As you may have already concluded from the Tel Aviv trippin story, it seems like we were on a food route, not on a city discovery route. I regret nothing. My itinerary did not include many sightseeing spots, higher percentages were reserved for food joints, but that is how you discover a new country as well. Our daily routes were between 20 and 30 kilometres long.
And here is how we were routing:
DAY 1 – EXPLORING TEL AVIV BY NIGHT
Arriving on a Saturday night, which is considered as the last day of the weekend in Israel, there is only one place where you should be – Teder.FM, and these are not my words, but words of our AirBnB host. It is kind of a ruin bar/restaurant spot, where people are mostly chatting, and eating gigantic pizza, while trying to be louder than the music. I would add that you should not go partying hungry, so make sure to visit Miznon, Hakosem or Jasmino. Judging by everything I’ve tried, probably there isn’t a bad food stand in Tel Aviv, so make sure not to miss anything hummus related. Then depending on the area where you are accommodated, you can choose different routes to explore. All of the neighbourhoods are lively so take your way home on foot.
DAY 2 – BOULEVARD TOUR – ALLENBY – JAFFA – DIZENGOFF – ROTHSCHILD
Not doing “by the book” sightseeing, was not exclusively our fault. Even if you do a research the top mentioned main attractions of the city are the neighbourhoods, and the beach. The boulevard-tour-day started with Allenby Boulevard, which is one of the main public transport streets. I got the impression that every bus in the city stops in this street.
Little did we know that one babka stand in Ha Carmel Market will be our starting day point till the end of the trip. Then, entering the tiny streets of Neve Tzedek and Florentin, we arrived at the Old City – Jaffa. Worth every step coming and being here. The flea market is so colorful, but the bars and the restaurants are even more. If I exclude the food highlights, sightseeing wise this was definitively top of the tops, even though the beach is one of the nicest and cleanest I’ve seen. The beach promenade (Shlomo Lahat Promenade) was our next milestone. We reached the end city beach point at the Hilton Hotel. Many people were recommending this beach as number one city beach, but to me they all looked equally good. On the first right turning at the end of the beach road we arrived at Dizengoff Boulevard, which is home to a huge amount of bars and pastry shops. We honoured here the Cocktail Bar 223. Happy Hour Jackpot honoured us in return. The next spot on our plan was the Sarona Market but we were late for it since it closes at 20 o’clock, so we took the Rothschild Boulevard route on our way home. This boulevard has a walking area in the middle, filled with beach beds, outdoor gyms, many kiosks – typical bars for Israel, and it is very green. The residential area around it is also worth the attention.
DAY 3 – JERUSALEM
Our plan was not really strictly predefined by days as usual, but we knew we were going to visit Jerusalem for sure, and maybe the Dead Sea area if the weather conditions were allowing – they kinda didn’t. Another thing that I was sure of – I didn’t want to take any rides on my birthday (as you get older priorities change), and that is how Monday was “the Day” for Jerusalem. In order to reach the main train station, we used the public bus (after stopping for Babka). In order to use the public transport in Tel Aviv you need a pre-purchased card which you top up, and tickets by the driver are not being sold. That was our one and only “gray ride”. Arriving at the main station in Jerusalem, first we played with the bikes in front of it, and then continued towards the city market – Mahane Yehuda Market. It was one of the first shocks, because they were selling everything that you can and can’t imagine, in no particular order. Tourist classic sightseeing can be done in the old town having the Wailing Wall, Via Dolorosa, The Church of Holy Sepulchre as main spots. It is a nice sight, but the emotions caused here are mixed. My best experience was the view from the Austrian Hospice and the view from the Rimon Cafe towards the old town. Never forget to make kunefe, pomegranate juice or hummus break.
Since we were very efficient on our day trip, we made a siesta and then went off to finish our mission. More great food. On tonight’s menu was the star of the meals, Hakosem’s hummus-shawarma plate, and then the drinks and the vibe in Port Said.
DAY 4 – NEVE TZEDEK & FLORENTIN
The only day that didnt start with a babka, was my birthday. Was it a mistake, yes, but I wanted to give a chance to another bakery. Passing by the art market on Nahalat Binyamin Street, we reached Neve Tzedek and we started zigzagging through every street. There were a lot of picturesque houses, window shops and bars, the bakery we were looking for was at the end of the street. It had a french vibe, and even though nothing compares to chocolate babka, the bakery we really enjoyed the change. A few steps further from here we entered the Old Train Station Area, which is now home of artistic and hand-made stuff shops, Israeli designers, and some bars. I liked it, but I had the impression that the local people are maybe not very fond of it, since it was empty. Maybe the afternoon was the wrong timing. Cherry on top – Florentin, the hip bar and graffiti area. The nights are definitively more lively than the afternoons. After a fish kebab stop here, we were on our way to Imperial Cocktail bar, with another take away spot for fermented everything juice. Definitively more picturesque than tasty, but who am I to judge.
We did not hit the happy hour slot in Imperial Bar, however, we were lucky we got a spot even though we had no reservation. This bar used to be on the Top 50 cocktail bars list, and all the cocktails were Tel Aviv inspired, which was very interesting to read about. The significant other learned a lot about flavours here, like that Mezcal gives the smokey taste of a drink, I was just enjoying without learnings. And to end the night in “style” we went off to another food joint Jasmino, to see why all the locals are queuing here. They were queuing for chicken hearts in a pita. I resisted it and went for a good old kebab instead. Did we need this? No! Do I regret it? Again No.
The third no of the night was the decision of not having breakfast the next day.
DAY 5 – BEACH
However, one of the two of us didn’t bring the same decision, so Chocolate Babka from HaCarmel was on the menu. In the meantime we had our cups of coffee in a stylish hotel/cafe, where we checked out another 2 books about Tel Aviv which were very interestingly written, and showed the city and the culture in a chill way. The rest of the day was “booked” for the beach. The sun bed season was not ON, but the prices for it were super low. Just because the style should not fall behind, and lunch was not banned, Miznon and the airport bus were our way of saying Daber iti to the city.
Daber iti – saying bye when you know you will meet again
If you have more time or you feel like you had enough from the city life you can join a one day trip to Masada, Dead Sea or even check out another country – Jordan. There are many agencies offering this with pick up from your hotel. Also if you are not a fan of long bus rides in crowded narrow city streets, go for the train instead of the bus on your way to the airport.