Where else can you have fun in the sun, enjoy a world-class culture scene and step into events that have driven human history?
Tel Aviv, a bustling a highly modern metropolis, boasts beaches with fine golden sand, a hip atmosphere and ample opportunities for fun infused with authentic Middle Eastern flavor, not to mention great food and coffee. Just forty minutes away, experience an entirely different beat and pulse: Jerusalem, a city of such unparalleled beauty, it will be easy to understand why for millennia it has been so inspirational for so many.
While both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are two busy, vital and intriguing cities that offer a multitude of must-see attractions, they couldn’t be more different. Despite their geographic proximity, they have entirely different landscapes, scents and flavors. Where else could you so easily combine the ultimate beach destination with one of the most ancient and holiest cities in history?
So here’s a sample menu of what you can do on a vacation in both cities.
Tel Aviv – the city that never sleeps
So you’ve landed in Tel Aviv… Experience all the excitement the first Hebrew city dishes up. Discover the stunning azure hues of the Mediterranean, the quaint spots in the White City, its markets, restaurants, special flavors and scintillating night life. Catch a few waves and see exactly why Tel Aviv is known as the non-stop city, living and breathing vitality, 24 hours a day.
So let’s go.
Discover the magic of this spectacular and beautifully renovated neighborhood, located on the southern end of the Tel Aviv Promenade, next to Jaffa. Start your morning with a culinary experience that includes a typical Israeli breakfast: delicious baked goods, eggs, cheeses and dips, green salad or chopped salad, orange juice and, of course, excellent coffee. The recommended tour of Neve Zedek takes you to historical landmarks and small, wonderful museums.
After recharging, go visit Hatachana, which is close by. There you can visit renovated Templar buildings, as well as Jaffa’s old train station, completely redone. The site tells the tale of the train station, with its Jaffa-Jerusalem line, that operated here from 1892-1948.
Next, take a walk along the stunning Tel Aviv beach promenade to Jaffa. We recommend visiting Jaffa Port, considered to be one of the world’s most ancient ports. Lounge at one of the many cafes that dot the wharf, and watch the fisherman at work. Then, continue towards the colorful flea market, where you can treat yourself to a vintage item, Armenian ceramics, a hamsa or any of a multitude of souvenirs. At night, the area transforms itself into a hopping bar and restaurant scene.
Pedal down the beach
Tel Aviv is known as Israel’s bicycle capital. On a nice day, those of you with a sporty spirit can rent a bike at a one of the Tel-O-Fun stations or any other rental spot around town. Biking from Neve Zedek to Tel Baruch beach in the northern part of the city is a phenomenally fun experience.
Eretz Israel Museum
If you find yourself in the northern section of town, we suggest you visit the Eretz Israel Museum. It is a multidisciplinary museum that focuses on the history and culture of Israel through permanent and temporary exhibits dedicated to archeology, ethnography, post and philately, folklore, Judaica, traditional crafts, popular art, cultural history and local identity.
Looking for an inviting location where you can enjoy a great meal? Try eating at one of the fine restaurants on or around Rothschild Boulevard, right in the heart of the city, it is one of the three zones that make up the White City, recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site. This street, which perfectly defines the essence of Tel Aviv, offers you a prime opportunity for people watching. You can also take a stroll and take in the impressive Bauhaus architecture, the old kiosk and the small museums that relate the fascinating story of Tel Aviv and its first neighborhood, Ahuzat Bayit.
If you plan on staying in the city, you can opt to take a room at one of the big hotels located on the beach, near the promenade, or at one of the lovely boutique hotels. And if you’re still energized and raring to go, now’s the time to enjoy yourself at one of the popular bars, nightclubs, the Opera House, a dance performance or any of the many events and festivals in Tel Aviv.
Done sampling the good life in Tel Aviv? Now enjoy the best of both worlds by heading out to Jerusalem. It’s only 40 minutes away! The Holy City awaits you!
Jerusalem – the world’s most beautiful city
Discover the city most sacred to three religions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Visit the historic sites, breathe in the dizzying scents, taste the special dishes, inhale the clean mountain air and have fun at the many entertainment hot spots around the city.
Even before reaching the city, you can visit the picturesque neighborhood of Ein Kerem. Just a 20-minute drive from the city center, it is known for its idyllic character. Nestled in greenery, Ein Kerem brings you breathtaking views, charming stone houses, churches and mosques, fascinating historical sites, enchanting alleys, galleries and special boutique shops, cafes and fine restaurants, as well as exquisite hotels, both old and new.
Bloomfield Science Museum
Jerusalem’s science museum is a magical kingdom for adults and children alike, filled with moving objects, optical illusions, electrical experiments and everything that has made our world a user-friendly place.
The Old City
At the top of any Jerusalem itinerary! The Old City of Jerusalem is, simply put, an ancient treasure trove of discovery and delight. The true essence of Jerusalem is hidden in the narrow, winding alleyways of the Old City: the special atmosphere, fascinating history and secrets are revealed among its ancient stones. Visit the Western Wall to be moved by the sanctity of the remains of the Temple and to place a note with a request to the Holy One between the stones.
Follow in the footsteps of Jesus, down the Via Dolorosa, to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre – home to the two holiest sites of Christianity: the site where Jesus of Nazareth was crucified and the empty tomb, from which he is believed to have resurrected. Continue to Mount Zion, where you can visit the Cenacle (also known as the Upper Room), traditionally held to be the site of the Last Supper. Then, as Jesus did frequently, visit the Mount of Olives for a moment of meditation at Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed and his disciples slept the night before the crucifixion. And, ascend to the rooftop of the Austrian Hospice of the Holy Family for a truly magnificent view of Jerusalem and the Old City.
To immerse you even deeper into the roots of ancient Jerusalem, tour the Western Wall tunnels, visit the Dome of the Rock, the holy site where Muhammad is believed to have ascended to Heaven, and the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, home to one of the most beautiful organs in Israel.
Machane Yehuda Market
You’ve been busy today. Starting to feel hungry? Now you can visit Machane Yehuda Market – Jerusalem’s bustling and vibrant open air market. Alongside the market’s well-known stands, many cafes and upscale food shops have sprung up in recent years.
Shopping in Jerusalem
Ready for some shopping and souvenirs? Buy Armenian ceramics or Judaica in the special and beautiful stores in the Old City. You will also find stores selling a plethora of souvenirs from Israel in the city center. You’ll find numerous clothing stores located on the Ben-Yehuda Promenade. And don’t forget to check out the second hand shops if you want to purchase something a little more authentic. What’s more, don’t miss a visit to the upscale Mamila mall, considered one of the city’s most active shopping centers.
So diverse, so distinct and any yet just a short commute apart, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv make the perfect destination package. Together, they bring you history and modernity, ancient artifacts and modern arts, fun in the sun and the most spiritual journey of your life. It doesn’t get any better than that! So what are you waiting for? Book your vacation now!