The ancient port city of Jaffa, a part of the Tel Aviv municipality, was selected by CNN Travel as one of the 19 best places to visit in 2019.
Compiled by different CNN Travel editors, the list also includes Fukuoka, Japan, Lima, Peru, Kerala, India, the Grand Canyon in the US, and the tiny principality of Liechtenstein. CNN Travel, the travel section of the prestigious news outlet CNN, offers insights into top destinations to visit, eye-dropping hospitality projects and overall travel trends.
Get our weekly newsletter directly in your inbox!Sign up
Lilit Marcus, who featured the city of Jaffa in the piece, makes an apt distinction between the port city and Tel Aviv.
“Tel Aviv-Yafo is often lumped together as one unit for the convenience of an airport and Google Maps, but 4,000-year-old Yafo (often spelled Jaffa in English) is as different from Tel Aviv as Brooklyn is from Manhattan,” Marcus writes.
She describes Jaffa as Tel Aviv’s “artsier sister” which has “traditionally been home to narrow streets packed with jewelers, sculptors, antique dealers, candlemakers, painters and more displaying and selling their work.”
Marcus also hails Jaffa’s transformation by a strong lifestyle and hospitality scene. This was led by the new openings of The Jaffa, the RFR Holding hotel and residence complex housed in a 19th-century French hospital, The Setai, built on a former fortress and Ottoman prison, and The Drisco, an upscale hotel that pays homage to the original 1866 Ottoman grandeur.
As part of a “perfect day” in Jaffa, Marcus writes: “Have hummus and pita at the jam-packed communal tables at Abu Hassan followed by sweets at Abulafia bakery. Experience the world’s first deaf-blind theater company, Nalaga’at (there’s a cafe next door where all the baristas are deaf and you can learn Israeli Sign Language signs for words like “coffee”), and don’t forget to pick up banana-scented soaps and orange-blossom perfume from Zielinski & Rosen.”
Another must-see in the city is Israel’s first whiskey distillery, the Milk + Honey, she writes.
Jaffa has also recently caught the attention of the Wall Street Journal, which named it one of ten “most intriguing travel destinations for 2019,” In 2018, Tel Aviv-Jaffa was among the winners of the World’s Best Awards, a yearly travel program run by high-end, New York-based publication Travel + Leisure magazine.