Tel Aviv Self-Guided Photography Tour
A 3-4 hours walking tour, combining the best of the Tel Aviv experience: architecture, street art, culture & beach
Whether you just like snapping photos with your smartphone or you're an experienced photographer or just getting into the hobby, this self guided photo tour will show you the city through a new lens.
I recommend this route as it combines a little bit of everything that makes Tel Aviv the vibrant, amazing city it is. From unique architectural examples of the international movement (also called Bauhaus),and eclectic style buildings, through streets filled with street art and graffiti, the walk will pass through the buzzing middle-eastern market and end at the beautiful beachfront. Something you can't miss during your stay in Tel Aviv, named one of the world’s top 10 beach cities by National Geographic.
1. Bialik Square / Architecture
The tour starts at Bialik square, one of the most important heritage sites in Tel Aviv. Great place to spend some time to practice your architectural photography skills. The square was renovated in 2009, together with the old town hall, and today is a trendy place. You can also capture the mood of the place, people hanging out around the fountain with their babies and/or dogs. Once you feel you are done with the place, walk down on Bialik street towards Allenby. The street has more architectural examples, a small street with a great variation of buildings. I'll let you explore this on your own.
2. Kerem HaTeymanim / Street Art
Once you cross Allenby, you'll enter a historically very important area called Kerem HaTeimanim, one of the oldest neighborhoods of Tel Aviv, the first be built outside what was then the thriving port city of Jaffa. It was founded by Yemenite Jewish Immigrants at the start of the 20th century. This hidden treasure of Tel Aviv still holds a lot of nostalgia and authenticity. You will notice a very different building style, kept in it's original form, almost free from modern development that is present across other neighborhoods in the city. Beside finding picturesque alleyways, traditional Yemenite restaurants and neighborhood cafes, you will also find some examples of murals, awesome pieces of street art.
If you have some extra time and you are keen to see more of the street art, Nachalat Binyamin and Rambam hold a lot of treasures waiting for you to explore. I marked these streets in the map below with the light blue line.
3. The Carmel Market
The walk continues and takes you to the main street of the Shuk through a back alleyway, skipping the touristy section of the market, to the lower section. Here you will find a huge variety of food products, from bread to cheeses to exotic spices, and to a colorful fruits and vegetable section.
One of the characteristics of the market are the various color shades, hanging between the buildings, to create some coolness in the heat. These shades allow you to create images with hard contrast with light streaks during a sunny day, and let you play with the vivid colors in your composition. This is a good place to take photos with exposure control, so that you can black out areas in the shadow and show only what's in the light.
4. The Beach
Continuing your way towards the sea, you'll arrive at the beachfront at Banana Beach. On weekends this beach is crowded with locals and tourist alike. You'll also find plenty of sport activities at this spot, surfers, suppers and wind surfers, all of them provide great opportunity to capture fun beach photos. The cafe here has been recently renovated and with this atmospheric lights it's a great spot during the day or at sunset.
Many times I notice people standing at the promenade and taking photos of people on the sand, so a really important tip I can give is for you to get closer. Take your shoes off and walk on the sand as you capture the beach activities. Talk to people, get friendly. There is a famous saying by Robert Capa that goes like this: If your pictures aren't good enough, you aren't close enough.
If you need to get back to the starting point, you can make this route circular. Follow the marks on the map for the recommended route.
What's the best time for this photography tour?
When taking this photo tour keep in mind a few things:
- Daytime sun in Israel in the summer is very harsh, creating hard shadows and very strong contrast.
- The market opens around 9 and finishes an hour before sunset. The closing hours can get pretty dirty. There is no market on Saturdays, but it's still an interesting location for photography.
The best time to start this tour during summer is the morning or afternoon after 3pm. Try to avoid the middle of the day. The winter sun is much softer, and any day with clouds creates a day with good light conditions for this tour.