A risky claim considering we haven’t seen everything a lot in the Middle East. Still. We can’t imagine there is a place more pleasant for people like us in the Middle East.
Tel Aviv is an idyll. A little bit like Miami Beach at the Mediterranean. But of course with the best Hummus dishes instead of Cuban food. A city, where Arabs and Jews don’t annoy each other. Tel Aviv is what the Middle East could be without all the religion fuss, hate and wars!
Coming from Jerusalem, we arrived at Tel Aviv bus station by bus. It costs 4€ per person and reliable. It was a one hour drive.
Note: When arriving at the main station, go at the end of the taxi line if you want to take a cab. Those in front of the entrance were waiting for quite a while that’s why they want 80 Shekel. Ask other drivers and negotiate. We went to the end of the taxi queue and paid 36 Shekels including luggage.
We stayed in the Florentine Backpacker Hostel and booked a double room with own bathroom. There were dorms with shared bathroom as well which are of course way cheaper. We were content with our accommodation. The room was small, simple and clean. The location is the best about it!
In our opinion the concept of this hotel is very interesting: They’re searching for volunteers, who work in the hostel and in return, they can stay for free (we don’t know the detailed conditions). For low budget travelers, this is a very good option. The volunteers made breakfast (which was not much, but they also don’t promise more) and cook something in the evenings (a little donation is welcome).
It’s more of a party crowd staying here, but they also leave you alone if you want to. They make sure, it’s not too loud during sleeping time. The whole concept works perfectly and we’re impressed.
Tel Aviv is, in general, a very expensive place and affordable accommodation rare. There are a few Airbnb places in town but they were still more expensive than our room in Florentine Backpacker Hostel. We can recommend this hotel/hostel to everyone!
Nice things you can do in Tel Aviv
For example, eating delicious food or see beautiful quarters, or go to the beach or watch the sunset or make a boat trip or walk around in Jaffa or or or…
Florentine – Hipster heaven of the Middle East
If we didn’t know better, we would say Florentine in Tel Aviv is the place where Hipsterism was born. It’s a little bit shabby, and everything that’s too shabby is prettied up with graffiti.
People here are really liberal. They’re relaxed when it comes to drugs and hipsterism and creativity have the highest priority. The expat rate in Tel Aviv is pretty high. Homosexuals and other minorities don’t have to hide. In contrary, they really don’t. That’s why they come from all over the country to live here in peace.
There couldn’t be a higher contrast to holy Jerusalem and at least for us, this was a world we could imagine to live in, again.
It is still one of the cheaper quarters in Tel Aviv. As it is really popular, it’s about time this will change.
Florentine is relaxed with many cafés and bars, which offer more than just Hummus – if you want to!
Eating in Tel Aviv
And while we’re on this topic, let’s have a closer look. You can find everything to eat in Tel Aviv. It’s known for its fusion kitchen restaurants but we stayed with the traditional food booths and taverns. We were still trying to find out where to eat the best Hummus.
Regarding this, we can 100% recommend you Abu Hassan, which is so good that there even are two restaurants in town (we ate in both). As far as we know it’s a family run business and the guys are probably the coolest Arabs in town. I’ve never seen someone cutting onions as fast as here.
There’s no luxury or chi-chi here. More like a pub or tavern in Arabic. The Hummus is the best we had during those two weeks (actually even better than at Hashem in Amman). Don’t be discouraged by the queues in front of the tavern. It doesn’t take long and the staff makes sure, you’ll find a place to sit, soon.
Another one we can highly recommend is Shlomo and Doron. As everything around the tavern was written in Hebrew. It wasn’t easy to find it for us in the first place. But everything else was no problem as they had Menus in English aswell. And again, the Hummus was perfect. Shlomo and Doron offer also different variations which we didn’t know before and which were also delicious.
I really ask myself what’s the secret to making this so unbelievably delicious. When you’re here take the chance to walk a little bit around Carmel Market and drink or eat something.
Unfortunately, you won’t find these kinds of taverns in Germany. We would be forever thankful, and probably daily customers! Even though we took a Hummus break back in Germany after all the Hummus overload!
Jaffa – Tel Aviv’s roots
Back in the days Jaffa was a town on its own and is today united with Tel Aviv. That’s why the city is actually Tel Aviv-Jaffa, officially.
Jaffa is the Arabic part of town and is located beautifully at the bay and harbor. Tel Aviv’s Old Town is well-maintained. You can enjoy a good view of the bay from many different parts of the Old Town.
There are so many beautiful alleys in the Old Town of Tel Aviv, it’s no wonder all the hip and cool people in town gather together here.
Tel Aviv seen from the water – A sunset boat trip
We can’t explain to you where the boat exactly leaves. What might help is to just go to the Northern part of the harbor and look for a group of Muslims trying to get on a boat? And yes, at the end we were on a boat full of Muslims partly looking curious at us and partly negative, as I obviously wasn’t dressed appropriately enough for them (sorry, but this is Tel Aviv, not Saudi-Arabia). We then just went to the lower deck where the ‚cool boys‘ were and everything was fine again.
Nonetheless, the pictures speak for themselves. The view from the boat over the harbor of Tel Aviv and Jaffa is priceless. Well, it wasn’t free, actually. The boat ride took 45 minutes and cost 25 Shekel per person.
Sunsets in Tel Aviv
We’re sticking on to the topic. There are only a few places on earth which are as perfectly made for sunsets as Tel Aviv. It’s up to you to decide whether you enjoy it with some Vino or not!
Tel Aviv’s sea promenade
Bars and cafes along an endless beach. People walking along the promenade, running or just lying in the grass. Life is good in Tel Aviv at any time of day or night.
Bauhaus architecture in Tel Aviv Downtown
For those of you interested in architecture: Tel Aviv is known for some Bauhaus buildings in the middle of a high-rise maze. It couldn’t be a bigger contrast to the Old Town of Jaffa and it makes it even more interesting. If you’re interested, you can easily google the details.
Why Tel Aviv
To make it short: Tel Aviv is everything that the whole rest of the Middle East doesn’t manage to be. Peaceful, wealthy and open. The city’s vibes, the many different people (the probably higher education of the people) and their thirst for life – the rest of the region can learn a lot from them.