When people think of visiting Tel Aviv, they imagine the rich history that underlies much of Israel. But the city lacks most of the historic sites for which Israel is known. In their place, it offers an energetic nightlife, beautiful beaches, and a fun-loving populace always ready to smile and make friends.
That’s not to suggest Tel Aviv is bereft of culture. On the contrary, the city is home to various styles of architecture, 3 of the largest museums in Israel, and more than 540 synagogues. These blend seamlessly with a fast-growing fashion hotspot, a litany of critically-acclaimed restaurants, and several professional sports leagues. Most first-time visitors are surprised by the potpourri of contemporary delights and cultural interests.
Below, we’ll give you a crash course on visiting Tel Aviv and making the most of your trip.
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You’ll learn what to do, where to stay, and where to eat.
Use the following as a starting point, a launch pad from which to create your own fun-filled itinerary. But be aware: you’ll find that your time in the city seems to fly by.
Activities To Enjoy While Exploring Tel Aviv
Much of the fun you’ll have in the city can be grouped into three categories: beaches, nightlife, and shopping. Along the way, you’ll meet interesting people, eat at great restaurants (we’ll share some favorites in a few minutes), and witness things you’ve never experienced.
First, the beaches of Tel Aviv.
The city is located on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea, giving you easy access to endless, blue waters and sun-filled skies. During the day, you’ll see folks playing volleyball, paddleball, and other games on the sand. On any given afternoon, people can be found laying on the sand, soaking up the sun while drifting to sleep to the sounds of the waves. During evenings, the beaches are perfect for casual strolls, especially as the sun descends into the horizon.
Some of the best beaches include The Dolphinarium, Gordon-Frishman Beach, and Bugrashov Beach. But don’t dismiss Metsitsim Beach, Cliff Beach, and Tel Baruch Beach. All offer a gorgeous view of the water.
Next, Tel Aviv’s nightlife.
For many first-time visitors, one of the most surprising aspects of the city is how large a role clubbing plays. Each night, Israelis meet in the clubs and bars to blow off steam and enjoy the company of friends. The weekends see the most foot traffic, with lines forming outside the hottest venues. Cover charges tend to be lower before midnight (assuming you’re able to gain entry), but the party really begins in the early morning hours.
There are hundreds of clubs and bars in the city. One of the most popular is the TLV. Many of the locals also enjoy going to the Zamir and Ha Oman. If you’re in the mood for live music, visit Fusion and Fifth Dimension.
Lastly, we come to Tel Aviv’s shopping.
You’ll have countless opportunities to pick up great deals on a diverse selection of goods at the numerous markets located in the city. Make time for the Nahalat Binyamin Market on Fridays, where you’ll find outdoor vendors selling everything from jewelry and pottery to lampshades and souvenirs. Also, visit the Carmel Market on HaCarmel Street. There, you’ll find vendors selling fresh fruit, falafel, pistachios, and other treats, along with various arts and crafts. Both markets are well worth the time.
Great Hotels In Tel Aviv
You’ll find that Tel Aviv offers a wide range of accommodations, from budget-conscious hostels to 5-star hotels. Whether you’re looking for a pampered experience or a nuts-and-bolts, no-nonsense room at a cut-rate price, you’ll find it in the city.
The Tal Hotel sits near the Tel Aviv Port. It provides a good view of the Mediterranean and close proximity to bars, clubs, and restaurants. Rooms at The Tal can usually be reserved for $250 a night.
The Best Western Regency is a 4-star hotel located near Frishman Beach and the Tel Aviv Museum. It too overlooks the Mediterranean, though from further inland. Each room comes with a refrigerator and microwave, making it relatively easy to prepare quick meals. Reservations typically run $225 a night.
The Metropolitan Hotel is located within a short walking distance of historical attractions, open markets, and several beaches. The hotel provides a fitness center and pool in case you’d like to get a morning workout in before starting the day. Additionally, the rooms are outfitted with refrigerators. They can be reserved for $200 a night.
For a higher-end, more elegant experience, book a room at David InterContinental. Plan to spend approximately $400 a night. Located close to the shoreline, the facility provides quick access to beaches, markets, and popular historical attractions. You can also enjoy the 4 restaurants in the hotel as well as its full-service spa.
Where To Find Delicious Food
Food plays a large role in Tel Aviv culture. Friends dine together throughout the week, enjoying good foods along with each other’s company. Many of the city’s locals favor Manta Ray, a facility that overlooks the Mediterranean and specializes in grilled fish.
Batia is also popular among residents. Each night, its chefs prepare an assortment of dishes that cater to a variety of culinary tastes. From chicken soup laden with matzo balls to chopped liver doused with a delicious cream sauce, this restaurant is known for its stomach-filling comfort foods.
If you’re in the mood for French cuisine laced with a Mediterranean flair, visit Raphael. You’ll enjoy a great view of the water while chowing down on tasty dishes that will delight any foodie. The prices at Raphael at slightly higher than those found at competing restaurants, but the experience of eating there makes the price worth paying.
Getting Around The City
If you’re an avid traveler, you may be accustomed to driving or getting from place to place by taxi. In Tel Aviv, you’ll be much better served getting around on foot or by bike. Many of the places you’ll visit are located relatively close to each other. Driving between them would actually be more troublesome than riding or walking. It’s also worth noting the city is fairly flat. That makes it easier to commute on foot or by bike.
Of the two options, biking is preferred by most people. It’s faster than walking and more convenient. Plus, most of the streets have been designed to provide plenty of room for cyclists. Bikes can be rented along the shoreline for less than $5 a day.
Having said the above, you’ll find plenty of taxis in Tel Aviv. There are also buses that run throughout the day and evening. Both are good options after shopping excursions to save you the trouble of lugging your purchases back to your hotel.
The Cost Of Airfare Between Canada And Tel Aviv
A round trip ticket between Canada and Tel Aviv is relatively expensive. If you’re departing from Toronto, you’ll pay between $1,000 and $2,000, depending on whether you’re traveling during the week or on the weekend (weekend flights are more costly). If you’re departing from Montreal, tickets cost much more. You’ll pay between $1,200 and $2,500. If you are worried about your flight being cancelled at the last minute by unforeseeable events, you should consider purchasing trip cancellation insurance at Kanetix.ca. Save your hard-earned money by learning what this type of insurance can offer you and the peace of mind that you’ll get.
Although airlines routinely run promotions that substantially cut their rates, flights to Tel Aviv are limited. The city is not as popular a travel destination as London, New York City, or Puerto Viarta. As a result, deals are harder to find.
Tel Aviv is a city that seems comfortable in its own skin. The people are relaxed, the mood is light, and the scenery is breathtaking. If you’re looking for a place to visit and want to avoid the typical tourist haunts, Tel Aviv may be a perfect travel destination for you and your friends.