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Cooler, hipper, and much younger than neighboring Jerusalem (an hour away by car), the coastal city of Tel Aviv promises visitors a good time with fine dining, nightlife, and plenty of culture. Home to the Museum of the Jewish People (Beit Hatfutsot), white-sand beaches, and a bevy of artfully dilapidated art nouveau and Bauhaus buildings, it’s no wonder the so-called White City is also a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. See why locals love Israel’s second-largest city by touring the charming neighborhood of Neve Tzedek, typically packed with groups eating sabich (fried eggplant and hardboiled egg pita sandwich) at sidewalk cafes; taking in art and history at world-beating museums; and sampling specialties such as hummus and falafel at Carmel Market. At the heart of Tel Aviv lies the old city of Jaffa, a mixed Jewish and Muslim neighborhood with views of the Mediterranean Sea and 8,000-year-old roots. Easily include a visit to Jaffa on a half-day tour, or opt for day trips that take you to Israel’s other famous sites, such as the Dead Sea, Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, Masada, Bethlehem, Jericho, and Petra—most return to Tel Aviv in time for you to hit up the city’s famed bars and restaurants. Because Ben Gurion International Airport is located just outside of Tel Aviv, you can easily squeeze in a visit at the beginning or end of your time in Israel, or base your trip out of this 24/7 city and take advantage of the numerous day trip opportunities.
Temperatures in Tel Aviv soar in the summer—from May to August, they can push 90°F (32°C). Tourists cram onto the city’s beaches to sunbathe and swim in the near-bath-warm Mediterranean, and the city pulses with life, especially during celebrations like June’s Pride. For less extreme weather and fewer crowds, visit in March and April or September to November, when warm weather is ideal for roaming the city’s markets and alfresco dining. The city is particularly busy in early fall for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
Tel Aviv is relatively flat and crisscrossed by a grid of wide roads and cycle lanes. It’s easy to explore the city on foot or two wheels, and travelers will find that many hotels rent bikes. For speedier transit, use the Dan buses—buy a Rav-Kav card at a bus station and preload it—or take cabs. Shared taxis (or monit sherut) are cheaper than private cabs and faster than buses. With all these options, there’s no need to rent a car unless you’re planning out-of-town trips.
Located near Tel Aviv’s Levinsky Market (in the city’s hip Florentin neighborhood), Café Levinsky 41 is famous for its hand-crafted drinks, coffees, and cakes. Stop by for a refreshment after browsing the market’s spice and tea stalls. Look for the battered, plant-filled pickup truck parked outside, and order a delicious cordial or fruit-syrup sodas; each comes with a veritable garden of fresh herbs and flowers on top.
Tel Aviv is nicknamed the White City on account of its UNESCO-protected Bauhaus landmarks. The buildings—designed by German-Jewish architects fleeing Nazi persecution in Europe—are some of the city’s most famous attractions. Also popular are Tel Aviv’s downtown Mediterranean beaches and bustling Carmel Market, the largest shuk....More
With only a day to spend in Tel Aviv, take a walking tour or food tour to get an insider’s peek into the local culture in just a few hours. If you prefer to visit on your own, wander down the beachfront promenade down to the historic seaport of Jaffa....More
When in Tel Aviv, do not miss a visit to the city’s Yemenite neighborhood, known as Kerem Hateimanim. It’s tucked downtown between Carmel Market and Allenby. There, you’ll find most of the world’s Yemenite Jewish population and tiny, family-run eateries where you can taste the community’s cuisine....More
Tel Aviv is the superior destination for nightlife, cafés, and anything related to the beach—you won’t find any coastlines in Jerusalem. However, Jerusalem can’t be topped when it comes to its history and religious significance. The Old City is home to dozens of landmarks considered sacred to three faiths....More
Two of Tel Aviv’s best features are free. One is the 4,000 or so UNESCO-protected Bauhaus buildings that are scattered around downtown. Simply walk around and try to find them all. You can also take a dip in the Mediterranean Sea, with beaches located right in the city center....More
Tel Aviv is a safe city. Nicknamed the Bubble, it feels very far—culturally, if not geographically—from the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. You can feel confident walking around and exploring on your own. Violent crime is rare, although you’ll want to exercise normal precautions, especially in parts of South Tel Aviv....More
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