Tel Aviv holds such a special place in my heart. It was my first trip after a major break up, a place I went to heal. It worked better than I ever thought. I met some wonderful people and did so many wonderful things. By the end of my trip I felt completely different.
Before I get too sentimental let me tell you all the things you need to do when you are in Tel Aviv.
- YOU NEED TO STAY AT ABRAHAM HOSTEL!
There is no better base for Tel Aviv (same goes for Jerusalem). It is hard to begin with this hostel chain. I have stayed at many hostels and felt like I was home. Maybe it is the friendly staff, the beautiful breakfast spread or the extensive list of offered activities but this place seems almost unreal.The bar is so popular even locals come to the events they put on. They have a Shabbat dinner every Friday where you get to join in on the preparation and prayers before you all eat together family style.
Every day they have various tours and activities going on. If you don’t want to do something with them they also have suggestions for things near by to do.
Abraham runs their own day tours all over Israel. They have good prices and every single one I did I enjoyed more than the next.
Check out their website if you are planning a trip to Israel.
2. OPTIMAL LOCATION FOR NORTHERN DAY TRIPS
I came to Israel with a vague idea of things I wanted to do. After making friends with the people staying in my room on night one they invited me to join them in Akkur which is a little over an hour away by train, The tickets are only about 8 USD each way and the train is direct.
Akkur is a fortified city that was able to defeat Napolean. It is right on the water and you can climb the old walls. The city is small and easy to navigate by foot.
The next day I took the same train and went just slightly south of Akkur to Haifa. This is a must see. The Ba’ Hai gardens are in the city way at the top of a mountain. The views and sites are worthy of a day trip.
You could combine and do both in one day if you are so inclined and start early enough. Trains leave for both cities every hour.
No trip to Israel would be complete without traipsing thru a few markets. The cool thing is there are so many contrasts within each market.
One night I went to Sarona Market. A sleek and trendy newer market. With boutique stores and artisan food shalls it was a little more upscale and a bit more pricy than older less beautiful looking markets. Live music and specialty cocktails were on display due to Purim ( a Jewish holiday similar to Halloween with costumes and all).
Later I would go to Carmel Market. Located a few short blocks from the beach this market is where the locals shop for tonight’s dinner and stock their bathrooms. They sell everything from toys to freshly made baklava.
You can get a delicious falafel sandwich for 5 shekels. You can also buy really cheap beer which is great considering how much a beer can be in a bar.
4. OLD JAFFA
This is probably a given but I will mention it anyway. Being the original port town and the gateway to the rest of Israel, Tel Aviv was a pretty important place to be. Jaffa is sandstone buildings and small alley ways.
Modern Tel Aviv is high rises, terrace restaurants and resort hotels. Not to say it doesn’t have its own charm, it certainly instills a feeling similar to Brooklyn for me but Jaffa is what you would imagine Israel to be like.
5. THE BEACHES
Miles and miles of shore line run around Tel Aviv. Pristine white beaches with nice hotels and restaurants along the way. There is a beautiful promenade built along the length of the beach running to Old Jaffa.
Loads of locals and tourists alike use the path to jog, take pictures and soak up the views.
I spent an entire afternoon walking the path and sitting out on the beach. It is a great free way to spend some time in Tel Aviv.
6. THE PARTY SCENE
Tel Aviv is known for being a party town. Not only did my hostel provide some pretty crazy Purim parties but they hosted a pub crawl to some pretty cool spots around the city.
One of my favorites was the bar “Who the Fuck is Jimmy?” The name alone made it but it played good music and the atmosphere was fun.
Tel Aviv is not as conservative as Jerusalem. In fact written on the wall of the hostel was “In Jerusalem they pray, In Tel Aviv we play.” If that gives you any indication of how they want to be portrayed.
Even Sarona Market has live music and pop up bars.
If you want a party you can find it any night of the week in Tel Aviv.
What are your favorite things in Tel Aviv?