When you think of your dream destination for that once-in-a-lifetime bucket list trip, you probably imagine yourself lounging in the Bahamas, trekking through the Amazon or scaling the Great Wall of China. All admirable and enviable ways to spend a dream trip; however, with a little thinking outside the box, you can hit on a load of amazing, thrilling destinations across the world that might not have crossed your mind. One of these places is Tel Aviv, a major city in Israel, situated on the country’s Mediterranean coastline. So immediately, you’ve ticked off the mandatory ‘sun-drenched beaches’ provision of your bucket list trip.
But Tel Aviv has a lot more to offer than just its copious beaches. Israel’s most modern metropolis is Israel’s second largest city, and contrary to some stereotypical views of the country. It is vibrant, modern and cosmopolitan. If you don’t believe me, check out your BUCKiTDREAM app and scout out a few fellow travelers who have breached Tel Aviv’s golden shores. See if you can’t get a flavor for what the city has to offer and when (not if) you like what you see, make sure to make some notes in that handy BUCKiTDREAM planner.
While it’s open, you might as well peruse our own list of awesome things to do in Tel Aviv and hopefully start getting inspired and excited for your own dream trip to the Middle East!
Kick Back On The Beach With its whole west side made up of beautifully inviting sandy beaches, no matter where you choose to erect your parasol, you can’t really go wrong. One of the most famous is Gordon Beach, which, despite sounding depressingly bland, is a whole heap of vibrant fun, day or night.
Breathe In ‘The Green Lung’ Disconcerting nickname aside, Hayarkon Park is 3.8 square kilometers of botanical gardens, sprawling greenery, artificial lakes and even a couple of mini zoos.
Discover The Story Behind The City The Museum of the History of Tel Aviv is situated, fittingly enough, in the old Town Hall and houses a complete and fascinating narrative of how the city came to be the marvel it is today.
Test Your Mettle In An Escape Room Getting locked in a room in the Middle East probably doesn’t sound like a lot of people’s impression of a dream trip but this cool game craze currently sweeping Tel Aviv will see you and some friends get trapped inside a room until you can solve the series of puzzles that allow you to escape!
Critique Some Contemporary Art The art scene in Tel Aviv is booming at the moment, due in no small part to three important galleries: the Noga, the Dvir, and the Sommer. Take a peruse around any one of these and prepare to be dazzled by the best that modern art has to offer. (Which is still not very good in some people’s opinions.)
Stroll Through The Nahalat Binyamin If modern art isn’t your thing, maybe you’d prefer some arts and crafts. The Nahalat Binyamin Arts and Crafts fair takes place every Tuesday and Friday and gathers together more than 200 Israeli craftspeople.
Blend In With The Locals At Dizengoff Street A fantastic place for people-watching or just taking in the general atmosphere of the city, a Dizengoff Street stroll is a favorite pastime for many a Tel Aviv native.
Combine The Old With The New At Manshia Train Station One of Tel Aviv’s newest attractions is in fact, one of its most ancient. Manshia Train Station was built in 1892 to link with Israel’s capital, Jerusalem. It was previously abandoned but has been recently refurbished as a four-acre leisure complex.
High-End Parts of the Middle East are infamous for their luxurious ways and Tel Aviv is no different; if anything, it excels at it. The Rothschild Hotel sits at the top of the pile when it comes to the lap of luxury hotels; rated among Israel’s finest places to stay, it’s an impressive way to experience the city.
Medium As with any large tourist city, there are three-star hotels all over town; just take your pick. The Arbel Hotel sits within walking distance of the beaches, the main shopping streets and many important cultural hotspots.
Budget It can be surprisingly tough to find a cheap hotel in Tel Aviv, but fear not; there are many hostels dotted around the city that cater to travelers from across the globe. Check out the Little Tel Aviv Hostel to get started!
Tel Aviv has garnered a reputation as a kind of café culture city in times past, but this is all changing thanks to a fresh injection of exciting young chefs putting modern spins on classic Israeli dishes. As Tel Aviv is a coastal city, you can also expect a serious amount of fresh fish and seafood mixed in with the traditional fare. In recent years, Tel Aviv has come to prominence as the cuisine capital of Israel, a reputation which has spread internationally too.
The Mediterranean-themed Shakshukia is considered to be one of the best restaurants in town by both locals and tourists alike. For great atmosphere and even better food, the Night Kitchen ranks high on many lists. And don’t forget to try some authentic hummus before you leave Tel Aviv; it’s a local specialty and highly regarded amongst the locals.
Drinks and Nightlife
The more conservative Israelis in the capital of Jerusalem refer to Tel Aviv as ‘the bubble’, due to its liberal and cosmopolitan tendencies; and while this might be frowned upon by the stricter majority of the country, for the tourists it means that Tel Aviv is the place to go for a party.
There are literally hundreds of bars, clubs and venues open all night long, where you can dance and drink until your heart’s content. Don’t be fooled by Israel’s hardline reputation; in Tel Aviv, all bets are off.
Bracelet bars are a popular new trend in town; instead of paying for an individual expensive drink, you can buy a bracelet for a few shekels more and all-you-can-drink the night away! The Hamezeg was one of the first places in town to embrace the bracelet and it remains a popular choice with revelers.
Tips and Culture
Tel Aviv’s nickname of ‘the bubble’ doesn’t just refer to its raucous nightlife; it also alludes to its relative safety and remoteness from the tensions entangling the rest of the country. Tel Aviv remains relatively untouched from any of the conflicts currently raging in the Middle East and is seen as separate to the rest of Israel. While it’s good to never let your guard down totally, you can relax and take solace in the Tel Aviv’s relative autonomy.
If you haven’t got the gist from the guide by now, Tel Aviv is surprisingly cosmopolitan; many folks there speak English and are embracing of tourists. The majority of the city is safe and anxiety-free.
Another useful thing to note is that there is city-wide WiFi available everywhere you care to go, so take advantage. The driving in Tel Aviv is notoriously brash and bold, so maybe don’t rent a car unless you’re really sure you can handle it, and take care when you’re crossing roads.
Israel is a country with a lot of history and Tel Aviv, despite its nickname, is no exception. To truly get a sense of what the city is built upon, take a wander down to the incredible Old Town of Jaffa. You can avail yourself of a guided tour or simply explore it all yourself; just make sure to take in every inch of this beautiful district of the city. Combine the old with the new is something of a specialty of Tel Aviv’s; Jaffa is a prime example of this charming tendency.
Hopefully, all this has got you fired up for your own trip to Tel Aviv; but remember, it’s only a dream until you make it happen. With a bit of luck, your BUCKiTDREAM planner is full of great ideas for new experiences once you get out there; so what are you waiting for?