New year, New blog. - NYE in Tel Aviv
Updated: Apr 22, 2019
Ok it’s almost February but here we go, first post on my shiny new blog!
This year I decided I wanted to see in the new year on a beach, somewhere warm, with great nightlife and only 4 hours from London. Impossible right? No! Tel Aviv must literally be one of the most underrated places! Seriously why isn’t everyone going?! It’s warm all year round, it’s the perfect mix of city and beach, it’s bursting with history and culture and you can go see jesus’ home town and watch a sunset from the Dead Sea in the same day! Plus the nightlife is fantastic!
What to do
I would definitely recommend the day tour we did. Although it’s a long day, it is possible to squeeze in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and the Dead Sea all in one. The tour was well organised with friendly guides ticking off all the main sites and dropping us back at the hotel at a decent time so you can still head out. Bethlehem does cost extra ($25) and there is a lot of queuing to see the famous ‘stable’ but definitely worth it in my opinion.
The Dead Sea was a very strange experience. It's the lowest point on earth and so has a very high salt content which makes you much more floaty. What no one tells you is the water has an almost oily feel to it and basically feels pretty disgusting, although apparently its good for your skin and is used in many beauty products. Whilst trying to get my relaxed floaty pic for insta, I managed to get quite a bit in my mouth and I can say it was probably the worst thing I've ever tasted! If this does happen you are supposed to track down a life guard to check you haven't overdosed on salt!
Tel Aviv, like more and more city’s now, have scan and go electric scooters which are perfect for zipping up and down the boardwalk and into the city. The cycle lanes make this feel pretty safe and so cheap! Approx 10p a minute. The biggest company is called bird which has a pretty easy to use app, but be warned they are very popular! More than once we followed the map to find one, only to see someone else coming from the opposite direction and then well, it's a fight to the death! Unless you're British and just awkwardly pretend you were actually looking at something else on your phone.
Markets: Every city blog ever written will tell you check out some kind of market and let’s be real, they are usually shit! Not the case here, even if you have no interest in buying anything it is an experience in itself: All sorts of junk piled high to the ceiling! There’s plenty of bars and restaurants to stop at along the way and also multiple shisha cafes if that's your thing.
What to eat and drink
We chose to see in the new year (or Sylvester as its called in Israel) somewhere a bit fancier than usual and after some debate, settled on Rothchild's new rooftop bar: Speakeasy. A good choice if your looking for a sophisticated night out, but for every one else definitely try Sputnik bar or Herzl 16 for a bit more of a chilled out vibe with affordable drinks, cool music and even cooler decor. If your looking for something a bit more clubby or somewhere to go later Jimmy Who is very popular with both locals and tourists and is in the same building as Speakeasy.
Max Brenner: This is the place everyone I know who’s been to Tel Aviv recommended and it did not disappoint. It's the first chocolate bar I've been to and I doubt it will be the last. The menu is huge and everything comes with some sort, or multiple types of chocolate I'd recommend the waffles!
By far my favourite place we visited on this trip was North Abraxass. Definitely get a seat at the bar, the chefs and bar tenders made the night for us. They were so friendly, funny and genuinely loving life (probably due to the amount of shots we were doing with them). I can’t promise this is always the vibe but if you are looking for somewhere to dance on the bar between courses this is the place! Oh and the food is pretty good too! (Sharing dishes a mix of Israeli and western.)
Another area to definitely check out one night is the Jaffa port. The shipping container style pop ups here look much more at home than plonked in the middle of central London, it’s still a working fishing port and a fantastic place for people watching and seafood - Container would get my vote!
Right down the other end is Tel Aviv port; the slightly fancier end of the beach. There’s a range of places to choose from however I would persignally recommend Kitchen Market. A small restaurant attached to a market where all the ingredients come from, so you can go out and buy everything to recreate the amazing meal you’ve just eaten. Again I’d recommend sitting at the bar here but maybe that’s just me who’s fascinated by the chefs. There’s also outdoor seating over looking the sea or a balcony up stairs if you’re a normal person and would prefer that view while you’re eating!
Sushi Kanki Wine bar- For a quick cheap meal with a nice vibe and outdoor dining (heated in the winter) this place worked very nicely and the great prices meant I ate far too much sushi and drank far too much wine!
Thai house- Now I can’t actually comment on the food here but I do know we went back 3 times as it was very close to our hotel, and couldn’t get a table! I mean I am just a sucker when I see a big queue I just think ‘ooh that place but be amazing’ but if anyone goes or has been please let me know your verdict!
Where to stay
I would recommend a minimum of 4 nights in Tel Aviv. Theres basically three main areas: Jaffa port, Tel Aviv port and Rothschild Boulevard we opted for Tel Aviv port which was close to a few beach bars and restaurants I would suggest staying at either end of the beach rather than in the city, it’s pretty easy to get around but my preference is always to be as close to the beach as possible at all times. As with most place prices do jump up during busy periods.
Tips for visiting Israel/ Tel Aviv
They will ask you 1 million, quite personal questions at the airport on the way home. The couple in front of us actually got taken away for further questioning as they both had different answers for ‘how long have you been together?’ So maybe have those answers ready!
It gets pretty chilly at night in the winter so bring some layers! In fact the weather is just weird full stop so options are good.
Do not open your mouth in the Dead Sea!!
It’s quite spread out so be prepared to get taxis (or hire a scooter). Thankfully there is Uber although not as regular as other major cities.
Most places accept card but I always like to carry some local currency just in case (Shekels).
At first we thought the famous nightlife was all a myth as the streets were still quiet at 9pm. But everyone just seems to go out much later probably around 11, so I wouldn't bother heading out until around that time.
Oh big one! When you book a hotel this will probably be in teeny tiny writing somewhere but if you check in on a Saturday no one will be at reception until after sunset (7ish) so bear that in mind if you’ve got an early Saturday morning flight!
On the same note most things are closed on Saturday day time for religious reasons.
Thanks for reading my very first post! Please let me know what you think and if there is anything I've missed and please use my affiliate link to search for hotels in Tel Aviv!