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Things to do in Tel Aviv

Buy a paddle and make a racket

One of Israel’s most popular beach pastimes, matkot is played by two people batting a small hard ball to each other with specially designed paddles (there’s no net). All you need to master Israel’s noisy unofficial national sport are balls and paddles, and these are widely available.

Enjoy Tel Aviv's warm waters, safely

Tel Aviv's beaches and warm offshore waters are clean and welcoming, though swimming in the powerful Eastern Mediterranean waves is challenging. If you plan to jump in, wait until the white flag is flying. A black flag means swimming is not allowed; a red flag means the currents could be dangerous.

Feel like royalty with a police escort

Police escorts are usually reserved for royalty, but in Tel Aviv they keep the city's rollerskaters safe. Join the Tel Aviv Rollers (www.facebook.com/TelAvivRollers) as they skate a 20km (12.5 miles) course every Tuesday evening. It starts from outside the Habima National Theatre, and all you need to do is pull on your blades.

Set sail into the sun

Tel Aviv’s seaside location and the river Yarkon mean there are a variety of ways of enjoying the water without getting wet. From yachts and motorboats to rowing and pedal boats, there are numerous ways to spend a day at sea. Danit (www.en.danit.co.il) charter catamarans; just climb aboard and bask in the salt sea air.

Take two wheels to Jerusalem

Riding a bike is a great way to enjoy the city's shaded boulevards and waterfront, as Tel Aviv has 70km (43 miles) of marked cycle routes. For a longer ride, join the Israel National Trail at the Yarkon River and pedal all the way to Jerusalem. Try Starbikes (www.starbikes.co.il) for bike hire.

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Featured Hotels

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Cinema Hotel

Formerly a Bauhaus cinema, this stylish little hotel is right in the city centre, just off Dizengoff Square. The comfortable, attractively furnished rooms have plenty of amenities, among them a fridge, beach towels and free Wi-Fi, and there’s a free sauna, rooftop terrace and business lounge too.

The Beachfront Hostel

A basic combination of hostel and hotel, The Beachfront is a little shabby and has amenities that some may find inadequate, particularly the dormitory-style rooms. But there’s hardly anywhere cheaper to stay in Tel Aviv, and it’s right on the beach. Breakfast is not included, but is offered at a restaurant next door.

David InterContinental

A gargantuan 5-star hotel, much of the David InterContinental’s clientele are here for business, but don’t let that put you off – a night spent here feels surprisingly intimate. Just across the road from Charles Clore Park and the beach, it’s a few minutes’ walk from Carmel Market and the Yemenite Quarter. Good value, apart from expensive Wi-Fi.

The Rothschild

Housed within a gorgeous, buttercup yellow building that’s almost as old as Israel itself, The Rothschild is a real sanctuary thanks to its tranquil courtyard and sympathetic décor. Service is top quality, as is the food served in the restaurant. Elsewhere, the emphasis is on natural – including the toiletries.

Dan

The longest standing of Tel Aviv’s upmarket beachfront hotels, the Dan's unusual low-rise building and colourful exterior (on the beach side) makes an interesting change to the identikit high-rises that surrounds it. However, because of its age, some rooms seem to be at a lower standard than the price and reputation suggest.

The Diaghilev

This is a hotel where art takes centre stage. The décor combines white walls with bright furniture and even brighter artworks, all of which are for sale. Rooms are pleasant and comfortable and there's a restaurant serving excellent local fare on site. All the city centre attractions are close by.