Embark on an adventure in Tel Aviv – the city with a whole lot of chutzpah. The New York Times calls it the “Capital of Cool”, others call it the “Miami of the Middle East”. Either way, Tel Aviv oozes urban charm from its position overlooking the turquoise waters and long sandy beaches of the Mediterranean.
Tel Aviv is a major center of culture and will come at you with a modern, vibrant, creative and energetic hedonism that will leave you wanting more. Its booming population, energy, edginess and “je ne sais quoi” give Tel Aviv a cosmopolitan flair that is rare in this part of the world. Despite its reputation for its hedonistic, non-stop nightlife in beach bars and rooftop clubs, Tel Aviv has an active, cosmopolitan and creative culture, a diverse culinary landscape and a rich architectural heritage reflecting influential periods throughout the city’s history. The city enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate year round.
Tel Aviv comprises nine districts of around 50 neighborhoods, each with its own distinctive character. The primary modern architectural attraction is in the center of Tel Aviv and known as the “White City” – the largest collection of Bauhaus style buildings in the world, and includes the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
Israel’s second most populous city packs a lot into its 52 km2 – great food, Mediterranean beaches and a thriving beach culture, flourishing high-tech industry and seemingly non-stop nightlife. Discover Israel - book your flight to Tel Aviv now.
How do you get to and from the Tel Aviv airport?
Ben Gurion Airport is approximately 25.5 km (16 miles) from the city center and is well-serviced by several different modes of transport. Tel Aviv Airport shuttles run 24/7 and are a cheap and convenient way to get from the airport to your front door in the city. The airport is also serviced by the relatively new overground rail network that runs to HaShalom station – a journey that takes only minutes. All major rental car companies have a presence at Ben Gurion Airport and the rental cars are a short bus ride away. Taxis are always available outside the Arrivals terminal, but note that drivers are entitled to charge for luggage. Sheruts – shared taxis – are also available outside the Arrivals terminal and will pick you up from outside your front door for the return journey to the airport if you book in advance.
How can you get around the city?
The rail network in Tel Aviv is equipped with WiFi and will get you most places you want to go. The system is well designed and can be figured out even if you don’t speak Hebrew. Cycling has undergone something of a renaissance in Tel Aviv in recent years. The municipal bicycle hire scheme is called Tel-O-Fun and has multiple stations for pick-up and drop-off around the city. Buses are many and plentiful – they may be a little confusing to work out, but the drivers will be happy to help you out. Taxis are also a plentiful albeit expensive way to get around town.
What else is good to know about Tel Aviv?
Trains do not run during Shabbat (the Sabbath). In Tel Aviv this is the period from Friday afternoon until late Saturday evening. So if you are traveling to a destination not covered by Sherut (shared taxi), your alternative transportation options are airport shuttle, taxi or rental car during Shabbat.
East meets West in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv welcomes you with Mediterranean zest, sunshine and an upbeat energy. A multicultural, diverse and hip Mediterranean hot-spot-on-the-sea, Tel Aviv is the epitome of urban cool. Miles and miles of glorious sandy surf beaches framed by skyscrapers incubating the next big thing in technology, Tel Aviv is a 21st century mash-up of the historical and the contemporary, tempered by respect for tradition and enthusiasm for progression. All this plus an incredible culinary landscape where East meets West in a wild celebration of culinary creativity. Tel Aviv has it all:
- Jaffa and the flea market
- Surfing in Tel Aviv
- Gordon Beach
- Dolphinarium Beach
- Banana Beach
Head to the ancient port city of Jaffa and explore its Ottoman-era alleyways. Jaffa is the oldest district in Tel Aviv from which the modern, metropolitan city grew. If you’re after antiques, vintage clothing and Middle Eastern souvenirs, check out the Jaffa Flea Market. There’s also a farmer’s market every week in HaTachana, a restored railway station.
Surf City here we come! No trip to Tel Aviv is complete without a visit to a beach. There are so many here that you can choose the character of the beach you’d most like to visit. Hilton beach is popular with dog walkers, surfers and the gay crowd, and has bathrooms, beach chairs and volleyball nets. South of Hilton is the main Tel Aviv beach Gordon Beach with plentiful sun loungers, ice-cream vendors, beach restaurants and an outdoor gym. You’ll also see the very Israeli racket game matkot (paddle ball) being played, which is a little like squash, but not really. On Fridays head to Dolphinarium Beach for music and performance art at the weekly music festival. Alternatively, flee the madding crowds at Alma Beach for a little true R&R.
Hire a bike and cycle the White City tayelet (or boardwalk) to Banana Beach, which welcomes you with tables on the beach and an enticing spot to watch the Tel Aviv sunset.
Find even more to discover with our guide of Tel Aviv's attractions.
Culinary delights in Tel Aviv
No matter your mood or what your budget may be, you won’t go hungry in Tel Aviv. From hummus and pita bread to ice-cream to high-end dining, Tel Aviv’s culinary landscape offers something to satisfy every taste. Then dance till dawn in Florentin, at a beach bar or on a rooftop.
No gastronomic experience in Tel Aviv is complete without indulging in an ice-cream. There are abundant ice-cream parlors located throughout Tel Aviv and the innovative edginess of the city is reflected in its creativity when it comes to ice-cream. Constantly seeking new and eclectic flavors, you’ll have the chance to try taste sensations such as halva or poppy seed.
Looking for the best hummus in Tel Aviv is something of a competitive sport, but locals know that Abu Hassan can’t be missed, which is why queues are inevitable but the wait is worthwhile. The food, the unbeatable local atmosphere and its location at 23 Derech Menachem Begin just have to be experienced.
Get more tips about eat and drink in Tel Aviv.
Shopping in Tel Aviv
If you’ve come to shop, Tel Aviv is here for you. The biggest mall is the Dizengoff Center in the heart of the city. For an upmarket mall experience, head to the Ramat Aviv Mall. Fashionistas note: For three days every February and August, Tel Aviv is host to the City Designers’ Market fashion exhibition, a colorful showcase of the innovative and cutting edge of fashion.
The biggest market in Tel Aviv is the legendary Carmel Market (Shuk Hacarmel). First opened in 1920 and now an integral part of Tel Aviv’s social fabric, it has everything from cheap clothing to spices, toys and cosmetics. Carmel Market is open every Sunday to Friday and closes for Shabbat. Embark on a market tour to experience culinary workshops and develop deeper insight into the character of the shuk and its unique culture.