December 22, 2014

A Seaside Stroll to Old Jaffa: Israel Unplugged

Old Jaffa is a pleasant daytrip from nearby Tel Aviv, and a popular tourist excursion. Local legend has it this ancient seaside town was founded by Noah’s son Japheth himself. It was prominently known during the time of Solomon, and has remained well known ever since. Here are my top tips for exploring Old Jaffa.

Arrive by beach.

You could drive from Tel Aviv and park, but honestly it’s a fun little jaunt to get there on foot by walking up the beach. The breeze is pleasant, the sand provides excellent resistance for a workout, and you get to enter Old Jaffa by leisurely strolling up a picturesque walkway past trees, crashing surf and a gorgeous minaret.

Enjoy the atmosphere.

A commercial port for thousands of years, the historic section of the city known as Old Jaffa has been freshened up and preserved as a sort of living historical exhibit or museum. Now dotted with a variety of shops, restaurants and galleries, strolling through Old Jaffa is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon along the Mediterranean. Near the town’s clock tower is a jumbling of trinket shops you might also enjoy exploring. A number of them have second hand items that lean a bit towards flea market quality, but there are a few stalls selling souvenir beads and hamsa ornaments at affordable rates for those who are on a tighter tourist budget. Besides, you never know what sort of cultural experience you might have. In fact, I got one of my most helpful tutoring sessions here on how to do the side-to-side finger snap. (Here’s the video.)

Take advantage of the photo ops.

There are several photographic opportunities to be found by strolling the streets of Old Jaffa. In addition to the seaside mosque with the striking minaret you’ll pass while entering from the beach on your walk from Tel Aviv, there are remnants of ancient Jaffa throughout the area, a well-known clock tower, interactive statues and scenic cityscapes looking back towards the city.

While you’re there, enjoy a seafood dinner.

As a seaport, Jaffa offers an abundance of culinary ocean treasures for locals and tourists alike. After exploring the town for the afternoon, consider splurging on a scrumptious waterfront meal from the sea. It’s a great way to wind up a day and build an incredibly picturesque memory.

If you’re visiting Tel Aviv for more than a day or two, you’ll definitely want to include a day in Jaffa. With a beach stroll in each direction and plenty of places to explore once you arrive, it makes just as great a family outing as it does a romantic daytrip for two.

Photo Credits: The images for this article were photographed by the Trek Hound team. However, more pictures of Jaffa are available through a creative commons agreement on our sister site, Pictures of Travel Places.