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 and most beloved cities to visit, both among Israelis and tourists – make sure not to miss out on Akko (Akko is its Hebrew name and Acre its English name) when visiting Israel. Akko is full of history, interesting cultural sights and it has some of Israel's best restaurants and unique boutique hotels! It will make for a perfect day trip, or a two-day trip when you combine visiting Akko with Rosh Haniqra, another must-see in Israel. I have visited Akko several times and have selected the top sights and best restaurants for you to make sure your trip to Akko is one to remember. Because there is so much to see (and eat) in Akko, you can find a walking tour below taking you from place to place!
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, turn 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. 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 here you can take boat trips and eat in
some of the country's best fish restaurants!
From the port, walk into the famous shuk (market) of Akko. The little streets of one of the most famous shuks in the country 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.
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 to choose one of it's famous fish restaurants, eat at one of it's famous hummus restaurants and eat knafe in the shuk.
Around the port you can find two of the most famous restaurants: Uri Buri, a gourmet fish restaurant and Abu Christo, a typical Arabic fish and meat restaurant. While Uri Buri is one the country's best fish restaurants with a higher price end, Abu Christo is a more affordable option.
In the Shuk, make sure to stop at Hummus Said - this is arguable the best hummus in all of Israel!
Where to stay
See Booking.com for some of Israel's best boutique hotels in Akko. The Efendi Hotel, Akotika and Arabesque are known as one of the most unique, authentic hotels in the country. Because Akko has so many great places to stay, another blog post about accommodation will follow soon!