Acre, also known as Akko, is a city in northern Israel, nestled on the Mediterranean coast, with a rich history dating back thousands of years. Steeped in a tapestry of cultural influences, the city has witnessed the rise and fall of civilizations, making it a fascinating destination for those seeking a blend of history, architecture, and vibrant local life.
A Walk Through Time:
Your Acre adventure begins within the majestic Old City walls. Enter through the Ottoman-era Acre Gate and be transported back centuries. Explore the Crusader city, remnants of which form a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Climb the spiral staircase of Richard the Lionheart’s Citadel and marvel at the panoramic views. Descend into the eerie Templar Tunnel, imagining the footsteps of knights long gone.
Beyond the Walls:
Step outside the Old City and wander through the bustling Al-Khader Market. Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and aromas of local life. Vendors hawk fresh produce, spices, and handcrafted souvenirs, while the air buzzes with cheerful negotiations and friendly banter. Be adventurous and try a knafeh, a sweet cheese pastry soaked in fragrant syrup, or savor a falafel sandwich drizzled with tahini.
Treasures Within Walls:
Acre boasts unique museums that unravel its rich past. The Okashi Art Museum houses a stunning collection of Israeli and international contemporary art, housed within a renovated Ottoman caravanserai. For a glimpse into maritime history, explore the Etzel Museum, housed in a former British prison. The Treasures in the Walls Museum showcases archaeological finds that paint a vivid picture of Acre’s diverse history.
Beyond the City Walls:
Acre’s charm extends beyond the city walls. Take a boat trip along the ancient harbor, watching fishermen tend their nets and soaking in the breathtaking coastline. Venture further afield to Akko Beach National Park, where pristine sands meet the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. Here, you can unwind on a sun lounger, swim in the refreshing sea, or try your hand at windsurfing.
As the sun begins to dip below the horizon, casting a golden glow over the city, head to the vibrant port area. Savor fresh seafood delicacies at one of the waterfront restaurants, watching the fishing boats return with their day’s catch. Sip on a local beer while enjoying live music at a nearby pub, soaking in the laid-back atmosphere.
Acre offers a range of accommodation options to suit every taste and budget. Stay within the Old City walls for a truly immersive experience, or choose a modern hotel near the waterfront for stunning sea views. Charming boutique hotels and quaint B&Bs cater to those seeking a more personalized stay.
Festivals and Feasts:
Throughout the year, Acre comes alive with vibrant festivals and events. Experience the annual Acre International Festival of Theatre, showcasing performances from around the world. Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the Acre International Book Fair, held in the Old City, or celebrate local agriculture at the Harvest Festival. Be sure to check the calendar for events during your visit.
Beyond the Tourist Trail:
Venture beyond the typical tourist attractions and discover Acre’s hidden gems. Join a cooking class with a local family, learning to prepare traditional dishes like hummus and moussaka. Explore the hidden alleyways of the Old City, stumbling upon quaint shops and art galleries. Strike up a conversation with locals in a hidden coffee shop, learning about their lives and culture.
A City for All:
Acre is a city that welcomes everyone with open arms. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or simply seeking a unique cultural experience, Acre has something to offer you. Come explore its ancient walls, vibrant markets, and delicious cuisine, and discover why Acre is a captivating destination that will leave you wanting more.
Officially, it is usually spelled as Acre (in English). However, in Hebrew, the city's name is pronounced Akko. In Arabic it is pronounced Akka.
- The first settlement at the site dates back to around 3000 BC, in the Early Bronze Age. So, in terms of continuous human presence, Acre is approximately 5,000 years old.
- Throughout history, different civilizations have established settlements at the site, with periods of abandonment in between. For example, there was a thriving Canaanite settlement around 1550 BC, and the Crusader city flourished between 1104 and 1291.
- The current city of Acre became part of Israel in 1948, so it's around 75 years old within its current political context.
The distance between Tel Aviv and Akko is 112 km along Route 2, and it should take about 1 hour and 30 minutes to drive from Tel Aviv to Akko.
Visit Acre (Akko) on our 7 night Highlights of Israel Tour
Or on a 1 day tour to Caesarea, Haifa, Akko & Rosh Hanikra – from Jerusalem or from Tel Aviv