I have to admit, Israel was never on my priority travel list. Actually, I never really thought about going to Israel. But when one of my closest friends met a lovely Israeli girl and decided to have their wedding in Tel Aviv, I couldn’t really say no to attending the wedding and visiting this amazing city.
Many people may have mixed feelings about Israel and their geopolitical position, but I was pleasantly surprised by this metropolitan, seaside city. I had a very laid back, Mediterranean atmosphere – the people were friendly, the weather was pleasant, the nightlife was great and all the food to die for. Throughout my entire trip, I didn’t eat as well as I did in Israel. Everywhere you went the food was great.
Tel Aviv may not be on everyone’s bucket list, but I do recommend stopping over for at least a few days as part of any trip through the Middle East.
Top things to do in Tel Aviv:
- Shopping is definitely up there. The prices are cheaper than Europe and the fashion more unique. For those shopaholics, head to Dizengoff Street. The shops are open until about 10pm, so there is no need to rush
- Take a walk along the beachside promenade, stretching form Jaffa in the south to Tel Aviv Port in the north. Allow a few hours to complete this leisurely.
- Food markets. We found a fantastic market located HaCarmel. For fresh fruit, vegetables, pastries, cheeses, sweets, bread – you name it, you can find it at Carmel Markets. Look for the guy selling falafel burgers about half way down the strip of stalls – you can’t miss him, he continually shouts our ‘Falafel! Falafel!’ at the top of his voice. For 7 shekels, you’ll have an amazing falafel experience, and a cheap lunch.
- Tel Aviv night life. The city centre is full of cafes, bars and clubs which are buzzing every night of the week. Tag along with some locals and I’m sure you’ll have a great time.
There are numerous flights into Tel Aviv international airport. Upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, you are now given a separate credit card sized visa, rather than a stamp in your passport, so that you can travel without problems throughout the Middle East, as many countries previously did not allow you to enter with an Israeli stamp in your passport. Also be prepared to answer a number of questions when arriving into Tel Aviv airport. From the airport, you can either take a taxi into the city, or the train, which is a much cheaper option.
Stay anywhere along the beachside (if you plan to spend your days relaxing on the beach), or near Dizengoff Street (which is near all the shops, restaurants and nightlife). The city is reasonably small, so it is easy to walk around, or just take a taxi.
There are great restaurants everywhere. Tel Aviv Port is great for breakfast and lunch (the cafes here to amazing breakfasts), and for dinner, Dizengoff Street is your best bet.