Tel Aviv has been on my to-go list for years and since I heard so much about the city´s nightlife, beautiful & friendly people and incredible food, I was a bit afraid that expectations might have become too high. But luckily 6 days of Tel Aviv confirmed: it´s all quite true.
Besides the – frankly spoken rather limited – “classic sights” as Carmel
Market or the Bauhaus District, the city is pretty much all about having a good time.
When you´re up for adopting the locals´ enjoy-your-life mentality, best neighborhoods to stay are Neve Tzedek and Florentin, with the latter being a nice mixture of laid-back restaurants (check Dalida and its bar across and walk this street), hip
coffee shops and streetart culture.
Go to Levinsky Market, which is much smaller and more local than its well-known big brother Carmel Market, for indulging in streetfood, spices & dried fruits. Spend an evening at Teder.FM - a mix of an unpretentious openair restaurant, bar and concert venue in an old gallery. We would call it Tel Aviv in nutshell.
In Neve Tzedek you have the highest concentration of the city´s best restaurants, bars and clubs. At least one night out is a must and a pretty perfect one could be to start with a dinner at Bicicleta´s (DELICIOUS food in a relaxed backyard garden), continue with drinks on Prince Rooftop Bar and when you´re up for clubbing go to Sputnik (outdoor garden bar all week, club on Fridays),
Breakfast Club or The Block.
And in case you fancy a late-night-snack in between: go to Jasmino on nearby Allenby St for incredible stuffed pita breads that have been our life-saver 3 nights in a row.
For trendy shops and people-watching stroll down Shabazi St and neighboring streets and even if you´re not up for shopping, you must
not miss Anita. Best icecream ever. Seriously.
In complete contrast to Tel Avivs mostly rather shabby-chic looking buildings is Old Jaffa. Walk up the hill to Al-Bahr Mosque, enjoy the view over to Tel Aviv and the beaches – okay, honestly, the view to Old Jaffa is prettier than the other way round - and walk through the
beautiful alleyways down to the oldest port in the world. Afterwards head to Jaffa´s fleamarket area, where you can easily spend a full day strolling through the tiny streets, buy local produce from jewelry to furniture and again, enjoy lovely Israeli food. Check out Rabbi Yohanan Street (we loved Café Puaa) or the back alley of the Greek market where we luckily ended up on Friday
afternoon for drinks & food at Ramesses when the pre-shabat vibe was just on peak. A great spot for a sundowner before heading back to the city with views to old Jaffa castle and Tel Aviv is Parakalo restaurant.
After some days of Tel Aviv life we felt like doing something besides eating and drinking would be nice so we decided to get out of the city. Since the country is pretty small everything is easily reachable within a couple of hours by train or bus. We ended up on a day trip to Masada - in case you do not want to organize yourself AbrahamTours is a good option - which is an ancient
fortification on top of an isolated rock from where you have amazing views of the surrounding desert and to the dead sea, especially when you go for sunrise. The trip can be easily combined with a stopover at the Dead Sea. Side note: in case you just go there for a couple of hours as we did, instead of checking in to one of the luxury resorts, don´t expect fancy beach clubs & beautiful
people (for this you should rather head to LaLa Land in Tel Aviv). We found ourselves in quite a touristy spot, but hey, floating in 30% salty water and coat yourself all over in brownish mud has still been an experience not to be missed ;).
In case you have some more spare days, you could also head to Jerusalem or old port city Acre, which is a scenic 2-hrs-train ride along the Mediterranean coastline from Tel Aviv.
Last but not least one practical note: since we faced the experience that the ATMs are kind of selective in to whom and how much they are willing to hand out money, better bring enough cash with you.