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9 Reasons Why You Should Visit Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is renowned for its laid-back café culture
Tel Aviv is renowned for its laid-back café culture | Kimberley Grant / © Culture Trip
Picture of Ben Jakob
Updated: 26 February 2019
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Tel Aviv is Israel’s most happening city. Whether you are searching for beaches and clubs or great food and architecture, Tel Aviv has it all. It doesn’t matter if you are staying for a weekend or a week, friendly locals will ensure you’ll get a warm welcome in a city that is proud of its past and is cultivating an optimistic future.

The amazing beaches

The beaches in Tel Aviv are the centre of social life in the city. The shores are perfect for everything from sunbathing to playing matkot (a sport similar to beach tennis). You’ll find countless places on the beachfront offering drinks or dinner with sea views. For those feeling particularly lazy, Mishlohof delivers takeaways directly to your beach towel.

Givat Aliya Beach
Kimberley Grant / © Culture Trip
Givat Aliya Beach
Givat Aliya Beach
Kimberley Grant / © Culture Trip
Givat Aliya Beach
Jaffa Beach
Kimberley Grant / © Culture Trip
Jaffa Beach

To visit Jaffa

Jaffa is one of the world’s oldest port cities. Its history is reflected in its eclectic mix of old and new architecture, a great metaphor for modern Tel Aviv. Today it is a multi-ethnic community where Muslims, Jews and Arab Christians live side by side.

Steps leading to the renovated port
© Culture Trip
Steps leading to the renovated port
At St Peter’s Church in Jaffa, mass is said in English, Spanish, Polish and Hebrew
Kimberley Grant / © Culture Trip
At St Peter’s Church in Jaffa, mass is said in English, Spanish, Polish and Hebrew
The new is never far from sight in the Old City
Kimberley Grant / © Culture Trip
The new is never far from sight in the Old City

Check out Jaffa’s amazing Old City and explore the winding streets that lead to the recently renovated port, where you can buy fresh fish at restaurants such as The Old Man and the Sea.

Treasure and trash sit side by side at Jaffa’s flea market
Kimberley Grant / © Culture Trip
Treasure and trash sit side by side at Jaffa’s flea market
Jaffa’s flea market
Kimberley Grant / © Culture Trip
Jaffa’s flea market
Denim is always in among the market traders
Kimberley Grant / © Culture Trip
Denim is always in among the market traders

Top-notch food

Tel Aviv is a foodie city. From amazing restaurants and trendy hipster bistros to the best of Middle Eastern street food, the city has it all. For the tastiest hummus, go to Ali Karavan (known locally as Abu Hassan) in Jaffa; for high-end food, head to Taizu; or, for something more specialised and pricey, go to Port Said or Santa Katarina near the Great Synagogue on Allenby Street.

Sample handmade delicacies at Carmel Market
Kimberley Grant / © Culture Trip
Sample handmade delicacies at Carmel Market
Hummus and roasted vegetables are Tel Aviv staples
Kimberley Grant / © Culture Trip
Hummus and roasted vegetables are Tel Aviv staples
Beachside dining is a must while in Tel Aviv
Kimberley Grant / © Culture Trip
Beachside dining is a must while in Tel Aviv

The people

Tel Avivians like to think of themselves as the new Berliners, the It crowd of the non-European West. Despite their super-fashionable attire, Tel Avivians still have their feet firmly planted in the Levant. With the perfect mix of style and gregariousness, your average Tel Avivian will gladly help you out with recommendations or directions.

Staying young at heart is always in style in Tel Aviv
Kimberley Grant / © Culture Trip
Staying young at heart is always in style in Tel Aviv
Year-round sun and plentiful beaches make for a healthy lifestyle
Kimberley Grant / © Culture Trip
Year-round sun and plentiful beaches make for a healthy lifestyle
Tel Avivians take pride in their musical flair
Kimberley Grant / © Culture Trip
Tel Avivians take pride in their musical flair

The raucous nightlife

Tel Aviv’s nightlife is renowned throughout the world, especially when the city goes rainbow for the gay pride parade. Parties rage throughout the week and rarely start before midnight. Whether you’re gay or straight, you can dance yourself silly to all kinds of music when the sun goes down at clubs such as The Block or Bootleg. For something a bit more underground, head to Jaffa’s Anna Loulou Bar, or grab a drink at the Minzar for a more relaxed, local vibe.

The Shishko Bar & Grill is popular for its Bulgarian cuisine
Kimberley Grant / © Culture Trip
The Shishko Bar & Grill is popular for its Bulgarian cuisine
Stax Bar is a local hangout with a top chef
Kimberley Grant / © Culture Trip
Stax Bar is a local hangout with a top chef
Stax Bar
Kimberley Grant / © Culture Trip
Stax Bar

Its rich history

The city is just over a century old and famed for its cosmopolitan nature. Tel Aviv tells the story of Israel and its birth; it’s an urban manifestation of an early vision of Israel based less on collective values and more on secular and liberal individualism. Check out the beautiful Neve Tzedek neighbourhood or head to the Yemenite Quarter to see the Tel Aviv of the past.

There’s always time for a cigarette and a catch-up in Tel Aviv
Kimberley Grant / © Culture Trip
There’s always time for a cigarette and a catch-up in Tel Aviv
The Yemenite Quarter is the place to go exploring
Kimberley Grant / © Culture Trip
The Yemenite Quarter is the place to go exploring
For a relatively young city, Tel Aviv has a distinctive character
Kimberley Grant / © Culture Trip
For a relatively young city, Tel Aviv has a distinctive character

The architecture

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tel Aviv’s so-called White City offers one of the most unique and extensive collection of Bauhaus, or International Style, architecture outside of Germany. The centre of Tel Aviv offers countless examples of fine Modernist buildings, including Avraham Soskin House on Lilienblum Street built in 1933 by Zeev Rechter and Jacobson’s Building on Levontin Street built by Emanuel Halbrecht in 1937. There are a number of great walking tours around this area, but getting lost is always recommended.

The Gaudi-style ‘Crazy House’ overlooks Tel Aviv’s marina
Kimberley Grant / © Culture Trip
The Gaudi-style ‘Crazy House’ overlooks Tel Aviv’s marina
The Great Synagogue was completed in 1926
Kimberley Grant / © Culture Trip
The Great Synagogue was completed in 1926
Hotel Cinema is a Bauhaus masterpiece
© Culture Trip
Hotel Cinema is a Bauhaus masterpiece

The business opportunities

Tel Aviv has sometimes been called Silicon Wadi – an Arabic spin on the nickname of the tech capital of California – due to its propensity for cultivating start-ups. Tel Aviv has more apps and tech companies than cafés (and it has a lot of cafés). With dozens of conferences, meet-ups and hubs, Tel Aviv might be the place for your idea to blossom into a young start-up.

Innovation is the name of the game at the DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Festival
© dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo
Innovation is the name of the game at the DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Festival
Virtual reality is the next big thing for many Israeli start-ups
© dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo
Virtual reality is the next big thing for many Israeli start-ups
Tech giants such as Amazon, Google, Yahoo and Facebook attend the DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Festival
© dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo
Tech giants such as Amazon, Google, Yahoo and Facebook attend the DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Festival

It’s liberal and LGBTQ friendly

More than 10 years ago, Tel Aviv decided to embrace its status as Israel’s most liberal city and rebranded itself as the unofficial gay capital of the Middle East. In Tel Aviv, the ultra-Orthodox live side by side with people of all orientations. The city doesn’t have LGBTQ bars in the traditional sense, as there’s simply no need for them any longer.

Revellers flock to Tel Aviv during the pride celebrations in June
© Yuri Turkov / Alamy Stock Photo
Revellers flock to Tel Aviv during the pride celebrations in June
The LGBTQ community is fully integrated in Tel Aviv
© RnDmS / Alamy Stock Photo
The LGBTQ community is fully integrated in Tel Aviv
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