Solo Gay Trip Guide to Tel Aviv – the Capital of Israel
Check out my Insta stories here for live commentary and local recommendations here.
Read my country guide about Israel to find answers to all your questions for a comfortable trip.
Getting to Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv is the hub of activity for Israel and the biggest airport (Ben Gurion) is located next to it. It is quite easy to get from the airport to the city with bus and train both available. I was coming from Jerusalem which was also quite easy. During the day there is a bus every 10 minutes from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv and vice versa. It takes 40 minutes and the journey is comfortable. Once in the city you can take the public transport around.
Getting nervous before a flight? Here is my guide on managing flight anxiety.
Where to Stay in Tel Aviv
The easiest answer is: near the beach. It doesn’t matter where you stay it is not a massive city and it is easy to get from one area to another. I stayed near Jerusalem beach which was perfectly placed in the middle. I could easily reach the north around Hilton beach as well as Jaffa old town. It is also near the Carmel Market, more about that later…
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When to visit Tel Aviv
The best time to visit is spring or late summer. I absolutely hate it above 30 degrees Celsius and when I went in mid-October it was around 28-20 degrees which was perfect. It was slightly off-season so there were no hordes of tourists around and hotels weren’t so expensive either. The worst time to go is around Pride, it is ridiculously hot and prices are through the roof.
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Public Transport in Tel Aviv consists of buses which are pretty good although you need a card called ‘Rav Kav’. You cannot use money onboard these busses. Before train journeys, you must go to a ticket machine and allocate the ticket to your Rav Kav and then use it. Despite having the money in the card you cannot use it (quite absurd I think, what is the point of having a card then if I have to stand and wait in a queue in front of a ticket machine?).
Taxis are expensive here and uber is the same rate as taxis if not more expensive.
Tip: There is no public transport from Friday to Saturday evening in the whole country, prepare accordingly.
Check out all the different modes of transportation you can use in a new city.
The e-scooter situation
The best mode of transport which had me crazy the whole stay was the e-scooters and electric bicycles. It is the best mode of travelling around in this city; they are easily available and so much fun any time of the day. I was zooming around the whole city from Jaffa to Hilton
beach, they cycling lanes added to the fun, even more, making it very safe. I do want to add it is not cheap though and you need to hire the e-scooters via the company app linked to your bank card.
Tel Aviv has hundreds of great restaurants and it was hard to choose a few but because I stayed next to Carmel market, it sorted some of the issues for me.
Carmel Market is the fresh produce market by the day and turns into a little bar area with some small restaurants in the evening. Most of the good places were either in or around this market or in the flea market of Jaffa. Check out my Instagram stories above for restaurant recommendations.
The Promenade of Tel Aviv
The first day I arrived in Tel Aviv I was pretty exhausted, a shower and some food later I headed to the Promenade which runs all the way from the North from Hilton Beach to Old City of Jaffa. It has many beaches along the way and you can stop at any point to chill at any beach. The cycling lane also helps keeping safe and food isn’t far in any direction. I watched the sunset on the promenade till it got completely dark, what a beautiful welcome it was…
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The Beaches of Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv has many beaches, in the north, you have the Hilton beach which is the gay beach and frankly not the best one coming all the way to Jaffa. My favourite was the Jerusalem and Frishman beach area. The best thing I saw here was the ticket machines to buy sunbeds and umbrellas. I have never seen it anywhere else, quite smooth!
Jaffa Old Town
Jaffa used to be a separate city from Tel Aviv but with time the boundaries of the Tel Aviv expanded and engulfed Jaffa. It is one of the oldest port cities on the Mediterranean coast with its mentions in the Bible in stories of Jonah and Saint Peter. The old town is absolutely beautiful starting from the Clock Tower heading inwards to the Flea Market. On the right-hand side, you can walk into the cobbled streets from the Suspended Orange Tree to small squares, synagogues, churches, art galleries and cafes as well as the Port of Jaffa. It was a pleasant walk in the afternoon in the shade of these beautiful buildings and narrow streets. I was lucky enough to have a local friend who took me around and showed me most of this gorgeous place.
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The Sea Mosque
The Sea Mosque is another landmark of Jaffa. It is called ‘Al Bahr’ mosque which is Arabic for the sea. It is a 16thcentury mosque near the shore with a small stone tower. It is the oldest mosque in the region is revered by local Arabic population. It is quite small inside but the best part is you can see the whole Promenade of Tel Aviv from up here. The area around is beautiful. I found it perfect for my evening tea and sweets that I got from the flea market.
Flea market of Jaffa
This is the Carmel Market of Jaffa minus the fresh produce. Narrow streets full of eclectic stalls and shops selling stuff from vintage clothing to antiques and furniture. I highly recommend at least one meal here. The outdoor seating for most restaurants makes it special. It is quite a loud area and you have to shout a bit to be heard, sometimes at the same table but the food and atmosphere was definitely worth it. I have some recommendations for food in my Tel Aviv Insta stories above.
The flea market is extra lively on Saturday for lunch/brunch and you should reserve a place for a meal in advance. It was a good place to see the locals hang out and mix up with them. People were a little surprised when I told them my country of origin but they were friendly nonetheless.
You can learn how to manage your budget during travelling in this guide.
Party time – Florentine
Florentine is the party district of Tel Aviv. It is located towards the south of the city and it is quite easily accessible. Tel Aviv is host to some grand parties throughout the year especially around Pride in summer. You can do a bar crawl or stick to one; it is bound to be a good night. The music is different with a good mix of Middle Eastern tones mixed with Westerns pop and electronic. Ofer Nessim is a famous Israeli DJ. Unfortunately, there was no event of his when I was visiting but you are bound to hear some of his music no matter which bar/club you go to.
Tel Aviv for me was a chance to relax after 2 weeks of intense travelling. It is a good one-off vacation which offers sun, beach and good food. It was time to pack my bags and head home after 2 and a half week of wandering around…
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