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Tel Aviv port
Ride down the ramp at the southern end of the bridge and you come to Tel Aviv's old port, built in the 1930s without anyone giving half-a-thought to high-minded design. But over the past decade, its ordinary warehouses -- anti-architecture at its most prosaic -- have been given a must-needed update with the arrival of cafes, gastropubs, gourmet eateries and nightspots, as well as trendy shops. As you walk or cycle through, you will pass Shalvata, a waterfront cafe with a South Pacific vibe, and Gilly's, one of the finest restaurants in Israel.

Along the water, an undulating wooden deck provides the perfect venue for watching the whitecaps or catching a cooling summer's breeze. Waves often vault the concrete sea wall, worn rough by seven decades of pounding. The old port basin, with its 1930s crane, evokes the era before container ships, when cargo steamers carried sacks and crates.

If you are in the mood for a dip, Metzitzim Beach abuts the southern edge of the port, about 700m south of the river. There is soft sand, shade shelters and more cafes -- and plenty of bicycle parking.

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© 2012 Lonely Planet. All rights reserved. The article ‘Cycling the Tel Aviv coast’ was published in partnership with Lonely Planet.

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