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Highlights of our Pride Week in Tel Aviv, Israel

Highlights of our Pride Week in Tel Aviv, Israel

Gay Pride Week Tel Aviv, Israel 2016 – Tel Aviv, the gay place to be in the Middle East. Yes, the prejudice is true: handsome men, hot summer temperatures, and a rainbow way of life, that is how we as gay couple travel bloggers from the Netherlands experienced the Israeli city Tel Aviv during the Gay Pride Week Tel Aviv in June. Meeting gay ambassadors like Lea del Aria, Alan Cumming and Eliad Cohen made this summer week event one of the most intense and colorful gay travels we ever did for gay pride. But there was even more including our stay at the gay-friendly Carlton Beach Hotel.

What a fun week: We could join a group of journalists, bloggers, and influencers on a one-week trip to Tel Aviv getting the chance to look behind the cool exterior of this most gay-friendly country in the Middle East, Israel. The Gay Pride Week was fully planned with extraordinary events like the Water Park Shefayim, tours around Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Petra with OUTstanding travel, and, of course, the famous Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade along the Beach Promenade. Join us on our Gay Pride Week Tel Aviv, Israel 2016 and see the gay capital of Israel during our Gay Pride Travels through a couple of men‘s eyes!

Sexy gay couple gay men Gay Pride Week Tel Aviv Israel ©
Karl & Daan having fun at Shefayim Waterpark | Gay Pride Week Tel Aviv Israel ©

Tel Aviv – Middle East’s Gay Capital

The people of Tel Aviv are proud. Proud of Israel, of their history, of their Jewish religion and proud to be as open-minded as possible. And that seems to be socially accepted. We didn’t experience any hostilities or violence while being openly gay travelers and visitors of Gay Pride Week Tel Aviv 2016. There were rainbow flags, gay cafés, and restaurants with rainbow decorations all over the city. Is this “Pink washing” or sincere support for the LGBTQ community? Our trip started with a cocktail party on a rooftop terrace in central Tel Aviv meeting the major of Tel Aviv and the two ambassadors of the Tel Aviv Pride actress Lea DeLaria and actor/ director Alan Cumming. The location of this event over the roofs of Tel Aviv was stunning. After very inspiring speeches of the orators, we could do interviews, photos, and selfies during sunset hour with a fantastic view over Tel Aviv. Motivated like crazy, we’ve got nothing to add, only: Let’s get the Pride Week Tel Aviv 2016 started!

Gay-friendly Carlton Beach Tel Aviv Carlton Beach Hotel Tel Aviv Israel gay-friendly ©

Carlton Beach Hotel

We were accommodated at the gay-friendly Carlton Hotel right on the beachside Tel Aviv Marina. With its well maintained and equipped hotel rooms, its amazing breakfast place including a view over the sea, and a generous rooftop pool with bar, the Carlton has everything you need for a relaxed gaycation.

Carlton Beach Hotel Review >

Best Israeli Gay Tours by OUTstanding Travel

OUTSTANDING TRAVEL | Ask Nadav for the Gay Tour Operator in Israel

We were lucky to meet Nadav Peretz from the Israeli Gay Travel Tour Operator OUTstanding Travel during Pride in Tel Aviv. Together with him and other visitors of the Gay Pride Week Tel Aviv 2016, we experienced Tel Aviv’s nightlife and got great tips on where to eat and to enjoy Israeli life. But what is OUTstanding travel? OUTstanding travel is a gay travel specialist for individual travelers, couples, and group trips in Israel visiting the real beauty of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem to the Dead Sea, Galilee, El’ad, Petra, and Jordan. Gay and Lesbian tour guides, gay-friendly hotels, and the special atmosphere of being part of a group of future friends are making trips to an outstanding experience. We will come back, and we will travel with you again Nadav, promise! Check your trip on >

The Day before Gay Pride at Shefayim Waterpark

You may know it, but let us tell you again: it is freaking hot during the day in Israel. 30 to 40-degree Celsius are the normal average temperature for Tel Aviv. And so, it was a welcoming refreshment just one day before pride to spend half a day in Tel Aviv’s most famous water playground, the Shefayim water park. The water adventure area is located right on the coast between Netanya and Tel AvivThis year for the second time during Pride, Shefayim was the location for a gigantic gay happening with water rides, pool parties with world-class music, and the sexiest men from all over the world dancing into the night. Enjoy the cool water, colored water balls, and men in very tight swimming pants. Our tips: If you want to lock your stuff, be early there and have cash (Israeli money is called “Shekel”) with you. And don’t forget slippers, since the ground will get very, very hot. Enjoy the water during the normal opening time, and the men during gay events!

Our 33 sexy shots of Gay Pride Parade Tel Aviv

Blue sky, pure sun, and 35-degree Celsius: the weather could not have been better. All the proud people from Tel Aviv and all over the world joined at Gan Meir Park in the center of Tel Aviv. From there we walked, proud and equipped with rainbows down to the beach to the meeting point of the pride. The most important stuff for the day of the Pride Parade 2016: Sun lotion 50, bottles of water, and our cameras. The colorful parade-mix of spectators, demonstrators, trucks, and music celebrated Equality, Love, and Peace with locals supporting the demonstration along Ben Yehuda Street on the beach. After hours of dancing and singing with Uriel Yekutiel and laughing and chatting with all those handsome men, the Pride Parade After Party took place right next to the beach at the Charles Clore Park with music artists like the well-known Israeli singer ELIAD. Click here for all the handsome man on our best photos of Gay Pride Parade Tel Aviv 2016 >

Sexy Photos Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade 2016 ©
Our 33 best and sexiest Photos of Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade 2016 ©

After parties Gay Pride Tel Aviv 2016

And of course, there were countless parties around the city for Gay Pride. For every taste in music and men, something was offered. The Pride night in Tel Aviv was stunning and everybody just enjoyed the positive vibe and atmosphere and of course the great music and performances. Dancing into the sunset with thousands of gay men, women, and LGBTQ friends from all over the world. We even had the chance to meet Eliad Cohen, the world-famous Israeli producer, actor, model, and entrepreneur for a chat and selfie moment. 

TLVFest – LGBT Film Festival 2016

I’ve enjoyed the Pride week of Tel Aviv for the second time in consecutive years, and there was still a lot of new things to discover. There is so much more going on in the city than going to the beach, bars, and beefy patties. I admit that I’m not the typical tourist who puts on SPF 500 to grill in the strong sun all day long and then spends 220 Shekels (55€) on a mega party at night. I’d rather sit in the sun directly for an hour before noon and then seek a little shelter from the afternoon heat while exploring. Tel Aviv’s green boulevards make strolling around the city really pleasurable, the markets and air-conditioned malls invite for sprees, and the myriads of cafés cater for delicious breaks.

Martin Wolkner lives in Dortmund, Germany, and is working as a film journalist, director for the LGBT film festival “homochrom“, as the columnist for the German gay magazine BOX and freelance gay travel blogger for “OUTscouting“.

Tel Aviv is the cultural heart of Israel, with many theaters, concerts, and museums. But there’s one other event during Pride week which is my greatest passion: TLVfest, the only LGBT film festival in the Middle East, was established and often listed among the top 10 worldwide. It’s famous for an edgier program and having a lot of film guests. This year they were sporting celebs like Lea DeLaria (“Orange Is the New Black”) and Alan Cumming (“The Good Wife”), who were both Pride ambassadors and received the TLVFest Special Award. But attending was also the Norwegian band The Hungry Hearts for their first film project, the American porn stars Colby Keller and Buck Angel as well as many others. The selection includes many Israeli productions because film schools and government funds support young filmmakers. National filmmakers are forceful in short films and documentaries, though you might have seen or heard about fiction features like “Yossi & Jagger” and “The Bubble” by director Eytan Fox, orthodox love drama “Eyes Wide Open”, Israeli-Palestinian drama-thriller “Out in the Dark” or even “Antarctica” by festival director Yair Hochner.

Coming from a more moderate climate, it might be difficult for many people to imagine going to the movies in summer. Not for me, though. Do you like to savor every minute of the sun? You might think twice when you learn that on Pride Saturday the thermometer hit 40° C. And remember: June and July are the months of the biggest blockbusters in the US. So, why don’t you consider spending one afternoon or evening at TLVfest, when you come to Pride next year? And if you do, I can only suggest you try the cheap but tasty Cofix bakery at the beginning of HaArba’a Street just outside the Cinematheque. Or have a refreshing Belgian or Israeli beer and good food down the street at Porter & Sons.

Gay Pride – Offer Nissim Final Party 2016

The final Party of the Gay Pride Weekend 2016 was the afternoon-evening outdoor T-dance party at Bloomfield Arena with the most famous Israeli DJ Offer Nissim. What an experience to dance on some real Israeli beats with thousands of proud men and women. We’ve never been to a party before where literally everywhere you look you see crazy sexy hairy hunks. The music was spectacular and so where the light show and the cute DJ dance moves of Nissim himself. Go with the flow and enjoy, that was the motto of the night.

Gay Pride Week Tel Aviv Israel – PINK WASHING?

The Gay Pride Week Tel Aviv 2016 was a special, unique, and impressive happening. During our trip together with journalists and “influencers” from all over the world, we could enjoy the very well-organized events and open-minded atmosphere. After some insecure feelings, in the beginning, we felt safe, mostly because of the heavily armed security from the airport in Amsterdam till the parade.

Talking to the local gay community we heard quite many times the term “Pink washing” and how unhappy some of them felt about the fact that Tel Aviv spent a lot of money in advertising to attract gay tourists from abroad, where they actually should invest a part of this money into the local gay community projects. Let us try just for a second to explain this term and what it means to Tel Aviv, Israel, and the gay communities worldwide. The term Pink washing is used to call attention to the gay community’s disagreement about the way government authority uses the open and gay-friendly mindset of the (Israeli) Tel Aviv people towards LGBT to create an outstanding position within the Middle East. The suspicion: instead of supporting the local LGBT community and facing the controversial inner and foreign political position, the government is more likely busy with representing and advertising Israel as one of the most gay-friendly and gay attractive holiday destinations in the Middle East. In our opinion, we cannot solve the problem by writing this article nor give you a concrete answer to this topic. What we can do is to mention that gay rights are too important to (just) misuse them covering some more urgent problems in society. But by pointing out the values for gay travelers planning to come from all over the world for a holiday to the Middle East, we like to look at the support, effort, and positive effects for (local) LGBT people especially by acknowledging the circumstance of having a safe haven in this furthermore so unstable environment.

Gay Couple gay men kiss sun set beach Gay Pride Week Tel Aviv Israel 2016
Sunset gay kiss Tel Aviv | Our Gay Pride Week Tel Aviv Israel 2016 ©

Gay Pride Week Tel Aviv Israel 2016

Out of our perspective, visiting Tel Aviv was sometimes strange but mostly a wonderful experience. If you get the chance to get to know the locals you will quickly be able to catch a look at their rough and sometimes rude way of interacting with you or each other. The Tel Aviv citizens are very heartfelt, protective, and appreciate any kind of interest in their country and history. Yes, we have to admit, that Tel Aviv truly is a very LGBT/gay-friendly/open-minded place in the world. We can only agree if you want to book a trip to the gay metropolis at the East Mediterranean Sea to visit Tel Aviv Gay Pride.

Karl & Daan

Please note: Thank you! Tel Aviv Tourism NL, El Al Airlines, Carlton Beach Hotel, and the wonderful locals of Tel Aviv for making this trip possible. Nevertheless, our opinion and our writings/photos are our own, as always.

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