Stretching along a wide, sandy Mediterranean beach, Tel Aviv is a vibrant, urbane city known for its dynamic outlook, innovative fusion food, celebrated nightlife and cultured metropolitan attitude. A far cry from Jerusalem, barely an hour's drive away, a visit is less about monuments and museums than it is about absorbing the city’s youthful, cultured ambiance.
It’s hailed as Israel’s hippest city, and is often compared to Miami or coastal California, its streets lined with chic bars and clubs, art and design studios, little galleries and independent stores. There’s an animated live music and performance scene, the world-class Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and it’s home to cosmopolitan residents from all over the globe.
Israel specialist Kerry-Ann
I love how chic and lively Tel Aviv is. I love strolling Neve Tzedek, with its hanging baskets and boutiques, admiring the Bauhaus architecture in the White City, or people watching in a café while sipping a coffee.
Things to see and do in Tel Aviv
The oldest part of Tel Aviv, the port of Jaffa has been in use since the Bronze Age and has, for centuries, been one of the most important ports on the Mediterranean. It makes an appearance in biblical stories as well as mythical legends and became an important stop for pilgrims going to Jerusalem during the days of the Ottoman Empire. Most of the buildings here date from Ottoman times and wandering its narrow streets, flea markets and galleries provides an immersive introduction to the city’s history. Jaffa is a predominantly Arab district and a place to browse craft shops, try the local oranges, or linger over lunch.
In the late 1800s, Jewish families began to move out of Jaffa into settlements to the north. The first of these new Jewish districts to be built was Neve Tzedek, meaning ‘Oasis of Justice’. It lies at the heart of modern Tel Aviv and today, it’s the city’s chicest district, its streets littered with boutique hotels, upmarket restaurants, art galleries, sleek bars and trendy shops. At weekends, city residents flock here to hang out, lunch and carouse. It’s the place to find French pastries, Moroccan lamps, beachfront malls, performance spaces and international fashion outlets.
By the 1930s, Germany was an increasingly dangerous place for Jews, and many German-Jewish architects fleeing Nazi persecution made their way to Tel Aviv. The city’s central area saw rapid development at this time and today is home to more buildings in the Bauhaus architectural style than any city in the world. Preservation of more than 1,000 of the original 4,000 structures earned the area a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation in 2003. Tree-lined Rothschild Boulevard is best known for its modernist buildings and was one of the city’s first streets designed as a public space. Its central garden has benches, pathways and kiosks.
Tel Aviv’s markets
Wandering Tel Aviv’s markets is an invitation to experience local life. Carmel Market in the heart of the city is the best known and a great place to pick up baklava, halva, olives, fresh bread, fruit or even cheap beachwear. Tucked behind it is the Bohemian Florentin area, the former Yemenite quarter and a good place to stop for a low-key lunch of hummus, bread and kebabs. Levinsky Market ― one of Tel Aviv’s oldest ― is here too. It’s a showcase of Tel Aviv’s different immigrant influences and runs the length of Levinsky Street. It’s full of attractive cooking ingredients, from herbs, spices, nuts and oils to dried fruit. For antiques and vintage clothes, try Jaffa Flea Market.
Tel Aviv’s beachfront
Sprawling the length of the city, the Tel Aviv’s Mediterranean beachfront of golden sand is one of the city’s most popular places to relax. As you wander along the waterfront promenade, the character of the beach changes from place to place with family-friendly, gay-friendly, sporty and segregated religious sections. Cafes and clubs offer loungers and parasols to rent, and in some sections there are artificial reefs popular with surfers and body boarders. There’s a saltwater swimming pool at Gordon Beach, plenty of water sports at Hilton Beach and safe sands for families at Frishman Beach. Sunset is a particularly popular time of day to go to the beach, with vivid skies, cocktails and alfresco meals drawing residents from around the city.
Best time to visit Tel Aviv
April to May and September to November are the most popular times to visit Tel Aviv with comfortable, warm weather and affordable prices. June to August is its busiest season, which is when the weather is hot and humid and everyone heads for the beach. The annual, week-long Tel Aviv Pride festival takes place in June.
Suggested itineraries featuring Tel Aviv
Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Tel Aviv, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Tel Aviv
Places & hotels on the map
Photos of Tel Aviv
Accommodation choices for Tel Aviv
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Tel Aviv. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.
Arguably Tel Aviv’s most glamorous hotel, The Norman has 1920s style decor, 50 elegant rooms and suites, two fine dining options, a vintage inspired bar, and a rooftop infinity pool. It is an attractive base from which to explore the UNESCO-protected White City district.
This former 19th-century French hospital and monastery turned luxury boutique hotel in Tel Aviv’s historic port of Jaffa has 120 comfortable rooms, an attractive outdoor pool, and a spa. Its setting near the waterfront adds to the appeal.
Ideas for experiencing Tel Aviv
Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Tel Aviv, and which use the best local guides.
Tel Aviv and Jaffa
Tel Aviv and Jaffa
Tel Aviv and Jaffa
Exploring the ancient port of Jaffa and the fashionable streets of Tel Aviv, this tour offers a deeper insight into the history of the country as it meanders from the Bronze Age port past Ottoman-era buildings to tree-lined boulevards rich in Bauhaus architecture.View details