Reasons to Visit
Damascus claims to be the longest continually inhabited place on earth, and this sense of history pervades the city. Aleppo is almost as ancient, dominated by her brooding Mamluke citadel, whilst further down the Euphrates Valley, Mari is one of only a handful of extant Mesopotamian cities.
At times, it seems impossible to walk 500 yards in Syria without tripping over the remnants of one of the many ancient civilisations to have held sway in Syria. The country probably has one of the highest concentrations of historic monuments in the world and this is one of the major draws for most people.
As you'd expect of a country on so many major trade and pilgrimage routes, the years of conquest and counter-conquest have left a rich tapestry of fortifications across the country. Crusader architecture in particular reached its zenith here and there are some superb examples to explore.
The walled heart of all major towns and cities, the medina normally houses a number of attractions, from museums, mosques and monuments, to the souqs and traditional townhouses converted to boutique hotels and restaurants.
The National Museums in Aleppo and Damascus should definitely feature in your plans. Not only are they home to many fantastic artefacts from across the country, but they also help put the whole of your visit to Syria into its historical context.
Syria's souqs are probably the most rewarding in the region, selling goods almost exclusively for the locals, manufactured in Syria, rather than cheap foreign imports. The atmosphere is always exotic and unthreatening, making shopping a real pleasure.
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North Africa & the Middle East
Palmyra is a desert oasis east of Damascus.
For the tour of Palmyra, you have to start early in order to see the Tombs, Temple of Bel and Palmyra Museum. After the tour you have the option of visiting the Arabian Castle of Qala'at ibn Maan to view the city from the castle on the hill above!
9 Days from £2,090pp
Take in the highlights at Damascus, Aleppo, Palmyra & Crac des Chevaliers.
13 Days from £2,570pp
A comprehensive tour of the varied cultural and historical treasures of Syria.
11 Days from £3,185pp
Explore Syria's conventional highlights, plus some time off the beaten track exploring the stunning Euphrates Valley.
5 hours (Damascus)
The best time to travel.
A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of.
Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year.
Travel is not recommended.
Snow or ski season.
Read first-hand tips and advice from our travel specialists.
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Further reading:When to GoHighlightsItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationAbout SyriaCountry Guides
Other countries in North Africa & the Middle East:EgyptIranJordanLebanonLibyaMoroccoOmanTunisia
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