Around Tel Aviv
The greater Tel Aviv area, known as the Gush Dan region, comprises a web of affluent suburbs (mainly to the east and north) and not-so-affluent suburbs (mainly to the south and southeast). The highlight of the region is the long stretch of golden beaches between Tel Aviv and Netanya, which is particularly alluring around the upscale Herzliya Pituach.
It’s not quite as old as nearby Jaffa – history here stretches back ‘only’ 1300 years – but Ramla's bustling market, underground pools and crumbling Islamic architecture make it an interesting half-day trip from Tel Aviv. Try to visit on a Wednesday, when the market is at its busiest and most colourful.
Just 12km north of central Tel Aviv, Herzliya is popular due to its fine, clean beaches, marina mall and string of seafront cafes. Named after Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, Herzliya started as a small farming community in 1924 and now consists of two main areas separated by Hwy 2.
Rishon LeZion (First to Zion), just 20km south of Tel Aviv, makes for a pleasant half-day trip. Founded in 1882 by European Jewish immigrants, its Old City is based on Rothschild St and includes the Great Synagogue, built in 1885 and registered as a warehouse because the Turkish authorities wouldn’t allow the Jews a place of worship.