By Jennifer Schlueter
Tel Aviv is also called the city that never sleeps and there’s certainly enough reasons why: There are so many things to do!
Therefore, I tested a few tours in and from Tel Aviv for you: One was a pub crawl through Tel Aviv’s Rothschild area, one a day tour from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Bethlehem and more, one a graffiti / foodie tour, and then the only vegan food tour in Israel. The tours are listed alphabetically to not give any preference because I liked all of them.
Also, I included two honorable mentions: the Tel Aviv Greeter program, which offers you a free Tel Aviv tour with a local and Encounters, which lets you dig deeper and get to know Tel Aviv from different cultural perspectives as well as meet and cook with locals.
Every tour tries to show you Tel Aviv from the eyes of locals, but depending on what you’re looking for, I gave recommendation for which Tel Aviv tour you should choose 🙂
Aaron Gertz’ Florentin: from Sephardic Jews to Hipsters
A mix of street art & delicious food samples, I recommend this Tel Aviv tour to artists & foodies
Aaron received our small group with a big smile, starting our day bright, fresh and early at 9 a.m. from Florentin’s Elifelet parking lot. From there, we walked around narrow streets and alleys, most of them decorated with bright, popping graffiti of international artists, who love Israel’s capital because Tel Aviv is the only place in the world where they don’t have to run from police when they get caught spraying the walls. That’s because they’re in Florentin, Tel Aviv’s most liberal quarter, which is very slowly being gentrified from an artist/hipster neighborhood into a place where families are home now (as Aaron put it: the artists and hipsters have grown up). But not only does Aaron offer his knowledge about history and street art, he also provides you with a few samples of bourekas from one of the best bakeries I’ve ever tasted (and I’m German, SOOO… my opinion is valid here :p ), gazozes from what’s probably one of the cutest little cafes you’ve ever seen and Mediterranean delicatessen from a family-run deli. Aaron 100% enjoys what he does and will happily give you any tips and suggestions after the tour, for whatever it is you feel like. And at 50 Israeli Shekels (US $14, 12 euros), this two-hour tour is super affordable!
Find Aaron Gertz’s tours here.
Israel’s only Vegan Food Tour with Be Tel Aviv
I recommend this Tel Aviv tour for non-vegans as well as the obvious – vegetarians and vegans
This tour is the only vegan food tour you’ll find in Israel and one of the very few in the world. Our guide Julian took us vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians, and carnivores around Tel Aviv’s popular Rothschild area and showed us what the vegan-friendly capital of Israel had to offer. While waiting for our food in the first restaurant, we learned about three different types of kosher and why Tel Aviv is so vegan-friendly. We visited one of the extremely few Georgian vegan restaurants in the world with its interesting history. Julian also taught us that Tel Aviv restaurants have different stickers on their doors to tell if they’re vegan or vegetarian or economically friendly. On this three-hour tour you will not only learn about veganism and nutrition, but most importantly visit three restaurants where you will have plenty of main courses to choose from as well as get a dessert that will taste like the most non-vegan dish ever!
Tip: If your stomach is sensitive to tap water in other countries like mine, please order bottled water!!!
Find Be Tel Aviv’s tours here.
TLV Nights’ Rothschild pub crawl
I recommend this Tel Aviv nighttime tour for night owls and party animals
For the first hour of this pub crawl, you will meet at the rooftop of HaYarkon 48 hostel, where you have the chance to get to know everyone and make friends if you’re a solo traveler. You’ll get your first shot and beer as well. Our guide was Florence – super sweet and took great care of us, made sure everyone was happy, got their shots, and came to the next club. The places TLV Nights go to vary, also depending on whether it’s a Thursday or Saturday. To my surprise, even Israel’s “Sunday night” (Shabbath = Saturday, the work week starts on Sundays here) turned out to be packed with party people! You stay about 45 minutes to an hour at each club. First, we went to Sputnik, which was playing old skool NY Hip Hop (according to Florence not very common), then Lima Lima, where they had a Reggaeton/Brazilian Funk party (my <3 was OH SO happy!), Radio EPGB playing new and old skool Hip Hop. Because it was already past 2 a.m. and my friend who accompanied me had an exam in the morning, we decided to head home but the crew went to Alphabet afterwards, where they played electronic music. Tel Aviv Nights definitely try to give you a great mix of places and every place we went to was popping.
They also offer a Dizingoff pub crawl as well as a Jerusalem one. It’s $24 if you book prior through their website, $28 the night of for both Rothschild and Dizingoff; and for Jerusalem it’s $18 the day of, $15 if you book online.
Find TLVNights’ tours here.
Tourist Israel’s Jerusalem, Dead Sea, Bethlehem, and more
I recommend this day tour from Tel Aviv for people who only have a short stay in Israel and want to see a lot
An action-packed day awaits you on this full day tour from Tel Aviv. Pass Jericho, the lowest city on earth, stop at a baptism site, and then float in the Dead Sea. Because the tour started at 6:30 a.m. from their pickup point – the Grand Beach Hotel – you will get to these sites very early, and thus have them almost to yourself. This was especially nice when we were at the Dead Sea. For an hour, we were the only small group there. Following a refreshing shower after the salty water, you will enjoy (inclusive) lunch on a rooftop restaurant in Jerusalem’s Muslim quarter. After that, your guide will take you around Jerusalem’s most important sites, including the stations of the cross and the Church of Sepulchre, where Jesus died; and give you insight into a historically rich city where different religions live side by side. Before you know it, approximately 3 hours in Jerusalem are over and you’re driven to Bethlehem, where you will get to see the Church of Nativity, where Jesus was born, and which dates back to the year 333!
For this tour, I advise you to take a towel, sunscreen, and your toiletries with you as you get to swim in the Dead Sea and shower after. Definitely wash out all the salt in your hair if you don’t wanna be looking all greasy for the rest of the day 😉
Their pricing starts at $79 depending on whether you’re taking the tour from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. Tip: If you’re planning on staying in Jerusalem at any point of your Israel stay, have a tour drop you off there instead of going all the way back to Tel Aviv. This works the other way around of course, as the cities are only about an hour drive from each other.
Find Tourist Israel’s tour here.
Encounters Tel Aviv – cross-cultural tours and workshops that bring you closest to locals in Tel Aviv and Jaffa
These tours and workshops are for those who really want to dig deeper and get to know Tel Aviv and Jaffa’s locals on another level. If you call yourself a traveler, the word “cross-cultural” must already speak to your soul as it did to mine, and so I reached out to Ilyll. While we didn’t find time for me to go on a full tour (only a personalized quick tour), I got to meet her and find out what her tours are about and I’m convinced I’d love them all (and so would you) – whether it’s the one about three women poets, the one where you can cook with local women in Jaffa or the one taking you through the immigrant neighborhood. Next time I’m in Tel Aviv, Ilyll will be my guide!
Tel Aviv Greeter – a free Tel Aviv city tour with a local
What started out in New York, has been popular in Paris, Buenos Aires, and 180 other cities around the world. A few years ago, a woman who had a Greeter experience in another city brought the Greeter program to Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv Greeter is a volunteer-based program where you can sign up (preferably three weeks in advance) for a date of your choice to get your own personal tour of the city by a local at no cost to you (tip is optional). The founder’s brother Nur took me around Tel Aviv’s most popular areas, explained the city’s architecture style and gave me a few history details. I had an amazing time and because I love the program so much, I just signed up for a Greeter tour in Cairo and will keep the Greeter network in mind for more cities I travel to.
Have you been to a great tour in Tel Aviv that wasn’t mentioned here but that you’d like others to know about? Then please let us know in the comments!
Also, If you’re looking for a great place to stay in Jerusalem, consider Mike’s House. Ran by no other than Mike himself, his house is a bit outside the main attractions of the city in a peaceful, quiet, and safe area with free parking (a luxury in Jerusalem). Rooms are clean and recently renovated, you’ll get coffee and cake all day, a garden, and a small kitchen, as well as a shot of alcohol or a ride to the city from Mike!
Thank you to all the tours and Mike for working with me. As usual, all opinions are my own. All links provided are non-affiliate links. This post contains affiliate links of trusted partners, which will not change my opinion. If you book through these links from my website, I will get a small amount of money, which will make me do a little happy dance and go towards more inspiring blog content [or chocolate].
Catching scorpions in Tanzania, riding hot air balloons in Egypt, and hiking 6 hours through the night to catch the sunrise at Trolltunga in Norway, Jennifer has been traveling the world since April 2016. Follow her adventures on Instagram or read her blog for the best travel tips and tricks.