Israel is the Start-Up Nation and Greater Tel Aviv its tech capital. From apps that help you get around with ease, to others that will find the best dinner, Haaretz has you covered with this definitive list of that apps you need to survive in Tel Aviv.
The easiest and fastest way to order a regular cab is through an app. It is possible to choose your pick-up point and destination, watch the progress of the ride and also pay with a credit card. The price is not set in advance, but is charged according to the meter. The most popular and common taxi app is Gett, but you can also use Yango, Uber and Raxi.
Enormous numbers of electric scooters are scattered all over Tel Aviv, all of which can be rented through an app. The international scooter companies Bird, Lime and Wind all operate in Tel Aviv – alongside the Israeli Leo app. The pricing scheme is identical for all of them: A one-time payment of 5 shekels ($1.40) to open the lock and another half shekel for every minute of use. Pay attention though, it is illegal to ride the scooters on the sidewalks — you can only ride on bike paths, and if there are none, you must stick to the right side of the road.
Two bicycle rental services operate in Tel Aviv. Tel-O-Fun has bike docking stations spread out all over the city where you can one up. The payment is composed of two parts: A fixed price (an access fee) along with payment for usage according to time.
Mobike also operates in the city via a dedicated app. The orange bikes are spread out all over the city, have a built in lock and cost 3.90 shekels for half an hour of riding. Pay attention: As with scooters, it is illegal to ride bikes on the sidewalks. Stick to bike paths and the right side of the road.
Bubble is a relatively new service in Tel Aviv, run jointly by the Dan bus company and the Israeli startup Via. It offers shared rides on minibuses that can be ordered through the app, called Bubble Dan. The minibus routes are dynamic and adapt to user demand, and other riders may get on and off along the way. The price is 12 to 15 shekels per ride.
If you’re driving a rental car (or just want to make sure the taxi is really taking you through the fastest route) then the most popular navigation app in Israel is the way to go. The app shows the quickest way to the destination after taking up-to-date traffic data into consideration, including accidents and traffic jams. If necessary, it will route you dynamically around them and other obstructions.
If you take the bus, it is worth using the Moovit app or Google Maps for navigation: You enter the departure point and destination and receive directions on which bus to take, where to get on it and where to get off. In some cases, you can see arrival times for the buses in real time – though caution is advised, as they are not always accurate.
Payment on buses in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area can only be done with a smart card, known as a “Rav Kav.” You can have one issued, though it's not really necessary. The HopOn app allows someone without a Rav Kav to pay the fare by scanning a barcode on the bus near the doors. The application also allows you to buy a pass, such as a monthly, weekly or daily, for the Tel-O-fun bikes. You can also charge the Rav Kav with money through the app at some payment stations.
All in all, Tel Aviv is rather small and has a wide range of transportation options, but take notice: Traffic laws are different on the Jewish Sabbath, from before sunset on Friday to after sunset on Saturday night. For example, buses and Bubble minibuses don’t run on Shabbat.
Tel Aviv has a lively culinary scene. One of the best ways to discover unique spots is through food tasting tours offered on the BiteMojo app. The tours cost between 65 and 120 shekels each and include a walking tour, information along the way and six tastings. By the way, the app works in Jerusalem too, if you happen to stop by.
You can order food to your hotel room or apartment, too. The international Wolt app provides lots of possibilities to order in using a convenient interface that even allows you to time it precisely. A rival app is the local 10bis – and lots of restaurants in the city have their own delivery apps.
Be a guest at a meal
If you want to try a special local experience, the EatWith app lets you to book a seat for a home meal with a person or family that does all the cooking. In addition to the food, you will get to know some new local friends.
Many Tel Avivians use the Colu app as a cellphone wallet. The app is honored at thousands of businesses — not just restaurants — and provides a cashback refund of 5 percent on every purchase.
Order.Chat allows diners to reserve seats in any restaurant in Israel using an automated chatbot. The service helps find an available table, make the reservation, or identify recommended alternatives in case the restaurant is fully booked. It works both in English and Hebrew, and is free of charge.
Order.Chat (English website)
The classic Israeli reputation is that they usually find it easy to start chatting people up anywhere – at the beach, in the line at the supermarket and even just on the street. But for the bashful out there and those who want to connect to a specific target group, there are quite a number of options.
For both straight and gay visitors who want to find a date – Tinder is the most popular app, and the selection on it seems to be the richest. One of its main features is the ability to define different parameters, such as gender, age range and distance from your present location.
For single women, Bumble has begun to take off lately as an alternative to Tinder. The feature most identified with the app is that only women can approach the man first if there's a match. For same sex couples, everyone can approach the other without limitations. The rest of Bumble’s features are similar to Tinder.
For gay men the choice may be even wider. Everyone in the community in Tel Aviv has, or once had, an account on Grindr – one of the oldest apps in Israel. Grindr is very sexually oriented and it is said that 99 percent of the people on it use it solely for the sex. To open an account, you need to add very physical details such as weight and height, and it presents opportunities based on distance. It also allows you to send private messages even without a match, which often tend to be quite aggressive.
Another possibility for the LGBT community is a local app named Atraf, which is considered to be a bit more discreet. The application requires the filling out of personal details, but limits the number of profile views in a day, so you must be very careful in choosing who you want to look at.
Tel Aviv has developed a very cosmopolitan character in recent years and English can be heard quite a lot in many parts of the city, The Tel Aviv municipality has made its services accessible in English – and the Tel Aviv City Facebook page has recommendations on events, with full details, video clips and pictures on popular spots to visit, along with detailed explanations on all the opportunities in the city.