What used to be, and still is, one of the most beautiful countries in the Middle East, after nearly 10 years of a bloody, unfortunate Civil War, Syria is, once again, opening its doors to the most intrepid and adventurous travelers who want to pay their respects and visit this fascinating country.
For all the information, don’t forget to read my Syria travel guide.
need to know for traveling in Syria
Population: 18 million in 2019 (63rd)
Area: 185,180km² (87th largest country)
Today, anyone who wants to get a visa to enter Syria needs to pre-arrange a tour with a valid operator.
Tours for Syria
Against the Compass has several scheduled group expeditions to Syria every year. The next one is on:
Dec 24th to 28th (2023)
Because of the sanctions, most travel insurance companies don’t cover travel in Syria, but IATI Insurance does:
5% discount if booking here:
The areas controlled by the Syrian Government are relatively stable and safe and in fact, those are the only areas where you are allowed to go.
Read my analysis: How safe is Syria?
Syria is a post-war zone where millions of people died. Traveling there requires a good dose of sensitivity and responsibility. This involves not taking selfies, not making jokes and being respectful. Syria isn’t a place to show off but to learn and become wiser.
Which places can you visit in Syria?
Today, you can visit all the areas which are controlled by the Syrian Government.
Those areas have been kept safe and include: Latakia, Tartous and anywhere along the Syrian coast, Damascus, Aleppo, Palmyra, Homs, Bosra, Golan Heights, Krak, and Hama.
Read my Syria safe itinerary.
Top experiences in Syria
The Old City of Damascus
Absolutely outstanding and the best part is that it remains untouched.
Mediterranean, Arab cuisine with loads of olive oil. Don’t miss their hummus and fatteh.
Partially destroyed but life there goes on and it is still beautiful.
Extraordinary ancient Roman and contemporary history, since the whole site was taken by ISIS.
Check our 1-week Syria itinerary.
tips for Syria
Prior to 2010, Syria used to receive millions of tourists every year, the heritage of which is still visible in the wide offer of boutique hotels in Damascus.
Some of them, like Al Mamlouka, have reopened and are fully functional.
Because of the sanctions, you can’t use your debit or credit card in Syria but you must bring all your money in cash, either Euros or US dollars.
Flying into Damascus isn’t easy: there are very few flights, they often canceled and tickets can only be purchased in cash.
The best and quickest way to get into Syria is by road from Beirut to Damascus. You may also come from Amman, but it’s a longer journey.