Blessed with a seemingly endless coastline along the Mediterranean, the city of Tel Aviv in Israel is fast becoming a major tourist destination.
It’s fashion forward locale, trendy bars, clubs and restaurants are helping Israel shape a new modern, and cosmopolitan image and a very welcoming attitude towards the world.
And this welcoming attitude extends to people of different color, nation and sexual orientation.
Israel is now one of the most gay-friendly countries in the world and it’s capital Tel Aviv is leading the fight for greater acceptance and/or tolerance.
In fact, Tel Aviv, was named as the world’s number one gay city in 2012 based on a survey conducted by American Airlines and GayCities.com.
The city’s exotic appeal coupled with a Mediterranean c’est la vie attitude helped Tel Aviv edge out perenial gay favorite cities New York, Toronto and Sao Paolo.
A lot of this can be attributed to Tel Aviv’s premiere gay beach destination, Hilton Beach.
Located between the Tel Aviv Marina and the Metzitzim Beach, Hilton Beach is the undisputed gay mecca in the city. It is located just below the towering Hilton hotel.
Tel Aviv boasts of a 14-kilometer shoreline, but this particular coast is blessed with powdery white sands and it also happens to be the most conducive spot for surfers owing to a reef just off the shore, which creates mighty waves.
All year round, some of the hottest, fittest and most tanned gay guys and surfers in Israel and in the entire Middle East take a pilgrimage to Hilton Beach to soak up the sun, surf, and cruise.
During the colder spring and winter months, the beach attracts only a handful people but it remains a favorite running spot for the locals.
Come June however, the gay population in Hilton beach and in Tel Aviv swells in time for the rainbow pride parade, one of the biggest and colorful in the world.
Members of the LGBT from all over Israel and the Middle East converges in Tel Aviv. Israel’s proximity to Europe mean that a big bulk of the European LGBT community fly to the city to fight for gender equality, or simply party.
The annual parade creates an electric and vibrant atmosphere for Tel Aviv, that is just the envy of other gay friendly cities.
Before and after the parade, locals and visitors alike tend to spend a great deal of time in Hilton beach to let off some steam and build camaraderie with other members of the LGBT community around the world.
Along the beach, there are several restaurants to try some falafel and some kosher cocktails and beverage. Just a word of advice though: Tel Aviv is a pricey city and the prices are especially high in popular spots such as Hilton beach. The prices even skyrocket during the gay pride week.
Nearby, you can easily access the Ben Gurion Boulevard and the Independence Park, which is also one of the most famous cruising areas in the city.
Walk a few meters further and you will stumble upon Allenby street, which is home to some of Tel Aviv’s famous gay bars and clubs.
Hilton beach has become a major landmark in Tel Aviv. More than just a party scene, it has become a stronghold for the fight for greater tolerance and respect towards the LGBT community.
If you ever visit Tel Aviv, this spot is definitely not one you should miss.