2 Days in Tel Aviv: A Classic Itinerary (Without the Beach)

Tel Aviv is one of the two top destinations in Israel, along with Jerusalem. If you’re planning a trip to Israel, I recommend devoting about 2 days to the city. Of course, you can always go on a day trip from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, but with 2 days in Tel Aviv, you can experience much more. On this classic first-timer itinerary of Tel Aviv, you’ll cover Old Jaffa, some of the first neighborhoods of Tel Aviv, the Carmel Market, the Bauhaus area, and one of Tel Aviv’s excellent museums.

Please note that this itinerary is more for travelers coming to Tel Aviv in winter, when it’s less ideal to go to the beach, so the beach is not included in the itinerary. If you’re coming in a sunnier season and want to go to the beach, feel free to embed it into your travel plans. This itinerary is only a suggestion, so don’t hesitate to change it based on your interests, schedule, and pace.

Recommended read >> My full travel guide to Tel Aviv.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links, at no extra cost to you. These links help me keep the website alive and not depend on sponsors! Thank you in advance.

Some things to consider when planning your trip to Tel Aviv

  • Some sites are closed on Shabbat, from Friday afternoon to Sunday. Compared to Jerusalem, there are much more things open on Shabbat in Tel Aviv. But still, many sites, restaurants, and shops are closed on Shabbat. This includes, for example, the Carmel Market. So, if you’re planning to be in Tel Aviv on the weekend, it’s important to check what’s open and what’s not and change your itinerary accordingly. Read more about Tel Aviv on Shabbat
  • Make sure to take the weather into account. It’s always good to check the weather. Since this itinerary is more for winter travelers, you should check if there’s any forecast for rain. If it’s going to rain, I recommend arranging a Plan B that includes some of Tel Aviv’s excellent museums, such as the ANU Museum, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Eretz Israel Museum, and the Yitzhak Rabin Museum. 
  • Watch out for electric bikes and scooters! Tel Aviv has a huge number of bike and scooter riders. They usually have intended bike and scooter routes, so make sure not to step into these routes. The drivers are driving fast, and some don’t care about pedestrians. Also, try to always keep your eyes on the street because they may pass next to you even when there’s no route for them. I’ve seen many crashes between pedestrians and electric bikes or scooters in Tel Aviv, and it didn’t look fun.  
  • Make sure to pick a good place to stay. Read my guide to where to stay in Tel Aviv for relevant tips. 
  • This itinerary does not include night activities. Since the theatre and comedy shows are in Hebrew, the best night activity for English speakers in Tel Aviv is to go out and enjoy the pubs, bars, and nightclubs. One of the best ways to experience Tel Aviv’s night scene is to join a pub crawl. One of the best companies in this field is D-TLV Pub Crawl

Day 1: Old Jaffa – Florentin – Neve Tzedek – Tel Aviv Promenade 

This first day in Tel Aviv focuses on the history of the city and its fabulous art scene. You can start your day in Old Jaffa, the most ancient part of Tel Aviv, and continue through some of Tel Aviv’s earliest neighborhoods to the Tel Aviv Promenade. It’s recommended to end at the promenade near sunset to enjoy the beautiful sunset over the Mediterranean Sea. In winter, sunset is usually quite early, around 4-5 PM.

Stop #1: Old Jaffa

Begin your day in Old Jaffa, one of the world’s most ancient port cities, from which Tel Aviv has grown. For hundreds of years, Jaffa has been one of the main gateways into the Land of Israel. King Solomon brought the cedars of Lebanon for the Holy Temple through Jaffa Port, prophet Jonah fled his mission by taking a boat from the port, and many Jewish immigrants who came here in the 19th and 20th centuries also entered through this point. Later, those immigrants decided to establish the first Hebrew city in the Land of Israel, went out to the dunes outside Jaffa’s old city walls, and established Tel Aviv. A lot of history happened here. There’s also an excellent view of the coastline from Jaffa’s hill. So, it’s a perfect place to start the day.

Today, Old Jaffa is an integral part of Tel Aviv, and it’s very easy to walk around. Here are some interesting sites to see while walking around Old Jaffa:

  • The Church of Saint Peter – This church is special because, unlike most churches that point to the east, this church points to the west, toward the Mediterranean Sea. This is because it commemorates the event that took place in Jaffa – the vision of Saint Peter. In his vision, he saw a sheet full of animals lowered to him from the Heavens. A divine voice told him to eat those animals, even though they were not Kosher, and from this event, Saint Peter understood that he could spread Christianity throughout the world, including to the pagans. The church is facing towards the sea to symbolize the spreading of Christianity around the world.     
  • Ha’Pisga Park – If you go up to Ha’Pisga Park, the park on top of Jaffa’s hill, you’ll be able to see a beautiful view of the Tel Aviv coastline.
  • Ramesses Gate – Many people went through Jaffa, and the Egyptians were also here. Ramesses Gate is what remains of a royal structure that stood in Jaffa in the time of Ramesses II, one of the greatest Pharaohs in Egyptian history.
  • The Suspended Orange Tree – In the past, the area around Old Jaffa was full of orange orchards. This changed due to the rise of real estate. The Suspended Orange Tree, an actual orange tree that hangs in the alleys of Old Jaffa, is an artwork by Ran Morin that reminds us of the many orange trees that once blossomed here.  
  • Jaffa Port – The Jaffa Port is a lovely place, with some restaurants and shops. It also holds a lot of historical significance.  
  • The Flea Market – I left the Flea Market for last because I personally don’t think it’s a must. The market sells all kinds of antiques and junk. You can also find some good restaurants there, where you can eat early lunch before continuing on your way.

If you want to explore on your own, you can use my self-guided tour of Old Jaffa. Another option is to join Abraham Tours’ Jaffa Free Tour. It’s not really free, because the guide expects a tip at the end, but it can offer you a nice overview of this part of Tel Aviv.

How to get to Old Jaffa? Old Jaffa is located in South Tel Aviv. If you’re staying somewhere near Rothschild Boulevard or Florentin, you can walk to Old Jaffa. The pavement is flat, and it could be a nice activity to do in the morning. Alternatively, you can take the new light train and get off at “Shlomo” station, about a 5-minute walk from Old Jaffa.

How much time does it take? It takes about 2 hours to walk around Old Jaffa.

The Church of Saint Peter

Looking for a private guide in Tel Aviv?

If you want to get a better understanding of Tel Aviv, the best way is to join a guided tour. I offer private tours in Tel Aviv, which usually focus on Old Jaffa and the city center, but my tours are fully customizable, so I’m open for requests.

Contact me at lior@backpackisrael.com or learn more about my private tours in Israel.

Stop #2: Florentin

After you’ve finished exploring Old Jaffa, I recommend going to Florentin, one of the coolest neighborhoods in Tel Aviv, known for its beautiful and thought-provoking graffiti works. You can join Abraham Tours’ Graffiti Tour to get deeper insights into the different works, or you can wander around on your own.

The Florentin neighborhood was established in 1927, with most residents being working-class Jews from Greece and Bulgaria. The neighborhood was very successful in the 1950s and the 1960s, but then new buildings started being sold in North Tel Aviv. Those who could afford it moved to that area of the city. Florentin remained with a poor population. Most of the buildings in the neighborhood turned into commercial buildings, and those that remained for living became more and more neglected. Tel Aviv decided to renovate the place only in the 1990s, when more and more young people and intellectuals started moving to Florentin due to the low prices. Today, as mentioned, it’s one of the coolest places in Tel Aviv.

There are many graffiti works all around Florentin, many of them addressing political and social issues. Two famous graffiti works in Florentin that can always be seen there are the graffiti of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination (on the corner of Avraham Stern-Florentin Street) and the 27 Club graffiti (in the Ben Attar Garden). But you’ll find that the walls change constantly and are very much influenced by current events.

Apart from the graffiti works, you can also walk around Florentin and simply enjoy the young vibes. If you haven’t eaten lunch yet, you can also find some nice restaurants in the neighborhood, or, if you want, you can go to the Levinski Market, which is a short walk away.

How to get to Florentin? Florentin is about 1.5 kilometers from Florentin, so you can easily walk there. From the clock tower in Old Jaffa, walk on David Raziel Street and then continue on Eilat Street. Turn right onto Kompert Street, then left onto Ha-Mekhuga Street, and you’ll reach Florentin. The walk takes about 15 minutes.    

How much time does it take? It takes about 1-2 hours to explore Florentin.

Random graffiti work in Florentin

Stop #3: Neve Tzedek

You can pass through the neighborhood of Neve Tzedek on your way to the Tel Aviv Promenade. Neve Tzedek, established in 1887, was the first Jewish neighborhood outside Jaffa’s old city walls, even before Tel Aviv was established. Today, it’s one of the fanciest neighborhoods in Tel Aviv, with many art galleries, jewelry shops, boutiques, and small cafes.

While walking through its lovely streets, it’s worth looking at the beautifully conserved buildings, some more than 100 years old. The people of Neve Tzedek wanted to build something more modern than the houses they saw in the crowded old city of Jaffa. So, they decided to build houses no more than two floors high, built alongside wide straight streets, and designed with modern elements that remind of the German Templer houses.

If you’re interested in art, you can also stop by the Nahum Gutman Museum. This small museum showcases the artworks of Nahum Gutman, an Israeli artist who lived in the early 20th century and spent much of his childhood in Neve Tzedek. His paintings depict scenes from the early years of Tel Aviv.   

How to get to Neve Tzedek? Neve Tzedek is about 300 meters from Florentin, so you can walk there. Retrace your steps back to Eilat Street, turn left onto Aharon Chelouche Street, pass above Park HaMesila, and enter Neve Tzedek. It’s a very short walk.

How much time does it take? You can just stroll through the neighborhood on your way to the seaside promenade.

Stop #4: The Jaffa-Tel Aviv Promenade

After strolling through Neve Tzedek, you can get onto the Jaffa-Tel Aviv Promenade, the beautiful seaside promenade that stretches from Old Jaffa in the south to Tel Aviv Port in the north. If you get there near sunset, you can enjoy a stunning sunset over the Mediterranean Sea. Many people come to the promenade near sunset, sit on the vast green lawns, and enjoy the view.

If the weather is good, you’ll probably see that the promenade is filled with people – walking, jogging, bicycling, or riding their scooters. The distance between Old Jaffa Port and the Tel Aviv Port is about 5 kilometers, so if you want to walk some more, it could take about an hour to walk to the Tel Aviv Port. Another option is renting a bike through Metrofun and cycling to the port. But if you feel you’ve done enough exercise for the day, you can simply catch a taxi to the port or wherever you want to go.

The Tel Aviv Port, called in Hebrew “HaNamal,” could be a perfect place to end your first day in Tel Aviv. The port is one of the city’s most vibrant leisure and entertainment centers. People come here to enjoy good restaurants and special events that change every season. You can check out events at Tel Aviv Port before you arrive.  

How to get to the promenade? The promenade is about a kilometer from Neve Tzedek. Make your way west, and you’ll eventually reach the promenade.

Sunset from the promenade

Day 2: ANU Museum – Carmel Market – Rothschild Boulevard – Sarona 

On your second day in Tel Aviv, I recommend beginning the day at the ANU Museum or any other museum that interests you and then continuing for lunch at the Carmel Market. In the second half of the day, you can stroll along Rothschild Boulevard, the heart of the Bauhaus area in Tel Aviv.

Stop #1: ANU Museum (The Museum of the Jewish People)

Whenever there’s a museum in the itinerary, I always like to open the day with the museum because you don’t always have the concentration and energy for a museum later in the day. So, you can begin your second day in Tel Aviv in the ANU Museum, also known as the Museum of the Jewish People. No matter if you’re Jewish or not, this museum is very fascinating and offers an excellent overview of the Jewish people, who are the building blocks of the State of Israel.

Judaism is not only a religion. It’s a culture. For many people, it’s their nationality. In the ANU Museum, you’ll learn about different Jewish identities, the history of the Jewish people, the foundations of Judaism, and how Jewish people contributed to humanity in various fields.

If you’re less interested in this topic, there are many other great museums in Tel Aviv. These include the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Eretz Israel Museum, the Yitzhak Rabin Museum, the Peres Center, and the Palmach Museum. Choose whichever museum interests you and start your day there.  

How to get to the ANU Museum? The ANU Museum is quite far from the city center. The easiest way would be to take a taxi, but make sure the driver is using the meter. Another option is to take a bus, depending on your location in Tel Aviv. I recommend checking Moovit or Google Maps for the best route. A bus ride from the city center should take around 30 minutes, and a taxi about 20 minutes, depending on traffic.

How much time does it take? It takes at least 2 hours to visit the museum.

For opening hours and ticket rates, check out the official website of the ANU Museum.

The inside of the ANU Museum

Stop #2: The Carmel Market

You’ll probably finish your visit to the ANU Museum around lunchtime. So, it’s the perfect time to go to Tel Aviv’s famous Carmel Market. The market, which started in the 1920s, is today a large and vibrant market full of stalls selling vegetables, fruit, fish, pastries, and souvenirs. You’ll find many small restaurants in the market and its surroundings. I recommend strolling around until you find something that looks REALLY good.

How to get to the Carmel Market? The Carmel Market is about 9 kilometers from the ANU Museum, so you’ll need to use public transportation or a taxi. If you’re using public transport, use one of the public transport navigation apps to find the best route.

The Carmel Market

Stop #3: Rothschild Boulevard  

From Carmel Market, you can continue to Rothschild Boulevard, the heart of Tel Aviv. Apart from being the center of Tel Aviv, Rothschild Boulevard and its surroundings is also where you can find a large concentration of Bauhaus buildings. Thanks to them, the city was dubbed “the White City” and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003.

The Bauhaus buildings are actually designed in the International Style. This architectural style uses mass-produced industrial materials such as concrete to create flat and elementary shapes and lines. This style focuses more on functionality and less on aesthetics, so there are no fancy decorations or impressive elements. It’s called Bauhaus because many of the people who brought this style to the Land of Israel in the 1930s were students of the Bauhaus Art School in Germany. There was a need to build as many buildings as possible for the new immigrants, so they used this affordable and simple way of construction to create new buildings in Tel Aviv and other places in the Land of Israel. There are also many Bauhaus buildings in Haifa.

Besides the architecture, there are also other things you can see on Rothschild Boulevard:

  • The model of Tel Aviv in the Shalom Meir Tower – On the ground floor of Shalom Meir Tower, you’ll find a lovely exhibition that shows photos from the early days of Tel Aviv as well as a model of Tel Aviv as it looked when it was first established in 1909. You can see that back then, Tel Aviv was very small.
  • The Independence Trail – While you walk on Rothschild Boulevard, you might notice a golden line stretching on the pavement. This line is the Independence Trail, which connects several historical buildings along Rothschild Boulevard and its surroundings. The most famous building is the Independence Hall, where David Ben Gurion declared the independence of the State of Israel in 1948. As of February 2024, the place is closed for renovations but is due to open in 2025. Other interesting sites along the trail include the Haganah Museum, the Tel Aviv Founders Memorial, the statue of Meir Dizengoff, the first mayor of Tel Aviv, and the Great Synagogue. There are explanation signs next to some of the sites, so you can get some understanding. Read more about the trail on Tel Aviv’s official website.
  • HaBima Square – At the end of Rothschild Boulevard, you’ll reach HaBima Square, a central square that stands next to the famous HaBima Theatre. The square is sometimes home to public protests and displays. For example, following the Israel-Hamas War, the square housed several displays connected to the events.

How to get to the Rothschild Boulevard? The Rothschild Boulevard is about 1 kilometer from the Carmel Market, so you can easily walk there. Exit the market onto Allenby Street, turn right, and walk on this street until you reach Rothschild Boulevard. The walk takes about 15 minutes.

The statue of Meir Dizengoff next to the Hall of Independence, before renovation

Stop #4: Sarona

You can end your second day in Tel Aviv at the Sarona complex, which was once a German Templer colony and is today one of the city’s fanciest food and shopping centers. I like going there to see the contrast between the low-level old Templer houses and the high skyscrapers around the complex.

In the heart of Sarona, you can find Sarona Market, Israel’s largest indoor food market, which includes dozens of booths and restaurants selling different types of food. They claim to be selling street food, but the truth is that the food is quite upscale. I mean, it’s street food, but fancy street food. So, if you’re hungry, you can go inside and have a look. If not, you can wander around the preserved Templer houses in the Sarona Complex.

The Templers, who came from Germany, settled here in the second half of the 19th century. They believed that if they settled in the land and worked there in agriculture, this would hasten the arrival of the Messiah. So, they established several colonies in the Land of Israel, one of them in what would become Tel Aviv. They built beautiful houses that were not typical of the Land of Israel, usually one-floor houses with an attic and a basement. Today, these old houses are preserved and have become fashion and boutique shops.

How to get to Sarona? Sarona is about 2 kilometers from Rothschild Boulevard, meaning you can walk there within about 30 minutes. If you’ve walked all the way to HaBima Square, it’s even nearer. Another option is to take the light trail from the “Allenby” station to the “Yehudit” station. The ride takes about 3 minutes.

The houses of Sarona and skyscrapers in the background

Optional day trips from Tel Aviv

If you would like to stay more days in Tel Aviv and set out on day trips from the city, here are some options for day trips from Tel Aviv:

  • Caesarea National Park – One of the best day trips from Tel Aviv is a trip to Caesarea, about an hour by car from the city. Caesarea, established by King Herod in the 1st century BCE, was one of the most sophisticated ports in the ancient world. Today, you can find beautiful archeological remains of the city, mainly from the Roman period. Read my guide for visiting Caesarea National Park.
  • Akko (Acre) – About 2 hours by train from Tel Aviv, Akko is a great day trip. It’s a lovely port city, with an ancient underground city from the time of the Crusaders and excellent food. Check out >> Free things you can do in Akko (Acre).
  • Jerusalem – If you’re short on time and don’t plan to stay a night or two in Jerusalem, you can also go on a day trip to Jerusalem, about an hour from Tel Aviv. On a day trip, I would focus on the Old City, Jerusalem’s most popular destination. Learn how to get from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and how to get around Jerusalem.  

Conclusion

Tel Aviv is a fun city with some historical sites, vibrant markets, excellent museums, and a lively seaside promenade. Even if you’re coming in a colder season and can’t go to the beach, there’s plenty to do in Tel Aviv. I hope this 2-day itinerary in Tel Aviv will help you plan the perfect trip!

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If you need any more advice, please don’t hesitate to send me a message on my Facebook page or to contact me at lior@backpackisrael.com.

If you’re searching for a tour guide in Israel, I also offer private tours in Israel.

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Yours,

Lior

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