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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrRecognised internationally as the capital of Israel, Tel Aviv has long been a popular holiday spot for tourists from all over the world. Located on the sea, with stunning beaches all along the coasts, and great nightlife to match, Tel Aviv is not to be missed.
Today, Tel Aviv has a population of 414,600 people, covering an area of 52 km. The climate is pleasant throughout the year, although the summers are very hot, and during the winter it can get mild, and in the past Tel Aviv has seen snow, though is always warmer than other parts of Israel. The best time to visit is September and October, when there are less tourists, but the weather is still warm enough to spend a day on the beach.
HistoryDating back to only 1900, Tel Aviv is a young city. Tel Aviv’s first residents, a group of Jews, were originally from neighboring Jaffa . In 1906, a group of Jews came together to form a Hebrew-Jewish homestead center. 60 plots of land was bought, and Tel Aviv was created, with a vision for peaceful co-existence alongside Palestinians. 66 families moved into the plots of land, water-systems were built, and school systems were planned.
Under the British Mandate, increased Jewish immigration caused friction between Jewish and Arab residents, and reached a new height, when in 1921, the Jaffa Riots resulted in the death of 48 Arabs and 47 Jews. This led to many Jews moving from Jaffa to Tel Aviv, increasing the population of Tel Aviv rapidly. Tel Aviv began to grow rapidly, and develop as a commercial center, being the first city to be connected to electricity in Palestine.
Tel Aviv’s population was over 200,000 people, when Israel declared independence in 1948. Although Israel declares it’s capital city to be Jerusalem, due to Israel’s policies regarding Jerusalem, all foreign embassies are located in Tel Aviv, and internationally the capital city of Israel is recognized as Tel Aviv.
SightseeingBeach life is a huge part of the Tel Aviv lifestyle, and there are lots of options to choose from. Tel Avivans are obsessed with paddle ball, known in Israel as ‘matkot’, and it is rare that you’ll be on a beach without hearing the infamous clack-clack of the ball hitting the rackets. Each of the beaches are characterized by the people that frequent them, you can find beaches for dog walkers, gays, and even a religious beach, where women and men are segregated depending on what day it is. The Gordon and Frishman beaches are some of the most popular sights located just across from central downtown Tel Aviv. With lots of sun lounges, beach bars, and restaurants, you can easily spend the day here and never feel the need to leave.
If you’re a fan of water sports, head to Hilton Beach, called so because of the nearby hotel of the same name. Here you can find the Lev Yam Club which offers surfing, kayaking, and windsurfing, all with or without an instructor.
A popular alternative activity in Tel Aviv are the free walking tours offered by the municipality. There are four different tours, all are free, and there is no need to make a booking, just simply show up. This is particularly useful if you are planning on spending an extended amount of time in Tel Aviv. Each of the tours focuses on a different theme; they offer one on architecture and art, one on Jaffa – Tel Aviv’s neighboring city, one during the night, and the last on Bauhaus architecture.
Collectively known as the ‘White City’, Tel Aviv features 4,000 Bauhaus buildings and have been recognized as a World Heritage site. The Bauhaus Center can also offer you a two-hour walking tour, or alternatively check out the Bauhaus Foundation Museum.
Tel Aviv hosts a range of cultural activities that will cost you almost nothing, allowing you to spend most of your money on the seafood and cocktails. Head to Nahalat Binyamin Street to check out the craft market on Tuesdays and Fridays, along with some stunning architecture, a lot of which is in fashionable disrepair. The Reuven Rubin House, in the same area of the city, is where Reuven Rubin lived for much of his life, and his paintings are now on display in the house. As well as incredible watercolors, many of the photographs he took depict Jewish immigration and the early years of Israel.
SleepingLike the rest of Tel Aviv, sleeping in the city is not cheap, but you can find some good deals if you look hard enough. The HaYakon Youth Hostel, located in the center of Tel Aviv, is just five minutes from the beach, has free WiFi and a decent breakfast. At around $ 50 USD a night, it’s expensive for a hostel, but the location makes it worth the money.
Also in the city center, Hotel De La Mer is located on the corner of YaHarkon Street, and features a large breakfast as well as a great spa and superb location in the middle of town, just minutes from the beach with many rooms featuring sea views. One night would usually cost around $ 150 USD .
Tel Aviv is full of boutique hotels, and the Melody Hotel is one of the best. Winner of the Travelers’ Choice Awards in 2014, the hotel is located right by the sea, with a wonderful rooftop terrace. You are two minutes from Hilton Beach, as well as many restaurants and bars. One night would cost around $ 250 USD .
Tel Aviv, of course, features many large chain hotels, and the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv has everything expected of a five-star hotel. Although not located on the beach, the Crowne Plaza is located in the city center, close to the shops and restaurants. It features a swimming pool and spa, both open until late. Staying at the hotel also gives you access to Holmes Gym and all of their classes. The breakfast is also particularly delicious with a large range of food on offer.
EatingThe Old Man and the Sea, located in neighboring Jaffa, is a seafood and fish restaurant, serving some of the best seafood you can find in Tel Aviv. The real appeal of the restaurant is the 10’s of salads and dips that accompany your meal, and you could easily fill up on the 20+ salads before the fish even arrives! The fish is very fresh with outstanding flavors. There are actually two Old Man in the Sea restaurants, one owned by Palestinians, and the other by Israeli’s. The best one is located on the Port in Jaffa, and is worth visiting just for the view.
Dalida, an Israeli restaurant in central Tel Aviv, offers a wide selection of dishes centered round Israeli, European, and Egyptian cuisine. It is still relatively unknown and mostly filled with locals, offering informal service and a relaxed atmosphere, it’s great for a mid-week dinner.
If you are looking for something less than a full sit-down meal, head to Café Xoho, located on central Gordon Street, it offers vegetarian food, soups, salads, and cakes. Unusual for a café, portions are huge, and the prices reasonable. At night, there are often bands playing live music.
Walking down Carmel Market, you can find a wide selection of street food. Some of the best is offered by an extremely vocal market man, shouting about his chicken sandwiches. They are huge and juicy, definitely worth the 22 NIS. One can find him about half-way through the market.
NightlifeTel Aviv’s liberal attitude toward life extends into the night, where the partying really does never stop. Known as the place for the “best nightlife in the Middle East”, Tel Aviv has a lot on offer for those looking to stay out late. With all the choice, it’s good to decide where you are interested in going.
BuXa, located on Rothschild Street, is an art gallery, cocktail bar, and club rolled into one. The music played varies depending on the night, but their nights include hip-hop, electro, as well as live bands. The gallery changes their pieces on a regular basis, making the surroundings forever intriguing. The club itself is located underground, meaning music can be played until the early hours of the morning.
If you are looking for big names, and international DJs, head to HaOman Tel Aviv, one of the biggest clubs in the city. They have five bars, a sunken dance floor, and even an on-site sushi bar. Admission is expensive at 100 NIS, but the atmosphere makes up for it. Formal wear is a must, and expect long lines.
ShoppingYou can find just about anything you need in Tel Aviv, from street markets to boutique stores, there is a huge amount of variety. Carmel Market, located on HaCarmel Street, is the largest outdoor market in Tel Aviv, selling mostly fruits and vegetables but also cheap and cheerful clothing. If you are looking for something more exquisite, head to Port Market, located on Hangar Street. There are cheeses, wines, and meats, as well as a farmers' market on Fridays and an Artists Fair that is worth seeing on Saturdays.
If you are looking for brand names, head to the Dizengoff Market, Israel’s oldest mall. As well as popular chains like H&M and Zara, there are also fast-food chains and caés, as well as a cinema and supermarket.
Getting ThereTel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport serves most European cities with direct flights. Getting from the airport to the city center is remarkably easy via train, which runs twice every hour, except late at night. The other alternative is a taxi, but this is much more expensive. The ride is about twenty minutes and should cost no more than $ 45 USD .
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Author: hannahbarkan. Last updated: Apr 10, 2016