- Magen David Square
They say you can’t ever have it all, but Tel Aviv—a Mediterranean metropolis as chic and cosmopolitan as it is effortless and welcoming, may change your mind. A young city known for nonstop sunshine, liberal values, and a work hard, party harder attitude, Tel Aviv has, in the 108 years since its founding, managed to find an easy balance in its dual roles as Israel’s culture capital and the Middle East’s most relaxed, come-as-you-are beach city. From its skyscrapers to its pristine sand, Tel Aviv is always unabashedly itself: a 24/7 city packed with cafes, top-notch culture, and cutting-edge fashion and design. This is a city that can be enjoyed at any pace, so whether your style is to party all night or while away the days with a book on the beach, you’ll fit right in.
The city boasts 300 days of tourist-friendly sunshine per year, but visitors in the know book their flights for fall or early spring to avoid the scorching summer or the possibility of winter rains.
Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport sits just 12 miles southeast of the city and operates about 500 flights a day.
The Tel Aviv Municipality operates an extensive, clean, and courteous bus system that keeps the entire city chugging along. Buses do not run on the Sabbath and major Jewish holidays, but cheerful yellow mini-buses, or monit sherut, fill in the gaps on these days by running shadow routes along major thoroughfares. These can be flagged down just like taxis—simply hop on when the driver stops and then tell him where along the route you’d like to be let off.
Taxis in Tel Aviv are plentiful and can be flagged down on any major street. Ask your driver to turn on the meter before you depart to avoid being charged the “tourist fare.” For those who prefer to pay with credit card, the taxi-on-demand services Uber and its Israeli counterpart GetTaxi are hugely popular and available with a simple click on your smartphone.
1. Bargaining for spices at Carmel Market or Levinsky Spice Market
2. Enjoying a café hafuch, the Israeli version of a cappuccino
3. Getting lost in the maze of ancient streets that is Old Jaffa
The smooth, three-mile Tel Aviv boardwalk offers an unparalleled view of both the city’s beaches and its attractive, super fit citizens. Hop on a bike and pedal your way from north to south to take in the coastline from every angle.
Sabich, a street sandwich with Iraqi origins that consists of fried eggplant, hardboiled egg, and creamy tahini stuffed into a pita. It’s best at Sabich Tchernichovksy, a no-frills pita bar at 2 Tchernichovksy Street that has become a place of pilgrimage for foodies.
Beat the heat with a refreshing limonana barad, an ice-blended lemonade packed with fresh mint that has the delicious consistency of an old-school slushie.
WINTER: In winter, the world-renowned Suzanne Dellal Centre holds its annual International Exposure festival, bringing together the nation’s top dancers and choreographers for a week-long celebration of the absolute best Israeli movement artists have to offer.
SPRING: Spring means the start of beach season in Tel Aviv—from mid-March on, the sand and water are both warm, so grab your SPF 50 and head for the coast.
SUMMER: In the summer, no event in Tel Aviv is bigger than Gay Pride Week, which draws up to 100,000 international revelers for street parties, beach bonfires and 24-hour fun.
FALL: Autumn means harvest time, so make sure to take in both the bursting produce stalls at the city’s farmers’ markets as well as the seasonal menus at its restaurants.