The Perfect Itinerary: How to Plan a Romantic Weekend in Tel Aviv
If you’re looking for a place in Israel to get away from it all for a couple of days with your beloved, chances are you’re not going to think ‘Tel Aviv’ immediately. Nicknamed the ‘non-stop city’ because of its young population and famous nightlife, its reputation for fast living precedes it.
But don’t write it off too fast because it’s also a city where you can kick back. White sandy beaches, a long promenade overlooking the Mediterranean, cool museums, unusual architecture, and fantastic food mean that planning a romantic weekend in Tel Aviv isn’t as hard as you’d think. take a guided tour in Tel Aviv to enrich your experience.
Day 1: A Colorful Friday
As far as romantic activities in Tel Aviv go, it might not scream ‘love’ but we’d start the weekend off with a little bit of culture - either at the Tel Aviv Art Museum (which is home to some world-famous pieces, both by Israelis and also international artists) or a Bauhaus tour, since there are more buildings in the famous 1930’s German architectural style in this city than any other in the world.
After you’ve finished, head down trendy Rothschild Boulevard, one of Tel Aviv’s most lovely and lively streets, filled with locals cycling, walking their dogs, or drinking coffee at one of the endless cafes that line it. And after a twenty-minute stroll, you’ll arrive at your next destination.
Tel Aviv’s bustling Carmel Market is buzzing like nothing you can imagine on a Friday afternoon when people are there to pick up food for the weekend, meet friends for lunch (the market is full of food stands and small cafes, serving local fare), and wander through the arts and crafts market next door at Nahalat Binyamin.
Have some fun in the market!
When you’re ready to grab some lunch, head for the Shlomo and Doron hummus joint (tasty and filling) then to Cafe Yom cafe for coffee and cake, or the Beer Bazaar (with over 100 Israeli craft beers on tap) if you’re in the mood for something stronger.
Note that there are some great Tel Aviv food-tasting tours of the Carmel Market you could take if you're a true foodie. Next, you'll walk north for a while until you hit Gordon Beach - the perfect place for loved-up couples to watch the sunset.
Once you’ve freshened up at your hotel and had a power nap, head out for some pre-dinner cocktails at one of the city’s top spots. Spicehaus, on Dizengoff Street, serves up ‘chemistry lab’ creations in thermos flasks, with all the waiters in lab coats and is always fun.
Don't miss the Israeli sunset!
If you’re looking for something more elegant and understated, however, try the Imperial, an upscale hotel bar, serving craft cocktails, both old-fashioned and modern. Named one of the World’s 50 Best Bars in 2017, there’s a reason it never seems to go out of style (and if you go early enough, you can enjoy their Happy Hour).
And now you’re ready for dinner. There are so many top restaurants in Tel Aviv that you’re spoilt for choice, but for an intimate, romantic evening, we’d go either with Taizu or Alena at the Norman. Taizu is famous for its Asian cuisine and seafood-rich dishes, small plates, and great flavors (not to mention the astonishing desserts dreamed up by pastry chef Ana Shapiro).
Alena is not to be sneered at either - this fine dining experience, inside the luxurious Norman Hotel, makes you feel like you’re in Europe, with elegant surroundings, flawless dishes, and exceptional service.
And that’s it for day one! Now get some sleep.
Day 2: A Magical Saturday
Old Jaffa surely has to be one of the most romantic places in Tel Aviv. Start your morning with breakfast at one of the many independent cafes around the famous flea market (‘Shuk ha Pishpeshim’) - although the market itself is closed on Saturdays, you can wander through the streets, shop at some of the boutiques then head across Yefet Street to the sea.
You'll fall in love with the views of Jaffa!
Stroll through the backstreets of the Artists Quarter - cobblestones, narrow winding alleys, and beautiful stone buildings are everywhere, not to mention studios where you can pick up paintings, sculptures, and jewelry from talented craftsmen and women. Walk through Abrasha Park, across the ‘Wishing Bridge’ (make a wish), past St. Peter’s Franciscan church, and down the hill, to where you’ll find the sea.
The Jaffa port is simply lovely. There you’ll see locals fishing, drinking Arabic coffee, families wandering around, and musicians busking. You can stroll along the harbor, looking out at glorious Mediterranean vistas, or even take a boat out if you’re curious about the view from the water. If you’re in the mood for a little culture, check out the Ilana Goor Museum (with magnificent rooftop views) or for those who prefer magic and the mysteries of spoon-bending, take a tour of the nearby Uri Geller Museum.
The old Jaffa Port
Walk along the waterfront, heading north until you arrive at Neve Tzedek. This picturesque area was established in 1887 and was the first neighborhood to be built outside the walls of ancient Jaffa. It’s trendy and affluent today, home to some excellent restaurants and tiny boutique stores, great for picking up a few Israeli souvenirs.
Stop at Anita for gelato, explore the Suzanne Dellal Center (home to a performing arts center and the Bat Sheva modern dance troupe), and from there, grab a bus, a cab, or an e-bike and head to the Park Hayarkon, This is Tel Aviv’s green lung where you can hire a boat and row along the river that runs through it. By this time, it might be close to golden hour so watch out for the golden jackals that live there - reputation has it that they come out at dusk to hunt, but the ones who live in Park Hayarkon are tame and love to play with each other!
A pack of Golden Jackals in the Park
After a quick refresh back home, head out for pre-dinner drinks at either Bellboy, an intimate cocktail bar with a retro feel and the finest crafted drinks you can imagine, or Speakeasy, a rooftop lounge bar that has live music performances, wowza margaritas, and views of Tel Aviv to die for.
And for your romantic last night dinner together? It’s got to be either Popina or Manta Ray (both close to Neve Tsedek). Popina is a chef's restaurant, that serves innovative and beautifully presented French food - the tasting menu of six different plates is a great way to sample their cuisine, and their wine list is truly impressive.
Alternatively, head to Manta Ray where you can feast on seafood whilst overlooking the Mediterranean - it’s literally on the beach, and warm evenings you can hear the waves lapping as you enjoy shrimp, lobster, crabs, and an array of salads, whilst sipping at an apple martini.
A weekend you won't forget!
Head back home sated…and a little sad that your romantic weekend in Tel Aviv is over. If you’re visiting Tel Aviv and Israel and looking for ideas of places to visit, check out our travel blog, which takes a deep dive into all things relating to Israel. And if you’re based in Tel Aviv but want to travel further afield, consider taking a Masada and the Dead Sea private tour, or a guided day trip in Jerusalem - the eternal city. If you want to add some adventure to the mix, check out this Petra and Wadi Rum 2-Day trip from Tel Aviv and feel like Indiana Jones in the mystical lost city.