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On a peninsula jutting into the Mediterranean, centuries of history are stacked within the Crusader walls of Akko (Acre). Pencil minarets and painted church domes strain above ramparts smoothed by sea winds. Its stone bastions and deep moats are the very same that greeted Marco Polo and countless pilgrims, mystics and scholars who passed through 750 years ago.

Awarded Unesco World Heritage status in 2001, Akko today has the feel of a Dubrovnik with rough edges. The scent of coffee, spice and frying fish waft through warren-like markets and the old city's alleys dart in a zigzag, leading disoriented visitors ever deeper.

It's easy enough to tramp around old Akko on a day trip from Haifa, though sights are so numerous (and the dining scene so good) that it's worthwhile staying the night. Either way, spare a moment to fold away your map and surrender to Akko's bewitching jumble of streets.

Explore Akko


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