Ever wondered what a holiday in Israel would be like? Sharon Ehrlich Bershadsky grew up in Israel and tells us about the country’s historic sights, local dishes and why Tel-Aviv’s nightlife is legendary. Combine Tel-Aviv with Jerusalem and you really will get to see the best of what Israel has to offer. 

What is Tel Aviv like?

Very few cities on the planet have the eclectic mix of experiences that Tel Aviv offers. If you are into history and archaeology, Old Jaffa in the southern part of the city is one of the world’s oldest ports and is mentioned more than once in the Bible (it’s where Jonah departed from by boat to be swallowed by a whale). The Old Jaffa visitors’ centre showcases the local archaeological finds and provides a 3D experience that gives visitors the history of the area in an entertaining way.

View of Old Jaffa

Museums, opera, music and dance – Tel Aviv offers it all when it comes to culture. The city is full of artists, from the artist colony now based in Jaffa to the craftspeople who sell their wares twice a week at Nahalat Binyamin market. The Tel Aviv Museum of Art has an impressive selection of artists on display and those who enjoy a more unique experience can visit the Ilana Goor Museum. The Israeli Opera House hosts performances year-round that include operas, music and dance.

Tower of David Museum

If you’re more into relaxing on the beach, Tel Aviv’s Mediterranean coast is over eight miles of golden sands. You can find a huge variety of watersports to enjoy, and the promenade that runs along the beach is home to bars and restaurants that will offer a quick bite to eat and a cocktail to sip while you’re watching a spectacular sunset.

Enjoy the beach life of Tel Aviv

Is Tel Aviv a safe city?

Personal safety is very important to Israelis and keeping those who visit safe is a high priority.

What should we visit in Tel Aviv?

You could visit Carmel Market, the oldest established market in Tel Aviv, and haggle for goods. Take a visit to Old Jaffa to enjoy the 3D experience, make a wish at the ‘Wishing Bridge’ and soak up the beautiful views over Tel Aviv. I’d suggest taking a tour of the ‘White City’ to see the Bauhaus architecture, which has been awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO.

When it comes to dining, there are spectacular restaurants and the city is the world leader in vegan cuisine! From enjoying a typical Israeli breakfast buffet at your hotel to eating an extraordinary meal at one of the city’s fine dining establishments, those who visit may find their taste buds refuse to go anywhere else! The city also hosts many events and festivals, including the annual Pride Celebration every June, and there’s always something going on.

How far is Tel Aviv from Jerusalem?

Not far at all. The drive between the two cities takes around an hour, but very soon a new train line will open that will only take 28 minutes.

You can easily combine Jerusalem (pictured) with a stay in Tel Aviv

What is there to see in Jerusalem?

The Old City is an ancient, walled area of Jerusalem that is divided into four quarters: Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Armenian. It holds treasures like The Western (Wailing) Wall, the most important site in Judaism; The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the believed site of Jesus’ crucifixion for many Christian faiths; and the Dome of the Rock & Al-Aqsa Mosque for those who follow Islam. Historic locations and archaeological finds can be viewed everywhere and most who visit will feel the spiritual atmosphere surround and embrace them.

Western Wall, Jerusalem

While in Jerusalem, you can visit the Mahane Yehuda Market. In the day, you can buy a Bite Card that allows you to sample a huge variety of tasty treats from the vendors; and, at night, the food goes away and the bars take centre stage! You can also book a variety of tours of the market, from cooking experiences to night bar tours.

The view of Jerusalem's Old City

Yad Vashem, The World Holocaust Remembrance Centre, offers a linear trip through the rise of anti-Semitism, the Holocaust and the bright future of the Jewish people. The story is told by the people who lived through it and is a must-see for anyone visiting Jerusalem. On a history note, I would also recommend The Israel Museum, where you can discover local archaeology, an impressive model of the Old City circa 66 CE and, of course, the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Church of All Nations, Jerusalem

When is the best time to visit Tel Aviv and Jerusalem?

These two cities are great to visit any time of year. The time of year you’re most likely to see rain and cooler temperatures is from December through to February. Spring and autumn normally have pleasant temperatures and very little rain, and those who like it hot and sunny can visit during the summer months.

Church of St Mary Magdalene, Jerusalem

Tell us about the nightlife in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv’s nightlife is epic and legendary! The city’s remarkable bar and club scene offers a party atmosphere that rivals anywhere else in the world. Tel Aviv is called the city that never sleeps for a good reason: clubs are open all hours and most of the time they don’t get busy until well after midnight. Those who prefer a quieter night will find an abundance of bars with a variety of themes to enjoy.

What local dishes would you recommend trying in the cities?

Hummus. It may sound cliché, but Israelis really know how to make hummus. Falafel is very popular and available everywhere, especially with street food vendors. Shakshuka, a delightful mixture of stewed tomatoes, garlic and spices with eggs, is also something everyone should enjoy. Then there is Sabich, consisting of a pitta stuffed with aubergines, hard boiled eggs, Israeli salad and tasty tahini and/or hummus.

Try shakshuka, a local dish in Israel

One of the brilliant things about food in Israel is the fact that it’s a fusion of traditions from around the world. When people moved to Israel, they brought their regional recipes with them. The combination of so many food ideologies and locally-grown superior ingredients make Israel a food-lovers’ paradise!

Can we reach the Dead Sea from either of these cities?

Easily. Day trips to the Dead Sea are easy from either city, and the experience is one of a kind. Effortlessly floating in the salty waters is unique, and the health benefits of the mud and water make it well worth a visit.

The Dead Sea

Do you have any tips for us before we travel?

When visiting Israel, you should bring good sunscreen, comfortable shoes, a decent sunhat and a water bottle. Those who are blessed to visit shouldn’t be afraid of speaking to the locals. Israelis are warm and welcoming, and it’s not unusual to meet someone, have a chat and end up getting invited to their home for a family meal. Israelis love their country and are happy to share this love with those who come to experience it. Don’t worry too much about language barriers either. Hebrew and Arabic are the official languages, but English is taught in schools and a large majority of the population can hold a conversation in English.

Lastly, as tempting as it is to just stay in one place (especially somewhere as fun as Tel Aviv), take advantage of the proximity of the rest of the country and see a variety of locations. Within a two-hour drive of Tel Aviv, you can experience the green, rolling hills of the Galilee; the lowest spot on earth at the Dead Sea; or even desert landscapes in the Negev. Explore this beautiful country and enjoy yourself!

Inspired?


Year-round sunshine, beaches, religious sites and incredible nightlife, Israel has a lot to offer for a city break with a difference. You can combine Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, add destinations such as Eilat and the Dead Sea; or countries such as Jordan to create an unforgettable holiday. Book an appointment in your local Kuoni store or search for a Personal Travel Experts today.