Tel Aviv in a day
We only had one day to explore Tel Aviv and wanted to make the most of it, so decided to create our own walking tour. We had a pretty great time exploring the backstreets and checking out all the quirky markets. Here's where we went.
9am - Breakfast in Jaffa Port
Jaffa Port is one of the oldest ports in the World and is apparently where Jonah (from the Bible story of Jonah and the Whale) sailed off from. The ancient buildings have now been transformed into art exhibitions, live music venues and cafes, attracting tourists and locals alike. The blend of historical and modern cultures works really well and gives the area a really cool vibe. We had breakfast in a cafe overlooking the boats; the great thing about Israel is the huge variety of dairy-free food. I can't have any products containing cows milk but I'm not vegan and love eggs, so the food choices in Israel were great!
Once you've finished eating, wander around the area and make sure to look up at all the buildings sat on the rocks.
10am - Walk to Jaffa Bazaar
The walk from the port to the bazaar passes up some stairs to a park, where you get some lovely views out to see. The roads around here are all very old and full of little brick buildings with colourful pot plants and street art dotted about. This was one of our favourite parts of Tel Aviv because it felt really authentic and less touristy than the main city centre. Jaffa Bazaar is basically a flea market spanning a couple of little backstreets. It was mostly junk, with the occasional vintage camera or typewriter. I had to pull Chris away from the market as he would have happily spent the whole day there.
10.30am - Jaffa Clock Tower
The clock tower is quite small, but has an interesting history. It is the only surviving clock tower out of 7 that were originally built in 1906, and it has a different clock on each side. When it was originally built, the Jews and Arabs came together to pray and celebrate. It now represents the unity of the old Jaffa and modern Tel Aviv areas. We didn't spend very long here, just long enough for a few photos before we headed to our next stop.
11am - HaTachana
This lovely area used to be the train station for the Jaffa-Jerusalem railway. It's now home to boutique shops, exhibitions and trendy bars. We stopped here for a drink in one of the bars that had a nice shaded courtyard. When we travel, we're usually on a tight budget so we don't often look at shops, but from nosing through the windows I could see some beautiful artworks on display. If you have more money and you like shopping, this is a good place to come; it's full of charm.
12.30pm - Nachalat Binyamin
Twice a week you'll find an outdoor art fair, but whatever time of week you go, this area is full of curious shops with stalls selling all sorts of random things. There's a vibrant and quirky feel to this neighbourhood and it's an interesting place to wander round. There is a lot of cool graffiti and street art on the walls and pavements. Nachalat Binyamin is also a good place to find lunch in a relatively cheap cafe, or you can buy sweets and snacks from one of the many outdoor vendors.
1.30pm - Rothschild Boulevard
Some would say this is the prettiest road in Tel Aviv due to the impressive architecture of the old buildings, including Independence Hall, Tel Aviv's theatre and concert hall. I personally prefer the smaller backstreets with wildflowers and crumbling brick-work, but that's just me! There's no denying that this road is grand though, and there are loads of coffee and juice kiosks along the central park, which is always good when you need a pick-me-up on a long day of walking.
2.45pm - Carmel Market
The largest and most central market in Tel Aviv, Carmel Market is buzzing with people. Depending on the heat, this market can be a little overwhelming. There were a lot of smells from all the different foods, including sweets, meat, fish, fruits and vegetables. The stalls are all packed closely together with narrow walkways between, so it can get a bit crowded. If you love to be immersed in the local culture and culinary treats, then this is the place for you. It's also a great spot to test out your photography skills because there's so much going on! We wandered through, but started to overheat so didn't spend too much time here.
3.45pm - Tel Aviv Promenade
After all the walking and sightseeing you'll probably need a nice lie down on the beach. This was where we finished our walking tour of Tel Aviv. There's quite a long stretch of beach with chairs for hire, or you can sit directly on the sand like we did. Unfortunately, we hadn't brought our swimwear with us, so we just rested for a bit before we had to leave to catch our train.
If you’re planning on staying the night in Tel Aviv, you should check out the post Airbnb Tel Aviv: Where to Stay Like a Local to find the best accommodation in the city.
Who's been to Tel Aviv? Is there anything else you would add to this itinerary? Please use the comments section below; we'd love to hear from you!