Three Days in Tel Aviv: The Perfect Itinerary
So you’re visiting Israel and want to spend some time in the city that never sleeps? Well, the good news is that you’re going to enjoy every moment. Jerusalem might be Israel’s ancient capital, packed full of history, but Tel Aviv is where you go to experience a modern, vibrant, bustling city where there’s plenty to do, by day and by night!
We’re often asked, when people are planning their Tel Aviv itinerary, how much time you need to see the City that Never Sleeps and our general view is at least two days and probably three. This gives you time to really get a flavor of the white city - the art, the food, the culture, and the people.
And because there’s so much to do, if you want to get the most out of your stay then Tel Aviv guided trips are a great way to pack plenty in and get the inside scoop, courtesy of a local guide. In the meantime, a perfect Tel Aviv itinerary for you!
Day 1: The Carmel Market, the Yemenite Quarter, and the Beach
There’s no better way to start your Tel Aviv trip than downtown, at the bustling Carmel Market. Established back in the 1930s, it’s one of the city’s top attractions, and with good reason. The ‘Shuk ha Carmel’ is the city’s largest and busiest market, where you can pick up everything from fruits and vegetables to exotic spices and beautiful Judaica (perfect if you’re looking to buy souvenirs from Israel).
Sweets at Carmel Market, Tel Aviv
The Carmel is packed with street food stands, local restaurants (serving up all kinds of Middle Eastern fare, from hummus and malawach to sweet knafeh and halva, as well as cute coffee shops, where you can sit and people watch.
From there, wander through the adjacent Yemenite Quarter, full of tiny old houses and narrow streets, down to the Mediterranean, where you can take a long walk along the beachfront. Tel Aviv’s beaches are incredible - white and sandy, with clear water and cafes dotted all around, where you can order a glass of something and stare at the sea.
Just sit back and enjoy the sound of the waves!
If you have the energy, walk up past the Hilton Beach to the Tel Aviv Port and stroll around (there’s a lovely indoor food market) then either grab a cab on one of the many local buses and head to the Tel Aviv Art Museum for a bit of culture, before a stroll down beautiful Rothschild Boulevard.
For your evening plans, we’d suggest drinks and then dinner on trendy Dizengoff Street, which is one of the city’s favorite handouts.
Spicehaus serves wonderful cocktails in a ‘Chemistry lab’ environment (servers wear white coats and drinks come in thermos flasks) or for something more traditional and understated, try the elegant Imperial Bar. For some eclectic fusion food, eat at La Shuk (by Dizengoff Square), or head to Ha Kosem for typical Israeli street food - the falafel and hummus make it the most popular joint in town for locals.
Israeli cocktails are the best!
Of course, foodies (who will be in their element in this city) should consider taking a Tel Aviv Food Tour, where a guide who really knows their stuff will guide you around the Carmel Market and introduce you to the many culinary secrets of this fantastic little spot.
Day 2: Old Jaffa
There’s no better place to spend one of your three days than in Old Jaffa, which isn’t just beautiful and utterly picturesque but is also packed to the brim with history. The ancient Jaffa port, situated on the Mediterranean, is a good place to begin - watch fishermen throw their rods into the sea, stroll along the boardwalk, and stop for coffee by the harbor.
Welcome to the Jaffa Port!
Jaffa’s also home to the beautiful catholic church of St, Peter’s (famed for its ‘cathedral-like’ interior) Kedumim Square (complete with a Wishing Bridge and Biblical statutes), and a nearby Artist’s Quarter, packed with studios that sell jewelry, art, sculptures, and hand-blown glass objects.
No visit to Jaffa would be complete without a wander around the famous flea market (‘Shuk ha Pishpeshim’ in Hebrew) which is a treasure trove of antiques, vintage, and retro items, not to mention small boutiques and cafes all around.
Come and cross the Wishing Bridge!
Jaffa is also full of fantastic places to eat lunch and dinner - for a touch of magic, head to the Old Man and the Sea for a memorable fish dinner (overlooking the sea, where your catch has just been found), Pua in the Flea Market (a local institution, with reasonably priced local food, mismatched crockery and a retro vibe) or Gemma, a buzzy little Italian place with fantastic pizzas and cocktails.
To understand the history of this part of Tel Aviv, and what makes it so special, we’d recommend taking a walking tour of Jaffa - a local guide can fill you in on the long and fascinating history of this historic city, and take you to off-the-beaten-track spots that you might never find otherwise.
Day 3: Street Art - Nahalat Binyamin, Florentin and Neve Tsedek
Start your third day in the city exploring the cool Tel Aviv street art scene, which is fun, thought-provoking, edgy, and subversive all at once. Start in Nahalat Binyamin, a pretty pedestrianized street filled with renovated buildings and lovely cafes.
Visit the famous Nakhlat Binyamin
On Tuesdays and Fridays, Nahalat Binyamin hosts an Arts and Crafts Fair where all items (from jewelry and puppets to paintings and ceramics) are handmade by local Israeli artists.
From there, continue your wanderings down in Florentine, which is Tel Aviv’s most hipster hangout. The Levinsky Market is a good place to grab a cup of coffee or a light bite, before heading off down the main drag - Florentine - and through the side streets, into the industrial area, where you’ll find street art and graffiti everywhere you turn.
Street Art in Florentin
A short walk away is Neve Tzedek, the first Jewish neighborhood to be established outside of Jaffa in 1887. Once neglected and down-at-heel, today it’s utterly charming and bourgeois, full of chic boutiques, trendy restaurants, and art galleries. It’s also home to the Suzanne Dellal Centre, renowned for its contemporary dance performances, and the prestigious Israeli dance company Bat Sheva.
You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to dinner - there’s the upscale sushi restaurant TYO on Shabazi, Meshek Barzilay (gourmet vegan creations that will thrill even the most committed carnivore), and Florentina, which is an excellent Italian kosher dairy restaurant with fabulous focaccia and chocolate desserts to die for.
The Israeli Sushi is the best in the Middle East
And for anyone that really wants the lowdown on the art scene in Tel Aviv, we’d highly recommend a Tel Aviv Graffiti Tour, where you’ll take a deep dive into the artists behind the creations, with stories that will make the murals, graffiti and the buildings on which you’ll find them come to life.
Beyond the Tel Aviv Itinerary: What's Next?
If you feel like heading outside the city, why not take one of our day tours in Israel around the country? From the ancient cities of Jerusalem and Akko to the Dead Sea, Masada Fortress, Galilee hills, and Golan Heights, the choice is yours.
Check out our blog to read more or contact us by email or phone for further information.