Nestled on Israel's northern coast, Akko is an up-and-coming port city rich with Jewish history, sights and fantastic food. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this Israeli treasure is a unique cross between east and west, modern and ancient Israel, beauty and ruins. Its rich history is palpable in its alleyways, underground passages and picturesque architecture, whose character reflects the legacy left behind by the Greeks, Romans, Crusaders and Arabs. But what has transformed this hidden gem from a pit stop to a destination is its recent emergence as a culinary force in the north, with some of the best hummus on the eastern Mediterranean (some say it’s better than the Jaffa street food offerings) and some of the best seafood restaurants in Israel.
Things to do in Akko
Enveloped by the stunning ancient architecture of the historic old city, Akko’s market has a wonderful selection of authentic Middle Eastern goods, from fresh fish to buckets of spices to delicious Arab pastries and desserts. As you explore the colorful range of stalls, be on the lookout for the delicious cafés and hummus joints tucked away in the market’s charming side alleyways.
From the classical age until the medieval period, it served as a significant, bustling docking point. Today, it remains a strategic trading shop of the Eastern Mediterranean. Walk through history as you stroll down the quaint, tranquil fishing harbor lined with old fishing boats, and enjoy a breathtaking view of Akko’s old city. At ten shekels a person, you can even hop on a boat tour! Ride out into deeper waters of the Mediterranean for a fantastic view of the city walls and a taste of Akko’s history.
Now, it traces the history of the Jewish resistance fighters who were imprisoned or executed in this very spot. Run by the Ministry of Defense, the museum features an interactive display with original and reconstructed exhibits, a tour of the prison cells and an account of the prison’s rich history. Learn about those who fought to establish a national home in the state of Israel, the circumstances of their imprisonment and the fascinating story behind the 1947 Akko Prison break.
One of the hottest debates within the Israeli foodie scene is – you guessed it – where to get the best hummus in Israel. For many, Hummus Said takes the cake. Their hand-mashed hummus is in a league of its own. It boasts a tangy flavor and a soft, creamy texture that seamlessly melts in your mouth. Expect long lines and a chaotic scene - hummus fanatics come from far and wide to sample their secret recipe. Once their homemade pita, classic hummus or makhlouta hits your tongue, you’ll see what the hype is all about. Pro tip: when it’s super crowded, go through the back door to be seated more quickly!
Hidden for 500 years, this well-preserved site was discovered by a local plumber in 1994. It spans from the fortress to the old city harbor, and was previously the Templars’ secret escape route in case of attack. Now, it’s a staple of an Akko Old City adventure, and perfectly accompanies a visit to the Crusader Fortress. Enter at one end of the city and exit at the other, just as the Templars' did. In between, discover a glimpse into Crusader architecture and history, informed by descriptive plaques and images.