Akko(עכו), also known historically to Arabs as عكّا ('Akka) and Westerners as Acre, lies on the northern edge of the Bay of Acre in northern Israel that receives many Baha'i pilgrims. On its present site, Akko possesses a long history of various cultures: Israelites, Greeks, Romans, Crusaders and Arabs. Akko is a holy city in the Bahá'í Faith and has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a site of extraordinary significance to the world’s cultural heritage.
If you found Jerusalem too intense, come to Acre to find a magnificent Old City with a slower pace. There's plenty to see (and hear and taste and smell!) above ground and below. Acre also makes a great place to spend a Saturday, as the Old City doesn't close down and the attractions are open. It's possible to see Acre as a day-trip from Haifa, but to get the full experience, plan to stay a night. If you're looking to take a few days to relax on your trip, Acre makes a great place to slow down for a few days and enjoy the Old City and beaches.
Getting to Akko (Acre) is very simple, as it lays on the north of Haifa and on the main Israeli train track.
- Israel Railways, . Every 20 minutes in peak hours. ₪43 from Tel Aviv, ₪14 from Haifa. editIsrarail, Israel's only train operator, has over 40 daily trains to and from Akko every 20 minutes during peak hours. Some of these train go only till Haifa, while others continue to Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion Airport.
- Egged, . ₪11.70 from Haifa and from Carmiel. editIsrael's national bus company, has a slighty slower and cheaper connection to Akko, with bus lines 271, 272 and 251. Lines 361, 262 and 500 connect Akko with Carmiel.
Service taxis travel frequently from the Hadar neighborhood of Haifa to Akko. They are as cheap or cheaper than the bus. Look for a sign saying "Akko Naharia" or "Akko Karmiel" in Hebrew only in the front of the service taxi. If you don't know Hebrew, go to Herzl street in Haifa, point an index finger at a 45 degree angle with the ground (the Israeli hitchhiking signal) when a service taxi drives by, and ask where it's going.
The old city is small and basically pedestrian only. It is a 5-10 minute walk from the bus and train stations.
The only major site outside the old city is the Bahai shrine. You can take a private cab there, or else a "sherut" taxi going north to Nahariya can drop you off on the road outside the shrine.
- The wall has a lot of history to offer, and if you're staying at Walid's Gate hostel it's just across the road. It houses the Ethnological Museum. It is fun to walk along, especially the part bordering the sea. In 1750, Daher El-Omar, the ruler of Acre, utilized the remnants of the Crusader walls as a foundation for his walls. Two gates were set in the wall, the "land gate" in the eastern wall, and the "sea gate" in the southern wall. In 1912 the Acre lighthouse was built on the south-western corner of the walls.
- The citadel of Acre is an Ottoman fortification, built on the foundation of the Hospitallerian citadel. The citadel was part of the city's defensive formation, reinforcing the northern wall. During the 20th century the citadel was used mainly as a prison and as the site for a gallows. During the British mandate period, activists of Jewish Zionist resistance movements were held prisoner there; several were executed there. The Irgun staged a famous prison break against the citadel in May 1947, which is commemorated by a monument nearby.
- Hall of the Crusader Knights at the Citadel. Under the citadel and prison of Acre, archaeological excavations revealed a complex of halls, which was built and used by the Hospitallers Knights. This complex was a part of the Hospitallers' citadel, which was combined in the northern wall of Acre. The complex includes six semi-joined halls, one recently excavated large hall, a dungeon, a dining room and remains of an ancient Gothic church. Medieval European remains include the Church of Saint George and adjacent houses at the Genovese Square . There were also residential quarters and marketplaces run by merchants from Pisa and Amalfi in Crusader and medieval Acre.
- Tunnel of the Templars
- The synagogue of the Ramchal (Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto)a Kabbalah master
- The Tunisian synagogue is a synagogue that built by Tunisian immigrants in Israel. the synagogue is special for its significant mosaics. (located outside the Old City.)
- Hammam al-Basha Built in 1795 by Jezzar Pasha, Acre's hammam has a series of hot rooms and a hexagonal steam room with a marble fountain. It was used by the Irgun as a bridge to break into the citadel's prison. The bathhouse kept functioning until 1950. Now it is a tourist site featuring a very entertaining video presentation of Acre's past (as told by the hammam's last operator and his ancestors).
- Or Torah, Tunisian synagogue, a meticulously handcrafted spectacle of stained glass and tile mosaic entirely unique to Akko
- Khan el Umdan Old Akko has several large khans (an inn enclosing a courtyard, used by caravans for accommodation) which once served the camel caravans bringing in grain from the hinterland. The grandest is the Khan al-Umdan . Its name means 'Inn of the Pillars', and it was built by Al-Jazzar in 1785. The pillars that give the khan its name were looted from Caesarea. It is a two story structure and the ground floor would have housed the animals, while their merchant owners would have slept upstairs.
- Oukashi Art Museum Around the corner from the Hamman al-Pasha is a gallery devoted to the works of Avshalom Okashi (1916-80), an influential Israeli painter and a resident of Akko for the last half of his life.
- The Great Mosque built in the 18th Century, it is one of Israel's most prominent ones
- The Mosque of Jezzar Pasha was built in 1781. Jezzar Pasha and his successor Suleiman Pasha, are both buried in a small graveyard adjacent to the mosque. In a shrine on the second level of the mosque, a single hair from the prophet Mohammed's beard is kept and shown on special ceremonial occasions.
- The Pisan Port
- The Shrine of Baha'u'llah - the holiest place for the Baha'is. The Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh is composed of a central room that has a small garden at its centre, which has trees growing in it and there are layers of carpets around the walls. In the right hand corner of the central room there is a small room where Bahá'u'lláh's remains are laid to rest.
- The Market
- Akko prison is an ottoman-era prison, famous characters like Baha'u'llah and Israel's prime minister Menachem Begin used to be locked there.
- Tel Akko - the remains of the ancient city of Acre. Take a walk down Ben-Ami, past the shopping mall about 15 minutes from the Old City. You'll find a massive hill that represents multiple ancient cities built on top of each other from the Early Bronze Age on. Excavations are ongoing, and you might catch some archaeologists if you visit in July.
- Tomb of al-Khader is a Druze shrine in the village of Kafr Yassif near Akko this is the tomb of St.George (on its Muslim/Druze verison and name) according to the Druze faith.
- Tomb of Sheikh Amin Tarif - The tomb of Sheikh Amin Tarif is located in the village of Julis near Acre. Sheikh Amin Tarif was the leader of the Druze community during the British Mandate of Palestine and the State of Israel periods. he was also known for all the Druze worldwide religious activity. he was died in 1993 and buried in his home in Julis. today his home is also a Maqam (Shrine) and many Druze pilgrims visiting his tomb.
- The Turkish Bazaar - The newly renovated bazaar in the old city, dine at one of three alternative chef restaurants and a bar.
- Join the crowd and smoke nargileh (or just have a tea) in the recently restored Khan esh-Shwarda in the evening.
- Do the hummus tour of the old city - it might take a couple days, but it's the best around.
- Visit the Turkish Bazaar on Saturday afternoons. There are usually lively performances and visiting artisans.
- Take a boat ride around the walls of the old city.
- Jump off the eastern wall into the Mediterranean Sea.
You can buy almost anything along the main marketplace - ask and someone will direct you! Sea sponges, olive oil soaps, spices, tobacco and pipes, perfumes can all be found, usually much cheaper than in Jerusalem.
You can find delicious hummus throughout Akko, and Baklava in the old bazaar.
Akko is famous for its fish restaurants some of the best are located in the port area, Donyana and Abu Khristo are a must for anyone who wants to have a great meal in a great location looking over the sea.
The restaurants along the beach area are fabulous. Some may be expensive, but the food is superb. Eat everywhere, in Sal A Dim Street there is a small bakery with yummy treats. Foods like this are hard to find. Rough it up and enjoy the experience.
If you are looking for a different kind of dish, one of the most famous restaurants in Akko is Uri-Bori - located on the beach walkway, at Hahagana Street. Next to it with a similar menu is Beit Maha that is also a great coffee bar.
A little far away from the crowds of the old city is the locals favorite Gallery Simaan restaurant, located at Ben Ami street (no. 63)
Bader Coffee in the main market sells coffee from around the world. Ask him to grind it with cardamom to get the local flavor. He also brews a mean espresso for 5 NIS.
Abu Hmid Hummus (under the lighthouse) - in addition to a mean plate of hummus or ful, is a great place to stop for coffee, tea, and a fresh slice of cake.
Your best option for alcohol in the Old City is to go to one of the many restaurants; most will be happy to serve beer or arak without food. Nothing quite compares to having a few drinks at Abu Christo down by the marina at sunset.
- Akkommodation (Hotel Akkommodation in Akko), Saleh el-Basri St. (Enter the Old City from the coast, you see the lighthouse, continue to the left on Saleh el-Basri Street), ☎ +972-544-496-525, . checkin: 3:00; checkout: 12:00. A refurbished boutique hotel at the coast of the old city of Akko with a breathtaking view on the Mediterranean sea. Along the eastern wall of Akko in a picturesque narrow lane across two outstanding restaurants. Uniquely designed rooms with kitchen and private bathroom and eager-to-please innkeepers make it a affordable option in Akko. ₪135 per night. (32.919713,35.068293) edit
- Walid's Gate Hostel which may also be seen as the "Akko Gate Hostel" is dodgy indeed (not asking to see passport, no keys for rooms), but the experience is worthwhile, and very affordable. Backpackers roughing it up will enjoy a roof over their heads for such a low price. Accommodation is provided in a large dorm room with bunk and normal beds. Price is ₪80 per person per night.
- The Acco Guest House of Zippi  in Bilu street, is a warm, family-owned, budget hostel, situated in a walking distance from the Old City of Akko. Suitable for a short vacation or for a long stay for independent travelers, backpackers and families traveling in Akko, Safed and the Galilee.
- Akkotel, Salahudin St. (Enter Old City on Weizman, continue to the left on Salah ad Din), ☎ +972-4-9877100, . checkin: 3:00; checkout: 12:00. A refurbished boutique hotel along the eastern wall of the old city. Uniquely designed rooms with high ceilings and hand made furniture, and eager-to-please innkeepers make it a great upscale option in Akko. ₪600 per night. (32.9221,35.07278) edit
- Rimonim Palm Beach Hotel Acre, Seashore, P.O.Box 2192, Acre (Located on the beach close to the town. Akko station is about 1km from the hotel.), ☎ +972-4-9877777, . checkin: 3 PM; checkout: 11 AM. Hotel situated on the coastal stretch of Israel. The Rimonim Palm Beach Hotel is a unique combination of 127 modern rooms and suites with a health and sports club, a spa and superb conference facilities. The panoramic views of Haifa Bay and Akko are spectacular edit
- Nzar Khoury for Hosting, Old City 11/83, Acre (Walking toward the lighthouse on Ha-Hagana St, look for a house with a dozen or so statues in front. Head up the stairs next to it, and turn left at the top. Look up and you'll see the sign.), ☎ +972-544-622-428, . checkin: 12:00; checkout: 11:00. Rooms are basic but comfortable, all with en-suite bathrooms. ₪300 per night. edit