London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies
With plentiful of flights from London and Europe mostly less than 5 hours, vibrant and cosmopolitan Mediterranean vibes, adrenalin sporty options, tones of hip beach bars and cool parties, great gastronomy and incredible cultural highlights, holidays to Tel Aviv are more appealing than ever. We’ve been first time 12 years ago with Israeli friends; we found it on this occasion even more alive, boho and filled with fine dining, great playgrounds by the beach and cool terraces. So here are our top ten things to do in Tel Aviv with kids or without, put together with our Israeli friends based in London and visiting on regular basis.
Where else to start but the beach? I spent most of my time on this occasion by Hilton beach Tel Aviv : sophisticated service by the beach bar and cool crowd, chill out music and playground within my sight for kids to run around and play as they wish.
Our friends swear by Metzitzim beach and cafe and to quote them, whenever in Tel Aviv they don’t do much except eat, go to the beach and playground ! For crowded beaches with great vibes check out the Gordon and Bograshov beaches. And if you want to relax like a local check out some of the southern beaches.
Culture. Founded in 1909, Tel Aviv is all the things Jerusalem is not. It feels secular and tolerant, is packed with modern architecture – including the highest concentration of Bauhaus-style buildings in the world. Old Jaffa is a must: this is the magic place of Greek myths, Judaism, first Christian church, mosques, Turkish palaces, Napoleon, the crusaders, Pharaoh, Ramesses and Peter the Great. The other sites are also close to one another: St. Peter’s Church, the galleries in the alleyways. There’s also the Independence Hall on Rothschild Boulevard, The Museum of the Jewish People, Tel Aviv Art Museum – all great.
Gastronomy. Couple of aperols and hours playing and culturing in the sun, the whole family surely built an appetite. And the good news is that one is spoilt for lunching and dining options in Tel Aviv ! For brunch and breakfast we absolutely loved our hotel rooftop terrace – Alexander hotel, one of Tel Aviv’s coolest boutique hotel. The food was exquisite, the views over the Mediterranean therapeutical, the chill out music and professional staff just right. For dinners our Israeli friends advised the Port 12 years ago as well as now, so we took their advice on board again. We picked one evening Youlia for dining and wining, the fish and seafood were brilliant and the Israeli wine superb. More gorgeous seafood at Manta Ray till midnight or if you are after the best houmous / masabaha place: Abu Hassan in Jaffa is a legend!
Tel Aviv markets. Whilst a stroll down Sderot Rothschild is a quick, easy introduction to the city’s café culture, diverse population and eclectic architecture, our Israeli friends swear by Carmel market for street food. Sarona market is another must, open daily until 11pm, lots of great food, shops, 2 playgrounds and even a mini train for kids! Gelateria Anita in here is another must for our friends.
More shopping by Shenkin as reported by friends !
Nightlife. Tel Aviv’s nightlife scene has some top clubs (The Block), amazing venues (Barby), hipster hangouts (TEDER & Kuli Alma) and cool little local bars every corner. We need to go back again sans kids to write this section better!
Spa. For party filled day and bights, there’s no better charge in my eyes than the spa. Alexander hotel has a cute one plus a very instagramable bar ground floor, just in case you fancy something stronger than tea following your massage.
Wineries. Lots of wonderful wineries to choose from and vineyards to be spotted from your roadtrip. One of the most famous, Carmel is within easy distance from Tel Aviv, less than an hour drive. Founded by Baron Rothschild in 1882, Carmel winery boasts at Zichron Yaakov a wine shop, restaurant, two specialist-tasting rooms, guided tours, a small cinema, and a barrel room in an underground cellar.
Water adventures. From sailboats and windsurfing and SUP, to catamarans and jet skis, it is possible to rent and take lessons along the coast. One of Tel Aviv’s top surfing schools is Topsea Surfing Center, where lessons are available whether you are a beginner of expert.
Tel Aviv day trips. Should you go for holidays to Tel Aviv for longer than 5 days, our 3 recommended day trips are (i) Jerusalem, (ii) Bethlehem – feasible also as a half day trip and (iii) the Dead Sea, Ein Gedi and Masada. And if you need to pick just one, go with Jerusalem – 1 hour drive, leave a prayer in the Western Wall, gaze at the Dome of Rock and light a candle at the Church of Holy Sepulchre.
We stayed with Alexander hotel in a 2 beds chic suite. The welcome was royal, the hotel designery and boutique and the service just perfect. Location wise, one can’t ask for more. Just by the beach, a 2 minute walk to Old Tel Aviv port and 10 minutes walk to the Marina. We loved our breakfasts by the rooftop and popped every afternoon to see the sunset – holidays to Tel Aviv could not find a better base!
For our full itinerary Israel and Jordan, head to our Israel and Jordan roadtrip adventures in here. For further Middle East road trips inspiration, check our stunning Oman itinerary: Arabian Sea, Wahiba sands and gorgeous wadis, Al Hajar mountains, Ras Al Jinz turtles retreat.
Disclosure: Many thanks to Alexander hotel Tel Aviv for the warm hospitality and media discount. As usual, impressions and overexcited kids entirely ours.