Acre over Passover: Attractions you don't want to miss in this urban gem

Here are the top recommended things to see and do in Acre this Passover.

A young man jumps in the water in Acre's Old City. (photo credit: DAVID COHEN/FLASH 90)
A young man jumps in the water in Acre's Old City.
(photo credit: DAVID COHEN/FLASH 90)
Only an hour and a half’s drive from Tel Aviv is Acre, a 4,000-year-old city, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
One of a handful of multi-religious cities in Israel, it combines rich ancient history and cultures, bustling markets, a deep blue sea and delicious food.
Here are the top recommended things to see and do in Acre this Passover.
Crusader castle and knights’ halls
The Fortress of Hospitallers (knights’ halls)
Dating back to the 12th century, the large scale knights’ halls are remarkable. They will make you feel as if they are keeping deep secrets that you wish they could uncover.
The complex also includes an ancient Templar escape tunnel leading from the fortress to the sea.
This Passover, the tunnel reopens to visitors, who can enjoy walking its underground pathway, with seawater flowing underneath and a multimedia experience that accompanies the route.
During Passover week, the complex offers the family attraction of “Camera in Time” that makes use of unique technology allowing visitors to take part in a film. There will also be art stalls and artist activities.
Museums and amazing family activities
Part of the tour of the citadel includes the Okashi Museum of Modern Art, as well as the captivating Ethnographic Museum’s “Treasures in the Wall”.
The children may be interested to watch a reenactment of the story of the last bathhouse worker, in the former Turkish baths in the hamam.
Entrance fees: A combined all-inclusive ticket costs only NIS 40 per person for a range of attractions, entrance for children under five years old is free.
Additional information is available at the Acre Visitors Center, Weizman St 1, Phone: 04-995-6706.
Acre markets  
Shopping addicts, foodies or wall art lovers? The Acre market offers a bit of everything for you.
Stroll through the Old City alleys and admire the bright murals and arched doorways.
The Acre market consists primarily of three distinct markets: The Turkish Bazaar, the White Market and the “Popular Market”.
The Turkish Bazaar is a reconstruction of the old market, which existed at that site. It includes restaurants, stores and cafés. You can find funky novelty shops like “Duck You,” selling everything that it ducks, or artsy galleries where local artists sell various handmade items.
The White Market was first opened in the 17th century, and as its name suggests, is white in color.
The “Popular Market” sells unique spices, vegetables, and has restaurants with popular Mediterranean dishes such as the obligatory hummus and Arab knafeh.
A lunch break at a fish restaurant
Acre has some of the country’s best fish restaurants.
Try Uri Buri, an Acre “institute” for over 20 years. The restaurant is located in a Crusader-era building with pleasant views of the sea. It serves fresh fish, seafood and a personal favorite of mine: coconut fish soup.
Prices are fair for the quality of the food served. Address: Ha-Hagana St.
The port and marina
Travel through history as you pass through the picturesque fishing port. This quaint port has served Egyptian rulers transporting hundreds of ships with horses and goods, crusaders and pilgrims.
Take a boat trip around the city and experience-where nature, history and the sea come together.
You can also take a trip by boat to the magnificent Rosh Hanikra grottoes near the Lebanon border.
The Acre extreme park
For those with an appetite for extreme sports, the Acre extreme park, which is the largest in Israel, is a necessary stop.
It offers a range of activities for different age groups and difficulty levels. From an amusement park and wall climbing for the children, to a 30-meter bungee jump for the fearless adults. There is a 90-meter-long zip line at varying heights as well the option to walk between heaven and earth on an adventurous bridge.
For the benefit of the little ones and the parents, there is a playground, green spaces with seating areas and a cafe.
The Tunisian Synagogue
The picturesque Or Torah – “Jariva” –Synagogue is one of its kind.  
Owing to 54 years of work, this synagogue is nearly completely covered in mosaics. It flaunts 140 colorful stained glass windows, seven Torah arks and includes a huge number of natural uncolored stones from all over Israel.  
The imagery of the synagogue tells the story of Israel from the time of the Bible, through the Holocaust, up until modern times.
Address: 13 Eli’ezer Kaplan Street.
Acre manages to combine great touristic infrastructure with authentic multicultural charm.
Although most Israelis cannot fly abroad at this time, and despite Israel being a small country, if you dare to drive outside of the center, a little off the beaten path, you could experience an interesting city break that offers something for everyone.
This Passover is a great time to explore Acre and enjoy its bustling scene and attractions, before it becomes over-touristy and possibly loses its uncharted allure.
The writer is the owner of the travel and inspiration blog, Adi Sees World.