Where to Stay in Tel Aviv for Tourists: Part II
The last of our two part guide to help you choose the perfect neighbourhood for your trip
Tel Aviv's neighbourhoods each bring their own distinct character, providing their own draws when it comes to where to stay in Tel Aviv for tourists. In Part I we explored the calm north and bustling centre of the city but in this second and final part we shall venture south, to some of its more avant-garde but beautiful districts. Which one will you choose?
Claim this is Tel Aviv’s most stunning district and few would argue. Neve Tzedek boasts colourful oriental houses in characterful alleyways that could launch a thousand photo albums. A short walk from the beach, Kerem Hateymanim and the south end of Rothchild boulevard, the historic neighbourhood’s name translates to “Oasis of Justice” and though we cannot attest to the justice part, the other is pretty accurate. It functions as a somewhat detached and self-contained bohemian oasis, home to excellent restaurants, trendy bars, independent art galleries and boutique shops.
The neighbourhood’s biggest pride and joy is the Suzanne Dellal Centre for Dance, home to the renowned Batsheva Dance Company. The beautiful campus has several auditoriums, classrooms and a piazza that often hosts outdoor performances and events.
Venture out a little and you’d be rewarded with the sight of the historic Hassan Beck mosque, the indulgent seaside Manta Ray seafood restaurant, the picnic and BBQ opportunities the Charles Clore seafront park provides, and the unusual shopping drinking and dining experience on offer at the Old Railway Station compound.
The only neighbourhood on the list rewarded with its own popular TV show in the 1990’s (aptly named “Florentin”), this is also the edgiest and funkiest of the city’s quarters. This southern neighbourhood is popular with the young, the hipsters and the artists, all flocking to it for its exciting food and nightlife scene.
This neighbourhood is loud, gritty and bustling. There is little wonder why it’s considered the Mecca of Israeli street art, with tour guides happy to take you on a graffiti treasure hunt in search of the latest urban masterpiece.
No doubt the best and most exciting part of this neighbourhood, though, is The Levinski Market. A cluster of alleyways with speciality shops that sell spices, cheese, baked goods, roasted nuts and vegan delicacies. But there is only one truly unmissable culinary wonder on sale there: The Burekas. One of Israel’s favourite food and a staple in any picnic, office party or wake, this Balkan flakey stuffed pastry (specifically the cheese one), is an absolute must. Just maybe don’t mention this to your dietitian.
Not far from Florentin you can also find one of the coolest spots in the city: The joyous and vivacious Gan Ha-Chashmal (directly translated to “Electricity garden”). The garden and surrounding streets are a leisure haven with young designer shops, vintage clothes stores, colourful and diverse restaurants (like the Mexican Taqueria and the mind-blowing vegan pizza The Green Cat) and nifty little bars and music venues.
Nothing beats the majestic authenticity of old Jaffa, with its ancient Arabic buildings, beautiful churches, mosques and synagogues and breath-taking vistas of the Mediterranean. This old district of a city within a city offers a fascinating glimpse into a fraught but hopeful coexistence.
Steeped in history this quarter has many beauty spots and attractions; The Jaffa Port is a thriving venue with picturesque views of docking fishing boats and several trendy restaurants and bars. It connects to the Seawall Promenade which makes for a lovely walk to the Charles Clore Park (it then turns into the Tel Aviv boardwalk that stretches all the way to the Tel Aviv port in the north).
Next to the Jaffa port you will find Kedumim Square which frequently hosts outdoor markets and events and the buildings encompassing it are home to archaeological excavation sites, theatres, cafes and art galleries - like the elegant Illana Goor museum. A couple of minutes away is the gorgeous Gan Ha-Pisga, the summit garden, a must for its unmissable panorama of the coastline, a wishing bridge and the ideal spot for live performances during the annual Jaffa Nights festival. The old city Flea Market has always been a firm favourite with both Tel Avivians and tourists, but in the past decade the area saw great developments and has become bigger and better. Now not only a great place to flex your haggling muscles and go bargain hunting for antique furniture, vintage clothes and old curiosities by day, but a popular hangout by sunset. The surrounding streets offer boutiques and designer shops and the music and aromas from the outdoor restaurants and bars fill the air.
But if there is one reason, in our opinion, to stay in Jaffa above all else it might be this: The legendary Abu Hassan eatery on Ha-dolphin street. A place that serves one dish and one dish alone, this temple of hummus is arguably the best in the country and has the queues to prove it. Order the massabha and be sure to drizzle the provided house dressing before you start wiping it with your pita bread. Living round the corner might just give you the edge you need to avoid the queue, and that’s all the motivation we need! And there you have it.
So, this draws to a close our (incredibly) detailed breakdown of where to stay in Tel Aviv for tourists, to the best of our (expert and tasteful) opinion. Sold on the city? Then it's time to start exploring our collection of handpicked homes.