Tel Aviv is one of the most vibrant cities in the world. It’s a 24-hour city with a unique pulse, world-class culture and access to some of the most historic sites on the planet. Avoid the extreme summer and visit just before or after the high season.
Also, don’t assume everyone speaks English and avoid Shabbat (Friday sunset to Saturday night) - everything in Israel stops (including public transport, taxis and restaurants). We learnt this the hard way!
WHERE TO STAY
The Setai, Jaffa: Location, location location. Situated along the Mediterranean Sea, Tel Aviv coastline and Jaffa Port, The Setai Tel Aviv is a prestigious five-star hotel offering tranquility at the crossroads of modern and ancient Tel Aviv-Jaffa.
Housed within a historic Ottoman building, once used as a jailhouse, this hotel offers an enviable entryway to the wonders of the Jaffa Port, Tel Aviv’s full beach coastline and steps away from the city’s bustling boulevards and urban hub.
The Jaffa, Jaffa: The Jaffa is a 5-star property set within a restored 19th century complex that once housed Jaffa’s French Hospital. Centrally located near the Mediterranean Sea and the historic port of Jaffa, attractions like Shuk Hapishpeshim flea market, Museum of Antiquities and local boutiques are always a short walk away.
The many apartments on offer in Neve Tzedek: Neve Tzedek is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Tel Aviv, and certainly it’s most beautiful. It’s full of avant-garde design stores, boutiques and homewares shops, as well as a weekly farmers’ market in HaTachana, a restored railway station. Trendy European restaurants sit alongside stylish bistros, and many of the area’s alfresco cafes turn into live jazz bars and cocktail lounges at night. All of this with the beach only being a 10-minute walk away. There are many apartments of every size available, with the best being available on Airbnb. Pro tip: make sure you book an apartment with air-con, the Israeli summers can be brutal.
WHERE TO EAT
Benedict: Benedict’s breakfast kitchen is open for breakfast lovers everywhere, every day, all day. We recommend a traditional Israeli breakfast of shakshuka (with a side of Mimosa, of course).
Kalamata: is a little bit of Greece located in the upper section of old Yaffo. With its terrace overlooking Kedumim, and its tavern-style first floor with a beautiful view over the Mediterranean.
Literally any street food - we had a particularly amazing falafel in pita bread near Rabin Square in the city centre.
Mashya: Situated in the lobby of the boutique hotel, Mendelli, this restaurant provides everything you'd expect for Middle Eastern cuisine: local spices, exciting aromas and familiar textures.
Beccafico: Fittingly located in Neve Tzedek, lies a lovely little authentic Italian restaurant named Beccafico. The menu here changes often, as they serve only the freshest produce that’s in season.
North Abraxas: Buzzing place with an open kitchen where they make inventive dishes, including a memorable slow-cooked lamb. The adjoining bar has live bands, and is rocking even on Mondays.
The Prince: A trendy bar located in an old building on Nachalat-Binyamin. Enter the bar through the building, go up the stairs and enjoy the views from the rooftop bar.
Cafe Noir: upscale bistro that’s been a TA stable for over 20 years. It’s true Tel-Aviv style mixed with a European flair.
THINGS TO DO
Jaffa Free Walking Tour: This free tour meets daily by the Clock Tower in Old Jaffa, and takes you directly into the old town. Jaffa has been destroyed and rebuilt dozens of times over the past millennia, as you’ll discover as you stroll through the Zodiac Alleys, and past the iconic Jama al Bahr Sea Mosque, and as you look out to Andromeda’s Rock, where Andromeda was to be sacrificed to the sea monster in Greek mythology. This can be extremely hot (it was 38 degrees in mid-September), so be sure to wear a hat and take water.
Bike Tour: Everyone in Tel Aviv are on bikes or electric scooters, so it makes sense to see the city like the locals do. The meeting point for this tour is really off the beaten track (it’s in the middle of a large park), but the tour is worth it. You’ll go up and down the coast line in Tel Aviv to see and hear all about the history, the people and food.
Beach: The beach is the place to be in summer. There’s miles and miles of beach (kind of similar to the northern end of the Gold Coast), with bars and restaurants spotted along it.