A tourist’s guide to Akko: where to eat, explore and sleep

Travel in time to the ancient port city of Akko and experience the best of Israel’s northern treasure

Akko © Shutterstock
By Time Out Israel Writers |
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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

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Akko Marina
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Attractions, Sightseeing

Akko Marina

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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.

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Old City Market
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Shopping, Markets and fairs

Old City Market

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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.

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Bahje Baha’i Centre
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Attractions, Religious buildings and sites

Bahje Baha’i Centre

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The Bahje Baha’i Centre is a beautiful place where gardens envelop the historic mansion of the founder of the Baha’i faith, Baha U’llah. Within the historical building lies Baha Ullah’s shrine constructed of spectacular ornamental gold, where he is currently laid to rest. Its surrounding gardens are a majestic site of tranquility, with a stunning geometric cascade of hanging gardens, natural elements and terraces. If you visit Friday-Sunday between 9:00 am and noon, you can enter the inner garden and visit the shrine. Otherwise, explore the spectacular outer garden and enjoy a magnificent view of the heart of the site. 

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Museum of the Underground Prisoners
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Museums, History

Museum of the Underground Prisoners (Akko)

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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.

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© Assaf Pinchuk
Hotels

The Efendi Hotel

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The luxurious Efendi Hotel features a beautiful terrace with panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea. It is located in the historic centre of Acre. Haifa is a 30-minute drive away.Only a 10-minute walk from the beach, this hotel is surrounded by picturesque alleys and is 100 metres from the promenade. The Jezzar Pasha Mosque is 200 metres away.Set in 2 buildings, rooms are all modern and air conditioned, and overlook the mountains and the sea. Each has free WiFi, and a living area with an LCD satellite TV and DVD player.The restaurant at Hotel Efendi specialises in fresh seafood and local recipes. A varied Israeli breakfast is served and includes eggs, salads, bread, and hot and cold drinks.A relaxing session in the Turkish bath or in the massage rooms is not to be missed.

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