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Beach Bum


Tel Aviv has plenty of beach-friendly hotels, but the Sea Net has the added bonus of being cheap, cheerful, and about one minute's walk from the Mediterranean. It's located in the southern zone of the city, and is close to a number of tourist sites like Meir Park, Carmel Market and Trumpeldor Cemetery. The rooms may be nothing to write home about, but a true beach bum would rather be on the sand than in the hotel, and the price is great for the location.


A free breakfast is included in the price of the rooms at Sea Net, but there are so many good restaurants nearby it would be a shame to miss out. One of the highest-rated is HaKovshim, a casual joint with an open-air dining room serving Israeli bistro fare like savory pastries and shakshuka - a tomato and egg-based dish beloved by locals. The prices are very affordable so sample as many dishes as you like.


Carmel Market is one of the most famous bazaars in Tel Aviv. From foodstuffs to furniture, you can find just about anything here, most at very good prices. Take some time to browse the area and buy any beach supplies you might need like towels, bags, folding chairs or snacks. There are several excellent hummus stores here too, so you may want to pick up a scoop with some pita for snacking.


One of the best ways to introduce yourself to the beach scene is with a stroll along the Tayelet boardwalk. A wide wood and stone path running along the Mediterranean coast, it's a major pedestrian artery, and is busy throughout the day. If you want to cover more ground, rent a bicycle from one of the Tel-o-Fun stations, but a twenty-minute stroll will give you a good sense of the area.


The beaches of Tel Aviv run in a chain from north to south, with the boardwalk following along for about three miles. Your hotel is directly across from Frishman Beach, but you should head north to the unofficial gay beach at the Hilton, about a fifteen-minute walk. An easy way to know you've arrived? Just look for the rainbow umbrellas. This is a great beach for surfing and snorkeling - you can rent equipment on-site - but do be careful when swimming as the waters can be a bit rough.


You may not want to stray from the beach, so when you get hungry send a willing member of the group to Marketlv, a healthy take-away joint just a fifteen-minute walk away that offers a number of hot and cold prepared meals including many vegan options. Try the Moroccan stew or the vegan hamburger, which has been winning over locals since its introduction.


Once you've soaked up the sun for a few more hours, walk back south on the boardwalk and stop off at Shalvata for drinks, dinner, dancing or all three. Located right on the boardwalk you can quaff a fruity cocktail to the sound of the waves crashing. The menu is simple and prices are easy on the wallet. Even better? After sunset the café transforms into a lively bar complete with dancing.