With three days in Tel Aviv, you can get a taste of the city old and new—from Jaffa old town and the Bauhaus district to clubs and street art. If you plan carefully, you can also check off signature sights of the biblical Holy Land, including Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the Dead Sea, and Masada, a cliff-top fortress built by King Herod. Here’s how.
Day 1: Tel Aviv Taster
The modern city of Tel Aviv originated with the ancient port of Jaffa, so start your explorations here, with breakfast by the port and a morning spent shopping the Jaffa Flea Market. Besides junk, vintage, and antiques, the market is home to lively cafés, bars, and restaurants. After lunch, check off Tel Aviv’s Bauhaus downtown, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on a walking tour, then soak up impressionist and postimpressionist masterpieces at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Come evening, make your way to the hipster district of Florentin. Absorb vibrant street art and explore indie galleries, then eat and drink your way through the neighborhood’s lively bar and café scene.
Day 2: Bible Adventures
If your time in Israel is limited, spend your second day in Tel Aviv exploring two of the Bible’s most important sites: Bethlehem, where Jesus is believed to have been born, and Jerusalem, a holy city to Muslims, Jews, and Christians alike. Start the day in Jerusalem, exploring the medieval streets of its magical Old Town and checking off sights such as the Wailing Wall and the Dome of the Rock. Cross into the West Bank to visit Bethlehem and see religious highlights such as the Church of the Nativity. Back in Tel Aviv, head to Carmel Market, the city’s largest market, for a street-food feast for dinner.
Day 3: Dead Sea and Masada
Set 1,412 feet (430 meters) below sea level, the hypersalinated Dead Sea is one of the wonders of the world: not just because it’s impossible to sink in it, but for the incredible softness of its mineral-rich clay. At only two hours from Tel Aviv, it makes an easy day trip. Couple it with Masada, a dramatic cliff-top fortress built by King Herod that may have been the site of a mass suicide during Jewish resistance to the Romans, and Ein Gedi, a green nature reserve nestled amid the desert. For your last night in Tel Aviv, savor dinner on the beach, then experience the city’s vibrant bar scene. Discover the beer gardens and cocktail bars on Dizengoff Street before you wrap up your stay at one of the rooftop clubs that spring to life each summer.