Tel Aviv-Yafo

Tel Aviv is a good base for a stay in Israel, being both central and also quite cosmopolitan and secular. It is not, however, a significant sightseeing destination on balance.

Tel Aviv
Notwithstanding the ancient history present in Yafo, Tel Aviv is a very young town – it was formally founded only in 1909. There are not that many exceptionally eye-catching spots in the city. The most lasting visual impressions of Tel Aviv probably come from Tayelet ♥, its city-length modern seaside promenade, or the central Rothschild Boulevard ♥ which shows off interesting buildings along its length.

The White City ♥, a UNESCO World Heritage site based on the Bauhaus movement, offers occasional architectural highlights, including those found on Rothschild Boulevard but also along a number of streets and squares in the city center. Dizengoff Square ♥ is highlighted by Hotel Cinema Esther, and Bialik Square ♥ by the Old Town Hall.

Neve Tsedek ♥ is the most quaint of Tel Aviv’s neighborhoods, with narrow streets, picturesque houses, and a bohemian vibe. Nearby is the Old Train Station, another mild highlight, with galleries and restaurants (but no more than a dozen establishments in total). To the south of it, Florentin ♥ is one of the lively pockets for dining and nightlife.

Old Jaffa ♥ (or Yafo, which is the proper Hebrew name transliteration) is a city with 4,000 years of history. Its core is pretty small, with a tiny network of narrow passages and stairways, plus a couple of elevated viewpoints to the city, a few cute decorative elements, and several minor points of interest as well as art galleries. You can take an iconic look at Old Jaffa itself if you walk out along the pier in its port.

You can visit Jaffa with a daily free Sandemans tour. I actually was disappointed with it – too much socializing and lame jokes from the guide, some lecturing stuff, and too little walking and seeing. But that may be the factor of my expectations; most of the people I know who ever took a Sandemans tour are fans.

At least one museum in Tel Aviv deserves a significant allocation of time. ANU Museum of Jewish People ♥♥♥ is a fantastic and relatively new establishment on the grounds of the University of Tel Aviv. There are many interactive exhibits, occasionally lighthearted videos highlighting different aspects of Jewish life, an incredible amount of information, and many displays that can only be called “cool”. The 3rd floor is about aspects of Jewish life and achievements, the 2nd floor is about the history of different Jewish diasporas, and the 1st floor is home to the amazing Hall of Synagogues, full of models of famous ones from around the world. You easily need five hours to properly see it all, while half that time will allow you to hit the highlights.

Among other museums worth considering is the Tel Aviv Museum of Art; there is a number of other minor museums sprinkled around town.

One of the biggest attractions in Tel Aviv is the markets. Nahalat Binyamin ♥♥ artisan market is nothing short of delightful, with many interesting stands, well worth perusing its half a dozen blocks of vendors. Nearby Shuk Ha’Carmel ♥ covers several blocks in length and width, and is busy to the point of being suffocating, although at times colorful, selling everything there is to sell. It has a less touristy feel than, say, Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, but also in places more of a sensation of just a large market that could be anywhere.

Jaffa market spans several streets in the lower portion of town near the Clock Tower and has an artisan section and also a large flea-market section. One other frequently recommended market is Levinsky.


There are many beaches along Tayelet; the best ones tend to be in the northern part of the promenade. On good beach days, they get quite busy and may even run out of lounging equipment. If you want to use a lounge chair or an umbrella, come no later than mid-morning. Conversely, Charles Clore Beach ♥ is to the south of Tel Aviv center and therefore stays a bit less crowded. All amenities are on site. The sea floor is sandy and a bit shallow.

Catching a sunset ♥ on a Tel Aviv beach is a nice diversion.



Tel Aviv is not big, so many locations will be reasonably “central” and close to beaches. I prefer Florentin, specifically because of its vibrant scene in the evenings.

In the “memorable stays” category, the somewhat confusingly called “By Beach Apartment” (link) is actually about 15 minutes of city walking away from the beach. Suitable for 5-6 people, with 3 large bedrooms, 2 large bathrooms, nice living space, and a large balcony (mostly looking at neighbors but with some view), it is on the 5th floor of a building in a cluster a few steps away from the core of Florentin. Designated parking in the underground garage is a big plus in a notoriously hard-to-park city.


As far as eating out is concerned, whether you reserve a table in advance based on online ratings or just pick a restaurant at random, it is hard to have a truly disappointing meal in Tel Aviv. Keep in mind that Friday nights even in this reasonably secular city are not as active as others: a number of places do close for Shabbat, so this is the day when dinner reservations might be more necessary.

Worthy of specific recommendations are: Dede Bar (on Uriel da Costa Street in Florentin, a block away from its busy cluster), with a local bohemian atmosphere; or Old Man and the Sea (in Jaffa port), famous for twenty or so small salads that are brought to the table as soon as you sit down (and they are at no charge if you order a main course).

Beyond Tel Aviv

Israel is a small country, so practically all destinations aside from Eilat can be visited on a day trip from Tel Aviv, and that includes Jerusalem. For other points of interest, check this article.

Other guides for Israel