Are you planning on taking a trip to the land of milk and honey and you want to see the best of Tel Aviv in one day? This Tel Aviv itinerary is made for you! Visiting Tel Aviv has become increasingly popular in the last few years for its irresistible weather, hip bars and coffee shops, and expansive beaches.
Set on the sparkling shores of the Mediterranean Sea, this seaside destination may sound large as Israel’s second-biggest city. However, it is quite small in size, making it possible to see the best of Tel Aviv in 1 day! This guide will offer up some of the best things to do in Tel Aviv so you can make the most of your visit.
Best Time to Visit Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv is known for its long stretch of beach right along the Mediterranean Sea, so you’ll want to plan your visit to ensure you will be able to enjoy those beach days to the fullest. To avoid the crowded season that comes with the summer months, and to make sure your adventure doesn’t get rained on in the winter, the best time to visit Tel Aviv is during the months of April, May, June, September, and October.
The weather is perfect for a bike ride and a day at the beach, but not so hot that you sweat out of your clothes. The month of May seems to be the sweet spot to visit Tel Aviv – the weather is just starting to warm up, but the city isn’t yet packed with tourists and locals on their summer vacation.
How to Get Around Tel Aviv
To get into Tel Aviv from Ben Gurion Airport, you can take the train, the bus, or a taxi. The train is a quick option (13.50 ILS) and has a direct line from the airport into Tel Aviv and back. The bus is the cheapest option and operates every hour on the hour, and takes passengers from the airport to central Tel Aviv on line 445 (9.30 ILS). Taxis are another option to get from the airport into the city, but they will cost you a bit more (starting at 134 ILS). Note that a taxi may be your only option if you show up to Israel on Shabbat – the bus lines and train lines will not be in service.
Tel Aviv is relatively small in size and therefore extremely walkable, but an easier and more adventurous way to get around Tel Aviv is by bike. The topography of the city is predominantly flat, and all of the main streets have separate bike lanes, making the city a super bike-friendly place to get around. The most popular neighborhoods and sites are fairly close together – perfect for checking out a good portion of the city by cycling.
Recommendation: Don’t feel confident enough to ride on your own? Enjoy an easy ride along Tel Aviv’s cycling paths with a guide on this private bike tour. It’s a great way to take in many of the cities top attractions.
Oftentimes your accommodation will have bicycles for rent for a daily rate. For example, Abraham Hostel rents out bikes for an affordable daily rate of around 65 ILS. Their bikes are comfortable Jamis bikes equipped with a basket on the front, perfect for bringing along your beach necessities and snacks or holding the souvenirs you pick up along the ride.
If you choose to rent a bike by other means, try the Tel-O-Fun bike rental stations run by the city’s municipality. With 75 of these stations around the city, you can simply pay with a card at the kiosk, take out a bike, and drop it off at a different Tel-O-Fun station near your destination or along the way. These stations are all over the city, so it’s very easy to grab a bike at point A and drop it off at point B. Just be aware that cyclists should stay on the designated cycle paths when possible – you can get fined for riding on the pavement.
But it’s not necessary to have a bike to get around Tel Aviv. There is so much you can see by walking, including the main beaches, restaurants, and sights, especially if you stay near Rothschild Boulevard or Old Town. You could also catch a bus, as they run frequently and are efficient and cheap. However, keep in mind that on Shabbat (Saturday) the bus service is limited or does not run at all.
Where to Stay in Tel Aviv
Abraham Hostel is hands-down one of the best hostels in Tel Aviv. With a central location, clean and modern rooms, a lively atmosphere, and a bar open 7 days a week, all of your needs and more are accounted for in this affordable hostel. You can spot locals hanging out on the rooftop lounge area, so you know it’s a good place to be.
You can choose from an array of private rooms (starting at 330 ILS) or a shared dorm (starting at 88 ILS), and all accommodations come with a complimentary buffet breakfast of delicious traditional-style Israeli food. Abraham Hostel will also take you to the best places to visit in Tel Aviv and beyond, offering walking tours, pub crawls, and local food experiences. They host daily free events for guests, with fun activities like open jam sessions, paint and pint, Israeli cooking workshops, and more. Additionally, if you plan on visiting Eilat, Jerusalem, or Nazareth during your time in Israel, Abraham Hostel has locations in all those places, too.
If you are looking for a solid mid-range accommodation with the amenities of a more deluxe hotel but not the price tag, the Margosa Hotel is a great option for you. This brand-new boutique hotel offers magnificent rooms with views of the old city right from your balcony. All rooms are designed with your comfort in mind, including plush beds, modern showers, flat screen TV’s, and kitchenette amenities.
Margosa Hotel is in a prime location near the Jaffa flea market, where you can walk out the front door and straight into the heart of the old city. There is a hidden patio nestled in the shade of the ancient brick buildings where you can enjoy a cup of coffee and relax in the tranquility of the old city.
If you are hoping for a more luxurious stay, The Setai Tel Aviv will blow you away. Rated as TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice for 2020 and situated at the crossroads of modern and ancient, this five-star hotel blending into the cream-colored old town Jaffa neighborhood is the dreamiest place to stay in Tel Aviv.
This hotel offers an infinity pool that looks like you’ll swim off into the Mediterranean, luxurious rooms with full-sized windows overlooking the sea, and several top-rated restaurants serving signature Israeli delights, including a traditional Jewish-style buffet for Shabbat dinner. The Setai provides the best of Tel Aviv in one neat, lavish package.
For more accommodation options in Tel Aviv check out Booking.com. They continuously offer the best rates and their custom service is on point.
The Perfect 1-Day Tel Aviv Itinerary
Although trying to see a new destination in a short amount of time can feel daunting, it is definitely possible to get a great feel for Tel Aviv in 24 hours. Following our guide, you’ll get to experience the majority of the best things to do in Tel Aviv, found in and around its lively city center.
However, before we get to our Tel Aviv itinerary we just wanted to remind you to purchase travel insurance. You never know what will happen and trust us, you do not want to get stuck with thousands of dollars in medical bills. As a wise man once said, “If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.” So don’t leave home without it.
We personally use and recommend SafetyWing. For only around $40 a month, it’s really a no-brainer. You can get a quick quote below:
Having touched on that important bit of advice, let’s have a look at our Tel Aviv travel itinerary, which will show you exactly what to do in Tel Aviv in one day to make the most of your time there.
Explore Rothschild Boulevard
Start your morning by exploring the happening street of Rothschild Boulevard. Known as one of the first streets built in Tel Aviv, this street is teeming with a blend of ancient and modern. Rothschild Boulevard is within Tel Aviv’s “White City,” a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The White City is the world’s largest collection of International or Bauhaus style buildings. It is quite easy to spot these buildings, as they are all white! Take a stroll down the boulevard and take in the beauty of these bright white buildings.
The center of Rothschild Boulevard is lined with massive ficus trees alongside a walking path, creating a beautiful canopy for the entirety of the main street. There are little kiosks within the central walking path where you can purchase drinks and snacks. Get a cup of coffee from the Espresso kiosk and hang out under the ficus trees to start off a lovely morning in Tel Aviv.
Another notable street located in the White City is Sheinkin Street. Home to an array of boutiques and clothing shops, you can find the latest Israeli trends and brands as you stroll down this street.
Eat a Traditional Israeli Lunch at Bino Bepita
Bino Bepita dishes up some of the tastiest Israeli food in Tel Aviv. They are best known for their grilled pita stuffed with a filling of your choice – lamb, chicken, mixed shawarma, or falafel. The hummus is creamy and flavorful, and the meats juicy, tender, and spiced to perfection. You can even see the meat sliced off of the skewer as you order it.
If you really want a traditional meal, go for the Dr. Shakshuka, which consists of poached eggs in a delicious sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, and onions. To try a little bit of everything, order your meal “plate style,” which comes with the meat of your choice, a dollop of hummus, a fresh cucumber salad, and grilled pita bread.
Recommendation for Foodies: Experience a multitude of delicious traditional cuisines and snacks from the residents of south Tel Aviv’s unique neighborhood Neve-Sha’anan on this delicious food tour. Be amazed by the food, but perhaps even more so by the untold stories of this complex community.
Experience Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market
Known as Tel Aviv’s largest market, the Carmel Market (Shuk Ha’Carmel) is a bustling open-air market overflowing with everything you could imagine, from custom T-shirts with your name spray-painted in Hebrew to salt from the Dead Sea. The Carmel Market has been an integral part of the history of Tel Aviv since 1920, keeping alive the tradition of bazaar-style markets in the Middle East.
The top end of the Carmel Market has booths primarily dedicated to souvenirs, clothing, and the like, while the lower part is mainly food and fresh produce stalls. Located in the heart of Tel Aviv, this market is quite easy to spot, either by finding your way to the junction of King George Street, Allenby, and Sheinkin Street, or by asking anyone where it is.
The market is tucked into an alleyway, hidden among the shadows of the towering skyscrapers of the city. But once you enter the market, you feel like you are in a completely different world. The air is filled with the scent of shawarma sizzling on a grill, spices, and Turkish coffee. The sound of merchants chanting their prices and shoppers chatting in Hebrew keeps the market buzzing. Grab yourself a cheap kebab and wander around the market to shop and soak in the sounds and smells. You could spend hours at this place.
Jaffa is one of the oldest ports in the world and is the origin of Tel Aviv’s establishment as a city. Rich in history, this place will make you feel as if you have taken a step back in time as you wander among the narrow passages between cream-colored brick buildings. Try to find the art installation, the Suspended Orange Tree by Ran Morin, hidden among the narrow alleys of this old town.
Jaffa is much quieter than the bustle of modern-day Tel Aviv, and offers a peaceful recharge from the energy of the city. Jaffa served as the main port of entry to Israel until the 19th century, and was the landing spot for Jews as they returned to Israel from all around the world. Make sure to walk down to the sea and check out the port itself. Fun fact: Jaffa port is claimed to have been where Jonah boarded a ship in the biblical story of Jonah and the whale.
The Jaffa flea market is another well-known spot to check out when you are in the area. Here vendors are selling odd trinkets, art, and collectibles out of their booths,and you can also visit some incredible restaurants and art galleries sprinkled around the area. If you have time, pop into Nirit Levav Packer Gallery, a gallery filled with work primarily made from recycled material and metal.
Catch the Sunset Along the Seafront Promenade
A day in Tel Aviv would not be complete without taking a walk on the seafront promenade. The promenade in Tel Aviv runs 14km along the seaside, where along the beach you will find people playing sand volleyball, working out, and lounging on the sand.
There are bars and beachfront restaurants scattered along the promenade, as well as spots on the beach where you can rent a lounge chair for the day.
What better way to end an amazing day of exploring Tel Aviv than to watch the sun set over the Mediterranean Sea? Find yourself a nice spot to hang out along the beach and relish in the last few moments of a perfect day in Tel Aviv.
Sample Tel Aviv’s Nightlife
If you want to grab a drink with some locals, head on over to Port Sa’id. This trendy gastro bar is located in the thick of Rothschild Boulevard. You’ll know you are in the right place if people are literally pouring out of the building, sitting on the sidewalk with their drinks or sharing tables on the front patio. Sit outside under the white-columned awning in the perfect Tel Aviv weather and enjoy a cold drink and an Israeli snack while listening to a local DJ spin vinyl inside.
Indoors, the decor of the bar is something like controlled chaos, with used books and records stacked on the wall, mismatched furniture, and tables covered with brown paper as place settings.
It is teeming with local Israelis conversing in Hebrew and sharing small plates of Middle Eastern fare. The menu changes daily, but whatever you end up eating is bound to be delicious. While Port Sa’id will undoubtedly be crowded and lively, the hip, vibrant energy of the place is unmatched and worth the wait to squeeze in.
Another popular bar that is a little bit more fancy is the Speakeasy bar. Located on a rooftop overlooking Rothschild Boulevard, this hidden gem is one you won’t want to miss. If you are greeted by a red neon sign that reads “All I Ever Wanted Was Everything” once you get up the stairs, then you are in the right place.
The indoor bar area offers a true speakeasy vibe, with low lighting and contemporary art graphics on the walls. Stepping outside onto the rooftop deck, you’ll find hanging light bulbs and vines crawling up the white brick wall. Order a fancy cocktail and take in the sweeping views of the city from high up as a final experience of this bustling Israeli city.
Have More Than 24 Hours in Tel Aviv?
Just because you’ve made your way around Tel Aviv’s sights doesn’t mean you need to move on. There a plenty of great day tours from Tel Aviv which are worth doing. Some of our favorites are:
- Jerusalem Old & New City Tour from Tel Aviv
- Bethlehem Half-Day Tour from Tel Aviv
- Masada Sunrise, Ein Gedi and Dead Sea Tour from Tel Aviv
- Christian Galilee and Nazareth Day Tour from Tel Aviv
We hope this guide has offered everything you need to know about what to do in Tel Aviv in 1 day!