[Ad] When it comes to visiting Israel, all international flights arrive in Tel Aviv. But the city’s pristine beachside views, culture-rich neighbourhoods and authentic cuisine mean there’s every reason to stay and explore. Here, guest writer Cacinda Maloney shares her perfect itinerary and guide to two days in Tel Aviv.
Beautiful Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv is a beautiful and historic city, perfectly situated on the Mediterranean Sea with a bustling and lively culture. It’s Israel’s second largest city and also functions as the hub for all international flights to Israel. As a result, you may find yourself with one two days in Tel Aviv before travelling on to Jerusalem and the rest of the Middle East.
An Inside Guide…
Cacinda says: "Tel Aviv is one of my favourite destinations and one of those cities in Israel that I try to spend as much time in as I can. I realise that not everyone can have this luxury and so I tried to scope out only the best things to do in this article. If I only had 2 days in Tel Aviv, here’s what I would make sure I didn’t miss."
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Day One: Around Neve Tzedek
Built in the home of one of the most famous Israeli poets, Hayyim Nahman Bialik, this museum gives a glimpse into the early part of the 20th century in Tel Aviv. The library inside contains nearly one hundred books written by Bialik translated into 28 different languages.
This great poet laid the foundation for an awakening of Israeli culture and arts and is still recognized today for his greatness. His home is now used as a centre for literary arts, and with its stunning architecture, you can almost feel his passion for poetry in every room. If you are looking for a taste of the more recent history of Tel Aviv, the Bialik Museum is a satisfying location to visit for its authenticity and cultural relevance.
Neve Tzedek and the Carmel Market
A beautiful maze of picturesque streets, Neve Tzedek, is a key destination in Tel Aviv. It’s a fashionable district in a chic location, mixing in bars, shops, boutiques and art shops amid the
Frederic Mann Auditorium, Habima Theater and avant-garde Helena Rubinstein Art Museum.
The lively Carmel Market stocks a variety of local flavours, ranging from pastries to meats, sweets, and spices. The market is open every day except Saturday, so make sure to fit this into your itinerary for two days in Tel Aviv.
Inside Fact: Neve Tzedek means Abode of Justice
HaTachana: Railway Station Turned Place to Be
Enjoy a slice of history with your dinner and drinks at HaTachana.
Not only was HaTachana the first railway station built in Tel Aviv, it was the first in the Middle East, connecting Jaffa to Jerusalem as far back as 1892.
HaTachana now serves as a shopping area and entertainment complex right between Neve Tzedek and Old Jaffa, with boutique shops, galleries, and several restaurants. Stop on by for a drink at the bar or a quick coffee in one of the many cafes.
Inside tip: HaTachana is Hebrew for “the station, which rather explains the nickname…
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Day Two - Old Jaffa - The Old City
In contrast to the modern city of Tel Aviv, Old Jaffa in the south west of the city has been inhabited for over 7,500 years. With its historic buildings of stone, winding alleyways mosques, churches, synagogues, and the Jaffa Flea Market, Old Jaffa is an absolute highlight on any 2 days in Tel Aviv itinerary.
One stroll across the scenic Jaffa Port will impress even the most experienced traveller.
And that’s before we get to the history.
Jaffa features in the bible as the port that Jonah used when fleeing from God’s commandment (and then later eaten by a whale.)
In Greek mythology, Perseus rescued Andromeda from the sea monster on the rocks visible from Jaffa port: the Andromeda rocks.
With its stunning views of the Mediterranean, the Jaffa Port is an integral part of Old Jaffa, and a whole day could be spent here without seeing it all.
But wait, there’s more!
Around the Jaffa Watchtower
Along the remnants of the eastern wall of the old city is the Jaffa Watchtower, built over one hundred years ago to commemorate 25 years in power by the Turkish Sultans.
Along the same street is the widely popular Abouelafia’s Bakery (arrive early to beat the queue.) This local café serves pitta bread, Arabic bagels, sweet pastries and cheesy sambusaks.
Around the corner from it is the Jaffa Mosque and fountain, famous for its stunning dome, exquisite prayer rooms and courtyards. It is a classic piece of history that immerses you into the culture of the early 19th century.
There are many other great destinations in Old Jaffa, including the Garden Peak Park, the Wishing Bridge, the Zodiac Fountain, and the Gateway Sculpture. The Garden Peak Park has an incredible view of the ocean, with iron cannons left behind by Napoleon from when he conquered the city over 200 years ago.
At the entrance to the Wishing Bridge is an elaborate mosaic depicting the zodiac signs. Legend says that if you touch the sign and make a wish, it will come true. The Gateway Sculpture, just up the hill, depicts three biblical stories involving Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The Wishing Bridge, Zodiac Fountain, and Gateway Sculpture are all near each other between the Garden hilltop and Kedumim Square. If you have more than two days in Tel Aviv, then I’d highly recommend spending more time here.
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Tel Aviv Museum of Art
Built in what was the home of Tel Aviv’s first mayor is the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, famously known for its collection of contemporary and classical Israeli art. It contains pieces by Picasso and Klimt, but isn’t exclusive to art aficionados. It has great exhibits for children and the guided tours can really help immerse you into their collections. This museum is welcoming to all and with its original and creative pieces, it can be a perfect addition to any trip to Tel Aviv.
The Second Best Hummus in Tel Aviv!
Made with chickpeas, olive oil, and some secret spices, one of the most traditional flavours of Israel usually arrives with pitta chips or aubergine. The Humus Habait represents the Israeli style of hummus and has been rated as one of the best in all of Israel. From their shakshuka hummus to their falafel, this friendly and warm restaurant makes you feel right at home on the coast of the Mediterranean. This place will always remain one of my favourite spots for a tasty and authentic lunch in Tel Aviv.
About the Author
As experienced luxury travel writer and photographer, Dr. Cacinda Maloney shares her love of travel through her digital content creation skills. She stepped out of her comfort zone years ago by traveling every six weeks of her life for over 25 years. Now she travels even more than that.
She loves transformational travel that is rich in cultural experiences. Find her on instagram here.
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How to Get to Tel Aviv with Virgin Atlantic
From September 2019, Virgin Atlantic will fly direct to Tel Aviv from London Heathrow on a daily basis, connecting with American hubs including New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
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