From ancient ruins to hipster hangouts, Israel's Tel Aviv is where old meets new. Nowhere is that clearer than along the city’s coast, where you’re treated to views of the old town mingling with the modern skyline of high-rise hotels and architectural masterpieces. So, once you’re done exploring the city’s Jaffa Flea Market and Museum of Art, head to the beaches in Tel Aviv. Along the bustling coastline, you can sink your toes into the sand while you dine on local delicacies, catch a wave in the turquoise waters or dance well into the night with local club goers at the 24/7 bars. Already looking for your flights? Let us run down the best beaches in Tel Aviv.
Sun, tan, swim – it’s that simple on Hilton Beach. Right in front of the Hilton Hotel (hence the name), this sandy strip is as clean and inviting as you’d imagine. Want to try your hand at water sports? This is the place for you. The Sea Centre Club offers a whole host of adrenaline-pumping activities from windsurfing to kayaking or paddleboarding. If you’d rather just flop down with a book, there are loungers and umbrellas for hire, as well as amenities like showers and bathrooms to keep you comfortable. To the middle of the beach is a stretch of rainbow flags – indicating this beach is the main hang for the LGBTQ+ crowd – where a party is held (both during pride week and afterwards).
Rub shoulders with the locals on Jerusalem Beach. It’s one of the best beaches in Tel Aviv and a hot spot for a game of matkot – the locally-loved ball game, which is basically ping pong without the table (note, there’s no score keeping in this game; the only objective is to keep the ball in the air). It might not be the beach to relax on thanks to the constant toc-tac of ball play, but it’s a great one for people watching, nonetheless. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, the Abulafia bakery is just across the street – order the Mizrachi before heading back to the white sands to soak up the sun.
Tel Aviv’s main beach (and so its most popular) can usually be found brimming with locals and tourists, taking in the sun or sipping cocktails in the bars that line the promenade. Grab a game on the volleyball courts, cool off in the turquoise waters or head to Gordo’s for fresh seafood on the sand as the sun goes down – for the best view, get there 30 minutes before sunset is due. At the weekend, Gordon Beach is the place to party, the dancing extends from the beach bars onto the boardwalk so it’s the place to be to witness how the locals unwind. If you’d prefer to swim in a maintained pool over the Med, you can head to the marina and take a dip in Gordon Pool – the open-air saltwater pool is Olympic-sized and super refreshing when the temperature begins to climb.
Catch a wave at Ha’Maravi Beach (locally known as Manta Ray Beach). Quieter than the more popular Gordon or Hilton Beaches, Ha’Maravi is popular with younger locals looking to get out on their boards. The water here serves up higher waves, but that means it’s also rougher – there’s no lifeguard in place and currents are strong so it’s not the greatest spot for weak swimmers. Situated on the southern tip of Tel Aviv’s coastline, the beach overlooks the Old Jaffa, so once you’ve finished surfing, you can catch the sunset over the old town.
Walk to the crystal water and take a moment to notice the juxtaposing panorama Banana Beach offers. To the right, you look out onto the Old Jaffa, with its ancient monuments, then turn behind you to see the old blend with the new as Tel Aviv’s sparkling modern skyline begins. The unsheltered beach can get a little windy but, because of its protruding shape, it's one of the best beaches in Tel Aviv for catching the sunset. As with the Hilton and Gordon beaches, there are sunbeds and umbrellas for lounging, though you’ll have less of a fight to bag one here. As day turns to night, the 24/7 bars on the promenade offer a chilled vibe to while the night away.
Based around the abandoned Dolphinarium nightclub, Dolphinarium is less polished than the other beaches in Tel Aviv, but what it lacks in amenities, it makes up for in local charm. Also known as Drummer’s Beach, local youths gather here to form drumming circles during the evening, so drop by to listen to folk music and watch belly dancers on the sands. You can also catch open air concerts and music festivals here, too.