Top 7 Things to Do in Jaffa—Tel Aviv

By Alice Bassett
Edited by Joel Taylor

Published February 28, 2022.

Overlooking view of Old Jaffa port and town with a clocktower

Modern-day Jaffa (also known as Yafo or Joppa) is a beautiful port city in Tel Aviv, Israel. Biblically, Jaffa is famous as being the place that Jonah (from the story of Jonah and the Whale) fled to from the presence of the Lord. While it isn't a hotspot for tourism, Jaffa is a great place to go to experience stunning architecture, places of historical significance, and simply to escape the hustle and bustle of Tel Aviv.

Let's take a look at what exactly there is to do in Jaffa.

Top Places to Visit in Jaffa

1. The Jaffa Clock Tower

Standing proudly at the heart of Jaffa's town square is the Jaffa Clock Tower. The tower carries tremendous historical significance as it was built during the reign of the Ottoman Empire to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the rule of Ottoman Sultan Abdul-Hamid the second.

2. HaPisgah Garden

The quaint gardens here have a stunning view of the coast. There is an amphitheater where one can listen to live music for free on a Saturday, and there are also statues with biblical meaning scattered around for locals and tourists to peruse. From HaPisgah Garden to Jaffa Old City is a wooden bridge known as the Wishing Bridge. Here you can touch the symbol of your astrological sign and make a wish.

3. The Jaffa Flea Market

Who doesn't love a good flea market?

Especially one as vibrant and lively as the Jaffa Flea Market (Shuk Hapishpishim). This market is open from Saturday to Thursday, 10 am to 6 pm. Stalls, vendors, and second-hand shops line the streets, waiting for tourists and locals alike to peruse their wares. You can also stop at one of the coffee shops nearby after picking up some unique treasures.

4. Rokach House Museum

This museum was originally home to Shimon Rokach, the fourth mayor of Tel Aviv and a prominent figure in Israeli politics and the Jewish community. The museum displays an array of Israeli artwork dating back to the early days of the town's development, as well as historical items that provide insight into Shimon's life. The museum is open on Fridays and Saturdays between 10 am and 2 pm.

5. House of Simon the Tanner

This attraction carries some biblical significance as it was the place where Saint Peter lived while he was spreading the Gospel of Christ. Simon the Tanner himself was merely an individual who housed an apostle, but his home is of great biblical significance to Christians. The stone architecture of this house is similar to that of the rest of old Jaffa's structures and is telling of the stone masonry of the time.

6. Old Jaffa Port (Namal Yafo)

This is the port where Jonah set sail before the whale ate him. It is the oldest seaport in the world and has a beautiful view of the sea. You can spot several fishermen at any given time and can enjoy fresh seafood at nearby restaurants. There is also a house with a window to the port, where you can buy freshly baked cookies.

7. The Jaffa Hotel

If you need a place to stay, the Jaffa Hotel is your best bet. It is a five-star luxury hotel located close to the Jaffa Port. The rooms are lux, and the hotel offers a valet service and bicycles to explore the surrounding area. There is also a spa and fitness center for guests to enjoy.

Make a booking on the Jaffa Hotel official website.

Different Types of Sightseeing Tours

If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by all there is to see and do and find yourself needing a bit more guidance, consider booking one of the many sightseeing tours that are on offer.

There are group day tours available, which—depending on the one you choose—take you to a combination of locations. These include museums, restaurants, flea markets, and more.

Walking tours are also offered around Jaffa. They are shorter than the day tours (which take a full day) and can be guided or independent. The guided tours are usually around 4 hours and take you to fewer locations. There are also private tours you can download to your device, which talk you through the attractions while you walk on your own.

While it isn't the most glamorous city and not the most popular tourist attraction in Israel, Jaffa has a lot to offer in terms of history and architecture. If you are looking for a tourist spot away from the hustle and bustle of the popular cities, Jaffa is the place to be!