Israel Travel Blog


7 Best Vegan Restaurants in Tel Aviv [Taste-Tested!]

Tel Aviv is known for being one of the most vegan-friendly cities in the world, with dining options at every turn for those who crave plant-based cuisine. Whether you’re looking for a casual eatery or a chic dining experience, the chances are you can find it here. From seitan burgers and south Indian thalis to healthy salads and dairy-free desserts, one thing’s for sure- you’re not going to go hungry when visiting the white city.Here are what we think are some of the best vegan restaurants in Tel Aviv…the only question is which one are you going to try first!1. Meshek BarzilayIn the picturesque neighborhood ofNeve Tzedek, you won’t just find beautiful-renovated houses and leafy side streets but the ‘Boho chic’Meshek Barzilay, which serves upscale and elegant food in relaxed yet intimate surroundings. A trailblazer when it comes to serving locally sourced and seasonal produce, their creative and regularly-changing menu and always crowded restaurant show just how good vegan fare can be.Semolina bowl filled with soy, lentils, and chickpeas in beet soup (Image source: The official Meshek Barzilay website)Appetizers we’d recommend include the eggplant ceviche. The avocado mousse with oyster mushrooms and the black bean pate (served with an onion and garlic confit). All of the mains are delicious, but the beetroot tortellini, artichoke pizza, and veggie ‘beef bourguignon’ are exceptional. For dessert, it has to be the seasonal fruit panna cotta, served with coconut butter crumble and matcha ice cream.Service is professional, the drinks menu varied and there’s even a deli next door where you can pick up products to take home. What more can you ask for? (Our tip: take home some of their ‘chocolate leaves’).2. GoodnessIf you’re the kind of vegan that hankers after the occasional plate of ‘junk food’ then head toGoodnesson Tel Aviv’s King George Street. Their varied menu has something for everyone but what many diners seem to return for are their burgers and fries, which are all plant-based but taste incredible (particularly the cheeseburger with the ‘egg’ on top). Onion rings, ‘chicken’ nuggets, and their famous vegan shawarma also go down a treat and if you’re not too hungry, their hot dog will really hit the spot.A burger made from Beyond Meat (Image source: The official Godeness website)Other dishes on the menu worth trying include the beetroot soup, cauliflower crepe, sliced tofu, and, of course, their famous milkshakes (which are divine). Goodness is always busy (with good reason) and the friendly, helpful staff are just another reason to give this place a try. And for anyone interested in vegan food, nearby you can take awalking tour of Tel Aviv’s Carmel Marketand pick up some local goodies yourself.3. Dosa BarIndian food lovers alert! Up in the Old North, close to the Namal port and a stone’s throw fromTel Aviv’s Hilton Beach, there’s a spot you have to visit - the Dosa Bar - which, in its own words, offers 'healthy power food’ from the East which is not just 100% vegan but also sugar and gluten-free. Yes, this cute little eatery, which has plenty of outdoor seating and fairy lights strung up all over, has made a name for itself for serving the famous pancakes (dosas) filled with delectable ingredients, for which Southern India is so well-known.The vegan charm of Dosa Bar (Image source: The official Dosa Bar website)Choose from the original (made with potato batter, spicy onion, black mustard, and cumin seeds, the sweet potato (‘the orange’) the beetroot, Thai pumpkin, and sweet peas (‘the green’), or the beetroot, spinach and tofu curry (‘the purple’) and gobble it up with some delicious chutneys that accompany it.Dosa Baralso serves curries and thalis (round platters with a little bit of everything) and makes a mean mango lassi.This really is authentic Indian food at a pretty reasonable price and the quick but friendly service makes this one not to miss.4. OpaThis chic and innovative restaurant headed by chef Shirel Berger has really made its mark on the Tel Aviv vegan scene with its meticulously prepared dishes that have locals and tourists alike singing its praises from the rooftops. The emphasis atOpais less on large portions and more on quality food that’s beautifully presented - so both a feast for the eyes and the tastebuds.Image source: Opa's official Google Maps page; Pic uploaded by OpaRather than ordering a la carte, the restaurant offers diners a fixed ten-course tasting menu which is designed to be both creative and surprising. Dishes are not trying to ‘recreate’ non-vegan food and the waiters will give you explanations of everything they put before you. Original creations include smoked blueberries in an asparagus green sauce, ‘lion’s mane’ mushrooms, and dishes entirely composed of fennel/tomato and hazelnut ‘ice cream’ and all of the flavors are complex and precise.Opa isn’t a place to go if you’re ravenous - even though it’s doubtful you’ll leave hungry - but more for a culinary experience. Book in advance for this artistic food experience!5. Cafe MichelangeloThe fact that so many committed carnivores rave aboutCafe Michelangelomeans they must be doing something right. This stylish little eatery, on a quiet and rather nondescript street very close to the famousJaffa flea market, ticks all the boxes if you’re looking for tasty veggie and vegan food - not to mention delicious dairy-free cakes for an afternoon treat.Image source: The Cafe Michaelangelo official Google Maps page; Pics uploaded by Cafe MichaelangeloThe ‘Jaffa breakfast’ which comes with spreads like tahini, hummus, and sweet potato is very yummy. The artichoke sandwich, couscous and mushroom burger, and Asian noodle salad all come recommended. As for dessert, don't miss their lemon tart. Wash it down with some of their homemade lemonade or a latte with turmeric and - if you’re sitting outside - engage in some people-watching in this historic and beautiful neighborhood.6. The Green CatIf you’re a veggie who wants to go vegan but isn’t sure you could give up cheese, then before you give up head over tothe Green Catin south Tel Aviv. This Italian vegan restaurant has gained a stellar reputation in the city for serving ‘cheese’ atop its Neapolitan pizza that’s so good even cheese-lovers can’t tell the difference - and whether you order a slice, a personal pie or a huge family pizza, you’re guaranteed to smile when it arrives.Try the Green Cat Pizza! (Image source: The official Green Cat website)Yes, the Green Cat only uses cashew ‘mozzarella’ cheese, not to mention other high-quality vegan ingredients for the toppings - think yam, olives, and slices of seitan (‘pretend pepperoni’). The homemade tomato sauce is rich and flavoursome and the herbs they add in just make it even more heavenly. The Green Cat has a chilled vibe, plays laid-back music, and serves beer on tap - and next door is a club named Levontin 7 that has regular live concerts. Easily one of the best vegan pizzerias in Israel.7. AlegriaAlegria, which means ‘joy’ in Spanish, is a small restaurant, somewhat off the beaten track in Tel Aviv, but that shouldn’t be a reason to deter you from dining here, because this is a place where high-quality vegan food and joyfulness go hand in hand and with a menu that’s always got something new to offer the customer, no wonder it’s a regular haunt for so many locals.Alegria: High-quality vegan food (Image source: The official Alegria website)Where to begin? The sabich (a traditional Iraqi sandwich, served with a delicious mango-like sauce) is fantastic, the sandwiches are made with fluffy focaccia and the fennel soup is heaven in a bowl. Alegria is also famous for its salads - healthy creations and generous portions too - not to mention their vegan cheese (which you can also buy, along with pastries, at their specialty shop next door, to take home). Mains include tofu patties and vegan burgers, and if you’ve got a sweet tooth, try their ‘cheesecake’ along with an iced frappuccino. Not cheap, but undoubtedly worth it.If you’re visiting Israel and looking for things to do, why not consider taking one of our popularIsrael day tripsincluding Jerusalem’s Old City, the Dead Sea and Masada, and the Galilee? Or, for a more urban experience, think about one of our guidedTel Aviv tours- from markets to biking and graffiti art to Bauhaus architecture, you’ll find something intriguing.For more information,contact usby email or phone, and to read more about life in Israel, take a look atour blog.
By Sarah Mann

Tel Aviv With Kids: 9 Family Summer Attractions

Think that Tel Aviv's all about nightlife? Well. whilst it does have a reputation for being a 24/7 destination, the good news is that there’s plenty to do if you like to wake early and sleep early.The fact is that whilst everyone seems to know that Tel Aviv’s a serious party city, as well as the endless galleries, museums, boutique stores, and top restaurants, Tel Aviv is also a great place to bring kids on holiday.Taking a Family Holiday in Tel AvivSomething that you’ll notice quite quickly on arrival in this city is just how child and family-friendly it is. Like many Mediterranean cities, children are welcome everywhere - family is everything both in Jewish and Muslim culture here, and not only are children welcome, but they’re adored.Take the family to Israel and you won't be sorryIn the last twenty years, also, there’s been a lot of investment spearheaded by the city Mayor - more green spaces, better transport, a whole new promenade, and playgrounds everywhere. Cafes, restaurants, and public spaces are all child-friendly, and because it’s such an easy city to walk around (it’s flat) or cycle in (there are bike lanes everywhere) you don’t even need a car to get between places.Children's Activities in Tel AvivSo what is there to do for children in Tel Aviv? Here are a few of the activities we think your kids will adore:1. Ramat Gan SafariSee Africa in Tel Aviv! The fantastic Ramat Gan Safari (the largest of its kind in the Middle East) is the perfect day out for kids because there’s so much to see there.Come and see the Ramat Gan Lions! Divided into three parts, in the first area, you’ll see animals roaming freely from your car (or zoo bus). The second area is an actual zoo, with petting areas for young kids and the last is the lion enclosure. You could bring a picnic and make a day of it.2. Meymadion Water ParkThe largest water park in Israel, stretching over 25 acres, Meymadion is a fabulous place to spend a day. In the heart of Tel Aviv, Ganei Yehoshua, has all kinds of attractions for kids - meteor slides, slalom slides, fast and slow tube slides, artificial wave pool, semi-Olympic swimming pool, adventure pool, and more.The Meymadion Water Park (Image source: The official Meymadion Website) This spot is right next to the huge Park Hayarkon, and you can combine your visit with a picnic and a walk in some urban nature.3. Tel Aviv PortTheTel Aviv Port(Na'Mal, in Hebrew) is great for kids because it has not just a wonderful boardwalk (offering magical views of the Mediterranean) but also a carousel for the young kids and a ‘Skyjump’ where older kids can let off steam, jumping on trampolines and clambering up climbing walls.The Tel Aviv Port Outside are lots of cafes, restaurants, boutique stores, and places selling gelato and frozen yogurt. This is also a pretty good place for some luxury shopping, as the Ports shops have some of the best international and local brands in the city.4. Park HayarkonA lush, green oasis in Tel Aviv, Park Hayarkon is located close to the Port and is perfect for cycling, jogging, taking a rowing boat out on the river that runs through it or just sitting under the trees.Hayarkon Park Further down there’s a bike rental area as well as a Tropical Garden, mini-golf, and petting zoo. If you want to see some local wildlife, head for Rosh Tzipor (Bird's Head) bird sanctuary, and check out the Cactus gardens; Golden Jackals are running free in the park, playing on the grass around you.5. Nahalat BinyaminNahalat Binyamin is a pedestrianized street that, twice weekly, hosts a wonderful arts and crafts market where Israelis sell their wares. What’s special about this place is that everything you see is actually made (and not just sold) by the stall owner. You’ll see jewelry, soaps, puppets, colorful clocks, puzzles, and Judacia - all great if you are looking for souvenirs from Israel.Nakhlat Binyamin, Tel AvivAnd on the next street is the Shuk ha Carmel - Tel Aviv’s liveliest and bustling market, where you can pick up anything and everything, including street food, cold lemonade, hummus, and fruits and veggies. Taking a food tour of the Carmel Market is also a lot of fun for foodies, whether they’re old or young.6. Old JaffaIn the south of Tel Aviv lies Jaffa, one of the oldest cities in the world. Mentioned in the Bible famously as the place where Jonah fled God and ended up in the belly of a whale, today it’s home to a host of attractions including a port (full of cafes and restaurants), a charming Artist’s Quarter (with narrow, winding alleyways full of galleries) and a square with sculptures and the beautiful St. Peter’s Church.St. Peter’s ChurchMoreover, on the other side of the main road lies the Shuk haPishpeshim - the Jaffa Flea Market - which is the perfect place to hunt for a bargain. Full of vintage clothes, old vinyl, souvenirs, jewelry, and furniture, it’s the perfect place for kids to find hidden treasure. All around are cute cafes selling delicious salads, typical Israeli food, and yummy malabi and knafeh (traditional Arabic desserts).7. Luna Park Tel AvivThis theme park has attractions to suit the entire family - from the slow (and sedate) Ferris wheel which gives you the chance to see Tel Aviv from above to breathtaking rides and a ‘Black Mamba’, crazy roller coaster, and centrifugal force rotator for those who want an adrenaline rush.The rides are great! Just note that for certain activities, your child has to be over 120 cm in height. At the Luna Park, once you've paid your entrance fee you can enjoy as many rides as you want for as long as you want.8. Tel Aviv’s BeachesThe beaches of Tel Aviv are nothing short of magnificent. With white powdery sand, glittering blue water, a boardwalk that’s perfect for jogging, cycling, Segwaying, or strolling, and free workout stations all the way along, no kid wouldn’t be happy spending a day here.The best beaches in the Middle East!From Metitizim (next to the Port) and Hilton (great for surfers) to Gordon (where you can play volleyball) and Jerusalem (where Israelis play ‘matkot’ - their favorite paddleboard game - from morning to night, you can rent chairs, loungers, and umbrellas and either bring your food or pick up ice cream, snacks, drinks, and meals from the many cafes and restaurants along the promenade.9. Guided Day Trips From Tel AvivSomething great about Israel is that it’s a small country, which means you can see a lot in a short period using public transport (Israel has excellent trains and buses), a private rental car, or by takingday trips from Tel Avivheaded by a professional guide.Jerusalem: a short train journey from Tel Aviv, and with the famous Old City, the Bloomfield Science Museum, the Biblical Zoo, and the next-door aquarium, Jerusalem makes for a great day out for all the family.Have you seen our Lemurs?The Dead Sea and Masada: what child wouldn’t want to float in the Dead Sea - a place so salty no living creature can survive? Or explore Masada - an ancient fortress to which you ascend by cable car, in the middle of a desert?The Galilee: the Sea of Galilee is beautiful, tranquil and as well as being home to all kinds of holy sites, it’s also got a water park and many areas where you can camp out at night - something children love!Best Family Hotels in Tel AvivBudget Hotel:The Spot HostelDon’t be put off by the word ‘hostel’ - this is a cut above your average offering and if you’re on a budget and looking for comfortable, clean accommodation that won’t burn a hole in your wallet, then this is the ‘spot’ for you.The Spot Hostel is in north Tel Aviv, close to the Port, Park Hayarkon, and some excellent beaches. Families can book two interconnecting rooms and use their excellent kitchen to prepare meals. The Spot also has a screening room (which kids will love), a laundry room (which parents will love), and a bar that serves snacks, drinks, and plenty of traditional bar food.Mid-Range Hotels: Arbel SuitesRight in the beating heart of Tel Aviv, close to Dizengoff Square and Gordon Beach is the Arbel Suites Hotel, which is a great choice of accommodation for those who like the personal touch at a price that’s not budget but not exorbitant either - comfortable, clean, very stylish and intimate (it’s not a huge place).The Arbel Suites Hotel (Image source: The Official Arbel Suites Website)Tucked away on a quiet street, each room or suite has a kettle, microwave, and fridge so that you can prepare simple food yourself.Downstairs, they have free tea, coffee, water, and cookies and a lovely patio with a fish pond that kids adore. Breakfast is included but served just up the street at the trendy Cafe Dizengoff and the staff go out of their way to help - if you need a cot or a high chair, just ask.Luxury Hotels: Royal Beach HotelThis is definitely not a cheap option but the Royal Beach Hotel, just a stone's throw from the charming Yemenite Quarter and Neve Tzedek neighborhoods, and overlooking the Mediterranean, has become a real favorite with families since it opened a few years back.As well as a reputation for high-quality food (the breakfast is excellent and their kosher restaurant - West Side - has two swimming pools (one for children) and a kid’s club, where you can drop off the little ones before enjoying some much-deserved time for yourselves.The amazing views of the Royal Beach Hotel (Image source: The Official Isrotel Hotels Website)The family rooms are spacious and beautifully designed, and the hotel concierge tends to go above and beyond, to accommodate the needs of guests - whether you need to borrow a stroller, find a restaurant, or arrange a babysitter for the evening. In conclusion, this is the place to book if cost is not your primary considerationIf you’re visiting Tel Aviv, or wider Israel, and would like more information about the wide range of tours we provide, feel free to contact us by email or phone - with almost 40 years of experience in the travel business, we can help you make this holiday one you’ll never forget!
By Sarah Mann

Is it Safe to Travel to Tel Aviv?

Tel Aviv has a well-deserved reputation for white sandy beaches, quirky independent cafes, fantastic bars, and legendary nightlife, With its tree-lined streets, Mediterranean feel, and young and liberal population, it’s an incredibly popular place to visit, and plenty of PROguided trips in Tel Aviv will show you its splendor.A tourist enjoys the Tel Aviv Carmel MarketHowever, watching the news can often leave people thinking of visiting a bit anxious - wondering if Israel is a ‘hotspot’ for trouble turmoil or war. Not surprisingly then. we’re always asked if it’s safe to travel to Tel Aviv. And we always say ‘yes’ in return, because whilst there are things to watch out for (as with every city you visit, as a tourist) it’s still remarkably safe and friendly.Is Tel Aviv a safe city to walk around at night?Tel Aviv is known as the Non-Stop City and with good reason - it’s a place where there’s action 24/7 and no more so than when the sun goes down. Known for its vibrant scene, it’s got plenty of bars that stay open until very late and nightclubs that often don’t close until the sun has risen!The good news, however, is that it’s an incredibly safe destination to walk around. For much of the year, because the temperature is so clement, you’ll see people out and about way after midnight, and at 3 am it’s not rare to see locals on the streets walking their dogs, popping out to the convenience stores, eating ice-cream or simply coming home from a night out on the town.The streets of Jaffa are full of life even at nightViolent crime is extremely rare and, should you feel uncomfortable and shout out on the street, the chances are that ten friendly locals will run to your aid. As with all cities, you should be careful with your belongings (don’t leave them unattended on the beach, if you decide to go into the Mediterranean for a quick dip) but it’s surprising just how honest people are and how you’ll often see things left behind in cafes and on buses returned to their owners. What’s the political situation like in Tel Aviv?The Middle East has a reputation for being a volatile part of the world and, for sure, some tensions flare up and abate, periodically, in this part of the world. Israel has had its share of ups and downs since the establishment of the state in 1948, and if you watch the news from far away, it often seems that it’s a dangerous place.However, it's quite common for tourists to arrive in Israel and head to Tel Aviv and soon be shaking their heads at how laid back and ‘chilled out’ the city is. Tel Aviv has a reputation for being a bit of a party city, but even those who don’t party often find themselves wiling away their days drinking coffee and soaking up the sun’s rays, rather than worrying about the state of the world.Israeli people just walk the streets as usualDuring 2023 however, large rallies and anti-government protests have sprung up throughout the country, with their largest always being in Tel Aviv. They began weekly, on Saturday nights, at Kaplan Street, in the Sarona area, but some are held mid-week and in the day.The vast majority of the time, protests are very peaceful although occasionally there has been some conflict between the police and protestors. However, since these rallies and gatherings are being held in an area far from where tourists usually visit (Kaplan Street is not close to the beach the shopping area of Dizengoff, or the beautiful backstreets and the old Jaffa Port) the chances are that you may not even be aware that protests are being held.Finally, it’s important to remember that Israelis are very vocal when it comes to politics - no one holds back, everyone is very clear in their opinions, and often when you see two people yelling at each other in the street, this means nothing more than they’re having a high-spirited discussion!What kind of situations should I be vigilant about in Tel Aviv?As we’ve said, Tel Aviv is a very safe city, compared to many you’ll travel in Europe or North America, but there will always be people trying to pull the wool over your eyes, wherever you travel. The main things you might want to watch out for are:1. Taxis.If you’re going to be taking a cab, either ask the driver to put the meter on before setting off (you can insist upon it - it’s the law) or agree on a price beforehand. If you have a smartphone, you can download the ‘Gett’ app and order a taxi directly, rather than take your chances with one on the street.2. Bicycle Theft.This is the most common kind of theft in Tel Aviv - seriously! If you are renting a bike privately (which is not a City Bike) then make sure you have a good lock with you.3. Pickpockets. As with any big city, you’re always going to have to be vigilant when it comes to your possessions. Most theft takes place on the beach (as we said, if you want to take a dip ask a friendly local or fellow tourist to guard your wallet and phone!Is Tel Aviv a safe place for women to travel alone?Israel is a modern and liberal country where women are active and involved in every part of society. Tel Aviv is, by far and away, the most progressive part of the country, and very modern in every sense of the word, so it’s a great place for females to travel alone. Not only does everyone speak English, which helps if you need to ask for help (and many people speak Russian, French, and Spanish too), but women who travel to Israel alone consistently say how safe they feel. The streets are well-lit at night (and busy) and the locals are very friendly. Chances are that if a man did harass you and you told someone on the street about it, they’d go and shout at him!A girl at night eating cotton candy at the Tel Aviv PortOf course, if a woman is traveling solo, but wants to meet others on her trip, there’s always the option of booking an organized tour - whether you want to rent a bike, explore the Jaffa Flea Market, or go on a food tour in Carmel Market, there will be other people who want the same thing and it’s a good chance for you to make new friends.The Bottom Line: How Safe Is Tel Aviv?Tel Aviv has just had a bumper tourist summer and the coming months look busy too so we have no hesitation whatsoever in telling you to visit. Of course, if you feel even the slightest bit nervous, you can always book an organized package tour to Israel - this way, your accommodation and itinerary will be organized for you and you’ll also have a guide with you, just in case you have any problems or simply want advice on where to buy your souvenirs from Israel!Judaica in an Israeli MarketWhether it’s your first time in Israelor you’re a returning visitor, there’s so much going on, and, having been in this business for over 30 years, we’re old hands at knowing what kinds of things people like to do on holiday in the Holy Land. All of our guides are certified and licensed by the Ministry of Tourism and between them speak several languages. We offer all kinds of accommodation and whether you’re a Christian pilgrim, a backpacker or simply looking for a holiday with family-friendly activities in Israel, we can help.So If you have any questions or queries or would like to know more about all the day trips, privately-guided tours, and packages we offer to Israel, and also to Jordan, don’t hesitate to contact us by email or phone.
By Sarah Mann

24 Hours in Jerusalem: The Perfect Itinerary

Jerusalem is the city everyone wants to see on a trip to Israel - and there’s no need to explain why. Beautiful, mysterious, evocative, home to three major world religions and with a history that makes the mind boggle, wandering its streets, exploring its holy sites, and drinking in the atmosphere of this unique place is something few people forget.The inner courtyard of the Tower of David in JerusalemBut what do you do if you only have 24 hours in Jerusalem?After all, this is a city with a history that stretches back thousands of years, a treasure trove of a walled city, full of ancient buildings, places of worship, and nods to Kings, Sultans and Crusaders at every turn. But Jerusalem is far more than the Old City - it’s also got galleries, museums, an artist’s quarter and a lively central market. So where should you begin?Don’t panic - you can really do a great deal in a day. You can take a well-structured, professional guided tour in Jerusalem, or just plan on your own. It's possible - just take a deep breath, put on some comfy shoes (Jerusalem is hilly and the Old City is closed to motor vehicles), and get ready to walk your heart out. Oh, and set the alarm early, because you’ve got a jam-packed itinerary!Head to the Old CityYou could spend days, if not weeks, exploring this one square-kilometer stretch of Jerusalem, surrounded by ancient walls, but even if you have just two or three hours, you can still see a great deal.Walk along the Via Dolorosa, where Christ carried his cross, en route to his crucifixion, towards the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of the most important sites in Christian history. TheGreek Chapel of the Church of Holy Sepulchre in JerusalemExplore the Dome of the Rock and Temple Mount (over which the Prophet Mohammed is said to have flown, on his night journey to Mecca). Continue onto the Western Wall, the site holiest to Jews, then explore the Cardo (a major thoroughfare in Roman times).Also put a little time inside to shop for souvenirs- glassware, Armenian pottery, wooden crosses, spices, halva, dates - the Old City Bazaar has it all.Take a stroll around the Mishkenot Sha’ananim and Yemin Moshe neighborhoodsMishkenot Sha’ananim was the first neighborhood outside the Old City Walls to be constructed, on a hill directly opposite Mount Zion. Today it's popular with artists and writers and there’s plenty going on, culturally, inside its famous Music Centre.Montefiore Windmill in the Mishkanot Shaananim neighborhood (Photo by Dmitry Mishin)Stroll its beautiful streets and look down on the Sultan's Pool, then move onto Yemin Moshe, another beautiful neighborhood, and home to one of Jerusalem’s most famous landmarks- the Montefiore Windmill. You can actually go inside and see its history (there’s a photographic exhibition of the life and times of the building). This area has beautiful quiet homes and narrow cobbled streets…it’s a joy to wander.Continue onto the Israel Museum or Yad VashemIf you want to grab lunch, then either head downtown to the pedestrianized Ben Yehuda area, where there are lots of cafes and restaurants, or grab some Israeli street foodfalafel, hummus, sabich, shawarma…Israel has the most delicious ‘grab and go’ options, which are cheap and nutritious, not to mention fresh juice stands on every block.The local street food is delicious!Then you have a choice - with only one day in Jerusalem, you’ll have to choose between two incredible museums.The Israel Museum is home to some world-famous exhibits including an excellent art collection, a model of the Second Temple and the Dead Sea Scrolls (discovered in a cave in 1947 by a shepherd boy, close to the Qumran Caves). These are housed in a wonderfully designed building which is a pleasure to walk in. In the Israel Museum, you can also see replicas of synagogues found around the globe (Venice, Curacao, Cochin) and explore their beautiful sculpture gardens.Alternatively, head to Yad Vashem, Israel’s national monument to the Holocaust. Using video footage, photos, artifacts and personal testimony, explore the lead-up to the greatest tragedy in Jewish history - the mass murder of millions of European Jews. Yad Vashem is not an easy place to visit, but the museum is incredibly educational and a trip here is always moving and worthwhile.Explore Mahane Yehuda and NachlaotHead on to Mahane Yehuda, Jerusalem's famous bustling market, where you can pick up all kinds of fruits and vegetables, not to mention grab street food, coffee and beer. It’s a real ‘snapshot’ of life in the capital, and it’s also home to some great street graffiti (on the shutters of the stores, which are pulled down at the end of each day). A Street Market in JerusalemMahane Yehuda is also the perfect place to take a food tour or to visit on Thursday nights, when its packed full of young people enjoying the end of the week (Friday and Saturday - the Jewish sabbath - are the official weekends in Israel).Next door to the market is Nachlaot, an area that’s popular with students. Full of tiny courtyards, cobbled streets and narrow alleyways. Some people call it the Soho of Jerusalem (though that may be going too far!) Stop for coffee in one of its lovely cafes, wander past ancient synagogues and pop in to some of the neighborhood's vintage shops and art galleries.Enjoy cocktails and then dinner at Notre Dame or the Mamilla HotelFinally, and you really deserve it by this time, it’s time to sit back and rest. And what better way to do it than with cocktails (or a glass of wine, or a cold lemonade) at one of the capital’s ‘view to die for’ restaurants?Here, we have to recommend both the Mamilla rooftop and the Notre Dame restaurant. Both offer staggeringly beautiful views of the Old City, not to mention diverse menus.Mamilla Hotel (Image source: Mamilla Hotel official website)The Mamilla Rooftop restaurant is kosher, for those who keep the Jewish dietary laws and serves excellent grilled meats and fish, goose liver and duck (the veggies can opt for salads and their excellent mushroom risotto). They also offer Shabbat lunches, although these have to be prepaid.Notre Dame is famous for its ‘cheese and wine’ offerings - over 40 gourmet cheeses and an extensive wine list. They also have meze plates, fantastic salads, a range of pasta and some excellent steaks. And if you have room for dessert, order their orange creme brulee - it’s divine.That’s it - you’ve been on your feet all day, seen a lot of sights, and had a wonderful evening with good food, overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem. Now go and get the good night’s sleep you truly deserve.Feel free to contact us by email or phone, if you’d like further information about any of the package tours, day trips, or privately-guided trips we offer around this incredible country.
By Sarah Mann

Shopping in Tel Aviv: A Fashionista’s Guide

Now and again, there’s nothing like a bit of retail therapy to put a smile on your face, and no more so than in Tel Aviv, which has an incredible range of markets, boutiques, malls, and small, independent stores where there’s little you can’t find - whether it’s a swimsuit and floppy hat for a day at the beach, casual wear for an evening stroll on the promenade, next to the Mediterranean, or something stylish and glamorous for an evening out at one of Tel Aviv’s top restaurants.From upmarket stores on Dizengoff Street and Kikar Hamedina to the markets of Carmel and Jaffa, prepare to be wowed by an eclectic mix of local designs and international brands. Because that’s the great thing about shopping in Tel Aviv - the city is home to many young, up-and-coming designers who are always pushing the envelope when it comes to style and creativity.Here’s our rundown of places that every fashionista should check out when making a trip to the White City…Shopping in Neve Tzedek First on the list has to be a trip to Neve Tzedek, one of Tel Aviv’s most picturesque and charming neighborhoods, perfect for a morning coffee, a light lunch, an afternoon stroll - and some shopping! The entire area, but particularly the main Shabazi Street, is full of tiny stores that sell things so pretty you won’t be able to stop yourself from reaching for your wallet.The tiny boutiques are filled with awesome goodies!Pop into Numero 13 (selling upmarket European labels), Fine Lab (local designers Moraver and Abromavich are famed for their organic creations, which only come in black, white, and grey!), and Badim which sells gorgeous textiles in gloriously bright colors - the carpets and bedspreads are just lovely. Finally, if you love jewelry, check out Ivshin, which is full of one-of-a-kind contemporary pieces - bracelets, earrings, and necklaces which are the perfect gift for a close friend or a way to treat yourself.Shopping in Dizengoff Street Dizengoff is Tel Aviv’s main street, running down the city from north to south, close to top beaches, eateries, and a wealth of small stores. Named after the first mayor of the city, Meir Dizengoff, from the 1940s onwards it’s always been a popular hang-out for those who like cafes but it’s also home to some fine shopping, particularly if you’re looking to buy at small stores.This is Israel! Of course, we have your size!Head to Naama Bezalel for high-quality, tailor-made garments that you can wear to elegant events or Blueberry (which has incredible staff, who take such a personal interest in customers and their clothing needs that it makes the experience special). The Old North of the area is home to a lot of bridal stores (should you be planning your special day) and further down, on the corner of King George, you’ll find the famous Dizengoff Mall which can keep you busy for hours.On a non-fashion note, if you like stylish objects then pop into the Bauhaus Centre (where you can pick up all manner of items relating to this very popular architectural style - from coffee table books and mugs to prints and jewelry).Shopping at the Jaffa Flea Market If there’s one place you have to go shopping when you’re visiting Israel’s cultural capital, make it Jaffa. This beautiful, ancient port town, just up the road from central Tel Aviv, has an incredible history that stretches back thousands of years, to when Jonah fled God on a ship and ended up in the belly of a whale as punishment.Taking a walking tour of Jaffa is an excellent way to get a sense of it - you’ll see the harbor, the Artist’s Quarter (where locals sell their paintings in small studios on cobbled streets), and Abrasha Park, with a Wishing Bridge, the beautiful St, Peter’s Church and stunning views of the Mediterranean.You'll love the jewelry in the market!And when it comes to shopping, just head to the Jaffa Flea Market (the ‘Shuk ha Pishpeshim’) which is a treasure trove of antiques, vintage items, second-hand clothes, and all kinds of jewelry. It’s great for those to love to poke around and bargain a bit - and the surrounding area also has boutiques and small stores where you can find shoes, bags, hats, and everything else to make your outfit look stylish.Shopping at Carmel Market (Shuk HaCarmel) Tel Aviv markets are pretty legendary and none more so than the Carmel Market (‘Shuk ha Carmel’) - the bustling and lively spot downtown where locals go to pick up fresh produce and tourists flock for Israeli street food, cute cafes, and busy bars. Friday afternoon, before the sabbath comes in, is particularly busy so be prepared to jostle.The Carmel is a great place to pick up well-priced wide-brimmed hats and Brazilian-style sandals, t-shirts, canvas bags, and everything else you could want if you’re heading to the beach. But it’s also a great place to shop for spices and sweet and local produce - there’s so much on offer that it can be overwhelming so feel free to ask the stall owners for advice. And for budding chefs, consider taking a food tour of the Carmel Market, to get an idea of what Middle Eastern cuisine is all about.Great prices, awesome atmosphere!Next door to the Carmel Market you’ll find Nahalat Binyamin, a beautiful pedestrianized street that holds a bi-weekly arts and crafts market. Everything there is made by hand by local Israeli artists - from jewelry, paintings, and wooden toys to Judaica (think Shabbat tablecloths, mezuzahs, and Hanukkah lamps) to pretty handmade garments.When you shop here, not only are you supporting small businesses but chances are you’ll end up picking something unique. Look out for the metal kaleidoscopes, the ‘Sesame Street-style’ puppets, and the watercolors of beautiful spots across Israel (from the hills of Jerusalem to the mountains in the Galilee) and if you’re a sucker for bathtime, then the handmade soaps are delightful.Shopping at Sarona Market Tel AvivThe Sarona Market sits in an area that was once the home of German Templars! Today, all of the original buildings have been beautifully restored - many of them have restaurants outside - but Sarona’s main attraction is an indoor culinary market, outside of which are beautiful landscaped gardens and views of the city’s business district.Inside, there are endless gourmet offerings and plenty of street food too - from baked goods and deli fare to amazing cheeses, spices, and delectable ice cream. Sarona is also home to some excellent restaurants, including Claro (which serves upmarket seasonal plates) and the Tasting Room, where you can sample all kinds of Israeli wines, accompanied by some excellent bar food.Shopping at the Tel Aviv Port (‘Namal’)The Tel Aviv port (known as the ‘Namal’ in Hebrew) is an extremely popular destination for locals and tourists alike, boasting a long wooden boardwalk (perfect for strolling along the sea). a wide variety of cafes and restaurants, some very trendy nightclubs, and plenty of shops in which you can browse.In the different hangars, you’ll find a variety of labels - Steve Madden (the well-known creative shoe designer), ‘Comme Il Faut’ (which is a clothing business designed by women for women), and Shilav (selling the most adorable baby clothes). There’s also a nicely laid-out indoor food market where you can pick up smoothies, fresh pasta, and seafood galore, and every Friday from 9 am until 2 pm there’s a local farmer’s market.Shopping Malls: TLV Fashion Mall, Gan Ha’ir and Ramat AvivTel Aviv malls are the place to hit if you’re looking for luxury brands and upmarket stores. The TLV Fashion Mall, on Carlebach Street, is popular with younger shoppers, with a lot of international names such as Zara, COS, and H&M, combined with Israeli designers such as Daniella Lehavi.Close to Kikar Rabin, you’ll find the Gan Ha’ir, which is an elegant, semi-open-air mall boasting over 100 stores, and plenty of cafes besides. Here you’ll find Intima (full of lovely lingerie), Max Mara (elegant Italian fashion), and Golf (one of the largest fashion names in Israel today).Buy from the best!Or jump on a bus and in fifteen minutes you’ll be at the Ramat Aviv mall, a rather bourgeois spot where you’ll see lots of ladies who lunch. Whether it’s Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein that you’re after or Armani Exchange, and ‘fast-fashion’ Bershka, you’ll find it here.If you’re planning on traveling outside of Tel Aviv, to popular Israeli spots such as Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, and Masada and the Galilee, why not take one of our day trips - with knowledgeable guides and air-con buses, it’s a great way to make the most of your time. For more about our travel company, feel free to contact us by email or phone, and to read about life in Israel, take a look at our blog.
By Sarah Mann

Field Tested: 11 Best Museums in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is a popular tourist destination for many reasons- white, sandy beaches, quirky cafes, and legendary nightlife. It’s also a fantastic place to cycle and enjoy markets and vintage stores. And there are so many good restaurants in Tel Aviv that it’s a foodie paradise. But what many people don’t know is that it’s also a city that offers tourists plenty of culture.There are all kinds of museums in Tel Aviv- from large institutions to small out-of-the-way spots that are definitely worth exploring when you’re visiting the Holy Land. From art to design and history to magic, you could spend your entire break here improving your mind!So, culture vultures, the only question now is which one should you hit first?1. Tel Aviv Museum of Art, central Tel AvivThe Tel Aviv Art Museum boasts an enormous collection of both classical and contemporary art, showcasing works not just by artists in Israel but across the world. Spread over five floors, dive into German expressionism, surrealism, and Impressionism (and a lot more). Don’t miss works by Chagall and Van Gogh, and pieces by world-renowned artists such as Nahum Gutman and Menashe Kadishman.One of the Museum's exhibitions; see the variety!There’s also a lovely sculpture garden outside and afterward, why not take a stroll on nearby Rothschild Boulevard, one of the city’s most picturesque streets, which is full of renovated Bauhaus buildings and charming eateries? 2. Eretz Israel Museum, north Tel AvivThe Eretz Israel Museum (Museum of the Land of Israel’) is located close to Park Hayarkon in Ramat Aviv and is a part of Tel Aviv University. Essentially, it's an archaeological and historical museum where each of its pavilions is dedicated to a different field but it’s a lot more than just ‘history’.Eretz Israel Museum. Photo credit: Dmitry MishinThere’s a wide array of coins, glass, stamps, and antiquities on display, alongside photographic displays (recent exhibits include ‘Local Nature, World Nature’ and ‘Photo Watchmaker: Israel Olstein’). It recently hosted the Tel Aviv Biennale of Craft and Design 2023 and on the grounds outside you’ll find ancient mosaics, a flour mill, and a reconstructed olive press! Oh, and the kids will love the planetarium!3. Palmach Museum, north Tel AvivOn the same street as Eretz Israel (above) is the Palmach Museum, telling the story of the underground defense organization named the Palmach - one of the forces that fought in favor of the founding ofthe State of Israel in 1948. Offering both children and adults an interactive and immersive experience, it’s a great way to learn more about Israeli history.Visitors in the Palmach Museum's exhibition (Image source: The Official Palmach Museum website)Using visual and audio tools, inside the Palmach Museum you’ll take a journey with some of its members, and learn about their personal stories, and exceptional bravery. Less of a traditional museum and more of a tour through rooms containing films and panorama, it brings this critical period of Israel’s past to life with very human tales.4. Ilana Goor Museum, JaffaSet in the beautiful and historic city of Jaffa, the Ilana Goor Museum was established in 1995 and features works not just by Ms. Goor herself but also by prominent Israeli and international artists. Home to close to 500 works, its paintings, drawings, furniture, jewelry, statues, sculptures, and fashion accessories are a delight to behold - and the view of the Mediterranean from its roof is unparalleled!The Ilana Goor Museum (Image source: The Official Ilana Goor Museum Website)Even better, the museum is housed inside a stone building that dates back to 1742 and is the home of Ilana Goor (visitors often bump into her whilst wandering its rooms). After you’ve visited, why not take a walking tour of Jaffa - through charming cobbled streets, the beautiful Artists Quarter, the famous Jaffa flea market (the ‘Shuk Hapishpeshim’), and the ancient harbor?5. Rubin Museum, downtown Tel AvivIn the heart of Tel Aviv, close to theCarmel Market, lies the Rubin Museum, showcasing the artworks of the Israeli artist Reuben Rivlin. Born in Romania to a poor orthodox Jewish family, Ruben studied in Paris before emigrating to British Mandate Palestine in 1923 and became an accomplished painter, in the ‘Eretz Israel’ style, drawing on biblical themes and Holy Land landscapes.One of Rubin's wonderful artworks (Image source: The Official Rubin Museum website)The Rubin Museum, on Bialik Street, is the house where he both lived and painted and houses a large number of his paintings (including ‘Jerusalem Views’, ‘Early Tel Aviv’, and ‘local landscapes’) as well as guest exhibits by Israeli artists. Reuben’s studio is preserved, so you get a sense of the man himself, and there’s also a children’s workshop that operates in the basement.6. ANU - Museum of the Jewish People, north Tel AvivANU- also known as theMuseum of the Jewish People- is a museum that does exactly what it says- tells the extraordinary, unique, and ongoing story of the Jewish people. Located close to Tel Aviv University, it’s undergone major renovations and is a must-visit for anyone who wants to understand the culture, history, and theology of Jews around the world.The ANU MuseumANU boasts interactive and photographic exhibits, ‘Jewish heroes’ (designed especially for younger children), stories of Jewish identity and culture, historical artifacts, stories on the influence of the Bible, and even a section entitled ‘Jewish Humor’ (after all, there are an awful lot of Jewish comedians around!) Don’t miss this museum and put aside a few hours because it has a lot to offer.7. Ben Gurion House, downtown Tel AvivLocated on (you guessed it) Ben Gurion Street, in the heart of Tel Aviv, and just a block from the beach, this tiny house packs a big punch for anyone interested in the history of the State of Israel. After all, David Ben Gurion was the nation’s first Prime Minister - it was he who read out the Declaration of Independence on May 14th, 1948, and, for many Israelis, is still regarded as a great hero and ‘father’ of the nation.The Ben Gurion House Museum in Tel Aviv (Image source: The Official Ben Gurion House website)It’s a small house but has been preserved entirely, so you can see just where he lived. A brilliant yet humble politician, this man was also a scholar and intellectual - all over Ben Gurion's house you’ll see thousands of books in different languages. Wandering the house, you get a personal insight into the man himself - you can even see his small bedroom (from where he conducted the Suez Campaign in 1956, whilst he was sick from flu). It’s free to enter and doesn’t take long to see but is recommended.8. The Yitzhak Rabin Center, north Tel AvivA great military leader, leader of Israel’s Labour Party, and co-signatory of the original Oslo Accords, the legendary political Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated in November 1995, by a Jewish extremist in an act that shook Israeli society to its core. Over one in five citizens queued for hours to file past his coffin and on the day of his funeral, millions were left in tears as President Clinton and Rabin’s granddaughter gave eloquent and moving eulogies.The entrance to the Rabin Center, Tel Aviv (Image source: The Official Rabin Center website)The Rabin Centre was set up to remember his legacy and is an excellent way to learn about not just Rabin himself but the history surrounding the War of Independence and the tumultuous years that followed the creation of Israel. As you walk through the exhibit, on one side you follow Rabin’s life while, simultaneously, on the other, you see events unfollowing in Mandate Palestine and Israel. Very well laid-out, and thoughtfully presented, it’s worth a visit.9. Design Museum HolonA quick 20-minute cab or bus ride from Tel Aviv will take you to Holon, a typical Israeli city that most tourists will never see. However, the fact that it’s home to the Design Museum means that since 2016, when it opened, more and more people have been making the journey there, and few leave disappointed.The Design Museum in HolonYou could visit here just for the design of the building itself- this Ron Arad creation can be seen from a distance, with its sinuous steel ribbons in burnt orange providing the perfect Israeli Instagram opportunity. Inside, there are all kinds of exhibitions that change regularly, all devoted to contemporary design around the world, including students in design schools around Israel.10. The Blind Museum HolonEver wondered how you'd manage in the world if you were deprived of your sight? At the Blind Museum in Holon (also known as the Children’s Museum) you’ll find out just how. For about one hour, you’ll enter a series of pitch-black rooms which your eyes can’t adjust to a blind guide will lead you through, and you’ll begin to understand just how challenging it can be to live without sight.Try the unique experience of the Blind exhibition!This is an extremely popular museum, so you need to book way in advance, but it’s well worth the visit - at its conclusion, you can talk with your guide and ask questions. It’s a very humbling experience, teaches you never to take your sight for granted, and a trip you won’t forget in a hurry.11. Uri Geller Museum, JaffaFinally, for those who like a little magic dust sprinkled into their daily lives, there’s the Uri Geller Museum and because it’s overseen by the man himself, we couldn’t leave it off the list. The Israeli illusionist, psychic, and magician, who shot to fame on TV around the world due to his miraculous ‘spoon bending’ powers, now leads guided tours (by appointment only) around the museum, which is located in a beautiful stone building next to the Jaffa port, overlooking the Mediterranean.The Uri Geller Museum in Jaffa (Image source: The Official Uri Geller Museum website)Inside, you’ll be able to enjoy an array of artifacts from his career, including the famous ‘Peace Cadillac’ covered in two thousand bent spoons (many of which belonged to notable figures) and all kinds of other objects associated with his long career. Uri himself is said to be a great storyteller and good at captivating his audience with tales of his amazing life. Highly recommended!Whether you’re visiting Israel for the first time, or returning because you loved your last trip so much, check out our blog - which is full of tips and stories about life in Israel. Also, consider taking one of our Tel Aviv guided tours, where you can explore street food markets, learn about local graffiti artists, and stare at elegant Bauhaus buildings in the historic part of the city. Don’t hesitate to contact us by email or phone- we’re here to help you get the most out of your stay!
By Sarah Mann

7 Best Thai Restaurants in Tel Aviv [Taste Tested in 2023]

Israel’s a foodie destination, no doubt about it - and not because of its incredible array of local dishes people love to check. In the last decade or so there’s been an explosion in Asian cuisine, particularly in Tel Aviv,which is renowned for its trendy restaurant scene and ‘push the boat out’ food concepts.And it’s Thai food that really seems to attract diners - with its complex flavors, a perfect balance of herbs and spices, and low-fat content, it’s a cuisine no one’s getting tired of.So if you’re looking for some of the best Thai restaurants when visiting Tel Aviv, read on. Whether you’re in the mood for gourmet fare in upscale surroundings or simple street food to grab and go whilst on aTel Aviv tour,we’ve got you covered. Here’s our guide to the Thai food in Tel Aviv that you don’t want to miss.1. Thai House Restaurant, Central Tel Aviv (Bograshov Beach)Fantastic food and a vibrant atmosphere make the Thai House restaurant in Tel Aviv an institution and an excellent place to head for lunch or dinner. A stone’s throw from the beach, they serve up authentic food that doesn’t try to be sophisticated but is incredibly tasty- and not too costly either.The Thai House Restaurant (image: the official Thai House website)You can’t go wrong with anything you order, but highly recommended dishes include the Pia Pahd Unchai (strips of stir-fried sea bass with ginger, shitake mushrooms, and bean sprouts), Gaeng Jiao Waan (green coconut milk curry with eggplant, basil, and lime) the Neua Tun soup (with beef beck, bok choy and celery) and their Pahk Bong Moo Krop (crispy pork belly with spicy peppers). Walk off the calories afterward on the Tel Aviv beach promenade (‘tayelet’) or take a stroll along the famous Dizengoff Street, just a minute's walk in the other direction.2. Taizu Restaurant, Business DistrictAcclaimed chef Yuval Ben Neria opened Taizu in 2013 after journeying through South East Asia and has been wowing diners ever since, with his creative, elegant dishes. As a result, not only is it tough to get a table here but it’s pricey- nevertheless, it’s a real dining experience and the creations you’ll sample are quite extraordinary.The Taizu Restaurant (image: the official Taizu website)The Taizu ‘concept’ is based on the five Chinese elements- water, fire, metal, earth, and wood and we’d recommend either the tasting menu or shareable plates. From the spicy Thai salad and lemongrass-infused steak to crab curry and betel shrimp, and an excellent wine list, you; 'll be in heaven. Finish with their ‘mango ball’ dessert - you won’t regret it. Taizu is certainly not cheap, but it is a real experience.3. Nam, Old North (close to Metzitzim Beach)On Tel Aviv’s famous Dizengoff Street, in the ‘Old North’ neighborhood, Nam is famous for its friendly service and great atmosphere, not to mention delicious (and, if you want it, very hot!) food. The staff are incredibly knowledgeable and always ready to advise, and the simple but attractive decor (with ceiling fans swooshing above you in high summer) leaves you relaxed, from the moment you take your seat.The NAM Restaurant (image: the official NAM website)Dishes you have to try include the spicy papaya salad, noodles with beef and broccoli, Pad Kra Pow (a national dish), and their famous ‘jungle’ curry (not for the fainthearted!). Nicely blended cocktails, fruity desserts, and many vegetarian and vegan options make this one not to miss. Booking in advance is essential. Afterward, perhaps take a stroll in the Park HaYarkon or the Namal port.4. Tiger Lily, SaronaFor a real taste of the Far East, Tiger Lily in the Sarona Market (Israel’s largest indoor food market) is worth checking out. Using freshly-caught fish and seasonal produce, it’s a trendy place where the menu changes regularly and you can sit at the bar, watching your food be cooked before you.The Tiger Lilly Restaurant (image: the official Tiger Lilly website)Try their sour fish soup with lemongrass, chili, and shallots or their shrimp pancakes…for mains, the green curry with chicken is a winner and the classic Pad Thai, but with tofu, is a good choice for veggies. The cocktails (all Asian-inspired) are divine - try the ‘Coconut of Bangkok’ (rum, triple sec, grenadine, tapioca, and coconut milk). Afterward, take a stroll around the Sarona Complex (the area was built by German Templars in the mid-19th century and has been beautifully renovated, complete with gardens and a lily pond).5. Jasia, Old JaffaSituated in the heart of Old Jaffa, in a charming stone building, Jasia serves beautifully prepared Asian fusion cuisine, and Thai food lovers will not be disappointed because not only are the portions generous but the flavors are complex. Think spicy fried shrimp with glass noodles, warm mushroom salad, spicy massaman curry, and coconut jelly desserts are all fantastic, and since it’s an Asian fusion restaurant, you can mix and match with dim sum, gyoza, and sushi.The Jasia Restaurant (image: the official Jasia website)Jasia also has a bar that offers premium Asian liquor, and delicious desserts (try the coconut jelly). They have outdoor seating, which is perfect on hot summer evenings, and the staff are exceptionally warm and welcoming. And since Jaffa is one of the most sought-after sites on any trip to Tel Aviv, take a walk around the area afterward- walk through the famous Jaffa port, through the Artists’ Quarter, and finish your evening at the Ottoman Clock Tower.6. Kab Kem, Business DistrictIn Thai, ‘Kab Kem’ means a meeting between friends or family, bound up in celebrations or enjoyment of leisure time, and you’ll get this vibe when visiting this restaurant, which is a spin-off from their sister restaurant, Thai House (see above). Take your time when you come here; you can choose between ‘bites’ with drinks (if you’re not too hungry) or the full menu experience, but whatever you end up going with, expect intense flavors and live music at this buzzy, casual joint.The Kab Kem Restaurant (image: the official Kab Kem website)Dishes we’d recommend at Kab Kem include white fish with tamarind in banana leaves, pork belly slices, shrimp with chili, and mint and tofu skewers. Bartenders are friendly and knowledgeable and will even make cocktails for you that aren’t on the menu. For dessert, it just has to be the pineapple crème Brule. Oh, and if you order before 7:30 pm, it’s 20% off your bill…so what are you waiting for?7. Eisan Thai, Carmel MarketFinally, if you’re looking for authentic Thai flavors that won’t break the bank, then take a trip to Tel Aviv’s famous Carmel Market, where you'll find ‘Eisan’. This is a local restaurant, with simple decor, it’s located just behind the main market, close to the Yemenite Quarter. As well as the fun neighborhood vibe, Eisan’s helpful staff, extensive menu, and generous portions make it endlessly popular with young Israelis who’ve just returned from trips to the Far East and are craving a taste of Bangkok.The Eisan Restaurant (image: the official Eisan website)Everything on the menu is great, but we’d particularly recommend the coconut soup with shrimp, the saku (little tapioca parcels, stuffed with mushroom or meat), red coconut curry with vegetables, and Gai Pad King (chicken stir fry with ginger). Afterward, stroll around the area (full of cafes, bars, and the market itself) and if you’re a foodie, perhaps take a Carmel Market Food Tour (which doesn’t feature Thai restaurants but will give you a taste of the Middle East!)
By Sarah Mann

Shuk haCarmel and Beyond: the Best Markets in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is the beating heart of Israel and has enough to keep any visitor on their toes for a few days- beaches, museums, nightlife, and shopping. And if you’re looking for places to shop, hitting the markets in Tel Aviv is always a good idea.The Carmel Market in Tel Aviv is where almost everyone spends an hour or two and, whilst it’s fantastic, it’s not the only show in town. Tel Aviv markets come in all shapes and sizes too- from arts and crafts to vintage treasures and from gourmet food produce to local spices, there’s little you can’t find.Whether you want to explore them independently or as part of a tour in Tel Aviv, we know you’ll find at least one on the list below that you’ll fall in love with!Carmel Market (Shuk HaCarmel)The Carmel Market, Carmel Street (corner Allenby) |Sundays to Fridays 8 am to 6 pmTel Aviv’s largest and most famous market really has to be on your bucket list. In the heart of the city, it’s vibrant, chaotic and on Friday lunchtimes, before the Jewish sabbath- Shabbat- comes in, so crowded that you’ll have to push your way through! But it’s worth it, because the atmosphere here is unique- and also because there’s almost nothing you can’t buy here, from fresh produce, local cheeses, and exotic spices to swimsuits, floppy hats, and sunglasses for your chillout days at the beach.Great food at Carmel MarketThe Carmel is packed with street food stalls (South American empanadas, Thai banana fritters, Chinese wonton dumplings) but there are also plenty of local cafes and restaurants too - Shlomo and Doron are famous for its hummus, Café Yom Tov is perfect for coffee and a pastry and Miznon Getzel will leave you smiling (if you’re feeling adventurous, order their blintzes with smoked duck and Gouda cheese).Sarona Market, Tel AvivSarona Market, 3 Kalman Magen Street, Tel Aviv |Open seven days a week, with varying hoursLocated close to the business district, in a neighborhood that was originally settled by German Templars and in the last ten years has been beautifully restored, Sarona Market is Israel’s largest indoor food market. For anyone who has even a passing interest in gourmet produce cuisine, it shouldn’t be missed - the variety of cheeses, spreads, and meats alone will blow you away.Try the local Dim Sum!Inside are endless booths where you can pick up street food but there’s also ample opportunity to purchase local wines, oils, dips, and spices. From upscale pita pockets and rotisserie chicken to unusual Dutch cheeses and crispy gyoza, your tastebuds will soon be tingling. Outside, all around Sarona, there are manicured gardens complete with a lily pond- so just sit on the grass (or at one of the many picnic beaches) and get tucked in…Jaffa Flea Market (Shuk haPishpeshim)Jaffa Flea Market, Olei Zion Street, Jaffa|Sunday - Thursday 9 am - 6 pm, Friday 9 am - 2 pmYou’d be a fool not to wander over to Jaffa if you’re visiting Tel Aviv, and aside from the picturesque harbor, charming backstreets, stone houses, and vibrant artists’ quarter, this ancient city boasts the famous Jaffa Flea Market (the ‘Shuk HaPishpeshim’ as the locals call it). Antiques, carpets, vintage items, jewelry, retro clothes…you name it, you can find it here.A visitor enjoying the Jaffa Flea MarketAs well as the main area (where vendors spread their wares out on the floor) this part of Jaffa is chock-a-block full of cafes, bars, and restaurants- from the legendary Puaa café and Yafeh Kanafeh (if you decide to indulge in one of these sweet pastry, but don’t tell your dentist) to Beer Bazaar (boasting more than 100 Israeli craft beers) and the hopping Shafa Bar - the market and surrounding area are hard not to fall in love with.Tel Aviv Port Market (Shuk ha Namal)Tel Aviv Port Market, Hangar 12, Namal Port, Tel Aviv |Monday - Sunday, 8 am - 8 pmClose to both the city’s Hilton and Metzitzim beaches, and a stone’s throw from the green lung of Tel Aviv - Park Hayarkon - you’ll find the Tel Aviv Port market, which is upmarket and, like Sarona, a magnet for foodies. Located in a beautiful building, overlooking the Namal (port) and close to the Mediterranean, it’s full of pretty stores with a wide array of local and international products that will soon have you parting with your hard-earned cash. Tel Aviv Port Market (image: the Official Port Market Website)What makes it even more exciting is that the people behind its creation are all culinary big-wigs in Israel, so you know that every product on sale- from hand-churned butter and fabulous Galilee and Golan Heights olive oil to fresh seafood and homemade pasta- cuts the mustard! On Friday mornings, there’s also a local farmer’s market outside- and whilst the produce is a little pricey, it is quality and seasonal. Farm to table at its very best!Levinsky Market Tel AvivShuk Levinsky, Levinsky Street (corner of Ha’Aliya) |Sunday - Friday: 9 am to 5 pmOff the beaten track, in a working-class neighborhood in south Tel Aviv, you’ll find the Greek and Persian-inspired Levinsky Market, which, of late, is gaining a reputation with hipsters and young Tel Aviv. Unlike Carmel, there are not too many tourists here, but should you venture here, you could end up picking up all kinds of teas, spices, nuts, and dried fruits from the local vendors.Spices at the Levinsky MarketThe Levinsky market is also home to all kinds of humble ‘hole in the wall’ restaurants, serving endless unusual fare- try Georgian Khachapuri (a cheese-stuffed bread) at ‘Aachot’, halva from the Yom Tov Delicatessen, Yemenite stew at Saluf & Sons and the cheese and spinach bourekas at the Puny bakery. And for those who love to cook, pop into the Pereg spices store- their za’atar herb blend is legendary.Nachalat Binyamin Arts & Crafts MarketNahalat Binyamin, Midrahov Nahalat Binyamin (corner Allenby) |Tuesday and Fridays: 9am - 5pmEstablished in 1988, this is a fantastic arts and crafts market that runs twice a week (Tuesdays and Fridays) on the pedestrianized street of Nahalat Binyamin, which itself is lined with Parisian-style cafes and local musicians. The market is exceptional in that it sells only items that are hand-made by locals (which means you can actually chat to the vendor about how they came to create it).The Nakhlat Binyamin Arts & Crafts MarketNahalat Binyamin is the perfect place to treat yourself to something special, or to buy a souvenir of Israel for friends back home- there’s beautiful jewelry, unusual prints, wooden clocks, children’s puzzles, fancy soaps, and even mini kaleidoscopes on sale, and all kinds of traditional Judaica, ranging from hand-blown glass mezuzahs to Hanukkah candelabra. And because nothing is mass-produced, you are really helping support small business owners.Dizengoff Center Food MarketDizengoff Centre Building B, 50 Dizengoff Street (corner of King George Street) |Fridays: 9 am - 2 pmFinally, located within the famous Dizengoff Centre mall, you’ll find a small but quite decent food market, operating once a week, where there are plenty of grab-and-go options from over 50 vendors. From Moroccan Harira spicy soup and Yemenite malawach (a delicious flaky flatbread), cholent stew (traditionally served on Shabbat), and malabi (a fantastic rosewater milk pudding), it’s Levantine cuisine at its best.Traditional cuisine is offered at great prices at the local food marketAs well as the food market, there are often a few designers selling clothes and jewelry there but if you’re in the mood for shopping, the Dizengoff Centre itself is in the heart of the White City. The entire street is full of trendy boutiques, and quirky coffee shops (all independently run) and the neighborhood has a wealth of Bauhaus buildings, which aren’t just for those curious about modern architecture!
By Sarah Mann

Tel Aviv's Best Beaches Guide

It’s not an exaggeration to say that Tel Aviv has it all art galleries, live music, great food, pulsating nightlife, quirky coffee shops, and plenty of pretty people in them!But what gives it that ‘extra something’ is its spectacular coastline, with golden sandy beaches and crystal clear water that stretches the length of the city. Perfect for cooling off in the summer and taking long walks along in the mild winters, you’re free to lie on the sand, stroll by the water, or take in the view from the famous ‘tayelet’ Tel Aviv beach promenade.Tel Aviv’s BeachesTel Aviv beaches all have their particular style and personality and whether you’re looking for something family-friendly, a place to surf, a gay-friendly spot, or a chance to join a local volleyballing crowd, you won’t be disappointed. As well as the traditional favorites, there are also spots where you can bring your dog, watch teenagers perfecting their Brazilian martial arts moves, and enjoy gender-segregated sunbathing.Enjoy the best beaches in the Middle East!So which one should you choose? Here’s our rundown of where to head when you’re ready to kick off your shoes, put on your bathing suit, and hit the golden sands in the Mediterranean city that never sleeps…1. Hilton BeachNamed after the luxury hotel it sits beside, Hilton Beach is in north Tel Aviv and is the city’s unofficial gay stretch of sand (if you visit here during Tel Aviv Pride Week in June, you’ll see rainbow flags fluttering everywhere). It’s extremely beautiful, with golden sand and blue-green water, and is situated under a cliff area (above it is Independence Park, great to sit and watch the sunset).The lovely colors of the beach are just what you need for a relaxing vacation!Sitting left of a breakwater (perfect for calm swimming) the Hilton Beach also has a fabulous bar/restaurant named TopSea, where you can sip cocktails and juices whilst lounging in hammocks and lazing on sofa beds, whilst chilled music plays in the background.Moreover, it’s also well positioned for kayaking, paddle boarding, and surfing (you can rent all the gear you need there), and just south of it lies the marina, where you can rent boats. And if you need to park, the Hilton hotel offers an underground lot (not cheap, but very convenient).2. Gordon BeachGordon Beach takes its name from the street that runs from the promenade, down to the city’s Rabin Square, and it is perfect for sports lovers- it’s home to an upmarket gym with a beautiful outdoor swimming pool (day passes are available) as well as volleyball nets on the sand, and sports equipment you can rent on the nearby promenade.Gordon Beach, next to the Gordon Swimming Pool complexThe restaurant there- LaLa Land - is perfect for you if you want to eat lunch with your toes in the sand. If you head down there on Saturday mornings, you can hang out and watch locals playing the market (Israel’s favorite beach sport) and dancing to Israeli folk music. Gordon Beach is always popular so get there early if you want a prime spot.3. Frishman BeachContinuing from Gordon there’s Frishman Beach, close to the iconic Dan Hotel (with its colored façade) and the US Embassy. Because it’s so close to many of the big hotels, it’s invariably crowded but that doesn’t make it less fun- it’s also got beachside restaurants where you can grab coffee, snacks, and plenty of lunch fare too (by no means cheap, but you're paying for the location).A statue of David Ben Gurion, the first PM of Israel and a national hero, right next to the beachFrishman Beach is also good for families- there are changing facilities (great for kids and babies) and sunbeds and umbrellas for rent. But it gets crowded on the weekends, so be prepared to jostle for a spot! And if you’re up for it, pose next to the iconic statue of Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion standing on his head (he was captured here in 1957 by photographer Paul Goldman, in that very position!)4. Banana BeachAnother great spot to relax is Banana Beach, not far from Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market and a short walk from historic Jaffa, it's a little more quiet and secluded than the hectic ‘city center’ beaches. Moreover, because of the wind and occasional waves in the winter months, it’s ideal for kitesurfers and parasailers.The Banana Beach areaAs well as its breakwater and small jetty, Banana Beach is also known as the ‘drum beach’ because this is where free-spirited Tel Aviv come with their instruments on Friday afternoon, to welcome in Shabbat. Anyone who feels like it can just show up with a drum and participate, but onlookers are welcome to watch the sessions!5. Bograshov BeachWhatever the weather, Bograshov Beach is always popular- maybe it’s because of its central location, yoga lovers, paddle boarders, or Tel Aviv's who come here Friday at sunset to welcome in Shabbat with open-air services, but with its white sand, plenty of space and turquoise waters, it’s known and loved by every local.The Bograshov Beach areaAs well as the obligatory sunbeds, ice cream stores, and outdoor gym, Bograshov boasts the popular La Mer beach restaurant, which is lit at night by red cones and is a fine place to sit with a drink and listen to the waves lapping calmly. Of course, if you’re there during the day, and don’t want to get up, they’ll even bring your lunch to your sun lounger!6. Alma (Charles Clore) BeachThis is the most southerly of Tel Aviv’s beaches and is popular both with dog owners (like the dog beach next to the Hilton Beach, this is where furry friends can run free) but it’s also one of the city’s best spots to surf. In the winter months, especially when the weather turns stormy, you’ll see plenty of locals (and a few tourists) in their wetsuits, having fun with the tremendous waves.The lovely Alma BeachIt’s less quiet than other beaches and it’s also just a stone’s throw from Jaffa, if you feel like a trip to the famous Jaffa Flea Market, strolling by the ancient Jaffa Port, or wandering in the beautiful Artist’s Quarter - you can have it all with a niceJaffa walking tour.7. Metzitzim BeachNorth of the Hilton beach lies Metzitzim - in Hebrew, this means ‘Peeping Tom’ and it gets its name from an iconic 1970s movie, which was actually set on this stretch of sand!Metzitzim is cove-shaped and popular with families since it has a breakwater barrier- the lack of waves makes it ideal for children to swim. With golden sand and crystal clear water, it’s utterly picturesque- just grab a beer or an iced coffee from its restaurant and stare out onto the horizon.People enjoying at Metzitzim Beach (Image source: Udi Steinwell CC BY 2.5)As well as being next door to Tel Aviv’s Namal port (full of bars, clubs, and restaurants) this beach is much less busy during the off-season, which makes it the ideal place to head if you want some peace and quiet between November and April. It’s also got a parking lot, which is handy if you’re coming with the family, and plenty of beach gear.8. Nordau BeachThis dedicated gender-segregated beach was set up to meet the religious needs of orthodox Jews in Tel Aviv who keep certain traditions that pertain to modesty and separation. Sitting between Hilton and Metzitzim, the way it works is that on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays it's open for women, and Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for men. Saturday (Shabbat) is a day that the beach is open to everyone.Even the most strict orthodox Jews can enjoy the beach in Tel Aviv!There’s a wall built around the area (so it’s impossible to peek in from the outside) but inside it has clean golden sand and perfectly blue waters. Something else- if you’re a woman who’s looking for a way to swim and sunbathe without men around, this is a good place for a quiet day. You don’t have to be religious to use this beach - so it’s ideal for any female who likes her privacy.9. Tel Baruch BeachNorth of the Tel Aviv port, this well-maintained beach with a stunning shoreline is far more popular with locals than tourists but is well worth a visit, because of its beautiful views, pristine sand, and clear blue waters.The Tel Baruch Beach areaWell-maintained, Tel Baruch is also popular with young families, not just because it has ample parking but because it has a breakwater that softens the waves. It has an outdoor exercise area, a fine beachside restaurant, and a picnic area, it’s the perfect spot for anyone looking to get away from ‘rowdy’ city beaches!If you’re visiting the Non-Stop City and looking for things to do as well as enjoy its beaches, why not consider taking aTel Aviv guided tour - whether you’re interested in food, Bauhaus architecture, cycling, or searching for bargains in flea markets, we’ve got something for you to enjoy.
By Sarah Mann

Tel Aviv Transportation: All You Need to Know

So you’ve arrived in Tel Aviv and you’re wondering about the best way to get around. Well, the good news is you’ve got plenty of options. Not only is the city quite compact (you can walk from the Namal port to Old Jaffa, along the beachfront, in around one hour), it’s also flat so you won’t find yourself out of breath as you rack up your step count.Bike riding is just one good way to get around in the cityBut what about the transportation options in the city - buses, trains, taxis, e-scooters, sheruts - for when you’re in a rush or too tired to stroll the sidewalk? Here’s our guide to the cheapest, easiest, and most convenient ways not just to get around the Non-Stop City but also to reach other must-see places in Israel from Tel Aviv. Follow this guide to make sure you'll make the most of your visit, even if you have just 48 hours in Tel Aviv.Public Transport in Tel AvivGetting around Tel Aviv isn’t difficult - public transport in Israel is cheap, efficient and runs from early in the morning until after midnight (there are also a few night buses that operate and an hourly train that runs from Tel Aviv to Ben Gurion Airport between midnight and 6 am). There’s also a new light railway in the pipeline - one line is already running and others should be up and functional reasonably soon.Rush hour in Tel AvivYou can’t pay a driver in cash any longer but it’s easy to pick up a Rav Kav card at any station or pharmacy, and then pre-load it with cash to pay for your bus and train rides. You can also pay with your phone (by scanning) or credit card on public buses.One thing that’s important to point out is that regular public transport doesn’t operate in Israel on the Jewish sabbath (from Friday afternoon to Saturday evening). There are, however, buses operated by the local municipality which you can take - and best of all they are free! They won't get you out of the city but within Tel Aviv and Jaffa, they are a great way to get around on Israel’s ‘day of rest.’Buses in Tel AvivThe majority of the buses in Tel Aviv are operated by the Dan company. A couple of lines that are particularly well-known and journey between the north and south of the city every few minutes - numbers 4 and 5 - will take you to the ‘must see’ parts of the city including Dizengoff Street, Rothschild Boulevard, and the beachfront promenade.A ticket costs 5.90 NIS and you can make unlimited journeys with it for 90 minutes. A day pass costs 13.50 NIS, so if you’re planning on making more than a couple of trips, it’s quite economical - your Rav Kav or credit card won’t charge you beyond that amount, however often you use the bus in a day. You can also buy weekly and monthly tickets, which give you access to intercity trains in the local area too.The buses are cheap and reliableThere are two main bus stations in Tel Aviv, at different ends of the city:1. Tel Aviv Central Bus Station (Levinsky) - this is the city’s main bus station, situated in the south of Tel Aviv. It's easily reached by buses number 4 and 5 and inside, along with the floors for buses, there are lots of shopping areas and places to grab a bite.2. Arlozorov Bus Station - on the corner of Arlozorov and the Namir Road, many intercity buses stop here (or pass by) and you can also pick up buses to Jerusalem, Haifa, the Golan Heights and Be’er Sheva (gateway to the Negev desert) here.Taxis in Tel AvivThere are two ways to order a taxi in Tel Aviv - either by hailing one in the street or booking one in advance. If you’re in the city center, on trendy Dizengoff Street, or close to the beach, it shouldn’t be hard to flag one down.To avoid any ‘misunderstandings’ (and to make sure you’re not taken advantage of) either agree on the price with the driver beforehand or tell them to put on the meter.Taxi Apps to Use in Tel AvivUsing a taxi app is also a good way to go. Uber doesn’t operate in Tel Aviv but Gett does, and not only is it easy to download (it’s in English) but it’s quick and convenient to use.A Taxi is a good choice for getting around the city if you're short on timeWhen you sign up, you’ll have to give your credit details but then you don’t have to deal with cash - it’s all taken care of and you’ll be notified by text message when your driver (complete with their registration details) is close by. Gett now also operates a ‘Gett Kid’ service where you can pre-order a cab in Tel Aviv with a baby seat!Bikes and E-Scooters in Tel AvivUnlike Jerusalem, which is rather hilly, Tel Aviv is flat, which makes it a great place to cycle. There are shops around the city center where you can hire bikes by the hour or day, but there’s also the city-run ‘Tel-O-Fun’ - a bike-sharing scheme that lets you pick up your wheels in one part of town and drop them off in another. Scooter in Tel AvivAll you need is a credit card to unlock the bike - then off you go. Tariffs are quite reasonable and there are cycle lanes all over the city.Trains in Tel Aviv and to other parts of IsraelIsrael Railways operates all over the country and Tel Aviv is at the heart of its network. Within the city itself are three large stations:1. Sabidor (Arlozorov) - Sabidor is in the north of Tel Aviv, and is also a bus terminal.2. Ha Shalom - Ha Shalom is in the heart of the city’s business district and a stone’s throw from the famous Azrieli Towers.3. Ha Haganah - the most southern train station, 400 meters east of the Levinsky Tel Aviv bus station.All three stations have information in English and cashiers if you want to buy a paper ticket!Getting from Tel Aviv to JerusalemNo one should visit Israel without seeing Israel’s capital and whilst intercity buses and sheruts (Israel’s yellow minibuses) run every 15 minutes to Jerusalem, the quickest way by far is the new high-speed train that runs between the two cities, taking just 40 minutes!You can depart from any of the three city train stations (see above) and 40 minutes later, find yourself at Yitzak Navon train station, which is next door to the Jerusalem light railway (dropping you at the Jaffa Gate in the Old City, in less than 15 minutes).The Train is a good optionThe Old City is a perfect place to wander, but if you don’t want to explore the capital alone, consider taking one of the many guided tours in Jerusalem on offer, as well as day trips to places like Masada and the Dead Sea, all well worth the visit!Another question we’re often asked is how much is a taxi from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Well, if you want to splash out, prices start from around 350 NIS but will be more if it’s on Shabbat or late at night.Getting from Tel Aviv to HaifaYou can reach Haifa via bus number 910 which leaves from the seventh floor of the Levsinky bus station every hour. You can also take other buses, but then you will have to change along the wayFrom any of the Tel Aviv stations, trains run every 20-30 minutes to central Haifa - you can use your Rav Kav, an app, or even buy a ticket (using cash) from a cashier in the station.How to Visit Masada from Tel AvivMasada is one of Israel’s most popular tourist attractions - this ancient Herodian fortress in the Judean desert is simply breathtaking and is well worth the trip from Tel Aviv. There is an Egged bus - number 421- that leaves twice a day, once at 9 am and a second time at midday. The journey takes about two hours.However, using public transport to reach there is not convenient if you’d like to see other parts of the area (the Dead Sea) and many travelers who don’t want to rent a car opt to take a guided tour - a day trip to Masada and the Dead Sea means you’ll have a guide, an air-con minibus and you can maximize your time at the two sites.How to Get From Tel Aviv to the Dead SeaMuch like Masada, it’s possible to visit the Dead Sea from Tel Aviv but not that convenient - you can take the 421 bus (see above) and ask to alight at Ein Bokek but then you are constrained by the bus timetable and it will be hard to see other places in the area, such as the stunning Ein Gedi nature reserve, complete with hiking trails and waterfalls). In this respect, again we’d advise taking an organized trip.
By Sarah Mann

The Green City: 7 Best parks in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is nicknamed ‘the White City’ (in honor of its fantastic Bauhaus architecture) and the ‘Non-Stop City’ (famous for its pulsating nightlife), but it’s also a place that boasts some beautiful parks and gardens, all ideal for when you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Israel’s most lively city.So where should you go when you’ve lounged on pristine white beaches, taken a food tour of the Carmel Market, spent a day wandering the ancient streets andexploring the flea market in Old Jaffa, and partied until the sun came up? Well, here are what we think are seven of Tel Aviv’s best parks and gardens, all with their charms…and perfect for exploring, when you’re ready to seek out some greenery.1.Park Hayarkon (Ganei Yehoshua)Gloriously lush and tranquil, the Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv has to take first spot on our list, because it ticks every box and then some. Stretching 3.5 km, it’s Tel Aviv’s largest green space and the perfect place to escape when urban chaos feels a little overwhelming.Golden Jackals at Hayarkon Park; don't worry, they won't bite!Through Park Hayarkon runs the eponymous river, along which you’ll see runners, walkers, and school children (it has many play areas, both for toddlers and young adults). On a beautiful spring afternoon, there’s nothing better than renting a rowing boat or a bike (the park is flat, so easy to cycle around).It’s also home to beautiful tropical gardens, where you can wander along wooden walkways, lined with palm trees, surrounded by rainforest species (a veritable plant museum) and all kinds of birdlife. Kids can enjoy the petting zoo and Hayarkon Park also boasts one of Israel’s largest water parks, which is the perfect family-friendly activity in Israel on a hot summer’s day.Finally, at the top end of the park, there’s the Namal - Tel Aviv’s port- which has a fantastic boardwalk, shops, and eateries and is a fine place to enjoy Mediterranean views2. Sarona GardensOn the edge of the business district, you’ll find Sarona, a neighborhood that dates back to the 19th century when it was settled by German Templars. Today, the entire area has been renovated, with old houses beautifully restored, and turned into boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. But it’s not just a great place for shopping and eating- Sarona also boasts beautifully landscaped gardens.Sarona Gardens (Image: Visit Tel Aviv official website)They’re a beautiful place to sit and admire the urban views (glittering glass skyscrapers at every turn) and a real ‘oasis’ in the city. Like Independence Park, Sarona is also an excellent picnic spot, since the area’s a culinary hot-spot - pick up some local bread, cheese, olives, and local fruits and enjoy a lazy lunch, next to the pond.3.Independence Park (Gan Haatzmaut)Next door to the Hilton hotel, overlooking the Mediterranean and uninterrupted views of the white sandy beach lies Independence Park (‘Gan Haatzmaut’ in Hebrew) and it’s a beautiful place to enjoy views of the city since from this hill you can see to Jaffa!Moreover, in our opinion, Independence Park is one of the best picnic spots in Tel Aviv- at the entrance, it has a shady area with wooden benches and tables, as well as a well-equipped children’s playground and fitness station. It’s ideal for yoga lovers, running fanatics, dog walkers, and those who want to relax with a book.In good weather, it’s always crowded, particularly popular with families celebrating birthdays on Shabbat (Saturdays) and- on Israel’s annual Independence Day- packed to overflowing with locals barbequing (a national tradition)4. Abrasha Park (Gan HaPisga)At the top of a hill in Old Jaffa, with stand-out views of the Mediterranean and Tel Aviv in the distance, lies the small but pretty Abrasha Park. On the grounds itself, you’ll find the famous Wishing Bridge (decorated with all twelve signs of the zodiac) as well as the celebrated ‘Gate of Faith’ statue (sculpted by Daniel Kafri, and depicting three famous scenes from the Hebrew bible).Close by is the Franciscan Church of St, Peter (with impressive interiors that will remind you of European cathedrals), and the charming Artists Quarter where you can wander narrow, winding alleyways and stumble upon studios of local jewelers, painters, and ceramicists. Below the park is the Jaffa port, perfect for strolling, watching fishermen reel in their catches, and grabbing a bite at one of the many cafes and restaurants there.5.Gan Meir (Meir Park)This beautiful little park, slap bang in the middle of Tel Aviv, is another oasis of green in the city. Next to the famous King George Street, and just a few minutes walk from the vibrant Dizengoff Street it has beautiful areas to sit, a lovely pond (where, if you’re lucky, you‘ll spy some turtles), ping pong tables, a children’s playground and even a dog park (always full of locals and their four-legged friends).Gan Meir is also home to a Gay Centre, which is an invaluable resource for the city’s LGBTQ community. Inside is a cute little cafe where you can grab coffee and pastries; outside, there are tables where you can enjoy green views. There’s even a public library on wheels- perfect for picking up a book and getting lost in some printed matter whilst city life goes on all around you.6. Charles Clore ParkThis beachside park, in the south of Tel Aviv, is a fine place to come and enjoy greenery with sand and sea thrown in for good measure. Named after a British Jewish philanthropist, Charles Clore Park was opened in the mid-1970s and is a popular spot for locals, families, and picnic lovers, because of its lovely views of the water.Charles Clore Park has fantastic playground facilities (perfect for those with young kids) which include a rope pyramid and water fountain (ideal for scorching hot summer days). There’s also a sculpture garden (look out for the local pieces, especially by artist Ilana Good (who has a museum of her own nearby) and the Etzel Museum (the Etzel or ‘Irgun’ was an underground organization established in 1931, which fought for the establishment of the State of Israel).7. Tel Aviv University Botanical GardenCalling all botanists, greenhouse aficionados, and succulent lovers - the Tel Aviv Botanical Garden awaits you. Situated in the leafy green suburb of Ramat Aviv (just a short bus ride or 15-minute taxi journey from the city center), this six-acre area has more than 3,800 plant species, combining native flora, Middle Eastern specimens, and plants from around the world.Set up in 1972 as a university research and education center (which specializes in the conservation of rare and endangered species), although there is an admission fee, and tours must be coordinated in advance, anyone interested in ecology should visit. Close by is the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, which has some excellent collections and is full of treasures - a good place to bring kids if you want to teach them about biodiversity!If you’d like to know more about the guided tours in Tel Aviv and the organized tours of Israel (from Jerusalem and the Galilee to the Dead Sea and the Golan Heights), feel free to contact us by phone or email. In the meantime, to read more about our amazing country- its food, history, culture, art, and people- take a look at our blog.
By Sarah Mann

What to expect of the Israeli weather in the winter?

If you’re thinking of making a trip to Israel, one of the things on your mind will be what the weather will be like. And it’s a good question! We’re often asked what the climate is like in our country and, for much of the year, our answer is a resounding ‘hot’. Between October, there’s little or no rain, azure blue skies, and often scorching temperatures, particularly in the Negev desert and down on the Red Sea.These are Golden Jackals, Warming under the December sun in Hayarkon Park, Tel AvivThese sunny warm days are what makes so many people book their trips in the spring, summer, and fall. But what about the weather in Israel in the winter? If you have the chance to travel in the Holy Land out of season, and you’re not fussed about the lack of sunbathing opportunities, what should you expect? Will it be so unpleasantly cold that you can’t enjoy yourself? What kind of clothing will you need to bring? Will there be enough activities for days out?When is Winter in Israel?The winter in Israel basically runs from mid-November to mid/end February. And because Israel has lots of different geographical areas, depending on which part of the country you’re in, it could get chilly! However, for many Europeans and North Americans, even on the coldest days it won’t be freezing or snowing in the way you’re used to (although yes, it does snow, periodically in this part of the globe - usually in the Golan Heights but, once every few years, in Jerusalem).Israel could get a bit rainy in the winterActually, many tourists who aren’t keen on high temperatures enjoy traveling at this time of the year - apart from the Christmas period, when many Christian pilgrims tour the Holy Land, it’s quieter and less expensive. And, of course, whatever the weather, there are many museums and galleries in Israel to explore, if the rain is pouring and the wind is howling!Winter in Israelin NovemberMost of the time, November in Israel is very pleasant. Temperatures can still be quite warm - in fact, on odd days you might even see people sunbathing in Tel Aviv and on beaches across the country, when the thermometer can go as high as 25°, and average temperatures range from 18-23°. The beaches North of Tel Aviv are cool, yet calm in NovemberIt will be colder in the mountains- Jerusalem, Safed, and the Golan Heights- but if you’re yearning for sun, you’ll definitely find it in Eilat, on the Red Sea. As well as diving, surfing, and all kinds of water sports, it’s also a hop, skip, and a jump from Jordan, perfect for visiting the lost city of Petra and the beautiful desert scenery in Wadi Rum.Winter in Israel in DecemberBy the time December arrives, the temperatures are dropping, but on the coast, and in the 24/7 city of Tel Aviv, you won’t need a winter coat, just the lightest jacket and perhaps an umbrella here and there. Temperatures will range from 12-21° but once you go higher up, you’ll feel the cold.It might get a bit cold, but this is when the flowers pop out!Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Nazareth can all be rather chilly in December, so if you’re traveling to Israel at Christmas, make sure to pack a warm coat, gloves, scarf, hat, and even some thermal underwear! In Jerusalem, expect temperatures to range from 7-14°, and if you’re up in the Golan Heights, even a bit colder. If your bones are so cold you can’t stand it anymore, head to Eilat, where you can even sunbathe and swim on Christmas Day, or if you’re more of an adrenaline junkie, take a trip to Timna Park and hike around canyons.Winter in Israel in JanuaryJanuary is the coldest month in Israel, wherever you are. The chances of rain are at their highest and whilst it’s just ‘chilly’ in Tel Aviv, temperatures plummet in Jerusalem and can be positively icy up in the Golan Heights. Of course, if it snows, you will be rewarded with beautiful, picture-perfect views and have the opportunity to ski on Mount Hermon.Ski at the Hermon MountainIt can be a good time to explore Israel’s south- the Negev and Arava deserts are excellent places to hike. In places like Mitzpe Ramon- home to an extraordinary crater, down which you can rappel, and inside which you can hike- there can be sunny days but beware when the night falls - it will be bone-chillingly cold! Temperatures can actually fall to almost zero in the desert, and not much higher in Jerusalem, so make sure to pack accordingly.Winter in Israel in FebruaryBy the time February arrives, you know that winter is on its way out, although there’s still the chance of rain. However, it’s a great month to visit Israel because sights like the fortress of Masada and the Dead Sea are less crowded, and (unless it’s pouring down). A great time to see MasadaWith average water temperatures at the lowest point on earth at 21°, you can even chill out whilst floating and soaking up a few rays of sun visiting this incredibly Herodian fortress, coupled with a sea so salty nothing can survive in it makes for the perfect Israel day trip.Winter Tourist Attractions in IsraelThere’s so much to do in Israel that even when the weather isn’t warm and sunny, you’re simply spoilt for choice- holy sites, places of great historical importance, museums and galleries, vineyards, national parks, and fantastic eating opportunities- the country has it all.Winter in JerusalemNo trip to Israel is complete without spending some time in Jerusalem, Israel’s capital. Whatever the weather, it’s possible to spend hours walking inside the Old City, wandering the four quarters, and exploring sites like the Dome of the Rock, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and Western (Wailing) Wall. And in the more modern part of the city, the world-famous Israel Museum and Yad Vashem - the country’s memorial to the six million Jews murdered in the holocaust - are must-see attractions.Winter in Tel AvivTel Aviv, similarly, is a good place to visit in the winter- there are many days when the sun is shining, and it’s not raining, so you can walk on the beaches, even along the boardwalk from the Namal Port to Jaffa, the ancient biblical city that’s home to winding streets, artists’ studios, churches, a port, and a bustling flea market. And those who love to eat will be in their element too- a food tour of the Carmel Market is highly recommended for anyone interested in the cuisine of the region.Winter in Northern IsraelThere’s also plenty to do in the north of the country- the ancient Crusader city of Akko is a fine place to explore, not to mention Caesarea National Park (full of archaeological treasures that date back to the time of King Herod) and the beautiful limestone grottoes of Rosh ha Nikra on the border, with fantastic views of the Mediterranean coast.And vineyards in the Galilee and Golan Heights are a great way to spend a day- after a tour, you’ll often be treated to lunch, or at the very least some wine-tasting (often paired with excellent local cheeses). If it’s snowing, Mount Herman is the perfect place to head for some skiing, and if you aren’t a fan of heights then simply rent a wooden cabin in one of the many kibbutzes in the area, and explore the nature by day and curl up next to a log fire at night.The Galilee is also home to several beautiful churches, and any Christian pilgrim who wants to understand more about the life and times of Jesus can walk in his footsteps in the Galilee, this being the place where he spent most of his adult life, ministering and performing his miracles.If you’re interested in visiting Israel, take a look at the many offerings we have- from organized package tours to privately guided trips and day excursions all around the country, we’ve been in the tourism business for over 30 years and with our knowledgeable guides and professional team guarantee you an experience that will stay with you for years to come.Feel free to contact us by email or telephone to find out more about our tours, and if you want to know more about life in Israel, take a look at our blog.
By Sarah Mann

10 Best Luxury Hotels in Israel [UPDATED]

Are you planning a vacation in Israel? If so, the country is waiting for you! After two long, exhausting years, people are desperate to travel abroad again and many of us are so worn down from the pandemic that we’re ready to splash some serious cash about, ensuring that we get a holiday that ticks all of our boxes. And, honestly, there’s never been a better time to treat yourself - let’s face it, you deserve it.Luckily, Israel can oblige in this sense, that is because in the last decade, it’s raised its ‘accommodation game’ substantially. Today, there are luxury hotels scattered across the country, all able to satisfy the most discerning traveler’s needs. Whether you want a city break (think historic Jerusalem and hipster Tel Aviv), a peaceful retreat (the tranquil Sea of Galilee and the empty, silent Negev desert), or cocktails and dance clubs at the Red Sea, you’re spoilt for choice. That’s because, in the last decade, Israel’s raised its game, with a series of sophisticated and stylish luxury hotels.Why Stay at a Luxury Hotel in Israel?We all need a vacation periodically - to rest our body and our mind, not to mention have a little fun. And whilst some people think that staying in a luxury hotel is a waste of money, we’d disagree…because it’s going to give you certain amenities and benefits that really make your time away that much more special, in terms of comfort, facilities, and service.Luxury hotels mean top-end mattresses, soft bed linen, and fluffy pillows, not to mention 24-7 housekeeping services. They’re going above and beyond in their facilities - whether it’s infinity pools, high-end toiletries, afternoon teas, champagne, and chocolate in your room on arrival, or even a butler service. Within them are fine-dining restaurants, cocktail bars, and coffee lounges designed with your enjoyment in mind. And, of course, luxury hotels in Israel always emphasized world-class service - from the General Manager to the bellboy, everyone is working to ensure your expectations are not just met but surpassed. Today, we’re looking at luxury hotels in Israel that really have the ‘wow’ factor. And whilst we want to stress here that our opinions are entirely subjective, the ones we’re recommending here all come highly recommended - by our friends, colleagues, and TripAdvisor! If you don’t believe us, book a private day tour in Israeland then add it on as a treat to yourself. After all, you only live once! Here we go!Luxury Hotels in JerusalemMamillaJust a few steps from theOld City of Jerusalem, and overlooking the Jaffa Gate, the Mamilla’s location alone is something to rave about. But it’s far more than just the views you’ll enjoy here- with a contemporary design and sophisticated feel to it, the Mamilla is famed for its ‘personal touch’ where every guest is assigned a personal host, there to ensure the entire stay is faultless.Mamilla Hotel (image: Mamilla Hotel official website)Boasting 194 rooms, and a renowned rooftop restaurant (perfect for cocktails and dining alike) the inside is ultra-modern, with minimalist décor and a breakfast buffet that comes highly recommended. Scattered throughout the hotel (as well as the bedrooms) are books on design and history, which is a nice touch. Concierge services are outstanding and the warmth that staff show guests is so genuine, no wonderthe Mamillahas this kind of reputation.The American ColonyJust a minute's walk from the Damascus Gate, you’ll find theAmerican Colony Hotel- beautiful and historic, with a reputation for extraordinary service and comfort in the most relaxed of settings. With its beautiful grounds, pool area, and lovely courtyard (perfect for relaxing in the day or enjoying a pre-dinner cocktail by night) the American Colony makes you feel like you’ve gone back to the time ofthe British Mandate, with rooms furnished in Ottoman style ( though they do concede with the bed linen, which is high-end Italian!). A room in the American Colony Hotel (image: the American Colony Hotel official website)The hotel offers 94 rooms and suites (in four different buildings), helpful and accommodating staff (from housekeeping to the concierge), and a dining experience that few forget- the famous Courtyard restaurant is surrounded by mulberry trees, and in its center is a beautiful fountain. Menus are not kosher and international cuisine is the order of the day (fun fact: this is a hotel where some of the world’s top journalists like to stay). Unrivaled luxury inJerusalem!Luxury Hotels in Tel AvivThe JaffaHoused in a historic building, which was once a French hospital, the design ofthe Jaffa Hotelis nothing short of stand-out. Combining vaulted arches and stained glass windows with contemporary furniture (think velvet sofas and eclectic lamps) with Damien Hirst Art, it’s a stone’s throw from the ancient port, lovely artists quarter, and famousJaffa flea market, and has 120 rooms and suites (some within the historic building and others in a new, modern wing).The swimming pool in Jaffa, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel (image: the Mariott official website)The bedrooms are sophisticated, with neutral colors, and the infinity pool upstairs looks out on the Mediterranean, with a cocktail bar that sets up at midday. In terms of dining options, it’s less Middle Eastern and more North American/Mediterranean. ‘Golda’s Deli’ has bagels with lox and tuna melts and their restaurant ‘Don Camillo’ (which is not kosher) is excellent. With its personable staff and enviable location (close to the beach and a short cab ride from the heart of Tel Aviv), no wonder it’s taken the neighborhood by storm.The NormanLocated in the beautiful and historic part ofTel Aviv, close to the famous Rothschild Boulevard,the Norman Hotelprides itself on its understated elegance and if you are lucky enough to stay here, you’ll soon understand why. Beautiful restored, and set in two classic buildings (with a citrus garden nestled in between), you; 'll enjoy high-ceiling rooms, fabulous linens, wow-factor bath products, and a rooftop pool boasting phenomenal urban views.And it doesn’t end there. The Norman is well-known for its cuisine- the Alena is considered to be one ofTel Aviv’s top restaurants, serving exquisite Mediterranean food, featuring plenty of seafood, aged meats, and wonderful desserts made by their in-house pastry chef. Those who love drinks in a refined environment can head straight to their Library Bar- the perfect place for a gin and tonic, espresso martini, or glass of wine from one of Israel’s top vineyards. What else can we say, except prepare to be wowed?Luxury hotels in Southern IsraelBeresheet, Mitzpe RamonIt’s hard to imagine a more dramatic setting for a luxury restaurant than overlooking a crater, but that’s what you get when you book a stay atBeresheet in Mitzpe Ramon, in the Negev desert. Peaceful, tranquil, and perfect for those who crave solitude, this spectacular hotel has suites with pools, golf cars to transport you from your room to the main space, a gym, a playroom, two restaurants (kosher meat and dairy respectively) and a movie theater!The pool in Beresheet Hotel offers an endless viewThe rooms are spacious and well-designed, with bathrobes, slippers, and high-end toiletries, and the staff are helpful and attentive, without being overly solicitous. The remarkable views are to die for and be prepared to see ibex (mountain goats) wandering by as you sit enjoying the serenity. And if you’re not in the mood for hiking or rappelling down the side of the crater, just order a cocktail and sit by the infinity pool.Six Senses, ShaharutDesert sunrises and starry skies await you at this breathtaking hotel. Constructed to ‘blend’ into the desert (the materials it uses- stone, wood, copper, teak - all reflect this design),Six Senses Shaharutoffers 60 suites and villas in a rustic style, some with a private pool and one not just with a pool but it’s own pizza oven and chef service!) Luxury bath products are made using camel and goat's milk and you’ll also find yoga mats and walking sticks (should you want to do some hiking) in your room.Six Senses Shaharut, Israel Resort & Luxury Spa in Negev Desert. Photo fromwww.sixsenses.comTheir fine dining options use seasonal and organic products purchased from local farms and draw on the culinary traditions of the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Midian offers the very best of traditional Israeli cuisine, Edom View offers mezes, the poolside grill services both butcher’s cuts and homemade ice cream and the Jamillah bar is the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail at sunset…Six Senses Shaharut also offers several original activities and experiences, including sunrise yoga, hikes, star gazing outings, 4x4 off-road jeep tours, and camel treks. The emphasis is on the guest’s experience being integrated with nature - entertainment is often in the form of local musicians, at the on-site amphitheater. And since the setting here is so tranquil, it’s no surprise that this luxury hotel also offers a Wellness Programme, including retreats, a hammam, and aerial yoga. Our verdict - simplicity and luxury combined!Luxury Hotels in Northern IsraelThe Scots HotelSituated in Tiberias and overlooking both the peaceful, beautiful Sea of Galilee (‘the Kinneret’ in Hebrew) and the Golan Heights, the Scots Hotel is situated in a beautifully preserved old building, formerly known as the Scots Mission Hospital. Today it welcomes visitors with plenty of ‘Highland Hospitality’, from the arrival drinks it serves to live music performances in their whisky-themed bar.The Scots Hotel Tiberias outside view, Sea of Galilee, Israel. Photo fromwww.scotshotels.comThis luxury hotel and spa boasts sixteen renovated rooms, all constructed out of basalt rock and with high ceilings. The decor is traditional but all the extras you need are in your room, including high-end toiletries, plasma TV, a ‘coffee corner’ with a chaise lounge, and a Nespresso machine. The rooms are suitable just for two, which is why this hotel is frequented more by couples and older people, than families with young children.Pereh Mountain ResortHidden away in theGolan Heights, Pereh Mountain Resort (which only opened in the summer of 2022) is a welcome addition to the Israel luxury hotel market. Situated on a private estate, on a hilltop that overlooks mountains and valleys, and contains beautifully manicured gardens and lush orchards, it has only 27 rooms and suites and is for couples only, making it a very romantic getaway.The Pereh Resort (image: Pereh Mountain Resort official website)Local materials used to buildPereh Mountain Resortinclude basalt, wood, and stone, and, along with the pool and spa, the hotel has its wine cellar the area is perfect for hiking or visiting one of the many wineries which are all easy driving distance. Their restaurant, ‘Rouge’, which is led by the talented chef Roe Dori, goes to great pains to use local produce. With its remote location and wildly beautiful scenery, no wonder it was featured recently in Conde Nast!
By Sarah Mann

The Complete Guide to Airport Security in Israel

If you’re visiting Israel, the chances are you’ll be arriving by plane - whilst the country shares land borders with Jordan and Egypt (and it’s easy to cross over) and cruise ships often dock at Haifa, most tourists will fly into Ben Gurion Airport, close to Tel Aviv and just a thirty-minute train ride from Jerusalem.We’re often asked how strict airport security in Israel is and what things are good to know in advance, to make your trip that much easier. And working on the basis that to be forewarned is to be forearmed, we think that once you have an idea of the questions and techniques that staff use as you head towards your destination, you won’t feel as worried.Israeli Airport SecurityIsraeli airport security has a reputation for being some of the best in the world, and that reputation is entirely justified. It’s incredibly good and takes advantage of the most up-to-date technology on the market. All airport personnel go through rigorous training before working with the public, where they learn different techniques when questioning travelers and how to spot anything odd from a distance.Welcome to Ben Gurion Airport!It’s all designed to keep you safe from start to finish- from the moment you arrive at the airport (via bus, train, private car or taxi) up until the minute you board your plane. In fact, much of the security is ‘invisible’ which means that whilst you won’t see it, it’s operating constantly, all around you.Questioning by Israeli Airport SecurityThis is taken very seriously by airport personnel and everyone- a work traveler, a tourist, or a citizen- is subject to it. Questions might include why you were visiting Israel, if you have friends or family in the country and if you visited any ‘hotspots’ in the West Bank, which is an area where trouble can sometimes flare up.It’s a good idea to be prepared for this and if you have been staying with friends or family, be ready to provide security with their contact details. (Occasionally, they will verify them). For sure, it will be easier to pass the questioning process if you’ve been staying with locals/family or traveling around Israel with an organized tour, but there’s no need to worry if you’re a backpacker or solo traveler- you just might be questioned a little longer.Security officer at the Ben Gurion AirportYou will be asked if you packed your bags if someone gave you anything to carry on the plane (as a gift), if your bags were in your possession the entire time from them being locked until now, and if you are carrying anything sharp (nail scissors and swiss army knives, for instance). You may also be questioned if you have visited other countries in the Middle East with whom Israel does not have a good relationship (e,g, Lebanon, Yemen).Overall, however, as long as you are calm, and have nothing to hide, it should be a quick and painless process. Try to relax - no one is out to ‘trap you’- the staff are just doing their job and, anyway, it’s all to keep you safe.Your hand luggage will then be screened using very advanced machinery. You also might have to take off your shoes and remove your laptop from its case. The queues are usually not too long and then you’ll be free to shop, grab a coffee, or charge up your laptop and smartphone.How long does it take to pass through Israeli Airport Security?It’s hard to say precisely but you should allow a good three hours before your flight is due to depart. In the summer and at other popular times of the year (the holidays of Passover and Sukkot, and at Christmas in Israel), thousands of people will be using the airport daily, so queues can quickly form. However, because of the up-to-date technology and well-trained staff, you won’t be stuck in a line too long but, in general, it's good to err on the side of caution.Is it safe to fly to and visit Tel Aviv?We’re happy to tell you that flying into Tel Aviv and visiting the city is very safe. Sure, Israel has occasional ‘flare-ups’ and conflicts with its regional neighborhoods, but Tel Avivas a city is extremely safe. The city welcomes all kinds of visitors each year - young and old, backpackers, independent travelers, and groups, and few people don't fall in love with the city; many of them explore it using Tel Aviv guided tours to save time.Tel Aviv from aboveTel Aviv itself is flat, so easy to walk around- it has a fabulous boardwalk where you can stroll for hours, along fine beaches. not to mention bike lanes which make taking a cycling tour of the city a great idea. It’s easy to walk from the Namal port (near HaYarkon Park) in the north of Tel Aviv, all the way to Jaffa, and it will take you a little more than an hour.Tel Aviv’s also very safe to walk around at night- it’s very common to see people sitting in cafes at 1 am, walking their dogs at 3 am and returning home from nightclubs as the dawn breaks. Compared to most European and North American cities, crime against the person is incredibly low. And Israelis love to help- so if you ever find yourself in a tight spot, the chances are someone will be there to aid you.Airports in IsraelThere are two airports in Israel- Ben Gurion (which is 25 km from Tel Aviv) and Ilan Ramon (18 km from Eilat).Ben Gurion International Airport is Israel’s gateway to the rest of the world, with hundreds of flights taking off and arriving each day. It has two terminals, both well-equipped with eateries, cafes, and duty-free stores, and a free shuttle bus that runs between the two (taking about 15 minutes), should you need to transfer.It’s also well-connected by train (easily reachable from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, as well as Haifa in the north and Be’er Sheva in the south). You can also reach this airport with the 445 bus that runs from the north of Tel Aviv, along the promenade and beachfront, then onto the highway.Taking off from the Ben Gurion AirportIlan Ramon airport, in the south of Israel, is where tourists fly if they want to holiday in the south of Israel or visit Petra and Wadi Rum (an easy trip from the southern border with Jordan).Just a twenty-minute drive from the attractions of Eilat- a resort city nestled on Israel’s Red Sea, it’s easily accessible either by public bus number 30 which leaves from the city’s public bus station, every 20-30 minutes. Alternatively, you can take a taxi, which should cost you around 80-100 NIS depending on how many passengers and luggage. Eventually, there will even be a rail link so tourists can take the train directly to Eilat.Ilan Ramon Airport has just one terminal but already handles around 2 million passengers a year, and this will probably grow with time. For now, there’s everything you need.If you plan on visiting Israel, keep in mind that while this is a small country, it still holds troves of culture, history, nature, culinary surprises, and activities to discover. Choosingprivately guided tours in Israel could save you lots of time, and help you make the most of your visit.
By Sarah Mann