Top Free Things to do in Tel Aviv

So, after Jerusalem and Eilat, I’ve decided to write about the top free things to do in TEL AVIV, the city that never sleeps! Tel Aviv is one of the most famous cities in Israel. It is also one of the most vibrant cities in the world, with a long stretch of beaches, colorful markets, and crazy nightlife. While it’s known as one of the most expensive cities in the world, there are still some things you can do in Tel Aviv for free. So, what is there to do in Tel Aviv for free? Here are my top picks.

Read >> My full budget-friendly travel guide to Tel Aviv

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Have fun on the beach

If you want to enjoy the sun, sand, and wonderful sea, grab a beach towel and head to one of Tel Aviv’s beaches. It’s free!

Tel Aviv is famous worldwide for its fantastic beachside along the Mediterranean Sea. The beach strip is divided into 13 declared beaches, each with a different vibe. All are well-maintained and include showers, changing rooms, and restrooms. Some beaches have sports facilities. Some offer an option to rent lounge beds, chairs, and sun umbrellas during the swimming season (April to October).

One of my favorite Tel Aviv beaches is Charles Clore Beach, a few hundred steps from Old Jaffa. It’s a quiet beach compared to the others, has a great view of Old Jaffa, and has a great bar café on site. Other recommended beaches are Jerusalem Beach and Gordon Beach, which are very close to each other. Hilton Beach is a gay-friendly beach, also not far away.

You can also try surfing or SUP boarding while in Tel Aviv. The city isn’t world-renowned as a surfing destination but still offers good surfing spots. It’s a very popular sport among the people of Tel Aviv. There are several surfing schools along the coast. One of the more recommended ones is Galim Surf School on Gordon Beach. You can book a private lesson or rent equipment and go surfing on your own. 

Charles Clore Beach in the summer

Explore the beautiful streets of Old Jaffa

I believe Old Jaffa is one of the most enchanting places in Israel. Jaffa is one of the most ancient settlements in Israel, but today, it is part of Tel Aviv. Actually, the people who established Tel Aviv in the early 20th century came out of Jaffa’s Walls.

But, as I said, Jaffa has a very long history. The first people settled here at the end of the Neolithic period, about 5,000 years ago. The settlement expanded in the Canaanite period, about 3,000 years ago. One of the most famous Biblical figures connected to Jaffa is Jonah, who set sail from Jaffa Port on his flee from God’s mission. Jaffa has had its ups and downs, but every time it was demolished, it was rebuilt soon after. The last person to rebuild Jaffa was Muhammad Abu-Nabbut, the local governor of the city during the Ottoman period. When you explore Old Jaffa, you can still see some structures from his time, including the Mahmoudiya Mosque near Jaffa’s Clocktower.

You can spend at least two hours exploring the streets and alleys of Old Jaffa. Here’s a recommended itinerary in Old Jaffa

The Old Jaffa clocktower

Take a walk from Old Jaffa to Tel Aviv Port

If you like walking, you can walk on the beautiful Tel Aviv- Jaffa Promenade, which connects Jaffa Port to Tel Aviv Port and stretches over 14 kilometers. There are many restaurants and cafes along the promenade. Of course, there are also beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea. I recommend walking there near sunset, so you will be able to appreciate the beautiful sunset over the sea. The walk takes about one hour, and it’s a perfect way to relax, do some people-watching, and explore the Tel Aviv beachside.

If you prefer biking, you can rent a bike via Metrofun (the blue bikes that appear almost anywhere in Tel Aviv) and cycle along the promenade. It isn’t free, but it doesn’t cost much. It will cost you 5 Shekels to free a regular bicycle and then an extra 0.45 to 0.6 Shekels for each hour, depending on if it’s a weekday or weekend. 

The beginning of the promenade near Old Jaffa

Enjoy the Graffiti of Florentin

One of the coolest neighborhoods in Tel Aviv is, without a doubt, Florentin, just a short walk from Rothschild Boulevard. It’s famous for the beautiful graffiti works scattered all around it. Some of its alleys are entirely covered in graffiti, some by lesser-known artists and some by well-known graffiti artists, such as Jonathan Kis-Lev. You can wander on your own around the different streets and alleyways or join one of the great graffiti tours in Florentin. I highly recommend those done by Aaron Gertz Tours. He offers budget prices and great content! And if you’re already in Florentin, you should also check out the excellent food options in the neighborhood.

View the location of Florentin on Google Maps.

A beautiful graffiti on a synagogue in Florentin

Visit Rabin’s memorial at Rabin Square

Yitzhak Rabin was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel from 1974 to 1977. Later, he was elected for a second term of office in 1992. In October 1994, he signed the peace agreement with Jordan. About a year beforehand, in September 1993, he signed the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians, a brave step that granted him the Nobel Peace Prize. Not everyone liked this step, and on 4 November 1995, Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing Jewish extremist who opposed the signing of the agreements. 

The assassination of Yitzhak Rabin happened at the end of a peace rally, which took place in the Kings of Israel Square in Tel Aviv. Today, this square is known as Rabin Square. If you’re in the area, you can come to visit the place. The City Hall of Tel Aviv is located at the top of the square, which includes two pools and a beautiful memorial sculpture for the Holocaust, designed by Israeli artist Yigal Tumarkin.

Rabin’s Memorial is located on Ibn Gabirol Street, next to the City Hall. There are two memorials there, one more official than the other. The one on the wall preserves part of the authentic graffiti people made on the walls of the City Hall right after the assassination. The large word that appears there says: “Sorry.” You can also see spots on the pavement, indicating where Yitzhak Rabin stood at the time of the assassination.

I was there a while ago, and some tourists asked me if I think it could happen again. It’s hard to say. 

The Square is about half an hour’s walk from the seaside. Many Dan buses arrive near it. View the location on Google Maps

Rabin's Memorial - "Sorry"

Take a stroll through the German Colony of Sarona

The German Colony of Sarona is located within a short distance from the Azrieli Mall. In my opinion, Sarona is one of the most beautiful parts of Tel Aviv. It is a modern-looking shopping center situated in the original preserved houses of the 19th-century German Colony. There is also a food mall nearby, but the prices are very high. If you’re not interested in spending a lot of money, I recommend just strolling around the shops and seeing the preserved houses.

The history of the colony begins in 1871. The German Templars, who were very religious Christians, arrived here and decided to establish a colony, after establishing one in Haifa. They began developing agriculture and industry in the area. They were doing well under the British Mandate until September 1939, at the beginning of World War II, when they were declared enemy nationals and exiled from the Land of Israel.

Later, Sarona was turned into a British camp, which was attacked many times by the Jewish underground forces. In December 1947, when the British were starting to pack their bags and leave the area, they passed the camp to the Jewish leadership, which turned it into a base of the Jewish force, the Haganah. After the declaration of Israel’s independence in May 1948, the new government’s institutions settled in the houses of the German Colony. Today, as I said, it is a shopping and recreational center.

View the location on Google Maps.

Sarona and skyscrapers in the background

Enjoy local art at the Nachalat Binyamin Market

This is another shopping area in Tel Aviv, about a 20-minute walk from the seaside, right next to the Carmel Market. Even if you aren’t planning to buy anything, it’s nice to stroll around and soak in the pleasant atmosphere. This market operates on Tuesdays and Fridays between 10 AM and 5 PM. It’s filled with music, street performances, and local arts and crafts stalls. Read more about it on the official site of Nachalat Binyamin Market.

A penguin doll stall in the Nachalat Binyamin Market

Explore the Independence Trail

The Independence Trail in Tel Aviv is meant to take you back in time to the very beginning of Tel Aviv and the State of Israel, from 1909 to 1948. The trail passes by the first buildings of Tel Aviv and important institutions that tell the story of the city and the country, including the Haganah Museum, the first branch of the Bank of Israel, and the Independence Hall, originally the first mayor’s house), where the State of Israel was declared on May 14, 1948. Please note – the Independence Hall is under renovation and will open only in 2024. 

The trail’s starting point is at the first kiosk in Tel Aviv, which has been preserved. The booth stands on the crossroad between Rothschild and Herzl Streets. A short walk from there, on Rothschild 11, is the trail’s information center, where you can get the official map and all the information you need. The trail is marked by a yellow stripe on the pavement. I recommend starting in the morning so that you can see everything before most sites close at 4 PM.

The trail was created by the Tel Aviv Municipality together with the Tourism Department.

One last thing to be aware of – on Rothschild Avenue, make sure not to walk on the bicycle path. Many people ride electric bikes in Tel Aviv, and it could be dangerous to walk there.

Read more about the trail on the official Independence Trail page.

A sign next to the Tel Aviv Founders Monument on the Independence Trail

Participate in one of Tel Aviv’s free tours

If you want to discover Tel Aviv with a guide but don’t have the budget for a private tour, you can always join a Free Tour. Just keep in mind that “Free Tours” are not really free, and the guides expect to be paid something at the end of the tour. They will most likely expect around 50 ILS per person. But of course, if you didn’t like the tour, you can always skip the payment. 

Two main companies offer free tours in Tel Aviv:

  • SANDEMANs – They offer a free tour of Old Jaffa. I participated in this tour, and it was a good one. It’s about two hours long, and the guides are certified and interesting.  
  • Abraham Tours – They’re the leading budget tour operators in Israel, and they also offer a free tour in Old Jaffa. 

Looking for a private guide in Tel Aviv?

It won’t be free, but it will be enriching! I’m Lior, and I’m a certified tour guide in Israel. Since I live about one hour from Tel Aviv, I often visit it and love the city! I will happily show you around and tell you the stories of Jaffa and Tel Aviv. 

Learn more about my private tours

Travel insurance

No matter where you travel, even if it’s Tel Aviv, it’s always a good idea to consider travel insurance. World Nomads offers coverage for more than 150 activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation, and more.

Disclaimer: I receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. I do not represent World Nomads. This is not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.

Conclusion

Tel Aviv is known as one of the most expensive cities in the world, but as you have read, there are many free things to do in Tel Aviv. You can go to the beach, walk along the sea, view beautiful graffiti works, and simply wander around the nice areas of the city. 

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If you liked this post or found it useful, please don’t hesitate to like, share or comment (:

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.

You can also support my work by buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi.  Your support helps me maintain the site and keep creating content about Israel. It’s greatly appreciated!

Yours,

Lior

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Jellyfish in Tel Aviv: When and How to Deal With Them – Backpack Israel July 14, 2019 - 8:28 am
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