At first, the Carmel Market (Shuk Hacarmel) can seem a bit intimidating: It’s big and crowded, can get pretty loud, and seems to offer an unorganized mix of goods. But all it takes is a slow stroll from start to finish to wrap your head around the place. Lucky for you, it’s basically just a long street. Also lucky for you, the street’s packed with people, so going slow is the only option. The Carmel market is the biggest market in Tel-Aviv, and as such, you can find pretty much everything there. Between the organized shops and the vendors at the stands, you’ll find food and clothes, electronics and souvenirs, judaica and spices. There’s something for everyone, and the fact that it’s not really organized in any particular order, means you’re always interested (and alway likely to find something to eat when you feel like it).
This street of a shuk starts at the junction of King George st, Allenby and Sheinkin st. If you’re only here for the food, you should start at the other end of the market (for fresh produce). Although, if you came for the award winning restaurants, they’re hiding somewhere in the middle. Go by the length of the line leading to a stall to find the best places to eat.
Inside the shuk, you can find the ’beer Bazaar’ that is known for its dizzyingly extensive selection of more than 100 local craft beers from microbreweries throughout the country, for which the bartenders are more than happy to give personal explanations and recommendations.
It is a market, so haggling is possible to some degree, but the Carmel Market is not the best place to do that. If you’re buying many items from the same seller, or buying bulk, you can ask for a considerable discount. If you’re just getting the one necklace, the price you’re offered will be pretty close to the one you’ll end up with after some haggling.
As with most markets in Israel, the Carmel Market is closed on Saturdays, and is completely packed with people on Friday mornings. From start to finish, not including stopping for food (once or twice), going through this market will take you approximately an hour and a half.
Get here with a bus or a bike. A car is absolutely not an option, as the only parking lot nearby is the one at Dizengoff Center, and you don’t want to climb your way from there to the market.