Known as north Tel Aviv’s ‘entertainment central,’ the port, or namal as locals refer to it in Hebrew, is indeed a must-see sight in Israel’s biggest city. An undulating boardwalk, whose unusual shape was inspired by local sand dunes, extends for more than a mile along one of the city’s most beautiful stretches of Mediterranean waterfront. A breakwater, small marina and the mouth of the Yarkon River provide the rest of the backdrop of this preferred destination for joggers, cyclists, families, the perpetually cool, indeed for anyone looking for a good time.
Like most places in Israel, the namal has a complex history. Established in 1936, Tel Aviv port was built during the tumultuous days of the British Mandate. In 1965, its shipping traffic moved to the spanking new port built twenty miles south at Ashdod, and the harbor buildings fell into disrepair. Its latter day transformation into Tel Aviv’s hot-hotter-hottest neighborhood began in the 1990’s.
Eighteen beachfront restaurants, cafés and bars offer cuisines ranging from seafood and typical Israeli fare to fine ice cream and chocolate. Lazing on couches or at café tables, sipping a cool drink under the palm-frond umbrellas that dot the boardwalk is the activity of choice for many, particularly on balmy summer evenings. Time your visit properly, and you’ll even witness a stunning sunset.
Night owls prowl area discotheques while contemporary Israeli jazz can be heard into the early morning hours. The port’s cobbled streets are the frequent host of outdoor festivals and events including the weekly antiquity, collectors’ and art fair held every Saturday.
Shoppers can get their hands on clothing, jewelry, shoes and accessories by Israeli and international labels. Spas are on hand for those who need pampering, and for the more adventurous-minded, Tel Aviv Port boasts a diving school with courses in open water diving and excursions to the Mediterranean and Red Seas.
The seemingly out-of-place Reading Power Station, a hulking Tel Aviv landmark built in the 1930’s is now powered by clean, natural gas. It is reached by a footbridge from the port’s northern edge and serves as an innovative venue for Israeli art and design exhibitions.
Tel Aviv Port is at the western end of the expansive HaYarkon Park, Tel Aviv’s answer to Central Park. With ample parking, it is easily accessible from seafront hotels and the rest of downtown on foot, by taxi or car. The entire port is zoned for wi-fi, ideal for laptop-toting business travelers hoodwinking the boss that they’re hard at work when they’re really quaffing a latte (café afuch in Hebrew) on the Tel Aviv port boardwalk.
For more information log on to the city's official site