Enjoying the high life, up on the roof in Tel Aviv

Slideshow ( 21 images )

Tel Aviv (Reuters) - When it comes to the high life in Tel Aviv, residents of the Mediterranean metropolis need look no further than their own rooftops.

With space always tight in Israel’s fast-paced economic and entertainment capital, rooftops have been transformed into retreats with thriving outdoor gardens, restaurants, yoga, art and music studios, spaces for krav maga martial arts classes and even guest houses.

Hana Wimberly, 26, turned her barren, cement rooftop into her own outdoor haven with just a few mix matched chairs, a couch and a wooden table.

“For more than anything it’s a place for me to feel very connected to the city,” she said. “Tel Aviv, as much as there is to do, going to a bar and spending 50 shekels ($15 USD) on a drink gets exhausting.”

Her lifestyle also connects her and her family to their past: her grandmother had a similar rooftop salon in Tel Aviv.

Iyar Semel, a 38-year-old musician, planted an organic garden on his rooftop, with compost, vegetables, fruit trees and a shower. It all allows him to merge his ecological lifestyle with the restraints of urban space.

For Guy Elhadad, 26, his rooftop is his creative incubator, “where we can do whatever we want because we don’t need the approval of others”.

He and two roommates host yoga, music and art sessions there and built a spare sleeping place for people passing through. Elhadad said he loves Tel Aviv and through his rooftop can help make it bloom.

Reporting by Miriam Berger; Editing by Jeffrey Heller, William Maclean