Categories
Jerusalem Stays

Cinema Hostel: Sleeping in Style in Jerusalem

One of the most popular hostels in the center of Jerusalem is the Cinema Hostel. This hostel is located just off trendy Ben Yehuda Street, in a renovated building which once housed the Orion Cinema. When it operated in the mid-20th century, it was one of the leading cinemas in Jerusalem. It was officially shut down in the 1990s and stayed abandoned for many years until it became the Cinema Hostel. I really loved my stay here! 

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. I have stayed at Cinema Hostel and recommend it!

Here’s a promotional video of Cinema Hostel, published by Christian James Lee, which includes some shots from inside the hostel:

Short summary about Cinema Hostel Jerusalem:

Location: 5 Stars – Perfect location, just off Ben Yehuda Street, a pedestrian street with many shops and restaurants. It is also very close to many bars and nightlife venues. The distance from the hostel to the Old City is about 15 minutes by foot, and to Machane Yehuda Market – about 10 minutes by foot.  

Cleanliness: 5 Stars – When I stayed there, the hostel was clean and tidy.

Staff: 4 Stars – The staff was notably friendly. But the guy who did my check-in seemed like he wasn’t sure about which activities are happening in the hostel. Also, I saw one of the receptionists struggling with English when checking in other travelers. I think a good grasp of English is a must.

Security: 4 Stars – The hostel has CCTV, but the front door is always open, which means anyone who wants to enter can enter without any security measures. I guess this is because the hostel bar is open to anyone who wants to come, also people who are not hostel guests. In other hostels, the front door is usually locked. The dorm key is a card, which you receive upon check-in, which is good!

Facilities: 4 Stars – The reception works 24/7, there’s a cool bar, there’s a beautiful and well-equipped guest kitchen, and there are plenty of common areas. There is also free WIFI, which works fine. But if you want a towel, you have to pay for it. Also, there’s nowhere to hang your clothes in the room. There are also no lockers in the room; only storage units beneath the beds, which you can lock with your own lock.

Atmosphere: 5 Stars – This is a party hostel. They offer plenty of activities and have a very active bar, which operates till the late hours. So, you can expect to hear noise till very late. Though, they do try to keep the volume down in the common area near the rooms.

Value for Money: 4 Stars – This isn’t the cheapest hostel in town, but it offers you free breakfast, beautiful facilities, lots of activities and a perfect location. Still, at this price, they could offer free towels and make a bigger portion for breakfast.  

Bottom Line:

Cinema Hostel is a beautiful hostel in the center of Jerusalem, offering a great atmosphere for the younger crowd (18-45). With a bit more attention to the small details, this could definitely be the coolest hostel in town!

Want to stay at Cinema Hostel Jerusalem?

Book a stay through Hostelworld or compare prices on Hotelscombined.

Detailed review of Cinema Hostel Jerusalem:

Location:

It’s located in a perfect location, right in the center of Jerusalem. Cinema Hostel stands right next to Ben Yehuda Pedestrian Street, where you can find many restaurants and shops. It is also a short walk away from plenty of nightlife venues. The “Jaffa Center” and “City Hall” light-rail stations are nearby, and the hostel is just 15 minutes by foot from the Old City and 10 minutes by foot from the Machane Yehuda Market.

See the McDonalds? Cinema Hostel is above it

The common areas:

The common areas are beautiful! It seems they have put a lot of effort into the interior design of the hostel. The common lounge has several levels. On the highest level, there is a small room with desktop computers. On the other floors, there’s table football, a reading area and a LOT of chairs. The chairs aren’t very comfy but have pics of movie stars on them. The different floors of the lounge are not so accessible for people with mobility issues. But, there is an elevator connecting between the reception area and the dorms and common area. 

Cinema Hostel’s common area

Another common area is the beautiful terrace, which overlooks the street below. There’s also shade from the sun.

Another cool area in the hostel is the John Smith Bar, located on the second floor. It’s a great place to have a drink and party until late. And hostel guests get 20{f224ba440c8e8489685f5be0eb52a1764ff3ab93b94d860236479bc3f69cbf7f} off the menu!

The roof terrace

Activities:

Besides going to the bar, you can also participate in a wide variety of activities. Every day there’s a different activity. They even have Movie Nights, which is cool because they are located in an old cinema! When I came, the receptionist told me there was a jam session in the evening, but I couldn’t make it.  

The dorm:

I slept in a female-only 6-beds dorm. Like the rest of the hostel, the dorm is also beautifully designed and it was also quite spacious. The beds are very comfy and there’s a reading light, a small shelf, and a charging point next to the bed. There’s also an en-suite bathroom.

But I felt that there were some things which were missing. First of all, there were no hangers in the dorm (or at least I couldn’t find them). This means I couldn’t hang my towel anywhere in the dorm. The only hangers available were in the small en-suite bathroom, but I didn’t want to leave my towel there. There are also no lockers. What you can do is put your stuff in the bedding case below your bed. You might even be able to lock it with a lock, but in my view, it’s not ideal. I understood you can store your valuables in a safe at the reception, but I don’t think it’s ideal to have your stuff stored on a different floor than your dorm.  

The female only 6 beds dorm

The bathroom:

The en-suite bathroom is also very beautiful, but very small. After taking a shower, the floor gets wet and it could have been great if there was a mop to dry the floor up after every use of the shower.  

The en-suite bathroom – small and beautiful

Location of the dorm:

Another thing you should be aware of is that you might stay in a dorm that isn’t soundproof. I stayed in a dorm quite close to the common area and you could hear the noise of people over there. There are also some rooms with doors facing the common area. I wonder if people who stay in these rooms suffer more from the noise. Anyway, if you plan to stay up till late this shouldn’t be a problem for you. If you sleep early and have trouble falling to sleep with noise, you might want to ask for the dorm that is farthest away from the common area.

Besides dorms, Cinema Hostel also offers some private rooms.

Breakfast and guest kitchen:

Breakfast is free and quite varied. The breakfast is served between 7:30 to 10:00 AM in the common area and includes sliced vegetables, different types of cheese, cornflakes, pita bread, and shakshuka. The shakshuka is made from fresh eggs by one of the hostel’s staff members or volunteers.

The problem is that each time only one pan of shakshuka is made, and when there are a lot of people who come to eat breakfast, the pan is finished quite quickly. It takes several minutes until the next round of shakshuka, which could be problematic if you’re in a rush. As in other hostels, you also need to wash your dishes after yourselves.

If you prefer to make your own food instead of going out to the many restaurants that are in the area, you can use the beautiful and well-equipped guest kitchen, which is in the common area.

The guest kitchen

Extras:

The WIFI is also free, and you can get the password from reception. If you want, you can also work on the desktop computers in the common area. Bed linen is also given upon arrival, and you need to put the bedding on your bed (as in other hostels). If you come early you can also use the free luggage storage room.

If you’ll need a towel, you’ll need to pay 10 ILS as a deposit and an extra 5 ILS. The 5 ILS won’t be returned to you, but you’ll get the 10 ILS back when you return the towel at the end of your stay. I recommend bringing your own towel.

Staff:

The friendly and attentive staff are at the reception 24/7. I always saw someone at the reception, at day and night. They were also very welcoming at check-in and were attentive to my questions. Though, I felt that the receptionist at check-in wasn’t too sure about the activities of that specific day. Also, I saw another receptionist struggling a bit with English when talking to a couple of travelers, which left them a bit confused. Bottom line, I felt they were a bit unconfident. These are little things, that could make the overall experience better.

Security:

The front door of the hostel is open the entire day with no security measures, but I guess this is because they don’t want to block the entrance to people who want to go to the bar. The place is fully networked with CCTV, and the dorms are accessed by a hostel card given upon check-in.  

Bottom line:

To sum it up, Cinema Hostel Jerusalem has a great young vibe and is the perfect place for those of you who want to experience Jerusalem in style!


More hostels in Jerusalem:

Jerusalem Hostel

CapsuleInn Jerusalem

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Review written on October 2019. My stay in Cinema Hostel was part of a personal trip and was not sponsored by Cinema Hostel or any organization. 

Think this post is useful or helpful? Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment 🙂

Also, check out my Facebook page, Backpack Israel.

Want help with planning your trip to Israel? Check out my new app, Travel Israel on Google Play or iTunes. You’re also welcome to contact me through the Experts tab.

Looking for a tour guide in Jerusalem? I might be available. Send me an email – lior@backpackisrael.com.

Yours,

Lior

Categories
Jerusalem Stays

Jerusalem Hostel: Historical and Very Budget Friendly

After staying a night at CapsuleInn Jerusalem, I moved to the other side of the road to check out Jerusalem Hostel. While CapsuleInn is one of the newest hostels in Jerusalem, Jerusalem Hostel is one of the oldest in town. It is located inside a historical building, originally built in 1928 as a two-star hotel named Ron Hotel. The little porch above the entrance to the hostel also has a historic story behind it, as it was the porch on which Menachem Begin announced the absorption of the Irgun into the IDF in August 1948. Later Begin served as the Prime Minister of Israel between 1977 and 1983. So, there’s no doubt that this hostel has a historical significance, but what about the stay? 

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. I have stayed at Jerusalem Hostel and recommend it for budget-concious travelers!

Here’s a promotional video of Jerusalem Hostel, published by Sasha Tamarin, which includes some shots from inside the hostel:

Short summary of my stay in the Jerusalem Hostel:

Location: 5 Stars – Perfect location! The hostel is located on Jaffa Street, facing Zion Square, which is the central square leading to the pedestrian Ben Yehuda Street. It is about a 10 minutes’ walk to both Machane Yehuda Market and the Old City.  

Cleanliness: 3 Stars – It seems like they haven’t renewed the place since its opening. I don’t know if the carpets, beds and bathrooms don’t look clean because they’re just old or because they really aren’t cleaned regularly. One thing’s for sure – the closet in my dorm was dusty!   

Staff: 5 Stars – Very friendly and helpful staff.

Security: 5 Stars – I felt very safe. The front door has an auto-lock and can only be opened by the receptionist or with a code.

Facilities: 4 Stars – The place has all the needed facilities, though some of them look a bit worn down. It was really scary climbing up to the top of the bunk bed, as it was really swaying, and the shower could have been perfect if it had a curtain.

Atmosphere: 4 Stars – There are plenty of common areas to meet fellow travelers, including a huge roof terrace. But there aren’t any activities going on, or at least I wasn’t informed of any.

Value for Money: 4 Stars – The prices of a bed in a dorm are very cheap compared to other places! I stayed in a female-only dorm and payed around 80 ILS after VAT, which is crazy to find in Jerusalem. This also included a basic breakfast. If they could make it look a bit less worn down, it would have been perfect.

Bottom Line:

Jerusalem Hostel is a basic backpacker hostel in the heart of Jerusalem, which really keeps its historical character. The place looks like it hadn’t changed since the beginning of the 20th century, when it was first opened as a 2-star hotel. It also doesn’t have an elevator, just like it didn’t have one in the 20th century. If you like this kind of rustic charm, this might be the place for you. The price is also very-very budget friendly!

Detailed review of the Jerusalem Hostel:

The hostel is located in the center of Jerusalem. It is right in front of trendy Ben Yehuda Street and just a few steps away from the “Jaffa Center” light-rail station, which will take you to almost wherever you need. It is also just 10 minutes by foot from the Machane Yehuda Market and the Old City.Of course, there are also plenty of restaurants and bars in the area.

The entrance to Jerusalem Hostel

There are plenty of common areas. Next to my dorm I found a small common room with some sofas, books and a table. But the thing I loved most about this small common area was the small porch, which has two chairs on it, overlooking the beautiful Zion Square. If you like people-watching, I suppose you can spend a lot of time on this nice porch. There’s also great breeze in the night.

The view of Zion Square from the balcony

Another common area I found was the roof terrace, which is partly shaded and also overlooks Zion Square, though you need to stand on your tippy toes to actually see something. On the huge roof terrace there are plenty of sofas, tables and chairs to sit on, so you can definitely hang out here if it’s not rainy.

Just a little part of the roof terrace

The dorm is very simple. I spent the night in a female-only 6 beds dorm. There’s nothing amazing about the dorm itself. The carpet looks stained, the ladder leading to the upper bunk bed is not too stable, the bunk bed itself sways when you’re on it, the sofa chair looks crumbled and there’s no net on the window, which means you can expect flies. As I’ve already mentioned, the place looks like it hadn’t been renewed for a very long time. The only thing that looks very new – and very not connected to the rustic appearance of the room – are the lockers. By the way, if you want a lock, you can buy one at the reception for 15 ILS. There’s also an open closet hive, which you can use to store your things which are not valuable.

Next to each bed there’s an electricity plug and a small shelf. During the night I accidently knocked my shelf off one of its hangers. I was lucky to wake up before it smashed down on my knee or something. Oh, and there’s no bed light, so forget about reading when everyone else is sleeping.

The rustic dorm with the super modern lockers

And you don’t have to leave the dorm in order to go to the toilet. There’s an en-suite bathroom! Though, it doesn’t look much better than the dorm itself. The mirror has orange dots all over it, the faucet is also quite colorful and the shower stands not far from the toilet, with no curtain surrounding it. You can lock the bathroom, so no problem with privacy. Though, if you go to the shower, you can expect a large puddle in the bathroom afterwards, including on the toilet. At least there’s a squeegee. Because of the small distance between the bathroom and the beds, you can also expect smells even when you’re not in the bathroom. As I said, get yourselves ready for a very simple stay.

Other than dorms, the hostel also offers some private rooms. You can check them out on Jerusalem Hostel’s website.

The bathroom

Breakfast is free. It is served between 7:30 AM to 10:30 AM on the roof terrace and includes boiled eggs, plain sliced bread, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, some cheese, hummus and jam. There’s also a free coffee and tea stand, which is available 24/7 in the guest kitchen area on the second floor. In the morning, the coffee and tea stand is also available on the rooftop. As in many other hostels, you need to wash the dishes afterwards.

The breakfast

If you prefer to make your own food, there’s a small guest kitchen on the second floor, with all kinds of cooking utilities and a cozy sitting area.

Other free things include: (1) the WIFI, which works great, and (2) the bed linen and a towel, which are given upon arrival. If you come in early and your dorm is still not ready, you can also store your stuff in the free storage room and go out to explore the city until the official check-in time.

So, what isn’t free?  As I’ve already mentioned, if you want a lock for the locker in your dorm you can purchase one for 15 ILS at the reception. The reception also offers earplugs for 5 ILS. The hostel is located in the center of the city, right above where all of the commotion is, so if you have trouble sleeping when people are making noise on the street, you might find those earplugs handy. You can also pay for laundry service.

The staff are very friendly and are available 24/7.  The hostel has a very friendly and helpful staff. When I booked the hostel, I accidently booked the wrong dorm. When I reached out to the hostel to change the reservation, they were very quick to do so and it was done in a very pleasant manner. Then, when I came early for checking-in, they also greeted me very nicely. The dorm wasn’t ready, so I asked if I could leave my stuff in the storage room. This is of course possible. The guy at the reception gave me the code to the storage room on the second floor, but when I got to the door, I had a really hard time opening it. I have a problem opening locked doors in general, so I won’t recommend you taking me to an Escape Room. Anyway, I went down to the reception and told him I couldn’t open the door, so he went all the way upstairs to open it for me. Other than that, they were friendly throughout all the stay, also at check-out.

The front door is always locked and can only be opened by the receptionist or by using a code, which is given upon check-in. The dorm was also locked by a code.

Part of an original door of the hotel from 1928

To sum it up, Jerusalem Hostel keeps its rustic appearance from the 20th century. There are plenty of old photos on the walls of the hostel, and the carpets on the floor also look like they’re ancient. When you step on the floor tiles, you can feel some of them are shaky. There’s also a beautiful curvy staircase leading to all three floors, the entrance, the rooms floor and the rooftop terrace. If you have a mobility problem or don’t like walking up and down stairs, this isn’t the place for you. But if you don’t have a problem with stairs and rustic surroundings, you might find this hostel very special.

The staircase leading from the roof terrace to the second floor

More hostels in Jerusalem:

Cinema Hostel

CapsuleInn Jerusalem

Abraham Hostel Jerusalem


Review written on September 2019. My stay in Jerusalem Hostel was part of a personal trip and was not sponsored by Jerusalem Hostel or any organization. 

Think this post is useful or helpful? Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment 🙂

Also, check out my Facebook page, Backpack Israel.

Want help with planning your trip to Israel? Check out my new app, Travel Israel on Google Play or iTunes. You’re also welcome to contact me through the Experts tab.

Looking for a tour guide in Jerusalem? I might be available. Send me an email – lior@backpackisrael.com.

Yours,

Lior

Categories
Jerusalem Stays

CapsuleInn Jerusalem: Super Cool Capsules in the City Center

Jerusalem is an amazing city, and there’s nothing like staying the middle of the city to truly experience its vibes. That’s why I decided to spend 3 nights in Jerusalem, each night in a different hostel. The first one I stayed in was CapsuleInn. From the photos online it seemed like a really cool place, and I’ve also read that it was the FIRST capsule hostel built in Israel, so of course I had to check it out.

Here’s a promotional video of CapsuleInn, made by the Hadassah Academic College (in Hebrew), which includes some filming from inside the hostel:

In this post I’m going to tell you the main things I have to say about CapsuleInn. If you don’t have time to read through it all, here’s a very short summary:

Location: 5 Stars – Perfect location! The hostel is located right next to Jaffa Street, a few steps away from Ben Yehuda Street and about a 10 minutes’ walk from both Machane Yehuda Market and the Old City.

Cleanliness: 5 Stars – Everything was very clean when I stayed there.

Staff: 4 Stars – Overall staff were very polite and nice, but they could try to not talk too loudly, because the reception is exactly where the capsules are and they aren’t soundproof.

Security: 5 Stars – I felt very safe. The front door is auto-locked and can only opened by the reception or with the chip they give you at check-in. The capsules can also be locked from the inside.

Facilities: 3 Stars – The capsules are great, but they aren’t soundproof. Other than the capsules there’s not much more in the hostel. There is no bar and there is only one common area, which is where the capsules are and that means you need to keep your voice down. Also, the shower I used did not have hot water. Later I understood that they have some problem with it, which can be sorted.

Atmosphere: 3 Stars – I think this hostel is less suitable for those who want to meet people and socialize. The common area, as I said, is where the capsules are and it’s not so pleasant chatting there, knowing that you might be disturbing someone in their capsule. There are also no special activities. It’s just you and your capsule.

Value for Money: 3 Stars – CapsuleInn offers a capsule for 100 ILS a night. In other hostels, 100 ILS is more or less the price of a bed in a mixed dormitory. The difference in CapsuleInn is that you get some privacy in the dormitory, because the capsule can be completely closed and locked from the inside. Other than the capsule, there’s not much offered. There’s no breakfast, there’s only one common area, there’s no 24/7 reception and in my case, there was no hot water in the shower.

Bottom Line:

Sleeping in CapsuleInn is like sleeping in a small spaceship. If you’ve never slept in a capsule before, this might be a good opportunity to experience this special type of accommodation. The design of CapsuleInn is very beautiful and amazing, but I believe they have some things to work on to improve the place, like making sure that the showers always have hot water and finding a way to keep noise levels down. If you’re less interested in meeting new people and socializing and more interested in laying your head down after a long day of exploring Jerusalem, CapsuleInn could be an interesting option.

And here it is in detail:

The hostel is located in the center of Jerusalem, at Jaffa 35. There are plenty of restaurants and bars around, and the trendy Ben Yehuda Street is just a few steps away. It’s also just 10 minutes by foot from Machane Yehuda Market and the Old City. To get to the hostel, you can take the light-rail train to “Jaffa Center” station and then walk about 250 meters east until the right turn to the hostel. There are a couple of stairs and then you get to the entrance. After entering, you need to climb down a bit more stairs and then you’re there. And what’s amazing is that you don’t hear the street from inside the hostel, although it’s right above you.

The entrance to CapsuleInn

The hostel is very small. The reception is in the same room as the capsules, which is a bit weird. There are 26 capsules, all situated around a small common area with some sofas and a table. There’s also a space with personal lockers and a corridor leading to the toilets and showers. I felt that there were plenty of toilets and showers. Other than that, there’s nothing else.

This is more or less the entire hostel 🙂

The highlight of the stay is the capsule. I stayed in an upper capsule, which meant I had to go up the steps to its entrance. You open the capsule with an electronic card which is by itself quite cool – and then you climb inside. The capsule is like a mini private room, with a mattress (which for me wasn’t too comfy, but was bearable), a mirror, USB charging points, ceiling lights, reading light, air conditioning, hangers and ever a small TV with different Israeli channels. If you like, you can play around with the buttons of the capsule and change the lighting to blue, yellow, green and many other colors, which is super cool! You can also lock the door of the capsule from the inside, which really gives you a lot of privacy. The only problem with the capsule is that it is not soundproof, which means you hear every little thing that happens outside your capsule. It’s less suitable for light-sleepers. If you’re coming as a couple, you can also get a double capsule.

The mirror and the control dashboard inside the capsule
The little TV in the capsule… Talking about the government

Everything was very clean, including the toilets and the showers. I also saw the staff changing the linens of the mattresses.

There’s a free tea and coffee stand. You will need to wash the cup after yourselves. There’s also a small refrigerator, where you can store small things. But breakfast is not included, so don’t count on it.    

There’s free WIFI, which sometimes works but sometimes doesn’t. When it works, it works great.

Although it’s written that you have to pay extra for a towel, I was given one with no charge. The linen was also for free. At the reception you can see a list of things that you can purchase for extra payment, including a bathing kit, a tooth brush kit, flip flops and luggage storage.

A disappointment was the shower. When I tried to take a shower in the evening, the water was cold. Even after waiting for a few minutes, the water was still cold. I was told later that there is sometimes a problem with the heating system. So, if this happens to you too, I suggest you go to the reception and ask them to try and solve the problem. Other than that, the shower has soap, a mirror and a stool on which you can lay things down.

The staff were polite, but there was a downfall (that was solved later very quickly). During check-in I was greeted by a guy at the reception who was very polite, but insisted to charge me again although I told him I had already paid through Booking. After getting home and seeing that I was indeed double-charged, I contacted CapsuleInn via E-mail and got a quick respond from the owner saying that they will return my money. They contacted me via phone and returned the money. So, they are alright, but still, I suppose this could have been avoided. Other than that, the fact that the reception is where the capsules are is a bit disturbing. Every time someone comes to check-in or check-out, you can hear everything, and if the receptionist talks on the phone, you can also hear it. Also, keep in mind that the reception does not operate 24/7. On the one hand it means less noise from that direction, but on the other hand it means it would be harder to get help in the middle of the night. There is a number to call, though, in case of emergencies.

So, to sum it up… CapsuleInn is a small and beautiful hostel, which offers a very special and cool accommodation experience. You just have to keep in mind that the capsule isn’t soundproof and that it’s a fairly new hostel, which means there could arise some slight problems during your stay. If you’ve never stayed in a capsule before, I truly recommend checking out this place, which is also quite affordable!

Check out their website – CapsuleInn Jerusalem.


More hostels in Jerusalem:

Cinema Hostel

Abraham Hostel Jerusalem

Jerusalem Hostel


Review written on September 2019. My stay in CapsuleInn was part of a personal trip and was not sponsored by CapsuleInn or any organization.  

Think this post is useful or helpful? Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment 🙂

Also, check out my Facebook page, Backpack Israel.

Want help with planning your trip to Israel? Check out my new app, Travel Israel on Google Play or iTunes. You’re also welcome to contact me through the Experts tab.

Looking for a tour guide in Jerusalem? I might be available. Send me an email – lior@backpackisrael.com.

Yours,

Lior

Categories
Free things to do Hiking in Israel Stays

Camping in Israel: The Basics

One of the most expensive aspects of a trip to Israel is the accommodation. So in this guide, I’m going to focus on camping in Israel, which is one of the affordable ways to stay in Israel. Where can you camp, how much should you expect to pay, and some basic guidelines- all in this ultimate guide to camping in Israel.

Most of the camping sites are located in the Israeli wild areas, so camping could be perfect for those of you who are interested in hiking through Israel. In the major cities, you might be able to find a few camping sites within or near the city, but most of those sites would require payment. Though, in Eilat, for example, there are areas where you can camp for free. More on camping in Eilat in my post – Camping Sites In and Around Eilat.

Camping Tips for Israel:

In general:

  • Always keep an eye on your valuables, because an animal or a human being might want to take them while you’re not on watch.
  • Don’t camp under a eucalyptus tree. This is because their branches are huge and there were some tragic incidents of eucalyptus branches falling on people and killing them. If you’re not sure how a eucalyptus looks like, just don’t camp under any tree,
  • Bring a trash bag with you and clean after yourselves. There aren’t trash cans in all of the camping sites and it’s important not to leave anything after us.

In the desert area – If you are camping on a wide-open space, try marking your tent with something that shines in the dark, so that jeeps won’t drive over you at night. Also, if there are flood hazards, do not camp near wadi openings. Before setting up your camp, you should check about floods by phoning *3639 through an Israeli phone or +972-2-5006261 through a non-Israeli phone. And if you’re camping in the desert in the winter, pack a lot of layers so you won’t get cold!

In the Carmel area – Keep in mind that the Carmel is full of warthogs, which means you might stumble into some while camping, especially after dark. Keep calm and don’t attemp to approach them.

Free Camping Sites in Israel:

There are dozens of free camping sites in Israel, most of them in the Negev region, the Israeli desert. The free camping sites are managed by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) and the Jewish National Fund (KKL). There are also camping sites which are not managed by these organizations and are just places known as camping areas.

Most of those camping sites are referred to as “sign sites”, because the only thing that separates them from any other empty piece of land in Israel is the sign that stands there and tells you that you’ve arrived at a camping site (if there’s no English, then it will be written in Hebrew – “חניון לילה”). In most of the free camping sites, there are no facilities at all – no water, no toilets, no lights at night. This means it’s just you and nature. Keep that in mind when getting ready to your trip. Bring enough water and a flashlight, so you won’t get stuck in the dark with not water.

Here is a map I made of most of the free camping sites in Israel, managed by INPA or KKL. If you see something missing, please let me know:

If you’re hiking on the Israel National Trail, there are also camping options and free accommodation options for you in several settlements along the way. Check out “Israel National Trail Angels“.

Basic guidelines for camping in free camping sites:

  • It is important to camp only in the designated area. If you will not camp in the boundaries of the camping site, you might frighten the animals that live in the area and disrupt their lifestyle.
  • Bring a trash bag with you, so that you can keep the surroundings clean. Clean after yourselves and if you see that someone has left trash behind, it would be nice if you could clean their mess as well. We don’t want to harm the wildlife by leaving trash.
  • If you’re traveling with a dog, make sure that it is on a leash and a muzzle. It might seem that a dog cannot harm the ecosystem, but the truth is that it does.
  • Light a fire only if you see a designated place for a fireplace, and always make sure to extinguish the fire before going to sleep or leaving the camping site.
  • You are the only ones responsible for your safety in the camping sites, so make sure to not get off the marked trails, keep an eye on your valuables and of course be conscious. The camping sites are quite safe, but you should always be alert!
This is how a “sign” site looks like. I just didn’t take a pic of the sign…

Camping Sites with a Camping Fee in Israel:

Alongside the free camping sites, there are also dozens of campings sites in Israel, which require a camping fee. Here are the main types of camping places that require a camping fee:

INPA camping sites with entrance fees:

The INPA has free camping sites, but also has some sites which require a camping fee. Those sites are usually situated in the INPA reserves and offer much more facilities, including toilets, showers, water, a field kitchen and even electrical outlets.

It is not allowed to enter with a dog and you must reserve your camping space before coming. When reserving a place, you can either choose the option of bringing your own tent (which should cost you around 55 ILS) or using a tent that is on the site (which should cost you around 80 ILS). Those prices include entrance to the national park or nature park that the camping site is located inside or adjacent to, which means it’s quite worth the money. Not all campsites are open all year round, so make sure to check the details before you get too excited.

For the full list of those camping sites, check out INPA’s website. For some reason, I couldn’t find the Hai Bar Yotvata Camping Site there, but it exists as far as I know. To read about the Hai Bar Yotvata Camping Site – visit it’s official webpage.

To reserve a camping place, you can contact the INPA through the email winter@npa.org.il or through their FB page.

Here is a video made by the INPA, which shows a bit of their camping sites that require entrance fee:

Field schools:

There are about 10 field schools throughout Israel, managed by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel. Most of their field schools are located in the northern part of Israel. But, there are still some in the southern part, like in Eilat and Mitzpe Ramon. Those field schools have regular rooms, but some also offer camping areas for people coming with their own tents. It costs around 50 ILS per night, but it lets you camp in a protected area.

To get more info about the field schools and contact information for asking about camping options – check out this website.

Private camping sites:

Aside from the main organizations, there are also private entities, who have opened a camping site in Israel. For example, Timna Park has a private camping site. They charge 104 ILS for a night with your own tent, including entrance to the park.

There are also many khans and private farms, which offer a place for camping with your own tents or their tents. For example, I’ve stayed in the Hadkalim Farm during my visit in the Western Negev.

If you would like to find more private camping sites, chat with me on my Facebook page – Backpack Israel – or send me an email to lior@backpackisrael.com and I’ll try to help.

Wishing you a great camping trip!


Did I forget anything important? Do you have any camping tips to add? Feel free to contact me at lior@backpackisrael.com and update me.

Think this post is useful or helpful? I would really appreciate a like, a share or a comment 🙂

Also, check out my Facebook page, Backpack Israel.

Want help with planning your trip to Israel? Check out my new app, Travel Israel by Travelkosh for Android and iPhone. You’re also welcome to contact me through the Experts tab in the app.

Yours,

Lior

Categories
Stays Tel Aviv

Roger’s House: A Tel Avivian Hostel with Cool Vibes

I’ve spent another weekend in Tel Aviv and this time I spent it at Roger’s House Hostel, a fairly new hostel that opened about a year and a half ago. The hostel is situated in a beautiful Templar house, which dates back to 1929, and stands between the neighborhoods of Neve Tzedek and Florentine. I loved its inner design, especially the colorful Templar floor tiles. The first thing I saw when coming to the reception was the wall covered Birra Roger bottles – a beer brand made by the hostel, which has a very special taste (and it’s the only hostel that makes its own beer).

When I started wandering around the hostel, I could find Roger everywhere. I guess you just need to come to the hostel to understand what I mean.  

Here’s a short video by Roger’s House Hostel that gives you a bit of the vibe:

In this post I’m going to tell you the main things I have to say about Roger’s House Hostel. If you don’t have time to read through it all, here’s a very short summary:

Location: 5 stars – Perfect location between the neighborhoods of Neve Tzedek and Florentine. It’s also located in a fairly quiet street. 

Cleanliness: 4 stars – Overall it was quite clean, but there were some places which seemed like they needed a bit more cleaning, especially the showers. Still, even there it was OK.

Staff: 5 stars – Friendly and welcoming.

Security: 5 stars – There was a buzzer at the front gate of the hostel, which means only the reception could open it. There was also an entrance code for the dorm.

Facilities: 4 stars – The hostel is still being upgraded, so there are some facilities which need some improvement, but overall you have everything you need. There isn’t a bar, but the reception sells beers, amongst them Roger’s Birra. 

Atmosphere: 5 stars – Loved the atmosphere. The hostel has a good vibe and offers great common areas for interactions between travelers. Seems like this hostel attracts mainly young travelers. And it really feels like a house!

Value for Money: 5 stars – The price of a bed in a dorm is quite cheap – between 60 to 80 Shekels – so for this price I believe the hostel is totally worth it! 

Bottom Line:

Roger’s House is a beautiful hostel in a quiet, but very central area of Tel Aviv. The fact that it’s located in an old Templar house really gives it a different feel, especially thanks to the amazing colorful tiles all around the hostel. The place has great potential and I’ve heard it’s going to get upgraded soon. Overall, I really enjoyed my stay here and recommend this place if you’re on a tight budget and want to stay in a hostel with a great vibe. It’s also great for those of you who are looking for a dorm which has some privacy, thanks to the curtains around each bed.  

And here it is in detail:

The hostel is located between the neighborhoods of Neve Tzedek and Florentine, which are both beautiful neighborhoods of Tel Aviv. In Florentine you can spend hours looking at graffiti works and in Neve Tzedek you can learn a bit about the history of Tel Aviv and enjoy the beautiful architecture. The hostel is also just about a 10-15 minutes’ walk from the beachside and a 15 minutes’ walk from Old Jaffa. If you’re into markets, it’s also about a 10 minutes’ walk from Levinsky Market and a 20 minutes’ walk from the Carmel Market. My conclusion is – The hostel has a PERFECT location, about 15 minutes by foot from all the main attractions of Tel Aviv.  

This is how it looks from the outside

There are nice common areas on every floor. At the entrance of the hostel there’s a nice front yard with comfy places to sit and chat with fellow travelers. On the second floor there’s also a nice indoors common area with sofas and books to read. If you’d like to breathe some air, there’s also a small balcony overlooking the construction works of the Tel Aviv light rail train – which I suppose won’t be completed in the next couple of years. The common area on the third floor is a bit dusty, so… nobody was really there.

The front yard – cool place to sit in the evenings
The common area on the second floor

The dorm is quite spacious. I stayed in a 10-bed female-only dorm, which had quite enough space for everything. I could easily walk between the beds and around the room without bumping into anything. The beds all have a curtain around them, which gives a lot of privacy. There’s also a small shelf, light and USB plugs for each bed. And the bed is super comfortable – one of the most comfortable beds I’ve slept on in hostels. If you want to get a bottom bed, you should try to get to the hostel as early as possible, because when you enter the dorm you get to choose which bed you want, as long as it’s not occupied. There’s also great A/C!

There’s a connected locker room, which has a lot of space. The lockers have been refurbished recently. If you want to store something in a locker, make sure to bring your own lock with you, since the hostel doesn’t provide a free lock. If you forget to bring a lock, you can get one in their vendor machine for 20 ILS, which is quite expensive, so try to not forget!

The dorm I stayed in

The dorm doesn’t have an en-suite bathroom. There’s a small female-only bathroom on the dorm floor, which has two showers and one toilet. The showers have curtains. There’s not much room to move around there, so I preferred to go downstairs to the shared bathroom on the second floor, which is open to both women and men. It has plenty of showers, which all have doors which you can lock, and plenty of toilets. There’s no soap, so make sure to bring your own. I’ve been told that the bathroom on the third floor will be upgraded soon, so… let’s see.

The better uni-sex bathroom on the second floor

Other than the dorm I stayed in, there’s also a HUGE dorm on the ground floor, which is called the OMG Dorm and has 30 beds in it! There are also many other dorms, which have an age restriction of 18-45, but if you prefer to stay in a private room, they are also available. The most unique private rooms are located in the hostel’s backyard. There, you can sleep in an Urban Caravan or a T3 camper 1985.

If you have a problem with climbing stairs, you should make sure to book a room on the ground floor of the hostel. The OMG Dorm is on the ground floor, and the private caravans are also down there, in the yard. There’s no elevator to the upper floors, but it’s not a long climb. The guest kitchen is on the second floor.

The caravans in the backyard

The hostel was quite clean, and I even saw the cleaners working in the morning, but somehow, I felt it wasn’t clean enough. The common area on the third floor, for example, felt very dusty and stuffy to me, and the shower I used was a bit dirty, but I guess it also depends on the people who use the shower.

There’s no breakfast in the hostel. Though, you do get “surprise” pancakes in the morning starting from 9:30AM. Each guest can get two pancakes, but they’re quite small, so don’t count on them for breakfast. Instead, you can use the fully equipped guest kitchen to make your own breakfast. There’s also free coffee and tea 24/7 and a water cooler.

Part of the guest kitchen
Another part of the kitchen

There’s free WiFi, which worked well along my entire stay. The hostel also provides bed linen, blanket and a towel for the shower. You can’t take the towel to the beach, though!

If you need to do laundry, there’s a laundry room next to the reception. Also, there’s a luggage storage room next to the reception, which you can use for free if you just want to leave your luggage for a few hours. If you want to leave it there for more than a day, you’ll need to pay. Keep in mind that the luggage room is the same as the laundry room, so there’s free access to the room. Don’t leave your valuables there!

The staff were very friendly. It seemed like they were mostly volunteers or people who came from abroad, so they have no problem with English. At check-in, they give you a tour of the hostel’s main facilities and show you to your room, which is nice. It also seemed there was always someone at the reception if needed.

The hostel offers a pub crawl, a graffiti tour and other activities. Since I stayed there on Shabbat, I joined the Shabbat Dinner, which costs 45 ILS. The menu of the Shabbat dinner includes mainly shakshuka, but also burghul and a yummy salad, so it’s vegetarian. Usually, most families in Israel eat a non-vegetarian meal on Shabbat dinner, so don’t think we don’t eat meat on Shabbat. There was a short explanation about Shabbat at the beginning of the dinner. Actually, I as an Israeli was asked to explain about the Shabbat. When I explained about the challah, the special bread we eat on Shabbat, I was disappointed that there was no challah to show. That was my only disappointment. The meal was very tasty and the atmosphere was great.

The shakshuka served during Shabbat Dinner

So… Bottom line – Roger’s House Hostel is a beautiful hostel with a young vibe, perfect for those of you looking for a budget hostel with a great atmosphere!

You can book your bed at Roger’s House directly through their website.


Other recommended hostels in Tel Aviv:

Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv

Little Tel-Aviv Hostel

HaYarkon 48 Hostel


The review was written on July 2019. I’ve been invited to the hostel, but can assure you my review is loyal to my experience.

Think this post is useful or helpful? I would really appreciate a like, a share or a comment 🙂

Also, check out my Facebook page, Backpack Israel.

Want help with planning your trip to Israel? Check out my new app, Travel Israel by Travelkosh for Android and iPhone. You’re also welcome to contact me through the Experts tab in the app.

Yours,

Lior

Categories
Stays Tel Aviv

Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv: Cool Stay in the City Center

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. I have stayed at Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv and recommend it!

I spent three nights with my friend in Tel Aviv. She came from abroad and had only five full days in Israel, so we decided to split it between Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, and Tel Aviv. And since I have not yet stayed in the famous Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv, which everybody is always talking about, I figured it would be a great opportunity to stay there. I told her: “If it is like the one in Jerusalem, then it should be awesome!”

Here’s a promotional video by Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv, which includes some shots from inside the hostel:

Short summary:

In this post I’m going to tell you the main things I have to say about Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv. If you don’t have time to read through it all, here’s a very short summary:

Location: 5 stars – Perfect! Near Rothschild Boulevard, many restaurants and nightlife venues.

Cleanliness: 5 stars – Everything was very clean.

Staff: 5 stars – Friendly and always at reception.

Security: 4 stars – I felt safe, but it seems like there are no security measures like in other hostels, such as an entrance code to the building. The doors seem to always be open.

Facilities: 5 stars – The common areas are huge and awesome, there’s a cool bar and everything needed.

Atmosphere: 5 stars – Abraham Hostel always has something going on, but if you don’t feel like doing something there’s always an option to chill out in one of the more quiet corners of the hostel.

Value for Money: 5 stars – Compared to other hostels in Tel Aviv, it’s reasonably priced (around 80-140 ILS for a bed in a dorm, depending on season), and the facilities are great.

Bottom Line:

Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv is the largest hostel I’ve ever been to, but despite its huge size it felt like home. The staff members were always friendly and attentive, breakfast was good (and free), the spaces were clean and there was everything I needed for my trip to Tel Aviv. I was just a bit disappointed that the hostel doesn’t have locks for the lockers, but they sell locks for just 10 ILS, so it was OK. Also – I really liked the beautiful wall paintings in the main lounge! If you’re looking for a hostel with quality facilities and an endless number of activities going on all week long – Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv could be the one!

Want to book a stay at Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv?

Book through Hostelworld or compare prices on Hotelscombined.

A detailed review of Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv:

The location:

The hostel is located in the heart of the city. Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv is located just a few steps from Rothschild Boulevard, the first street of Tel Aviv. In this area there are plenty of restaurants and nightlife venues. The Carmel Market is about a 15 minutes’ walk from the hostel. The beachside and Old Jaffa are about a 30 minutes’ walk. But if you don’t feel like walking, you can always take a bus from one of the many bus stations located near the hostel. The Central Bus Station is only 20 minutes by foot from the hostel, so yeah… The location is perfect!

The entrance to Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv

The common areas:

The lounge is huge and offers a lot of resting places. The common lounge is the largest I’ve seen in my life. It is full of sofas, many types of chairs and even has four hammocks, which means you can rest in many different styles. If you don’t feel like resting you can play table soccer or billiard, go watch TV in the TV Room or get a drink from the bar, which operates from 6PM till late. There’s also a cool rooftop on the 3rd floor. There isn’t a great view from up there, but in the evenings it was nice sitting up there enjoying the good weather.

The main lounge in Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv

The dorm:

The dorm is very spacious. We stayed in a 6-bed female-only dorm that actually had 8 beds. Everyone had enough space for their luggage and stuff. There was one sink, one shower, and one toilet, which was fine for us. If there’s a queue you can always go to the shared showers and toilets, which are on the same floor as the dorms. There’s soap in the shower if you forget yours.

The beds were comfy, but a bit squeaky. Each bed has an electrical socket, a reading light, and a small shelf. When you first come in, you need to choose an available bed and place your name on the board according to your bed number. You also get bed linens and a towel when checking in.

There were both A/C and fans, which worked fine in the Israeli summer. The only thing that was a bit disappointing was the lockers in the room didn’t have locks, so we had to buy a lock from the reception. It costs 10 ILS.

If you don’t want to stay in a dorm, there are plenty of private room options, too.

Everything was very clean, both the dorm and the shared spaces.

Breakfast:

Breakfast is free and quite varied. It is served every day between 6:30 AM to 10 AM. They serve bread, halva, chocolate spread, jam, different kinds of cheese, salad, hard-boiled eggs, and cereal. You also have a free coffee and tea stand 24/7. You just have to wash all your dishes and cups afterward.

Part of the breakfast…

And if you prefer to make your own food, the common kitchen is spacious and well equipped. There are also two big refrigerators, where you can keep your food.

Part of the guest kitchen

WiFi is also free and works great.

Paid services:

As I said, if you need locks for the lockers you will need to pay 10 ILS for a lock. If you need to do laundry, there are laundry machines on the rooftop, which charge money. Also, if you forget to bring a beach towel, you can purchase one for 15 ILS and keep it.

The staff:

The staff were very friendly and always there. There are a lot of staff members in the hostel and they were all very friendly. Some even told us “good morning” when they passed by us on the staircase. When we did check-in the staff member at the reception was very nice, explained everything we needed to know about the hostel and also answered all of our questions, including which bus leads to the airport.

The activities:

There are tons of activities and tours. Abraham Hostels aren’t just the main hostel chain in Israel, but also one of the leading budget tour operators in Israel. There are plenty of self guided and guided tours leaving directly from the hostel to many interesting places in Israel, so it’s worth to check which tours happen on your travel dates. It’s also worth checking out the hostel’s weekly activities. There are many parties, cooking workshops and language exchanges going on. Not all of them are free, but they are all on a budget.

Because we stayed in the hostel during Shabbat, we decided to join the hostel’s Shabbat dinner. It costs 50 ILS per person, which is a great price for the amount of quality food you get. At the beginning of the dinner, you get a short explanation about what Shabbat is and about the different Shabbat prayers and rituals. Then you begin the Shabbat feast, which in Abraham Hostel is mainly vegetarian, and get to know the fellow travellers who also came for the Shabbat dinner.

Conclusion:

So… Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv was great. I’m not sure if it’s better than the Abraham Hostel in Jerusalem like some people say, but it doesn’t really matter. The bottom line is – STOP WORKING, START TRAVELLING!


More recommended hostels in Tel Aviv:

Little Tel-Aviv Hostel

Hayarkon 48 Hostel

Roger’s House Hostel


Review written on June 2019. My stay in Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv was part of a personal trip and was not sponsored by Abraham Hostels or any organization.

Think this post is useful or helpful? Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment 🙂

Also, check out my Facebook page, Backpack Israel.

Want help with planning your trip to Israel? Check out my new app, Travel Israel on Google Play or iTunes. You’re also welcome to contact me through the Experts tab.

Yours,

Lior

Categories
Stays Tel Aviv

Little Tel-Aviv – A Great Stay in the City Center

Last month I decided to spend a weekend in Tel Aviv, the city that never sleeps. It was quiet spontaneous, so most hostels were already totally booked. I was left with only a few choices, amongst them Little Tel-Aviv Hostel, which was also almost fully booked. I stayed in this hostel for one night in a female-only dorm and it was great!

In this post I’m going to tell you the main things I have to say about Little Tel-Aviv Hostel. If you don’t have time to read through it all, here’s a very short summary:

Location: 5 stars – Perfect!

Cleanliness: 4 stars – Everything was very clean, but I didn’t like the smell in the bathroom.

Staff: 4 stars – Knowledgable and friendly, but not always at the reception.

Security: 5 stars – There’s an entrance code to the building, which worked well.

Facilities: 5 stars – The common areas are awesome and everything needed is available.

Atmosphere: 5 stars – A place to chill out and have fun. It didn’t seem like a party hostel, which I personally liked, but there are plenty of common areas to make friends.

Value for Money: 4 stars – Compared to other hostels in Tel Aviv, it’s reasonably priced.

The hostel entrance at night… The name of the hostel disappeared in the photo!

And here it is in detail:

Its location is perfect! It is just a few steps away from Rothschild Boulevard, the heart of Tel Aviv. On Rothschild Boulevard you can find plenty of restaurants and bars, as well as historical sites. If you’re into architecture, you can also find many beautiful buildings along the boulevard and a great amount of international style buildings (commonly referred to as Bauhaus). Around the corner there’s a small supermarket and on the other side of the road there’s a bakery. Marketplaces are also a few minutes’ walk away. And when you’re coming or going, the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station is just a 20 minutes’ walk away. Bottom line – The location is amazing!

This is beautiful Rothschild Boulevard

The lounge is beautiful and fun. It’s huge and has sofas as well as chairs and tables. There’s a closet full of social games and books, so if you don’t want to mess around with your phone, you have plenty of other things to do! Though, you should take into account that if you’re planning to work in the lounge, there’s music playing in the background, that might get you out of focus. If you want to enjoy some sun or some good air in the evening, there’s also a cute garden.

Part of Little Tel-Aviv’s lounge…

The dorm is a bit small, but is finely furnished. I spent my night in a female-only dorm with four beds (two bunk beds). There’s not much room to move around, espeially if each of the girls brings a lot of things with her, but the point of staying in a hostel is not being stuck in the room, right? There are four open lockers and four small safety boxes that can be locked (if you have a lock). Each bed has an electricity socket, a reading light and a small shelf for small things, like a phone, glasses, etc. There’s also an A/C, but we didn’t use it. What I found unusual (but interesting) is the sink we had inside the dorm, which means we don’t have to stand in line inside the shared bathroom when it’s time to brush teeth in the morning.

My cozy little dorm (:

And if we’re talking about sinks… There weren’t a lot of shared toilets and showers on the dorm floor. I counted only two toilets and two showers in the women’s bathroom. But it seems that they were enough, because I didn’t have to wait for any of them… I’ve also heard there were more on the other floor, if you want to climb upstairs. Like the dorm, the showers are also quite small and you’ll need to hang your things outside the shower. 

A sneak peek into the women’s bathroom…

The breakfast isn’t free, but it’s reasonably priced and has a wonderful range of options. The breakfast costs 20 ILS and includes bread, different spreads, pancakes, cereal, fruit and vegetables. You can even ask for one of the staff members to make you eggs! It was totally worth the price.

The yummy breakfast!

And if you want to cook something for yourself, the common kitchen is awesome and fully equipped! I really loved the colorful kitchen and it seemed like it had everything you need to cook yourself a great meal – dishes, cutting boards, bowls, utilities, pans, microwave, stove tops and a variety of spices.

The amazing kitchen!

WiFi is free and works great. 

If you don’t want to spend extra money, you should bring a lock for the safety box. Inside the dorms there are small safety boxes, which can be used to store a laptop and other small valuable things. From what I understood, a lock costs 10 ILS.

If you wish to get a towel, you can get one for free at the reception. Just ask 🙂

See the colorful boxes down there? Those need locks!

The staff were friendly and helpful. They explained well about the hostel and were also able to give me good answers to some of my questions, such as “Where’s the nearest supermarket?” Problem was that they weren’t always at the reception. When I came for checking-in, there was no one there and I had to wait until someone showed up. Also when I came for checking-out, I had to wait until they came back from the kitchen. I just think it’s more welcoming to find someone waiting at the reception, at least when arriving… But overall, they were very nice, especially one of the volunteers, which I had a great conversation with! 

To sum it all upLittle Tel-Aviv Hostel is a superb place for those of you who want to stay near Rothschild Boulevard and the coolest nightlife venues of Tel Aviv. It’s clean and reasonably priced for a hostel in Tel Aviv. The dorms and bathrooms are small, but there are plenty of large and fun common areas where you can chill out and meet new friends.


Review written on December 2018.

Want to stay at Little Tel-Aviv Hostel? Check out prices for Little Tel-Aviv Hostel through hotelscombined (it’ll help me raise some funds for the site) or visit their site to book direct.

Think this post is useful or helpful? Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment 🙂

Also, check out my Facebook page, Backpack Israel.

Want help with planning your trip to Israel? Check out my new app, Travel Israel on Google Play or iTunes. You’re also welcome to contact me through the Experts tab.

Yours,

Lior

 

 

Categories
Acre Stays

Eco Akko – A Great Hostel in Old Acre

A few days ago I went on a short trip to Acre with three friends of mine. Acre (Akko) is amazing! Beautiful alleys, historical buildings, and highly interesting human stories. After we found out that the place we wanted to stay at was fully booked, we booked our beds at Eco Akko Hostel. This hostel is about three months old, and it’s one of the best I’ve ever been to in Israel. If you want to stay in the heart of the Old City of Acre and enjoy some great, chilled out ambience, you should definitely check out this place. After one night at the hostel, here are the main things I have to say about it:

It has a superb location on the Old City’s main road! The hostel is located on Salah ad Din Street, a few steps away from the Old City walls, the marketplace and the Hospitaller Fortress. The green dome of the el-Jazzar Mosque can easily be seen from the hostel’s rooftop. Plenty of restaurants and grocery stores are just a few feet away.

Sleeping in a beehive gives you lots of privacy. At the moment, there’s only one dormitory in the hostel. It’s a huge space with over 20 beds. Most of the beds are enclosed bunk beds, designed like beehives. There are also enclosed double beds. Each bed has a private USB charging point and a small fan. The dorm itself is air conditioned all day long.

Some of the beehives…

When we booked the beds, I was a bit sceptic about it – Will it be comfortable? Will it be scary to sleep in an enclosed space? Won’t it be hard to sleep in the same dorm with over 20 people? After this night, I can happily report that I was able to sleep very well. There’s a sign asking to be quiet in the dormitory and people did respect it. Though, at night, when people were coming into the dormitory to sleep, the dorm door was making lots of noise. You need to put in a code to enter, so the noise of the code machine was a bit disturbing, and the door was slamming hard when it closed. Other than that, the entire night was quiet.

If you’re claustrophobic, you can always sleep outside of the beehives. There’s a loft in the dormitory, where you can sleep on mattresses on the floor.

Lockers are not available, but I was told that they’re working on it. Meanwhile, you can keep your valuables in a locked box at the reception.

The dorm is very clean. The toilets and showers are also clean. The showers are lockable and there’s soap if you forgot to bring yours. Don’t forget to bring shampoo, though!

The dorm is located on the second floor and there’s no elevator.    

You get sheets, towels and WiFi for free. WiFi doesn’t work too well, but I’ve discovered that the internet doesn’t work well in Acre in general. Just take in account that WiFi might be slow at times.

Reception only works from 8 AM to 11 PM. They can wait for you if you tell them you’re coming late. But, if you need something urgent, you’ll have to wake up the volunteer from 11 PM to 8 AM.

The kitchen is well equipped with everything you need. There’s a refrigerator, a toaster, a coffee maker, an electric cooking stove, a microwave, and plenty of cookware. There’s also free tea and coffee 24/7. Because the hostel is Eco(logical), there are some bins for recycling in the kitchen area, so don’t forget to recycle!

Part of the kitchen 

The refrigerator and the recycling bins

Hostel staff were super friendly and helpful. We got a chance to meet both Shaya (who worked evening shift) and Sahar (who worked morning shift). They were happy to answer all our questions, were super friendly and had great stories to tell. Hope you readers will also have a chance to meet them or other friendly staff members.

And… There’s an amazing rooftop! If you climb up to the top of the hostel you’ll find a beautiful rooftop, with a sofa and a huge table, which you can sit around with the new friends you’ll make here. We were up there only during the night, so couldn’t see too much of the view because of the dark, but it seemed promising. If it’s too cold on the rooftop, you can sit in the shared space next to the kitchen. Look in the wooden box and you’ll find some books you can read or games you can play with fellow travelers.

The amazing rooftop!

To sum it all up – I am extremely happy that I got a chance to stay in Eco Akko Hostel. The hostel is very cozy, clean and has a cool ambience, and I really liked sleeping in a “beehive”. The staff were super welcoming, and I can just hope that they will keep on the good work and expand their hostel so that more travelers will be able to enjoy it.   

This review was written October 2018. If anything has changed, please update me.

Hope you have an amazing time in Acre! 


Think this post is useful or helpful? Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment 🙂

Also, check out my Facebook page, Backpack Israel.

Want help with planning your trip to Israel? Check out my new app, Travel Israel on Google Play or iTunes. You’re also welcome to contact me through the Experts tab.

Yours,

Lior

Categories
Galilee Stays

Tiberias Hostel – Fun Place in the City Center

Hi everyone, about a week ago I really wanted to go to Tiberias, so I packed my bag and asked my friend if he wants to join me for the weekend. There were a few earthquakes before we came and extreme heat, but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity. I said: “The Sea of Galilee is there. That’ll cool us down”.

So… We stayed at the Tiberias Hostel, a nice hostel I’ve already stayed at about a year ago. It’s a real budget hostel and and has all a backpacker needs.

Here’s a video produced by DIY Travel Reviews on the hostel, if you want to see it in video:

Here are the major points I have to say about Tiberias Hostel today:

Its location is very central. Tiberias Hostel is located on Rabin Square in the very heart of the city. It’s a very short walk from the promenade and from the shoreline. Though, you should know that most beaches near the hostel charge an entrance fee (which I personally think is ridiculous). There’s one free beach just a few minutes away from the hostel, but it isn’t maintained at all and there isn’t a lifeguard. For better beaches, you’ll need a car during weekends.

There are also great restaurants within a walking distance from the hostel. Pasta Basta, for instance, is just around the corner.

The staff members were nice. The staff were always very attentive and answered all our questions patiently. Though, I must say that when we asked them about restaurants that were open Friday evening, their knowledge was lacking. They said no restaurants are open Friday evening, but when we checked, it turned out that there are a number of restaurants that are open. Maybe they are a bit pricey, but they were open.

The common spaces are large and really fun! Last time I was here, I stayed in a 4-bed private room on the lobby floor and didn’t have much time to wander around. Now we stayed in a double room, also on the lobby floor, but we had time to wander around.

The hostel’s lobby area

The lobby floor is great. It has a free tea and coffee corner and a space with sofas. In between the sofas are tables and on them are all kinds of games, like Rummikub, 4-in-a-row and chess. But when reception closes at 11PM, they turn off the lights in the lobby area, too, and then you can’t do much there.

We decided to see what there is to do on the upper floor. They have a beautiful common room area with sofas, tables, a variety of games and… a billiard table! I really loved this space. You can turn on the lights as you please. And there’s also a TV room with a huge TV and with super cool A/C! One floor up is the amazing rooftop!

The billiard table (forgot to photograph the balls)

Outside the TV room it’s hot. Very very hot! I think the only place in the hostel with a brand new A/C is the TV room. In other spaces of the hostel, you depend only on fans and it can get really hot! We were in the hostel during extreme heat, so… it was unbearable at times. And the A/C in the room was old, very very old. The A/C worked fine in the room, but you have to make sure it doesn’t go under 25 degrees and that it doesn’t work for too many hours, because then it will start leaking. I don’t know how it is in other rooms.

The showers are clean and spacious. On our last day in Tiberias we checked out early, but wanted to leave late, so we asked permission to come back for the showers. The shared showers are beautiful! There are plenty of showers, each one has a colorful shower curtain, there’s a bench where you can lay your things… inside the shower itself there isn’t a shelf for laying things on, but that’s fine. They are really great showers!

The rooms are basic. The double room we stayed in was basic. It had a bed that was built up from two mattresses, which weren’t very comfortable (very springy). There is a mini-fridge and a cable TV, which is a plus, but the shower was small and very basic. You get towels and there’s also soap, but if you need shampoo, you need to bring your own.

This is the double bed we got

Last time I stayed in a 4-bed private room, which didn’t have a TV or fridge, but if I remember correctly had beds that were much more comfortable. 

Other than those two rooms, there are a variety of dorms.

The kitchen is huge! And beautifully designed. When we first entered the kitchen and dining room, I was amazed by the size and the beautiful design. There are plenty of tables, there’s a big fridge, a microwave, a stove and all the pots and dishes you need.

Part of the kitchen…

Breakfast isn’t included, but if you want you can order breakfast in advance for about 20 NIS per person. It isn’t too much and I understood it includes quite a variety compared to other breakfasts in hostels.

There’s no elevator. The Tiberias Hostel is located in a building of about 3 floors. To get to the reception, you need to go up two flights of stairs, then another two flight of stairs to the dormitories floor and then another to the rooftop.

Beach towels are given free of charge. Towels are given in the rooms, but you can’t take them out to the beach. You can ask for beach towels at the reception and they’ll give you a towel free of charge. You’ll need to leave a security deposit and return the towel afterwards.

And some things I’ve missed… There’s free WiFi, the reception can help you book tours in the area and if you’re coming with a car, you can find a free gravel parking lot just a few meters from the hostel.

To sum it all up – This is a great hostel for budget-travelers, with an awesome vibe, located next to the Sea of Galilee. The rooms are a bit basic, but the common areas are well maintained, well designed and well equipped with all a traveler needs, and the common areas are the most important thing in a hostel!

This review was written July 2018. If anything has changed, please update me.

Hope you have a great time in Tiberias and the Lower Galilee area!

More reviews:

HaYarkon 48 – Nice Hostel for Beach Lovers in Tel Aviv

New Hostel in Jerusalem City Center


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Also, check out my Facebook page, Backpack Israel.

Want help with planning your trip to Israel? Check out my new app, Travel Israel on Google Play or iTunes. You’re also welcome to contact me through the Experts tab.

Yours,

Lior

 

Categories
Stays Tel Aviv

HaYarkon 48 – Nice Hostel for Beach Lovers in Tel Aviv

Last week I decided to take a trip to Tel Aviv and stay overnight. I searched the web for a good located hostel and found HaYarkon 48. Without a doubt, its greatest plus is its location. Beach lovers would love it, because it is just a few feet away from the beachside. After one night in the hostel, here are the main things I have to say about it:

Again, I want to emphasize that HaYarkon 48’s location is awesome! It is about a minute from beautiful Jerusalem Beach, about 5 minutes from the Carmel Market (where clothing, home accessories and food are sold) and a 10-15 minutes’ bus drive from almost every main attraction in Tel Aviv. The area is also full of great restaurants and some minimarkets.

Just a few steps from the hostel…

The dorms are big and clean. I slept in a 6-bed female-only dorm and didn’t feel too crowded. Maybe it was because we were only four in the dorm. There are three bunk beds in the dorm. When you check in, you are assigned a dorm and a bed (if you care which bed you sleep in – write a request for it when ordering a bed in a dorm). My bed at the bottom level of the bunk was comfortable. Also, the dorm was clean when I got there. But, there are a few problems with the dorm:

  • There is only one light in the dorm and no personal lights, so if someone wants to sleep, the ones that are awake can’t have lights on.
  • All the electricity sockets are in one place. There are no electricity sockets near each bed, which means you can’t sit comfortably on your bed and surf your phone while charging it.
  • The dorm’s porch is linked to all the other porches of the other dorms. You can see this as a plus for easy socializing, but this also means less privacy and if you leave the porch door open for air to come in, someone can easily come in from the other dorms. We left the porch door open all night and everything was fine, by the way, but you never know.
  • It’s really hot! Although there is an A/C it didn’t seem to work properly and the fan didn’t really help as well. Only in the evening we could open the porch and let some chilly air come in.
  • No lockers in the dorm!

The female-only dorm

Lockers are for rent. I want to write a bit more about the locker issue. When you check in you are provided a very small storage box near the reception desk. If you need more space for storage, you’ll need to rent a locker for 15 NIS a day. Most importantly, there are no lockers in the rooms. They are all located on the ground floor, which means you’ll need to go down every time you need something from there. Maybe consider bringing a lock for your luggage instead of renting those lockers.

There are three floors and no elevator. If you thought it was easy going up and down the floors, think again. If you’re not in great shape, you will surely be after a few nights here, especially if you’ll get the dorm on the highest floor. Ask for a room on a lower floor if you have problem climbing stairs.

Towels are for rent as well. If you didn’t bring a towel, you can rent one for 3 NIS. You can change it to a beach towel whenever you want. Towels are not provided for free.

So what is provided for free? The WiFi is free and works well. Bed sheets and pillows are also free. And… I think that is all.

I really liked the showers, by the way. They have showers on each floor and the showers are very-very spacious and clean. There’s a great flow of hot water.

Breakfast is do-it-yourself. You get all the ingredients and equipment, but need to prepare it yourself. If you look on the positive side, you can prepare breakfast as you like it – make your own omelet and so on… it’s also a great way to socialize with other guests – help them turn on the gas and the toaster and so on. But keep in mind that the sooner you come, the better. Most people wake up late and then the kitchen can get crowded. You get eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, bread, cheese and chocolate and can do whatever you like with these. You also have a tea and coffee stand that is available for free all day long.

The dining area

This is quite a quiet hostel. While I stayed here I saw a few people in the lounge and the kitchen area, but there weren’t parties and people talked in a nice and quiet way. People also didn’t make noise on the upper floors, so I had no problem sleeping. The hostel’s crowd is a mixture of young and old. If you’re talkative, you will have a chance to meet a large range of people here from all ages and statuses.

Hostel staff were nice and helpful. Itai at the reception desk was happy to explain everything there is to know about the hostel and also was helpful when I was searching for a place to buy food. Sometimes the reception is very busy and then it is hard to get the staff’s attention, but overall, they are great. One of them let me keep my locker a bit after check-out hours, because I wanted to see a bit more of the city.

To sum it all up – HaYarkon48 Hostel is a basic but satisfactory place to stay, just a few feet away from the wonderful beachside of Tel Aviv. If amenities are less important to you and you’re more interested in a perfect location, this hostel is a great choice for you!

This review was written June 2018. If anything has changed, please update me.

Hope you have a great time in Tel Aviv!


Think this post is useful or helpful? Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment 🙂

Also, check out my Facebook page, Backpack Israel.

Want help with planning your trip to Israel? Check out my new app, Travel Israel on Google Play or iTunes. You’re also welcome to contact me through the Experts tab.

Yours,

Lior