The Carmel Market (the Shuk Hacarmel) is the largest market, or shuk, in Tel Aviv. A vibrant marketplace where traders sell everything from clothing to spices, and fruit to electronics, visiting the Carmel Market is a fascinating thing to do in Tel Aviv. The hustle and bustle, vibrant noise, colors and smells, as well as its reputation as the largest authentic Middle-Eastern style shuk in Tel Aviv, all combine to make the Carmel Market a favorite place for everyone from first time tourists visiting the city, to locals who come here to get the freshest fruit and vegetables, and some of the cheapest products in the city. The market can at first appear to be a little intimidating, with so many senses stimulated at once – the sounds of the traders, the smells and flavors of the fresh produce, and sights of so many interesting things at once. We offer a short food tour of the Carmel Market to provide an introduction and tasting opportunity, which some visitors find helpful when they come back to explore in more depth.
About the Carmel Market
The Carmel Market first opened in 1920, some eleven years after the establishment of the city, making it an integral part of the history of Tel Aviv. Whilst much of the trade has now shifted into modern malls and onto the internet, the market is still immensely popular and its narrow street is busy whenever you visit, particularly before Shabbat on Thursdays and Fridays, as residents buy supplies for their family meals. Recent years have seen a growing number of boutique stalls and food places opening alongside the traditional traders, from boutique beers to arrays of halva, and small eateries who take advantage of the market’s produce.
The Carmel Market is relatively simple in layout and location. The ‘Shuk’ occupies one street which runs south from the junction of King George Street, Allenby, and Sheinkin Street to the Carmelit Bus depot in the south. The side streets off of the market also host some small traders, but the activity is not so spread out as in Jerusalem’s main market, the Machane Yehuda Market.
The top end of the Carmel Market is traditionally focused on fashion and electronics, whilst the lower part is mainly food and fresh produce stalls – check out those must-eat foods at the Carmel Market. Haggling is part of the deal at any Middle Eastern Market, however at the Carmel Market, as Tel Aviv has Westernised, it has become less common on smaller purchases, but still very much part of the experience when it comes to larger purchases!
Visiting the Carmel Market
The Carmel Market is open every day from Sunday to Friday from the early morning until around 7pm, with earlier closing on Friday, ahead of Shabbat. The end of the day can be an interesting time to visit, with traders offering sometimes crazy deals on produce.
The entrance to the market is easy to find right in the center of the city. In Hebrew, the market is ‘Shuk HaCarmel’ so if you’re asking for directions, you might have better luck asking for that. Being in the center of town, a visit can be combined with a trip to Tel Aviv’s White City, Neve Tzedek, or just to Tel Aviv Beach!
Some people like to join our tours of the Carmel Market which, often combined with culinary workshops, provide an even greater insight into the people and flavor of the shuk.