King Albert Square. Flavor of Paris. David Bachar

The Secret Garden: Tel Aviv's Most Magical Spots

Think the air up north is fresher? Save yourself a trip and take a stroll on the streets of Tel Aviv: There are true gems of nature to discover

A summer walk around Tel Aviv is a great way to take a break from the everyday routine. Amid its hectic streets, Tel Aviv offers hideaways that present a different take on the big city. In addition to cafes and restaurants for hanging out, Tel Aviv contains a range of pastoral possibilities that prove anyone can find beauty and fresh air for free.

The urban landscape includes a tranquilizing natural setting of shade trees, gorgeous flowers, hidden ponds, archaeological remains and breathtaking views. We’ve compiled a list of delightful spots in Tel Aviv, genuine natural gems, from cultivated gardens to the city’s last orchard.

Tomer Applebaum

Green in the center: Dubnov Garden

Dubnov Garden is in a super-central location, abutting the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Performing Arts Center, Beit Ariela Library and the Tel Aviv District Court. Though visitors won’t be alone on the lawns and paths, the garden has a pastoral feel. The comfortable walking route is festooned with vine terraces, herbal and strawberry trees that provide the necessary shade for relaxing on a bench. There’s also a garden of natural flint rocks interwoven with the artificial backdrop of a shallow pond. On fine days you can watch a group doing Chi Gung exercises.

Location: Dubnov Street, corner of Manne Street

Parking: Golda Parking Lot (7 Berkovitch Street) or Dubnov Parking (4 Dubnov)

Tel-O-Fun (bike rental): 21 Shaul Hamelekh Boulevard

Romantic: Yes. Bring a sheet and sit on the well-kept lawns

Child-friendly: Yes. Worth taking advantage of the proximity to Beit Ariela Library

On the way: Visit the ecological pool in Rabin Square, then sit at the bar of the Brasserie

Daniel Tchetchik

Urban symbiosis: Hahaskala Boulevard Garden

Located in the Bitzaron neighborhood, this site creates a natural environment in urban conditions. The long, narrow paths are flanked on one side by detached homes and on the other by high-rise office buildings. Trees provide a natural setting that attracts a range of small creatures, while pergolas for nesting provide birds with a refuge against predators. Hahaskala Boulevard has broad lawns, inviting benches, exercise devices, playground equipment and a petanque field.

Location: Bitzaron neighborhood

Parking: Cinerama Lot (45 Yitzhak Sadeh) or Palmah Lot (68 Yigal Alon);

Tel-O-Fun: 11 Hahaskala Boulevard

Romantic: Yes. A basket of rolls from the adjacent Lachmanina Bakery will enhance a picnic

Child-friendly: Yes. If the little ones get tired of the playground, challenge them to search for hedgehogs

On the way: Chef Haim Cohen’s Yaffo Tel Aviv restaurant

David Bachar

Paris around the corner: King Albert Square

Tel Aviv abounds with city squares, but the full scope of urban charm can be found in the one named after King Albert I of Belgium. You won’t find an artificial waterfall or an ecological pool here, only two benches that enjoy the royal shade of large ficus (weeping fig) trees. What’s the big deal? you may ask. The answer is: simply a pleasant Parisian atmosphere. The little square was built in 1934 to commemorate the friendship between Meir Dizengoff, Tel Aviv’s first mayor, and Belgium’s King Albert I. The adjacent Pagoda House, characteristic of early Tel Aviv architecture, provides the site with a 1920s-style ambience.

Location: At the junction of Nachmani, Montefiore, Melchett and Bezalel Yaffe Streets Parking: Montefiore Parking Lot (5 Montefiore)

Tel-O-Fun: Rothschild and Allenby

Romantic: Yes. Bring a baguette or a croissant and imagine you’re in Paris

Child-friendly: No

On the way: A sweet carb from Ben-Ami or a sortie to Café Noir

Magic secret: HaGat Garden

Along a lonely side path lies the magical, almost hidden HaGat (wine press) Garden. It’s actually an archaeological site that was discovered during excavations carried out in 1965. Turns out that a wine press operated here in the Hellenistic period. Without getting grape juice on your feet, you can visit an urban slice of history. You will discover a wine press with a treading floor, a filtering pit and a collection area, alongside additional archaeological remains placed at the site. Behind the wine press is a singular path bounded by limestone walls, in the center of which a single bench preserves the area’s ancient character and offers visitors welcome tranquility. Add to this the greenery of decorative trees, sculptures and playground equipment for children, and you have a genuine urban delight.

Location: Between Helsinki and Hevra Hadasha Streets

Parking: Hevra Hadasha Parking (9 Hevra Hadasha)

Tel-O-Fun: 3 Helsinki or 2 Heh B’Iyar – Kikar Hamedina

Romantic: Definitely. Especially when you take a bottle of wine along

Child-friendly: Yes. You can combine history with amusement

On the way: A quiet, pleasant breakfast at Café Henrietta

After the flood: Winter Pond

The Israeli winter isn’t exactly monsoon season, but this year’s rains were enough to fill the Winter Pond (Breikhat Horef), a natural jewel that was rehabilitated by the Tel Aviv Municipality along with students from Tichonet High School. It’s in an area where a winter pond existed in the past, providing a habitat for animal and plant species that are now on their way to disappearing. The seasonal pool retains its water until the summer and draws many species of animals like crabs, amphibians, birds and mammals. Alongside the biodiversity you’ll find remnants of flowering Mediterranean lupine, squills and asphodels, together with explanatory signs and hiking trails.

Location: Next to the parking lot behind Tichonet High School, adjacent to Shoshana Persits Street

Parking: College of Management and Levinsky College (9 Shoshana Persits)

Tel-O-Fun: Derekh Namir – Kibbutzim College of Education

Child-friendly: Definitely. Holy trinity of water, flowers and animals

Romantic: Yes. Don’t forget to take a double selfie next to the pond

On the way: Continue along the waterline at Tel Baruch beach

Moti Milrod

Nostalgic reverie: Nahal Pardesim

Behind the high-tech and business center of Kiryat Atidim lies Nahal Pardesim (Orchards Stream), a delightful natural area covering two square kilometers. In the past this was used to dump construction waste, but a cooperative rehabilitative effort by the municipality and local residents transformed it into a thing of beauty. The stream is a tributary of the Yarkon River that channels rainwater from the farmland north of the Neve Sharett neighborhood. Along this strip of natural greenery you’ll find riverbank vegetation, animals and nesting birds. As part of recent efforts to revive the stream, more than 70 species of flora have been planted, including Mediterranean lupines, crown daisies and hairy vetches, which hide all signs of urbanism. Not far from the stream, through an avenue of towering pine trees, is the last orchard in Tel Aviv, which is also destined to become a residential neighborhood at some point. Until the concrete monstrosities arise, you can still find evidence of the “Hebrew city” that once existed here.

Location: East of Neve Sharett neighborhood

Parking: End of Korazim Street

Tel-O-Fun: 2 Hatzanhanim or Kikar Habarzel corner of Ha’arad

Child-friendly: Yes. The kids will get to see the last orchard in the city

Romantic: Yes. Bring a basket of fruit and have a picnic in the orchard

On the way: Ramat Hahayal area, with its selection of restaurants, cafes and attractions

Courtesy Tel Aviv Municipality

Relaxation: Hamada Boardwalk

On the eastern boundary of Tel Aviv University, at the end of the limestone slope that overlooks Ganei Yehoshua Park, is the 800-meter-long Hamada (Science) Boardwalk. It was designed to integrate into the existing landscape, with the use of recycled materials and water-saving vegetation. Built just two years ago, the site has separate paths for hikers and cyclists – between the two are shade trees and light poles. Several observation points offer views of the north and east of Metropolitan Tel Aviv and are great places to rest after a day of work or studies. Installations based on scientific, technological and ecological themes are changed from time to time.

Location: Along Dr. George Wise Street

Parking: Social Work Lot (83 George Wise) or Mitchell Lot (70 Haim Levanon)

Tel-O-Fun: George Wise Square

Child-friendly: Less

Romantic: Yes. Joint pedaling followed by a spectacular view of the region

On the way: See some exhibits at the Eretz Israel Museum

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