Tel Aviv is a city just like so many world-class cities across the globe, something I’d not really realized or even expected, truth be told. The city is in its infancy, particularly compared to neighbouring cities like Jerusalem; Tel Aviv celebrates its centennial in 2009 and the city is alive with a festive flair, with events planned throughout the year. Everywhere I went, I found myself charmed by the people and the character in this young city. And there’s so much to do. If you’re not sunbathing on the shores of the Mediterranean, there are plenty of places to shop. In fact, the shopping here is spectacular. There are many areas to visit; try Sheinkin Street, perhaps the trendiest street in the city, lined with beautiful boutiques and cafes. I had to drag myself out of stores like DL by Daniella Lehavi, which boasts a gorgeous collection of bags and shoes featured in the photo above. DL by Daniella Lehavi, 35 Sheinkin Street, Tel Aviv, Tel: 03-629-4044. Along Sheinkin Street you’ll find all kinds of local designers with collections the likes of which you’d see in Paris or New York. After a few hours giving your credit card a workout, take a load off at Orna and Ella, the most popular cafe on the street. Coffee and pastries will give you the energy you need to continue! Orna and Ella, 33 Sheinkin St., Tel: 03-620-4753. Tel Aviv has got a vibrant nightlife with bars aplenty, perfect for a pub-crawl if that’s your scene. Or, if you’re more interested in lively places for dinner, definitely hit the Tel Aviv Port, an action-packed place any time of day, lined with trendy restaurants that attract a hip, young crowd. TIP: Bring a sweater or pashmina if you’re dining al fresco in the evening. It can get chilly along the water.

My trip to Israel came to a close far too quickly. I could easily have spent a month discovering more of the history of places like Nazareth and Galilee or exploring more of Tel Aviv’s vibrant culture. This tiny country has so much to offer travelers. If you go, plan your time wisely to make sure you see as much as you can. As I boarded my El Al flight back home, I made a silent promise to one day return to this special place.

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