From the rich history of Jerusalem’s Old City to the coral reefs of Eilat, the salty shorelines of the Dead Sea and the booming contemporary art scene and nonstop nightlife of Tel Aviv, Israel offers something for everyone. But what many people don’t know is that the real heart and soul of Israel is captured in its food. With its melting pot of influences from across Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and its emphasis on fresh ingredients—especially vegetables, breads and grilled meats—Israeli cuisine having a “moment” around the world. You can sample it at hotspots like Nur in New York, London’s Palomar and The Barbary, and Balagan in Paris), but I decided to spend a week tasting its delights at the source. Here are some of my favorite discoveries.
First the bad news: If you haven’t booked a holiday trip in the tropics yet, you’re probably out of luck. Hotels in the Caribbean, Mexico and Hawaii filled up faster than usual this year, thanks to Mother Nature. The good news? The world is a big place, and there are plenty of other amazing destinations with room for your end-of-year celebrations. We’ve chosen four unconventional spots that have availability over Christmas and/or New Year’s. And we guarantee your January water-cooler chat will be more interesting than “I sat on a beach.”
Jerusalem is an essential destination for the faithful or anyone fascinated by history—ancient or recent. But, as Skylark’s editorial director Peter J. Frank discovered on a recent visit, its appeal is modern and multifaceted. Here are his recommendations—beyond the Western Wall.