Interested in Tel Aviv?
We'll send you updates with the latest deals, reviews and articles for Tel Aviv each week.
Topics include Dining Scene, Israel: For Foreign Visitors & more!
Tel Aviv is a stunning international city blending tradition and modernity together. Everyone speaks good English and you are always made to feel welcome. in fact, people tend to talk to strangers all the time in Tel Aviv. The city is one of Israeli's major business and cultural hubs but also a beach city rolled into one. It is also the most liberal city in the Middle East where gays and lesbians are made to feel very welcome. Unfortunately the thing that comes to mind when some consider a holiday in Israel is terrorism and conflicts between the Israeli army and Palestinian militants. Tel Aviv did experience horrible bombings by Palestinian terrorists a decade ago, but since the west bank barrier was built by Israel to keep Palestinian terrorists from entering Israel illegally, the city itself has been very peaceful. When you walk around Tel Aviv (and the rest of the country) you will notice there are some army units dispatched throughout the city but no more so than most cities but they are friendly and actually make you feel very safe. Whether it is a market or a cinema, there will occasionally be soldiers walking around with M-16's. This is not to interfere with life, but for protection of its citizens and visitors. Tel Aviv sees millions of visitors a year, and the police and military forces know how to keep them safe.
Once you are actually in Tel Aviv you realize that the fear for safety is more hype than anything else. The likelihood of being involved in a terror attack in Tel Aviv in 2013 is extremely remote and you are much more likely to get killed in a road accident then from terrorism in Israel. Of course, If you happen to see a suspicious object like a bag left alone ("hefetz hashud"), go to the nearest security guard and let them know. As in all major cities in the world, always exercise common sense, like avoiding dark alleys. Tel Aviv in general is extremely "street-safe," and is a 'walking and cycling friendly city compared to most major world cities as is most of Israel. Women especially will feel comfortable even alone.
Be prepared to open your bag for inspection when entering any public building, restaurant or coffee bar. Likewise, if you're driving, be prepared for them to open your trunk when you enter some car parks. This is totally the norm, is observed by even the most "private" people, and is, after all, for your own protection. There is also something to be said about not sticking out when you are in a foreign country. That is just as important in Israel as anywhere else.
Driving in Tel Aviv is difficult for the visitor. Parking is almost non existent in Tel Aviv without permits so if you must rent a car, keep it in a hotel or a local parking lot until you need to drive somewhere outside of Tel Aviv. There are planty of cabs and public transport is very good within the city itself. Just make sure when getting into a cab to always ask tye driver to turn on the metre fro trips within the city, or ask for a fixed price for inter city travel and cabs carry an official price list for inter city travel so ask to see this if you feel you are being quoted too much. Anyone can rent safe and modern cycles on many street corners with a credit card, and drop them off when finished at other cycle stations in the city which is a great way to get around and explore the city.
All in all Tel Aviv is a very enjoyable city for young and old alike. you can 'chill' by the beach, shop till you drop in the malls and markets, visit top museums, eat world class cuisine, party in super cool clubs with extremely friendly people and of course visit the rest of the holy land which is a must on a trip to Tel Aviv. After all you are only 45 minutes train or cab ride away from the old city of Jerusalem, the world's holiest city, and a further 30 minutes away from the lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea.