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Beyond the mosques, churches and renowned port, Jaffa in Israel has a lot to offer for a city break, from neighborhood tours and art galleries to chic cafes, theaters and some great eateries. Here’s a look at how to experience a mix of both worlds in just 24 hours, by visiting both trendy new places and some beloved old favorites.
8:00 am: Start your day with a good Jaffa-style breakfast at Basma Café. Aliah the owner left a career as a software engineer to open this pleasant, authentic place. Don’t leave without trying the home-roasted coffee and vegan ‘Kenafeh’ (Kadaif noodles pastry).
8:30 am: Cross the street and head to Ilana Goor Museum. This uncommon place is actually the artist’s private home. The place is located in an 18th-century pilgrim hospice and exhibits Ilana’s artworks amongst an eclectic art collection.
9:30 am: For some proper sun lounging it’s best to go all the way down to the southern end of the beach until Ajami beach (Aliya hill beach). This wonderful and relatively isolated beach is all that you need on a sunny day in Jaffa.
11:00 am: Stroll along the port up to the old city and check out some of the delightful craftsman studios. Wander up and eastward through the Kdumim Square and hilltop garden until you reach the Clock Square with its famous clock tower, the Saraya and the Kishle: all built in the 19th-century by the Ottoman government.
1:00 pm: Hungry? Grab a taxi to Bino’s Shawarma. Bino, the owner of the famous Dr. Shakshuka, might be best known for his Shakshuka (casserole of tomatoes, eggs and spices), but you would do well to choose Bino’s outstanding ‘Shawarma’, the Israeli version of Donner kebab.
2:00 pm: Head east on Raziel Street to Noga area; this hipster hub is dotted with indie cafes and bars, homegrown labels, boutique shops and hidden-from-view art studios. Begin by having a dessert at Knafeh – this charming place offers delightful baked on-the-spot Mediterranean delights. Wander down south to Sgula Street, grab a coffee from Cafélix, a place that probably serves the best coffee in town. Just across the street you’ll find Gelada, a fantastic indie T-shirt label. In the area you will find several local clothing boutique and lifestyle brands, among them don’t miss out on Note and Biantica.
3:30 pm: Now, with much heavier bags continue wandering around the neighborhood in the pursuit for hidden art studios. One of the best is Pashut. In his home-studio, which is open for visitors. Amnon sews beautiful, minimalistic textile artworks.
4:00 pm: A visit to Noga area wouldn’t be complete without an afternoon drink in Casino San Remo: pop-up art exhibition, vinyl records sale, and cool crowd round out the classic hipster vibe.
5:30 pm: For a nice change of pace, head south west over Raziel St to the buzzing flea market. Start your stroll at Asufa; this contemporary design shop is a home for young Israeli designers. At Asufa you can find hip souvenirs and home decor while catching a glimpse of the most up-to-date local design scene. Continue to Zielinski and Rozen Parfumerie: This shop might appear as a mediaeval pharmacy but holds an impressive collection of wonderful home-made perfumes and can even create individual scents for customers if booking few days in advance. Keep walking down Rabbi Pinhas Street to Galerie Parisienne Premium Vintage, this charming place offers a carefully curated selection of vintage French designer labels, all personally imported from Paris. Right next lies Saga, a street-art exhibition space. This place stands out in the Israeli gallery scene as it combines a working space, a gallery and a residence for selected worldwide artists.
7:00 pm: For dinner, go to El-Jamila, a brilliant contemporary interpretation of a traditional Jaffa-Arab cuisine, or Kalamata, which has superb view over Jaffa Port and offers elite Mediterranean dishes. The adventure-seeking choice would be Black-Out, in this peculiar place you will get a phenomenal culinary experience as dinner is served by blind waiters while you sit in total darkness.
20:30 For post-dinner entertainment find your way to the port. Check out the Mayumana house for energetic experience of percussion and dance performance. A less mainstream option would be Warehouse 2, a performance arts venue that hosts alternative dance performances. If dance isn’t really your thing check out The Container, located steps away from the bobbing fishing boats this seafood restaurant also serves as a music venue and hosts some free concerts of promising young musicians.
22:30: All of this culture had definitely made you worthy for a good night out. To experience Jaffa at its best Anna Lulu is a must. a real underground place where a mix crowd of Arab and Jews creates a hazy utopia reality of art, poetry and music. Another great option would be bar hopping back at the flea market. Among them Shaffa Bar would be an excellent choice, with tables and chairs spilling out on to the street creating a trendy Mediterranean vibe.