The Uniqueness of Israel
Israel’s Most Exciting Markets
There are plenty of markets to be found in Israel, open-air places with stalls full of delicious looking treats. At the same time, many markets are now also home to trendy restaurants, cafes and bars, making a visit to the market far more interesting than your average weekly shop.
The country’s most famous market is probably Machne Yehuda in Jerusalem. It is packed with stalls offering a huge variety of goods as well as being home to one of Jerusalem’s most popular nightlife areas. The market is located very close to the Aardvark building in Jerusalem and if you are spending your gap year in the city then there is no way that you will be able to avoid it. No matter what you are looking for, whether its spices, meats, fishes, baked goods, or anything else, you will have no problem finding it.
The Tel Aviv equivalent of Machne Yehuda is probably the Carmel Market. It is a treasure trove of fresh foods and a favourite shopping location for some of the country’s most famous chefs. In addition to food, you will find stalls selling all sorts of things, from clothing to furniture, and there are also plenty of places to stop and have a bite to eat.
Also in Tel Aviv is the Levinsky Market, which in recent years has come to rival the Carmel Market amongst foodies. It is home to some produce that you will struggle to find in other Israeli markets, such as Persian and Balkan foods, and it is also home to a number of bakeries and restaurants, some of which have a very long history.
Of course, not all of the markets are in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The Shuk Talpiot in Haifa is certainly worth a visit. It is an excellent representation of the city’s mixed culture and you will find a true cross section of society, including Russian immigrants, Arabs and religious Jews, buying and selling from one another. This also means that the produce on sale is incredibly diverse and you are bound to find some tasty treats while walking around the market’s stalls.
At some point during your gap year, you are likely to visit the northern city of Akko, which is home to a wonderful market in its Old City. As soon as you enter the market, you are struck by the smell of sea air mixing with spices, coffees, fresh fish, and so on. You will find a number of stalls selling specialty herbs, Arabic spices and cooking tools, souvenirs, and even musical instruments. Of course, there are also many places where it is worth stopping off for a quick snack along the way.
There are also a number of flea markets in Israel that are hugely enjoyable to explore. The Haifa flea market is open every day and is full of antique shops, junk shops, furniture and design shops, and more, where you can find some real treasures. The flea market in Jaffa is also a bustling place, with shops, cafes, restaurants, etc., not to mention some lively nightlife venues.
Make sure to visit some of Israel’s markets while on your gap year as they truly offer a unique experience.