Tel Aviv Guide

Tel Aviv is the cultural capital of Israel.  It’s famous for fashion, art, clubs and beaches. I lived and volunteered at a hostel in Tel Aviv for 6 weeks.  This guide is a concise and easy-to-use guide for planning a trip to Tel Aviv.

hanging out on the beach with some co-workers from the hostel
hanging out on the beach with some co-workers from the hostel

Getting There:

  • You don’t need to apply for a visa in advance.  To get into Israel, you’ll fly to Tel Aviv and go through their rigorous security.  Then you’ll get in line at customs.
  •  Have your passport, ticket leaving Israel and the address of where you are staying, ready.
  • If you are Jewish mention it because Jews will get a 6 month visa. While a non-Jew will get a few more  a 3 month visa.  Don’t pretend to be Jewish because they will know if you aren’t.  I was met with a lot of questions because I don’t look Jewish..
  • While they are very strict, I’ve never heard of someone being turned away so don’t stress out just be aware.airport

Costs:

  • A shekel is like 25 cents in American money,that will change depending on inflation.  This can be misleading because things are pretty expensive in Israel.  A beer is like $5 at most bars.
  • Finding cheap food is a hunt.  Beware of small convenience stores because they are more expensive than regular grocery stores. However, grocery stores close on Friday but not convenience stores.
  • The bus is cheap to use.  I think it’s 3 shekels per ride so 75 cents.  You don’t often need the bus because the city is very small.  You can walk from one end to the other in ~two hours.

Food:

  • Abu Hassan has three locations in Tel Aviv.  It is considered the best and most famous hummus in the city.
  • Buddha Burgers is a chain in Israel.  They serve all vegan food and it’s delicious!  It’s like American style burgers and fries but vegetarian.  I highly recommend it.  It’s a nice break from kebab and hummus.
  • Kebab places are everywhere and I love them.  Try as many as you can but make sure you don’t pay over 12 shekels. Otherwise, it’s just a rip off!  Kebab in Israel isn’t like in America.  Kebab is a stuffed pita with meat or falafel with vegetables.
    • Israelis don’t eat a lot of meat so this country is like vegan/ vegetarian heaven.  You should have very little problems going out to eat.kebab

Things to Do:

  • Tel Aviv Art Museum: I loved this art museum.  The balance of sculptures, paintings and films is diverse.  Each room is a completely different experience.
  • Jaffa/ Yafo: This is technically a separate city from Tel Aviv but they are seamlessly attached.  There’s a flea market and lots of coffee shops. The Jaffa Old City has Andromeda’s Rock, view of the beach, the Clock Tower, temple ruins and more.  There’s also a free tour of the Old City available and they meet at the Clock Tower everyday. (It’s free but make sure you give a good tip!)

    TLV1
    The Clock Tower
  • Tel Aviv Promenade: The beaches in Tel Aviv are gorgeous.  Whether you want to surf, tan or or play matkot. You can also rent a bike. There’s 10 beaches on the promenade, none are nude but some are for surfing and others for lounging. Swimming is allowed with caution; there are no lifeguards.
  • Carmel Market: I went to Carmel Market everyday.  They have everything whether you want produce to make dinner or buy some trinkets and everything in between.  It is crowded and chaotic; be careful taking children. 11018989_10202437814065036_3757047909746993194_n
  • Dizengoff Square: There’s usually some type of market or event in this area.  I loved the vintage market on Tuesdays and Fridays.  I bought all my Jewish paraphernalia like a menorah and two mezuzahs.  TLV5
  • The White City:  This on the Rothschild Street.  The Bauhaus architecture is world famous.  It’s based on pre-Nazi German architecture. The style is now rare because once World War Two was declared the architecture came to a halt and most of the European Bauhaus was destroyed during the war.  This area is a World Heritage Site.
  • Dolphinarium: Israel made dolphin shows illegal so this building was abandoned.  Street artists took advantage of it and transformed the building to a museum of sorts.  The graffiti is ever-changing.
  • TLV2
  • Eretz Israel: It’s a giant museum with a 100 little museums inside.  There’s a stamp, currency, ceramic, glass museum and more.   If you are super into anthropology, it’s interesting but otherwise I’d skip it.

    eretz
    The ceramic garden located outside of Eretz Israel’s ceramic museum
  • Get lost in a neighborhood: There is a lot of amazing street art in Tel Aviv.  It’s surprising where you can find it.TLV3

Nightlife:

Florentine is the chill bar area where you can sip a beer and hang out. It’s the laid back hipster neighborhood.

Rothschild has lots of fun clubs.  I frequented Solo, Radio and Deli, expect to pay a cover between $5-20.

Tel Aviv Port:  This is the college bar scene.  I didn’t go up that north but I’ve been told it’s fun.

If you are looking for events check out: Underground Tel Aviv. They have the most up-to-date parties in the city.

I did go on a bar crawl in Tel Aviv.  It was a great way to see a lot of clubs for a low price with drinks included. The crawl meets Thursday and Saturday nights at Hayarkon Hostel.

*Remember Friday is Shabbat so public transportation shuts down at sunset and taxis charge more.

giphy

Fun Facts: 

Yaffo is one of the oldest cities in the world. It’s about 3,500 years old. The word Jaffa, which means the beautiful.  It is derived from Japhfet, the name of one of Noah’s sons’ who built it the arc.

Tel means ancient mound; Aviv means Spring. The name was meant to reflect the rebirth of the nation when it was founded in April 11, 1909.

Tel Aviv is the gay capital of the Middle East. Gay Pride is a week long affair.

gaypride

Tel Aviv has a similar climate to Miami.

maimi

Andromeda’s rocks is located near the Yaffo Beach.  It’s the location of a Greek legend.  Andromeda was the daughter of King Cephus and Queen Cassiope.  Queen Cassiope bragged that her daughter was the most beautiful girl in the world.  So Poseiden sent a sea monster to ravage Cephus’ kingdom.  Andromeda had to be a sacrifice to Poseiden. So she was tied to the rocks. Perseus flew on Pegasus to save Andromeda.

Tel-Aviv

I hope this was helpful!  Let me know if you have some additions you’d like to make to this guide.

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