The perfect city station wagon
There are probably no two cities in the world that compliment each other as well as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem gor. Israel two largest and most important cities are less than an hour apart, but at the same time they are like two completely different worlds.
Tel Aviv is the modern metropolis with the beautiful beach, the lively nightlife, the exciting cuisine and the youthful vibe.
Jerusalem is almost the opposite; here the old worlds meet. Both Judaism, Christianity and Islam have Jerusalem at their center, and many different faiths live door to door in the city. Here the focus is on the classic and the historical.
Together, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are the obvious combination for a big city holiday, and you are sure to come home with luggage full of experiences.
Tel Aviv – modern life in the modern metropolis
As a big city, Tel Aviv has it all.
The city has become a magnet for entrepreneurs and new ideas, and there is generally a lot happening in Israel's largest urban area. Tel Aviv consists of a large number of smaller cities, which together make up the large, colorful, modern metropolis that Tel Aviv is.
This is where you will find one of the world's most famous pride-shooting in the month of June, and where all year round there is life and happy days in the nightlife, in cafes and bars and of course on the promenade along the city's beautiful beach.
Israeli cuisine really comes into its own in Tel Aviv, and you mustn't fool yourself into exploring the gastronomic universe that Israel has to offer.
At the same time, Tel Aviv is an active city where life is lived outdoors. The cycling culture has caught on with the locals, and the location by the coast means that it is easy to find your way, and when you cycle along the water, you are free from hills and traffic challenges.
Electric scooters are another easy way to get around and are the preferred form of transport for many, especially young people, in the city.
Eat your way through Tel Aviv
A good day in Tel Aviv starts with a proper breakfast, and exactly the breakfast is one of the very best gastronomic reasons to go here. Everywhere in the city, the restaurants are filled with delicacies and guests from the morning, so it pays to book a table in advance.
An Israeli breakfast set is generally vegetarian and consists of a lot of small dishes consisting of eggs, yogurt, fruit, salads, fish, bread and other baked goods. The great variety makes breakfast an experience in itself, and it is tempting to stay seated for a long time and enjoy the delights.
Israel's population is a composite size, and many have roots in other parts of the world. It has left its mark on the food culture, which is classic Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and global cuisine at the same time.
One of the most classic things you can find in Tel Aviv is falafel. Many cities claim to be the capital of falafel, and Tel Aviv is certainly in that competition. A hand-held falafel from a falafel stand is great on your walk around town.
A good local alternative to the traditional falafel and hummus is 'sabich', which is made from fried aubergine.
All in all, Israel and not least Tel Aviv is a very good place to eat vegetarian and vegan - however, there are also plenty of dishes with meat to be found. The special rules for kosher and food items can be difficult to keep track of, but this is of no great importance to travelers.
New and old in Tel Aviv
After breakfast, the city must be experienced either on foot or on wheels. The city of Tel Aviv consists of a large number of neighborhoods, each with its own local character, from Tel Aviv's harbor in the north to Jaffa in the south - and everything in between.
The fashionable Rothschild Boulevard attracts a lot of attention, as does the Carmel Market in the old Yemeni part of the city. Locals and tourists flock here to shop and hang out, and on Tuesdays and Fridays there is even an art market at Carmel.
Some of the popular neighborhoods are Neve Tzedek and Florentin in the southern part of the city. Neve Tzedek is the slightly more established 'hipster quarter' with thrift stores and creative souls, while Florentin, with its trendy cafes, bars and galleries, is a neighborhood on the way to the same status.
Both neighborhoods are neighbors to the old city of Jaffa, which is where Tel Aviv started. Jaffa is known from biblical times and has been an important port city since ancient times. It is full of many centuries of history and stories, and the atmosphere in old Jaffa, where a third of the inhabitants are Arabs, is something completely different from modern Tel Aviv.
Tel Aviv and Jaffa are full of contrasts and of people from all over the world. It is precisely the mixture of the many cultures that makes the city exciting, and combined with a long Mediterranean beach and the pleasant climate, it is easy to understand that so many have made Tel Aviv their hometown.
Jerusalem – world history at your feet
The mixture of cultures is perhaps experienced to an even greater extent in Israel's capital, Jerusalem. The city has experienced a lot of upheavals throughout history and has been captured and attacked countless times. Even in modern times, Jerusalem is contested, and both the old and the recent history are an inseparable part of the city.
With a local guide you get the best introduction to the city's tumultuous history; it is easy to overlook important and exciting details if you go around on your own.
In the center of the city of Jerusalem lies the ancient city of Jerusalem, which is surrounded by a medieval wall. The old town is actually less than one square kilometer in size and is divided into four quarters or districts. The four districts are the Jewish, the Christian, the Muslim and the Armenian, which clearly illustrates Jerusalem's important status for many different faiths.
In addition to the four districts, the Temple Mount is also within the walls of old Jerusalem. The Temple Mount, with the Golden Dome of the Rock, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Western Wall, is the holiest place in Judaism, the third holiest place in Islam and also among the holiest in Christianity. That is why the Temple Mount and Jerusalem are visited by tens of thousands of pilgrims and religious and of course also by tourists.
The old city of Jerusalem is packed with churches - including the Church of the Sepulcher, where Jesus is said to have been crucified - mosques, synagogues and sanctuaries, and with a little common sense and respect for the faithful, great experiences await in one of the most stormy and significant cities from both past and present.
Around the walls of the old city lies the modern city of Jerusalem, which stretches for many kilometers out into the dry, barren landscape. Here you will find, for example, the Garden of Gethsemane and the Mount of Olives, which are known from the Bible, the Russian Orthodox Church, the Ethiopian Church and more contemporary sights such as the National Museum of Israel, the Knesset parliament and the Holocaust memorial center Yad Vashem.
Modern Jerusalem is also home to larger and smaller groups of Orthodox Jews, whose culture and way of life leave a mark on their parts of the city. This means that you can find Orthodox restaurants with completely traditional Jewish food and delve a little deeper into the culture. However, be aware that many places observe Shabbat from Friday evening and most of Saturday, and this makes it more difficult to get around and experience the city, as much is closed.
With a little planning and some good walking shoes, Jerusalem is at your feet, and there are historical and timeless experiences almost everywhere.
One journey – two cities
Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are an obvious travel combination, and by train there is only half an hour between the two unique cities.
By visiting both big cities, you get a really good picture of what Israel is today and what the country and the region have meant throughout the ages. The story is impossible to ignore and there are countless things to dive into.
So pack your bags and go on a double city break in the heat - it is hereby recommended.
This post contains links to some of our partners. If you want to see how it goes with collaborations, then you can tap here .