Your Tel Aviv Itinerary: An Honest Guide
This Tel Aviv itinerary is categorically the best way to spend a couple of days in Israel’s most modern city. And I wouldn’t Tel A-Fib.
We can either apologise for the cheesy pun or we can get on with the introduction to your time in Tel Aviv. Thought so; you don’t have all day, and the pun Is-raeli not relevant. (Please don’t leave.) So, how are you going to fit sun, sea, sand, souks, sex, shops, shekels and shawarma into just 48 hours? It was hard enough just getting it into that sibilant sentence structure. And that’s without learning about Israel’s rich heritage and experiencing Tel Aviv’s cosmopolitan vibe and raucous nightlife. Come with us (figuratively – unless you really do want to bring us along) through museums, an ancient port and some of the most exclusive neighbourhoods in the city.
We’ll dance through the souks with falafel on the brain, and saunter in green gardens, driving locals insane.
Without more ado, here’s how we’d do it:
The night before
You have a great selection of Plum Guide apartments to stay in in Tel Aviv, so think about where you want to make base. You can choose from an array of neighbourhoods, with the Neve Tzedek district standing out as a trendy hub of boutiques and gelato parlours. There are great options along the coastline and upmarket lodgings in the exclusive Rothschild Boulevard. In this affluent and quiet area, you’ll be out for the night before you can say laila tov.
The morning after
Boker tov! Now, you could munch on corn flakes with your family… but breakfast has become a bit of a thing in the trendier parts of Tel Aviv. Tuck into juices and healthy vegan options in Café Xoho (don’t ask us how to pronounce it), where you can sip coffee on the patio. By the time you get the kids up and ready, it’s probably about 10pm, but don’t fret: Benedict restaurant serves breakfast 24/7, so you can totally mess up your hours.
If you managed to get up and organised, well done: you’ve passed phase one. Here between spring and autumn, it’s likely to get pretty hot by noon. So, it might be a good idea to delve into the souks while it’s still bearable. Get a flavour of the sights, sounds and smells of Tel Aviv at the vast Carmel Market and haggle over carpets, food and souvenirs.
Eat at one of the coastal haunts and feel the salty breeze in your faces. Try the seafood at the Manta Ray restaurant or sample Tel Aviv’s international cuisine at the Thai House Restaurant.
Afternoon at the beach
Bloated and tired, it’s time for a totally unflattering snooze on the beach. Choose between the central strands of Frishman Beach, Bograshov Beach and Gordon Beach. The Metzitzim Beach is one of the most well-known sandy spots in the city, perfect for families, with its restaurants, lifeguards and shallow water. You can rent boards and water sports equipment from such beachside operators as the Israel Surf Club and the Topsea Surfing Center.
You’re probably exhausted after lying on your belly in the sun for hours. Stick some aloe vera on that sunburn and have a little nap back at the apartment. You’ll wake up refreshed, with a shiny tan that you’re ready to show off at one of Tel Aviv’s most upmarket restaurants. Book a spot at the elite Onza or go for the tasting menu experience at the OCD Restaurant on West Side.
If you’re with your family, you’re probably going to want to go to bed and prepare for the long (and enriching) Tel Aviv itinerary ahead. Cheer up, you’re on holiday! If, however, you’re still raring to go, prepare to experience Tel Aviv’s world-renowned nightlife, with its 24-hour parties and banging clubs. Barby and Zappa are renowned bars, and you can also find all-night jazz and whatever tickles your fancy in this diverse city.
Right, no messing around today. Pack a picnic and eat on the way: the kids want to go to the theme parks. With a child? Take it them on the river rapids at the Superland theme park in Rishon LeZion. Older kids might prefer the adrenaline rush of the Luna Park (maybe don’t tell them about its existence). Consider bringing out your inner child at Israel’s largest water park, Yamit 2000.
Still got that picnic? You could set it up at the theme park, but one pleasant alternative would be a trip to one of the city’s green lungs. HaYarkon Park is the main event, with its petting zoo, reservoir and far-reaching bike trails. Spot the cute little animals in the Tel Aviv Botanical Garden or take in vistas of the sea from the cliffs of the Independence Garden, while you gulp down some falafel and shawarma.
We have a choice here. We can be cultured and check out the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and the Joseph Bau House Museum. You could also find another beach; this time, perhaps a secluded one, such as the Palmachim Beaches and the Bat Yam Beach. Plug in some headphones and drown (out) your children. As it gets a little cooler, go for a walk through the ancient port city of Jaffa, its narrow alleys meandering between crumbling buildings.
If you’re as tired doing your Tel Aviv itinerary as we are writing it (take a moment to think about our poor tapping fingers), then you might want to simply grab a McDonald’s. That’s ok, I’m not judging you – but do be aware that most of them are kosher, which means: no cheeseburgers. And why would you go there, when you’ve got all sorts of Middle Eastern gems serving up shakshouka and couscous. The Kitchen Market and the Hatraklin Bistro Meat & Wine are among the fine dining stars.
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