9 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Jaffa
The old Arab port of Jaffa is imbued with old-world atmosphere that makes a pleasant change from Tel Aviv's all-out modernity. In its alleyways, you can catch a whiff of a slower and simpler age. Despite this old-time elegance, Jaffa is being thoroughly gentrified with boutiques and cafés popping up all over the center of town. This is a great place to come for dinner or to sit back in a café for the afternoon.
1 Crusaders and Churches: St. Peter's Monastery
St. Peter's Monastery is built on top of a 13th-century Crusader castle, which was, in turn, built on top of the original settlement's acropolis. The name of the monastery is in honor of the Apostle Peter's visit to Jaffa. From the courtyard here, a staircase leads down to the vaulted chambers of the Crusader castle.
Hours: Open daily 8.30am-11.30am & 3pm-5pm
Location: Kendumim Square
2 Junk and Treasure: Jaffa Flea Market
A rummage through Jaffa's flea market in search of a special treasure to bring home is one of the great joys of a visit to Jaffa. There's a lot of complete rubbish on display here, but if you fossick hard enough (and are lucky) you could indeed find a real gem. Bargaining is the name of the game so you'll have to put your haggling hat on.
Hours: Open Sun-Thu 10am-6pm, Fri 10am-4pm
Location: off Olei Zion Street
3 Jaffa-Time: Clock Tower
In Jaffa's central square, this late-Ottoman clock tower (built in 1906) was constructed to mark the 25 year jubilee of Sultan Abdul Hamid II. It's the major landmark of Jaffa.
Location: Yefet Street
4 Green Space: HaPisgah Gardens
These lovely gardens have excellent views over to Tel Aviv and across the Mediterranean. The so-called wishing bridge connects this lush green space with the centre of Jaffa. Excavation work by archaeologists in this area has brought to light earlier occupation levels. A 6-m thick wall from the Hyksos period (18th-16th centuries BC) and a town gate bearing the name of the Pharaoh Ramses II (1290-24 BC) are the earliest levels uncovered.
5 Great Mosque
The Great Mosque (or Mahmudiye Mosque) was built in 1810 by the Ottoman governor Mahmud Pasha - known as Abu Nebut (father of the Cudgel). The builders reused antique columns from Ashqelon and Caesarea here, but mistakenly set them upside down with the capitals at the foot.
6 House of Simon the Tanner
The small mosque here (built in 1730) is believed to occupy the site of the house of Simon the Tanner with whom the Apostle Peter stayed after raising Tabitha from the dead.
Location: off HaMigdalor Street
7 Down by the Sea: Harbor
Jaffa's harbor has been a place of importance from the 2nd millennium BC onwards. Today it is a sleepy place for pleasure boats and little fishing vessels only. Round the harbour are rocky cliffs on which, according to Greek legend, Andromeda - the daughter of the mythical founder of the town - was chained until her release by Perseus.
8 Old Jaffa Visitor Center
A visitor center and archaeological site in one, the Old Jaffa Visitor Center has set up shop in an ancient chamber off the main square where you can find information on tourist attractions in town and browse Greco-Roman ruins at the same time. There's a worthwhile audio visual presentation here on Jaffa's long history as well.
Hours: Open Sun-Thu 10am-6pm, Fri-Sat 10am-5pm
Location: Kedumim Square
9 A Slice of Art: IIana Goor Museum
The Ilana Goor Museum is located in the heart of Old Jaffa in an impressive, restored mid-18th century home. The building, which is also the artist's home, houses the collection of Ilana Goor including sculptures, jewellery, furniture, and clothing, along with items she has collected over the years. From the balcony there are great views to the sea.
Hours: Open Sun-Fri 10am-6pm
Admission: adult 24NIS, child 14NIS
Location: Mazal Dagim Street
Practical Jaffa Tips
- Free walking tours of Jaffa are offered on Wednesdays by the Tourism Association. Tours begin at 10am and start from the tourist office on Marzuk Street.
- Most of the good dining and cafe options in town are found along Yefet Street and Olei Zion Street.
- The Flea Market area hosts live music and entertainment every Thursday night during the summer months.
- Jaffa is an easy walk from Tel Aviv. It's a two-kilometer stroll following the seafront.
- Bus No. 18 from Dizengoff Street and Bus No. 25 from Allenby Street all travel to Jaffa, stopping at the clock tower.