When you think budget travel, the next thing you normally associate it with is limited. But, what if I told you that doesn’t always have to be the case? Let’s face it, traveling is great for the soul but awful for the wallet. Not to mention, we all know how expensive Tel Aviv can be. However, exploring doesn’t always have to be costly. Sometimes, the best memories are made from simply wandering around and seeing where you end up. Below I have compiled a list of the top free things to do in Tel Aviv. Not all who wander are lost, and with this list, you won’t be!
1. Relax on the Beach
From coast to coast, Tel Aviv’s got the most… beaches! Check out the famous Tel Aviv beaches for a little R & R after a long couple days of touring. The beaches themselves are free; however, if you want a chair, you will have to pay anywhere from 10 to 15 shekels. That being said, if you think you are going to go to the beach multiple days, it may be a good idea to invest in a towel or tapestry. You can find towels on Allenby on your way to the shore, or a tapestry in the Carmel Market. Be sure to monitor your hydration level and reapply sunscreen often. Now, I know more than anyone how easy it is to “forget” to put on sunscreen. But, if there is one place that I never do, it is here. The UV regularly reaches an 11 (out of the lofty 12-point scale), so I’m not lying when I say the sun is stronger here! If you want to fit in like a ~local~, pick up a set of mat kot. Pretty much Israeli ping pong sans a table, the sound of mat kot surrounds you at the beach. Be careful not to get hit when walking to the water! On another note, if you are in Tel Aviv over the summer, beware of jellyfish! Though these sea creatures are seldom dangerous, they can leave a nasty sting. Not to worry, if you are stung, just head over to the medic for a spray of vinegar.
2. Check out the Markets
One of the cool things about Tel Aviv is it’s ample amounts of markets–not to mention, the variation in them all. Shuk HaCarmel, or the Carmel Market, a bustling open-air market dating back to the 1920s, offers everything from seven-shekel falafel and fresh produce to candy, clothing and more. Be sure to test your bartering skills here. Remember, “no” is just the beginning of a negotiation. Adjacent to the Carmel Market, on Tuesdays and Fridays, be sure to walk down the artists market on Nachalat Binyamin. There are lots of cool pieces of jewelry and other artisan crafts just waiting for you to buy! In addition to these two markets, be sure to check out the Sarona Market and its younger cousin, the Rothschild/Allenby Market. You can find more information on all of these markets HERE!
3. Do a DIY Graffiti Tour
What makes the city of Tel Aviv unique is its prevalence of artistic expression… everywhere. Walking down the street, you are bound to come across graffiti all around you. That being said, some parts of Tel Aviv are especially known for their street art. Head down to the Florentin neighborhood to elevate your graffiti-safari to the next level.This up-and-coming neighborhood gives artsy a new name; if you looked up hipster in the dictionary, I am 99% sure that Florentin would appear. Make sure you dress cute on this day– the photo-ops are endless. Forget the Wynwood Walls in Miami, Florentin is all the rage. This raw form of expression is anything but touristy.
4. Explore Jaffa
The old city of Jaffa is perfect for a day trip! Wander the streets and soak in the culture and rich history, or hit the beach at the Jaffa port. And, don’t forget about the flea market! Once more, test your bartering skills as you hunt for lost treasures. Outside of the flea market are additional cute boutiques and shops to take refuge in when craving air conditioning, as well as pick up a few souvenirs. When you get hungry, stop by Cafe Puaa.This homey and hip restaurant in the Flea Market area actually sells everything in the place! The portions are the perfect size to share; we suggest the labneh and a salad for a light, but filling lunch.
5. Discover the Home of Ben Gurion
If you’re looking to get in touch with a little bit of Israel history, but don’t feel like learning about the ancient times, Ben Gurion’s house is a great free thing to do in Tel Aviv! In addition to just being the house of Ben Gurion, it was here that the final version of the Declaration of Independence was written. Escape the sun for a day and dive deep into the life of David Ben Gurion. The house is restored with the original furniture and objects used during the time they lived there. Additionally, open to the public (and dispersed throughout the house) is Ben Gurion’s personal library of over 20,000 books.
Looking for more free things to do in Tel Aviv? Check out Gooster, your intelligent tourist companion, for the best tips for travelers and recommendations of free things to do in Tel Aviv. Chat with him on Facebook Messenger and get your personalized recommendations instantly!
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