Travel guide for Tel Aviv, Israel: hotspots, activities and best restaurants!

A long weekend getaway to Tel Aviv: it was perfect! In this travel guide, I tell you everything you need to know about this beautiful city! The best restaurants, cool activities and nice hotels in different budget classes. Enjoy your time in beautiful Tel Aviv!

Travel guide Tel Aviv

Imagine the eclectic atmosphere of Berlin, mixed with the wonderful beaches of Barcelona, the sporty people from LA and the food from Ottolenghi. The result: Tel Aviv! A wonderful city full of contradictions; ugly buildings, nice restaurants. Many restaurants are kosher, but many people smoke weed. Every day partying until dawn, but during Sabbath, it is difficult to find a restaurant that is open. People are direct and sometimes almost blunt, but everyone is incredibly hospitable and they always offer to help you.

We are convinced in any case, Tel Aviv is great! When can we come back?Israel: jaffa church 1

7 Awesome things to do in Tel Aviv!

Below you will find 7 great activities and fun sights that will make your visit to Tel Aviv complete.

1. Visit one of the amazing beaches of Tel Aviv!

In Tel Aviv it almost never rains and temperatures are always pleasant. The city lays on the coast, with miles of beautiful beaches. Not surprising that those beaches are very popular. People are surfing and playing volleyball, but especially beach tennis seems to be the national sport.

Our favourite beaches in Tel Aviv are:

Bograshov Beach, Frishman Beach and Gordon Beach (cosy and popular beaches), Banana Beach (quiet beach, currently closed for construction work) and Jaffa Beach (quiet beach with lots of surfers).

Israel: jaffa

2. Must do in Tel Aviv: visit one of the many market

Tel Aviv contains many small and larger markets where you can find everything you’re looking for. From pastries to clothing, and from household articles to plants. The two best known are the Shuk HaCarmel Market, right in the centre of the city, and the Jaffa Flea Market (also called Shuk Hapishpishim). I love it to just wander around, taste something here and there and find lovely souvenirs!

Also fun: a guided tour of the Carmel market plus tasting. Click here for more information about this activity!

3. Admire Jaffa: the old center of Tel Aviv!

Jaffa is an ancient port city, slowly swallowed by neighbouring city Tel Aviv. The city has a number of beautiful churches, mosques and buildings. You will also find several flea markets and art galleries here. After all, Jaffa is the place where the orange used to come from. And chances are you still see several orange trees!

Would you like to learn a bit more about the history of Jaffa and Tel Aviv? Then consider taking a walking tour of Jaffa and the modern city with a guide. Click here for more information.Israel: Jaffa Church

4. Must see in Tel Aviv: the Street art and graffiti!

The buildings in Tel Aviv are full of beautiful graffiti and other street art. Get to know the city from a different perspective and walk around looking for all this street art. Nice to do yourself by choosing some beautiful places, but you can also do an official street art tour. A guide will tell you more about the meaning behind each artwork and the makers. Click here for a good street art tour in Tel Aviv.Israel: img_0289.jpg

5. Visit the Dead Sea from Tel Aviv

From Tel Aviv, you are only 1.5 hours away from the Dead Sea. This beautiful lake on the border with Jordan consists of 33 percent salt. This means you can just float in it! Due to the enormous amount of salt and minerals, the clay soil is also great for your skin. So don’t forget to apply the muddy clay!

To visit the Dead Sea, we recommend that you rent a car (via Sunny Cars) and drive east from Tel Aviv through the desert. A convenient stop at the Dead Sea is Kalya Beach, where you can easily enter the water. The route through the desert is so impressive in itself that it is worth it! Be quick, the water level drops very quickly.

Prefer not to rent a car yourself? Then consider joining a tour. For example this tour.

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6. Enjoy the local cuisine in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv, but actually all of Israel, is known for its great cuisine. Mostly vegetarian or vegan dishes with fresh and juicy fruit or vegetables and flavored with local herbs. You haven’t really been to Tel Aviv if you haven’t tasted her kitchen.

A very fun activity to do in Tel Aviv is to do a food tour through the city with a resident. You will also discover the best spots for falafel, nice restaurants where you can buy hummus and hidden markets for sweet pastries. During this food tour, you will get to know the city while tasting and enjoying. Click here for more information.Israel: Tel Aviv old town

7. Visit Jerusalem from Tel Aviv

The complete opposite of Tel Aviv is the old city of Jerusalem. And just a 50-minute drive from Tel Aviv definitely worth a visit!

If you have already rented that car for a visit to the Dead Sea, first drive into Jerusalem, which you will pass anyway.  Jerusalem is 50 minutes from Tel Aviv but feels like a thousand miles away. The religious city is a huge contrast to the modern hedonistic Tel Aviv.Israel: Jeruzalem Western wall 2

Must-see sights in Jerusalem:

Visit the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and of course the Dome of the Rock and the Al Asqua Mosque on the Temple Mount.

Want a good meal after all these tourist hotspots? Then go to Notre Dame or to The Austrian Hospice. No car at your disposal? Several buses go daily to Jerusalem, or you book a guided tour, for example, this one.

Food hotspots and restaurants in Tel Aviv!

Food and drinks, that’s what it’s all about in this city. There are way too many great restaurants and hip bars to mention, so here is a small selection of our favourites:

The coolest restaurants for brunch in Tel Aviv

Below our favourite hotspots for breakfast and brunch in Tel Aviv!

Café Casbah: thé co-working hotspot of Tel Aviv!

Casbah is located in the middle of trendy Florentine, a restaurant that is open on the street side. Here you will find the highest MacBook penetration of the entire city!

Aroma: good coffee and breakfast! 

Aroma is a Starbucks like a chain, but with good food. Fine breakfasts and tasty coffee and you can find them on every corner of the street.

Basma Coffee: amazing breakfast in Jaffa! 

In need of breakfast or lunch in Jaffa? Then go and have a bite to eat at Basma. Good hummus, delicious shakshuka and rich salads. And all for a very fair price!

The best spots for dinner in Tel Aviv

Below you will find four restaurants that we absolutely love. Perfect for fine dining, or simply the best hummus you’ve ever eaten!

Kaspi: The best hummus in Tel Aviv!

Are you looking for the best hummus in town? You can find this in North Tel Aviv near Kaspi! No tourists, only locals who are served by the nice no-nonsense waiters.

Bucke Cafe: cosy and romantic dining!

Bucke Cafe has two branches in the city, in the centre near Rothschild Blvd and in North Tel Aviv. Both with the friendliest staff ever. Good food, a fair price and a very nice setting.

Salon Romano: Hotspot for super hip dining!

Well, now we are talking real hipster. Salon Romano is just above the Florentine district. It is on the second floor in an obscure squat with a different party on each floor. You can sit in the gallery and enjoy the music on the floors below, or inside the restaurant where a beautiful turntable provides you with music all evening. The waiters are not the best, and sometimes make little mistakes, but hey, in the rush you experience during a night at Salon Romano this is oké.

North Abraxass: chic and fancy dining

North Abraxass is owned by the same owner as Salon Romano. This restaurant in central Tel Aviv is a bit more upscale and a place where you should definitely have a reservation. You can also go here if you like a party. Sit at the bar and be taken care of by the barman, knowing that this will result in a legendary evening (according to my friend P.)! Is there no availability at Abraxass? Then try it’s little cool sisters Port Said or King George, all from the same owner.

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Where to have good drinks in Tel Aviv?

The most popular bars, drinks and clubs hot spots in Tel Aviv:

The Prince: Cool bar on a roof terrace with DJ

A cosy non-pretentious roof terrace in central Tel Aviv full of hip Israelis. The atmosphere is relaxed and bit 80s. The DJ table is next to an old-fashioned computer game and the card reads like a comic book. Definitely worth a visit!

JaVa: Fancy dining and cocktails!

JaVa in the fancy north of the city. It is actually a restaurant, but you can also enjoy drinks here! The cocktails are recommended!

Spicehouse: hip cocktail bar!

Spicehouse is a cocktail bar in central Tel Aviv. Next time we will be in Tel Aviv, we definitely have to go for some drinks. Unfortunately now we didn’t have the time left. When you step inside you have the idea to go back in time and enter an old pharmacy, very cool!

Tender FM: Pop-up bar with festival vibe

Tender FM is a Pop-up bar that has definitively settled on the courtyard of the building where Salon Romano is located. It feels like a crazy mix between Paradiso (club in Amsterdam) and an uber-hip mini-festival. Everything is allowed and everything can be done here. Hungry? No problem, just order a pizza at the bar.

Where to sleep in Tel Aviv?

Okay, we will be honest. The hotel where we slept in Tel Aviv was our worst choice ever. It was dirty, old and had a creepy owner. So do not sleep there! Ever! Then what are nice places to sleep? See the tips below:

Little Tel Aviv hostel €Little Tel Aviv hostel

Nice hostel right in the center. Clean with many public facilities. From 24 euros per night per person (dorm). Prefer a private room? This is possible from 90 euros (2 people).

More information

Florentine Backpackers Florentine bacpackers hostel tel aviv

This party hostel is located in the middle of the hip Florentine district. From 20 euros per night (1pers, Dorm) or 62 euros per night for a private room (2pers). Including breakfast!

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Airbnb Ariel €perfect airbnb in Tel aviv

This cozy Airbnb is located right in the city centre! The small studio contains everything you need. The price, from 71 euros per night (2pers), very neat for Tel Aviv!

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Lily & Bloom Boutique €Lily Bloom Boutique Hotel Tel Aviv

This boutique hotel is located just off Rothschild Boulevard and around the corner from North Abraxass. The hotel has a nice terrace and chic look. From 130 euros per night (2pers).

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The Poli House €€€Poli House Tel aviv

Do you fancy to swim while overlooking the city with the sea in the distance? That’s possible in this luxurious hotel! From 217 euros per night (two persons) including breakfast!

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Hotel Montefiore €€€€Hotel Montefiore Tel Aviv

This super luxury boutique hotel is not only known for its beautiful rooms, but also for its breakfast. And how cute is this little balcony! From 340 euros per night (2 persons).

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Travel information for Tel Aviv!

Some things you should know before you travel to Tel Aviv:

How to get to Tel Aviv

There are daily direct flights from whole Europe to Tel Aviv. You can already fly to Tel Aviv from € 28 one way. Click here for the latest flight deals.

Price level Tel Aviv

The prices are high. Hotels are about as expensive as in Amsterdam (aka really expensive). The prices for food are slightly higher than in the Netherlands and alcohol, hmm that just hurts your wallet. Incidentally, it is the norm to give a tip of +/- 15 to 20%.

Safety Tel Aviv

“Tel Aviv, but that is Israel, isn’t that dangerous?” is one of the reactions we get when we say that we have been to Tel Aviv. No, Tel Aviv is not dangerous, because of all the security, the city is probably one of the safest cities we have ever been.

Public transportation in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is not a city ideal for public transport. However, currently, they are building a large metro network. Next, to that, all public transport is by bus. From and to the airport? We took a reduced price taxi, to be found at exit 21 at the airport (30 euro). Furthermore, the city is excellently walkable so we never actually used public transport.

Shabbat in Tel Aviv

The Shabbat takes place from Friday evening (sunset) to Saturday evening (sunset). This is a rest day according to the Jewish religion. In concrete terms, this means that almost no restaurants are open and there is no public transport. In addition, most shops and supermarkets are closed. Still looking for food? There are small (more expensive) 24/7 supermarkets open and some non-kosher restaurants too. We went to Jaffa with Shabbat where we found some restaurants that were open in the Arabic quarter.

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The Ultimate travel guide for Tel Aviv

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