Moving to Tel Aviv
Are you moving to Tel Aviv? Tel Aviv is a historical gem, dominated by five thousand 1930’s Bauhaus style buildings. With a mix of nationalities, this diverse city is a culture vulture’s nirvana. The tropical climate, with stunning scenery, great food, and vibrant nightlife, ensure that expats enjoy their lives whilst making the most of a slower pace than one would expect.
Jerusalem was proclaimed the capital of Israel in 1950, but most embassies maintain their presence in Tel Aviv, including the US and the UK. It is the country’s second-largest city.
It is hot almost all year round, with temperatures reaching 40° Centigrade in mid-summer. This Mediterranean coastal city has been voted amongst the top beach cities worldwide by National Geographic, the Best Smart City, the Best Gay Travel destination, and Saveur Magazine has ranked it an Outstanding Culinary destination.
Our free, in-depth Moving to Tel Aviv report includes info on:
• The best areas to live
• The good schools
• The average monthly rental prices
• The excellent public transport system in the city
Putting Tel Aviv on the Map
Situated on the Mediterranean coast, Tel Aviv is an hour’s bus trip from Jerusalem with buses leaving every 10 minutes, and a 20-minute bus trip to Ben Gurion Airport, departing every 30 minutes.
Modern trains, offering power sockets, air conditioning, and free Wi-Fi run every hour or two from Monday to Thursday, Sunday and Friday mornings, to Jerusalem’s Malha Station. Taking a leisurely and picturesque 1 hour and 40 minutes to cover the 51 miles, all depart from Tel Aviv HaShalom, Savidor Centre, HaHagana and University Stations, with the trains stopping at all four. The trip to the airport takes 21 minutes. There is a new fast train being planned and is due to start late 2017 or early 2018.
Public transport consists mainly of buses within the city. The city buses are provided by the Dan bus company, running in and around the city and the suburbs. Rav-Kav transport cards are categorised Personal or Anonymous and can be obtained at service points and used for both buses and trains.
There are plenty of metered taxis available, but to save costs there is also a shared taxi service. Traffic congestion is an issue here, so it is often quicker to walk or cycle.
Tel Aviv is a small city and, in relation to New York or London for example, most distances can be cycled in 30 minutes at a casual pace. Remember that living a little further out than is ideal for you may only add 5 to 10 minutes to your journey. Some of the shared taxis work on weekends and generally public transport is decent. Parking is an issue, though.
This creative area in the southern suburbs is going through a second period of gentrification. Attracting mainly younger couples and singles, this is a fun and funky area to live, with lots of arty-crafty residents. Featuring older low-rise buildings, these beautiful apartment blocks are generally under 4-storeys high. Recently, more and more high-rise buildings are under construction, which will transform the area into a more heavily populated, modern area.
With plenty of bars, cafes, restaurants, and nightlife, it can be a tad noisy in the evenings.
The transit links mainly operate on the outskirts of the area, consisting of buses and shared taxis for the commute into the centre. Depending on the location in the suburb, you may be able to walk to the central bus station and HaHagana train station.
The beach is a short walk away.
Featuring mainly small bungalows with enclosed courtyards, Neve Tzedek is a leafy suburb with a village atmosphere. Three and four-storey apartment buildings are visible on the suburb’s border, including a huge tower block of loft-style apartments where the rich spend their holidays.
Again, transport is available only on the outskirts. The Carmelit bus terminal is in close proximity for convenience, but the city centre is only a short bicycle ride or stroll away. This is one of the more expensive areas, but is peaceful and quaint, with good restaurants, cafes, and shops, all central to the Carmel Market, the Tachana shops, and the beach.
This is the old Yemenite quarter and is a peaceful maze of small homes on semi-pedestrian streets. Taller buildings are evident within a few of the streets closer to the ocean. It is near to the Carmel Market and only a short walk from the beach.
This popular area is great for shopping, good food, and apartments with sea views. However, the better the view, the more the rental costs. And that’s if there are vacant apartments available in this popular location.
With its lovely Bauhaus houses, this is more expensive than the southern suburbs, exclusive and quieter. Although one extensive area, it has sub-consciously divided itself between the old eclectic, the new and the Bauhaus buildings. As with most cities, the closer to the centre, the more expensive it gets.
Shops, including the Dizengoff Centre, and bars and restaurants on Sheinkin Street and Rothschild Boulevard have created a more bourgeois feel, and these are the costliest places to live. Even though it is bang centre of the city, Ev Hair is reasonably quiet for Tel Aviv, with a relaxed but trendy feel, and is cleaner than most areas.
HATZAFON HAYASHAN (THE OLD NORTH)
This is an older but nice area, with 1950s type buildings and quiet streets. The apartments are pleasant, the nightclubs, shops, and restaurants are more upmarket and it has a more affluent feel, suiting young families who can afford it. This leafy and pretty suburb offers peace and quiet, with an urban quality, and good schools and kindergartens.
Rating highly on ancient city sights, the real estate market has recently become as much of an attraction. Ancient buildings overlook the Mediterranean, with new modern residences being built the other side of the hill from the historic old city, alongside crumbling shops and homes.
With the close proximity between commercial and residential structures, many inhabitants just walk to work. This appealing combination, along with living in a creative neighbourhood, clearly beats commuting 45-minutes by car hands down; and the bohemian vibe is more likely to appeal to younger couples without children.
The Jaffa flea market is fun and festive, and a variety of cafes and artists’ studios in the vicinity add to the unconventional feel of the area.
East of the Ayalon highway, so more of a distance from the city, this quiet neighbourhood is more suited to families and even has a few green spaces. The rentals are more reasonable, and some of the streets have small houses with gardens. It has decent transport links and good supermarkets and is quiet with a distinct lack of cafés and bars. It is also easy to commute if you have a car.
Who lives and works in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv is the financial and cultural centre of Israel, the de factor economic capital, and the liveliest metropolis, with a population of 380,000. Both the Diamond Exchange and the Stock Exchange are housed here. Israel supplies 50% of the world’s polished diamonds.
With 250 businesses for every 1000 people, Tel Aviv rates top when compared to other big cities. With the lowest rate of failing businesses in the country, this makes the metropolis the safest and most secure in which to do business.
Like any other major centre, the population ranges from professionals to tradespeople. There are also many expats from all walks of life and nationalities. It has one of the highest costs of living in the Middle East for relocated families and is rated the 18th most expensive expat city in the world.
With 46% of its citizens reaching higher education standards, professionals abound – with a wealth of lawyers and doctors, resulting in a remarkable ratio of specialists and doctors to the population. The medical facilities are recognised throughout the world for their extremely high standards, research facilities, medical resources and excellent hospitals.
Israel is the 4th most educated country in the world.
The Best Bits
- The beaches. Acres of clean white sand make Tel Aviv a popular tourist destination. Many residential areas are within walking distance of the sea. It is central for exploring the northern and southern Mediterranean coastline.
- The restaurants. A great base for exploring new tastes and culinary experiences, the city has a world-wide reputation for new chefs experimenting with fine cuisines.
- The history. With over 1,500 buildings in the queue for historic conservation, Tel Aviv has been awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO. The fascinating museums tell the history of the tumultuous past of the region. The home of David Ben-Gurion is a modest house in the city centre, with a remarkable collection of some 20,000 books, awards, and gifts, exhibiting his vast quest for knowledge.
- The cultural aspects. Theatres include the Cameri Performing Arts for musicals and modern dramas, the Habima National for elaborate productions, Beit Lessin for contemporary work and the Gesher for Russian and local productions. The phenomenal Israel Philharmonic Orchestra performs regularly.
- The nightlife. Clubs, restaurants, and bars are in abundance along Dizengoff and Yirmiyahu Streets.
- The shopping. The Azrieli Towers Mall is the tallest building in the city, and probably the most secure and safe shopping centre in the world, mainly due to past security threats. Ben Yehuda and Allenby Streets are chock-full of shops and eateries.
Bringing the Kids
Due to language concerns, private schooling is the only viable option unless your child speaks Hebrew. That being said, private schools have exacting standards, with rigorous tests prior to admittance. These include maths, science, English proficiency and verbal reasoning. Most likely there will also be an interview with the head teacher. While private schools are expensive, they are generally more reasonably priced than those overseas.
Should they already be in their home country’s schooling system, it would be advisable to enroll them in one of the many International Schools so that they can continue with their current curricula. The majority of these schools follow the UK, French or US curriculum.
There are a number of universities in Tel Aviv, with the majority of them teaching in Hebrew. However, NYU, Yeshiva University, Hebrew Union College (Jewish Institute of Religion), Brigham Young University and the University of Indianapolis all maintain international campuses in Israel.
Relocating to Tel Aviv
A cultural hot-spot, and a vibrant, Mediterranean coastal city, Tel Aviv offers a remarkable combination of scenery, nightlife, exceptional cuisine and a tranquil, slower way of life, all wrapped up in its rich historical backdrop. With most of the population speaking English, and the majority of street signs in English, Arabic and Hebrew, English media and books are available everywhere. However, it is still a culture shock, with many potential pitfalls should you make the move without expert advice.
Potential schools and suburbs may not be compatible in terms of transport, and commuting to the workplace may cause more issues, resulting in culture-shock and upheaval.
Saunders 1865, the experts in worldwide relocation, will guide you through the minefield of important choices, ensuring a stress-free and comfortable move for both you and your family.
Average Monthly Rent - Tel Aviv
|Apartment (1 bedroom) in city centre||4,522 ILS|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) outside of centre||3,338 ILS|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) in city centre||8,104 ILS|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) outside of centre||5,881 ILS|