How To Do A Cheap(Ish) Holiday In Tel Aviv
The Debrief: Why you need to book a Tel Aviv long weekender (or for next summer's hols) right now
As the nights draw in and you're dreaming of beaches then it’s time to start plotting your springtime adventure. If you’re hankering after the buzz of a city break but also want a banging beach, then look no further than Tel Aviv. Besides the long stretch of sandy beach, Tel Aviv is a party city filled with cool bars and nightclubs that keep you up till gone sunrise.
Hands up, Tel Aviv ain’t the cheapest of destinations so besides from throwing money in the piggy bank now, book those flights before the prices rise. Flights for next April start from £146 return from London with Monarch. Easyjet also offers similarly good prices for the direct flights that take around five hours to jet you from the grey London to the blue skies of Tel Aviv. Expect highs of 27 degrees in May.
From Ben Gurion airport, one of the most convenient ways to travel to your pad is to take the shuttle bus for NIS 70 (£12), which you can book ahead here. Alternatively, take the train to your nearest station for NI6 (£2.70).
Where to stay
Beachside bliss or artsy city life? Whatever you want your backdrop to be, there’s some cool, stylish options in Tel Aviv. If you want to be next to the combed beaches, have a look on Airbnb for finds such as this £66 a night apartment that comes with sea views. There’s cheaper options from about £45 per night for an apartment in the artsy suburb of Neve Tzedek, but if you’re wanting to add ooh la la to your stay, take a peek at this apartment which features a rooftop and Jacuzzi. For three people it will cost about £60 each per night, but just think of the shekels (Israeli currency) you’ll save having a few drinks at the apartment before you head for your glamorous night in Tel Aviv.
If you’re looking for somewhere more snazzier, the best option is Brown TLV, a glamorous boutique number in the artsy neighbourhood of Neve Tzedek. In return for about £70 each per night, you’ll bag breakfast at one of several local cafes/restaurants, and access to the hotel’s glamorous rooftop, where you can while away hours bathing next to the other cool hotel guests. Bikes are also thrown into the mix here, meaning you can get out and explore the city for free (more of which later).
How the day unfolds is up to you, but there’s one long reason to come to Tel Aviv – and that’s the golden stretch of sand, with different sections attracting different styles of beachgoers. For instance, the Gordon-Frishman strip attracts those who like to be seen, surfers take their boards down to Hilton Beach while the more laidback get their beach bums to the calmer Herzliya. If you like to keep fit while on holiday, then join the runners, cyclists and skaters who hit the boardwalk that connects the beaches.
But Tel Aviv is about so much more than blissed-out beaches. The city is home to the largest collection of Bauhaus buildings worldwide. You can fork out for a tour, but there’s actually free tours that will take you around Rothschild Boulevard (the main concentration of such architecture). New museums and art galleries are cropping up on all the time in Tel Aviv. One of the best is the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, which showcases art from the 16th century to present day. It also houses a cool museum shop that’s perfect for cool presents. Entrance is NIS 50 (£8.46).
Do walk around and get lost along the narrow alleys of Old Jaffa, the oldest part of Tel Aviv. There’s also a flea market to browse. Tel Aviv is a city designed for cycling so do rent a bike from one of its 150 Tel-O-Fun rental stations dotted across the city (which operate similar to our Boris Bikes).
Whether you’re hankering after a freshly squeezed orange juice, jewellery or a new dress, you’ve got to put the vibrant and colourful open air Carmel Market high on your itinerary. There’s also a flea market over at Jaffa where you can find anything from antiques to handmade goods to the usual tourist tack.
Where to eat
For a cosy, affordable brunch option get thee to Café Birenbaum in artistic Nahalat Binyamin. If organic vegetarian food is your thing, check out the oh-so beautiful bistro Meshek Barzilay, which is perfect for an Israeli brunch, which consists of salads, dips like hummus, bread on top of whatever main dish you choose – keeping you full for hours after - or dinner options like gnocchi, pizza, noodles and pasta. A similar European-style brunch and dinner can be found at Lulu Kitchen & Bar, but choose to sit outside and watch the good-looking locals go by.
Where to party
For your late night endeavours, check out what’s happening at Browns TLV, which with its a bar downstairs and rooftop upstairs, attracts the cool crowd and hosts some hot parties. Rothschild 12 on the Boulevard is a hip bar with a cool backyard to hang out in. Tel Aviv is a late night city, partying way past sunrise. Popular clubs to let your hair down in include Bordel Bar, outdoor club Clara and The Breakfast Club.
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