Explore Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv Travel Guide

Tel Aviv is a vibrant modern city that is best known for its sun-drenched beaches, pumping nightclubs, designer shopping, crowded street markets and high culture. What it lacks in antiquities, Tel Aviv makes up for in commerce. One third of Israel's population have made this bustling metropolis home. Over weekends, residents from nearby towns head to Tel Aviv looking for entertainment and relaxation and city-slickers spill out onto the city's beaches to soak up the Mediterranean sun along a six-mile (10km) stretch of golden sand. The diversity of the population is reflected in the architectural variations and influences, such as the Yemenite Quarter and the Vodka cafes of Allenby Street. Tel Aviv also provides an ideal base from which to explore other parts of Israel, including Jaffa, the Galilee area and Caesarea.<br /><br /> Go rock-climbing, browse street markets, dine on seafood in the Old Port, party the night away, sunbathe on the beach or tour a top museum. These are just some of the diversions available on a holiday in Tel Aviv, which, like New York, is a 'city that never sleeps'. Tel Aviv is the hip and happening commercial centre of Israel. A holiday in Tel Aviv is great for families looking for fun in the sun, shopaholics who lust for its many malls and markets, and young travellers who revel in the nightlife and young vibe of the city.<br /><br />

Tel Aviv Museum of Art

Address: 27 Shaul Hamelech Boulevard Tel Aviv

Admission: Monday, Wednesday and Saturday: 10am-6pm Tuesday and Thursday: 10am-9pm Friday: 10am-2pm Closed Sundays.

Telephone: +972 3 6077020

The Tel Aviv Museum of Art has hosted the country's leading exhibition of modern art since its inception in 1932. It also has, unsurprisingly, one of the best collections of Israeli art in the world. A permanent collection of European and American art features prominent Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings by Chagall, Dali, Cezanne, Vincent van Gogh, Jackson Pollock, and Monet, among others. The museum showcases numerous mediums including painting, sculpture, print, drawing, photography, film, design and architecture. It aims to be a cultural hub in Tel Aviv and offers an active program of changing exhibitions, as well as exciting cultural programs such as music and dance performances, cinema screenings and public lectures.<br /><br /> To get an idea of what's on at the museum during your visit check the website below. The museum is consistently rated highly by visitors and is a must for art lovers spending time in the city. It houses a very extensive collection and will probably command your attention for a few hours so allow yourself some time. There is a cafe on site.<br /><br />

Eretz Israel Museum (The Land of Israel Museum)

Address: 2 Haim Levanon Street, Ramat Aviv. Tel Aviv

Admission: Adults: NIS 52. Concessions available. Monday to Wednesday: 10am-4pm Thursday: 10am-8pm Friday: 10am-2pm Saturday: 10am-4pm Closed Sundays

The Eretz Israel Museum has a unique layout and character. It's more like a museum park than a standalone museum. It's clustered around the ancient mound of the Tel Kasile, where ongoing archaeological excavations are in progress. The museum consists of various pavilions, each displaying different cultural artefacts and collections. Visitors can purchase a map to help them navigate through this fascinating campus, which covers 3,000 years of history, culture and art relating to Israel. The permanent exhibits include displays on ethnography and folklore, ceramics, copper, coins, crafts, agriculture, domestic life, and many aspects of political and social history. The exhibitions are not all equally impressive and some are better organised than others but there are plenty of treasures to be discovered. There are also temporary exhibitions which change on a regular basis.<br /><br /> All exhibits are accessible for the disabled. Photography is permitted but only for private, non-commercial use and flashes and tripods are not allowed. There is a special museum shop at the entrance which sells clothes, jewellery and all sorts of souvenirs created by talented Israeli designers. You can also buy a wide range of replicas here. There is a cafe for refreshments and the Planetarium is right next door - it is possible to buy combined tickets. On hot days the air conditioning is a big bonus!<br /><br />

Museum of the Jewish Diaspora (Beit Hatefutsot)

Address: Tel Aviv University Campus, Klausner Street, Ramat Aviv Tel Aviv

Admission: Adults: NIS 45. Concessions available. Sunday to Wednesday: 10am-7pm Thursday: 10am-10.30pm Friday: 9am-2pm Saturday: 10am-3pm Closed Sundays and Jewish holidays.

The museum conveys the story of the Jewish people, from the time of the expulsion of the Jews from Israel by the Romans 2,500 years ago, to their subsequent return to Israel. The multi-storey displays and exhibitions reflect the diverse Jewish communities that have been sustained over time by common cultural and religious links. The exhibitions are well put together and include murals, reconstructions, dioramas, audio-visual displays, documentary films and interactive multimedia. The Jewish Music Centre has thousands of recordings of Jewish music, from traditional fare to the music of communities that were wiped out in the Holocaust, as well as works by Jewish composers. There is also a genealogy centre where visitors can explore their ancestry with thousands of records of Jewish families from around the world, and register their own family trees for future generations.<br /><br /> Although the museum is extremely well-loved and impressive, the Core Exhibition is undergoing an extensive renovation and the new museum will open completely in 2019. In the interim the museum will still be open to visitors - check the website below to confirm before planning your trip.<br /><br />

Jaffa

Address: Tel Aviv

The historical port city of Jaffa is easily reached from Tel Aviv by car, or even on foot. Its inhabitants have included notable biblical figures, and its name is said to have been derived from that of Japhet, Noah's son. Archaeological finds indicate that Jaffa existed as a port city 4,000 years ago, serving both Egyptian and Phoenician sailors on their sea voyages.<br /><br /> The entrance to the Old Town is marked by the Ottoman Clock Tower, a prominent landmark and meeting point. The Old Town still has an ancient and magical atmosphere and is the main draw for visitors. Jaffa has become a popular tourist attraction filled with interesting shops, Mediterranean-style restaurants and sun-drenched cafes. There are artist quarters, studios and galleries as well as shops specialising in Judaica and archaeology. There are also some splendid markets in Jaffa - be sure to haggle! At night the historical walls are illuminated, revealing a beautiful architectural backdrop offset against the soft lapping of the sea against the ancient port walls.<br /><br /> For an exploration into Jaffa's history pay a visit to the Jaffa Museum, which contains a dazzling collection of artefacts. The museum is located at 10 Mifratz Shlomo Street, Old Jaffa.<br /><br />

Eilat

Address: Tel Aviv

Eilat is a popular holiday resort located at the northern tip of the Red Sea. It has wonderfully warm temperatures that seldom drop below 70°F (21°C). Many visitors travel to Eilat to enjoy its fantastic diving and snorkelling opportunities in the Red Sea, one of the world's most magnificent marine preserves. Brightly coloured coral fish, moray eels and even manta rays can be seen, while landlubbers will enjoy lazing on the beautiful beach and splashing in the shallows. For those who love sea creatures a popular activity in Eilat is swimming with the bottlenose dolphins in their natural environment.<br /><br /> A lesser-known activity in Eilat is bird-watching, as more than one billion birds navigate between the Mediterranean coast and the Jordan Mountains, making the area one of the best places to watch migratory flight. The Timna Valley National Park is located just north of Eilat and is a wonderful excursion for those wanting a day in the desert on camel-back or by jeep, while the more active can enjoy hiking in the desert mountains. The Red Canyon is a dramatic and beautiful feature of the area which attracts many hikers and provides fun for the whole family. Another popular Eilat excursion for children is a visit to the Hai Bar National Biblical Wildlife Reserve, a kind of zoo which collects and protects endangered animals from the Bible.<br /><br />

The Underwater Observatory Marine Park

Address: Tel Aviv

Visitors to the Underwater Observatory Marine Park, just south of Eilat and conveniently close to Tel Aviv, can enjoy viewing all kinds of fantastic marine life in the gigantic 360,000-litre seawater aquarium. Animals such as eels, sharks, turtles and stingrays can be seen, while the rare fish aquarium is home to some exquisite (and poisonous) fish. The Red Sea is renowned for its colourful reefs and rich marine life and the most unique facility of the Marine Park are the one of a kind Underwater Observatories which allow visitors to really immerse themselves in the underwater world and see the reefs and animals in their natural environment.<br /><br /> There are daily feedings to look forward to; the most popular of these is the daily hand-feeding of the sharks which is a big draw for lovers of predators. You can also witness the feeding of the turtles, the baby turtles, the rare fish and the stingrays. All the feedings are accompanied by some information on the species and their eating habits - check the website for details on all the different feeding times. The Marine Park also has a kids club for younger visitors where they can learn about the wonders of the ocean and enjoy all sorts of fun activities.<br /><br />

Carmel Market

Address: Near the Hatachana Complex and Allenby Street. Tel Aviv

The Carmel Market (Shuk Ha'Carmel) will enthral all visitors to Tel Aviv with its bustling atmosphere and fine selection of goods and produce. It's located in the 'trendy side' of town (just off Allenby Street), and is basically one long alley, jam-packed with shoppers and vendors loudly advertising their wares.<br /><br /> Although you can buy almost anything at the Carmel Market - from clothing and footwear to flowers, trinkets and cell phone accessories - and usually at better prices than you'll find elsewhere in the city, the real attraction is its mouth-watering array of fresh produce. Shop for the freshest fruit and vegetables, cheeses and baked goods, while soaking up the typically Middle Eastern market atmosphere. The market is frequented by locals and is not designed for tourists which makes the experience feel exciting and authentic. Many of the vendors will give you samples to taste if you enquire about fruits and vegetables you are unfamiliar with. You are expected to bargain for anything and everything!<br /><br /> The Carmel Market operates every day of the week except Saturday. Friday mornings are the busiest time and if you want to experience the full impact of the place this is a good time to visit.<br /><br />

Beaches

Address: Tel Aviv

Given the fact that the whole of the city's western edge is one long strip of gorgeous Mediterranean coastline, it's unsurprising that going to the beach is one of Tel Aviv's most popular tourist activities. The city is blessed with fine, dry and sunny weather and warm sea temperatures for most of the year. Most beaches in Tel Aviv are free, and boast decent facilities such as toilets, showers, umbrellas and deck chairs.<br /><br /> The coastline is divided into about ten beaches, all of which have their own appeal. The best beach for swimming in Tel Aviv is the Hilton Beach, while Gordon Beach is popular with tourists and has some good bars and cafes. Drums Beach is popular among backpackers and bohemian types (there are frequent evening drumming sessions, as the name suggests), and gay travellers will feel especially at home at Atzmout Beach. For surfers, Hilton Beach South has some renowned waves, and those who love dogs will enjoy Hilton Beach North. Givat Aliya Beach is great for kids because it is a protected bay with calm water, a shallow ocean pool and a children's playground. For those who prefer a quieter, less crowded beach, Trumpeldor is a good option but be aware that this beach doesn't have lifeguards or much in the way of facilities.<br /><br />

Tel Aviv is the irrepressible social hub of Israel, and has a great selection of trendy bars, grinding clubs and pubs with enough loud music, dancing and merriment to keep any party person happy. The saying in Israel goes 'Haifa works, Jerusalem prays, Tel Aviv plays', and this should give visitors some idea what they're in for.<br /><br /> During the summer months, kick things off with sundowners at one of the many beach bars, such as the popular Jerusalem Beach or Banana Beach. The nightlife in Tel Aviv doesn't usually get going until around 11pm, so it's best to ease into the swing of things by going out for dinner before hitting the bars and clubs. Even on Friday nights during Shabbat the locals go wild, while Thursday nights are another big night out in Tel Aviv.<br /><br /> Clubs and bars are constantly changing, but the main areas stay the same. Allenby Street is a good place to start, with more than 20 clubs centred round the small area offering house, disco, funk and techno music. The Tel Aviv port and Rotschild Blvd areas are popular too; while those looking for a gay scene should head to the trendy Florentin district.<br /><br /> Expect traffic jams at 2am, as this city that never sleeps is capable of keeping you up way past dawn.<br /><br />
Tel Aviv undoubtedly offers the best shopping options for tourists in Israel. Whether you're looking for speciality items, high fashion, or some authentic Israeli souvenirs, you are bound to find what you're looking for in Tel Aviv.<br /><br /> There are three main types of shopping experience to be had in Tel Aviv. Firstly (and most memorably), are the city's wonderful, colourful market-places (shuks). These open-air markets bustle from dawn to dusk and, over and above the exciting things to buy from their noisy vendors, are tourist attractions in themselves, giving visitors a real taste of the Middle East. The biggest and busiest market is the Carmel Market (near Allenby Street), but the Flea Market (Rabi Nachman Street) is a great place for antique-hunters, and the Levinsky Market (on Levinsky Street) is the place to go for dried foods and spices.<br /><br /> Tel Aviv also has a fast-growing shopping mall culture, and if you're looking for international brands these establishments are probably a good place to start. Even if you're not a mall person back home, you might find yourself enjoying the air-conditioned interiors of these places more than the shopping that's on offer! The biggest and best shopping malls in Tel Aviv include Azriely, the Dizengoff Centre and Gan Ha'ir, all located near the city centre.<br /><br /> Tel Aviv also has a few remaining speciality shopping streets: for those seeking fashion deals, Dizengoff Street is a must; while those after arts, crafts, jewellery and Judaica products should head to Gordon Street. Haute couture junkies should try coincide their visit to Tel Aviv with the City Designers' Market, where twice a year (in February and August) the city's top designers present their latest creations to the admiring public.<br /><br />
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