Traveling to Tel Aviv

Traveling to Tel Aviv from Ben Gurion Airport is a short taxi or bus ride. Choose a hotel in the central areas of Lev Ha’ir, Florentin, Neve Tzedek, or the beachfront, so that you can explore on foot. There is an excellent bus system in Tel Aviv, and taxis are reasonably priced, but driving in Tel Aviv is not recommended. The city gets sunshine most of the year and has a very outdoor-urban vibe.

Tel Aviv is famed for its live-and-let-live attitude and has a thriving LGBTQ community. There are incredible markets (Carmel, Lewinsky, and Jaffa Market), and shopping malls, like Azrieli, and Dizengoff. Tel Aviv has a vibrant café culture, with sidewalk cafes reminiscent of Europe. The food scene includes street food, Middle Eastern cuisine, fine dining, vegan, and kosher eateries serving either meat or dairy dishes. 

The heart of Tel Aviv is known as the White City and has UNESCO status for its 400 Bauhaus buildings. Things to do in Tel Aviv the top attractions such as Jaffa Old City, the historic Neve Tzedek neighborhood, Tel Aviv Art Museum, Rothschild Blvd., Nachalat Binyamin neighborhood, Yarkon Park, and the gentrified port area, to name just a few. Tel Aviv never sleeps and has bars, and nightclubs rave until the early hours. You can find entertainment of all genres, from jazz, and ethnic music, to classical music, and ballet. 


Tel Aviv Markets

Experiencing Tel Aviv's markets (shuk or souk) is a must on any visit to Israel. All of your senses will be stimulated by the cacophony of sounds; delicious and strange aromas; spices and clothing in every color of the rainbow and the diverse mix of people on the streets. Tel Aviv has markets to suit all tastes and preferences; there are elegant and sophisticated markets; rough and dirty market; markets where the focus is on food and others where you'll just want to people-watch and hang-out with local hipsters. At Tel Aviv markets you'll find produce fresh from the farms; gourmet delicacies; clothing; rip-offs of luxury brands; authentic handmade textiles and junk with a few hidden gems to be discovered. Visit any of these Tel Aviv markets for an experience to remember.One of the Carmel Market stalls, Tel Aviv.Photo credit: © ShutterstockCarmel Market (Shuk HaCarmel) – For Rough and Ready Day to Day ShoppingTel Aviv's most famous and central market, Shuk HaCarmel is the market visited by most tourists to Tel Aviv. The Shuk runs along HaCarmel Street from Allenby Street towards the beach, ending at a park near the Intercontinental Hotel. The market is usually very crowded with streams of people going in both directions; it's loud and a little grubby (authentic). Stalls on both sides sell groceries, fruit, and vegetables, clothing, meat, fish, sweets, spices, household goods, toys, rip-off luxury items, jewelry, perfume, gadgets, and more. Shuk HaCarmel has become a hot spot for foodies who come to sample the food sold at eateries and cafes, each with its own unique dishes. Some of the eateries double as street bars where patrons stand on the sidewalk. The food on offer comes from multiple cultures and is often a fusion of many. Don't hesitate to wander through the side streets that lead off the shuk's main drag. Here you'll find hole-in-the-wall eateries, bars, beautiful crumbling buildings, and some small unique stores and stalls.Spices at Carmel Market. Photo credit: © ShutterstockSarona – For Sophisticated Gourmet Goods and Elegant SurroundingsSarona is a restored German Templar Colony originally established in 1871. Today the historic buildings house sophisticated stores and up-market restaurants. In the complex is the Sarona Market; an indoor culinary market with stylish décor reminiscent of La Boqueria in Barcelona. With a focus on food and kitchen products Sarona is cleaner; more expensive and less crowded than other Tel Aviv markets. The specialty goods on sale make it a destination specifically for buying and eating food and not for souvenirs or people watching. If you are a foodie, then Sarona is a must. The products on sale come from across the globe and are diverse in their flavors and cultural origins. Some of the stalls are operated by top Israel chefs and the adjacent restaurants are also gourmet. Unlike most other Tel Aviv markets, Sarona is open seven days a week including Saturdays. There are regular special events such as cooking demonstrations and musical performances.Assorted necklaces at Jaffa Flea Market. Photo byTamara MalaniyonUnsplashLevinsky - For Hipster Hang-Outs and Ancient Spice StoresThe Levinsky Market in the Florentin neighborhood was once the "bad" end of town; then it morphed into a bohemian neighborhood and finally into a gentrified haven for hipsters with some of the old neighborhood charm thrown in. In the 1950s the market vendors were mainly Iranian and Iraqi Jews selling spices. Now a new generation has blended old with new and stalls sell a mix of traditional market goods and modern necessities. You'll find stores selling Middle Eastern spices from large sacks that spill out onto the sidewalk; dried fruits and nuts; household goods and everyday items. Several restaurants and cafes spread out across small tree-covered plazas and some eateries have even gained a faithful following with customers lining up along the street. Enjoy traditional foods from different cultures from Tunisian sandwiches to Polish salted herring.Jaffa Flea Market.Photo credit: © ShutterstockJaffa Flea Market (Shuk HaPishPashim) – For Antiques, Junk, and Hidden TreasuresThe Shuk HaPishPeshim is perhaps the most unique market you can find in Tel Aviv. At first glance the market offers heaps and heaps of junk – some stalls look like they have been stacked high with all those bits and pieces everyone has in one of their kitchens draws. On closer inspection some of the market stalls sell genuine antiques; others sell second-hand goods in bad condition and some of the stalls sell a mix of the two – so you have to dig out the good stuff. Here you'll find vintage items; authentic antiques; classic furniture; souvenirs; home appliances; top designer stores; musical instruments; accessories; car parts; artwork; jewelry; and clothing – new and second-hand. Like most of Tel Aviv's markets, Shuk HaPishPashim has become a popular foodie destination. After nightfall, the market stalls shut down and the place turns into a vibrant nightlife destination with lively bars and chef-style restaurants.Carmel Market, Tel Aviv.Photo byNicole BasteronUnsplashNahalat Binyamin - For Arts, Crafts, Bauhaus, and Parisian-style CafesRunning parallel to Carmel Market and connected by several lanes is Nahalat Binyamin, a wide, pedestrian-only street lined with Bauhaus houses and some pretty impressive graffiti art as well. The stores in the buildings along Nahalat Binyamin mainly sell fabric but the real attraction is the market set up along the street each Tuesday and Friday. The stalls specialize in handmade arts and crafts and you'll often find the artist or designer manning the stall. Some of the items on sale include wind chimes, handmade soap, unique handmade jewelry, paintings, toys, and organic products. This sophisticated market is somewhat reminiscent of European markets. The outdoor cafes along the street will remind you of a romantic European movie with picturesque bougainvillea dripping over the buildings, umbrellas, and bustling waiters serving brunch. Nahalat Binyamin has a more relaxed atmosphere than Carmel Market; here you can linger, enjoy an ice cream or coffee; watch street performers, and get to know local artists.More Tel Aviv MarketsBelieve it or not, there are even more markets in Tel Aviv! In an addition to the top Tel Aviv markets listed above you can also explore Bezalel Market for budget items on King George Street; Shuk HaNamal, an indoor farmers' market at the old port; Dizengoff Square antique market on Tuesdays and Fridays; the Greek Market in Jaffa; Rothschild Allenby Market for high-end cuisine and the Friday market on Givon Square for vintage everything.Fresh strawberry at one of Tel Aviv markets.Photo bybec s.onUnsplash
By Petal Mashraki

Tel Aviv Street Art

Thanks to Tel Aviv’s unique geographical location and cultural make-up which includes people from across the globe and across the religious spectrum the city’s graffiti holds many poignant political and social messages.Tel Aviv Graffiti.Photo credit: © ShutterstockThe quality and variety of the thought-provoking graffiti are also varied. Among the graffiti you’ll see there are works by famous Israeli artists including the renowned and prolific graffiti artist Rami Mairi; INSPIRE; street art photography artist Millikatz and by the MAS graffiti School. Tel Aviv is also home to the world’s youngest graffiti artist AYA.Art is often born out of difficult social, cultural, and political situations so it is no wonder that here in the Middle East so much art is produced. In Tel Aviv, the municipality has a tolerant attitude to graffiti and if it is deemed artistic it is often left untouched. The Tel Aviv Museum of Art even holds an annual exhibition featuring some of the top street artists.You can learn a little Hebrew even on a short trip to Israel just by noticing signs, graffiti, and bumper stickers. The most bohemian parts of Tel Aviv are known for their artistic graffiti and there are tours that take you on a walk through the streets of these areas pointing out the graffiti and explaining the Hebrew and social messages Graffiti in Tel Aviv, Israel.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin1. Tel Aviv Graffiti ToursA graffiti tour of areas like Florentin, Tel Aviv is an innovative and cool way of getting to know the city. Not only will you learn a bit of Hebrew but also get to know the social issues which artists choose to comment on. On a graffiti tour, your guide will also point out interesting street signs and bumper stickers. Tours of this kind are led by young and hip locals who know the best places to go and the most “in” neighborhoods. You’ll find out about the best cafes, bars, and nightclubs and can ask your guide for recommendations. Your guide will explain the artist’s “tags” and signature styles.There are works of art on the walls of Tel Aviv by international and local graffiti artists. Your guide will tell you about the local street art culture and contemporary art scene and the many forms it comes in. A tour of the city’s graffiti and hip neighborhoods usually takes about two hours. Other interesting and unusual tours on the streets of Tel Aviv include cooking tours, restaurant tours, market tours, pub crawl tours, and cycling tours. All of these tours add an extra dimension to regular tours and allow you to really interact with locals and get to know another side of the city and Israeli culture.A touA tourist taking a picture of Tel Aviv graffiti. Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin2. Top Tel Aviv Street ArtistsIf you’d rather discover these hidden gems by yourself then take a self-guided tour of the city discovering the street art as you go. One of the top street artists is “Know Hope” who has been on the street art scene since 2004 and left his signature image of a man with his heart on his sleeve. He recently exhibited a project entitled Truth and Method at the Gordon Gallery. “Dede” painted the clever and witty piece entitled Wind up Teeth on the Tel Aviv Dolphinarium. His signature image is a band-aid which he says is a symbol of the search for solutions to personal and social problems. His work often comments on current events. He has also left his mark on the walls of New York, Germany, and Switzerland. “Sened” is a stencil artist recognizable by his images of little box people. His work is smaller than most street art and is often found in places you wouldn’t expect. Wonky Monkey is recognizable by the monkey which appears in most of his pictures. He likes to comment on the human condition. “Signor Gi” uses stencils, paste-ups, and painting. His signature mark is of a skull. “Dioz” paints large, colorful street art which fills up entire walls. His work is less political and more about fun and bringing a little light humor to the streets. Green Graffiti in Tel Aviv.Photo byAna KlipperonUnsplash“Nitzan Mintz” was named one of the country’s most prominent artists in 2013 and has since gone on to be mentioned in Timeout and Calcalist. She makes social comments in beautifully formed Hebrew text on the walls of Tel Aviv. “Klone Yourself” is a local artist whose street art often features creatures that are half-human and half animals. His work has been shown in New York. Maya is one of the few female graffiti artists in Tel Aviv. She exhibits in galleries, has featured in TED Talk, and paints on public walls. She uses a wide range of materials and in 2015 created a large-scale installation in Japan of her signature blackbirds.So get out your walking shoes and explore Tel Aviv’s street art either on an organized Tel Aviv street art tour or by yourself, you’ll be amazed at the art you discover!Graffiti in Tel Aviv. Photo byRonit ShakedonUnsplash
By Petal Mashraki

Jaffa

Jaffa is an ancient port city in Israel, mentioned in the Bible and renowned for its association with Jonah, Solomon, and Saint Peter as well as the mythological story of Andromeda and Perseus. There are many interesting attractions in the Old City of Jaffa plus a church, great fish restaurants, and quaint lanes with specialty stores. However, if you follow those meandering lanes downwards you will find yourself coming out on the water’s edge of the actual port. The Jaffa Port underwent a complete facelift in 2012 when it was cleaned up and new businesses moved into the revamped hanger that stands near the water. The dream was to create a food market similar to the ones at Tel Aviv Port and the Sarona complex however the market didn’t really get off the ground. The port failed to become a top destination and is still a hidden gem to most!Jaffa aerial view. Photo credit: © ShutterstockThe Old JaffaWhen people refer to Old Jaffa they are talking about the restored ancient city perched on a cliff at the southern end of Tel Aviv’s beachfront promenade. Jaffa Port lies directly below Old Jaffa; a historic gateway to the Holy Land which has also been significantly restored. Both these two Tel Aviv-Jaffa attractions offer endless things to see and do. For the last 6,000 years, Jaffa Port has welcomed travelers, immigrants, and armies. The city is associated with the legends of Andromeda and the Biblical figures of Jonah and St. Peter. The city has been ruled by Egyptians, Philistines, Alexander the Great, Romans, Napoleon, Muslims, Crusaders, and the Ottomans. Each has left its mark on the city. Today Jaffa is home to a mixed population of Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Old Jaffa is built from pristine cream-colored stone similar to the Old City of Jerusalem. The windows of Jaffa homes are painted bright blue and window boxes overflow with colorful blooms. Visitors can discover trendy restaurants, picturesque alleyways, historic churches, archaeological remains, and a unique artists’ colony.When you arrive in Old Jaffa’s central Kdumim Square you will see a magnificent fountain with stone characters representing the zodiac signs. Each of the alleyways in Old Jaffa leading down to the port is named after a zodiac sign. On Kdumim Square you will find the Old Jaffa Visitors Center. Here there is the “Images of Jaffa”, a multi-sensory experience that introduces visitors to the history of Jaffa. The Jaffa Old City.Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinThe center also holds archaeological remains from Jaffa’s ancient past. In the restaurants that flank the square, you can find delicious culinary delights from Middle Eastern cuisine and seafood to Yemenite and French food. Some of the restaurants offer brilliant views across the sea all the way to Tel Aviv’s beachfront. From Old Jaffa you can look out to sea and spot Andromeda’s Rock. This group of rocks jutting out of the water is associated with the Greek legend of Perseus and Andromeda. Andromeda had been chained to the rocks as a sacrifice to the sea monster Cetus when Perseus rescued her.Attractions in Old Jaffa include the Home of Simon the Tanner where St. Peter is said to have spent the night. While here he had a dream which was interpreted as a message from God telling Peter that non-Jews should be welcomed into Christianity.Jaffa is the site of Ramses Gate which has survived 4,000 years since Egyptians ruled Jaffa. The intricately carved gate was once part of a grand Egyptian palace. Make a wish on the Wishing Bridge as you enter Park HaPisga. In the park, there are several works of art and canons left here by Napoleon in 1799. Visit St Peter’s Church built in 1654 and dedicated to the saint who visited Old Jaffa.The narrow stone alleyways of Old Jaffa are lined with over 50 galleries, design stores, and art studios. Among the most well-known galleries, there is Adina Plastelina, the Ilana Goor Museum, and a gallery of Ethiopian art. Artists live and work here, displaying and selling their creations to the public. The Antiquities Museum of Tel Aviv-Jaffa is housed in an Ottoman-era building. Here you can see archaeological remains excavated in Jaffa. When the sun goes down Old Jaffa comes alive with restaurants and cafes. People come to Old Jaffa at night to enjoy the cool sea breeze, beautiful surroundings, and the view across the sea to Tel Aviv’s glittering lights.Discover Jaffa PortThe Jaffa Port.Photo credit: © ShutterstockIt is possible to walk from Tel Aviv's beach promenadeall the way to Jaffa Port. At the southernmost point of Tel Aviv is the Charles Clore Park. From here the Sea Wall Promenade leads you all the way to the old port. Jaffa Port has Old Jaffa as a backdrop; built on the cliffs overlooking the water. Today the port no longer welcomes pilgrims and travelers by water but it is a port for fishermen and sailboats.You can walk along the edge of the water and imagine Jonah setting sail for Tarshish; Jaffa oranges being shipped from here across the globe or the first Jewish immigrants arriving in Palestine. As you walk out on the pier look back at Jaffa and see the red and white striped lighthouse. You can also look up towards St Peter’s bell tower.As you immerge from the lane which leads down to the port you will be just a few meters from the water. A jetty juts out into the water where you can get brilliant views of the Tel Aviv coast. Local boys like to show off their acrobatic skills jumping off fishing boats into the water and couples often come down here to get their pre-wedding photos taken. After you’ve enjoyed the waterside you can continue exploring the businesses along the water’s edge. The boats at Jaffa Port.Photo credit: © ShutterstockThe NaLagat (Please Touch) Center is run by and for the hearing and visually impaired. The center has a theatre where you can see performances by hearing-impaired actors about their challenges. There is also a restaurant called Black Out in the center where the diners sit in the dark and are served by visually impaired waiters. The center holds workshops and activities to teach about how handicapped people experience the world. In the large modern hanger alongside the NaLagat Center there are a number of businesses, an ice-cream shop, and fine dining restaurants. The best thing to eat if you dine here is fish; specialty fish restaurants use fish which was probably caught in the waters you see from the windows. There are also several art galleries where local artists display their creations. There are several retail outlets including the Women’s Courtyard at The Port where Israeli designer clothing is sold at outlet prices. On Fridays in the summer from 10 am to 5 pm there is the free live entertainment; market stalls; family activities and yoga lessons all free or for a small fee. The “Almina” Theatre presents children’s theatre productions for a small fee and offers workshop activities for kids after the show.Jaffa Flea MarketJaffa flea market.Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinTo get a feel of a real Middle Eastern character there is nothing better than a tour in one of Israel’s traditional markets or shuks. Perhaps one of the most atmospheric is the Jaffa shuk. The Jaffa flea market consists of several parts. There is a long street where each storefront spills onto the sidewalk selling antiques, some genuine junk.Here many avid antique collectors scourge the second-hand furniture stores, Persian carpet stores, and bric-a-brac stores which sell mainly old things rather than antique things. One street over there is a covered bazaar, a narrow row of vendors sell from hole-in-the-wall stores an assortment of clothing, old and new, jewelry, and second-hand goods. The clothes and other items for sale hang above your head and on every available stretch of wall. Outside in the open air, the Jaffa market continues with household goods, DIY equipment, ceramics, toys, musical instruments, and even the kitchen sink. You will also find local places to eat in this area which is safe to walk about in even if you are on your own.The Jaffa Shuk HaPishpeshim (flea market) is a vibrant, dynamic area with lots to see and many exciting stores and stalls. In the last few years, the area has become not only a fun and unique place to shop and people watch but also a hidden gem for foodies. Among the junk and antiques are several outstanding restaurants some of which are housed in historic buildings and serve both local and international food. Here are just a few of the many Jaffa Flea Market’s finest dining establishments.Shuk Hapishpeshim restaurant, Jaffa.Photo credit: © ShutterstockPuaa, 8 Rabi Yohanan- This unique restaurant/café is in the heart of the flea market. It was established in 1999 and is named after the owner. The place is magical, with décor featuring many authentic antiques and memorabilia including the furniture, pictures on the walls, and tableware. The menu is unpretentious and the food wholesome and homely yet unique and innovative. There are dishes like broccoli and cashew pasta, spinach with raw tahini and faro, and date syrup salad. There is a good selection of Israeli boutique wine. On Tuesday nights you can get amazing fish and seafood cooked on the grill situated on the outside porch and in winter there are live performances on Thursday evenings.Fleamarket, 7 Rabi Yohanan -The décor of this restaurant will take your breath away. The eclectic furniture comes from flea markets in Israel and abroad; the ceilings are high and the walls feature exposed brick and dark wood. Fleamarket has a large bar with an open kitchen. The restaurant is managed by top Israeli restaurateurs led by Shy Gurevitch. Fleamarket serves mainly seafood and Asian menu with several local and European dishes. The restaurant has a breakfast, brunch, and evening menu. At Fleamarket they give some classic Israeli dishes a gourmet twist like adding truffle to Israeli shakshuka. They also give an Israeli twist to some International classics like adding mangold to eggs Benedict. The menu reads like a European fine dining establishment with dishes like beef Carpaccio, sea bream tartar, and mushroom and truffle risotto. There are kid’s dishes and vegetarian dishes as well as a good selection of alcohol and cocktails.Sifo, 3 Nachman Street -This is one of the more recent additions to the Jaffa flea market culinary scene yet it has been attracting the attention of local foodies. It is located down a narrow lane full of character. The restaurant was opened in 2011 and is run by Chef Idan Mezner. As the name implies they specialize in seafood – si (sea) fo (food). The flavors and styles of the dishes are diverse including fusion dishes that blend Middle Eastern flavors with international flavors. Diners have the option of eating from the cold kitchen, hot kitchen, or the chef specials and desserts. Popular dishes on the menu include the fish patties with Ethiopian tahini, the red mullet fish in Arak, and the kubbeh soup with seafood.Leimech, 11 Amiad Street -In among the market stalls is this modest street bar. The bar was named after Noah’s father in the Bible who lived to an incredible age of 777; maybe because he took things easy and enjoyed a good drink like this bar’s patrons. The bar serves Thai beer on tap and simple dishes from the Far East and the Middle East. The bar often hosts live musical performances.Yasso-Saloniki, 4 Olei Zion -This Greek restaurant celebrates the Greek culture in every way – from the décor and music to the menu. On the walls are framed photos of the owner and his family plus some celebs that have eaten here.Onza, 3 Rabbi Hanina Street, Shuk HaPishPeshim -The tables of this popular seafood and Greek restaurant spill out onto the cobbled streets of the market. It is always buzzing with people coming here for the food, music, and atmosphere. Indoors there is a large bar and a few tables while on an upper level you’ll find an area for large groups. The atmosphere is created by great music, dim lighting, and an upbeat vibe. Food is prepared by Chef Yossi Shitrit and on the menu, you’ll find fish, seafood, meat, and vegetarian dishes. Don’t miss happy hour on Saturdays from 4 pm to 6 pm.Charcuterie Restaurant, 3 Rabbi Hanina -You’ll smell the delicious aroma of BBQ meat before you even reach this restaurant. The chairs and tables are spread out over the cobbled stones of a narrow lane as diners wait to sample delicious smoked and barbecued meat as well as handmade sausages. If you’re a confirmed carnivore then this is the place for you. If you prefer fish or pasta you can find some non-meat dishes on the menu as well. The best time to come here is on weekends after 10 pm when the music is loud and the crowd turns the place into a street party.Lima Nippo, 6 Rabbi Tanhum -Where Japan meets Peru! Lima Nippo is a sleek fine dining establishment with refined décor and artistically presented food. The menu includes Japanese and Peruvian fusion dishes, a new trend in the culinary world. When Japanese immigrated to Peru in the 20th century the Nikkei cuisine was born. Dishes on the menu include pineapple duck, beef tartar with miso.Jaffa Old City House decoration.Photo credit: © ShutterstockJaffa flea market is not only a gourmet destination but a one-of-a-kind experience and it's better to explore it with a guided tour. It is possible to combine an excursion to Jaffa with one of various Tel Aviv trips.
By Petal Mashraki

How to Get from Tel Aviv to Eilat: From Culture to Chillout

A great many of Israel’s visitors want to see as much of the country as they can on their trip, and two of the spots they prioritize are Tel Aviv and Eilat. Tel Aviv, the beating heart of the country’s centre, is close to Ben Gurion airport and an ideal place to spend a first night after arrival and even a few more days afterwards, enjoying cafe life, cultural pursuits and some fine dining. Eilat, nestled on the Red Sea, is a popular destination too, especially in the winter when temperatures are warm and swimming and sunbathing are a top pastime. With its breathtaking views (look one way you can see Jordan, look the other there is Egypt, and look behind you for pinkish, orange-red hued mountains) it’s perfect for chilling out, snorkelling and a little hiking in the nearby Timna Park. If you’re feeling adventurous you can also join aPetra tour from Eilat.Eilat beach.Photo credit: © ShutterstockFrom Tel Aviv to Eilat - Four Ways to Do ItThe distance from Tel Aviv to Eilat is 281 kilometers. There are 4 ways to travel from Tel Aviv to Israel's southernmost resort: bus to Eilat, rental car, plane, and private transfer. Below, we’re going to give you some helpful pointers to make sure everything goes as smoothly and easily as possible along the way. Luckily, Israel is a small country, so no journey ever takes that long (even when on desert roads!) but having the ‘lie of the land before you set off is always a good idea.Unfortunately, Israel does not yet have a direct train running between the two cities. The proposed high-speed rail link has been talked about for years but, unfortunately, the project is currently at a standstill. To date, the furthest you can travel by train is to Beer Sheva and Dimona (a tiny town a little way on). There is a small stretch of railway that passes beyond Dimona, running out to some phosphate mines in the Tzin Valley, but the train that heads there is for cargo only and functions on an 'as and when' basis.Red Sea, Eilat, Israel. Photo by Vitaliy Paykov on UnsplashInsider TipsOf course, you could take the train as far as Beer Sheva and then catch a bus onto Eilat, but this would mean making a change and, if you have a lot of luggage or small children, it could be inconvenient and tiresome. Still, it’s possible - and let’s give you some insider tips. Firstly, reserve a seat on the Beer Sheva - Eilat bus three days in advance. Try and book one in the middle (not over the wheels) - number 18 is ideal! Look for a seat on the shady side (no. 17 if you’re traveling in the morning and no. 19 if in the afternoon).Book a train to Beer Sheva and make sure you leave plenty of time for your connection. After arriving (the journey is approx. 1 hour 10 minutes), exit the train station and turn left. You will see the bus station right in front of you. If you need to use the bathrooms, it’s better to do so in the train station - they tend to be cleaner than the ones in the bus station!Grab a snack or a light bite in the bus station, which has all kinds of eateries, plus coffee shops. We recommend the shawarma and also the bourekas (pastry filled with salty cheese or potatoes). Pick up some water too - the driver will probably stop for a coffee break at Yotvata Inn, but that won’t be for another two hours or so, and if you’re traveling in the summer, it’s essential not to let yourself become hydrated. Egged intercity buses in Israel. Image: via Egged Facebook pageA tip: when you arrive at Yotvata, you’ll have time to stretch your legs but also to pop inside and treat yourself to one of their famous Italian-style ice creams, which come in a marvelous range of flavors (we recommend the mascarpone and figs). There’s also a fantastic date-flavored frozen yogurt and mango sorbet for those who prefer to avoid dairy. Yotvata also has a gift store where they sell boxes of juicyMedjool dates, all grown on their own kibbutz. Now onto the direct options.Getting from Tel Aviv to Eilat by BusThe bus is a pretty good option and, as buses go, it’s a comfortable journey with varied and beautiful landscapes. At around 70 NIS one-way, it’s also rather cheap (public transport is heavily subsidized in Israel). The national bus service is called Egged and their green and white logo is easily recognized. We’d recommend booking a seat in advance, just to guarantee that you won’t be turned away, but if you want to take a chance, just show up with cash (or a loaded Rav Kav card) and if there’s a spare seat, the driver will welcome you aboard. Tickets can be ordered online via Egged’s website (in Hebrew) or by phone at 03 694-8888 or *2800 (many of the operators speak English as well) using a credit card. Vintage Egged bus from the Egged Bus Museum in Holon.Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinEgged ScheduleSunday-Thursday: This is the Israeli work week and buses leave regularly, with line 394. This is located at Platform 601, on level 6 of the Central Bus Station on Levinsky Street. Buses leave regularly i.e. every 90 minutes, with the first one departing at 06.30. On Friday, the last bus usually leaves around 14.00. This is because the Jewish Shabbat begins when dusk falls on Friday and public transport in Israel generally stops running a couple of hours before. On Saturdays (i.e. the Jewish Shabbat) buses depart a little before the end of the day (i.e. before night falls) - sometimes as early as 14.00 from Tel Aviv. Always check the timetable carefully and, if possible, call up in advance to confirm your departure, as all times are subject to change, depending on adverse weather conditions (e.g. flash floods in the Negev).Self-Service Tickets with EilatomatAnother thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to book tickets in advance (through the website or the Customer Service Center) you will need to collect them from a self-service ticket machine named Eilatomat. These machines can be found in the central bus stations of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Rishon le Zion, Haifa Hof ha-Carmel, Haifa Central, Hadera, Rehovot, Beer Sheva, and Netanya. A ticket can be collected from an Eilatomat ticket machine up to 2 hours before boarding and then shown to the driver when you enter through the front door. We recommend arriving 20 minutes in advance, as the lines can be long! Antique Egged buses from the Egged Bus Museum in Holon. Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinGetting from Tel Aviv to Eilat with a Rental CarIt’s relatively simple and not particularly expensive to rent a car in Israel if you want to drive. Both Ben Gurion airport and Tel Aviv have a number of car rental businesses, including Eldan, Hertz, Tamar, and Shlomo Sixt. Just bring your passport and driver’s license and you should be issued with a vehicle within 30-45 minutes. The journey from the country’s center to the far south will take between four to five hours (depending on your speed and if you stop for a coffee break in Mitzpe Ramon, where you can admire the views of the crater and even pop in on the Artist’s Quarter or if you’re with young kids, the Alpaca Farm). From Mitzpe to Eilat, the road is winding and narrow (and it’s where accidents often happen) so please take particular care, especially at night, when there will be long stretches of road with no light. If you are easily car sick, we would advise taking this journey in the day, when it’s easier to stop and take a breath! The scenery is also beautiful - the desert landscapes are arid and rugged, and as you drive through the Arava, the rocks will turn pink, orange, and red in color.Sunset inEilat area. Photo credit:© Oksana MatsGetting from Tel Aviv to Eilatby PlaneThis is a fast option and an excellent idea if you need to travel straight to Eilat, after arrival in Israel at Ben Gurion Airport. The internal flight will take just under an hour and Arkia, Israel’s domestic carrier operates a service every couple of hours. After a long, international flight, taking trains, buses, or renting a car could quickly turn into an ordeal, particularly if you’re very jetlagged. Flights cost around $100, so save yourself time and energy - with Arkia, you’ll be in Ramon airport in no time. From there, it’s a 15-minute journey to Eilat, either by taxi or local bus. Of course, if you want to see desert scenery, you can always catch the bus back to Tel Aviv, on your return leg, or rent a car.Musical fountain in Eilat.Photo credit: © Oksana MatsGetting from Tel Aviv to Eilat with a Private TransferIf you are based in Tel Aviv, the quickest and most convenient way of all would be to book a private transfer to Eilat. This ‘door-to-door’ service means you’ll be picked up and dropped off exactly where you choose - and you can also break the journey if you choose (a pit stop at Beer Sheva, Mitzpe Ramon, or the famous dairy store at Yotvata Kibbutz - see above). Make sure to choose a trusted tour operator, who will answer all your questions in advance and tailor the experience to your specific needs.Now you’re ready. Don’t forget your COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a snazzy bathing suit. Everything else is optional! Trust us, you’re going to have a fine time. Shalom and enjoy!Getting to Eilat by camel is not an option anymore.Photo credit:Muhammad Abo Omar
By Sarah Mann

How to Get from Haifa to Tel Aviv

If you’re visiting Israel, whether it’s for the first time or the tenth, the chances are you aren’t going to want to stay in one place. And why should you? Israel has it all - beaches, archaeological sites, wineries, places of worship, nature trails, mountains, deserts and so much more besides.View of Bahai Gardens, Haifa.Photo credit: © ShutterstockTo give you an idea of the size of Israel, it’s about equivalent to the US state of New Jersey or half the size of Switzerland. Its total area is 22.145 square km (8.630 square miles) of which 21. 671 km is land. Israel is bordered by Lebanon to the north, Egypt to the southwest, Syria to the northeast, Jordan to the east, and the Mediterranean Sea to the west.And something else that’s really great about travel in Israel is that the country has a highly developed infrastructure - highways and public transportation in Israel are both modern and efficient, making it easy to move around - and reach one end of the country from the other - quickly and with not too much effort. This means that even if you’re just in the country for a few days, you can see several areas without wasting too much of your precious time.In this article, we’ll be looking at how to get from Haifa to Tel Aviv. Haifa is the ‘capital’ of the north of the country and a real Mediterranean city, perched on the slopes of the lovely Mount Carmel. Historically a port city, and today very mixed (Jews and Arabs continue to live and work together here) it’s a lovely place to visit or even spend a few days.Within the city itself there is lots to explore - the Wadi Nisnas neighborhood, with its bustling market and small alleys, the German Colony (home to the German Templar movement, over a century ago) and, of course, the world-famous Bahai Gardens (affording spectacular views of the city), with its perfectly manicured lawns and shimmering gold dome. Haifa Maritime Museum, Israel.Photo credit: © Dmitry MishinOutside Haifa, less than an hour’s drive from the city you can find nature reserves, the Crusader City of Acre, the Herodian ruins of Caesarea, Druze villages, charming vineyards, rustic zimmers (upmarket ‘cabin style’ accommodation, usually in pastoral settings), Nazareth (where Jesus spent many of his early years) and the Sea of Galilee. And if you want to head as far north as possible, there’s also Rosh Hanikra, with its spectacular caves, close to quiet and pristine beaches. Of course, we haven’t yet mentioned Tel Aviv - Israel’s largest and most lively city, in the heart of the country, close to Ben Gurion airport and also situated on the shores of the Mediterranean. Just 92 km (50 miles) separates the two cities, so traveling between the two is really very easy - whether you want to go for a few hours, make a day of it or take a mini-break in the ‘White City’ giving you time to explore its cafes, boutiques, Bauhaus architecture, and excellent restaurants.Below, we’d like to give you some detailed information on the different ways to make the journey - taking the bus from Haifa to Tel Aviv, catching a train, a private or shared taxi, using a private transfer, opting for a shore excursion from your cruise ship or simply renting a car. This will give you a better idea of how to plan, for when you arrive in Israel and start planning your trip around the country. The distance from Tel Aviv to Haifa is approximately 94 km.The Bahai Temple in Haifa.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin1. Getting from Haifa to Tel Aviv by BusIsrael’s bus service is modern, comfortable, inexpensive, and reasonably efficient. Traveling from Haifa to Tel Aviv by bus is a popular option since buses leave regularly. If there is no traffic on the road, the journey should take between 1 hour 15 minutes and 1 hour 30 minutes, and a one-way ticket costs 24 NIS (approx. $7.50).Haifa Bus StationsThere are two different bus stations at which you can catch an Egged bus (Israel’s national bus line) including Haifa Merkazit Hamifrats/Inter-City Platform and Hof HaKarmel station. HaMifratz central bus station is the main bus station of the Haifa Bay district. It is next to Haifa's central railway station (see below under the ‘train’ section) and also the Lev HaMifratz shopping mall.Egged bus 910 leaves Haifa Merkazit Hamifrats/Inter-City Platform bus station from Floor 3, every 20 minutes and runs directly to Tel Aviv Central bus station. It takes between 60-90 minutes and a one-way ticket costs 21 NIS (6,5 USD). You can pay the driver in cash when boarding or use your Rav Kav Card. View of Haifa Bay from the top terrace of Bahai Gardens.Photo credit: © ShutterstockIt will drop you directly at the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station (see below). It is also possible to alight on the Namir Road, at the Arlozorov (Savidor) bus station, if you are heading to the north (rather than south or central) Tel Aviv. Buses can also drop you further down, at the Azrieli Centre (ideal for connections with the HaShalom railway station).The green Rav Kav cards are used widely in Israel - they can be purchased either at bus and train stations or stores and pharmacies in cities and towns. It is possible either to pre-pay specific amounts (with cash or credit cards) or purchase daily/monthly passes. For more information, take a look at the official Rav Kav website.From Hof HaKarmel, bus number 910 can also be caught. Also known as the Carmel Beach bus station, it opened in 2003. Passengers are entitled to receive a free transfer to urban buses when they buy their intercity ticket to continue from one central bus station to the other one, or into the city.Banana Beach,Tel Aviv.Photo by Daniel Klein on UnsplashTel Aviv Bus StationsTel Aviv’s Central Bus Station is located in the south of the city on Levinsky Street. The 910 bus alights at the seventh floor and from there it is possible either to take a private taxi, a yellow van shared taxi / monit sherut (see below) or Dan local buses to your destination. The Levinsky bus station is a gateway to cities around Israel, and also operates buses that run every two hours down to Eilat, for those wishing to connect on for their trip to Petra, Jordan. Tel Aviv’s second bus station is in the north of the city, on the corner of the Namir Road and Arlozorov streets, next to the Savidor Railway Station. It is close to the Ramat Gan Bourse, as well as a half an hour walk to the beachfront. Many local buses run from this station around the city, as well as out to Ramat Aviv and the university, as well as intercity buses onto Jerusalem and Beer Sheva.2. Getting from Haifa to Tel Aviv by TrainTaking the train from Haifa to Tel Aviv is highly recommended. It’s a fast, frequent and very efficient way to travel and trains leave every 20 to 30 minutes, making it easy to change your plans at the last minute. And because, on Israel Railways, you can buy a ticket at the last minute and it won’t cost you any more than if you book it in advance, you don’t even have to worry if you’re delayed - simply take the next train!The journey from Haifa to Tel Aviv takes approximately 1 hour 4 minutes on the fastest train, which runs directly between the two cities. There are also slower trains, which take up to 1 hour and 26 minutes. A one-way ticket costs 31 NIS (approx $9.50) and trains run from 5.25 am to 11.35 pm. A train is also an excellent option if you’re time conscious since you won’t have to factor in traffic jams and tailbacks which, unfortunately, are very common on the main highway during commuter hours.Yachts in Jaffa Port.Photo credit: © ShutterstockHaifa Train StationsThere are three train stations from which you can begin your journey from Haifa to Tel Aviv - Center HaShmona, Bat Galim, and Hof HaKarmel. HaShmona is the largest of the three and is located on Independence Road, at Plumer Square. The station opened in 1937 and was built by the British (under the Mandate) and has a Bauhaus design.Bat Galim was Haifa’s primary train station from 1975 until the early 2000s. If you are staying close to the port or coming from Rambam - the city hospital - this station is within walking distance. Hof HaKarmel situated on Sakharov Street is the city’s busiest train station. It is conveniently located next to the Carmel Beach central bus station and walking distance from the MATAM high-tech park.Payment can be made by buying a ticket from the cashier's office, by booking through the Israel Railways website, using a green Rav Kav card loaded with pre-paid credit (which can be purchased from any station and many pharmacies and stores in Israel), or the Rav Kav mobile telephone app. Please note, much like the bus services, there are no trains in Israel on the Jewish sabbath. From two hours before Shabbat commences (Friday afternoon) and an hour after Shabbat ends (Saturday evening) public transport in Israel does not run. Israeli train.Photo by John Adeoye on UnsplashTel Aviv Train StationsSavidor (Arlozorov) - this is located at the intersection of Namir Road and Arlozorov street and is next to the bus station, providing quick access to local buses. From here, it's a quick journey to Tel Aviv University and north Tel Aviv. HaShalom is the train station closest to the Azriel Towers and many large offices in the city center. HaHaganah train station is Tel Aviv’s most southern railway station and is located about 400 meters from the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station (Tachana Merkazit).3.Getting from Haifa to Tel Aviv byPrivate Taxi / Shared Taxi (Monit Sherut)Taxis in Israel are easy to come by - you can either hail them in the street, use one of the many operators in Haifa or Tel Aviv (ask your hotel concierge or check online) or book a taxi from Haifa to Tel Aviv directly through an app such as Gett. You should look to pay somewhere between 700-900 NIS ($215 to $280) for the drive.Another useful service in Israel is the monit sherut from Haifa to Tel Aviv (in Hebrew this means ‘ shared taxi’). These little yellow vans are operated privately and seat 10 passengers. They run between cities and you simply get in and pay the driver. The only ‘catch’ is that they don’t leave until the van is full, so if you’re the first one in you might have to wait a few minutes. The upside to the monit sheruts is that because they are not state-operated, they operate on the Jewish sabbath. They are an excellent option for those who wish to travel late Friday or on Saturday. Sheruts in Haifa can be found in HaNevi’im street in the Hadar neighborhood and run to Tel Aviv’s Levinsky Station. Expect to pay a few shekels more than you would for a bus ticket.Cozy streets of Old Jaffa.Photo credit: © Shutterstock4. Getting from Haifa to Tel Aviv with a Private TransferPrivate transfers are a comfortable way to travel between cities and in Israel they are easy to arrange. However, we do advise that you book them through a trustworthy tour operator - this means you’re likely to get a fair price and an honest driver. Once you have been given the price and are comfortable with it, your credit card will be charged and everything afterwards will be taken care of, meaning you won’t have to deal with any aspect of the journey. At Bein Harim, we are always happy to help with private transfers in Israel - please call us or send us your details on our ‘Contact Us’ form and we will get back to you promptly, with a competitive offer.5. Israel Shore Excursions from Haifa PortHaifa is a famous port and, as the years have passed, has become an increasingly popular destination for a cruise. So if your ship is stopping in northern Israel for the day, making a trip to Tel Aviv is a fantastic idea. With shore excursions from Haifa Port, the moment you disembark, you will be met by a private guide and set off quickly for Tel Aviv.Just over an hour later, traffic permitting, you’ll be at your destination, giving you several hours to explore this buzzy, cosmopolitan city.Take a stroll along Rothschild Boulevard and admire the Bauhaus architecture, wander the streets of the charming Neve Tzedek neighborhood, book a tour to the Jaffa flea market or simply stroll along the boardwalk and enjoy lunch at one of the many fantastic restaurants in the city. With a ship-to-shore excursion from Haifa to Tel Aviv, you can really make the most of your free day and, rest assured, we’ll get you back up north in plenty of time before your scheduled departure.Lifeguard Station, Tel Aviv. Photo credit: © Shutterstock6. Getting from Haifa to Tel Aviv with a Rental carRenting a car in Israel is an excellent way to see the country, leaving you in control of when and where you travel. It is not incredibly expensive to rent a car (indeed, prices are quite competitive) and the freedom it gives you is unparalleled - you can travel before dawn breaks, on Shabbat, and to the tiniest villages in the Galilee and Negev desert that public transport won’t get you to.Parking in Tel Aviv, however, can be an enormous headache so if you are planning on driving from Haifa to Tel Aviv, think about either paying to leave the car in a lot (although it won’t be cheap). Alternatively, there is some free parking up at Reading, in the north of the city, near to the Tel Aviv Port and you can then take a bus, electric scooter, taxi, or even bike into the city.Driving from Haifa to Tel Aviv, via route 90 (Yitzhak Rabin Highway) will take anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half (depending on how much traffic you encounter and how fast you drive!) Popular rental hire companies in Israel include Shlomo Sixt, Hertz, Eldan, Thrifty, and, on average, renting a car costs around 260 NIS (80 USD) per day. All of the representatives will speak good English and their hubs are accessible. Take a look beforehand online - if you shop around, there are some great deals to be had.Namal (Tel Aviv Port), Israel.Photo credit: © Shutterstock
By Sarah Mann

How to Get from Ashdod to Tel Aviv

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re either in Israel or planning a visit so let’s first say ‘welcome - you’re going to have an amazing time!’ Israel’s relatively small by North American or European standards but it has an enormous amount to offer and, because it doesn’t take hours and hours to drive between cities, that means you’ve got more time to enjoy yourself - whether it's exploring historical sites, wineries, nature parks, pristine beaches, Crusader fortresses or Herodian ruins. A ship dragged anchor at Ashdod, Israel. Photo by Felix Tchverkin on UnsplashThe other thing we should say, off the bat, is that Israel is very well developed in terms of its infrastructure. The roads and highways are in good condition and public transport is pretty cheap and, for the most part, efficient. This means if you don’t want to stay in one place (and most people don’t) you’re going to be able to move around with little fuss and maximise your free time.In this article, we’ll be looking at how to get from Ashdod to Tel Aviv, a distance of just 35 km (22 miles). Both cities are situated on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and have fantastic beaches, marinas, boardwalks and plenty of options for lunch and dinner.Tel Aviv, Israel’s biggest, and just a short drive from Ben Gurion airport, is a must-see for any tourist in Israel. Situated, like Ashdod, right on the seashore, it’s full of trendy restaurants, lively bars, cute cafes and charming neighbourhoods, not to mention a wealth of museums, art galleries, theatres and live music venues. So, without a doubt, spending a day (or several!) in the "White City" won’t disappoint.So here below is you plenty of information on the various ways you can travel between these two cities - whether it’s taking a bus from Ashdod to Tel Aviv, booking a train journey, using a private or shared taxi, booking a ship-to-shore excursion from your cruise ship or putting your foot down in a hire car. Once you’ve read through the options, you’ll have a better idea of which one is right for you, so you can plan a trip that suits you.Tel Aviv Beach Promenade.Photo credit: © Shutterstock1. How to Get from Ashdod to Tel Aviv by BusIsrael’s bus service is modern, comfortable, inexpensive and reasonably efficient. Taking a bus from Ashdod to Tel Aviv by bus is a good option, with buses running regularly from early in the morning (6 am) until late at night (11 pm). If you don’t travel in rush hour (7-9 am and 4-6 pm) the journey will likely take about 50 minutes. The bus number you need is 320 and is operated by Veola. A one-way ticket from Ashdod to Tel Aviv costs approximately 10 NIS (3 USD) and you can pay the driver as you board. There is also a second bus departing from Ashdod to Tel Aviv, numbered 280, which can drop you at Tel Aviv’s second bus station, in the north of the city.Another popular way to pay for buses (and trains) is by using a Rav Kav card. These small green cards can be purchased easily all over Israel (in all bus and train stations and sometimes in stores and pharmacies). Once you’ve bought one, you can load it with credit or buy a daily/monthly ticket. Just swipe it in front of the electronic device next to the driver, when you board the bus and it will automatically deduct the payment, showing you on the receipt how much credit you have left. For more information, check out the official Rav Kav website.The Ashdod Festival of the Nations and Their Tastes.Photo credit: © Oksana MatsAshdod Central Bus StationThe Ashdod Central Bus station is located on Menachem Begin Boulevard, in the heart of the city, and an 18-minute walk to the Marina. Check inside with information to see which platform the bus departs from (there are signs in English and staff who can point you in the right direction). Tel Aviv Bus StationsTel Aviv’s Central Bus Station (Tachana Merkazit) is located in the south of the city on Levinsky Street. The bus will drop you on the building’s sixth floor and after that, there are a number of possibilities to continue your journey - either by private taxi, shared yellow van taxi, (see below), or the local Dan buses, which run all over the city. The Levinsky bus station is also a gateway to cities around Israel, and also operates buses that run every two hours down to Eilat, for those wishing to travel on, for a trip to Petra, Jordan. Tel Aviv’s second bus station (‘Terminal 2000’) is in the north of the city, on the corner of the Namir Road and Arlozorov streets, conveniently located next door to the city’s Savidor railway station. It is a half an hour walk to the beachfront and you can also take intercity buses on to Jerusalem and Haifa.Saint Peter's Church, Jaffa, Israel.Photo credit: © Shutterstock2. How to Get from Ashdod to Tel Aviv by TrainTaking the train from Ashdod to Tel Aviv is an excellent way to make the trip - it’s fast and efficient and trains leave reverie 15-20 minutes at peak time. The journey itself takes between 50-60 minutes, depending on which of the three Tel Aviv stations. A one-way ticket costs 20 NIS (approx 6 USD) and trains run from 5 am to 11 pm.Ashdod Ad Halom railway station is in the Ad Halom area, near the eastern entrance to the city. The station contains a small beverage and refreshment kiosk and you can buy tickets there from machines (using different language options) or at the counter or online through different smartphone apps. Tel Aviv has three stations - Savidor, HaShalom and HaHaganah. Savidor is situated on the corner of Namir Road and Arlozorov street in the north of the city. It’s next door to the Terminal 2000 bus station (see above). HaShalom is the train station closest to the Azriel Towers and many large offices in the city centre. HaHaganah is Tel Aviv’s most southern railway station and is located about 400 metres from the Tel Aviv (Levinsky) Central Bus Station.The interior of the Israeli train.Photo by Lital Bamnulker on Unsplash3. How to Get from Ashdod to Tel Aviv byPrivate TaxiTaking a private taxi in Israel is easy - you can either flag one down in the street, book one through an App (such as Gett) or order one from a reputable taxi firm (your hotel concierge can help you). The cost of a private taxi from Ashdod to Tel Aviv will probably be somewhere between 230-420 NIS (70-130 USD). It is customary to tip the driver 10-15%, depending on how helpful he is. You can also travel from Ashdod to Tel Aviv with a sherut (shared taxi service).4.How to Get from Ashdod to Tel Aviv with a Private transferPrivate transfers are very easy to arrange, but we advise you to book them through a trustworthy tour operator, to ensure you will be put in touch with a reputable and honest operator. You will be given a price and if you are satisfied with it, you can pay by credit card and from then on all matters will be handled expertly by the company and you don’t have to worry about a thing.At Bein Harim Tourism Services, we are always happy to help obtain quotes for people visiting Israel who need a private taxi - please call us or send us your details on our ‘Contact Us’ form and we will get back to you promptly, with a competitive offer.A building inRothschildBoulevard, Tel Aviv.Photo credit: © Shutterstock5. Shore Excursions from Ashdod PortMaking a shore excursion from Ashdod Port to Tel Aviv is a great way to spend your free day since you can be in Tel Aviv within an hour and have plenty of time to see many of the sights that this buzzy, fashionable city has to offer. With Ashdod Port Cruise Excursions, as soon as you step onto dry land, you will be met by a private guide and within minutes you’ll be in a comfortable vehicle, heading off to Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.In less than an hour, all things being equal, you’ll be in the ‘White City’ of Tel Aviv (so named for its fabulous Bauhaus buildings) and the next few hours are yours. There’s so much to do, you won’t be disappointed - stroll along the boardwalk and admire views of the Mediterranean, take a bike tour around the city, or wander along the famous Dizengoff Street, known for its cafes, restaurants and boutique stores.There’s also a number of beautiful small neighbourhoods that are lovely to explore - the Kerem (close to Tel Aviv’s famous Carmel Market), Neve Tzedek (with its charming houses and tiny alleyways) and, of course, Jaffa, one of the world’s oldest cities, famous for its port (where Jonah fled God and, for his trouble, ended up in the belly of a whale), a charming artists quarter and the famous Jaffa flea market, where you can hunt for bargains before eating lunch in one of the many lovely cafes around. Finally, we promise that when you book with Bein Harim we’ll get you back to your ship in good time for your departure. (Just for the record, if you want to travel to Tel Aviv from your cruise ship independently, please note that the bus terminal is about 6 km from the port so walking there is not possible. You can, of course, grab a taxi, (which should cost about 50 NIS (15,5 USD) and take a few minutes) or even bus number 2, which costs 5.30 NIS and will take about 15 minutes.A street in Jaffa, Israel.Photo credit: © Shutterstock6. How to Get from Ashdod to Tel Aviv with a Rental a CarRenting a car in Israel is a wonderful way to see the country on your own terms. You can decide how long you want to spend in a city and also stop off on the way if the mood takes you. Prices for car rental in Israel are quite reasonable and, with a car, you have a level of freedom that no other kind of transport affords you. Moreover, since there is no public transport in Israel from Friday afternoon to Saturday evening (the Jewish sabbath), options for moving around are limited - obviously, when you have a car, this is not a problem.Driving from Ashdod to Tel Aviv, via Route 4, without too much traffic should take you around 45-55 minutes. Just bear in mind that parking in Tel Aviv is notoriously difficult to come by - free parking is almost impossible to find and even parking lots can get crowded on weekends. Of course, if you are patient (and ready to pay up!) you will always find somewhere to park but if you want to save money (and hassle) you can always park just outside the city and travel by public transport.One way to do this is to park up in the north of Tel Aviv, near the Tel Aviv Port (Namal, Reading area) where there is some free parking, then just catch a bus/sherut/taxi into town. For the adventurous, there are also bikes and electric scooters that can be rented easily, with just the swipe of a credit card!Well-known rental hire companies in Israel include Eldan, Hertz, Shlomo Sixt, Hertz, Eldan and Thrifty. Prices can be quite competitive and, on average, renting a car should cost you around 260 NIS (80 USD) per day. All of the representatives you encounter will invariably speak good English but you might also want to shop around online beforehand - there are always bargains available so why not take advantage of them?Enjoy your journey!Aerial overview of Tel Aviv Port (Namal parking).Photo by Shai Pal on Unsplash
By Sarah Mann

5 Day Trips from Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is located in the center of Israel and has highway and public transportation links to cities across the country. Luckily Israel is not that big so you can easily base yourself in Tel Aviv and make day trips to other destinations. Take a look at these day trips from Tel Avivand Israel day tourswhich give you a good variety of top tourist destinations and less obvious day trip choices.Jerusalem Trip from Tel AvivJerusalem is one of the must-see destinations in Israel and is only an hour away (depending on traffic) from Tel Aviv. If you are taking a day trip from Tel Aviv then don’t waste any time and start your trip with a walking tour of the Old City. Most of Jerusalem’s top attractions are in the Old City; here you can see the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Western Wall, and Temple Mount where the Dome of the Rock stands. In the Old City, there are many exquisite stores, eateries, museums, and other places of interest.You can go into the “new” city and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the capital or alternatively visit the churches on the Mount of Olives. The Mount of Olives is home to the beautiful Church of All Nations, the Russian Orthodox Church, Pater Noster Church, the Chapel of the Ascension, and Dominus Flevit Church. Families might like to visit the Biblical Zoo and others might be interested in visiting Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum or the Israel Museum.The Dead Sea and Masada Day Trip from Tel AvivNo trip to Israel is complete without a trip to the Dead Sea which lies 87 km south of Tel Aviv. This unique body of water is the lowest point on Earth. The Dead Sea water is three times as salty as the ocean. The mud that lines the banks and floor of the Dead Sea is rich in minerals that can benefit your general health and specifically your skin. Being the lowest point on Earth it is also the furthest point from the sun and so you can avoid the dangerous sun rays and just get the benefits of the sun. The Dead Sea air is also good for your health as it hashigh levels of oxygen and is pollen-free.While you are in the Dead Sea region you can tour Masada which is only a short drive away. Masada is a “mesa” or flat-topped rock outcrop which rises majestically out of the desert. Masada’s summit was the site of an ancient Roman palace complex and many of the structures have survived. Masada was also the site of a significant event in Jewish history and is a symbol of Jewish devotion to national freedom and faith. Visitors to Masada can take a cable car (or walk up the Snake Path) to the summit and tour the remains of the palace complex.Galilee or Golan Heights Day Tripfrom Tel AvivIf you fancy a day trip to a place with amazing sites to see and unbelievably beautiful views then tours to Galilee or the Golan Heights are a good choice. The North of Israel overflows with natural wonders and biblical sites. It is also the most recommended destination if you want to reconnect with nature and are looking for gorgeous countryside landscapes. Galilee (meaning 'district' in Hebrew) was the source of the English name for the "Sea of Galilee". In Hebrew, the lake is called Kinneret (from kinor - 'harp', describing its shape). The attractions on the way, like Megiddo, Sea of Galilee, Katzrin, or Mount Bentalcombine remarkable scenery with the fascinating historical human story. You can cover many Christian landmarks of Galilee (Nazarethwith itsChurch of Annunciation,Tabgha, Capernaum, etc) in aone day trip to the Sea of Galilee.Petra Day Trip from Tel AvivBelieve it or not, you can even take a day trip from Tel Aviv to Petra in Jordan and be back in Tel Aviv the same evening! There are organized tours that start in Tel Aviv with a short flight down to Eilat Israeli’s southernmost city.From there tours continue across the Israel/Jordan border and on to Petra.Petra is a UNESCO site and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The city was created about 2300 years ago when the Nabataean people carved Petra’s buildings out of the red-hued desert cliffs. The ancient structures have survived and include temples, tombs, and homes each with intricately carved facades and cavernous interiors.On a tour to Petra, you can learn about the ingenious water gathering system the Nabataeans used to keep Petra’s 20,000 residents supplied with water. Also, learn of the trade routes which passed through Petra and the civilizations which inhabited Petra after the Nabataeans left. At the end of the day, visitors are taken back across the border to Eilat for the return flight to Tel Aviv.The West Bank Day Trip from Tel AvivBethlehem and Jericho are not only the ultimate destination for Christians exploring the Holy Land but also a must-see for the fans of biblical archeology.Regardless of your faith, there are some iconic Christian sites in the West Bank and they are all well worth visiting, especially with a guided Bethlehem tour.Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, has several significant attractions including the top of the to-do list Nativity Church and Shepherds' Field, where angels first announced the birth of Christ. Jericho, the most ancient city on earth, mentioned in the Bible, has lasted through the ages to this day. See the famed sycamore tree that Zacchaeus, the tax collector, climbed to see Jesus entering Jericho, the excavations at Tell es-Sultan, and Mount Temptation where Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness.
By Bein Harim Team

What is the Best Way to Get from Ben Gurion Airport to Tel Aviv?

Lucky for visitors to Israel the international Ben Gurion Airport is relatively close to Tel Aviv and there are multiple transportation options to take you from the airport right into the city center. Take into account that public transport in Israel is limited (and in some cases non-existent) on Shabbat (from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown).Private Transfers from Tel Aviv Airport If you want to avoid high taxi prices and the pitfalls of public transportation then your best option is a private transfer from Ben Gurion. Private transfers from Tel Aviv airport are definitely the most convenient and fastest way to travel. You can book a private transfer from Tel Aviv airport online. A driver will be waiting for you at Ben Gurion where he will be holding a sign bearing your name as you enter the airport arrivals hall. Once you have met your driver he will help you with your luggage to the waiting car and take you straight to the doorstep of your Tel Aviv hotel.The advantages of private transfers from Tel Aviv airport are that you don’t have to go looking for a taxi; you don’t have to wait in a queue; private transfers operate on all days of the week including Shabbat; the price is prepaid so no haggling or need for cash in hand; no need for multiple transfers (from train to taxi or bus to bus) and you have the peace of mind knowing that your arrival transport is arranged and will go smoothly. Private transfers from Tel Aviv airport can also be arranged to other destinations in Israel including Jerusalem, the Dead Sea and Herzliya.Train from Ben Gurion to Tel AvivThe Ben Gurion train station is immediately outside Ben Gurion’s Terminal 3 lower level and you can buy your train ticket from a machine or ticket booth alongside the platform. Taking a train from Ben Gurion Airport to Tel Aviv is, in theory, a low-cost and fast option. However, the Tel Aviv train stations are not centrally located and you will have to take a bus or taxi from the station to your hotel. Israeli trains do not operate on Shabbat (from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown) but are otherwise operational 24/7. From 6 am to 11 pm there are two trains an hour from Ben Gurion to Tel Aviv’s four stations and from 11 pm to 6 am there is one train an hour which stops only at Tel Aviv’s Arlozorov Station. The journey takes about 20 minutes but adds to that travel time from the station to your hotel.Bus from Ben Gurion to Tel AvivEgged Bus Company operates buses from Ben Gurion Airport and although they are an economical option most travelers will not enjoy navigating the Israeli bus system as they step off the plane! Egged line #5 operates between Ben Gurion’s three terminals and Airport City (a commercial development 5km from Ben Gurion) from there you will need to take a connecting bus into Tel Aviv. Other bus companies operate similar services. Regular buses do not enter the airport area and have limited or no routes from Friday afternoon to Saturday sundown and on national holidays.Taxi from Ben Gurion Airport to Tel AvivTaxis operate 24/7 from Ben Gurion Airport to Tel Aviv and other destinations. The price of a taxi varies according to the time of day (it is more expensive at night and on Shabbat). You will also pay more depending on the number of passengers and the number of pieces of luggage. Although there are measures in place to monitor taxi drivers and the fees they charge it is not unheard of for Israeli taxi drivers to overcharge travelers from Ben Gurion. Follow the signs from the arrivals hall to the taxi queue where you can wait your turn for a taxi. Be sure to ask the price before getting into the taxi.
By Petal Mashraki

5 Ways to See Petra from Tel Aviv

If you want to make the most of your trip to Israel then one of the great options is to include a side trip from Tel Aviv to Petra, Jordan. This UNESCO site and “World Wonder” is close enough to visit on a day trip from Tel Aviv. There are a number of ways to reach Petra, Jordan from Tel Aviv.One Day Petra Tour from Tel AvivThere are one day tours to Petra from Tel Aviv that include a flight from Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport to the new Ramon Airport near Eilat. Some tours from Tel Aviv to Petra do not include the half-hour flight which can be purchased separately. You are picked up from the Eilat Ramon Airport and the tour continues across the Arava border into Jordan and on to Petra. After touring Petra you are returned across the border to Israel’s Ramon Airport to take a flight back to Tel Aviv. This is the best option if you don’t have a lot of time but still want to see Petra. Petra Tour and Eilat from Tel AvivIf you have a little more time to spare then instead of taking a one day tour to Petra you could take a tour that includes time in Eilat. You fly from Tel Aviv to Eilat as with a one day tour but instead of continuing straight to Petra you get a day of leisure in Eilat and overnight accommodation in an Eilat hotel. The trip to Petra starts the following day when you are taken from your Eilat hotel across the Arava border and to Petra. At the end of a full-day tour to Petra, you return to Eilat’s Ramon Airport for your flight to Tel Aviv. This is an excellent option if you haven’t included Eilat in your itinerary and want to see this stunning Red Sea resort city as well as Petra.Multi-Day Tours to Jordan from Tel AvivFor those who have even more time in Israel, you could take a longer tour to Jordan and see more of the country in addition to Petra. There is a range of Israel tours that include either a combination of sites in Israel and Jordan or just several days in Jordan. On an extended tour to Jordan from Tel Aviv, you would see places like Amman, Jerash, Madaba, Mount Nebo and of course Petra. Some of the multi-day tours from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to Jordan cross into Jordan via the Sheikh Hussein border crossing rather than the Arava crossing. All of the tours to Petra and Jordan include assistance at the border crossing, air-conditioned transportation, a tour guide and on multi-day tours accommodation is included. The tours leave on most days of the week and are conducted in several languages.Petra from Tel Aviv by Bus TourThe cheapest Tel Aviv to Petra tour option is by bus. Petra tours from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv by bus offer pick-up in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem; a drive past the Dead Sea, through the Aravah Valley and across the Aravah border from Eilat to Jordan. From there you continue to Petra for your sightseeing before making the return journey by bus to Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. The down-side of this option is a very early morning start and a long bus trip as compared to the other Petra tours from Tel Aviv that include a short flight. However, for those on a budget, it is an ideal alternative.Independent Travel from Tel Aviv to PetraIt is possible to travel from Tel Aviv to Petra independently. First, you will need to get yourself to the Arava border in Eilat. You can do this by taking a bus or flight to Eilat and from there a taxi to the border crossing. Remember to organize your Jordanian visa before traveling. If you are traveling without a tour group you cannot get a visa at the border. On arrival at the border, you will need to present your passport and visa. Once you have crossed into Jordan you will find taxis and self-proclaimed tour guides waiting on the Jordanian side ready to take you to Petra.The cost of traveling to Petra from Tel Aviv independently will include getting to Eilat from Tel Aviv; getting from Eilat to the Arava border; your visa fee(102-177ILS); exit tax from Israel (about 100ILS); transportation to Petra; entrance fee to the Petra Archeological Park(50JD-90JD); transportation back to the Jordan/Israel border; an exit tax from Jordan (about 10JD); transportation from the border to the Eilat bus station or airport and the price of your flight or bus back to Tel Aviv. If traveling from Tel Aviv to Petra independently we strongly recommend you visit your local Jordanian Embassy beforehand to find out about visa requirements.See our list ofPetra Tours from Tel Aviv
By Petal Mashraki

The Most Recommended Restaurants in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is packed with excellent restaurants; whatever your taste and whatever your style you’ll find a restaurant in Tel Aviv that puts a smile on your face. To get you started here is a list of some of the city’s favorite eateries.The Best Restaurants on Rothschild BoulevardVongLocation: 15 RothschildBlvd,Tel AvivThis is one of the few places in the city where you can find good Vietnamese food. At Vong they use fresh ingredients and add the essential Asian flavors to their dishes. Portion sizes are generous and the prices are fair.Rothschild 12Location: 12 RothschildBlvd, Tel AvivAt this trendy eatery, you might have to wait for a table. Diners can choose from indoor seating or outdoor seating in the shaded patio where there is a bar and small stage. If you want to meet locals then take a seat at one of the communal tables.Milgo & MilbarLocation: 142 Rothschild Blvd,Tel AvivThis “in” establishment is where the cool guys hang-out. They serve up Mediterranean dishes and quality seafood prepared by young and innovative chefs. The restaurant is located in a Bauhaus building just across from the National Theatre, Habima.Tel Aviv Restaurants with the Best ViewsBlue SkyLocation: Carlton Hotel, 15 Eliezer Peri Street, Tel AvivEnjoy delicious Kosher Asian dishes prepared by celebrity chef, Meir Adoni as you look out across the Tel Aviv waterfront. Dishes are always innovative and created with attention to detail while the views are stunning night or day.Manta RayLocation: 703 Kaufman Street, Tel AvivYou can watch the sunset while you enjoy the seafood, Mediterranean dishes and local cuisine at Manta Ray. This restaurant is a regular on lists of the best restaurants in Tel Aviv. In addition to the seafood, Manta-Ray serves up meat and chicken dishes as well as Mezzes which have become one of the most sort after dining treats in the city.Kitchen MarketLocation: 12 Hanger Street, Tel AvivLocated on the upper floor of the Farmers’ Market at Tel Aviv’s trendy port this restaurant offers views of the sea and the seafront. So for people watching or a tranquil sea view this is the place. The kitchen sources its ingredients from the farmers’ market below and dishes are contemporary fusion creations.The Best Bakeries in Tel AvivLehamimLehamim (breads) has several branches in Tel Aviv as well as a few in New York. This is a kosher bakery offering a wide range of breads, cakes, sandwiches, cookies, pies and pastries. At their branches at 103 Hashmonaim and at 125 Ibn Gvirol you can sit while you enjoy their huge Israeli breakfast and other treats.BakerySimply named this French-style bakery has 5 branches in Tel Aviv. Attention is paid to detail with the Bakery’s muffins, cakes, pastries, cookies, croissants, breads and babkas. The Bakery supplies baked goods to a number of the city’s top restaurants.Bread Story Location: 88 Dizengoff Street, Tel AvivThis café-bakery has an extensive menu of baked goods and offers daily specials. It is always buzzing with customers who come to see what the bread-of-the-day is. They offer gluten-free options and are known for their complex flavors.The Best Meat Restaurants in Tel AvivM25 Meat MarketLocation: 30 HaCarmel Street, Tel AvivJust off of Carmel Market is a meat market where you’ll find this popular meat restaurant. This place uses the freshest, best-quality cuts bought straight from the surrounding meat venders and the menu changes daily but is always prepared to perfection.Bar OchelLocation: 38 HaCarmel Street, Tel AvivBar Ochel (Food Bar) is another gem hidden among the hustle and bustle of Carmel Market. Try Bar Ochel’s juicy kebabs or their succulent steaks. There are also vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free options as well as fish dishes. You can opt to sit outside where you can see the market life passing you by.HatraklinLocation: 4 Heihal HaTalmud Street, Tel AvivThis is a French-style bistro lounge housed in a restored mansion. Try their grilled meats and delicious steaks. On Wednesdays and Saturdays you can watch a movie while you eat a dish inspired by the film.The Best Asian Restaurants in Tel AvivCa-Phe HanoiLocation: 3 Malkhei Yisrael Street, Tel AvivIndulge in delicious Vietnamese food at this stylish eatery. The restaurant is part of a French-owned restaurant and dishes are inspirational. Try the chicken with ginger and lemongrass that has been soaking in spices for seven hours or the steamed fish wrapped in banana leaves.TyoLocation: 7 Montefiore Street, Tel AvivTyo is a Japanese lounge-bar that tops the Trip Advisor list of best Asian restaurants in Tel Aviv. The restaurant is housed in a beautiful Tel Aviv building and offers a diverse menu with exotic flavors. The ingredients are super-fresh and top quality.Thai HouseLocation: 8 Bograshov Street, Tel AvivAt Thai House you are guaranteed top quality Thai food that makes you think you are in Thailand for an authentic meal beneath a thatched roof. There is an extensive menu that includes vegan and vegetarian options. Typical Asian dishes and Thai street food are created and portions are large so come hungry.The Best Italian Restaurants in Tel AvivRusticoLocation: Sarona Market, Tel AvivRustico has three branches in Tel Aviv all serving typical Italian pizza, pasta, meatballs, pies and other comfort foods. The Italian flavors are authentic and the cuisine and attention to customers will make you think you are in Italy!Nonno Angelo PizzaLocation: 147 Ben Yehuda Street, Tel AvivThis Italian pizza joint is run by two brothers who are continuing their family trade of Neapolitan-style pizza making. You can choose to take your pizza home or sit in the simple interior where the smell of freshly oven-baked pizza will keep your mouth watering.ShineLocation: 38 Shlomo HaMelekh Street, Tel AvivLocals flock to this award-winning establishment for the pizza, Bolognese, pasta, calamari, Gnocchi and tiramisu. They offer vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. The atmosphere is warm and the smell of brick oven baked pizza fills the space.The Best Kosher Restaurants in Tel AvivLuminaLocation: Carlton Hotel, Tel AvivAt the helm of this kosher fine dining restaurant is Chef Meir Adoni. Lumina serves up traditional Jewish food with a modern and innovative twist. Adoni has taken well-loved favorites from various Jewish culinary traditions and given them his unique touch.The Chinese WallLocation: 26 Mikvah Yisrael Street, Tel AvivFinding good Chinese food in Israel is difficult but The Chinese Wall offers not only excellent Asian cuisine but a rare kosher option. The Chinese Wall’s menu includes hand-made noodles; wontons; dim sum, potsticker and more.West SideLocation: Royal Beach Hotel, 19 Hayarkon Street, Tel AvivThis is the place for kosher haute cuisine. West Side offers a seasonal menu of Asian and meat dishes including goose confit and some of the best cuts of meat in the city. The décor is reminiscent of hip New York eateries with a spacious and contemporary design.The Best Tel Aviv Street Food RestaurantsFalafel HakosemLocation: 1 Shlomo HaMelech Street, Tel AvivTrip Advisor rates Falafel Hakosem as the top Tel Aviv fast-food restaurant and it is also listed in numerous “best” lists of Tel Aviv street food. Here they serve classic Israeli street foods including shawarma, hummus, salads, herb-filled omelettes, chicken livers, chicken breast, schnitzel and the best falafel in town.Frishman SabichLocation: 42 Frishman Street, Tel Aviv“Sabich” is a traditional Iraqi Jewish pita sandwich stuffed with fried aubergine (eggplant), hard-boiled egg, potato, herbs, spices, salad and tachini or hummus. Sabich is one of the “must-try” street foods of Tel Aviv. Be adventurous and try some “amba” a mango based spicy relish that adds a totally different flavor to the meal.MiznonLocation: 23 Ibn Gvirol Street, Tel AvivThere are several branches of Miznon in the Tel Aviv area but the most central is on Ibn Gvirol Street. serves gourmet Israeli fast food created by one of Israel’s top celebrity chefs, Eyal Shani. Here classic pita bread can be filled with less conventional ingredients all of the highest quality. This is Israeli street food at a fine dining level.The Best Tel Aviv Vegan RestaurantsAlegriaLocation: 165 Ibn Gvirol Street, Tel AvivAlegria offers an innovative menu of tasty, healthy dishes created by Chef Motti Nagar. The smoked vegan “cheeses” are particularly good and can be bought to go home. Try the fermented cashew labane or vegan feta or Gouda.NunuchkaLocation: 30 Lilenblum Street, Tel AvivNunuchka is a Tel Aviv vegan restaurant that gets its inspiration from Georgian cuisine. Originally Nunuchka served traditional meat-based Georgian food but when the chef, Nana Shrier became vegan in 2014 the restaurant followed suit. Now Nunuchka’s pastries are stuffed with mushrooms rather than meat and bean cutlets are on the menu instead of beef. You can choose to sit indoors or in the large garden or on the patio or gallery. At night Nunuchka turns into a lively bar with an incredible atmosphere.AnastasiaLocation: 54 Frishman Street, Tel AvivThis Tel Aviv vegan café offers delicious meals and take-home treats. Anastasia was recently voted Tel Aviv’s Best Vegan Restaurant. Everything at Anastasia has been given close attention to detail – from the spacious indoor and outdoor seating; the tasteful décor and knowledgeable staff to the extensive, complex menu. There is also a small shop where you can find hard-to-get vegan products.
By Petal Mashraki

How to Spend a Leisure Day in Tel Aviv

Many Israel package tours include some free time in Tel Aviv, a magical city with a unique blend of attractions both historic and ultra-modern. You’ll have no problem finding things to do if you have a day at leisure in Tel Aviv.Explore Tel Aviv NeighborhoodsTel Aviv has some diverse neighborhoods each with their own unique character. Among the most interesting Tel Aviv neighborhoods there is Florentin, a hipster hangout with a bo-ho feel in Southern Tel Aviv. The former commercial area has transformed into a trendy destination with quirky bars and ethnic restaurants. The place has a shabby-chic feel with many independent small stores selling everything from art and tie-dye clothing to designer sweets and hand-made jewelry. This is the neighborhood where you can sit for hours in a café people-watching. Another top Tel Aviv neighborhood is Neve Tzedek, originally the first Jewish neighborhood built outside of Jaffa. Today the small homes, courtyards and narrow lanes have been restored and converted into boutique stores, art galleries, chic cafes, eateries and one-off stores. The neighborhood has a small village feel and most buildings are dripping with gorgeous bougainvillea or flower boxes.Visit Old Jaffa and Jaffa PortJaffa is now a part of the city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa; it is the oldest part of the city at the southern end of Tel Aviv’s beachfront promenade. The ancient city of Jaffa is built on a cliff overlooking the Old Port of Jaffa and the sea beyond. Jaffa is associated with the Biblical characters of Jonah and St. Peter. As you enter Jaffa the first sight that meets you is the Jaffa Clock Tower that dates back to the early 20th-century Ottoman era. On the inland side of the main road, you’ll find a labyrinth of market lanes and trendy restaurants and bars. On the right-hand side is the Old Port. Narrow lanes, each named after the signs of the zodiac lead down to the water. The lanes of Old Jaffa are lined with art galleries, small stores, and eateries. You can visit the Jaffa Museum to learn more about the city’s history.Tel Aviv MuseumsYou could spend several days visiting the wonderful museums of Tel Aviv. If you are an art-lover then your best choice would be the Tel Aviv Museum of Art where contemporary and modern art is displayed in a spectacular venue that includes a unique modern building, the main building and the Helena Rubinstein Pavilion. Here you can see works by some of the greatest artists of all time including Chagall, Reuven Rubin, Klimt, Kandinsky, Van Gogh, Miro, Roy Lichtenstein and work by Israeli artists such as Nahum Gutman. Other Tel Aviv museums worth checking out include the Eretz Israel Museum focused on Israel’s heritage, land and culture and the Museum of Jewish People focused on Jewish communities around the world and their traditions.Tel Aviv Free AttractionsYou won’t have to spend much money on your free day in Tel Aviv; just wandering the streets can be enough to keep you busy for hours. On a walk, through Tel Aviv you can enjoy the Bauhaus architecture which has earned Tel Aviv UNESCO statue as the “White City.” You can easily walk to the best Tel Aviv beaches which are located minutes from the city center. The wide sandy beaches line the beachfront promenade the length of Tel Aviv. Another great way to spend your time is at the Tel Aviv Port. This former port has been gentrified and converted to a wonderful outdoor attraction for the whole family. The many markets in the city include Carmen Market and the markets of Jaffa where you could wend away hours taking in the sights and sounds. Take a walk through any of Tel Aviv’s neighborhoods to see Tel Aviv street art by local and international artists. Many of the street artists in Tel Aviv use their art to bring attention to social issues or the human condition.
By Petal Mashraki

Urban Cycling in Tel-Aviv

If you’ve arrived in Israel and would like to do a bit of sightseeing in Tel-Aviv by bike, or if you want to avoid the city traffic then Tel-O-Fun offers you a solution. Tel-O-Fun is a bike rental system available to residents and tourists in Tel-Aviv. Throughout the city rental stations have a row of the bright green bicycles waiting for users? Each bike is locked to the bike stand and a simple procedure unlocks the bike. The bikes are one-size with 3 gears and have adjustable seats, a headlight, back light and small carrier area at the back. You can rent the bikes 24/7 and there is no need to book in advance. There are about 150 rental stations spaced within 500 meters apart. The bikes are not built to hold a child’s seat or an extra passenger on the back. The rider is responsible for his own safety as no insurance is included in the rental. Tel-Aviv is criss-crossed with many cycle paths and parks where you can cycle freely.bike rental stationHow Does Bike Rental in Tel-Aviv WorkGet to one of the bike stations where there is a service terminal in Hebrew, English and Arabic. Select whether you want a daily or weekly rental. Swipe your credit card to make a payment and you will receive a card with barcode which is used to release the bike from its docking station. Climb on the saddle and off you go!You can return the bike at any one of the bike stations; it doesn’t have to be the same one you took the bike from. Simply lock the bike on the left hand side of one of the docking poles. Be sure to wait until you hear a click of the lock which ends the rental process.How Much Does Bike Rental in Tel-Aviv CostThe fee includes an access fee plus a cumulative time fee for the amount of time you have the bike. For the first half hour there is no access fee. However you can’t take a bike, ride to another station within half an hour, return the bike and then rent another bike for free. If less than 10 minutes has passed between returning one bike and the same subscriber re-renting another bike the fee will be calculated cumulatively. If you are cycling for under half an hour it will charge you only the access fee (17ILS). Each credit card can be used to register up to four subscribers. Note that there is a fine for late return of 1,200ILS up to the first 24 hours and 800ILS for each additional day of delay. The maximum fine is 4,500ILS. Rentals must be at least 18 years old and have a credit card.Access Fee:Daily: 17ILS (Saturdays and public holidays 23ILS)Weekly: 70ILSAccumulative time fee:Up to 30 minutes: FreeUp to 60 minutes: 5ILSUp to 90 minutes: 10ILSUp to 150 minutes: 30ILSUp to 270 minutes: 270ILSAnd for each additional hour up to 24 hours: 100ILSIf for some reason you need more explanations or have difficulty renting your bike then see the Tel-O-Fun website; call Tel-O-Fun customer call center at *6070 (Sunday to Thursday 07:00-21:00 and Fridays and public holidays 07:00-14:00) or visit their Customer Service Center in the Tel-Aviv Municipality Building (Sunday-Wednesday 08:00-18:00 and Thursday 08:00-15:00).For more details visit the official site of Tel-O-Fun
By Petal Mashraki

UNESCO Site: The White City of Tel-Aviv – The Modern Movement

The White City of Tel Aviv was designated a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 2003 for being an outstanding example of new town planning and 20th century architecture. It was also recognized as portraying a synthesis of several Modern Movement architectural trends together with the existing cultural traditions and adaptations to suit the climatic conditions. Tel Aviv, Israel was founded in 1909; urban planner Sir Patrick Geddes created the master plan for the new city which was approved in 1929 and from the 1930s to 1950s European trained architects created a city of modern buildings. Although Sir Geddes did not prescribe the style of architecture, Tel Aviv benefited from the closing of the Bauhaus School in Berlin and the influx of German Jewish architects as a consequence of WWII.Bauhaus building in Tel Aviv.Photo credit: © ShutterstockThe city has three zones with the central zone being, what is now called the White City where there are building designs influenced by the Bauhaus, Le Corbusier, and Erich Mendelssohn movements. Architects expressed their artistic sides when creating a collection of buildings representing the most significant trends in 20th-century architecture’s Modern Movements. Zone A established in the 1930s and 40s; Zone B was established in the early 30s and Zone C, the Bialik District was established in the 1920s and has examples of Art Deco and eclecticism.In contrast to some cities, Sir Geddes designed a city based on an environmental approach that takes into account the existing physical elements and social and human needs. In his vision of Tel Aviv Sir Geddes pioneered the idea of an organic, constantly evolving city. His master plan of Tel Aviv incorporated the plurality of modernist trends that were being developed in Europe. No other city epitomizes the synthesis of modern architectural trends on such a grand scale as Tel-Aviv. Tel Aviv has more than 4,000 Bauhaus and international architectural style buildings.Besides being a living museum of 1930s modern architecture the architects manage to incorporate local traditions, culture, and climate and adapt them to make them exist harmoniously side by side with the European styles. The Middle Eastern style cupolas were one of the local architectural elements included in the Tel Aviv buildings.Some of the adaptations made to the Bauhaus style to accommodate the environment include the small windows to guard against the hot sun and raising the buildings on pillars so that wind blowing beneath the building could cool the structure. The white walls were another adaptation to help reflect the heat, and in so doing, this adaptation gave Tel-Aviv its nickname – The White City.Apart from the high concentration of exquisite Bauhaus buildings, the city planning was part of the UNESCO recognition. Sir Geddes’ plan consisted of an even balance of open and closed spaces, green and built-up areas, and urban parceling. Thankfully modern construction has not interfered with the original urban infrastructure and the White City has been preserved, surrounded by high-rise buildings from the 1960s to the present day. Restoration of many of the beautiful buildings has highlighted the Bauhaus style entrances, balcony railings, shuttered window frames, cubic shapes, rounded corners, and functionality over ornamentation. Constant efforts are being made to restore and protect the remaining buildings of the White City.
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Top 10 Tel Aviv Nightclubs and Bars

The White City never sleeps, it is a party oasis in the Middle East. Israeli’s don’t need an excuse to party, the city has many diverse nightclubs, bars, wine bars, cafes and restaurants. Thursday and Friday nights are the most popular party nights but the venues are generally open seven days a week. The parties get going relatively late in Tel Aviv so don’t consider arriving at a nightclub before 11pm or going home before 3am or 4am. Restaurants on the other hand usually stay open until 1pm except for a few popular “fast food” type places that locals can direct you to. Kiosks selling cigarettes and small items often stay open all night but they are not allowed to sell alcohol from 11pm to 7am. Drinking age in Israel is 18 but some clubs have an entrance policy of 21 or even 24.Cat and Dog Club, 23 Carlibach St.This “underground” club has a bit of a down-and-dirty reputation and the party really gets going at about 3am. The music is a mix of techno, house and electro. They have an excellent sound system and a lineup of top DJs. Sundays is casual, Mondays sees guest DJs and on Fridays the place is packed, loud and dynamic.HaOman 17 Club, 88 Abarbanel St.This mega-club has three levels of dance floors and they host DJs from around the world. The club hosts very popular gay events including the Shimon Shiraz FFF party line and Forever TLV party line. Of course even if you’re straight you will still be welcome and the gay events usually have dance performances, special effects and scenery.TLVnight, 33 Hen Blvd, Tel Aviv (Tel: 972 52 837 50 31)Trip advisor rates this as the top nightlife experience in Tel Aviv although it is not a club rather a pub crawl. Take one of the TLVnight tours to help you navigate the Tel Aviv nightlife led by a young local who knows where to find the best parties. They offer a pub crawl ($23); a culinary tour ($100); a complete party weekend ($170) and several other options. Not only will you be introduced to Tel Aviv nightlife but you will meet fellow travelers from around the world who are also taking the tour.Dream Exhibition, Ibn Gvirol 30This is a sophisticated club with luxury furnishings, 360° LED screens and state-of-the-art sound system. There is a 24 age restriction and the music is mainly rock, electro, main stream and house.Beer Garden, Sarona Center, Aluf Albert Mendler 3People come here to enjoy a superior experience of good food, good beverages and pleasant background music of main stream and world music. The décor is reminiscent of an upper class European pub with polished brass, soft lighting and wooden furniture. To accompany your beer there is a selection of small meals in the gastro-pub style. Patrons are allowed to smoke here as there is outdoor seating. This sophisticated venue opens at 4pm Sunday to Thursday and from 12 noon on Fridays and Saturdays. The Beer Garden stays open until the last customer leaves.Zou Bisou-Bar, Cocktails & Dinner, Ben Yehuda St. 186Tel Aviv’s ultimate cocktail bar also serves small dishes and provides great background music. The crowd here is generally over 26 and Zou Bisou is frequented by many English-speakers. The venue provides valet parking service to save you the parking headache. The décor and style is inspired by the glamour of the Mad Men TV series and New York 1950s clubs. There is indoor and outdoor seating. Here people come for intimate meals, long evenings nursing a drink and chatting with friends or to get to know each other in a relaxed atmosphere.Valium, Nightclub and Rooftop, Ben Yehuda 1Marketed as the city’s most luxurious nightclub this venue is located on the 5th floor of the Migdalor Building offering views across the city. The spacious club covers a massive 10,500 square feet and the space has been filled with strategically placed lounge-like couches. Valium has two venues in one. There is the high-energy, state-of-the-art dance venue with techno, hip hop and house music played by top DJs. Then there is the quieter rooftop venue also with DJs and its own sleek style. They offer a full menu eating experience. The venue is closed on Sunday nights, Wednesday is Club House night, Tuesday is students night, Mondays are for over 26 year olds and Saturday nights are for over 24s.KTOVT, Mikvah IsraelKtovt (address in Hebrew) is one of Tel Aviv’s “underground” clubs. This alternative nightlife venue attracts an eclectic crowd of fashionistas, party promoters, LGBT and dedicated club-hoppers. Happy Hour is from 9pm-11pm when the drinks are cheap. The club DJs are both local and international and there is a 70s themed room, walls draped in hanging plants and strange décor. This club is for those who really want to dance the night away. The club opens at 9:30pm and stays open until 4am.Kuli Alma, Mikve Israel 10This is a relatively new club which has shot to fame for its dynamic multiple indoor rooms leading to an outdoor courtyard via a winding staircase. The club is devoted to dance, music and art. Night owls are introduced to the local artists through displays of their work as the club is owned and run by a collective of Tel Aviv DJs, artists and party celebs. A kaleidoscope of the arts encompassing vintage film, murals, art clips, visual arts and street art come together with the nightclub vibe. Patrons can view rotating exhibitions in the new cylindrical gallery space. Top musicians and DJs perform in the dance-conducive room while others retreat to the U-shaped bar area. The club serves an Israeli vegetarian menu, beer and cocktails.The Block, Salame 157This techno-trance club hosts leading international DJs and has won several awards for the best nightclub and best party lines. It was even given a shout-out by BBC Radio 1 for having one of the best sound systems in the world. The club has recently been renovated and boasts a dance floor, lounge room and intimate bar. The best parties take place here on Thursdays and Fridays.Pasaz, Allenby St. 94This is a popular spot for up-and-coming new artists. Each night a different local DJ, musician, singer or band performs. The venue is also known for its long hours. Patrons arrive early and leave late (or rather early in the morning). The music styles are diverse with everything from funk to soul and hip hop to electro.For more dynamic nightclubs and bars in Tel Aviv try Biggy-Z; Nanuchka; Dizzy Frishdon; Lima Lima. You’ll find clubs and pubs along Lilienblum Street, in the Port area, the northern end of Ben Yehuda Street. Along the beachfront and for trendy bars and restaurants just take a stroll down Ibn Gvirol Street.
By Petal Mashraki
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