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In dramatic contrast to the nation's capital, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv isn't a city steeped in its historic past. Instead, it is a living, breathing urban centre, one that boasts burgeoning cultural, culinary, and nightlife scenes.
Made up of several starkly different neighbourhoods, Tel Aviv has something to offer for the history-lover and the hip young traveller curious about modern Israeli culture.
One of the city's oldest areas — the Ottoman-era Jaffa — is now as old as three millennia, and entices visitors with ancient buildings, biblical artefacts, and a still operational, charming fishing port.
Another neighbourhood to be written into any visitor's route is the Neve Tzedek. Stroll around the charming streets of one of Tel Aviv's oldest parts (the first Jewish neighbourhood to appear outside the city walls), and sit down for a slow meal at one of the many restaurants and cafes.
The famous Bauhaus buildings, Tel Aviv's so-called 'White City', do not occupy an area of their own, but are scattered throughout the entire town. Tel Aviv also enjoys a breezy coastal setting on the Mediterranean, with kilometres of beaches.
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While many come to Tel Aviv for the city's gorgeous beaches and unstoppable nightlife, there is much more to see and do. Explore a combination of historical sights and attractions with cutting-edge art galleries and boutiques, the city's look ranging from modernist Bauhaus buildings and millennial architecture in Jaffa.
With a seemingly never-ending selection of places to eat, ranging from fine dining to street food, Tel Aviv is one of the region's best culinary cities. Daring chefs push the envelope when it comes to fusing tradition with innovation in the city's top restaurants, while street stalls take quick, cheap and delicious to whole new levels.
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Cafes play an important role in the life of the locals of Tel Aviv. These are the places where they go not only to catch up with friends or family but to do business, too. Talented baristas serve up expertly-prepared coffee, and decadent desserts are abundant. Be sure to try some local baked goods and bread.
Tel Aviv is known as the party capital of the Middle East, and for good reason. The seaside location and pleasant climate mean that beach parties go on until dawn, and world-class clubs, bars and music venues draw huge crowds all year.
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Shopping in Tel Aviv is ubiquitous and eclectic. From designer fashion by local and international brands, to second-hand and vintage clothes, to antiques and local delicacies — this city has it all.
Markets make up one of the most essential parts of everyday life in Tel Aviv, and should not be missed, both for the experience and the great finds.
Ben Gurion Airport (TLV)
Ben Gurion Airport is the main international airport serving Tel Aviv, located 19 km to the southeast of the city. David Ben-Gurion was the primary national founder of the State of Israel and the first Prime Minister of Israel.
To travel to the city centre from the airport you can use the national bus company called Egged bus. There are two locations where you can take the bus from. One is the Airport City and the other is the Ben Gurion Airport — arrival and departure terminals.
The second way to travel from the airport is by train. Israel Railways operates the Ben Gurion Airport Railway Station, located in the lower level of Terminal 3. The train goes to the north-west of Tel Aviv, Haifa and other destinations in the north, south-east to Modi'in, or south to Beersheba via Lod, Kiryat Gat and Lehavim. The journey to Tel Aviv Savidor Central Railway Station takes around 18 minutes.
The taxi service from the airport is provided under the supervision of the Israel Airport Authority. Passengers are recommended to avoid the use of non-authorized taxi services. The taxi station are located in front of the Terminal on Level G, near the exit through Gate 01.
Address: Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv
Phone: +972 3 975 8303
More Information: Commonly known by its Hebrew acronym as Natbag
Passport / Visa
To visit Israel you need a passport valid for at least six months from the date of entry. If you hold an Israeli passport, you will be required to present it upon arrival.
Many countries have a Visa Waiver Program with Israel, which allows their citizens to visit Israel without a pre-arranged visa. Citizens of Australia, Canada, the EU, and the USA do not need a visa for touristic stays up to 90 days. Citizens of other countries can check if they need a visa using the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Because of diplomatic issues, you might not be able to travel to some Arab or predominantly Muslim countries if your passport shows an Israeli visa or stamp. To solve this problem, your visa will be stamped on a separate entry card when you arrive in Israel.
Remember to bring your passport with you on trips to Palestinian territories: it will probably be required at checkpoints and border crossings.
Best Time to Visit
The best months to visit Tel Aviv are March through April and September through November, as spring and fall bring reasonable and pleasant temperatures as well as the lowest prices. Moreover, during this period you will avoid the tourist crowds, so you can fully enjoy outdoor cafes and markets.
However, if you are heading to Tel Aviv for your summer holidays, then May to August is your time. The sun is bright and warm and the Mediterranean is perfect for a swim. Remember to book at least two months in advance, as this is the peak tourist season.
The main public bus company that operates in Tel Aviv is called Dan and the national bus operator is Egged.
Most buses in Tel Aviv do not run on Shabbat (from Friday mid-afternoon until Saturday night). The shared taxi busses called "sherut" continue to run. Instead of regular busses, the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality runs free busses during Shabbat.
Tickets and Fares:
There are discounts for children, senior citizens and the disabled. You can either buy single rides, monthly subsections or an all-in-one public transportation pass. Tickets and passes can be obtained on the bus or at central bus stations.
Tel Aviv-Yafo has four train stations, all of which are situated along the Ayalon highway. All trains to Tel Aviv-Yafo stop at all four stations. For best access to the city centre, use either Tel Aviv Savidor Merkaz (also known as Arlozorov), or HaShalom, which is located in a large shopping mall.
Taxis in Israel are relatively cheap by European standards. In the city, drivers must use the meter (moneh) unless they agree a fixed fare with the passenger. Inter-city taxis have fixed fares.
You will have to pay extra for calling a taxi, your luggage, for going from the Ben Gurion airport. Night rates are 25% higher and you will often be asked to pay more on Friday and Saturday during Shabbat.
Probably the most convenient way to get around Tel Aviv is by using a taxi app like Gett (formerly GetTaxi) or Uber.
You can find several pharmacies all over Tel Aviv, but most of them are closed on Saturdays.
Address: Super-Pharm, Jerusalem Boulevard 49, Tel Aviv-Yafo
Phone: +972 77 888 1300
Country code: +972
Area code: 3
Israel operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.
You will usually find plug type C (two round pins, common in Europe). You can also see plug H (three pins in a triangular shape), which is compatible with type C.