- Visited September 2018
Whilst Jerusalem is like your serious and sober born-again elder relative, Tel Aviv is your funky, forward-thinking and carefree friend. It is relaxed and progressive, a place where everyone is welcome and encouraged to be themselves. Those of you familiar with London, think Camden/Shoreditch vibes. It’s a great holiday destination. Visitors mainly come here for the beach, to see Jaffa Old City and Port, and to party, and I very much enjoyed all three.
Along the coast there are various beaches to choose from. Jaffa Beach tends to be less crowded and its beach is devoid of loungers and umbrellas so it feels less ‘resorty’ and ‘touristy’. The other beaches offer similar facilities: loungers, umbrellas, toilets, and beachside restaurants. I spent a day at Gordon Beach, next to Lala Land, which provides music and drink/food service to those topping up their tans. A lounger and umbrella cost me 18 NIS. A good way to spend a Shabbat Saturday. Just a short walk away, in between Gordon Beach and Frishman Beach, you will find London Restaurant which is a lovely place for a treat meal watching the the sun go down.
My visit coincided with Rosh Hashanah which meant many things were closed for two days so I spent some time just walking around the various neighbourhoods. Tel Aviv is a fab place to mooch around. The White City of Tel Aviv, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the world’s largest collection of Bauhaus style buildings and you can take an architecture tour if you want to learn more.
Free walking tours of the Old City of Jaffa leave daily from the Clock Tower and can be pre-booked online. Though many places do close in Tel Aviv for Shabbat (though not as many as Jerusalem) Jaffa (also known as Yafo), tends to stay lively. I had a really fun Friday afternoon/evening working my way through a pitcher of beer and a pizza at The Old Lady pub listening to a live band playing in the street. The area was absolutely buzzing. Strolling round the flea market is also an enjoyable experience. In the Jaffa Port area you will find the Old Man and the Sea Restaurant – a meal here is absolutely unmissable! Myself and friends had what we reckon was one of the best meals we’ve ever had. Before you even place your order, you are served twenty small plates of various salads and dips, bread and lemonade. We had a sharing platter of seafood as our main course and it was delicious. The service was also excellent.
Another restaurant recommendation for you is Benedict Rothschild which specialises in breakfast meals and is open 24/7. My Eggs Benedict Royal, served with a Peach Mimosa, was so tasty. The creamed spinach is highly recommended. You may have to wait for a table when you arrive but trust me, it is worth any wait.
To come to Tel Aviv and not party could almost be regarded as sacrilegious ha ha. There are many cool bars and clubs in the city as you would expect from a party capital. I did a couple of pub crawls organised by my hostel and a big fave with the crowd was Kuli Alma with its vibrant atmosphere and pumping music.
An interesting trip out of the city is a visit to a kibbutz. I did the Kibbutz Experience tour organised by my hostel which took us to Kibbutz Ma’agan Michael and it was really insightful. Our lovely host spent some time explaining what a kibbutz is, how their particular kibbutz works and then gave us a tour of the site. Kibbutz’s are an important part of Israel’s culture and heritage so take the time to visit one of you can.
Selection of pictures from my stay: