Last Updated on April 14, 2020 by Dani
I am in the middle of packing my suitcase because I am going to visit Tel Aviv again – tomorrow, to be precise! I’ve already mentioned it briefly in my monthly round-up last week, but I wanted to share some more details about the trip, and last but not least: I’d love your input, if you’ve been to Tel Aviv!
What makes Tel Aviv such an awesome destination?
You might remember that when I visited Tel Aviv for the first time last year, I completely (and unexpectedly!) fell for the city. I loved the vibrant coffee shop scene, the nightlife, the beaches right in the city, the old port town of Jaffa on the southern end of the city, and how people were enjoying life there. I spent my days strolling through El Carmel market, running along the promenade, watching the sunset with hundreds of people on the beach every night before checking out some of the many fancy bars. I searched (and found) the street art I’d heard so much about, and I ate my way around town, or through all of Israel to be precise, because Tel Aviv has some of the best food I’ve had anywhere in the world – I am still talking about the delicious dishes I had there all the time, and just the thought of all the good food I’ll eat when I get back to Tel Aviv makes my mouth water. I dove into the gay scene, and one of the things I loved most about Tel Aviv was how gay-friendly and tolerant the city is, especially considering this is the Middle East. Not a single country or city in the region is accepting or tolerating gay culture, but in Tel Aviv, it is celebrated openly and the city was recently voted best gay city in the world, ahead of New York even!
By the time I had to leave the city, I was ready to move to Tel Aviv. There was only one downside to this amazing city: it was expensive.
Why is Tel Aviv so expensive?
One of the first things I noticed during my visit was how pricey everything in Tel Aviv was. I had just come from New York, where prices for most things are through the roof, but I hadn’t expected Tel Aviv to be on par with prices in New York. A small bottle of beer in a bar or restaurant for example was usually 30 or 32 Shekels – that’s 7.75 – 8.25 US Dollars! That’s even more expensive than New York, and this article revealed that Tel Aviv is in fact the third expensive city for beer in the world, only Hong Kong and Geneva charge more for beer.Prices for food span a wider range – similar to New York, I was able to find falafel sandwiches at little street stalls for about US$3, but I also paid ILS55 (US$14.19) for a simple Israeli breakfast and a coffee in a coffee shop in Tel Aviv. Which might be okay for someone coming from New York, but for someone from Berlin, a city filled with cheap breakfast places, this would be downright expensive. Even the famous Dr. Shakshuka, who started out as a small hole-in-the-wall shakshuka place, now charges upwards of ILS40 (US$10.30) for this simple egg dish. But it’s not only food and going out: living costs in Tel Aviv have increased dramatically over the past few years. The city jumped from #32 to #18 in the ranking of the world’s most expensive cities last year, indicating just how much pricier everyday life has become. So it’s not a surprise that young Israelis flock to Berlin in droves to take advantage of the 79 Cent beers in the supermarkets and cheap rents, but is it possible for someone from Berlin to visit Tel Aviv on a small budget – and still have a good time?
The challenge: Tel Aviv on $77 per day
So when I was challenged to find out if it was possible to visit Tel Aviv on a shoestring, I didn’t have to think twice: I’ll be returning to Tel Aviv with a tight budget this week and will find out what a daily budget of 69 Euros – or 77 US Dollars – gets a visitor in Tel Aviv these days. Of course it is possible to visit Tel Aviv with even less money than that if you only eat at home and couchsurf, but I want to know if I can visit Tel Aviv on a small budget without limiting myself to doing only free stuff. I still want a comfortable place to stay (which is already included in the daily budget), be able to go out and have a good time, eat out instead of cooking for myself.
I need your help!
Right now, I am researching cheap places to eat, drink and other free things to do, and could use your input. If you have been to Tel Aviv and have any tips for me – cheap eats, happy hour deals, etc -, please share them in the comments below! If you happen to track your spending like I do, I’d love to hear how much you spent on average per day during your stay in Tel Aviv. After my trip, I will put together a Tel Aviv On A Shoestring post for you, in which I’ll share my favorite inexpensive places to eat and go out and cool things to do on a budget. I will also try to keep my budget even lower – will it maybe even be possible to have a good time in Tel Aviv for 50 Dollars a day?For more information on Tel Aviv and Israel, check out GoIsrael.