EXPEDITIONS to Syria in 2022

Dates (8 days, 7 nights)
July 1st – July 8th
September 1st – September 8th
September 30th – October 7th (SOLD OUT)
October 11th – October 18th

Why joining Against the Compass EXPEDITIONS

From exploring the narrow alleys of the old city of Damascus and Aleppo to discovering ancient Medieval castles, remote monasteries, and Roman sites, Syria is one of the richest countries in terms of history.

In this EXPEDITION, we always explore Syria’s most precious sites, but the trip will also be heavily focused on Syria’s most human side. This means that we will interact and get to know kind-hearted Syrians, while witnessing their struggle and desire for going back to normality.

Upcoming EXPEDITION dates in 2022

These are the upcoming scheduled tours:

  • July 1st – 8th – Lead by Leti Lagarda
  • September 1st – 8th – Lead by Leti Lagarda
  • September 30th – October 7th – Lead by Joan Torres (SOLD OUT)
  • October 11th – 18th – Lead by Leti Lagarda (in Spanish)
Syria tours
Damascus with the group

Group size

We will limit the group to a maximum of 10-13 people

And, who can join?

Anyone, from 18 to 99+ years old, who wishes to travel with a group of open-minded travelers.

We don’t discriminate by age or nationality but we are just looking for people who are willing to have fun.

8-day Tour Itinerary

Note that we always keep the itinerary flexible, and it may be subject to change, depending on the political and COVID-19 situation.

Day 1 – Arrival in Damascus (from Beirut)
Day 2 – Damascus Old City
Day 3 – Maaloula & Mar Musa (overnight in Aleppo)
Day 4 – Full day in Aleppo
Day 5 – Hama & Krak de Chevaliers (overnight in al Mishtaya)
Day 6 – Palmyra & Homs (overnight in Damascus)
Day 7 – Day trip to Bosra
Day 8 – New Damascus and departure

Day 1 – Beirut and Damascus

The tour will start at 8am in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, from where we will drive towards the Syrian border and Damascus.

The whole journey takes around 3-4 hours, with border crossing included.

Once in Damascus, we will check in our hotel, followed by a traditional lunch and a stroll around the old city.

Nightlife in Damascus is particularly vibrant, especially in the Christian district during the weekend, an area filled with bars and restaurants, where we can all go for dinner and a few drinks.

The Old City of Damascus

Day 2 – Full day in Damascus

With more than 5000 years of history, Damascus might easily be the oldest capital in the world, a city absolutely packed with historical sites, as well as lively souks and bazaars.

We will spend the entire day exploring the city’s most well-kept secrets, as well as landmarks such as the Umayyad Mosque (where Yahya is buried, John the Baptist for Christians) and Sayyidah Ruqayya Mosque, one of the most important shrines for Shia people.

As always, we will be visiting the city at our own pace, with plenty of time for photography and local interactions.

Overnight in Damascus.

Magic Damascus…

Day 3 – Maaloula and Mar Musa (overnight in Aleppo)

On day 3, we will drive towards Aleppo, not without first stopping in Maaloula, one of the most important Christian towns in the Middle East, and one of the very few places in the world where people still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus.

Once occupied by al-Nusra, Maaloula was largely destroyed due to the recent war, but its most important churches and monasteries have been rebuilt, and we will visit two of them, where we might get the chance to meet nuns who were kidnapped and held as hostages for three months.

Maaloula

After Maaloula, we will also stop in Mar Musa, a mindblowing, skyscraper-shaped, 6th-century monastery raised in the middle of rocky mountains.

We should arrive in Aleppo in the evening. Free time for dinner and drinks.

Overnight in Aleppo.

Mar Musa

Day 4 – Full day in Aleppo

Once the most populated city in Syria, and one of the most prominent cities in the Middle East, Aleppo was one of the most affected cities by the Syrian war.

Life, however, is coming back to Aleppo, visible in the ongoing reconstruction and all the people who are slowly returning to their beautiful home city.

During our visit, we will visit the Citadel of Aleppo – the last Syrian Army stronghold – as well as the historical souk and vibrant Christian district, which remained pretty untouched from the war, and is today filled with absolutely delicious restaurants serving Lebanese wine.

Overnight in Aleppo.

can you travel to Syria
The views from the citadel in Aleppo…

Day 5 – Hama & Krak des Chevaliers

Aleppo to Krak de Chevaliers is a 4-hour ride, so we will break the journey in Hama, a pretty photogenic town, famous for its water wheels, abounding all over the city.

After a 1-hour visit, we will continue our way to Krak des Chevaliers, once quoted by Lawrence of Arabia as the most wholly admirable castle in the world, absolutely gorgeous and surrounded by lush green hills.

We will have lunch in a restaurant with stunning castle views. After lunch, we will visit the Medieval fortress and then we will head to Al Mishtaya, a lovely Christian town with a pretty nice evening atmosphere.

Overnight in Al Mishtaya.

Krak de Chevaliers

Day 6 – Palmyra & Homs

Once one of the most relevant Roman cities, Palmyra is rich in both ancient and contemporary history, since the archaeological site was taken by ISIS on two separate occasions during the war. ISIS blew up the most important temple but the site is huge and most of its structures are still standing.

For visiting Palmyra, we do need to arrange a special permit and we will be escorted by someone from the Syrian Army.

Temple of Bel today
Former Temple of Bel, today destroyed

After having a picnic lunch inside the ruins, we will head back to Damascus and, on the way, we will stop in Homs.

Homs was, by far, the most affected city by the Syrian war, today mostly composed of destroyed buildings and rubble. Honestly, there’s not much left to see in Homs nowadays but we will do a quick visit.

Overnight in Damascus.

how safe is Syria
Homs

Day 7 – Bosra

On our 7th day, we will visit the southern part of Syria on a day trip to Busra, an ancient city home to one of the most admirable Roman amphitheaters in the whole world, as well as other important monuments.

In Bosra, the local Syrians are culturally different, similar to Bedouins.

We will have lunch in a traditional Bedouin tent, with locals from Bosra.

After lunch back to Damascus. Overnight in Damascus.

Bosra theater

Day 8 – Damascus and Beirut transfer

After breakfast, we will visit the remaining touristic places in Damascus, including the new part of town, as well as do any necessary shopping.

Transfer to Beirut and end of the tour.


Tour cost

The total tour cost is 1490€ per person.

What’s included in the price?

  • Transfer to and from Beirut
  • Accommodation (twin shared, or triple if we aren’t perfect pairs), in the hotels mentioned below.
  • Security clearance (needed for the visa)
  • Private transportation and driver around Syria
  • Breakfast and lunch
  • Special permit for Palmyra
  • English-speaking knowledgeable local guide + assistant
  • Tour leader
  • Departure fee at the border
  • Entrance fees to the places listed in the itinerary

Hotels we stay:

  • Damascus: Al Mamlouka Hotel (5-star boutique hotel in the old city)
  • Aleppo: Aleppo Palace (a classic hotel in Aleppo and one of the best option in the city)
  • Al Mishtaya: Rosa Vila Hotel (comfortable hotel and the best option in the area)

What’s NOT included?

  • International flights
  • Single supplement (having your own private room) costs an additional 270€
  • Dinner
  • Visa fee (72USD for EU passport; 90USD for Canadian passport; 140USD for British passport

Payments

In order to secure your spot on the tour, we require a NON-refundable 500€ deposit.

How to send a payment:

  • Via a standard bank transfer to EU bank in €

If you can’t easily make transfers to EU banks, we also offer:

  • Credit card payment via a secure form powered by Stripe. However, we do charge an additional 3% to cover Stripe fees
  • Paypal. However, we do charge an additional 5% to cover Paypal fees

The remaining amount shall be sent no later than 31 days before the beginning of the trip.

Cancellation Policy

Is the 500€ deposit really NON-refundable?

Well, we will make our best to try to find you a replacement.

If we find it, we will refund you with the whole deposit minus 150€, to compensate for the cost and effort of applying for your visa + looking for another person.

If we can’t get a replacement, you won’t get your deposit back.

What about the remaining balance?

  • 31 days or more prior to departure: full refund
  • 15-29 days prior to departure: 50% refund
  • Less than 15 days: no refund

Do you have any further questions about the tour?

or just shoot me an email at joan@againstthecompass.com