Tel Aviv is often mistakenly thought of as the capital of Israel. It may not be the official capital, but it is the younger, hipster sister of the historical, holy, and serious official capital Jerusalem.
On paper, 48 hours in Tel Aviv may seem like a lot for such a small city (51.5 sq km), but you’ll be surprised how much this lively city on the Mediterranean has to offer.
Morning walk and breakfast on the beach:
A visit to one of Tel Aviv’s beaches is a must! With a beautiful promenade, covering the entire beach strap, starting from Jaffa in the south and going north as far as Herzliya (the neighbouring city from the north). The Promenade offers great waterside coffee places and restaurants:
Cassis Coffee Bar & Restaurant located on the waterfront at the spectacular beach of Givat Aliya in Jaffa is a great place to start your day in a relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere. Another great option, more to the north is Yulia, located in the lively, beautifully renovated harbour of Tel Aviv.
If you prefer grabbing some breakfast on the go, pay a visit to the Harbour Market or “Shuk Hanamal” in Hebrew. This indoor farmers market at the Tel Aviv Harbour opens at 9am daily (7am Friday), and has some great food options for everyone. We especially recommend visiting the “Lehamim Bakery” stand, for some wonderful pastries and breads.
Market and street food:
Tel Aviv is considered a world-class culinary centre. With a great variety of restaurants offering local cuisine and kitchens using local, fresh, typical products, creating unique dishes, you will never go hungry in this city that never sleeps. Start by taking a walk through the rich, colourful Hacarmel Market, located in the heart of the city – the market offers more than just fresh produce – it has become a centre of street food with a variety of options: Kalboni Hummus offers classic Israeli dishes; 25M is a small high-quality Argentinian style meat restaurant; “Haturki” (the Turkish) serves great Bourek, drawing crowds from all around the city.
Not too far out of the market, you can find the “Malabia”- a small place serving “Malabi”, the oriental version of panna cotta, served with different syrups and toppings. If you’re looking for a different treat there are two Italian gelato places just around the corner from the market: De L’arte, on Nachalat Binyamin street, offers Italian ice cream and different granitas locally made by an Italian couple; Stefan Gelato, on the nearby Tchernikhovski st. is an ice-cream place owned by Stefan, an Austrian who studied the art of Gelato making in Italy and gives ice cream its Austrian twist with fresh Strudel and Zacher Tart flavoured ice cream.
On the same street, you can also find “Sabich Tcernikhovski“, a local institute serving the Israeli-Iraki delight Sabich, made of fresh fried eggplants, hard-boiled eggs, tahini and potatoes all stuffed into a fresh pita bread.
The Old City of Jaffa:
The old city of Jaffa is a mandatory stop when visiting Tel Aviv. The beautiful old streets with historic stone buildings, mosques and churches, will send you back in time to when Jaffa was a lively port on the east of the Mediterranean. The old Jaffa Port was recently renovated and it is a great spot to spend a few hours when visiting Tel Aviv. Great restaurants, boutiques and art galleries can be found on the beach front line.
Spend a good few hours at the lively Flea Market (“Shuk Hapishpeshim”), where you can find vintage items, new and second-hand clothing and some great ceramics, fashion and jewellery designer boutiques.
Right at the entrance to Jaffa, a new emerging neighbourhood should not be missed – Noga Neighbourhood is the newest place for everything from art galleries, to fashion boutiques to the best coffee place in Tel Aviv – Cafelix. Stop for a rest at The Drisco Hotel, located just five minutes away – it resides within an iconic building dating back to 1866, built over 40 years prior to the establishment of Tel Aviv in what was formerly the first and most prestigious hotel outside the former gates of Jaffa. Today it is a five-star luxury hotel, but you are welcome to come inside and take a look.
Shopping in the White City :
Tel Aviv may not the cheapest place to go on a shopping spree, but it does offer some great city centre shopping options. The most popular mall in the city is the Dizengoff Center. We may refer to it as a mall but locals will tell you the “Center” is no ordinary mall. Although the building has a very 80’s look to it, it manages to keep an indoor street vibe. Every Thursday and Friday the Dizengoff Center has an indoor food market, offering a variety of food stands and a local designers’ market with some beautifully made clothes and accessories.
Another great place to shop is the old neighbourhood of Neve Tzedek – this area also combines old and new, historical pieces next to contemporary galleries with shopping options from local and international brands.
Tel Aviv isn’t called “The city that doesn’t sleep” for nothing. There’s always something to do, at any time of the day or night. Restaurants and bars in Tel Aviv are packed with people every night on the calendar. For some great drinks visit the Jasper Jones or the Bellboy bar, known for its 50’s atmosphere and some highly creative drinks and dishes.
Ra’amses Restaurant at the Greek Market offers a wonderful combination of food, drinks and people watching.
If a night on the dance floor is what you’re into, then The Block and the Bootleg are what you’re looking for. These dance clubs offer some great all-night parties with some great lines and sets to choose from. The Kuli Alma is another night club you can enjoy and on weekdays it is also a pub & modern art gallery with a great selection of art exhibitions.
No matter when or where you’ll turn to in Tel Aviv you will always find something to do, somewhere to go, and great food to enjoy.