What to see in Acre, Israel?

What to see in Acre, Israel?

Acre

Acre is ranked as having the second largest number of architectural, historical and archeological sites remaining after Jerusalem. Add in Acre’s status as one of the oldest cities in the world, its unique local flavor and proximity to the azure shores of the Mediterranean, and it’s clear why Acre is the travel destination of choice for thousands of tourists. The narrow streets, old markets, fishing shops and ancient forts. Holidays here can be likened to a fascinating journey through time. With all this, the tourism infrastructure meets world standards, and the service is of a high level.

Acre: location and features

Acre is located in the northern region of Israel, in the western part of the Galilee. It is separated by 23 km from the nearest major city, Haifa. The population is multiethnic. Most of Acre’s residents are Jewish, including many immigrants from the Caucasus and from Morocco. Approximately a quarter of the population is Muslim-Arabs, there are also Bedouin communities, and very few Christian-Arabs. There are five languages to be heard here: Arabic, English, Hebrew, Russian, and French.

Acre is a city of Israel with a history of nearly 4000 years. What it has not experienced in these millennia. At different times Acre was conquered by the Phoenicians, the Hittites, the Egyptians, the Romans, the Greeks, and the British. Some literally razed the city to the ground, turning a great settlement into a run-down fishing village. Some people rebuilt fortresses in place of the ruins and gave the city new names. Acre bore such names as Ptolemaide, Umma, and Saint-Jean d’Acre.

The main reason for this attention from the outside is the location of Acre (the proximity of strategically important maritime routes, a favorable climate and landscape). By the way, Acre has been visited in its time by many eminent guests (King David, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, Pharaoh Thutmose III, Marco Polo).

In the beginning of the XX century the UNESCO included the ancient city of Acre in its World Heritage List.

Acre: places of interest

Acre is the only city of chivalry that has preserved its medieval appearance almost completely to our time. There are also a number of Ottoman sites, religious monuments and unique natural features.

Often you can tell by the photos in what city they were taken. It is quite different here. If you take such a variety of photos in Acre in one walk, you’ll feel like you’ve traveled through several cities. Azure Mediterranean beaches, ancient fortresses and knightly underground tunnels, incredible beauty of paradise gardens and majestic religious buildings. You’ll find it all here. To plan the best route to the more interesting sights, you can use the Acre tourist map.

Sightseeing map of Acre

Here are the things to see in Acre:

A separate attraction in Acre is the local bazaars. The most famous ones are: The Turkish Bazaar and the White Market (Al Abyad).

Hotels in Acre

There are many tourists coming to Acre, some to swim in the sea, others to enjoy fascinating excursions through the ancient streets. So there are several places to stay in every part of the city, from cheap hostels to upscale hotels. Accommodation prices depend on service and the location of the hotel/apartments (naturally, they are higher on the sea coast and near the main attractions).

Top places to stay in Acco for a premium:

Mid-priced hotels in Acre:

The following options can be booked at a fairly reasonable price:

  • Acre Two Wells Zimmer Apartments ;
  • Chalet Asbn Magic Garden;
  • Nzar Khoury for Hosting.

There are also two hostels in Acre that offer a cozy, modern atmosphere and all the necessary amenities: Akko Gate and Akko Knights.

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Akko Gate Hostel

What to do?

If you’re coming to the city, be sure to visit the beaches in Acre. The sandy coastline stretches along the bay. The most famous and well equipped beaches are the Argaman (for foreign tourists, the entrance fee is about 5 shekels) and the Tmarim (belongs to the hotel, guests staying elsewhere will also have to pay).

There are plenty of activities in Acre besides swimming in the sea:

  • A trip through the underground knight’s tunnels;
  • shopping in the local authentic bazaars;
  • riding in a fiacre;
  • A visit to a Turkish hammam;
  • boat trip.

A few interesting museums of Israel are also in Acre: the Okashi Museum of Art, the Museum of the Underground, and the Ethnographic Museum.

If you are lucky, you can get to the annual city events: the olive festival, the “Feast of Tabernacles” (Sukkot), the festival of alternative theater.

Restaurants and Gastronomic Attractions in Acre

Ask any Israeli, “Where does the most delicious hummus come from?” and he will answer, “Acre. Here, this spicy pea paste can be enjoyed in every restaurant and café.

Hummus

Acre is also famous for the extraordinary skill of local chefs in cooking fish dishes. For example, the restaurant “Uri Buri” in Acre is known throughout Israel. Here you can try the amazing crayfish neck soup, delicious anchovies and the freshest caviar that is usually served on persimmon slices.

Uri Buri Restaurant

Most of the cafes and restaurants are located along the beaches and in the Old Town. Tourists like to visit the following establishments:

It is worth noting that restaurants in Acre, as in all of Israel, have quite large portions. Prices are moderate and much lower than in Tel Aviv or Eilat.

The Weather in Acre

It is known that the weather in Israel, and in Acre in particular, is favorable for recreation all year round. The Mediterranean climate is moderately warm. Summers are usually drier than winters. The hottest month in Acre is August (average temperature +27 ° C). January is the coldest (+13°C).

The water gets as warm as +23°C in summer and rarely falls below +17°C, even in winter.

How to get there?

Acre can be reached from major cities of Israel by several modes of transport:

All about Acre in Israel

The city of Acre (Israel) is located in the northern part of the state, in the Western Galilee. Its age is more than 5,000 years and the history of its appearance has very deep roots. The inhabitants of Israel, even those of different religions, believe that this is where the fields and pastures were, which God gave to Adam after he drove him out of paradise. The Israelites also believe that the Flood “stopped” near here.

City of Acre

Acre was strategically located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, at the crossroads of international trade routes, and thus the most important historical events often unfolded around it.

In the first half of the twentieth century, Acre began to be developed at a rapid pace behind its fortress walls and the Old City quickly became a center of tourism. It is worth noting that no other city of chivalry on the planet has been as well preserved as Old Acre. Literally “stuffed” with sights, Acre is a historical and architectural reserve of Israel, and since 2001, even a World Heritage City by UNESCO.

The Walls of Acre

Surrounded by ancient city walls, Acre has four main sections: the old British Mandate area, the northern neighborhoods, the eastern neighborhoods and the southern beach area.

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Today Acre is the administrative center of Western Galilee covering an area of 10.3 square kilometers. The city has a population of over 48,000 people, and the population is quite complex: 63% are Jews, 28% Muslim Arabs, and 3% Christian Arabs.

In Acre, there are so many Arabs that any sloppy glance at you will be interpreted as a call to action. Therefore, the best way out for girls who come here alone is to become “nothing to hear or see”. Girls who are accompanied by a man, as well as a group of tourists, in this sense, there is nothing to worry about. But relevant will be an advice: nowhere to stay late, and if you had to take a cab in the evening, be sure to ask the driver to turn on the meter (they are always trying to take the gullible tourists)!

The Best Sights of Acre

This colorful, distinctive city is filled with sights that are not only above ground but under it as well. Acre is a huge, mighty fortress and at the same time a small town with narrow paved streets and noisy bazaars. So first things first, the most important landmarks of Acre in Israel.

The massive wall that surrounds the Old City from all sides is one of the main attractions of Acre. The defensive fortifications (walls, towers and water trenches) were built in 3 stages during the years 1750-1840. Today they are a kind of boundary between the two parts of Acre: the old and new. You can climb the eastern wall, admire the seascapes and take good pictures of your trip to Israel and Acre as a memento of your visit to Acre.

City Walls

Directly inside the eastern wall is the Treasure of the Wall ethnographic museum, created to preserve the heritage of the Israelites. It is open Sunday-Thursday from 10:00 to 17:00 and on Friday and other pre-holiday days from 10:00 to 15:00.

Ancient Port Ruins

You can see the fortress walls somewhat differently than from the land during a boat trip. Many boat trips depart regularly from the marina located at Leopold ha-Sheni St, Acre, Israel.

Next to the current docks are the picturesque ruins of an ancient port, which, according to scientists, are about 2,300 years old. As an important historical site, they are protected by UNESCO.

On the remains of the ancient harbor is built the popular restaurant “Port of Pisa”, offering visitors freshly cooked seafood and luxurious views from the terrace. In the same place you can climb the southern city wall and walk to the Migdalore Lighthouse, which is also a local landmark that has been operating since 1864.

The al-Jazzara Mosque (1745) is the second most important and largest mosque in Israel (with Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa and Qubbat al-Sakhra in first place). It is also known as the White Mosque, for the color of its walls, which are visible from almost anywhere in the city.

Al-Ajazzara Mosque

The mosque is located in a courtyard surrounded on three sides by walls. And it’s not just defensive constructions – there are 45 small rooms inside. Most of the rooms are now empty and used to be occupied by the Koranic students. In the courtyard there is another noteworthy sight – a white marble sundial created in 1201.

The al-Jazzara Mosque is a place deeply revered by the Muslims of Acre and all of Israel. Inside the structure is a casket containing the hair from the beard of the Prophet Muhammad. Every year, at the end of Ramadan, this sacred relic is taken out to be worshipped by the faithful.

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Al-Ajazzarah Mosque

The White Mosque is located at El Jazzar St., Akko, Israel. There is a fee to enter the grounds.

Akko was quite a rich city with an established trading tradition. Proof of this are the 4 guesthouses for merchants which have survived in the Old City since the 16th and 18th centuries.

Khan al-Umdan courtyard

Khan al-Umdan

The largest one is Khan al-Umdan which was built in 1784. The building has 2 floors, the upper was housing and the lower was warehousing. Above the central entrance to the inn there is a tower with a clock. The courtyard is very spacious with a well in the center.

The Khan al-Faranji (Farani), built by merchants from France, is the oldest of all. Tourists are only allowed in the courtyard and the building is equipped with a church and a Franciscan school.

Khan al-Faranji courtyard

Khan al-Faranji.

Khan al-Shuarda welcomes its current visitors with new, very comfortable cafes and restaurants. There is also a historical attraction – the Crusader Tower (it is the only one that has survived to this day in its unchanged form).

The inner courtyard of Khan a-Shun (20 m x 40 m) is surrounded by abandoned, ruined buildings.

According to the accounts of tourists who visited Acre in Israel, one of the most beautiful local attractions is the Turkish bath. It was established in 1795 and used for its intended purpose until 1948, when the war for independence of Israel began.

Hamam Al Basha - Turkish Baths

The premises of the baths are a summer dressing room, 4 passageway rooms and a hot room. The passage rooms were used as a salon for massages and cosmetic procedures. The sauna and hot water pool were all in the hot room.

At present, the bath has been turned into a unique museum complex and is one of the main attractions of the Old Town. Visitors can see the perfectly preserved architectural beauty of the structure (mosaic floors, marble columns, pools, fountains, paintings on the walls) and the reconstructed atmosphere of the classic Turkish hammam.

But the most interesting thing that the museum offers tourists is the light and sound holographic performance, allowing you to plunge into the living atmosphere of the eastern baths. During the audiovisual performance on the walls and ceilings of the bath displays projections of paintings of the past, there are voices and other sounds.

On a tour of Hamam El Basha Museum

Al-Basha Hammam is located at: The Turkish Bazaar, Akko, Israel.

Admission is not free. You can visit this attraction at these times:

  • Summer: Saturday-Thursday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Friday and other pre-holiday days from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
  • In winter: Saturday-Thursday from 9:00 to 17:00, Friday and other days before the holidays from 9:00 to 16:00.

This historic site, built in 1750, is located in the north of Old Acre, at 1 Weizman St., Akko, Israel.

The Fortress of the Liberators of the Holy Sepulchre

The fortress reaches a height of 40 meters and has four wings which surround the courtyard area on all sides. The eastern wing houses the large ceremonial hall (35m by 40m). The southern wing has the refectory, decorated in an elegant gothic style. The west wing has two floors and is equipped with a barracks for soldiers. The north wing has 9 long narrow halls (halls 1-6 are storerooms, 7-8 are rainwater collection pools, 9 is a corridor to the courtyard).

On the lowest level of the citadel is the refectory. The refectory is a unique sight: it is the only building of its type in the world where the heavy Romanesque style is harmoniously combined with the refined Gothic style.

The Refectory (Dining Hall)

There is also an underground tunnel in the citadel, which was built by the Persians. When the crusaders discovered this tunnel, they simply improved and extended it, thus connecting the northern fortress wall and the sea port.

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The Acre Crusader Citadel receives visitors at these times:

  • Summer: Sunday-Thursday and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • In winter: Sunday-Thursday and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Only two kilometers separate Acre and the Bahai Park, a landmark that could be considered the eighth wonder of the world. On the creation of a magnificent landscape worked the best experts, and all the work here was done by the people of 90 countries around the world, and only on a voluntary basis. Thanks to the well-chosen plants and intricate irrigation system the garden has a blooming view throughout the year.

Baha'i Gardens

Pilgrims from all over the world come here, professing a fairly young Bahai religion (founded by Baha’u’llah). In the center of the park is the mausoleum temple with the tomb of Baha’u’llah, a place of worship for all his followers. The park is also home to Bahaullah’s former estate and now a house museum that displays original manuscripts and books about the Bahai religion in various languages.

Bahaullah's Estate

The Bahá’í Gardens are located at Bustan HaGalil, Israel. To get there take bus 271 from Acre, the stop is Bustan HaGalil at the north entrance.

  • The area is open daily from 9:00 to 16:00.
  • The shrine of Baha’u’llah and the surrounding terraces are open to visitors Monday through Friday from 09:00 to 12:00.
  • Admission is free.
  • There are guided tours of the park every day except Wednesday.

Beaches in Acre

All beaches in Acre are sandy and have easy, gentle access to the water. The most famous ones in the city are the “Tmarim” and the “Argaman”.

Arghaman Beach

“Argaman

“Argaman” is a city beach, but for foreign holidaymakers there is a paid entrance (5 shekels). There are free toilets and open showers, and sun loungers and umbrellas are available for rent.

The beach at Tmarim is private and belongs to the hotel. Only the hotel guests are free to use the beach, others must pay to use it. The main attraction of this beach is the famous Palm Beach Club.

Accommodation options in Acre

There is usually no problem finding accommodation in Acre for the holidays. Both in the historic center and in the new neighborhoods, there are many hotels, apartments, and hostels to choose from, for all budgets. The old town offers cozy little hotels, and in the new areas those who like to be in the center of the hustle and bustle prefer to settle. Since Acre is quite compact, the main attractions of the historic center are within a short walk (if not on foot, then by bus) and a maximum of 15 minutes from the newer developments.

Lovers of antiquity may like this lodging in the streets of Old Town:

  • Akko Gate Hostel – only 150 m from the sea, a 10-minute walk to the train station and port. A room costs 307 shekels.
  • Arabesque Arts & Residency Center in Old Acre is located in the heart of the Old Acre. Room rates start at 645 NIS.
  • Akkotel-Boutique hotel is located in the fortress wall of Acre, and has a roof terrace with stunning views. The waterfront is just 50 meters away, and the marina is a 5-minute walk away. Prices start from 600 shekels.
  • The luxurious The Efendi Hotel is 100 meters from the waterfront. All rooms are suites from 1,455 NIS.

In the new part of Acre are popular:

  • Dream by the Sea Apartments is 1.6 km from the Old City. You can stay there for 500 NIS.
  • Sea Haven, a two-bedroom apartment, is just 500 meters from the historic downtown area. One bedroom costs NIS 780.
  • Zarqa Luxury Suites is just 700 m from the Old City. Prices start at 770 NIS.
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All prices are per night in a double room during the summer season 2019.

Weather conditions: when is the best time to arrive

Air temperature in Acre

Of course, being located in the north of Israel has a certain impact on the city’s weather conditions.

Summertime temperatures in Acre are around +30 ℃, often the thermometer reaches +35 ℃ and even +40 ℃. The water temperature in the sea during the summer is about 28 ℃. The temperature of the sea in the fall is also pleasant, but in late October and early November the temperature starts to cool down.

Sea temperature in Acre.

In winter, the temperature is usually +12 ℃. But because of the constant rain and cold winds the temperature is not comfortable. The warm spell in March will start to reach 19 ℃ and Acre, like the rest of Israel, will be experiencing spring.

The peak of the tourist season is summer, perfect for a lazy vacation on the golden sands by the turquoise sea. Spring and fall, when you have to constantly hide from the scorching sun, are the most comfortable times to explore the local sights.

How to get to Acre

You can’t get to the small city of Acre directly from the CIS. The best and most convenient option – fly to Ben Gurion airport and from there drive to Acre.

The train from Ben Gurion

There is a train station located on the ground floor (S) of terminal 3. From there to the station “Acre Center (Merkaz)” trains run 24 hours a day at intervals of 25-55 minutes. The trip takes about 2 hours. Ticket costs 44 shekels, it can be purchased at a cashier or ticket machine at the railway station.

The only thing to keep in mind that in Israel valid Shabbat – on Friday the last train from the airport leaves in the morning, and the next flight only in the early morning on Sunday. To see the exact timetable, you can always visit the website of the Israeli railroads: www.rail.co.il/ru.

On the train to Acre

Trains from Tel Aviv come from several stations: “Ha Haganah”, “Ha Shalom”, “Merkaz – Central”, “University”. They follow each other on the train route, the time difference is about 5 minutes. Trains leave with the same frequency as from the airport, but the road to Acre will be shorter – an hour and a half. Tickets from Tel Aviv cost 35.5 shekels regardless of the station. The tickets are sold at the train station at a ticket office and at a ticket machine.

Buses from Tel Aviv to Acre can only be taken by transfer. The way begins at the Central bus station “Haganah” – at intervals of 30-50 minutes goes bus number 845. Change at the stop “Crossroads Amiad” and take bus number 500 or 503 (every 15-30 minutes). Only 1 hour on the road, and the final stop is “Central Bus Station” in Acre (Israel). The whole trip with transfers will cost 70 shekels.

Author: Irina Kovaleva

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