Less then two hours from Tel Aviv, this ancient port city is one of Israel’s UNESCO World Heritage Sights and when visiting, you’ll immediately understand why. This city is one of Israel’s most interesting, magical cities to visit in my opinion, with photogenic streets, amazing restaurants (make sure to be hungry when you visit!), cultural places and some of Israel's most special places to stay. I have visited Akko several times and have selected the top sights, best restaurants and best to stay for you to make sure your trip to Akko is one to remember. Because there is so much to see (and eat) in Akko, I also included a walking tour, covering all the top sights! But first, because Akko is perfect for a two-day trip, where to sleep?
Where to stay
The Old City of Akko houses some of Israel's most special places to stay, from a world famous luxury hotel to unique guesthouses hidden in its ancient alleys. Below is a list of the best places to stay in Akko, from budget-friendly to ultimate luxury!
Four Hearts Suite
During our latest Akko trip, this is where we stayed and since it absolutely blew me away it is at the top of this list! The Four Hearts suite is located in a gorgeous historic Ottoman mansion with a huge private terrace first line to the sea. It's a fully equipped apartment, including amazing kitchen. The apartment sleeps four, but there is one bedroom only so if you're staying there with more than two people, the rest will sleep in the living room. Also, personally I think this apartment is less suitable for friends or families, because of the layout; the doors are all made of glass with very little privacy. This is a great mid range place to stay for couples - or anyone who is okay with little privacy!
This boutique hotel located in an Ottoman palace is one of the most special, beautiful boutique hotels in Israel (if not THE best) and if you have the budget for it, it's definitely the best place to stay in Akko. I stayed at the Efendi Hotel last year and it was wonderful; luxury and with the best possible service. What makes this hotel so special is how beautifully it has been renovated, maintaining the details of the buildings' rich history. All the rooms, lounges, terraces and even the palace-like breakfast room are decorated top notch, with lots of care and love.
If your budget doesn't stretch to stay at one of Israel's top boutique hotels, an amazing apartment with great value for money is Daya - just a stone's throw away from the Efendi Hotel. This apartment has everything you need for a great stay in Akko and is one of the few light & airy places in the Old City - including a great balcony. It's decorated beautifully with lots of care and is best for a couple.
Another really great place to have a pampering, luxury stay is Alma Suites, located just a few steps from the shuk. There are three stunning suites surrounding a common patio - and it feels like you're in Morocco upon entering the main gate. The suites are located in one of those amazing historic buildings, with arches and all the Middle Eastern details so typical for Akko.
This stunning boutique hotel with amazing rooftop terrace is a wonderful mid-range priced place to stay in Akko, with seven beautifully decorated rooms. Every room is different and every corner is oh so photogenic.
Where to eat
Akko is one of Israel's most interesting culinary cities, hosting so many great restaurants in all price ranges, making it difficult to choose where to eat when visiting! I recommend you choose one of it's famous fish restaurants (or amazing kosher meat restaurant), eat hummus at Hummus Said and stop by at Beit Hamalabi for the best malabi in Israel.
So, what's for dinner? Around the port you can find some of the most famous fish restaurants: Uri Buri, a gourmet fish restaurant, El Marsa, another great fish restaurant and Abu Christo, a typical Arabic fish and meat restaurant right on the water. While Uri Buri is one the country's best fish restaurants with a higher price end (so is El Marsa), Abu Christo is a more affordable option. Note that these are all non-kosher restaurants, there are no kosher fish restaurants in Akko. The only kosher restaurant is Roots, an amazing meat restaurant inside the Citadel of Akko - I've been there twice and their food and service are great. Both the meat and vegan options are really good.
Breakfast options are fewer inside the Old City. I personally love to eat at Cafeneto, only a few minutes' walk outside the Old City; breakfast isn't that special, but you can eat at a bar above the sea - the best possible view to start the day! Another great option is Cafe Turkiz inside the Old City.
What to see
When you enter the old city of Akko, start at the tourist center in the Crusader’s fortress. There you can get lots of information about the city and it is where you buy entrance tickets to the several museums and sights in the old city. There are combination tickets which takes you through the most important sights which is great value, but be aware: visiting all of the museums is a lot in one day! I recommend you to only visit the Crusader's fortress, The Turkish Bath and Templar's tunnels. The Crusader's fortress and Templar's tunnels focus on the Medieval times in Akko, while The Turkish Bath tells the story of the Muslim and Jewish population living in the city throughout the ages. Did you know Napoleon was defeated in Akko trying to conquer the Holy Land? You will hear all about it visiting The Turkish Bath!
For prices, more information and opening hours of the museums in Akko, click here.
In my opinion the most beautiful and photogenic sight in Akko, is the Al-Jazzar mosque. It is the largest mosque in Israel outside of Jerusalem and has a stunning garden that is well worth a visit. You can easily find it, it's large green dome and minaret are visible from everywhere in Akko. Entrance fee is 10 ILS to be paid at the entrance and modest dress is required. For women they have scarves to borrow.
I recommend you to visit the mosque after the Crusader's fortress. Turn right in front of the market and you will see the entrance. Also, from the mosque, tu
rn left to The Turkish Bath. After visiting the Turkish Bath you can either walk to the Templar's Tunnel or - my recommendation - wander around in the picturesque and photogenic streets, towards the beautiful lighthouse. This is the northern side of the old city, which is quieter and more photogenic than the south side of the old city. Here you can also find the Efendi Hotel, one of the most beautiful boutique hotels in Israel with a rooftop bar that you can stop at for a drink (in Covid times with green passport). Their wine selection is great!
The lighthouse itself isn't much of a sight to see, in fact, there is a gate around it so you cannot really get near it. However, the ramparts and sea views around the
lighthouse make it well worth the visit! From the lighthouse, walk along the famous ramparts where you pass a church and picturesque fish restaurants until you reach the port.
The port in Akko is another must-see when visiting. It is one of the most picturesque and oldest ports of the country, from where you can take boat trips and eat in some of the country's best fish restaurants, like Uri Buri and El Marsa.
From the port, walk into the famous shuk (market) of Akko. The little streets of one of the most famous shuks in the country and it walks you back to the Crusader's fortress and exit of the old city, completing your visit. Although the shuk is known to be one of the best in Israel - and it is interesting to wander around - it is not the best for souvenirs. The shuk is mostly famous among Israelis because of its food! Some of the country's best hummus, falafel and knafe (a traditional Arabic dessert) can be eaten here.
I really hope this guide helped you in planning your trip to Akko! Let me know in a comment what you think and if you have any questions. Visiting Akko again soon, so I'll be updating this guide continuously.