In January 2017, during my time as a postdoctoral research fellow at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, I did a trip to Tel Aviv. Visiting a sunny place in January is the best thing you can do. When it’s not that hot you really enjoy walking around the whole day – and I didn’t mind too much not being able to go for a swim in the sea.
For this blog post I decided to create a walking tour through the city center based on what I did during my time there, and guess what – I made a map! – so you can easily visit the same places if you like.
I stayed in an apartment house in Allenby Street, right at the end and close to the beach (priorities!). The picture above shows the view at the beach front in the early morning. For the walking tour I would suggest to start right in the morning, as there is quite a lot to see. Don’t take too much with you, as your bag is going to be checked by security in some places. But of course, first breakfast: From Allenby Street walk up Pinsker Street to find Café Shneor. They serve very good coffee and Shakshuka, which is one of my favourite egg-dishes ever since.
Inside the Café:
Shakshuka, bread, salad, and a double espresso (that couldn’t wait for the picture):
Continue your walk very happy and with a belly full of tomato sauce soaked up in bread. From Pinsker Street turn right into Bograshov Street. After two blocks you see Dizengoff Center Mall on your left (in case you need to buy anything or get cash at Bank Leumi). Turn left into King George Street and then into Shlomo ha-Melekh Street to visit the independent/fair trade souvenir shop Achoti. I bought myself some olive soap and a ceramic scarab key ring.
Inside the shop:
Also, don’t forget to admire the selection in the local fruit shops on your way! I really like Tel Aviv for it’s mix between big city life and small town feeling. It is hard to capture that in pictures, but I hope you understand what I mean.
On Dizengoff Street:
After supporting the peace initiative and feminist social activists with your souvenir shopping, walk back to Dizengoff Street and follow it all the way to the Azrieli Center (Dizengoff turns into Eliezer Kaplan Street on the way). If you feel the need for an ice cream on the way, stop at Sarona Market. There used to be a Vaniglia shop there, but it seems it is gone. Get one from one of the other shops and save the Vaniglia experience for Jaffa then. Sarona Market is definitely worth to visit again in the evening, lots of places to eat and drink.
Ice cream selection (everything I tried from the dairy-free selection was really really good):
Inside Sarona Market:
Finally, at the Azrieli Center ignore the shops 😉 and take the elevator to the observatory. The observatory is on the 49th floor and claims to be the highest in the middle east. It’s a bit pricey to go up, but on clear days you get an amazing view over Tel Aviv.
When you have a look to the southwest you might be able to get a glimpse of the next stop already, although I imagine it’s hard to identify specific streets from above. The next spot is not a specific building, but an area in the city center called “White City”. Along Sderot Rothschild you find many buildings in Bauhaus style. In fact, Tel Aviv has the highest number of building ins Bauhaus style of any city in the world. They were designed by Jewish architects fleeing Germany after the rise of the Nazis in 1933. From Azrieli Center, you get there by walking back on Eliezer Kaplan Street for a couple of blocks, turning left into Ibn Gabriel Street and then right into Marmorek Street until you reach Sderot Rothschild. I marked the Rothschild Hotel in my map as a point of orientation.
This one is a bit hidden:
After all the walking and all the architecture you’re hopefully hungry again. Or, like in my case, there is always some place for falafel. Follow Sheinkin Street to reach King George Street again and stuff your face at Falafel Ratzon. Their food is cheap and delicious, what more can you ask for.
Everyone loves falafel:
Simple food is the best food sometimes:
The falafel gives you new energy that you need to explore the Carmel Market for the rest of the afternoon. There is many things to see and to try (juice for example), and you also almost reached the starting and end point of the walking tour again as you cross Allenby Street to get into the area of the market.
Tikva’s juice stand:
This screams “healthy”:
Final step, go home and have a rest to be prepared to visit Jaffa the next day!
Speaking of Jaffa, I decided not to write a separate post about it, as I think Jaffa is best explored by not making too many plans and wandering around in the streets admiring all the ancient buildings and beautiful views. So here are only a view pictures and food recommendations.
First, I suggest to take a walk on the coast to get to Jaffa (see the tower in the back?):
Someone was nice and distributed food among all the street cats:
Arrived! Jaffa clock tower:
Not so obvious, this is Abu Hassan’s, an amazing place for hummus (Israelis will have very different opinions on this):
But I thought is was a good choice (again decided to take the picture after I tried it, I’m such an unprofessional millennial). Afterwards you can have coffee and cake in Café Alma which is literally two buildings away:
Some random find:
This is actually a shop for antiques and I could have stayed for hours:
And of course Kikar Kedumim Street and St. Peter’s Church:
As well as the Statue of Faith:
And the mosques, Al-Bahr (not pictured) and Mahmudiyya:
And with this view back on the city center, I am closing this (lengthy) post. I hope you enjoyed following me around in Tel Aviv and feel inspired to visit at least some of the places if you plan a trip to Israel yourself.