If you’re planning your trip to Israel and wondering whether Tel Aviv is expensive, then I have some good news and some bad news for you. But before we get into that, allow me to demonstrate my point with a story from another part of the world.

    Once upon a time, I went to Iceland, the country. I’d heard all these horror stories about how expensive Iceland is – especially the alcohol – but when I ordered a glass of wine at a bar, it was actually cheaper than a glass of wine in Tel Aviv. Food cost about the same. The End.

    So yes, unless you’re actually coming from Iceland, Tel Aviv is pretty damn expensive to visit. It’s definitely the most expensive city in Israel, with the possible exception of Jerusalem. Or rather, it can be. The good news is that if you’re visiting Tel Aviv on a budget, you can save on many things and enjoy the city on the cheap. Let’s break things down.

    • 1 Tel Aviv Accommodation Costs
      • 1.1 The Truth About Tel Aviv Hotels
      • 1.2 Hostels
      • 1.3 Airbnb / Private Rentals
    • 2 How much does food cost in Tel Aviv?
      • 2.1 Eating Out
      • 2.2 Self-catering
      • 2.3 Alcohol
      • 2.4 Coffee
      • 2.5 Tipping
    • 3 Tel Aviv transport costs
    • 4 Tel Aviv Daily Budget
    • 5 Things you can do in Tel Aviv for free

    Tel Aviv Accommodation Costs

    There’s no nice way of saying it – get ready to get shafted one way or another. In Tel Aviv you get either very expensive hotels or cheap hostels that are often not that nice. There isn’t much in between, apart from some quite dull offerings (in terms of hotels).

    The Truth About Tel Aviv Hotels

    Hotels are generally overpriced for what you get, either in terms of quality or size or both. Boutique hotels , for example, will usually have quite small rooms, as space is at a premium.  You’ll get a beautiful room in a good location for a lot of money, but won’t have much space to move.  Mid-range hotels are few and far between and are often rather charmless. If you’re not rich enough to pay for an expensive hotel, here are your options below.


    Most hostels in Tel Aviv are not that great. If you’re finicky, you’ll want to avoid many of them. Check reviews thoroughly before booking. Some hostels do actually offer private rooms, ranging from a tiny space with thin walls and a door that closes but no private bathroom to cheap hotel grade rooms with attached facilities. There are, of course, dorms, too, if you’re so inclined. If you’re really short on funds, the Old Jaffa hostel lets people sleep on the roof during the summer months for a cheaper rate than their dorm, though you may be able to find cheaper dorm beds if you want a roof over your head.

    It’s also worth noting that hostels are often happy to let you stay for free (and sometimes feed you) as a volunteer, in return for doing work around the place. This is more often the case in the quiet season and can involve anything from reception / cooking to DIY, decorating the hostel, etc.

    Of course, if you want to stay for free, there’s always Couchsurfing . It’s not as popular as it once was, but there are still a bunch of Israeli hosts on there.

    Airbnb / Private Rentals

    Private holiday rentals are huge in Tel Aviv and predate Airbnb by many years. You don’t actually have to use Airbnb to find a place, but most private companies and individuals now use it to advertise, so you may as well. It does offer some level of assurance that you won’t get ripped off by a total cowboy (or at least that you’re likely to get your money back if you do get ripped off). Airbnb places are often much better value than a hotel, but they are all over the place, so make sure you read up about the location and check the map. Also check the reviews before you book. Many places are not as well maintained as the pictures may imply. There’s more specific information about accommodation in Tel Aviv and how to save in the dedicated accommodation guide .

    For more information about saving money in Tel Aviv, including lists of cheap and free places to stay, eat, drink, party and hang out, check out the full DIY Tel Aviv guide. You can download it from this site or buy the Kindle version or paperback from Amazon.

    How much does food cost in Tel Aviv?

    Fruit and veg are plentiful, but you need to shop around to get the best deals.

    Eating Out

    Food, while incredibly tasty in Tel Aviv (generally) is not cheap. Eating out at a reasonably nice restaurant will cost you 100NIS – 200NIS per person including some beer or  wine if you are vegan / vegetarian. Drink any alcoholic drink apart from beer or a glass of wine and the cost will go up even higher (a mixed drink or cocktail can cost 40-50NIS or more). Order a meat or seafood dish at a nice restaurant and you may well have to double these numbers. Some mains cost 100NIS+.

    Savvy Israelis visit expensive restaurants for lunch, when there are “business deals” – a limited menu where the first course (and sometimes a drink) is included in the price of the main or similar. This is a good option if you don’t want to miss out on the awesome food in Tel Aviv but don’t want to spend heaps of money.

    Cafe food is cheaper and some cafes offer quite a reasonable range of dishes. Portion sizes everywhere apart from gourmet restaurants tend to be big. Not quite American sized, but larger than European size.


    For self-catering, you can do your shopping in one of the cheaper supermarkets (like Victory) or the Carmel market in the week, as the places open on Saturday are more expensive. Aim for closing time at the market to get good deals on food, especially on Fridays. Always shop around and compare prices. if you’re into dumpster diving, you’ll find plenty of choice after the market shuts.

    Look out for the Cofix chain of cafes / minimarkets, where everything is sold for 6NIS. Packages are small so not everything is a good deal compared to a normal supermarket, but many products are.

    Tel Aviv also has a wide selection of cheap, filling street food you can opt for instead of eating out at a restaurant. 20NIS is about the average price of falafel or similar, with some places even selling it for under 10NIS. A very filling hummus dish (sometimes with a free refill) is also around 20NIS. Check out the street food guide for more information about what’s available.

    The bad news? Cofix and many fast food / street food places are Kosher, so will be shut on Friday evenings all the way to Saturday evening. Fast food places that are only open in the day, won’t be open again till Sunday. This makes the cheap street food options more limited on the weekend, although you will still find open minimarkets, pizza places, etc. if you’re avoiding cafes and restaurants at all cost. In Jaffa you will find open bakeries too.


    For alcohol – your cheapest deals will be local beers and “chasers” (a single shot) in bars and often cheap cava. If you are friendly with bar staff and waiters, you may well get some chasers for free. Happy hours are common, often early in the night before the place comes to life.

    When ordering beer at the bar, it’s worth checking the menu to see the difference between half a litre and a third of a litre. Often the difference is only a few shekels, meaning you’ll be getting screwed for almost the price of a whole drink if you order two thirds instead of a half. You’re not likely to get told this by staff.

    The cheapest places to buy alcohol in town (shops) are HaAliya St. and Jaffa. Also look around the Carmel market as there are some cheap Russian stores selling cheap booze. Cava, lambrusco and prosecco are the cheapest drinks you can get, apart from beer. Arak (sort of like a rougher ouzo) is still the cheapest local spirit.

    For more information about drinking alcohol in Tel Aviv, check out the FAQ .


    If you’re planning on spending lots of time in a coffee shop or a cafe with your laptop and are wondering about minimum spend, a good cup of coffee in a hipster place can set you back 12-14NIS, but you’ll normally be left alone with your thoughts (and laptop) for a while. You can get your cheap takeaway coffee fix (and actually reasonable coffee) at the Cofix places for 6NIS.  Other cheap cafes often offer a coffee and pastry deal (or coffee and mini sandwich) that can cost as little as 15NIS.


    Service is usually not included. Expect to pay at least 10% on top of everything – meals, a coffee, a drink at a bar, etc.. This is specifically for food and drink places. You don’t need to tip everywhere like in America, but nobody will refuse your money. If you’re at a bar and you tip your bar person well at the beginning of the night, you might get some free chasers later on.

    For more information about the cheapest and tastiest places to eat in Tel Aviv plus loads more priceless information for backpackers, budget travelers and people who don’t like being ripped off, check out the full DIY Tel Aviv guide. You can download it from this site or buy the Kindle version or paperback from Amazon.

    Tel Aviv transport costs

    Walking and cycling around Tel Aviv is relatively easy, so if at all possible, do it whenever you can. The city is mostly flat, so bring your walking shoes and a bottle of water and go for a walk.

    Some hotels offer free bikes, while some hostels rent them cheaply. You can also make use of the public bike system if you have a credit card. You can buy cheap membership for a day or a week with your card at any docking station (in English) and if you only rent the bike for half an hour at a time before returning it to a station, you won’t pay anything extra. Several international bike rental apps are also active in Tel Aviv, as well as ones that rent out electric scooters.

    Buses and shared taxis are reasonably priced (shared taxis cost the same as a bus and you can now use Rav Kav on them on weekdays. On weekends they are cash only). For private taxis, always use the meter. Taxi journeys are not actually too expensive inside Tel Aviv, as it’s small. The exception is when there’s a lot of traffic or when the drivers offer you a “deal” to avoid using the meter. Both Uber and Gett are active in Tel Aviv and use licensed taxis. They have to use the meter when driving you, so are less likely to try and screw you. If you download the Gett app and use the code: GTOYPNI, you can save up to 100NIS on your first journey in Israel, plus some money off subsequent ones. That’s my code, so I get a bit of travel credit when people sign up.

    Tipping is not required in taxis.

    For information about finding cheap flights to Tel Aviv you can look here .

    Tel Aviv Daily Budget

    To be honest, your daily budget while in Tel Aviv will depend on what you want to do. If you only eat hummus and falafel all day (or buy some cheap ingredients in the market), walk everywhere and crash on someone’s sofa, you can probably get by on less than 100NIS a day. Would you want to come all the way to Tel Aviv and then spend your entire time eating 7NIS falafel and homemade salad and stews? Well, I know people who do, at least for some chunks of their time.

    A hostel bed will cost upwards of 50NIS, while privates can cost at least 200-300NIS  (prices do go down a bit in the low season, but not by much). Airbnb rooms can vary, but are often a good deal at an average of around 150-200 in the high season. Entire flats obviously cost more.

    A one course cafe meal (with coffee or another drink) will average 60-70NIS per person, with cafes in south Tel Aviv being generally cheaper than that (unless you’re near the beach). Restaurants, as mentioned above, will cost more.

    Make your budget last longer without missing out on the best of Tel Aviv.  Check out the full DIY Tel Aviv guide for information about where to eat, drink, shop and party on the cheap. You can download it from this site or buy the Kindle version or paperback from Amazon.

    Things you can do in Tel Aviv for free

    One of the advantages of Tel Aviv is that the weather is nice most of the year, so you can just hang out outside and it won’t cost you anything at all.

    You can enjoy all of the city’s beaches for free (though camping on the beach is not allowed) or hang out in the city’s pleasant parks and open spaces. Try Habima Square, Rabin Square or Rothschild Blvd. where you can sit and use the city-wide free wifi, too (it’s available in many parts of the city). The Yarkon park by the river is nice for a picnic. Some areas there (and in the seaside Charles Clore park) are popular with families having BBQs.

    Many events are free to attend, including gallery openings, parties and even music gigs. Some are only free until a certain cut-off point, so it’s good to turn up early. There are often free or cheap yoga, chi gong, juggling or acrobatics meet-ups and classes, too, both indoors and outdoors. You can basically find something free to do every day of the week. You can check out the DIY Tel Aviv event calendar for some free (and cheap) events.

    For more information about finding a cheap place to stay or live in Tel Aviv, plus everything from the best budget restaurants to cultural tips and free English language yoga classes, check out the full DIY Tel Aviv guide. You can download it from this site or buy the Kindle version or paperback from Amazon.

    Is Tel Aviv cheap to visit?
    Tel Aviv is an expensive city, with everything from food to hotel rooms costing as much as they would in London or even New York. However, it is not a rich city and is more than suited for budget travelers. more
    Can Saudis visit Tel Aviv?
    Even number of israeli visitors is restricted. A Saudi tourist need a visa, and since two countries still have no formal diplomatic relations there is no Israeli Consulate in the Saudi territory. more
    Does Tel Aviv get cold?
    In Tel Aviv, the summers are long, warm, muggy, arid, and clear and the winters are cool and mostly clear. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 49°F to 87°F and is rarely below 44°F or above 89°F. more
    Can you visit Jerusalem from Tel Aviv?
    Traveling from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by train will take you an hour or less. To do so, you can take a train from any station in Tel Aviv to Ben Gurion Airport and then switch to a train to Jerusalem. You can also take a direct train to Jerusalem from the station Tel Aviv HaHagana. more
    Is Bosnia cheap to visit?
    The prices Bosnia and Herzegovina is a budget travellers paradise. Food, drink and accommodation are all affordable, even in the cities. Free or wild camping is very easy or there are many beautiful and cheap campsites. A meal costs around €4 and a beer is €1 or less in a bar/restaurant. more
    Is Tel Aviv 2022 safe to visit?
    Tel Aviv is a bubble of a city. It remains relatively unaffected by the conflicts. it is both a safe city to travel to and a fun one at that. However, despite how good it sounds, it is still probably a very city different from the one you live in – or different from the cities you are used to. more
    What is the best month to visit Tel Aviv?
    The best times to visit Tel Aviv are March through April and September through November. Spring and fall mark this city's "sweet" tourism spots, boasting pleasant temperatures and affordable prices. more
    Is Tel Aviv safe to visit now?
    Tel Aviv remains a very safe city to visit, but travelers need to be aware of the possibility and high risk of terrorist threats. What is this? The local police are generally very friendly. more
    How many days do you need to visit Tel Aviv?
    It all depends on what your interests are (history, religion, nature, clubs & pubs, etc), but normally most tourists would spend 1-3 days of the 10 in Tel Aviv. A 10 day tour of the entire country is about average and you definitely will not be bored. more
    Is Tel Aviv expensive?
    Overtaking Paris, Tokyo, and New York, Israel's coastal metropolis Tel Aviv is now ranked the most expensive city globally, according to a report released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). more
    Is Tel Aviv rich?
    Tel Aviv ranks as one of the world's most expensive cities for 2019. It's the second-largest city in Israel behind Jerusalem, with a population of 430,000 people. The city is a hotspot for tech startups and luxury real estate, making it a prime location for Middle Eastern billionaires. more

    Source: www.diytelavivguide.com

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