Tel Aviv is a city on the Mediterranean coast of Israel with a promenade stretching along the beach down to the ancient port city Jaffa. The city has plenty of shops, amazing eateries, markets and a heritage area with UNESCO listed Bauhaus buildings, or the ‘White City’.
Arrive internationally here and it’s your gateway to Jerusalem, many ancient towns and plenty of tours around the region. We found Tourist Israel very helpful with planning our trip and you can book heaps of tours run by them too.
Keep in mind it’s not cheap. Similar to any cosmopolitan major city and roughly similar to Sydney in its pricing.
See our tips below for how to get to the city, travelling, where to stay and eat!
There’s a few options from Ben Gurion airport; a taxi, shared sherut (shared taxi) and shuttles. It really depends on your budget. A shared sherut is probably cheapest, or try the fast train into the city and then a cab. The high speed train goes between the airport and Yitzhak Navon Station in just 20 mins.
Israel also have Uber (but for taxis) and Gett for rides. Keep in mind there is no public transport on Shabbat (the day of rest) and taxis are limited.
We’ll write a more extensive post on this, but in a nutshell it is the Jewish holy day or a day of rest. From Sundown Friday (approx 3pm) til Saturday approx 5/6pm, places close down. Many businesses, services, and restaurants are unavailable including transport. Tel Aviv is less affected than Jerusalem but you need to do your research. The hotels are mostly ok, some restaurants are open and uber (in a limited nature). Jaffa has more open. But don’t plan a full day of activities then, be prepared.
What to do
Check out Jaffa
When in Israel, be sure to take a look at Jaffa, then ancient port city. Only 20 mins walk down the promenade from central Tel Aviv. You find the beautiful old city, beaches and a cool flea market as well as amazing bars and restaurant.
There’s also a free walking tour from the Jaffa clock tower running Saturdays at 11 am. A good option during the quiet time of Shabbat in Tel Aviv.
The largest market in Tel Aviv with plenty of stall holders selling spices, fruits and vegetables, trinkets and souvenirs, sweets and breads. The food here is amazing so come with an empty belly! Everything is super cheap too and don’t forget to bargain.
The Market or ‘Shuk’ is on a single street which runs from the junction of King George Street, Allenby, and Sheinkin Street to the Carmelit B.
Check out the graffiti
Graffiti is all around Tel Aviv and you can easily see it. If you’re interested in more in depth coverage, you can do walking tours through a number of companies.
Sarona Market is a cool place to visit in Tel Aviv. It is a covered market and a meeting hub full of food stores selling meats, cheeses, breads, alcohol and also small eateries with Israel food, Japanese cuisine, pizza, pasta and more. We tried some great food here. It’s open on Shabbat too and ideal to visit if it’s raining since it’s indoors. A few cafes in the complex too.
There’s a few but this lets you pay casual entrance.
Space Fix – HaYarkon St 75, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
• Shops at Shekin Street or Neve Tzedek
• Markets Friday at Nahalat Benyamin St
• Hip and trendy Florentin neighbourhood
• Free Bauhaus tour 46 Rothschild blvd corner of Shadal at near little tel Aviv hostel
Where to stay
This really depends on your budget. There’s heaps of hostels in Tel Aviv and in pretty good condition and very clean.
The Abraham Hostel is popular, but quite expensive for a hostel. Book in early. The Beachfront hostel included breakfast and lots of events. Rooms have towels and sinks and and some a private en-suite. This is close to the beach and central Tel Aviv and not far from Jaffa.
Be sure to check out our blog here regarding our amazing stay at the boutique accomodation, the Artist Hotel in Tel Aviv.
Where to eat
Israel has amazing foods; the bread, salads, dips, fresh produce, sweets, they’ve got it all! You can get amazing meals at a wide variety of places; from markets to cafes and restaurants. Below is a range of what we tried.
We went to La Shuk for a Mediterranean meal in central Tel Aviv Dizengoff. Staff greeted us warmly and gave us a drink whilst we waited and a chance to look over the menu. The menu has an amazing range of Mediterranean and middle eastern foods. Not cheap but the food is quality.
We thoroughly recommend you visit, but do be sure to book since it was super busy. It had dim lighting and a buzzing ambience with its open kitchen and bar.
Santa Katarina is a trendy little restaurant where you can sit on the leafy terrace with outdoor heating or indoors nearer the bar. It serves up Middle Eastern /European food and we had some amazing salads and more seafood. The Dhaka salad, with lettuce, feta, egg, tomato, cucumbers and herbs was beautiful. We also loved the tuna ceviche and fish balls in a lentil and potato sauce. Brilliant.
It is part of a cafe chain that has a number of stores. We visited in Tel Aviv on our first day in Israel. It is one of the best cafes we’ve visited. They had an all day menu offering breakfast and coffee, brunch, salads, dinner and even wine. The cafe a has a cool mod vibe to it in its decor. Staff we’re very friendly and helpful. We ordered Israeli breakfasts, complete with omelette (including a vegan one), spreads, granola and a few bread rolls. It was a very generous serving for the price. Quite exceptional.
Carmel Market and Sarona Market
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This bakery has a range of breads, bourekas, and plenty topped with eggs, and cheese and you can also get pita made. There are also sweets like baklava and babka. They also do coffee to go. Everything here is super cheap and certainly a feast for the eyes and stomach. An institution, which I hear has been there since the 19th century.
HOC (House of Coffee)
Top place for coffee in Tel Avic – in-house blends, espresso, milk based, cold drip and more, they certainly know their stuff. The styling is on point and staff are super nice and helpful.
Other (didn’t get to but have heard good things about)
The Old man and the Sea
Cafe Yom Tov
Bar a vin
We hope this helps you when planning a trip to Tel Aviv, Israel.