*A series of guides on shooting Street Photography in cities around the world. Find the best spots to shoot, things to capture, street walks, street tips, safety concerns, and more for cities around the world. I have personally researched, explored and shot Street Photography in every city that I create a guide for. So you can be ready to capture the streets as soon as you step outside with your camera!
In a country steeped in history, Tel Aviv is Israel’s modern cosmopolitan city on the sea. Lined with some of the best beach life around right next to a vibrant urban center and the historic port of Jaffa, the city is as packed with interest as you can get for a population well under a million. Life is lived under the sun, but doesn’t stop at sunset in Tel Aviv, making it a city much different from the rest of the country. It’s trendy and chic, but still possessing a mix of the past and future, with a vibrant multi-cultural feeling throughout. It’s a compact, intimate city making it great for walking and exploring with your camera.
So here’s a Street Photography guide so you can be ready to capture all that Tel Aviv has to offer before you even arrive!
- Port Beach
- Mid Beach
- Caramel Market
- Bney Brek
Top 6 Street Photography Spots:
1. Tel Aviv Port Beach
Tel Aviv Port is a commercial and entertainment complex at the north end of Tel Aviv’s beaches. Busy from day to night, both tourists and locals come here for its shops, bars, cafes, market and recreational activities. The wooden wave-shaped deck out front fills with people hanging out or enjoying the sea view. It’s an upscale area that attracts a variety of life, including plenty of families due to its extensive playground equipment.
From the young to the old, if you want a spot for guaranteed street photography opportunities, this is one of the most popular. Its also a good starting or ending point if you want to walk the city beaches for more photography, which brings us to #2…
2. Mid Beaches
Tel-Aviv is packed with a variety of beaches between Tel Aviv Port and Jaffa Port. It’s probably my favorite section of the city for street photography and could easily provide a full day of shooting due to the number of beaches and mix of interest. There’s so many different beaches, but some of my favorites include Hilton Beach, Gordon Beach, Jerusalem Beach and Drummers Beach (on Fridays). The Hilton Beach is probably the most popular and active in the city (maybe country) due to its size and number of attractions. The beach is divided into 3 sections with different atmospheres. You’ll find a dog beach, packed outdoor swimming pool and recreation center, surfer beach, skating, boardwalk and more. The busy Allenby Street meets at Jerusalem Beach, making it a prime spot, which also attracts many locals. And further south, you’ll find Drummers Beach which gets its name due to the Friday afternoon drumming sessions on the rocks by the sea.
This is only a few of the beaches you’ll find walking Tel Aviv’s city coastline, but I recommend you discover them all by doing the full walk with your camera. Outdoor gyms, beach bars, sunbathing, surfing, drumming, dogs playing, booking reading, backgammon, relaxing, partying, tourists, locals and so much more. The variety of beach atmosphere found here is hard to top.
Jaffa, or Yafo, is an ancient port city in the oldest part of Tel Aviv. While the rest of the city is more modern, Jaffa takes you back in time with an old-world atmosphere by the sea. Over 7,000 years old, there’s a lot of history here and you can feel it walking its winding streets and alleys. With all of its character, markets, food and old middle eastern vibe, it’s also one of the main attractions for visitors so you’ll find plenty of tourism here. The old port is still active with fishermen and makes for a great street photography walk too. While not long ago it was run down here, it’s recently seen major renovations and has a variety of trendy spots mixed in with the old port scenery. Markets, like the flea market, are good to check out for some street photography, while you explore the rest of Jaffa and finish along the port. From here, you can also continue north along Tel Aviv’s variety of beach life.
4. Caramel Market
While walking the beaches is the other “go to” for street photographers in Tel Aviv, the Carmel Market is where you’re almost guaranteed to see a few street photographers. I spent a lot of time with friend and local street photographer Gabi ben Avraham when I was in Tel Aviv and this is definitely his favorite place to shoot in the city. If you look through his work, you’ll find plenty of pictures from here, but he’s not the only local shooting there. They all do.
So why do they love it so much for street photography? First, it’s the largest fruit and vegetable market in Tel Aviv, but also sells a variety of meats and other food, flowers, accessories, and more. Second, unless it’s Shabbat or a holiday, it’s guaranteed activity with crowds of people. Third, there’s the popular Magen David Square and busy Allenby Street in front. And Fourth, the sunlight comes down into the alleys of the market creating great contrast for highlight and shadow shots. The location is also perfect, right in the middle of it all, and within a few blocks of the beach, where you can walk to finish off the day shooting at sunset. If you’re in Tel Aviv, Caramel Market is a must stop.
Florentin is an older neighborhood in the south containing an interesting, edgier character. There’s a multi-cultural mix felt here and while it used to be known as a poorer section of the city, it’s become an artistic, hip hotspot more recently. It still retains much of its old bohemian character, though. The Levinsky market is a good spot to head to here, selling spices, meats, produce, and more. You’ll find Greek, Turkish, and Romanian influences, among others. Along the older, narrow streets, you’ll also find graffiti and an alternative culture blended with its older character. It’s another good area to explore for a change of scenery from the beaches and more modern parts of the city.
6. Bnei Brek
Bnei Brak is not only Israel’s most densely populated city, it’s also its only large city whose inhabitants are mainly ultra-Orthodox Jews. While it is a separate city, it’s still in the metropolitan area so it’s a quick ride away. Being the largest ultra-Orthodox Jewish center in the world, Bnei Brak is filled with this character and atmosphere. The religious influence gives it a unique charm too that will appeal to many for street photography. From the clothing stores to the cafes, everything is centered around the religion. Even more interesting is how the city is divided further into different Hasidic courts and communities, providing a further variety of character. With all the people and activity compacted here, Bnei Brak provides an ultra-Orthodox Jewish experience like no other in the world. Locals like to come shoot here too, but for a visitor, it’s sure to be one of the most interesting places to photograph around Tel Aviv. I’d highly recommend spending at least one day exploring its streets with your camera.
Sample Street Walk:
For a full day of Street Photography, covering some of the best spots, you can follow this sample street walk for Tel Aviv:
- Start your day exploring Jaffa (3) and its port
- From Jaffa Port, walk north along Tel-Aviv’s many beaches (2)
- Once you get to Jerusalem Beach (2), walk up Allenby Street until you get to Carmel Market (4)
- After exploring all of Carmel Market and Magen David Square, walk back to the beach (2) and head north
- Continuing through Tel-Aviv’s northern beaches, end at Tel-Aviv Port (1) and capture the activity, while enjoying the sunset
Ask a Local Street Photographer: Gabi Ben Avraham
“Hang around Carmel market, wander a lot on the streets of downtown Tel Aviv and go to the beaches in the afternoon. Do not give up on The Jaffa Flea market and the TA old port and if it is Friday afternoon – go to the Drummers’ Beach.”
3 Things I’ll Remember About Photographing Tel Aviv:
1. Beach Life
Tel Aviv supplies one of the longest, continually active beach walks you’ll find for street photography in any city. From Old Jaffa to Tel Aviv Port, you’ll walk through a variety of beaches, many with different vibes and characteristics. Some are made for sunbathing and peaceful relaxation, some are made for recreation and gym workouts, some are made for meeting others for socialization, some are made for food and drink, some are made for shopping, and a couple are even made for dogs, another noticeable part of the city. There’s such a variety of beaches and life here that it I can’t think of another city that compares.
The beach lifestyle is as big a part of the city’s culture as I’ve seen for a city its size. Golden Mediterranean beaches with an urban background. If you want a full day of shooting at the beach, Tel Aviv is perfect for it. Starting at Old Jaffa gives you plenty to see and capture, then just start walking north through the mix of beaches. If you make it all the way up to the Tel Aviv Port, you’ll be greeted with a large wooden planked promenade with even more activity to capture with your camera. The beaches are definitely what I’ll remember most about shooting in Tel Aviv.
2. A Different Lifestyle in Israel
Most big cities are different from the rest of the country, but the difference is much bigger in Tel Aviv. The religious aspect of Israel is still seen and felt, but nothing like outside of the city. It’s a hip and bold cosmopolitan city. From the streets and beaches to the restaurants and nightlife, it feels young, creative and full of energy. The people love to have a good time here and it might surprise you how much the city likes to party and celebrate late into the night.
Compared to some of the oldest cities in the world close by, Tel Aviv is a young city, in age and at heart. You’ll quickly see how new the city is comparatively, and how much it wants to keep growing and changing with all the construction cranes covering the skyline. If you want some of the older atmosphere, you do have Jaffa, the Old City and historical port that Tel Aviv grew out of. With old narrow streets, ancient architecture, street markets and decaying character right next to the modern Tel Aviv, it makes the difference of the city stand out even more.
3. Weather & Light
One of the best reasons for a photographer to make a trip out to Tel Aviv is the weather. Especially if you live in Europe and summer has passed. The sunny beach weather continues through October here, while it gets dark, cold and gray up north. The beaches are always full of life and you never have to worry about light. If you’re looking for a place to enjoy some photography in the off-season, this is a top place to go.
Speaking of the light, I will mention there’s a lot of it and you do have to worry about its harshness sometimes. It was echoed by local photographers and I noticed it in many of my photos too. It’s something to be aware of, not all bright light is equal. Tel Aviv is also known as the White City due to the color of all the buildings, which makes this bright light even brighter for photos.
What To Do For a Street Photography Break?:
Falafel or Humus (budget friendly)
Tel Aviv is an expensive city, but falafel and humus are a couple of things that won’t break the bank. Israel is also famous for it so it tastes good too. You can find hole-in-the-wall places selling it, just look for the lines. And of course, you don’t only have to use the beach for photography, you can also use it for some relaxation under the sun. Tel Aviv knows how to have fun so you won’t have a hard time finding much here when you need a break.
Street Safety Score: 9
*As always, no place is completely safe! So when I talk about safety, I’m speaking in general comparison to other places. Always take precaution, be smart, observe your surroundings and trust your instincts anywhere you go!
For a major city, Tel Aviv is extremely street safe. You can feel comfortable walking most areas, as it’s already a very pedestrian and cycling friendly city. Pickpocketing around crowded places like Carmel Market is something to watch out for, but other than that, you shouldn’t feel unsafe walking around Tel Aviv with your camera.
People’s Reaction Score: 8
Tel Aviv is generally a pretty photo friendly city. People are open here and used to tourists and cameras. You’ll probably see other photographers out walking the streets too. Of course, with all the beach life, some might not want to be photographed, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary. Overall, I’d say Tel Aviv is more street photography friendly than most cities, in my experience.
Places closed and no transportation on Saturdays & holidays. Go to the beach.
Every Saturday, Shabbat closes much of the city down. Stores, shops, restaurants and markets close before sunset on Friday and leave the city very different through Saturday. Public transportation is also shut down and the streets become more quiet, but not quite to the degree you’d expect in the rest of Israel. For street photography, it’s not a day to go to the markets, unless you want to capture the strange emptiness, but it is a day to go to the beach. Shabbat becomes a beach day for many locals so this is definitely a day I’d spend most of my time at the ports and walking the beaches with my camera. It gets crowded the whole way.
Visit Drummers Beach on Fridays
Every Friday afternoon groups of friends, locals and visitors gather at Drummers Beach to play some music and have a great time. Drummers play darbukot, a popular style of hand drum in the Middle East, while others drink, dance, talk and more. It attracts an interesting group of characters and welcomes anyone who wants to watch or join in. If you’re here on a Friday, it’s a great spot to finish a day of shooting. You definitely won’t be the only photographer there, but it’s worth it for the atmosphere and activity. You can find Drummers Beach towards the south of Tel Aviv’s beaches, next to the Dolphinarium building.
Tel Aviv is Expensive, more than most of Western Europe
While most travelers to major cities in Western Europe are prepared for big spending, some don’t expect how much Tel Aviv will cost you too. As a traveler, it feels up there with some of the most expensive cities. A very short taxi ride from the airport (<10km) runs around 40 euros, a beer goes for at least 7-8 euros and even a slice of pizza will cost you 6 euros. It’s not a budget destination, but you can still find ways to save some money. It’s worth the cost, but just be prepared for high prices.
At around 500,000 people, Tel Aviv is not the biggest city, but judging by the number of well-known street photographers here, you wouldn’t be able to guess it. With all these passionate street photographers combined with the smaller size of the city, you probably will even run into a couple.
Check the work of some of Tel Aviv’s local talent here:
And you can always check out 33 of my photos taken in Tel Aviv too.
With Carmel Market at the center and the endless variety of beaches from Tel Aviv Port to Jaffa Port, Tel Aviv gives you a nice triangle packed with interest for walking the city. Here, you’ll find the bright sun shining, where people love to live life outdoors, and to the fullest, creating a vibrant cosmopolitan city in Israel well worth a visit. Especially with your camera.
I hope this guide can help you go experience and photograph Tel Aviv. So grab your camera and capture all that Tel Aviv has to offer for Street Photography!
If you still have any questions about shooting in Tel Aviv, feel free to comment below or email me!
(I want to make these guides as valuable as possible for all of you so add any ideas on improvements, including addition requests, in the comment section!)