Tel Aviv tourism is everything you read about and more. But if you’re making an article based on google searches, then you might be missing some things!
Just returned from Tel Aviv and here I am blogging about it! I’ve read so many articles and watched youtube videos on what to do in Tel Aviv, tourist guides and opinions, but if you’re planning to go there, I have just 2 words for you: Marvelous and Expensive!
All that I have read about Tel Aviv tourism just went down the drain once we got there. The city just takes you where you need to go.
Here’s a quick intro of how things went when we got out of the Ben Gurion airport.
Friday, 9 30 a.m. Tel Aviv Airport. We were thinking of taking the train. We also knew that trains and public transport don’t work on Shabbat, but we figured we had time to take the train as it was barely noon. Nope. Trains didn’t work.
We asked around and we found a free bus that takes people from the airport to the city center. Coming out of the Ben Gurion airport, to your right, go straight until you reach the end of the line. That’s where you will find the free buses.
Don’t take a taxi (on the left as you get out) unless you have money to spend – lots! You could also take an ordinary bus, but you need to know the routes. For this, I do suggest you use google maps and use the Bus option.
Buy a local SIM card, don’t use the internet on your phone as it’s very expensive – for us it was 9.52 EUR/MB. Buy the SIM from the airport, even if it’s not so cheap, you will need internet.
A SIM bought from the airport should be around 100 Shekels (26 EUR). They don’t sell SIM cards in every shop and it’s quite hard to get one. You will only find them in travel nodes (such as big train/bus stations) or Tourist centers.
Our first glance of the Beach was from the Hilton Hotel, from Arlozorov St. (Tel Aviv Marina). Stunning! This was our fist impression of Tel Aviv tourism.
The gorgeous waves felt like they were painted on the skyline and the cool breeze and splashing of the sea was so relaxing. People were careless, taking a nap on their blankets, walking their dogs, chatting while shading under a palm tree or just enjoying the view.
On the actual beach, coming down from the Marina – that’s were we literally saw it all. People were playing volleyball, jogging, exercising, windsurfing, sailing – all the water sports you can think of, riding bikes and sunbathing.
The waves were amazing, the temperature was so hot but you barely felt it, the air was blowing and a summer-ish feeling was all over the place.
2 draft beers, please! That will be close to 100 Shekels(ILS) my friend! Renting 2 sunbeds and an umbrella is 30 ILS. First, you need to pay them at the vending machine, near the changing rooms/toilets. After that, you ask the beach staff to have them ready for you.
Bring a towel. You won’t find one at the beach. The beach is just the beach. You don’t have nearby shops where you can buy things – at least we didn’t fine one. The shops are outside of the beach.
The general feeling was that you were in a documentary about high class beaches, if I may say. Everything was clean. Very clean. No one was talking lowd – even though the waves were almost deafening. You felt safe (police everywhere), but not intimidated.
Old Jaffa and Jaffa Port in Tel Aviv
If you walk along the coast you will end up in Jaffa. Not knowing what to find there, we dived into the streets and found ourselves at the flea market. Carpets, old phones, wires, paintings – yes, a flea market! If you love to bargain, then that’s the place to be.
Along the narrow streets you would find unexpected flavours coming out of local terraces, sweet and spicy, a bit of tobaco from hookahs and music to accompany a great evening chat. Price? Well, expensive of course!
If you’re thinking of having diner there, consider no less than 300 ILS for a couple – and I am not talking about a restaurant. Prices are in general high. It doesn’t matter if you’re right in the middle of the city, the beach or the outskirts, the prices are the same. Expect to pay 2-3 times more than you usually did.
The cost of living here are well above any European capital – they put Monaco to shame! Consider Tel Aviv as San Francisco – that’s as accurate as one can be.
If you’ve reached Old Jaffa, then please take a stroll through its narrow streets and enjoy. You will find yourself lost in the history that the walls reflect and marvel at the beautiful spots there are to see.
Tel Aviv Yarkon Park
The name of the park comes from the Yarkon River which flows through it.
The green grounds include a Rock Garden, Botanical Garden, Tropical Garden, a rain-forest like location, extensive lawns, outdoor sports facilities, an aviary, water park, balloon rides, nautical center, concert venues in open air and lakes.
Yes, that’s all in just one park.
Have a picnic, enjoy the view from a hot air balloon, rent a boat or simply take a deep breath and relax. This is the place to be.
If you’re looking for a quiet lunch out, then I suggest you pack your bags and head to the park. Pick your location and let the day unfold.
Rent a bike. The park is so big you will be exhausted from walking. Having a bike will make it so easy to spot the perfect location. Tired? Have a seat. Anywhere! On a bench, on the fresh cut grass, under a palm tree. – wherever you find your comfort spot.
Givat Alia Beach
Tel Aviv tourism is known for splendid beach locations and great sunsets! If you’re looking for a more secluded beach, not so crowded, then try Givat Alia beach.
From Jaffa Port, you go straight through Midron Yaffo Park. While pictures are worth more than words, I can guarantee you that the place itself is more than we can express.
Where to stay in Tel Aviv
Because it was my first time visiting Tel Aviv, I chose to stay near the airport, in Or Yehuda. The accommodation was a 20 minutes ride from the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.
The price was roughly $130 USD per night for a small bedroom with a private bathroom. The host spoke very good English and were husband and wife – in their 30s.
There was a nearby supermarket, across the street.
The bus stop was close, and you only had to switch 1 bus to reach the beach. Sometimes we found it easier to just take a taxi – especially at night.
The infrastructure is great, no traffic jams and no loud horns. You will still see young guys with their windshield rolled down and musing blasting, but they are quite rare to be honest.
If you’re looking for a place to stay, then take into concern how much time you will be staying. For a couple of days, try to be closer to the airport rather than the beach.
I suggest that you go for a beach hotel or host, if staying for longer in Tel Aviv. That way you won’t be paying to much on taxis and you’ll have lots of places you can eat and drink, without worrying about the time.
Things to know about Tel Aviv Tourism
Have Shekels. You can either get some from an ATM (they are everywhere) or use Revolut app. Don’t use euro or dollars, they make their own parity there.
Buy a SIM card. You will need internet to get around and the extra fees that your local operator will charge you might be skyrocketing. Oh, there is barely any free wi-fi if you’re thinking of that.
Instal Yango. After our first day ended, we took a cab from the streets to the place we were staying. The fair was 150ILS. The taxi driver actually taxed us nearly tripple. The actual fair should have been about 50ILS. With Yango, you will see the exact cost of your trip and decide if you want to take it. Even if you do have to take a taxi from the streets, ask them to turn on the meter.
Taxi drivers don’t know english. Have a map. Or, use Yango and they will know exactly where you want to go.
Buy bus tickets. Yes, there are controllers on board. We took ours from a Tourist Info center. 1.5 ILS for the card itself and 30 ILS credit (that’s the minimum). A bus ticket is close to 5 ILS.
Bikes – rent them. If you know how to ride a bike, then go for it. A bike or a Bird – electric scooter. They have bike lanes everywhere and if there aren’t, people are very attentive.
Info Tourist Center – ask there for anything that you need to know. There, you can also pay for trips to Jerusalem or other ares. You can find one in Old Jaffa, at the Clock Tower and another one along the street, towards the beach.
Don’t panic. You will see many police officers with guns, helicopters flying over the area and military. It’s ok.
The definition of expensive. This is the most expensive city I have ever been to. When you read online and see it’s expensive, you don’t actually understand how expensive it can get.
All in all, it’s a great place to visit for its cultural diversity, intriguing history and the stunning architectural combination between old and new.
Thinking of travelling to Tel Aviv? Let me know! Already been there? Leave a comment and tell us your impression!
See you on our next trip!