Tel Aviv is one of the most vibrant (if not THE most vibrant) city on the Mediterranean Sea. It’s cool, funky, diverse and with so many great things to do in Tel Aviv, there is no way you will be bored. All the Tel Aviv pictures prove how great the city is.
Recently I spent 3 days in Tel Aviv and enjoyed the city to the fullest. I put together the list of the best things to do in Tel Aviv as well as some Tel Aviv travel tips so you can plan your trip to this cool city too! Enjoy!
Table of contents
- 1 Where is Tel Aviv
- 2 Best time to visit Tel Aviv
- 3 How to get to Tel Aviv
- 4 How to get around Tel Aviv
- 5 Where to stay in Tel Aviv
- 6 Things to do in Tel Aviv
- 6.1 Admire the splendid Bauhaus architecture
- 6.2 Enjoy the cafe scene
- 6.3 Discover street art
- 6.4 Look at the skyline from above
- 6.5 Eat the best hummus in the world
- 6.6 Get lost at Tel Aviv markets
- 6.7 Find the Annonymous Alley
- 6.8 Shop at independent stores
- 6.9 Find popup bars and shops
- 6.10 Enjoy the seaside
- 6.11 Visit the museums
- 6.12 Visit Old Jaffa
- 6.13 Join Saturday dancing classes at the beach
- 6.14 Enjoy Shabbat in Tel Aviv
- 6.15 Discover hip Florentine
- 6.16 Learn about graffiti
- 6.17 Go for day trips
- 6.18 Learn how to cook Israeli food
- 6.19 Enjoy the nightlife
- 6.20 Visit Neve Tzedek
- 7 Travel Resources
Where is Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv is the second-largest city in Israel, located on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, and of the bustling metropolis in the Middle East. Even if officially Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, most of the institutions and embassies are located in Tel Aviv.
Best time to visit Tel Aviv
There are around 300 sunny days per year in Tel Aviv so no matter when you decide to come – most likely you will have good weather! In the wintertime, the temperature should be between 15 and 20C and in the summer you can expect 30C and more.
Plan your trip to Tel Aviv according to your interests – if you are more into sightseeing then I would visit outside of the summer season but if you would like to enjoy the beach holidays then long and hot summer days are the best.
I usually visit Tel Aviv in January, to catch some sunlight when the weather in Poland is just gloomy and depressing. The city makes a perfect winter getaway!
How to get to Tel Aviv
Getting to Tel Aviv is super easy. The main airport in Israel – Ben Gurion airport – is located just outside of the city, 10 minutes by train from Tel Aviv HaHagana station (best way to travel between the airport and the city).
You can fly here using numerous airlines, both regular and low-cost. You will land at Terminal 3, with the train station just outside the terminal.
However, check which terminal you need for the departure. Low-cost and a few other airlines use Terminal 1 – you will get there by the free shuttle bus from outside of Terminal 3.
How to get around Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv is a very walkable city and you can get everywhere on foot, however, distances can be long sometimes. If you are tired of walking you can use buses, scooters or city bikes – there are plenty of them around! Getting around Tel Aviv is actually very easy!
Where to stay in Tel Aviv
The property is centrally located, offers affordable accommodation for all kinds of travelers and besides being one of the coolest hostels ever this is also a cultural and travelers’ center. Not to mention the rooftop with a great view over central Tel Aviv.
Even if this is a hostel, everyone is more than welcome to stay here. When I checked in a couple of pensioners were checking in next to me, clearly excited they are about to stay in such a vibrant place.
During my stay, I met young travelers, families with children, elderly people, solo travelers like myself – and everyone was having a good time at Abraham Hostel.
I booked a single room with a private bathroom and was very satisfied with my choice. The room was spacious, clean and the bed was so comfortable I didn’t want to get up in the morning. From my window, I could see one of the most beautiful examples of Bauhaus architecture in Tel Aviv – Jacobson’s Building.
Abraham Hostel, besides offering a place to sleep, also has a whole variety of events for you to choose from. Each day there is something going on – tours, concerts, language exchanges, cooking classes or the famous Shabbat dinner. If you want to socialize with other travelers this is a perfect opportunity to do so – that’s how I met one of my best friends, during the Shabbat dinner in Abraham Hostel in Jerusalem.
Things to do in Tel Aviv
So now, that I gave you a few Tel Aviv travel tips it’s time to talk about what to do in Tel Aviv! Without a further ago, here is a list of the best things to do in Tel Aviv!
Admire the splendid Bauhaus architecture
One of the biggest Tel Aviv attractions is the Bauhaus architecture. All over the city you can find over 4.000 buildings in the modernist style and many of them are pretty amazing, some of the best examples of the modernism you will ever see.
Tel Aviv is often called “the White City” thanks to its sleek buildings. In 2003 Bauhaus in Tel Aviv was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as an exceptional example of this architecture style.
While you can find modernism in Tel Aviv in most of the neighborhoods, the most popular places are Rothschild Boulevard, Bialik street, and Denzingoff Square.
Near the last one, you can visit the Bauhaus center – the gallery and shop focusing on modernist architecture in Tel Aviv and beyond. Once a week, on Friday morning, they organize tours when they explain all about Tel Aviv modernism. If you can’t join the tour you can use the audio guide and discover the city’s famous architecture on your own.
Enjoy the cafe scene
Tel Aviv is such a cool and hipster place! And when there are hipsters there must be good cafes too! And Tel Aviv surely has many of them!
I had a list of over 20 cafes to check and of course, I’ve managed to visit only a few of them. But every single one was great, with a cool vibe and really good coffee.
Places I can recommend include WayCup Coffee, Cafelix or TLVMakers but there are so many good places I’m sure you will find amazing cafes yourself!
Discover street art
Tel Aviv has a booming, vibrant and diverse street art scene. Sure, you will find here big murals but what’s great about the local street art scene is how independent and creative it is. Not only you can admire here tags and stencils but also 3-D prints, crocheting and more!
Areas that literally covered with street art are Florentine, Caramel Market, and Nahalat Binyamin but you can find works all over the city really.
Look at the skyline from above
If you are looking for a nice view over Tel Aviv the most popular one is Azrieli Observatory.
However, there is also one secret place that offers nice views of Tel Aviv’s skyline – the Gruzenberg parking at Nahalat Binyamin Street. Just take the elevator to the last floor and you can enjoy 360o panorama of central Tel Aviv. Bonus – the entrance is free!
Eat the best hummus in the world
Israeli (and Middle Eastern) food is one of the best you will ever try and you can fully enjoy it in Tel Aviv. Among all the dishes you need to try the most important one is definitely hummus.
Hummus Abu Hassan in Jaffa is well-known for having the best hummus in the world. Sometimes you need to wait in line a bit but it’s worth it – the hummus is fresh, creamy and so good! I can’t say it is or isn’t the best one in the world but it’s definitely very high on the list of hummuses I’ve ever tried.
Another place that might be not so popular but also offers spectacular hummus is Hummus HaCarmel at the Caramel market. It’s easy to miss it, especially during peak hours at the market, but once you get there you are in for a treat! The hummus plate with all the extras is 15 shekels only.
You might want to join to food tour to enjoy the Israeli food to the fullest – click here for more details and to book the place.
Get lost at Tel Aviv markets
If you would like to experience the bustling and busy Middle Eastern souk life you can do it at Caramel Market. The place is a real mix of people, smells, colors, and tastes!
If you don’t feel comfortable in the packed and overwhelming places you might hate the Caramel market a bit but at the same time, it’s such a fascinating place that you will quickly forget about the discomfort and will focus on experiencing the market to the fullest.
Once you are tired with the hustle and bustle of the main lane turn left or right to the backstreets and find a cafe or bar there to relax a bit and enjoy the drink in this cool spot.
While Caramel market is the most popular one in Tel Aviv, there are other, smaller markets you can also check. I personally enjoyed the Levinsky market more. It’s smaller, less intimidating and more local. You can also find some very good and affordable restaurants there, like Saluf & Sons or Garger HaZahav.
Find the Annonymous Alley
From the busy King George street, you can immediately transport to the quiet oasis – the Annonyous Alley. Hidden in the center of Tel Aviv, this is a silent witness of the city’s history.
In the 1920s, when Tel Aviv was only developing, a wealthy American Meir Shapira bought two lanes with the intention of naming them after his wife and himself. The city council wasn’t very happy with this idea so they temporarily named the lanes Anonymous and Unidentified. The names stuck and are in use still today.
In one of the lanes, you can find a big sculpture of a lion that Shapira bought to his wife. Behind it, you can see one of the prettiest houses in Tel Aviv, built in the eclectic, continental style.
This is such a quirky place to visit, one of the most unusual Tel Aviv attractions.
Shop at independent stores
With such a big population of young, funky and trendy people you can expect numerous independent shops around Tel Aviv. And indeed you can find many of them.
Books, clothes, gadgets, plants – everything is here! Tel Aviv makes a perfect destination for cool shopping in the local, independent shops!
Find popup bars and shops
Tel Aviv is big on the pop-up scene too. You can enjoy here pop-up bars, shops, museums and more. Do some research before your trip to Tel Aviv to find what’s currently happening in the city and put it on your list of things to do in Tel Aviv.
During my visit I spent a bit of time at the pop-up bar at the Caramel market that was open only on Fridays before Shabbat – it was hidden in one of the back lanes, serving drinks with the local ingredients from the market.
The sitting area was very much makeshift, the atmosphere was jolly and the time passed by super quickly. This was actually one of the coolest Tel Aviv experiences I’ve had.
I would share the address with you but a local friend told me that a few days after our visit they have changed the location. You can google “Vivian popup cocktails” to see the current location.
Enjoy the seaside
One of the main reasons to visit Tel Aviv is its amazing seaside with wide and sandy beaches. Even if you are not much of a beach person (I’m not) you will surely enjoy it!
There is something mesmerizing about the sound and look of the waves and you can spend hours just walking around the seaside promenade or the beach itself or sitting at the bench and watching at the sea. This is also one of the best places to visit in Tel Aviv for people watching as there always seems to be something going on.
If you are fun of water sports Tel Aviv will get extra points from you – the local beach is perfect for windsurfing or kitesurfing. You can rent the necessary equipment in the nearby rental shops and enjoy the day in the sea!
Visit the museums
Tel Aviv is very much art-focused city and you can find here numerous cultural institutions here.
If you have time only for one of them I recommend visiting the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. The building itself is very interesting, a perfect example of modern architecture with sharp edges and clearly defined lines.
Inside you can see both the modern art and some classical works by such well-known names as Gustav Klimt, Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet and many more.
The museum is open every day except for Sundays, the entrance fee is 50 shekels, it is allowed to take pictures inside.
If you like modern art you should also visit the Helena Rubinstein Pavilion for Contemporary Art, the branch of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, focusing on the new works of new artists. The pavilion is open every day but Sunday, the entrance is free of charge.
Visit Old Jaffa
While Tel Aviv is modern, vibrant and cosmopolitan, its old neighborhood Jaffa is like a completely different world. The city was established here already in ancient times and until today Jaffa has this old-time charm that transfers you back in time.
The best thing to do here is to get lost in the maze of the narrow lanes with arches – some of the most picturesque spots you will find in Tel Aviv.
Don’t miss Kikar Kdumim Square with St. Peter’s Church and the old Port of Jaffa and Retzif HaAliya HaShniya street with a small mosque and the Armenian Monastery. For the best view of Tel Aviv’s seaside and skyline head to HaMidron Garden.
Join Saturday dancing classes at the beach
If you happen to be in Tel Aviv on Saturday be sure to attend dancing classes at Gordon Beach. Even if you are not a dancer it’s such a fun event to watch.
Couples of all ages dance together, clearly knowing all the moves and steps and singing together to the local songs. And those who don’t dance but watch, sing with them.
I randomly stumbled across this event but stayed there for half an hour or so, it was so nice to see how joyful everyone is, enjoying well known Israeli songs together.
Enjoy Shabbat in Tel Aviv
I experienced Shabbat in both, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and it couldn’t be any more different. In Jerusalem it’s all spiritual, the Jewish part of the city feels abandoned, whereas in Tel Aviv it’s the time to relax and spend the time with the loved ones, either friends or family.
All the cafes and restaurants are packed on Friday and everywhere around I could see happy people spending quality time together. I was more than happy to experience Shabbat in Tel Aviv with my local friend.
But while it was all busy on Friday morning and early afternoon, everything calmed down closer to the sunset. People headed home to prepare the Shabbat dinner and while there were still many people outside the atmosphere in the city has changed and was much more peaceful.
Shabbat dinner is a really big thing in Jewish culture. That’s when the resting time starts, families or friends spend this time together, in a more spiritual mood, talking and singing traditional songs.
The good news is you can enjoy the Shabbat dinner too! You can spend this evening at the traditional Shabbat dinner at Abrahan Hostel, where you will learn all about the tradition and try the typical Shabbat food. I did it in Jerusalem a few years ago and it is still one of my favorites memories from Israel.
Discover hip Florentine
Every bigger city has the edgy yet hip neighborhood and for Tel Aviv it’s Florentine. In the past, it used to be a poor area, inhabited mostly by students who transformed it into the most hipster part of Tel Aviv.
Today it is booming with creativity and alternative culture, graffiti is present almost at every wall and all the streets are lined with cool cafes, bars, and restaurants.
The best time to visit Florentine is on Saturday evening when the Shabbat is over – it’s crazy how much is going on then! But Florentine can suck you in every single day, there is just so much to see and do that you wouldn’t like to leave!
Learn about graffiti
If you like street art I wholeheartedly recommend joining the graffiti tour, either in Florentine or Nahalat Binyamin.
This is not the typical tour that shows you the murals and tells you about the artist and its work. Instead, it focuses on illegal work only and you can learn more about the graffiti scene in Tel Aviv, but also about the graffiti in general.
I’ve been to a few street art tours all over the world and this one was probably my favorite one – it was so complex and informative! Even if you are familiar with street art you will still learn a lot!
Go for day trips
While Tel Aviv is a cool place to hang around, you can also use the city as a base to see more of Israel. There is a good selection of day trips from Israel that you can take. I can recommend the following tours (I took them all a few years ago but from Jerusalem):
- Masada Sunrise, Ein Gedi & Dead Sea Hike
- Best of the West Bank Full-Day Tour
- Experience a Communal Kibbutz
Learn how to cook Israeli food
As I already mention and will repeat it – Israeli cuisine has some of the most delicious dishes in the world!
If like me, you try all the local food during your travels and then try to figure out how to do them at home I have a better idea for you – why not joining the Israeli cooking workshop? You can get to know more about the local cuisine and learn how to make such iconic dishes like shakshuka – the queen of Israeli cuisine!
Enjoy the nightlife
If you like parties then Tel Aviv is your kind of place. The local nightlife is epic and will not leave you disappointed. Numerous clubs and bars offer something for everyone and Tel Aviv is alive until early morning hours.
Visit Neve Tzedek
The oldest district in Tel Aviv is currently one of the trendiest parts of the city. The streets are lined with bright houses, many of them hiding independent shops and small art galleries. This is a perfect area to just wander around, without a map.
You might be surprised how many gems you will find here: beautiful houses in numerous styles, cute shops, cool street art, and charming cafes. When visiting Neve Tzedek you don’t feel like you are in the heart of the busy metropolis, this is a perfect getaway to escape the crowds and just enjoy the place.
For the end I left a few announcements that might interest you:
- Sign up to my newsletter or follow me on Bloglovin to get updates about the new posts
- Join my Facebook group about Eastern Europe, the Balkans and former USSR and connect with fellow travellers and enthusiasts of these regions – just click here!
- I’ve included a few handy links of services and products I personally like and use so you can plan your own trip to Israel too. They are often affiliate links. This means I will get a small commission if you book/purchase anything through my links, at no extra costs for you. Thank you!
If you enjoyed that post why don't you share it with your friends? That would mean so much to me! Also be sure to join 27.000+ fellow travelers and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, G+ or Instagram for travel updates and even more pictures! If you don't want to miss new posts sign up to my newsletter or follow on Bloglovin!