With currently almost 444,000 inhabitants in eight districts on an area of 70 km², Israel’s second largest city was founded for settlers in 1909. To this day, the former suburb of the much older port city of Jaffa has developed into the social, cultural and economic centre of the country. In the densely populated surrounding area of “Gusch Dan” a total of almost four million people currently live in over 250 towns and communities.
Tel Aviv literally means spring hill in Hebrew. However, the poetic name can also be interpreted as “Altneu” and homage to Theodor Herzl’s utopian novel Altneuland can be understood. Unlike the capital Jerusalem, already mentioned in the Bible and 70 kilometers to the southeast, Tel Aviv is internationally known for its diverse art scene and pulsating nightlife.
Below we present you the most exciting tours, the most beautiful attractions and the best sights in Tel Aviv:
1. White City
The more than 4,000 white buildings on an area of 140 hectares in the city centre around Zina Dizengoff Square were planned and realized in the course of the 1930s primarily by Jewish architects of German descent who had fled. The Bauhaus-style houses are based on its principles of functionality and affordable materials.
In adaptation to the hot climatic conditions on site, white was chosen as the basic colour for the facades. The rather small windows also serve as protection from the sun. Most of the residential buildings have narrow and shady balconies and roof terraces. The Bauhaus Museum in Bialik Street is one of the sights of the White City, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003.
2. Eretz Israel Museum
Opened in 1953 in the north-western district of Ramat Aviv near the Tell Qasile archaeological site, the museum today covers an area of over eight hectares and 15 thematically designed buildings. There are eight permanent exhibitions in the house. These include, for example, the pavilion The Land of the Baron on the life and works of Baron Edmond Benjamin James de Rothschild.
Also the area Ethnography and Folklore with handicrafts from the years 1880 to 1967 as well as the Glass Pavilion with valuable historical glass objects. Also worth seeing are the partly prehistoric copper objects in the Nechushtan Pavilion, the old coins in the Kadman Numismatic as well as the rare stamps in the Alexander Museum of Postal History & Philately.
3. Ben-Gurion House Tel Aviv
Built between 1930 and 1931 in northern Tel Aviv, the former residence of the first Israeli Prime Minister on Ben-Gurion Boulevard houses the library, which contains more than 20,000 volumes, and has been used as a museum as well as an education and research centre since 1974. Originally a single-storey building, a second storey was added in 1946.
The house, which was permanently occupied by the family until 1953, was largely left in its original condition. In addition to the private rooms, there is also a shelter in which the residents sought refuge during the Suez crisis and the Six-Day War. Especially impressive is the special telephone exhibited here, which Ben Gurion used as a direct line to the Israeli Ministry of Defence.
4. Jitzchak-Rabin Centre
The research centre and library, named after Prime Minister Jitzchak Rabin, who was murdered at the beginning of November 1995, with a view of the Jarkon-Afek National Park, was opened in November 2005. Since January 2010, the building designed by the architect Mosche Safdie has also housed the Israeli Museum of the History and Present of the State. The life of Rabin and the origins of Israel are explained to visitors in 200 documentary short films.
The permanent exhibition is divided into nine chronological sections. The centre often hosts guided tours, seminars and conferences. Every year on the day of death, the building on Haim Levanon Street is the scene of festive ceremonies. The Nahum Goldmann Diaspora Museum (Beit Hatefutsot) is located in the immediate vicinity of the University of Tel Aviv.
5. Tel Aviv Museum of Art
Opened in early April 1932, the museum has been located on Shaul Hamelekh Street since 1971 and was expanded in November 2011 to include the Herta and Paul Amir building. The extensive collection consists mainly of classical and contemporary works by Israeli artists. In addition, pictures by Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Roy Lichtenstein and Gustav Klimt can be seen here.
Also represented are Vincent van Gogh, Marc Chagall and Max Ernst as well as Jackson Pollock, Anselm Kiefer and Jan Brueghel the Younger. Since 1999 the museum has housed the “Lola Beer Ebner Sculpture Garden” with works by Menashe Kadishman, Henry Moore and Jacques Lipchitz.
The venue of the Israeli National Theatre in Habima Square has been one of the most visited attractions in Tel Aviv since 1945. Originally founded in Moscow in 1918, the ensemble gave acclaimed guest performances throughout Europe until it settled in Tel Aviv in 1931.
Today the theatre employs about 80 actors. From 2008 to 2012, the building was comprehensively renovated, resulting in 500 m² of additional space and three new test rooms. Habima Square is also the crossroads of Dizengoff Street and Rothschild Boulevard, which are almost 24 hours a day busy with shops, cafes, bars and restaurants.
7. Carmel Market
The market along Carmel Street between Allenby Street and Magen David Square, which is open daily except Saturdays (“Sabbath”), sells mainly food, flowers and spices, but also clothing and art. The crowds are particularly large on Tuesdays and Fridays, when handicrafts and jewellery from local producers are on offer.
In the meantime, the market has also expanded into several neighbouring secondary roads. Especially in the Nahalat Binyamin Street visitors will find many unusual and beautiful as well as high-quality souvenirs. Other markets in Tel Aviv traded as attractions are the Bezalel Market on Beitlehem Street and the flea markets on Dizengoff Square, Jerusalem Avenue and Yefet Street.
Built from 1871 by emigrants from Germany, Denmark and Switzerland, the district in the centre of the city was a preferred place of residence for the non-Jewish German exile community in Tel Aviv until the beginning of the Second World War. After the majority of its members left the country after 1945, the district was a military restricted area under the new name “Als haQiryah” from 1948 to 2013.
Since then, the area with its numerous renovated historical buildings has been open to the public again. Especially in the listed former Templar buildings, visitors will find many shops and restaurants today. The well-kept green areas in the area are appreciated by the population as a local recreation area.
9. Hayarkon Park
The 350,0000 m² park, opened in 1973, is crossed by the Yarkon River and attracts around six million visitors a year. The complex has extensive lawns, various sports facilities, several waters, a water park and two open-air stages. Especially in hot summers the park offers many pleasant shady places under numerous trees.
Worth seeing is the botanical rock garden with over 3,500 plant and especially cactus species. Right next door is a tropical garden with palm trees, orchids and vines and a large fishpond. International musicians and bands often perform on the stages. Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney and Madonna as well as Metallica and Depeche Mode have been honoured here.
10. Kiryat Shaul Cemetery
Opened in 1943, the 32,0000 m² cemetery in northern Tel Aviv is home to over 80,000 graves. Numerous Israeli politicians and the victims of the Munich massacre of 1972, Andre Spitzer, Mark Slavin, Eliezer Halfin, Kehat Shorr and Amitzur Shapira, have their final resting places here.
There are also Holocaust memorials and tombs of inmates of concentration camps in Brest, Minsk, Krakow, Auschwitz and Radom. It also commemorates the 58 deaths of El Al flight 402 in July 1955, which were caused by an erroneous attack by Bulgarian fighter bombers.
More things to do and activities for your Tel Aviv holiday
Best time to visit Tel Aviv
We recommend the following months as best time to travel for exploring the attractions and acivities of Tel Aviv:
March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, and November
You can find more information about the weather, including all climate data, on our climate page for Tel Aviv.