Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is a curious and stimulating clash of the ancient with the modern. The port of Jaffa (which gives its name to the variety of seedless oranges which originated there) is a settlement over 5000 years old, whereas downtown Tel Aviv is not yet 100. It was founded in 1909, when Israel was under Ottoman rule, by a group of Jewish settlers moving out Jaffa. It attracted many thousands of European Jewish Immigrants, which gave the city its cosmopolitan character. Tel Aviv has the best nightlife in Israel, and probably the whole of the Middle East. It can seem at times like a Mediterranean city, with cafes and restaurants staying open well into the small hours. The city is cosmopolitan, trendy and friendly towards visitors. Hebrew and Arabic are the city’s official languages, though English is widely spoken and road signs appear in Hebrew and English.


To take in all of Tel Aviv at once, ascend the [ Azrieli Tower] to the 49th floor and take in the magnificent panoramic view of the city. You can also watch a short 3d film about the city.

The foundations of Tel Aviv are built on an ancient port, which used to be one of the most important commercial posts in the region, connecting the Middle East with Europe for ancient maritime trading. To celebrate this fact, the [ Archaeological Museum] ‘Beit Miriam’ has exhibits which date from prehistoric times through to the Byzantine period, including a fascinating mosaic floor and all kinds of other artefacts excavated in the local area. There is a section of the museum entitled ‘the Yielding Sea’ which contains a collection of ancient maritime exhibitions, including anchors, and vessels used by sailors. There is an emphasis on how human activities impact the environment, and urges the visitor to be aware of the affect they may be having on their surroundings.

For art fans, the [ Tel Aviv museum of Art] is a must see. It contains a wide variety of works from masters of all schools. Cezannane, Monet, Dali, Klimt and Kandinsky are all represented, along with many less well-known Israeli artists.

For those with an interest in Israel’s turbulent modern history, a visit to the Israeli Defence Force Museum is recommended. On the site of the old railway station in Yaffo, the museum contains examples of the military hardware the force has used and uses today, along with the inevitable commemorations of battles fought in Jerusalem and elsewhere in the troubled state. In total, there are over a hundred museums in Tel Aviv, encompassing art, archaeology, ancient and modern history, science and technology.

A UNESCO world heritage site, the white city quarter of Tel Aviv contains hundreds of examples of the Bauhaus school of architecture. This was an influential strain of architectural thought when the modern city was being built, and this is one of the best places in the world to see functioning examples of Bauhaus.

Much of Tel Aviv is built more or less on the beach, and these miles of Mediterranean coastline are what attract many of the city’s visitors. The climate is always appropriate for the beach, with very little rainfall throughout the year. The beaches are often the starting point for the city’s nightlife, with people enjoying barbecues or drinks on the sand before moving into the city. For fans of watersports, the Surf Point is the place to go. You can hire all the equipment needed for surfing, windsurfing or scuba diving, and obtain tuition if necessary. The city’s most popular beach is Gordan, which is opposite the huge Dans Hotel.


Alenby Street, next to the bus station in the city centre, is lined with clothes shops, second hand book and furniture shops, and bakeries serving fresh pastries. Shenkin Street contains a selection of independent designer stores, record stores and trendy cafes. In many ways this is the cultural centre of Tel Aviv, where young people, especially students, congregate and socialise. The trendiest shop on Shenkin Street is ‘Third Eye’ which imports clothing and other items from the Far East. If you would prefer to shop in a more sterile, air conditioned environment, the Dizengoff Shopping centre is worth a visit. Containing chain stores and eateries, you can spend an afternoon browsing and dining under one roof.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Possibly the best way to explore the exciting food scene of Tel Aviv is to explore the innumerable café-restaurants. These are usually family run, and offer all kinds of cuisine, usually a mouth watering combination of the Mediterranean with the Middle Eastern. Rosemary, olive oil, fish, lemon and lamb are some of the most common ingredients in the city’s cuisine. Particularly recommended is Orna and Ela on Shenkin Street in downtown Tel Aviv. Being a very cosmopolitan city, there are of course many different styles of international food available. There are the ever-present Italian restaurants alongside Sushi, French and North African establishments.

The city’s famed nightlife doesn’t get into full swing until after midnight. There are hundreds and hundreds of bars of all kinds serving everything from cocktails to the two national beers, Maccabi and Goldstar. Israel’s electronic dance music scene is admired throughout Europe and the US, and its various clubs attract top international DJs. TLV is probably Israel’s most popular club, on the coast and offering an open air section which is sensible considering the huge air conditioning bills of the city’s 3 or 4 other ‘mega clubs’.

Tourist Information

  • Tel: +972 (0)2 625 8844
  • Web: []
  • Web: [ ]
  • Email:
Tel Aviv Tourist Information Office 46 Herbert Samuel St., Tel Aviv, Israel.
  • PHONE: 03/516-6188
City Hall Lobby, 69 Ibn Gvirol St
  • PHONE: 03/521-8500


Ben Gurion International Airport flies to destinations in Europe and the US. Because of the restrictions on people entering Israel, it is unusual (although not unknown) for tourists to enter Israel on land through its borders.