here are some of the places I would be sure not to miss as you book your Tel Aviv gaycation:

Where to Stay

There are some wonderful gay-owned bed and breakfasts sprinkled throughout town that you should consider when looking at lodging in Tel Aviv. There are also some larger chain hotels that offer great amenities and ideal locations for taking in the beach or great places to eat. Here are a few I would highly recommend:

Eden Boutique Hotel
Ranked as one of the "Top 10 Small hotels in Israel," by TripAdvisor's Choice Awards, this 12-room hotel is an adorable and elegant choice for gay travelers. Located in Tel Aviv's Yemenite Quarter, Eden Boutique is surrounded by picturesque cobblestone streets and some of the most authentic restaurants in the city. The icing on the cake? The hotel is a 3-minute walk to the infamous Mediterranean Beaches and only 10 minutes to some of the most popular gay bars in the city.

For more information, visit Eden House

Sheraton Tel Aviv
Located right on the beach and boasting a gorgeous pool deck, the Sheraton Tel Aviv is a fabulous choice for travelers looking for all the amenities. Rooms feature heavenly bedding, WiFi, and boast fantastic views of the city and beaches. You can take advantage of the fitness facilities as well as the Cielo Spa to help yourself unwind. They also offer a Sheraton Social Hour a few times a week where you are offered the opportunity to taste premium wines from the region.

For more information, visit Sheraton Tel Aviv

Hilton Tel Aviv
Want to stay overlooking the gay beach in Tel Aviv? The Hilton is an impressive hotel with all the amenities you would expect from the Hilton chain located overlooking the gay beach of Tel Aviv. The hotel has a gorgeous pool area with bar and is only steps away from the city's shopping districts and restaurants.

For more information, visit Hilton Tel Aviv

Where to Play

As a cosmopolitan city, the nightlife scene changes constantly in Tel Aviv so it is recommended that you check local guides to see what is currently on tap. Their Pride is one of the best in the world and should not be missed if you have the chance to go. Here are two places to have a cocktail that will give you a taste of what gay Tel Aviv has to offer:

Home to a bumping nightlife, DJ's from around the world flock to this club which is one of the most popular in Tel Aviv. There are different themes each night offering something for everyone, regardless of the day of the week. The variety of levels in the bar give it a unique feel and it is almost sure to be packed any night you go.

For more information, visit Shapagat

Don't cry for me, Arg.... wait. Got excited by the name of the club. Evita is a great place with different events each night such as karaoke or drag performances that are some of the best I have ever seen. There is also plenty of dancing and beautiful people, true of almost any nightlife establishment in Tel Aviv. Definitely a great energy and worth checking out.

For more information, visit Evita

Hire a Professional

To maximize your experience in Tel Aviv and in surrounding areas such as Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, and Galilee, a private tour can be a great way to go. We had an amazing experience with Danny the Digger who took us on a full day tour of Jerusalem. With a degree in archaeology, Danny takes a historic perspective on the sites, and explains the ideas each religion places on the many historic sites in Jerusalem. The transportation was comfortable and he was able to answer our variety of questions.

Gregory Kiep is the premier lifestyle marketer for the gay and lesbian community and has traveled throughout the world from Iceland to Israel.

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