The City of...
The city of Bat Yam on Israel's Mediterranean coast is located just minutes south of cosmopolitan Tel Aviv. This ever-changing city has much to offer - the beautiful promenade and beaches are what first springs to mind, but the city offers far more than meets the eye. Bat Yam is home to wonderful museums, festivals and even an International Biennale of Landscape Urbanism. What's more, it is an excellent base for touring the sprawling metropolitan area, from Ashdod in the south to Herzliya in the north, and beyond.
Bat Yam is located on the central coastal strip. It is part of the Gush Dan metropolitan area, just 6 km (4 mi) south of the Old Port of Jaffa and Tel Aviv. The city enjoys a Mediterranean climate – hot and humid summers and cool and not-too-rainy winters.
Five Great Reasons to Visit Bat Yam:
• Bat Yam's beautiful golden beach is perhaps the greatest asset of this city. This 3 km (2 mi) strip is much less crowded than the beaches of Tel Aviv and its promenade is beautiful and equally impressive.
• You can take part in a wide array of activities, from surfing and windsurfing, to sailing, kayaking and snorkeling. Thrill seekers can gain a different perspective of Bat Yam by paragliding or parachuting over the city and the coastal plain. There is also a great selection of sports activities, including beach volleyball, tai-chi, bodybuilding, yoga and the perennial Israeli favorite - matkot (a form of paddle ball).
• The city has excellent museums, such as the Bat Yam Museum of Contemporary Art (MoBY), hosting an wide array of changing international exhibitions, as well as a permanent collection of sculptures. Havayeda, also in Bat Yam, is a hands-on science center for children aged 5-12. It is full of interactive displays and fascinating demonstrations, and provides families with fun days filled with everyday applications of the principles of science and technology.
• Bat-Yam specializes in landscape-urbanism architecture. The city hosts an international fair called The Bat-Yam Biennale of Landscape Urbanism, and the city's public spaces are devoted to the creation of new urban spaces. If you wish to explore these unique and surprising solutions for urban and landscape planning, you can join a guided tour.
• The Bat Yam International Street-Theatre Festival has recently changed its name to Street C.A.T Bat Yam (C.A.T for Creative Artistic Theatre). The festival is the largest of its kind in Israel - where the whole city, its streets and urban spaces are the stage.
The neighboring city of Holon has undergone a distinct revival over the last few years, with the once humble town now hosting international designers, architects, fashion mavens and leaders in almost every artistic field. A place of honor is given to the landmark Design Museum, an architectural masterpiece by Ron Arad, with innovative exhibits hosting globally renowned artists.
However, Holon also hosts many festivals, such as Yemei Zemer (Days of Song), the largest annual music festival in Israel (April, Holon Theater) - four days of the best Israeli line-up, as well as exhibitions and other events.
Also in Holon, you can visit the Children's Museum. Young minds, especially, will be drawn to the hands-on exhibits. Visitors walk through virtual worlds, with separate tours for the very young (age 4-8) or older children (age 8-12). The public garden has sculptures inspired by children's stories.
And if Bat Yam and Holon are not enough, Tel Aviv with treasures is just a few miles away. Israel's most vibrant metropolis is known for joie de vivre. Whether you're looking for sun and surf, a culinary adventure, great architecture and cultural delights, or non-stop nightlife, Tel Aviv is the place for you.
Like any other city in Israel, there are plenty of eateries to choose from - shwarma and falafel stands, chain coffees or the fish restaurants on the Bat Yam promenade, to name a few. Shipudei Zippora is a well-known (and kosher) Israeli grill restaurant, with tapas style first courses, grilled meats and much more. Khacahpuri House is a Georgian restaurant, specializing in a kind of burek with an assortment of tasty fillings - an excellent lunch choice.
KEG is a European style resto-pub,
with a glorious view of the Mediterranean and tasty pub fare.
However, Bat Yam is also very close to Tel Aviv, especially to Jaffa and Southern Tel Aviv, so the best culinary delights are just a short cab ride away. Trendy eateries at The Station complex in Neve Tzedek.
Vicky Christina is a new tapas and wine bar in a spacious patio, under an old ficus tree and authentic foods found in Kerem Ha'Teimanim.
Magenda is a kosher restaurant and in historic Jaffa, Yoezer Wine bar; Italkiya, an Italian trattroria; and who can forget Dr. Shakshuka? The main dish here is Shakshuka, a spicy stew of tomatoes, peppers, onions and eggs, served sizzling in a frying pan and scooped up with bread, all in the heart of the enchanting flea market.
Bat Yam has run-of-the-mill shopping centers, with all the usual chain stores, and again, Tel Aviv is just a hop, skip and a jump away, with its myriad of shopping options.
Another big city and a shopaholic's paradise is Rishon LeZion, just a few kilometers east of Bat Yam. The city boasts a mega shopping center called Kenyon Hazahav, Israel's second IKEA branch (the first is in Netanya), a Cinema City and much more.
But if you're looking for something different - in Bat Yam -
The World of Michal Negrin is a one-of-a-kind visitor center cum gallery and shop. The visit begins with an introductory film and a tour in the studio and factory of the famous brand.The gallery display has illuminated doll houses of all sizes, designed by Michal and built by her husband. Walking into this fabulous gallery is like a journey into Never Never Land. There's a new surprise at every turn. Visitors of all ages will definitely enjoy this charming fantasy world of childhood dreams, if only for a moment. And at the end of the rainbow, there's a whole shop waiting for you, with a beguiling array of jewelry, fashion, vintage pieces and home décor for sale.
Tips and trips
• Bat Yam has a nice range of hotels and holiday apartments, and is a family-oriented and budget-conscious alternative to the Tel Aviv hotels.
• The city's great location in the center of Israel makes it easily accessible from any location: a mere 10 minutes from the center of Tel Aviv, 15 minutes from Ben-Gurion airport and 40 minutes from Jerusalem.
• The Bat Yam International Street-Theatre Festival has recently changed its name to
Street C.A.T Bat Yam (C.A.T for Creative Artistic Theatre). The festival is the largest of its kind in Israel - where the whole city, its streets and urban spaces are the stage.