For those of you who have never been to Israel please raise your hand!
Don’t you have a few friends that once told you Tel Aviv is the best city in the world ?! Well I do ! So I did decide to go!…. I also had the wedding of my friend which made me go 😉
Let me tell you more about my trip a few days ago (beginning of July).
My husband and I decided to take the Red Eye from Paris to Tel Aviv which had us land there very early in the morning (5am). By the way, direct Flight from LA exists his name is El Al !
Destination N°1: Our Hotel… BUT before that: TAXI! First of all, you should know that there are some Ubers, sometime the app will just let you Uber a taxi meaning that a taxi will be called from your Uber app. However, now that I’ve been there I found a great taxi with with who you can arrange your trips: his name is Dudi and he can be reached at +972 50 9147 444, just send him a text and tell him that you come from Valentina, which is me !
So getting back on track, we are heading to our fabulous luxury boutique hotel: THE WHITE VILLA . This hotel was exactly what we needed: something private, cosy, charming in the heart of the city with a very friendly and nice staff and most of all great rooms. No swimming pool though for those of you who have this criteria as a top one. If you’re looking for a hotel with a swimming pool, you might want to give up on small boutique hotels (except the Norman hotel) and look for big ones such as The Carlton for example.
I’m sure that you will not be surprised at all if I tell you that as soon as we got to the hotel we directly jumped into our king bed in our beautiful room already fresh from the AC and slept until 2Pm! As soon as we woke up we went straight ahead in the streets of Tel Aviv starting with a little shopping session on Shabazi Street in Neve Tsedek, charming little street with a few boutiques. You should do it! Once that done, we were starting to be hungry, so we decided to go to this great cute tapas restaurant close from the old train station called Vicky Cristina (about 15 min walk from Shabazi Street). This place is outdoor, really cute and food is full of local flavor. We then took a little walk from the restaurant to Jaffa Port (about 25 minutes walking). This walk was great and I recommend it to you, the streets are full of charm, beautiful colors (around 5pm), energy, loved that walk. Once arrived at the port, we decided to have a quick little drink at one of their outdoor bar. We had to head out to the hotel to get ready for our dinner at this restaurant called Par derrière which was easy, young clientele, friendly and good. We ate in their outdoor patio.
Our night wasn’t over as we headed out to the rooftop of the Norman hotel for one last drink….
The entrance at The White Villa Hotel
The second day was our tourist cultural discovery day: heading to Jerusalem. We woke up early (8am) and had our taxi driver, Dudi, come and pick us up (driving time: 1 to 2 hours depending on traffic), drop off location: Jaffa Gate.
One we got there, we walked in the little narrow streets of the old city of Jerusalem. In these streets, you will find a lot of small stores selling a bunch of souvenirs items. At 11 am, we had to be at the Jaffa Gate to meet our guide. For the tour guide (which I highly recommend) you have 3 options:
- Guide during 4 – 5 hours with a group of 15-20 people (what we did) price: 120ILS/ pers
- Guide during 2h30 with a group of 15-20 people for free, based on gratuity only.
- Private guide in your language (price per hour)
Tourist Office is located on the left side once you enter the Old City through the Jaffa Gate, they will be able to assist you with any information needed.
If you want to book in advance your tour, you can do it here. You can also just get there and book. For you, I have a special discount code that you need to enter on the website: AMITAIJER
I recommend you to follow the 4hours and 30 minutes tour or the private one. If you decide to choose the private tour, ask your guide to bring you in secret little streets. Jerusalem is a huge city full of cultural wealth not to miss. At night, we had to check out from our hotel as we had to join our friends to the AirBnb apartment we had rented. The apartment was great by the way, very well located, well decorated (modern), very cosy and pleasant: this is the one AirBnb we had rented. We chose to have dinner in a restaurant supposed to be THE restaurant where you party in Tel Aviv. Called: Ha Salon !If you want to eat in a great dancing atmosphere this is the one ! But be careful to book long time in advance. We then had a drink at this outdoor club/ bar called Secret Garden, great ! I really enjoyed this place and recommend it to you.
Day 3: Friday: Shabbat Shalom!
Beach day! We had well deserved to lay down on a long chair in the sand 🙂 So we had lunch at a great restaurant right on the beach called: Banana Beach, very friendly, good and easy.
End of the day, we went to have a bottle of Fresh Rosé Wine at this trendy bar called Port Said, which was crowdy but young, fun and on a very nice square in the heart of Tel Aviv.
IMPORTANT NOTE FOR GIRLS: Durring Shabbat, the shops are closed so no shopping!
Beach again… YES! This time, we tried a different restaurant called La La Land. This one was really cool and great atmosphere, you were eating with your feet in the sand, isn’t that nice?. There was a little bit of wait time, but it goes pretty fast (we had to wait 30 minutes).
We then headed to the Tel Aviv Port. You can find international brands there, a few bars and restaurants. A little bit too touristy but still nice.
At night, we had dinner in this great restaurant that I highly recommend called: David Yoseff. Very good food, in particular the deserts you die for, great ambiance young and trendy. Then, we went dancing at this bar a few feet away called Billie Jean where you can actually dance on the benches ! Very fun ! Great music! small place !
Was the kind of hangover day, where you just need to have a good brunch in a nice place. So we went to Benedict , food was good, in front of the Sarona Market. This market is covered, you can find very random stores like FAUCHON, or an ice cream store, next to a local spices merchant…
Once this done, we walked back to our apartment through this cool street called Shenkin Street where you can find a lot of random shops (jewelry, fashion,perufms…) just what we needed: a little walk after a good brunch 🙂
At night, we went for dinner to a great steak restaurant inside the Montefiore hotel.
And the next day was already Monday: time to go back home… !
What I’ve loved: Cute charming streets, cultural wealth, Tel Aviv: a city of young people, beautiful weather, beach and night life.
What I’ve less appreciated: The aggressiveness of the local people and the middle range service in a lot of restaurants.
Below is a list of recommended places for you:
The White Villa Hotel / +972 3-602-8868 / $$
Hotel Montefiore / +972 3-564-6100 / $$$
Hotel Norman / +972 3-543-5555 / $$$$
Benedict / +972 3-686-8657
Da Da & Da / +972 3-551-1211
Zakaim / +972 3-613-5060 (vegan restaurant)
Vicky Cristina / +972 3-736-7272 (tapas)
Toto /+972 3-693-5151 (Italien)
Kitchen Market / +972 3-544-6669
Banana Beach / +972 3-516-8691
Gazebo / +972 9-950-2000
La La Land / +972 3-529-3303
Plage Cassis / +972 3-575-3745
David and Yossef / +972 3-604-0036
Ha’Salon / +972 52 703 5888
Montefiore / +972 3-564-6100
Abraxas North / +972 3-977-1111
Par derrière / +972 3-629-2111
I really hope you enjoyed reading this article and hope that you will use these tips and addresses for your next trip to Israel. Yes! One last thing before I forget: Don’t forget to change money before you travel there. You will often pay in cash little souvenir shops, or small restaurants, etc…
And PLEASE ! Any additional suggestions, tips, notes are soooo welcomed, feel free to comment this article.