Declared a World Heritage Site in 2001 by UNESCO, the ancient city of Acre (Akko in Hebrew) is one of the most fascinating sites to visit while in Israel. The famous walls of the old city, the port and beaches, the markets and bazaars and the great authentic restaurants are only some of the attractions this city has to offer for a one or two days trip to the northern part of Israel.
Acre had a tremendous importance in ancient times thanks to its strategic location as a port city, and was therefore conquered by many civilizations, including the Christian Crusaders, the Ottomans and even Napoleon Bonaparte for a short period, each of which leaving their mark with some impressive buildings.
The old city of Acre is truly enchanting: the streets and alleys, accompanied by the underground passages and historical monuments, all make a walking tour in Acre a fascinating experience. Along these alleys you’ll find a Christian monastery, a huge mosque, some Turkish baths and many interesting archeological findings and ruins.
Acre is not only interesting for its ruins: the city holds some colorful festivals annually, the most famous of which is the Acre Festival of Alternative Israeli Theatre, which has been operating in the city for the last 25 years and has been attracting thousands of visitors.
The open market of Akko is well known throughout Israel. It is a lively market full with activity, on weekends in particular. For hummus lovers, the Akko market is heaven on earth. Take “Saeid”, for instance, probably one of the best hummus places in Israel. Though you may need to wait to get a table, it is certainly worth waiting for. For some fresh fish meals go to the nearby port, where several excellent restaurants are serving their catch of the day.
There are few hotels in Acre to meet the needs of each and every traveler. Most of the hotels in Acre are located next to the beach and have well kept facilities. The “Palm Beac”h is one of the most popular hotels in Acre region. It is a popular four-star hotel, located 2km east of the old city. “Ahuzat Gay” is another nice option, with a luxury feel and great ambience. Located on Moshav Shavei Zion, less than 10km from Acre, it is a great place for a weekend escape. Notice that children under the age of 18 are not allowed. For low budget travelers and backpackers, try “Walied’s Akko Gate Hostel”. Though simple, it is a friendly and inexpensive option, and is located in the middle of the city itself.
Acre offers tourists a unique combination of old and new, East and west, archeological findings next to lively markets and colorful festivals, museums and many churches. Bookmark Acre as one of your stops while visiting the holy land and you won’t be sorry.