Tel Aviv must be one of the most paradoxical locations in the entire world! It is a new city in an ancient region. It is a secular community in the Holy Land. It’s a technology hub in a relaxed resort setting. It’s a truly cosmopolitan metropolis in an area riven by sectarian tensions and it is all of these along with being beautifully situated on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. I love Tel Aviv despite and maybe because of these paradoxes.
She sells seashells for shekels by the seashore!
This cosmopolitan coastal community is an engaging place from which to explore the historical region which surrounds it.
What kind of house? A Bauhaus, of course!
When you tire (trust me, it’ll take a while) of Tel Aviv’s Golden beaches, quirky bars, and Bauhaus architecture, consider exploring the Holy sites in wider Israel. The area offers a huge array of awe-inspiring locales including Jerusalem while being easily within proximity of a clean and modern hotel and other amenities.
Here’s a Pro Tip: The currency used is the New Israeli Shekel. About 5 Israeli Shekels is equal to one British Pound, though the rate regularly fluctuates.
Ben Gurion Airport is Israel’s main international airport, and you’ll likely be touching down here on your trip to Tel Aviv. From the airport, arriving into the city is straight-forward and can be accomplished by train or taxi in just over 20-minutes. The train, which costs roughly $3 one way, departs from Ben Gurion Airport Station found outside terminal three. Taxis, which start at $25 one way, are located outside all airport terminals and can be pre-booked to save time.
While central Tel Aviv is easy to navigate on foot, I found it far more fun to explore on two wheels, and there’s plenty of bike rental shops dotted around the city. If you’d like to explore a little further afield to Jerusalem or Akko, make use of Israel’s new transport links and ride the Israel Rail across the country.
Here’s Another Pro Tip: Tel Aviv was one of the first cities in the world to offer a free Wi-Fi network across 80 different locations. That means you’ll be able to stay connected for free wherever you may be!
Here are some cool places to explore in Tel Aviv:
- Beit Hatfutsot Museum – This multimedia museum features exhibits covering the history of Jewish communities around the globe. Make sure you checkout the exhibition on Ethiopian Jewish traditions.
- Eretz Israel Museum – Home to some of the country’s finest archaeology, folklore and crafts this interesting museum offers a glimpse into Tel Aviv of a time-gone-by. The museum also features an on-site excavation of 12th-century BCE ruins.
- Frishman Beach – There are three main sand beaches within proximity to Tel Aviv, but Frishman is my favourite. Sunbathe on the sands, cool down in the sea, and grab an ice-cold refreshment from the boardwalk.
Everything is ship-shape here!
- Rothschild Boulevard – Wander down this street, and you’ll come across some of Tel Aviv’s best Bauhaus architecture. Swing by Independence Hall and admire the former home of Tel Aviv’s first mayor!
- Jaffa Port – The nearby port town of Jaffa can be accessed along the coast from downtown Tel Aviv. The local flea market, port area, and seafood restaurants are all highlights of the neighbourhood.
- Carmel Market – Found in Tel Aviv’s Yemenite Quarter, this busy and colourful market is home to local vendors flogging their wares day in, day out.
Tel Aviv is a melting pot of cultures. As such, the local gastronomy is an eclectic mix of different flavours from around the world even though you can expect most menus to feature fresh Mediterranean seafood and Middle Eastern dishes. Here are some of my favourite Tel Aviv restaurants:
- The Old Man and the Sea – Whenever I’m on the coast, I always have to find the best seafood restaurant in town. This eatery sits in Jaffa Port and is known for its catch of the day served with hot pitas fresh from the tabun.
- Fu Sushi – Did you know Tel Aviv has over 400 sushi restaurants!? This particular Asian kitchen and sushi bar arguably serves some of the best raw fish in the city! The restaurant’s decor is cool and contemporary, and tall leather seats line the bar where waiters shake cocktails late into the night.
- Port Said – Calling all hipsters, I’ve found just the eatery for you! This funky restaurant-come-bar represents Tel Aviv’s hipster community and is a popular hangout with the locals after a day on the beach. The menu changes daily (always a good sign) and features Middle Eastern-inspired sharing platters.
Kosher Sushi: it’s a thing!
When it comes to nightlife, Tel Aviv is on overdrive! Tel Aviv is one of the liveliest cities in the Mediterranean and has been nicknamed ‘The City that Never Sleeps’! Whether you want to join a food tour that turns into a bar crawl, frequent the best nightclubs, or enjoy live music in a chillout bar, Tel Aviv has it all! Check out my favourite places to have a good time:
- Teder – Live music and D.J. sets are the heart and soul of this pop-up bar, which moves across the city each summer! At present, Teder has taken residence in a courtyard in Jaffa. In my humble opinion, anything that happens in a courtyard is bound to be cool. Some evenings the bar hosts outdoor movie nights too!
- Imperial Craft Cocktail Bar – Tucked away inside the imperial hotel, this cocktail bar is one of the best in the city. The Asian-fusion food, colonial decor, and live jazz music make this bar my personal favourite. Order the Wabi-Sabi for a cocktail with a kick.
- Barby – If you’re here for the clubbing, make a B-line for Barby. As one of the White City’s most popular nightclubs, this grungy hideout is undoubtedly the place to dance the night away. Or should I say ‘rave’?
With so many neighbourhoods spread across the city, each offering a different view of Tel Aviv, the list of comfortable and stylish hotels is long. To help you out, I’ve narrowed the list down to my favourite three hotels:
Let the haggling commence!
- The Diaghilev Hotel – Named after a 19th-century Russian art critic, this hotel is all about showcasing local culture and art from across the country. If you appreciate minimalistic rooms and fine art, you can’t go far wrong with a night at the Diaghilev. If you have cash to splash, book the Deluxe Studio Loft.
- The Vera – This 39-room boutique hotel boasts a rooftop sundeck, local artisan amenities, and complimentary wine on tap. The Vera is a spectacular hotel with an Instagram-perfect exterior!
- Fabric Hotel – Located in the Nahalat Binyamin area of Tel Aviv, just a short walk from the beach, this hotel is relatively new to the city. The hotel has a cool New York feel to it, and I particularly loved the common areas where murals line the walls and clash with gold and green furniture.
With its vibrant art scene, eclectic cuisine, and soft-white sand beaches all surrounded by the Holy Land, Tel Aviv may be my favourite paradox of all!