And I get it, these places are amazing and of a huge historical, cultural and religious value. Tel Aviv is different than the rest of the country but it doesn’t mean you should skip it in your Israel itinerary.
I’ve just returned from the city break in Tel Aviv and I enjoyed it so much, I think this is a perfect destination for a weekend getaway.
Here are five solid reasons why you should plan a trip to Tel Aviv soon too!
Tel Aviv is a perfect sunny destination
Tel Aviv has around 300 sunny days per year which means you are most likely to enjoy a beautiful weather there! If, like me, you come from the places with grey and gloomy winters you should visit Tel Aviv in that time of the year.
I’ve been there twice in January and it was a pure bliss with almost 20C and sunny days. Tel Aviv is a perfect destination to recharge your batteries and get strength to survive cold and grey winter days.
But of course, every other time to visit Tel Aviv is good too!
Since the city is located at the shore of the Mediterranean Sea you will find a few really nice beaches located directly in the city center. If you feel like relaxing at the beach you don’t need to plan the whole journey to get there – a short walk from just about everywhere in the city will take you to the seaside.
Tel Aviv is perfect for doing water sports, such as windsurfing, kitesurfing or jet skis so if you are into this kind of activities you will probably enjoy Tel Aviv even more. There are a few surf clubs here as well as rental shops so you can easily enjoy water sports during your trip to Tel Aviv.
But even walking along the beach is a pure pleasure. There is a long promenade stretching for a few kilometers and it’s a perfect place if you want to go for a walk, enjoy the beach but also admire the modern skyline of the city.
Visit Tel Aviv to experience different cultures
Tel Aviv might be not as religious and spiritual as Jerusalem but you can still get a glimpse into the Jewish culture.
I especially recommend visiting the city on Friday and Saturday – during Shabbat. It’s a completely different experience than weekends everywhere else.
On Friday morning and noon cafes and restaurants are packed with people, enjoying meetings with friends and families. The local markets are bustling with shoppers buying all the necessary products for the dinner.
But suddenly, in the early afternoon, everything changes. The city slows down, there are less people around, businesses close for the day – everyone is getting ready for the Shabbat dinner – the most important event of the week. This is the moment when friends and families get together to celebrate the end of the week and rest.
If you would like to learn more about this part of the Jewish culture and tradition I recommend joining the Shabbat dinner. If you stay at Abraham Hostel (such a cool place) you can do it there. You can also join a local family for dinner via the Betzavta website.
Friday evening might be not as crazy as in Jerusalem, where to city feels abandoned, but it surely doesn’t feel like the big and vibrant metropolis.
On Saturday everyone is out, celebrating the weekend and relaxing. Again, many cafes and restaurants (at least those that are open) are full and the seaside promenade is packed with people.
You might join the dancing class, you might visit the museum or you can simply enjoy this resting time in the city. It is such a laid-back time in Tel Aviv and very quickly you will get infected with this relaxing atmosphere too.
On the other hand, there is Jaffa, the oldest neighborhood of Tel Aviv, with a completely different vibe. From the mosques located there you can hear the call for prayer when sitting on the beach or wandering around the narrow lanes of Jaffa.
There is also a big Russian minority in the city and you can find some Eastern European influences here as well.
While Tel Aviv is dominated by Jewish traditions and culture you can experience different influences and vibes all over the city.
Travel to Tel Aviv for the culinary experience
Personally I think Middle Eastern cuisine is one of the best in the world and Israeli food is to die for. And I’m not saying that because it has so many vegetarian options that I never have the problem what to eat there.
The taste is just incredible and every time I eat something new in Israel I call it my new favorite dish. And there is no better place to get acquainted with the Israeli cuisine than Tel Aviv.
You can get here (allegedly) the best hummus in the world – at Abu Hassan in Jaffa. Sometimes you need to wait in the line but it’s worth it as it gets this title for the reason.
But there are other delicious dishes you need to try – shakshouka, falafel, pickles and so many more.
Usually, you can find the best places to eat in and near the markets. The most popular is Caramel but to be honest I find it a bit too chaotic and messy and prefer smaller Levinsky market that also offers some good eating out option.
While Tel Aviv is known for its high prices in the markets you can find much more affordable meals. For example, the portion of hummus at Hummus HaCarmel is 15 ILS or shakshuka at Saluf & Sons is 35 ILS – not the cheapest but still reasonable.
If you would like to eat some delicious and fresh local products again the markets are your best option. You will get hungry only by walking around and looking at all the goodies – it’s really difficult to resist them!
You might also attend the workshop and learn how to prepare the Israeli food so you can take this amazing taste back home with you. Click here for more details!
Tel Aviv is the Bauhaus architecture paradise
If you are interested in architecture you might know that Tel Aviv is one of the best places to admire Bauhaus (modernist) architecture. It is so spectacular that the city was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as “an outstanding example of new town planning and architecture in the early 20th century.”
You will find over 4.000 modernist buildings in Tel Aviv – the largest number in the world and so many of them are real masterpieces! Tel Aviv is often called “the White City” thanks to its Bauhaus architecture as many of the buildings in this style are in the white color.
The reason why there are so many amazing modernist buildings in Tel Aviv lies in the tragic history of the Jewish nation. In the 1930s, when anti-Semite movements came to power in Nazi Germany, many prominent architects from there as well as other Central European countries immigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine and put all their knowledge and current trends into building a new city – Tel Aviv.
If you are interested in this style of architecture you should visit Bauhaus Center and go for their tour to learn more about modernism in Tel Aviv.
Vibrant atmosphere of Tel Aviv
There are only very few cities with such a vibrant atmosphere as in Tel Aviv. It reminded me a bit of Berlin but it’s not so pretentious (am I the only one who think Berlin has become a bit too crazy recently?).
There are so many cool cafes and small restaurants, numerous small businesses and independent shops, chaotic markets and quiet, leafy streets. There is a pretty cool street art scene and streets covered in murals, graffiti, and independent art installations.
There are fun pop-up bars and shops, and so many night clubs. And there is the beach that gives Tel Aviv laid-back twist.
If you are the city kind of person you will appreciate and enjoy this place for sure. It’s chaotic and messy but it’s also super fun and cool, a place that has something for everyone.
After spending 3 days in Tel Aviv I found myself thinking it’s one of those cool places I wouldn’t mind living in for a while.
It might not have many major tourist attractions but it has something else – the authentic, undeniable vibe that is so different than the rest of Israel. To fully get to know the country you just can’t miss Tel Aviv!
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