How to travel to Syria in 2021: Everything you must know

traveling in Syria

This travel guide to Syria is being reviewed and updated constantly. All the info you can find here is the latest. Because of COVID-19, however, the country is currently closed for tourism. As soon as it opens, I will let you know.

Recently I decided to travel to Syria.

The country had been in my plans for a very long time and, finally, they started to make it easier for travelers. Well, not that easy, but definitely easier.

I spent 1 week there traveling independently and visited Damascus, Homs, and Aleppo.

It was an amazing experience.

On the one hand, very enriching, as I met loads of Syrians who told me their side of the story, plus I got to visit ancient, marvelous sites that were a real blessing to my eyes.

But, on the other hand, here I witnessed one of the worst humanitarian crisis in the 21st century and visited hair-raising places that may require a lot of cold blood, if you don’t want to breakdown in tears, and will make you be sensitive and empathize with the many beautiful Syrians.

Long Live Syria.

This guide contains everything you need to know for traveling to Syria independently, including plenty of tips regarding visas, safety, transportation and much, much more!

If you want to keep track of all my current travels and photos, don’t forget to follow @againstthecompass on Instagram

Also, don’t forget to read about my experience in Aleppo

Travel in Syria

In this travel guide to Syria you will find:

COVID-19 travel restrictions
Why travel to Syria
Recommended books
How to get a visa
Travel Insurance
How to get in
Is Syria safe?
The people
How to move around 
Money in Syria
Responsible tourism and ethics
Taking photos
Don’t get off the beaten track
Where to stay
The food
Internet and mobile

Do you know what a VPN is? A Virtual Private Network allows you to access blocked sites when you travel, as well as it lets you access content only available in your home country (like Netflix), plus it prevents hackers from stealing your personal data.
Learn here why you should always use a VPN when you travel

COVID-19 Travel restrictions for Syria

Because of the current Coronavirus situation, Syria is not issuing tourist visas at the moment.

They wanted to open their borders in December 2020 but they postponed the reopening.

I will update these sections as soon as I get the latest information regarding COVID-19 restrictions in Syria.

Why should you visit Syria now?

This is a very good question, one I have been asked a lot recently.

The truth is that reasons vary.

First of all, in the last couple of years, I have been traveling all across the Middle East, so visiting Syria, one of the most fascinating countries in the region, had been in my travel plans for a very long time.

I actually attempted to travel there from Beirut back in 2016, but the Syrian embassy said they were not issuing visas at that time.

Another even more important reason is that Syria is a great country, home to one of the oldest civilizations ever, so visiting Syria from a tourism perspective is a must-do.

The beautiful Omayyad Mosque in Damascus, one of the oldest and largest mosques in the world

However, most people asking that question tend to refer more to the ethical aspect of traveling to Syria, as this is a war zone from where many people have been forced to escape in order to save their lives.

Well, I want you to know that I fully understand why someone would not want to visit a post-war zone because, truth be told, destroyed buildings and misery are not pleasant things to see.

Nevertheless, the first thing you need to know is that I travel to learn and become wiser and, yes, I am interested in visiting a post-war zone, because this is living history and I wanted to see it with my own eyes, and not through a biased newspaper.

I also think that traveling to Syria with the sole objective of empathizing with the locals is a good thing and, as long as you are absolutely respectful about the crisis, there is nothing wrong with it.

But in the end, we should ask Syrians what they think about it and I can assure you that, since Syria used to be a major touristic destination, today Syrians are very happy to see that tourists are coming back because this is a real sign of recovery.

For more information, read the Responsible Tourism section of this article.

Read about my experience in Aleppo

can you travel to Syria
The views from the citadel in Aleppo… No words needed – Is it safe to travel to Syria

Recommended books for traveling to Syria

Syria travel guide by Bradt

There are no updated guidebooks of Syria, but Bradt Guides has the only exclusive travel guide to Syria, updated as of 2010.

Still, it is a good source and a nice introduction to the country


The Rise of the Islamic State by Patrick Cockburn

A must-read book. Written by one of the world’s top experts on the Middle Eastern conflict. In this book, Cockburn gives a very comprehensive explanation of the origin of DAESH, with many references to Syria.

A very useful book to understand the complexity and origin of the conflict.


Tourist visa for Syria

You may also like my visit to Mosul after the liberation

Last updated information 2021

(If you have any more information, kindly let us know in the comments section)

Getting a Syrian visa nowadays is a confusing process.

Here’s the thing:

Prior to November 2018 (and from the beginning of 2018), you could get a Syrian visa by paying 300-400USD to a tour operator and then you could travel around the country independently.

However, in November 2018, an independent German backpacker got into some sensitive areas where tourists were not supposed to go and he was arrested for a week.

Since then, the Ministry of Tourism has dictated that all travelers who want to get a Syrian tourist visa must book a full tour with a valid tour operator.

I recommend the guys from Marrota Tourism (more details below).

This means that, unfortunately, Syria is not ready to receive tourists yet, so we will have to wait for a while.

How to get a Syrian visa directly from a tour operator

The first thing you need to know is that travel agencies don’t issue tourist visas for Syria but a security clearance (a background check), which you need to show at the customs. Actually, you don’t even need to show it because you will appear in their database.

By the way, this is how the security clearance looks like. Usually, it includes several random people:

tourist visa for Syria

Cost of security clearance:

  • Until recently – Since you didn’t really need to book a full tour, travel agencies just required you to pay them 300-400USD. If you had a British or American passport, you would have paid a few more hundred.
  • Today – Since you need to book a full tour, agencies won’t really tell you what is the cost of the security clearance because it is all included in the package.

How to pay for your Syrian visa/security clearance

Note that the Syrian banking system is blocked so, in most cases, you will need to send the money via Western Union.

However, some companies have foreign bank accounts, so you may be able to pay via PayPal or direct bank transfer.


Again, it depends on the agency. In my case, I got my security clearance in less than 24 hours but, today, they are averaging 10-15 days.

For Americans, it may take up to several months, plus getting the security clearance is not even granted.


It has a 90-day validity, starting from the day you received it.

Once you have your security clearance, you can buy your visa at the border.

EU Passport holders: 72USD
Australia and New Zealand: 130USD
United Kingdom: 140USD

The tourist visa for Syria is valid for 10 days. According to the migration officer, you can extend it at the Immigration Office in Damascus, but who knows whether this is true or not.

You will also have to pay an exit fee of 2,500SYP.

visa for Syria
My visa for Syria and my Lebanese stamps

Which Tour Operator I recommend?

For the last few months, I have been contacting several tour operators, trying to figure out which one would be best to recommend, so after having a few discussions, I strongly think that Mr. Ayoub from Marrota Tourism is the best option. (actual website coming soon). 


  • Because they offer the most competitive prices (really, you won’t find cheaper)
  • They are very responsive and professional
  • You don’t have to pay anything before getting your visa
  • For the tour, you can pay upon your arrival

Moreover, they accept direct bank transfers in € and, if you are from outside the EU, you can pay them via Paypal, whereas with other tour operators, you need to do some dodgy Western Union transfers.

How to contact him – You can contact Mr. Ayoub via email or via WhatsApp or Telegram +963 954 840 021 – Tell him you found them through my website.

They can arrange your trip to Palmyra, Krak des Chevaliers, Aleppo, Homs, etc.

Just email them with your special request and get your quote.

By the way, they can get your security clearance in 1 week or less.

(if you accept going with them, it would be great if you post your review in the comments section)

I traveled in Syria independently in January 2019, yet, I didn’t book a tour. How did I do it?

Update October 2019 – Unfortunately, you can’t do this anymore. According to a few travelers who were in Syria in September 2019, the authorities are now stopping tourists who are walking around without a local person, including in the Old City of Damascus. It really depends on the day and authority who stops you but, what it is clear, is that things are getting harder for the independent traveler.

Since a lot of people ask, I would like to clarify how did I manage to visit Syria independently.

The fact is that I got my security clearance (with Basil from the Travel King, a popular scammer) in October 2018 for 325USD but, for personal reasons, I had to postpone my trip until December/January.

In mid-December, I contacted Basil to let him know that I would travel to Syria soon, most likely during the first week of January. However, he told me that the rules had changed since we last talked (because of that German backpacker), so now I needed to book a tour with him.

I told him that that was not our initial agreement and, if that was the case, I would like a full refund.

He said that he would not give me a refund, claimed that I would get arrested if I went there on my own and, after a long discussion, he threatened to cancel my visa if I didn’t book a tour.

Do you know what I did then?

I didn’t believe him for a second but I said that OK, that I would book a 1-week tour, but I needed 10 days to collect all the money.

He believed me and, while he was waiting for the money, I booked a flight straight to Beirut, crossed the Syrian border and, as I expected, I managed to travel around Syria without any problem, including going to Aleppo and Homs by public transportation and Couchsurfing.

Once I left Syria, I sent him a message and he hates me for that now.

However, as I said, rules change overnight and you might be stopped randomly for no specific reason. Your personal experiences are welcome in the comments section.

For example, a traveler just emailed me saying that he couldn’t walk around freely. Some soldiers stopped him and said that he needed a special permit to walk around the ruins.

How to get a visa for Syria via an embassy

Getting a Syrian visa in the old-fashioned way isn’t going to make things easier.

Nowadays, most embassies will require a Letter of Invitation (LOI), which you can only get through a tour operator, which they will only give you if you book a tour with them. For more details, contact Mr. Ayoub via email or via WhatsApp +963 954 840 021.

Moreover, you should also know that the process can be much slower. For example, the embassy in Madrid claims that it takes around 40 days.

As per the cost, the only main difference is that you wouldn’t have to pay for the security clearance but in any case, if you book a tour, everything will be part of the same package, so in most cases, there won’t be much difference.

Each Syrian embassy, nevertheless, is a completely different world, so I suggest you contact your nearest and see what they say.

I personally called the Embassy in Madrid and they said you first need to send an email to, telling them about your intentions in Syria, so they will tell you what information they need from you, which includes a damn LOI.

After this, they will send all your information to Syria in order to get a security clearance and, if accepted, you will be able to apply for your visa, which costs 60€ (+ the cost of the tour)

Moreover, embassy rules change every single day, so just contact your nearest embassy and see what they say about it.

Visit Syria
The Old City of Damascus – The columns belong to an old Roman Jupiter temple – Is Syria safe?

Travel Insurance for Syria

Like in Iran, because of all the sanctions, most travel insurance companies don’t provide cover for travel in Syria and that includes World Nomads.

The one which does, however, is IATI Insurance.

They have loads of different plans for all types of travelers and the best of it is that the readers of this blog can get an exclusive 5% discount.


How to get to Syria

How to travel to Syria by land

1 – How to travel from Beirut to Damascus

Traveling to Damascus from Beirut is the easiest way to travel to Syria.

Beirut is only 115km from Damascus and the journey takes only 2 hours, including the customs process.

Currently, there is no bus service but locals travel in shared taxis.

They leave from Charles Hélou bus station, which is in a very central location, in Gemmazyeh.

Shared taxis from Beirut to Damascus run all day long and I went there at 3pm and waited for no more than 15 or 20 minutes.

The cost per person is 20USD (18 if it is a 7-seat car).

Beirut to Damascus
Charles Hélou station – Beirut to Damascus

Alternatively, you can also book a trip with a private company like Allo Taxi, which has a similar price but I am not sure if they help you to find other passengers.

If you go by yourself, you will pay 100USD.

Apparently, there is also a shared taxi service from Beirut airport to Damascus but it can cost up to 35USD per person.

Beirut to Damascus border crossing: Very straightforward.

On the Lebanese side, they barely check your passport and, on the Syrian side, they take around 20 minutes, as long as there are no people, of course.

Beirut to Damascus by car
On our way from Beirut to Damascus

First, they check your security clearance, then you purchase your visa at the bank counter and give your receipt to the immigration officer.

You only get a stamp, not a visa sticker.

After getting your Syrian visa and resuming your journey, you will go through several checkpoints, but you shouldn’t experience any problem. In fact, some soldiers were joking with me about football when they saw my Spanish passport.

2 – How to travel from Tripoli to Tartus

You can also travel to Syria from the border north of Tripoli. Shared taxis to Tartus cost 18,000LBP (12USD) and they leave until 8pm from this station: 34.436691, 35.837163. It is only a 65km journey, so it should be fairly quick.

3 – How to travel from Jordan to Syria

The border is finally open but the journey from Amman is longer (200km). I have heard that there are also shared taxis but, unfortunately, I don’t know any more details, so it would be great if you could update me with that!

4 – How to travel from Turkey to Syria

Today, that border is not possible to cross legally.

How to travel to Syria by air

You can also fly in but the problem is that the international airport in Damascus doesn’t have many connections, so going from Beirut will always be easier.

In any case, check out Cham Wings Airlines and Syrian Air.

They have occasional flights from Dubai, Sharjah and Doha.

travel to Damascus Syria
Somewhere in Damascus – Can you travel to Syria?

Is it safe to travel to Syria?

Is Syria safe?

Along with the visa, safety is the other big question mark for anyone traveling to Syria.

Look, the war is practically over (the city of Idlib is the last actual war zone) and cities like Aleppo and Damascus are perfectly safe.

You see children roaming around and everything seems just fine now.

Moreover, the Old City of Damascus is full of military checkpoints where they check your bag and look at anyone who seems suspicious, so there is a high level of security and nothing has happened for a long time now.

is it safe to go to Syria
Celebrating Christmas in Damascus – How to travel to Syria

Actually, I was in Damascus for Christmas and, for the first time since the beginning of the war, the streets of the Old City of Damascus (and Aleppo as well) were filled with Christmas lights and celebration.

The atmosphere was full of joy, happiness and both Muslims and Christians were celebrating such an event with very big enthusiasm (there is a huge Christian community in Damascus).

This can only mean that even the Syrians themselves believe the city is safe.

Long story short: I personally think that Syria is safe to visit but it will depend on where you go.

Which parts of  Syria are safe to travel?

Damascus, Homs, Aleppo, Latakia, Tartus and the Krak De Chevaliers Castle.

For Palmyra, apparently, you still need a special permit. If you go on a tour, it should be easy to get one but I am not sure how independent travelers could get one. I think you would have to contact a travel agency.

You can travel to other areas, like the region south of Damascus and I am sure some places in between but that is all I know for now.

Still, keep in mind that this is a post-war zone, which means that it is highly unstable and things could change overnight. Against the Compass doesn’t take any responsibility for whatever may happen to you during your visit to Syria.

is it safe to visit Syria
Long Live Aleppo – Is it possible to travel to Syria?

The people – The Syrians

Language – Levantine Arabic is the official language.

You should know that many English-speaking people left the country but you will always find someone who does. In any case, try to learn some Arabic before traveling to Syria.

Religion – Around 65% of the population are Sunni Muslims but, like its neighbor Lebanon, in Syria, there are many different religions, including a large Christian population. Bashar Al-Assad is Alawite, a Shia branch.

is Syria a safe place to visit
Friendly Syrians, always – Visit Syria tourism

How do Syrians feel about tourism?

According to the UN, around 500,000 Syrians have been killed, nearly 5,000,000 escaped from the country and several more million who are still in the country need humanitarian assistance.

We are talking here about one of the worst humanitarian crisis in the 21st century.

Like I said at the beginning, many people are skeptical about traveling to Syria, claiming or thinking that it may be disrespectful to all the people that have been affected somehow.

Well, what I think is that, before making any judgment, we should ask the actual Syrians living in Syria what they think about it.

Throughout my 1-week journey, I did not talk to a single Syrian who was not happy at seeing a Spanish tourist interested in traveling to Syria.

The ones who spoke English approached me, asking me a lot of questions and showing their gratitude for visiting their country.

They don’t hesitate to talk to you about the crisis, the problems that it has caused, etc.

Hello, how are you?

Well, alive, thank God! – A random Syrian told me

However, I thought that wandering around Damascus as a tourist would be like being a celebrity. I mean, people were extremely nice and kind but it was not like when you travel in Pakistan, for example, where everybody stops you in the street to talk to you.

The main reason was that most people thought I was a journalist and the second was that Syrians have always had great international exposure, so seeing foreigners is something they are actually used to, with the only difference they haven’t seen many since 2010.

Long story short: Syrians are happy to see tourists.

is it safe to visit Syria now
More friendly Syrians – How to visit Syria

How to travel around Syria

You can travel around Syria by local buses and shared taxis.

I took the bus from Damascus to Aleppo, which takes more than 7 hours.

The reason is that the section of the road from Homs to Aleppo is not totally Government-controlled, so after Homs, they turn right and make a huge detour to get to Aleppo.

There is not much to say here, other than the roads of Syria are full of military checkpoints, which is what you may expect.

Your driver will keep your passport and he will handle everything for you, so don’t worry about that.

I also took the bus from Homs to Damascus and it was a very similar story.

From Aleppo to Homs I took a local shared taxi.

Seriously, buses run normally, smoothly and without any problem

In Damascus, this is the main bus station to go to Homs and Aleppo: 33.532449, 36.31875.

The station at Aleppo is quite far from the city center but you will see plenty of taxis just outside.

As per safety, the truth is that many people were being overprotective with me, always taking care that I was feeling safe and comfortable, so you should not worry about that. Most people taking the bus to Aleppo are from the army by the way.

Bashar Al-Assad face is everywhere – Travel guide Syria

What you need to know about money before traveling to Syria

In Syria, they use the Syrian Pound (SYP), a currency that has been fluctuating like crazy for the past 10 years.

Actually, they say that it devaluates daily, sometimes several times a day, but during my stay, I was always able to exchange at the exact same rate, which was 1USD = 490SYP.

Updated 2020! – The Syrian Pound has devalued massively. Today, travelers are exchanging 1USD = 1200SYP, so Syria just got double cheaper

I exchanged once at the hotel and then with random people from different shops. All of them offered me the same rate.

If you check the currency value evolution, you will see that, for the last couple of months, it has always been between 450-550, approximately.

money in Syria
The new Syrian bill with Bashar Al-Assad’s face on it. This is around 4USD and it is their highest bill

There are also official exchange offices that should give you a similar value, but I preferred to exchange with random people, as an excuse to have a small chat.

By the way, bring € or USD. If you don’t have any, do know that in Lebanon you can withdraw USD from most ATMs.

If you have Syrian Pounds left when you leave, you can exchange them to Lebanese Pounds or USD in most exchange offices in Beirut. Outside of Lebanon, I doubt you can.

ATMs and Credit Cards – Because of the sanctions, everything is blocked in Syria, so you must bring enough cash for your whole stay.

How much does it cost to travel to Syria?

These are the prices of the most typical things. I won’t write the € or $ conversion this time because of the continuous devaluation but keep in mind that 1USD is around 500SYP.

  • Lunch in a local restaurant: 5,000-10,000SYP
  • Food in a nice restaurant with wine: 10,000-20,000SYP
  • Breakfast (like hummus or ful): 500-800SYP
  • National Museum: 1,000SYP
  • Aleppo Citadel: 1,000YSP
  • Bus from Damascus to Aleppo: 7,000-9,000SYP
  • Budget Hotel in Damascus: 10,000-15,000SYP for a private room
  • Mid-range hotel in Damascus: 30,000-50,000SYP for a private room
  • Taxis within cities: 500-700SYP
  • Local shared taxi Aleppo to Homs: 7,000SYP
Is Syria safe to travel
The Citadel of Aleppo – Traveling to Syria

Responsible tourism and ethics

Syria is a post-war zone, where millions of people have lost their houses and relatives, so please, be a sensitive tourist.

Don’t say war but crisis or situation instead

You will see that many Syrians themselves don’t really use the word war but they prefer to say other less harsh words.

Don’t say anything bad about Al-Assad

You will be surprised to know that most people are heavy supporters of the Al-Assad regime, so don’t give your political opinion because you may offend someone. I guess that the Syrians who are against him aren’t there anymore.

is it safe to travel to Syria right now
Syrians hanging out in a destroyed building in Homs

Don’t take selfies with damaged buildings

Seriously, this is one of the most disrespectful things you could ever do and you would actually be an asshole if you did it.

Empathize with the locals

When you are in an area full of destroyed buildings be polite to the people, say hello, shake hands and just be nice with them.

Collaborate with the local economy

In Homs and Aleppo, you are likely to see small businesses open among all the ruins. Do buy things from them.

In Homs, I saw one small bakery shop in the practically destroyed souq; I couldn’t resist buying one kilo of sweets there, which I gave to a young boy that was looking for something among the trash.

how safe is Syria
The streets of Homs, which is around 40% destroyed – Is it safe to visit Syria now

Are the cities really destroyed?

This seems to bring a lot of confusion, so let me explain it to you:


Only the outskirts of Damascus are destroyed, as there was a bloody battle there. That area is off limits to tourists. The Old City, downtown and, basically, all the center of Damascus remains intact.


A percentage of the Old City is destroyed, as well as some areas from outside the city. Most of Aleppo isn’t damaged but some very important sites from the Old City, like the Great Mosque, are gone.


One of the most affected cities by the war. Approximately 40% of the city is destroyed and that includes its bazaar, one of the liveliest and most important souqs in all the Middle East.


I haven’t been there but, as far as I know, ISIS destroyed a large part of it.

can you still travel to Syria
the Old City of Aleppo – Is Syria a safe place to visit?

Taking photos when you travel in Syria

You can take photos of everything except for one thing: military stuff.

Yes, it is very obvious but the problem is that there is military stuff everywhere, especially in Damascus.

In Damascus, it happened a few times that I took a picture of some cool building or whatever, from relatively far away, and didn’t realize there was a checkpoint right next to it.

Of course, the soldiers approached me but, after quickly checking my passport and my camera, they very kindly let me continue.

Seriously, in Damascus Old City, there are checkpoints everywhere, so pay attention before taking any photos.

I was also approached by soldiers from time to time when I was taking photos of non-military stuff but that was because they still need to get used to tourists roaming around.

Remember everything is still very recent and, in their eyes, everybody could be suspicious.

Visit Syria tourism
A soldier in Aleppo’s citadel

Don’t get off the beaten track in Syria, not yet

Seriously, don’t.

Don’t do it because you are going to ruin it for everybody.

Syria just started opening to tourism, so stick to the main touristic areas, which includes the centers of Damascus, Aleppo, etc.

I am telling you this because there was a German guy who went to the outskirts of Damascus to take photos of some destroyed buildings and he was put in jail for a week.

Dude, the country is still not ready for seeing Westerners hanging out in sensitive areas.

Since then, travel agencies require travelers to book a full tour, claiming that, after that incident, there is a new regulation saying that tourists need to be all the time with a guide, but it is bullshit, really.

They tell you this to save their ass because that man Basel got into trouble when that German guy was arrested. And by the way, instead of helping him, he didn’t want to have anything to do with it.

We shouldn’t blame that German guy. He committed a mistake and he already paid for it, but that should serve as a lesson for future travelers.

how to visit Syria
Damascus bazaar is really good to visit

Where to stay in Syria

Since the crisis, the Government of Syria has introduced a dual pricing policy in all hotels, in which foreigners pay several times the local price.

This has increased the rates substantially but you can still find many affordable options.

Also, you should know that good hotels tend to be full. I arrived in Damascus without a booking and many hotels I walked by had no rooms left but, luckily, there are hotels everywhere.

By the way, you can also try to Couchsurf. I actually Couchsurfed in Aleppo.

Where to stay in Damascus

Budget – Green Hotel – Single rooms cost 15USD and double 30USD. It was very clean, there was a heater, good Wi-Fi and the guy from the reception spoke English. It was here, just outside of the Old City: 33.510168. 36.298925. You can contact my friend Mohammed (he is the only receptionist that speaks good English): +963993829946. Alternatively, you can contact the hotel directly but they may not speak English: +963112258895.

hotels in Damascus
Green Hotel in Damascus. I paid 15USD for this room. It was simple but clean and everything you need!

Mid-range – Hotel Al Majed – This hotel asks around 40USD for a single room. Location: 33517188, 36.296579

Top-end – Beit al Wali – One of the best hotels in the city.

Where to stay in Aleppo

Mid-range – Palace Hotel Like, I said, I Couchsurfed in Aleppo but I entered this hotel to ask for the price. They ask 69USD for a room. This is the location: 36.207146, 37.14857. It is next to the I Love Aleppo square and it looked a great place to stay. I don’t know any other budget options.

Where to stay in Homs

Mid-range – New Basman Hotel – This is the cheapest hotel I found in Homs. I paid around 40USD for a huge room, which included a basic dinner and a good breakfast. It was pretty good. This is the location: 34.72133, 36.711241. For a reservation, you can contact them at +963991305972.

The food and alcohol in Syria

In the last few years, I haven’t traveled to many countries that are famous for their food, but Syria definitely is.

Being an olive-oil rich Mediterranean country, the ingredients used in their cuisine are fresh and similar to the ones we used in Spain, but also Italy, France, and Greece.

The food is actually pretty much the same as in Lebanon, with their own regional variations, of course.

From the classic hummus to kibbeh (local steak tartar), different sorts of grilled meat or a typical dish of Aleppo consisting of meatballs in cherry sauce, the food in Syria is so varied. 

For me, however, breakfast is the best part, as they always serve different variations of hummus and ful deep in super tasty olive oil and vegetables.

As per the alcohol, you should know that Syria has a large Christian population, so alcohol is easily available, especially in the Christian district of the Old City of Damascus, where there is a street filled with bars and many liquor shops.

You can actually buy a $1 beer and drink it in the street!

food in Syria
Hummus for breakfast 😀

Internet and mobile

Do you use a VPN when you travel? Remember that, in this type of countries, some websites might be blocked and your online activity might be monitored by the Government. Therefore, in order to navigate safely, you should use a VPN.
Read: How to find (and why use) the best VPN for traveling

Wi-Fi – Internet works well across the country. The hotels I stayed at had a good connection and you can also connect in most relatively good cafés and restaurants.

Mobile – I bought Syriatel and, for 2,500SYP, they gave me 2GB and some calls but, of course, prices may change. They only asked for my passport. I recommend you go to the official store. There is one next to Merjeh Square, right here: 33.513185, 36.29777.

I hope this travel guide to Syria will help you to plan your trip. I will try to keep it updated but, if you have more updates, please let us know in the comments section. Thanks 🙂

traveling to Syria

Disclosure: As a traveler, I use all the companies I recommend and you should know that, if you buy any service through any of these links, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

Start planning and booking your trip

For booking accommodation

Use for hotels and guesthouses

Check on Hostelworld for for backpacker hostels

For travel insurance (with COVID-19 coverage), I recommend:

1 – IATI Insurance (5% discount) – Cheapest travel insurance and for travelers above 70

2 – True Traveller – Best backpacking insurance (only Europeans)


For all your travel gear

Trekking equipment, books, etc, check on Amazon

If you want to know all the companies I use to plan my trips, check my travel resources page


  1. Hi, before the war Syria was known as not being particularly female travelers friendly, do you think that has changed? Would you recommend going there as a solo female traveler? Thanks love your blog!

    1. Hello Iris. When it comes to the local culture and openmindedness, I tried to compare it with other Middle Eastern countries and, to be very honest, I didn’t see much difference versus Palestine and Jordan, 2 countries where females can now travel easily.

      In Damascus, you see loads of women without hijab and there is actually a large Christian population and, in their district, you find very openminded people, like in any European capital.

      But in any case, I would like to get in touch with a girl who has been there recently, to see what kind of advice she could give and what she thinks about it 🙂

      1. Thank you for your quick reply! 🙂 We are trying to see if we can go in a few weeks, but we might not get the visa in time… Although I might come back, because your article made me put Damascus high on my bucketlist! 🙂

          1. Hi. I`m curios as well, did any of you ladies manage to travel there and have any insight in how it is to go as a woman?

        1. Hey, I’m Jude
          I’m 22 and I live now in Syria, for sure solo female travelers are welcome here as well .
          The people here are very open minded and friendly, specially if you are a foreign tourist because we love to have tourists here again.
          We have a mix of different religions and cultures here in Syria, so everybody takes care of your space and freedom .
          if you have any question email me, I’d love to help anyone to visit Syria.

          1. Hello,
            I am working in Saudi Arabia and I am planning to visit Syria (Damascus) by road in November, 2019. Please guide me is it possible to travel by car to Syria. and safe for tourism. How much money is required for 2 days stay. My final destination will be Palestine.
            Looking for your reply.
            Zahid ur Rehman

          2. Hey Jude,
            Do you know any budget and confortable hotel with private room near the old market or the big mosque, I think it’s safiest to stay inside the old city of Damascus

          3. Can you share your email so I can ask you more specific questions about travelling to Syria as a tourist? 🙂 – Austin and Abigail

          4. Hi! In January I have a plan to travel from Beirut to Damascus – would be great to have a contact with you;)

          5. Hello Jude, I am hoping to Travel to Syria in the next few months. I have a lot of questions and would love the opinion of a local, as it is quite difficult to get accurate information about the country!
            If you are not comfortable putting your email address up, please email me. My email address is

            I would love to hear from you!

          6. Hi Jude,
            I am planning to go to Damascus as well. How is the trip from Beirut to Damascus? And how about prices, hotels and food? Thank you!

          7. Karen KRANENBURG

            Hi Jude,

            I need some more info on traveling to Syria. Would also like to include them in my “postcards from the world” to encourage people to visit. Regards, karen

          8. Hey guys,
            I’m sorry that I couldn’t reply to all your comments in recent months due to the recent pandemic, hope you’re all fine.
            Please if you have any question or you want to talk about Syria and/or want a guide or a tour contact my email.

          9. Hello Jude, probably I will work in Damascus pretty soon so how are things there for the living on these days?, thank you

          10. Hi Jude thank you for being so welcoming. I am not sure if people can visit Syria without a formal tour group. Please can you tell me if we can visit without a tour group?
            Thank you.

        2. Hello my name Is Luisa and I am in Syria now. Everything went well.
          My travel guide Is Sawsan Joumaa and She Is very helpful and good. She only brings me in safe places and She Is Always with me. I am really very happy.

          1. Hi Luisa, I write to you because probably I will work as humanitarian in Damascus very soon and I need to know all about how is living in Damascus in November 2020.

      2. Ciao. Io mi trovo in Siria e vi posso assicurare che ci sono più donne in vesti succinte qui che sul lungomare di Bari.

        1. Ciao Luisa per caso ti trovi ancora in Syria? Vorrei potere avere qualche consigli su una possibilità di viaggio in Syria a settembre 2021.

      3. Actually I find Syria far more liberal than Jordan. I mean, don’t even compare. Just as an example, while women in Jordan have to follow a complicated sitting protocol in public transportation, in Syria it’s just like in any western country. Syrian women dress in whatever way they wish, in ways which wouldn’t be acceptable in Jordan. These are just two examples.

    2. Yes i am syrian i live in syria we are not like other middle eastren countries so for sure you can come and you are always welcome

      1. hey syrian guy, can u help me out? i need to talk to you just about the country and i want syrian friend and i am from saudi arabia.

      2. I am educationist from India and heritage management expert.I wish to visit Syria with my son next month for 5 days.Can anyone guide me.Thanks in advance.

    3. Hello Iris
      My name is Nour, i am a Syrian citizen, regarding your question:
      Syria has been a secular country for more than 50 years, any female (a foreigner or Arab) is welcomed to Syria, make sure you and any other tourist will be totally safe during your stay in Syria.
      Regards from Damascus

    4. Syria was especially safe for women, I traveled all over the place alone. I was in my mid 50s but many much younger women remarked how safe Syria felt for them.
      There is a lot of mythology and down right lies spread about all aspects of life in Syria before the war.
      Arab men do not have sex before marriage as a rule, so they will show an interest but no more so than European men, just be cautious like anywhere else, you might travel.
      If you are that worried maybe you shouldn’t visit there, Syria had next to no visitors prior to the war regardless of what people might tell you. This was because it was one of Britain’s prohibited countries. Britain resented the fact that Syria invaded Lebanon and that it chose not to cooperate with the capitalist system, being socialist.
      There was a bright side to this for people who did visit though, and that was the price was the price for everyone, unlike in many of the surrounding countries, particularly Egypt.

    5. Help me please !!!!!
      I am from syria and I need help to get out of my country……but it is so hard…..please
      … there anyone who can help me ??!

    6. I traveled to Syria 2008, I was so beautiful and want to revisit hopefully in Spring. I am trying to decide from Lebanon or Jordan since I have family in both place. I want to travel to Axcelê, Syria near Jandaris I have a lot good friends there and I would be staying with them and hopefully when the situation gets better I would like to have a house there. I just love it there and my heart is there.


    7. name is ali i am from syria..
      Yes actually it changed a lot after social media nd tiktok nd all…u can move freely in some state like (tartous-latakia-damascus)
      But in other u states u should wear hijab(hair cover) nd not wearing shorts..
      U can also roam without hijab but its better to wear cuz ppl will stare at u nd all…

      1. Yes are they fighting in Homs I have a friend there who is a doctor and he’s wanting me to help him leave Syria and come back home to United States but his agent is wanting $1250 fee to start his documents to get him home. I don’t have that kind of money and he can’t get his Money from the states until he gets home and this agent won’t help him And I can’t is there any other way he can get home. He said he’s afraid for his life and it scares me. If you could help me I really would appreciate your help. Thank you Sherry

        1. Yes my name is Sherry could you Joan answer my question above in my email I wrote on October 29, 2020. I don’t know what to do cause I don’t have the money to pay the agent and too I don’t know if it’s a scam or he’s telling me the truth please could you help me. Thank you Sherry

          1. hi Sherry, this article/blog refers to traveling to Syria for touristic purposes. For political or your kind of issues, I think you should contact your embassy.

          2. This is a tourism related article but I’m sure it’s a scam. Did you know this person in real life before he “needed” the money. Is he a friend from the US? If not, I guarantee it’s a scam. If you want to help Syrians, then go to your local Middle Eastern shop and buy Abou Rashed baklavas Chami soap, both of which are made in Syria and provide employment to Syrian people. Don’t send this fake doctor $1250.

    8. Quite the contrary, Syria was known as being really women friendly at least until the mid 2000s but the war began at the end of 2006, I remember the pro-Israeli protests by the Kurds in Qamishli, so the later years might have been more difficult. I found Syria much friendlier than Jordan but for women much the same. In 2006 I noticed lots of the students at Irbid university, Jordan, near Syria were wearing black veils; though they weren’t in the town itself.

    9. I was in Syria 22 years ago with a friend as two female traveller’s in their 30s. Not once did I feel in danger, quite the contrary. We felt perfectly safe and welcome. Syrian people have got to be some of the most hospitable on earth. (She and I felt the same way in Turkey: perfectly safe with the exception that in Turkey, everyone tries to see you rugs!)

  2. Having been to Syria twice before the war I fully support your reasons for going. It’s people definitely deserve the income that tourism can offer.
    I know you caution about the security situation but I think it’s especially important to do so about Aleppo. Areas held by extremists border on the city and there have been mortar attacks and some kind of chemical weapon attack on the outskirts. The situation in Idlib will almost certainly only be solved militarily though I guess in this case the govt will keep tourists well away. I agree with you about the rest of the country but it’s important to appreciate the situation around Aleppo. Thanks again for another great article. Unfortunately I won’t have a chance to go back there until next year but will definitely go.

  3. Fantastic information, muchas gracias Joan! I visited Syria with a group from Ireland last June 2018, I fell in love with the country, it’s people and culture. I hope to return in May this year, thank you again for this updated information.

      1. Hola again Joan! We spent 3 days in Damascus, visited the Old City, Ummayyad Mosque, the Souk etc, the Palestinian camp, which was pretty much destroyed, then onto Ma’aloula and up to Aleppo. Hoping to visit Tartous/Latakia and Palmyra on the upcoming trip. Thanks again for your excellent report!

          1. Hi Meg, our group went with Mithra Travel both visits, our guide, Lamis was/is exceptional. I would definitely use them again, highly recommended.

  4. Hi Joan,
    I’d like to ask you, how about the relations between Syria and Israel? You write about crossing the borders between Lebanon and Syria, and Jordan and Syria. But how about Israel and Syria? I guess that the border between Israel and Syria is also closed, but anyway, do you know more about it? And how the Syrians think about Israel and the Jews? I know that Israel makes some air raids against the Iranian bases there (at least it is what the news say). Does it have an effect to the opinion of the local Syrians about Israel?

    1. Hi Krasen! The border between Israel and Syria is definitely closed and it will be for a long time. I don’t know if it used to be open during the pre-war but I seriously doubt it. I didn’t talk to any Syrian (in Syria) about Israel but I did talk to Syrians living in other parts of the world and their opinion towards Israel / Jews is the same as Lebanese, Jordanians and, basically, any other Arab.

    2. Hey we hate isreal and isrealies and we love jews and any israrli stamp on your passport will perminatly ban you from syria (thats the law)
      From syria

      1. Hi!
        We will travel to Syria in this summer.
        In the visa application form we need a reference and we have to show our invitation letter. How does it work actually? Is it just formality? Maybe, can you help us?

        1. An LOI can only be issued by a valid tour operator and it is a big responsibility. Then, a friend could also invite you but it is a long process that requires great paperwork, and shouldn’t be asked to random Syrian people on the internet.

          1. Hi Joan. Loved your post. I have soon-to-be relatives in Syria. Would writing a LOI for me put them under any kind of scrutiny or hardship? I want to travel there this winter, and I will be visiting them, so I don’t want or need a tour. But I don’t want to cause any problems for anyone either.

          2. Hi Cynthia, I am not sure if an LOI written by them would be valid. You should ask the embassy but for people from Syrian origin and relatives, getting the visa should be easier.

        2. Hi Kristof,

          My name is Lotte Beckers, I’m a journalist for the Belgian newspaper De Morgen. I’m working on an article on traveling to Syria (I also spoke to Joan on the phone this weekend).
          Could we maybe get in touch? Feel free to mail me at

        3. HI Joan ,
          If I get a tourist visit it’s only thru tour guide correct after a tour I want to go and see close friends in Axcelê,Syria that is final destination then like I said buy an apartment in Jandaris where my friends and I would live and hopefully work maybe open something or purchase with them. Which is the easiest way to get there. Please help name’s of company or Taxi service in Aleppo that could drive me the rest of the way.

      2. Hating Israel and Israelis (including Arab Muslim Israelis??)… – Joan Torres, do you allow this kind of hateful comment in this thread? Where’s the outrage? – Syrianguy, get an education, man. After a number of lost wars again Israel, perhaps you could start thinking about the effects of your hateful attitude and realize that it leads to a dead end (literally), i.e. the destruction of your own country — and I feel sorry for the peace-loving Syrians. Hating others will eventually backfire. Horray to all the loving Syrians, down with hateful people — and with governments that make it a policy to hate other nations.

        1. Francis, don’t be a moron. Hate is a right to anyone, it’s a state of mind, better, a state of emotion. There is no bigger fascist than the one who thinks he has the right of ban emotions. Not only this but also the Syrian person obviously is not obviously fluent in English, so better focus in the general idea that there are problems regarding Israel and that an Israeli stamp in the passport will block any request of visiting visa to Syria. Geeeeez!

          1. Ricardo, try not to be the moron yourself. Hate is a right to everyone? Wow man, I have never come across such a weak attempt to justify hate. Hate is not a feeling, nor is it an emotion, it is basically a choice based on biased beliefs which entails emotions like anger and which brings about real actions like trying to murder someone. You are watering down the hate thing into a vague emotional state that cancels the responsibility of the hater. And Syrianguy not being fluent in English still makes him fluent enough to clearly vent his hate. You are trying to excuse his hate with a poor command of English. Pathetic. Denouncing hate is to be a fascist now? Geeez. Remember to take your meds, Ricardo.

          2. I don’t want to get involved in your discussion but to be very honest, the comment you are referring to about ”hating Israel” is debatable.

            First of all, he is a 14-year old person who has written many comments besides this one, plus it’s true that he doesn’t speak English very well.

            Moreover, it could be that he is referring to the fact that Syria, as a country, hates Israelis, politically, hence they put a travel ban to anyone with an Israeli stamp. He also says he loves Jews, so his problem is about Israel as a country. I would delete any racist, offensive comment but in this case, it isn’t very clear, so there’s no need to make such a big deal out of it,

        2. Did I say Moron? Sorry, my mistake. You are a total idiot with no clue on how humans and the world works, a child, in age and/or mentality, who sees a black and white world and is full of certainty about everything and still, knows shit about hate and emotions. End of conversation, ignoring trolls mode.

          Sorry for this parenteses Joan. Over and out.

    3. i am syrian…we respect jews riligion..but we hate israel cuz they steal our arabian if any jews came to syria he is welcomed…but israel ppl they will not be safe in syria…if u have israel stamp ur syrian visa will get rejected directly.

      1. israel does not do stamps on passports anymore, nowadays they give you an entry and exit ticket, instead of making a stamp on the passport.
        and that’s because of the very specific reason you mention, that other countries wont see that people have visited israel

    4. the northen area of israel, golan hights and down to tiberias lake, all that area belonged to syria and it was occupied by israel in 1967,
      how do you think syrians feel about syria ?
      and the border between both countries was never open ..

  5. Hey Joan, you have put a great guide to Syria, thanks man! It is so insightful and useful

    I visited Damascus many years ago, around 2005, and I absolutely loved it and now that the country is finally starting to bring back tourism again, I can’t wait to go.

    The visa process seems the only barrier though, as I contacted the embassy in my home country and they said that I need an LOI, which means that I will have to get in touch with an agency, which I don’t really want to because I want to travel there on my own.

    And by the way, thanks for double-confirming all the information regarding Basel Travel King.

    I know 2 people who traveled with him in November and December and both them agreed that he is a scam. He also charged them 100USD a day for a guide who didn’t know absolutely anything about history, which means that you pay all this money for only having a guardian which you don’t really need to. One of them went to Aleppo and instead of staying in a hotel, he stayed at a Basel’s friend but he charged him the price of an expensive hotel.

    Anyways, I will try to see if is there anyone who can get me the LOI without booking an expensive tour and I will let you know

    1. Yes, the visa thing is a pain in the ass and it seems that you can’t get it without paying a lot of money first, which sucks a lot… Hopefully, things will soon get easier
      PS: Thanks for sharing additional information about Basel. He sucks, really. 😀

  6. Great article!
    I am going in October but I am booking with a local travel agent so I can move fast (I hate buses) and see Palmyra. Maybe even continue to Jordan to see more of Crusader’s castles and Petra.
    Not sure why are you so surprised by the support to Al Assad. I mean the guy saved them from islamists and religious state. In any case, hope the peace is upon all of Syria soon!

    1. Yes, that is what some of them said, that they defeated the Islamists but Al Assad was not only fighting Islamists but many other groups and those rebels had hundreds of thousands of supporters.
      However, I believe that most of those supporters are either dead, left the country or they just will never talk about it
      I also do wish the peace comes soon.

      1. Thank you for this blog, but just a quick comment on this one – even if they do disagree with Assad, the secret police is swarming around the cities so they would never say it (there’s a joke that every third person is mukhabarat in Syria). Don’t assume that they support him just because they say they do!

  7. Hi Joan!
    Syria is a place I want to visit before it becomes too popular. My question is, you entered though Lebanon, but where did you exit? I would fly to Beruit and spend a few days there before crossing the border. They say a Lebanon visa is free on arrival but that is only 1 entry. Did you pay for a multi entry visa and re-enter Lebanon or depart Syria though a different country?
    It sounds like its best to contact that lady and just do a 1 day tour to get your security clearance. What exactly is that anyway? Just to make sure you are not wanted by interpol!! or is it just a routine procedure?
    Thanks for any help.

    1. Hi Tony, I entered and exited through Lebanon. Visa in available on arrival, so when you re-enter, you just get a new visa.
      The security clearance is just a background check and a requirement to obtain your Syrian visa.

      1. Hi,
        how you got your copy of the security clearance ? Agency send it to you via post, or you got e-version?


  8. Hello,
    I visited Syria in December as an independent traveller and I used a tour company to secure the visa but they didn’t require me to take a tour. I visited Damascus, Hama, Homs and Aleppo with no issues – I tried to visit Palmyra but apparently the security clearance that you may apply for in Damascus takes 5 days to clear and must take a tour as there’s still an active minefield. So unfortunately it may be hard to visit Palmyra for a while.

      1. Hello,
        The water wheels are still standing and are lovely! I took my bus to Aleppo from Hama. Was a strange experience because in Hama because I hitchhiked from Krak des Chavalier to Hama at night and was then invited out to dinner almost as soon as I arrived with the Syrian tourist minister and some of his friends, I assume the hotel manager informed the minister I was staying town. I used some local tour company called Damascus Tours.

        1. that sounds like a great adventure, thank you for sharing-
          Do you have perhaps the contact of this tour company?
          I tried to look for it on Google but I don’t see any company with a website named Damascus tours… I would really like to contact them and see if it could be a good alternative, so readers can know. thank you!

    1. Josh
      I want to visit Syria I have family there. I have American passport and was thinking
      about flying to Kuwait for a few days then to Damascus airport. Do you know if I can
      get a visa at the airport?


  9. Hi Joan, I too tried to look for this travel company but couldn’t find it.
    Even if its possible to get the security clearance without a tour, it will still cost $325, yes? And the actual visa at the border.
    I saw the man you stayed with in Aleppo on couch surfing. Did he show you around the city, is the fighting completely finished there? I only ask you because on a Syrian government it mentioned military action in the Aleppo district. That may cover a large area though.

    1. Yes, the security clearance costs 325USD and the Syrian visa at the border around 70USD, for European passports at least, except for British, who pay more. If you only pay for these 2 things, consider yourself lucky.

      Yes, my CS host showed me around and as far as I know, the fighting in Aleppo is over.

      1. Although fighting in the city itself has ended, there are jihadi forces relatively nearby. Fighting in the region could occur at any time and the city could get targeted. Anyone visiting should keep up to date constantly on the situation

  10. Great article …
    I am Syrian … i read your article out of curiosity to see how is the general impression about my city …. you did great especially about the prices ….. Thanks for that

  11. Joan, your article is wonderful!

    Please, do share more of the things you discussed with locals during your stay. It is so hard to find any current info without a political bias. And I would really like to hear more Syrian people’s voices.

    You mention they have a good WiFi connectivity in Damascus. Do you think they have any independent blogers that might be of interest?

    Thank you again!

      1. It’s extremely complicated in Syria. Despite the situation. in Syria, numerous minority groups are still protected by the central government controlled by Bashar Assad.

        Speak of an Arabic government that allows such religious freedom.

        Syria is all you can speak of. Thank you to the Syrian Republic.

      1. I’d love to see your westerner/christian ass trying to walk 5 blocks in Idlibstan without lossing your head. Maybe Hillary can airdrop you there to fight against the christian saviour Bashar.

        Bashar w bass.

      2. And the Kurds are Pro-Israeli not to mention mainly Turkish. Wht try and take over Idlib at all? Qamishli wa a nice place but some groups want everything for themselves.

  12. Hi Joan,
    Thanks for the very precise description and advices.
    I am planning to go there in May, however, I am wondering if they put a stamp on your passport because I have another flight to the US shortly after.

  13. Hola Juan me ha encantado tu post muy bien detallado y la verdd dan muchas ganas de viajar.
    Tbn soy espanol residente del Paris.
    La cosa es que la semana que viene viajo a Turquia y de paso me encantaria pasar por Siria.
    Efectivamente las fronteras estan cerradas a turistas por lo que la sola alternativa es ir a Libano.
    Hoy estuve en la embajada Siria en Paris pero hacer el visado toma alrededor de un mes por lo que ya es practicamente imposible obtenerla aqui.
    Me parece que el tema de agencias es my caro, asi que me gustaria saber cual es para ti la forma mas barata y rapida de obtener el visado a para poder entrar a Siria ya que mi tiempo es bastante limitado y esperar mas de 3 dias para un visado seguramente anularia una posible visita siria.

    Muchas gracias por tu post!!!

      1. Osea q tienes q pagar como minimo el security clearance de 325 USD + 100 USD del tour de un dia?
        Joder si es asi creo q optare para hacer siria en otro viaje haciendome el visado en la embajada donde me cuesta solo 25 eur…

          1. En mi más humilde experiencia, jamás me fiaría de una página de información burocrática procedente de un país de Oriente Medio. Es más, estoy segurísimo de que estos precios son falsos y de todas formas, aquí también tendrías que añadirle el coste del security clearance, a parte de la carta de invitación que lo más probable es que te vayan a pedir

  14. I can say that you have the courage to visit Syria while it is not safe as it used to be many years ago.
    It is a very good article filled with important inforamtion.

  15. Hi Joan, I sent a whatapp message to the lady you talked about who could maybe help with getting the secuity clearance-Sawswan. I asked her if if she could help with getting the clearance if I booked a tour with her around Damascus and maybe Palmeyria. I mentioned that I had got her number from you and that you had travelled to Damascus in few months ago.
    It looks like she got my message but no reply.
    Is there any other way to contact her , has she got a travel company or tour guide company? If I draw a blank with her is there another reputable guide or company I could try?

  16. Thank you very much for the beautiful blog. As a Syrian who hasn’t been back in Syria in two years (living in Lebanon) this fills me with a sense of nostalgia. Thank you for visiting Syria and I hope you had fun!

    We Syrians have always been happy to find tourists visiting our humble country, and I myself have always dreamed about helping tourists discover Syria (given the fact that I am one of the rare Syrians who actually speak English properly), but alas the war took away the tourists from me and I had to leave Syria to study abroad in them American University of Beirut.

    A couple of my European friends here in Lebanon tried visiting Syria over the last couple of months and couldn’t enter; they went to the embassy and were told that they didn’t need a visa and should go to the border directly, only for the border to tell them to head back to the embassy and get a visa. I am happy that things are becoming more organized now as evidenced by the fact that you could enter the country without any complications.
    I hope you didn’t get ripped off though! We’ve always had a thing for ripping off foreigners back in the day, but perhaps now that tourists are so few and we’re so glad to have them back our great merchants aren’t too keen on ripping them off.

    I do hope to one day return to Syria and meet the nice folk like yourself who have come to visit our country from overseas. Thank you again for writing this blog. I will forward it to all of my foreign friends here in Lebanon who have expressed their desire to visit Syria. I probably won’t be able to go with them (since I would need to get permission from the army to be able to leave the country again and it’s a hassle) but I am sure that the information you provided would very much help them get the visa and find local accommodations .

    Thank you, Joan, and thank you to everyone who is standing by Syria and the Syrian people through these troubled times.

    1. Hey there, thank you so much for your kind-hearted words, really.

      I loved Syria and trust me when I say that nobody tried to ever rip me off. Everybody was always so kind and trying to be overprotective with me, and I am sure that anyone should have a very similar experience.

      Hope you can travel to your beautiful country and the situation will normalize even more in the upcoming months and years.

      Kind Regards

  17. Hi Joan,
    Saludos de Portugal!
    Thanks for sharing your experience. I will be in Lebanon during May (9 to 17), and really wanted to take this opportunity to visit Damascus. I contacted this travel agent you mentioned, and she asks me for 500$ for a day trip, which is simply insane. I really wanted to do it independently, and, of course, much cheaply. I’ve contacted the Syrian embassy in Paris, but they’re not very responsive. Any recommendations?

    Thank you for your time and good travelsl

    1. Hi Rodrigo,
      It is quite a standard price. I didn’t go on a tour and only the security clearance cost me $325, (and other agencies charge more), so, unfortunately, there is not much you can do, because now there is no way to get a visa without booking first a tour.

    2. Hello Rodrego
      My friend take those words as a standard whenever you want to visit Syria, the longer period you stay there the cheaper offers you get, for example ( 1 day trip is 500$, then every extra day will cost you 200$ including the hotel+the tourguide)

  18. It is a reasonable price especially since it includes a visa to transfer to and from Beirut and a guide to the Damascus tour

  19. Hi nice blog i live in syria and i am syrian i am 14 years old i read the article to see what people think of us with the lies shown in the media so thanks for the great article i hope when you visit us again you would go to my dad’s restaurant it is called kaza miza and it was awarded the best restaurant in syria by the syrian tourisim minestry in 2016
    Again thanks for the article

  20. Hi Joan,
    First of all, great article, thanx a lot!
    I have been trying to go to Syria for a while, and I am thinking about going this coming Oct/Nov. 2019. I am also an independent traveler and hardly any time I take a tour, so far only have taken two; Tibet and DPRK. I want to visit on my own. Heard rumors about a German fella that got in trouble and now the government has implemented a “tour only” for all travelers into Syria, but I believe it is more like a rumor created by the tour agencies and operators.
    In any case, I hold a U.S. passport and one from the Republic of Georgia, unfortunately neither place has a diplomatic office from Syria. Saw your post about a week ago and wrote to the Embassy of Syria in Madrid, but have not yet received a response. If you don’t mind me asking, when you applied for your visa you had to go in person to the embassy in Madrid and then they sent your passport plus the visa by mail, correct? How long was the process? Also, I see your comments and you talk about a “clearance letter” worth about US $450.00 plus a fee of US $70.00 when you enter Syria, at the border?
    My plans are using my Georgian passport, obvious reason, and try and go get the visa either in Madrid or Brussels. I don’t count with a lot of time.
    Do you mind explaining a bit the process?
    Thank you very much!
    George G.

    1. Hi George, things have changed a bit recently and you won’t be able to get a visa without booking a tour. Even most embassies will require you to get an LOI from a valid tour operator, which you will only get if you book a tour. This is kind of contradictory because then you can move around Syria independently.

      1. Hi again, Joan,
        So, basically I can book a tour for let’s say, a day, then I can move independently? That sounds feasible. I know you went in independent, but does anybody here knows of a reliable and easy local tour operator then?
        Thank you Joan and all participants!

  21. I tried with the Syrian embassy in Brussels as its the nearest one to me. I emailed them but they never even replied. I think the tour agents are the only way. Just choose carefully!

  22. Thijs Broekkamp

    Very interesting post, thanks for the info! I’m an independent journalist and visited Afghanistan a few months back which was impressive, and now Syria has become a big wish to visit! Those visa regulations suck though… Hopefully come across some local reliable tour operator somewhere. Given your contacts, do you perhaps know if there are different regulations for journalists, holding international press card?

    Great site by the way, all the destinations of my interest, will be following!!

    1. Hi Thijs, I don’t really know about journalism visas but Syria has been receiving loads of journalists for the past 8 or 9 years, so as long as you are not from the USA or the UK, I assume it should be feasible? But I don’t know about the process. I think you should contact the embassy!

    2. Hi Thijs, just in case you ever revisit this Blog and your post: I‘m an independent filmmaker from Switzerland and visited Syria in January 2018. Iobtained a journalist visa through the consulate in Geneva. A few days ago I tried to Rentner the Country again, this time as a Tourist – and promptly was denied entry on the grounds of – well – being seen as a journalist. So, I‘d say it‘s risky to apply for a tourisr visa if you have a journalist visa from another country in your passport.

    3. And yes, you should definitely contact your embassy. Btw, as a official journalist you‘ll have to accredit yourself at the ministry of information in Damascus after 24 hrs. and they will assign a governement employee to accompagny you throughout your travelsein Syria. Understandable after all the lies that have Bern Publisher about this Great country over the last decade by Western media . You‘ll have to pay for food and lodging of said employee. Best, Jan

  23. Hi Joan,
    First of all, thank you for the great guide. I was so excited after reading your text, but then I looked at some comments and got pretty confused.
    So, to be clear: you have to get security clearance and visa to cross the border. You can ask for visa in local embassy, is that right? And after incident with German tourist, visas are now available only if you have booked tour? And tour operator is responsible for visa and security clearance, you don’t need to go to embassy?
    And there is currently no way for getting the clearance and visa without having to book the trip with travel agency?
    Once again, thank you for this brilliant site!

    1. Hi Monika, yes, I know that this is confusing because everybody is getting different information/interpretation plus rules change every day. I wrote this post 2 months ago and the visa part already seems sort of outdated. Tomorrow will update it.

      However, you got it 100% right. In summary, you can’t get a visa without booking a tour and, if you contact directly the agency, you don’t need to go to the embassy but I think that going through the embassy is cheaper (but slower) because you don’t have to pay the 300-400USD for the security clearance.

      On the other hand, some rumors say that a few embassies like the one in Beirut and don’t know which Consulate/Embassy in Brazil don’t require the LOI but again, these are just rumors.

      1. Joan, thank you for quick reply. I contacted Syrian embassy in Poland and they informed me that currently tourist visas are not issued at all. They told me to contact them again in two months. Wish me luck for the next time =)

        1. Cześć Monika. I jak się Twoja historia skończyła? Jestem ciekaw bo również chciałbym pojechać na parę dni do Syrii.
          To Joan: Great article. I strongly appreciate that three are such people in Europe who can go to Syria, enjoy it and respect its law and fantastic people regardless of western media and western politicians WHO are responsible for syrian crisis.

  24. Hello everybody. I have just updated the visa section of the article.
    To be honest, the situation hasn’t changed much, meaning that getting the Syrian visa is still a pain, but based on new experiences from some travelers, I have re-written it and the process seems less confusing now.
    Please, remember that travel reports are more than welcome 🙂

    1. Hi Joan
      There are a number of signs that a campaign against the rebels in Idlib is starting, which could explain the clamping down on visas and having to go on a tour. The govt isn’t going to want to have tourists going anywhere near fighting or undercover journalists using tourist visas. If so , Aleppo will be much more risky and there would be the risk of suicide bombings or attacks elsewhere. Personally I’d advise people to hold off on booking tours until the picture is clearer – when major fighting starts, which is only a question of when, not if, tours might just get cancelled anyway.

  25. Amazing Article! I want to visit Damascus, Homs, Hama, and Aleppo from Jordan do any of you guys now any buses that go from amman to damascus? If so plz let me know 🙂 also I want to apply for a Syrian visa so do you guys know any cheap government secure agencies that issue them? Once again thank you!

    1. Hi there is a company called jett which has buses from amman to damascus and if you are jordinian i dont think you need a visa

      1. Thanks for the advice but I checked the Jett website but it seems that there is no bus that goes from Amman to Damascus if you do find it send me a screenshot somehow 🙂

    1. Lori I wasn’t asking for your opinion on Assad so plz stop btw the only way Syria will be stable is if Assad is in power and everyone knows that, btw going on topic if there aren’t any buses how or where would you find taxis in Amman going to Damascus

    2. Lori I wasn’t asking for your opinion on Assad so plz stop btw the only way Syria will be stable is if Assad is in power and everyone knows that, btw going on topic if there aren’t any buses how or where would you find taxis in Amman going to Damascus and is it possible just to rent a car by yourself and travel throughout Syria?

  26. Hello
    I am making wild plans to travel from Amman to Kurdistan to enter Turkey from Syria,
    Aim is to cycle home from Jordan back to Europe.
    I know there were many conflicts there between the Kurds and IS, but i want to hear if anyone knows anything about this region/ traveling all trough Syria nowadays.

    Someone can link me to someone or something?



    1. All I can tell you is that you can’t travel around most Syria and the border with Turkey is closed. It is not the right time to cross Syria on a bicycle

  27. Hello and thanks for the very informative article.
    Did you have or foresee any difficulties visiting other countries now that you have a Syrian stamp on your passport?
    Israel is now definitively a No-Go but I was wondering if other countries like the US might be difficult to visit afterwards.
    Thanks a lot! Hey

    1. Hi Nicola, my Algerian visa was rejected. They didn’t tell me the reasons but I suspect it was due to the Syrian visa. Otherwise, it didn’t make sense

  28. Joan, como estás?
    I´m a brazilian national applying for a tourism visa for Syria. As I don’t know anyone from Syria, I’ll have to inform in the application form that my contacts in the country are the hotel managers where I’ll be staying at. I liked your suggestion about the Green hotel. Do they have a website? Would you still recommmend Mohammed so that I can get in touch about a reservation? Or any other hotels I can call or write them? Thank you!

    1. Hi Guilherme, yes, try to contact Mohammed, he is working there still. You can make reservations in other hotels and contact them, but I don’t know anyone personally

      1. Hi there Joan,

        this is an update about my sucessful trip to Syria in August, 2019, that might be useful for other travelers.
        I required a visa at the Syrian embassy in Sao Paulo, by filling an one-page form. It took less than a month and around USD 15 to get my 15-day visa.
        I booked a 5-night tour with The Golden Target tour company – recommended by Eva, von @evazubeck. It was simply amazing. My itinerary was: Damascus – Palmyra – Homs – Hamra – Aleppo – Crac des Chevaliers – Maaloula/Saydnaya. I had a driver and an outstanding guide (Tayseer) with me, full time. The driver pick me up at my hostel in Beirut and drove me straight to Damascus. Border crossing was wasy and everyone was very friendly. I paid around USD 1600, all included. Hotel rooms were amazing, including my 2-night stay at a five-star ottoman-damacean mansion in old the town in Damascus (Beit Mamelouk Hotel).

        We normally started our day at 8:00 AM and finished at 10:00 PM. We saw a lot, no hurry. Every 10/20 km there was a military check point. The agency provided all permits and it was very easy to get through. Everywhere was safe. My guide and some cops/military would always give me some advices on my personal safety when walking around.

        Although it sounds a fancy trip for backpackers like me, it was worth it and I had a fantastic genuine experience. I met hundreds of locals in the streets, cafes, road sides etc. It was beautiful. I have been to almost 70 countries, but Syria , blew me away.

        Thanks for you post. I highly recommend everyone to go to Syria.


        Guilherme, 31, Brazil

  29. lakshmi narayana

    hi thank you for everyone, am from dubai want to travel damascus, and, aleppo for business purpose, is it safe to travel this city, can you advice any precautions.
    thank you

  30. Hi Joan! Thank you so much for writing this article. I would love to travel to Damascus; I contacted Mr. Ayoub like you suggested. Is there any way you could give him a heads up so he knows to look out for my message?

  31. Also, another question–will it be hard getting into Israel if I have a Syrian stamp on my passport?

    Thanks again!

  32. Hi. I travelled to Syria many times before the war – as a lone woman. And I never had any problems. To the contrary I was treated like a princess, with a huge amount of respect. If you dress conswrvatively and respect the culture, I don’t see why the wonderful Syrian sense of hospitality would have changed.

      1. Hi i am syrian it doesnt matter how you dress we are very open here but dont wear very short or exposing cloths

  33. Hi joan i am a mexican citizen who looks to travel to syria in the future, what are the thing i need to do before i travel there to syria???

  34. Its a relief to know that and for me its amazing the idea to travel there, i really pray for the conflict to end and peace shall return to all syria

  35. i am from Saudi arabia and i want to spend my vacation in syria ASAP, can anyone help me out? i have been reading so many articles and it seems so hard, can i travel by plane or by crossing border i have no idea, its so confusing! do i just have to make a tourist visa and a ticket and then i can fly from jeddah,riyadh(saudi arabia) to amman,or damascus (i dont know where the airport is). is that it? please let me know!

  36. Hey,
    I’m Syrian and I’ve read your article and I really want to thank you about everything you said.
    We work too hard to show the world what the poor media don’t show, We have terrific nature, awesome historical places from too many cultures, delicious traditional food, and the most welcoming and heartwarming people you will ever met.
    When you add unbelievable views, delicious food and talented people you meet around here that what makes Syria just amazing.
    I’d love to help anyone wants to visit Syria with what I’m capable of and let you know about the best places to stay and visit.
    feel free to Email me:

  37. Hi Joan,
    thanks for putting all this super helpful information together.
    Do you happen to have any information about the border crossing procedure between Kurdistan Iraq + Rojava / Northern Syria in Semalka? I heard that the KRG sometimes issues permits to foreigners but I don’t know under which circumstances.
    Best regards from Germany, Karoline.

    1. Hi Karoline, I don’t have any information, but the only issue here is that I have my doubts that you would be able to go to Damascus, as you would have to go through definitely NO-GO zones for tourists. Assuming they give you that permit, you’d be just able to visit Kurdistan, but even then, Syrian Kurdistan is not as autonomous as Iraqi Kurdistan, or at least the Syrian Government doesn’t recognize them as such, so I am not sure if you would also find there pro Al-Assad checkpoints. I would definitely do more research about it if I was you.

  38. Please make a detailed Lebanon and Syria border crossing guide! And explain how you get the visa at the border! Keep the amazing work up!

  39. Muhammad Ahsan Iqbal

    Hi Joan,
    I want to ask that I am a Pakistani and currently living in Germany doing my Masters here.In October,I am going to Sharjah UAE for the Internship for three months.During that time,I want to visit Syria to visit Damascus and Aleppo.Do you think that I will get the visa in that short time period of three months.

  40. Hi Joan, I just got back from a few days in Damascus through Marrota tourism. These guys were awesome from transport from Beirut to visa clearances to everything. Through your blog I found out how this was all possible so thank you..

    1. Hi Kelly… your name was in our clearance 🙂 so… may i ask you how was your trip? We booked with Marrota too. Did you see many non arab tourists there? Is the city ok to be visited? Thank you sooooo much!

  41. My husband and I booked a 3 day Damascus tour with Marrota for the next montb and I can confirm they are super professional. Clearance has just arrived and all was pretty smooth. Details will follow… stay tuned

    1. Wiktor Gorczynski

      Hi Marzia,
      Looking forward to connecting with you as am I yet to book my tour but will definitely do it since I’d love to visit Syria during my stay in Lebanon (I am going in October). Could we connect via email for instance to share experiences?


  42. amazing work.have you something to follows on Facebook ,i want to show all my friends AND to all the stupid people out there who still believe the shit in the news.

  43. Great info, thank you. I only carry a US passport, but have family in Lebanon, not far from Anjar. In the past, I’ve been able to just show up at the border, and been given a visa for 17.00 USD (from what I recall). I’m going with a friend, who has a US passport, at the end of November and was interested in knowing if this would be possible or not without having anything. We’re just wanting to visit Damascus, than head to Amman. I also have family in Sweida (Druze). It’s not a huge issue, as we can fly to Amman from Beirut, but would love to go back to Damascus for a few days. Many years ago, I took a train from Damascus to Amman, which was amazing. If a 350.00usd security clearance is the only option, I’m probable will not be able to afford that. Thanks again.

    1. Hi there, the situation is getting more and more complicated for American citizens. I suggest you contact the person mentioned in this article to assist you with it.

    2. If you would like to stay only in Damascous for 1 day, be really carefull with transportation connections, as a 5/6 hour delay while taxing the beirut – Damascus road is a huge possibility and you can easely miss a plane 😉 my suggestion is not to have a too tight schedule 🙂 good luck

  44. I sent Mr. Ayoub an email using the address provided here, and it worked, he responded, but his company will not do tours for US citizens, as it’s to difficult to obtain (his words, not mine)

    1. Yes he told me the same for US Citizens. Can anyone give advice on perhaps any other options to crossing the border from Lebanon into Syria as a US passport holder only? Or entering from another direction or country perhaps? I would like to visit in October and it’s very important to me that I visit.

  45. I have just returned from a trip to Syria, it has been an unforgettable experience, very enriching. Without a doubt, the best and most interesting of all my trips until now. Many thanks to Joan and his website for recommending Ayoub Smadi from Marrota Tours: Excellent prices, very good guides, everything very serious, efficient and well organized. Ayoub and his colleagues are great professionals and very kind, always ready to help the traveler. When you write to Marrota, they offer you some organized tours. I chose the 5-day tour, which includes Damascus, Crac des Chevaliers, Aleppo, Hama, Maalula and Seidnaya.

    The price of the tour (in my case around 900 €) includes visa clearance, transport between Beirut and Damascus (round trip), hotels in Syria (with breakfast), car journeys from one city to another (with driver), and entrances to places of interest (museums, castles, etc). As Joan points out in his post, this is the most effective, quickest, easiest and cheapest way to visit Syria and make the most of your stay in this wonderful country. Of course, it is cheaper to take care of everything yourself, applying for a visa at the nearest Syrian embassy; but being granted a visa can take several months. Therefore, hiring the services of a tourist agency is the best option (at least for the moment), and Marrota is really worth it.

    Luckily, the war is almost over: The cities are crowded with people at all times. Shops, restaurants, souks and markets vibrate with life and activity (both in Damascus and Aleppo). It cannot be denied, however, that the cruel war has left its mark: Of the cities I saw, especially in Homs (we drove there from Damascus to Aleppo and vice versa) and in Aleppo (where the old town near the citadel has been practically destroyed by bombs and missiles). But the Syrians are rebuilding their country. I saw many volunteers working on the removal of rubble. Many refugees have returned to the country, which is excellent news. On the roads there are many military checkpoints, but they are fast and fluid; soldiers don’t stop cars for long (at least this was in our case). They just control passports, checking that everything is OK, and that there are no “stowaways” (or weapons) hidden in the trunk. The terrorists (whom the media insist on euphemistically calling “rebels”) are entrenched in Idlib and its surroundings, but the rest of the country (under the control of the Syrian army) is extremely safe (probably safer than certain neighborhoods in some big European and American cities…). With the exception (apart from Idlib) of some areas in the north, of the border with Turkey, where there are sporadically collusions between Kurdish armed groups, illegal incursions from Turkey and Islamist gangs.

    Many people believe that Syria is living a civil war, when the Syrians I had the opportunity to meet confirmed to me that many of the so-called “rebels” are not even Syrians, but foreign jihadists from all over the world (including non-Arab countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as from Caucasian regions such as Chechnya). It is very similar to the situation in Yugoslavia in the 1990s (history repeats itself).

    In Damascus I walked through much of the city (especially the old town around Bab Touma, with its narrow alleys), visited the impressive Umayyad mosque, the Azzem palace (now a museum of Ottoman occupation), the national museum (with archeological pieces of great antiquity and value, some of them from Palmira), the craftsmen’s market, or the Via Recta (straight street), where St. Ananias converted St. Paul. The Crac des Chevaliers is a huge fortress on a hill close to Homs, where the Crusaders where (among others). In Aleppo, the archaeological museum is still being restored, but I visited the citadel (built by Saladin), from which there are spectacular views of the entire city. Hama is famous for its norias (waterwheels), which supply water to the region. Maalula is a beautiful mountainous village not far from Damascus, where most of the inhabitants are Christians and still speak Aramaic. Seydnaya is very close to Maalula, also in a mountainous area, and there are very old monasteries and churches, from the time of the first Christians. During my trip I also saw other tourists (from Spain, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Germany…). They were still relatively few, but it is already something very positive and hopeful to see that, even if it is “with eyedrops” tourists start to come again (which is very good for the economy of the country, thus favoring its reconstruction).

    In Syria people are very nice and open, very kind and hospitable. The Syrians are happy to see tourists again. When they found out that I was a foreign visitor, they greeted me with a big “you are welcome!” Many speak some English, but it’s not like in Lebanon, where almost everyone speaks English and/or French. So it is useful to learn a few words of Arabic, the most basic will do. So the Syrians will be even happier, seeing the visitor’s interest in their culture and language.

    So, shukran ktir (thank you very much) to Joan and to this page, as well as to Ayoub and Marrota tours! And tahya Suria! (Long live Syria).

    1. Hi Felix,

      I am hoping to go on a tour in Syria with Mr Ayoub. I was just wondered if you could allay any safety concerns – was there anything concerning at all you experienced during your trip or with Marrota Tours? I am a female UK citizen and I would be travelling with one other female. Thank you so much for any insights. From your comment and those of others it appears that it should all be safe but I just wanted to ask to confirm.



  46. Hi Joan.
    Thank you for such a fantastic article .. it’s full of great info.
    I’m just wondering .. how long do you recommend staying in Damascus for? I’d really appreciate your insight on this.
    Thanks so much,

  47. Hi Joan,
    I’m a journalist looking into writing a feature about people going on holiday in Syria and I wonder if I could ask you a few questions?
    It’s obviously an unusual travel destination and one which many people might associate with war and violence because of it’s recent history.
    But there’s plenty of tripadvisor reviews from people who have visited in recent years, so I’m trying to speak to some people who have been to ask their perspective.
    Please reply if you would be interested to talk.
    Many thanks!

  48. Hi everyone,
    Thank you very much Joan for this amazing information! I want to visit a Syrian friend, but I do not want to ask her to provide a LOI, to avoid that her details are put under audit or anything. This rules out the embassy route and I will try to get the security clearance + visa through the tourism agency you recommend. My question is: can I have any problem if I buy the minimum tour (one day I guess) and then I spend 5 or 6 days in Syria with my friend? or do I need to be accompanied all the time? I could even pay for 1 day tour and not use it at all (or use it only to go from Beirut to Aleppo). Would that be okay or do you think Ayoub Smadi from Marrota Tours would refuse?
    Thank you! 🙂

    1. Hi Alberto, this is a concern Ayoub should answer but in any case, I think it is a bit unlikely, basically because the agency you go with is fully responsible for you, so I doubt they will let you roam around freely because if anything happened to you, they would be fucked as well

  49. Hello,
    My friends and I may be visiting the Middle East next year and want to visit Damascus. We are very respectful of culture and the crisis but I’m concerned about perception. I have 3 questions. How are American Tourists treated? My second question is how are black people treated in Syria (Damascus specifically)? I’m traveling with a friend from Nigeria as well. Any special advice for entry for Nigerian passport holder?

    1. Hi Karmin, I don’t really know what is their perception and attitude towards people from certain nationalities like yours but just to let you know that as of today, they aren’t issuing visas to Americans anymore, but you should contact Mr. Ayoub to ask about the current situation, as well as what are the requirements for Nigerians.

  50. Just saw a girl on YouTube make a visit into Syria from Lebanon and I must admit it has given me itchy feet to visit Syria. You and your blog also. Maybe at the start of next year, need to earn and save some money. Hopefully no issues travelling on British passport.

  51. Read all the comments and no mention of Canadian passport… how is it treated? Same as Australia and New Zealand is my thinking, but if someone could clarify? 🙂

  52. Joan,

    I was quite impressed by the volume of information shared on this website. Thank you!
    I am of Syrian decent. My father was part of the first born generation in America. HIs parents were born in Homs and remained there until they came through Ellis Island in 1910. The name in Syria was Elian but was changed by Ellis Island officer to “Ellien.” My father passed away in 2017 at t he age of 90 and his dream of going back to the land of his family was never realized. Now my generation is all who is left in the family and I would love to make the journey. I have to admit that I’ve been hesitant to make such a journey given the political unrest but it would be life long dream for me and for my entire family. I may be traveling alone-not sure I feel comfortable bringing my adult children with me. I worry about many things-carrying cash but not feeling comfortable with using credit cards even if they could be used, remaining in contact with family at home while traveling, having no knowledge of the language, risks related whatever political unrest may exist at the time of travel. If I do make a trip to Syria, it’s not going to happen this year for sure. Thank you in advance for any comments about my post.

  53. Hi Joan,
    What do you think if i book a day tour with proper travel agent,then can i walk/travel independently for rest trip around 4-5 day? 5 day trip 1000 USD quite expensive for me.

    1. Hi Joe,
      The travel agency won’t allow you as you will fully be their responsibility.
      In any case, I have been told that for the last couple of weeks, they are getting more and more strict with foreigners that walk around without a guide or a local person, even in the old city of Damascus

      1. Hi Joan,

        What do you exactly mean by getting more strict? Plus, you did go on a solo trip, nothing bad happened. Why not just pay for the clearance and go your own way…

  54. Hola Joan,
    Soy Alicia, periodista. Estoy escribiendo un reportaje sobre el turismo en Siria y me gustaría hablar contigo. Si tienes un momento este miércoles o jueves te lo agradezco.
    Un saludo,

  55. Hey, I’m travelling to Syria next month and I found all the info you gave very interesting.
    Are you sure “IATI seguros” cover syria though? This is what I found in their contract “The cover provided under the Policy excludes those countries that, during the Insured’s trip or stay abroad, are in a state of war, siege, insurrection or armed conflict of any kind, even when this has not been officially declared, and those that are specified in the invoice or in the Particular Conditions.”
    It would be great if you could somehow verify this info and edit the blog, cause lots of people could be dangerously misled!

    1. Hi Maria, thanks for raising this topic. A few points to clarify:
      – First of all, IATI won’t cover you in case, let’s say, you are hit by a bomb or any terrorist attack. For this, you should hire a travel insurance specialized in war zones. I used to recommend First Allied that they are no longer providing coverage for people who travel for tourism purposes, only business
      – Second of all, if you have a car accident, break your leg, lose your luggage, etc, and the reason is a non-related to war event, they will cover you
      – However, what they mean with the statement you attached is that if you are in an actual war zone, the medical assistance is very limited, so they won’t be able to help you
      – This means that their coverage is restricted to specific regions. As of today, the only place which is in actual war is Idlib. If you go there and something happens to you, they won’t be able to help you, so your policy will remain invalid. However, Damascus is today a safe place, so you will be fully covered.
      Hope this clarifies.

  56. I’m about to leave tomorrow for Beirut and onwards to Damascus. Alone. I just read the update that lone tourists get into trouble even in Damascus. What exactly does that report or source said? I’m expecting my clearance any minute now from a friend’s friend in Damascus but this got me worried.

    1. George, is there any way I could contact you? I am planning to go alone too. And would really like to ask about your experience and clarify some stuff. My e-mail address is

      If you don’t want to put your contact here, please just drop me an e-mail, so I could write further questions to you. Thank you so much!

    2. Wondering how it works as well tbh. I think as a white person you just need to be with Syrian all the time (when I was there we were accompanied all the time and taken care of) – otherwise military might look strangely on you

  57. I just came back from a trip to Damascus with mr. Ayoub from Marotta (if you are reading that, once again, lots of love from Poland!) and everything was in completely perfect order, from start to the sad ending of leaving the beautiful city. I definitely had the most memorable experience of my life and I encourage everyone to go and see it for yourself – it would definitely change your perspective in a positive way.

    Thank you Ayoub for organizing everything for me. Hope to see you very soon!

  58. It is really nice to see the excitement to visit Syria. As a Syrian coming from Damascus and living now in Germany, it makes me really happy to see people trying to reach my beloved country, even though it is still a post war zone, but yet full of history and stories to tell ( Damascus is the oldest still inhabited capital in the world).
    I have read this article very carefully and found most of it very accurate and would really like to thank Joan for the effort to make it easier for other to experience Syria, the cradle of civilizations.
    As a Syrian, visiting Syria regularly, I would like to add a couple of things since my last visit in July:
    1- Most of the check points in Damascus are now gone, since the entire south region of Syria is secure and the borders with Jordan is open again.
    2- Flying to Beirut then to Damascus on road is the easiest/cheapest option, but again it depends on where you come from, so the are flights to Damascus airport from Riad, Dubai, Sharjah, Doha, Kuwait, Baghdad, Tehran and maybe Tunisia ( Syrian airline, Cham wings).
    3- As for lone female travelers, i can see no reason to be hesitated or afraid, since Syrian community is really open minded and tourist-friendly. Plus Syrian culture has much respect for independent women which you can find in many different areas of every day life.
    4- As for exchange rate, there are couple of things that needs to be cleared: The are two rates: the “official” rate by the central bank of Syria which is relatively stable ( now about 434 SYP for 1 USD) and the black market price which changes by the hour and is hard to keep track with ( now about 625 SYP for 1 USD).
    5- Syria and Israel are still in a war state, and Israel still doing, until this day Arial bombing to different locations in Syria with the entire world staying quiet about it. The borders are closed, with UN buffer zone since 1970’s with many Syrian lands occupied by the Israelis. An Israeli stamp on your passport will ban you entrance to Syria and vice versa.
    6- In Syria there is no racism towards religion/color/ethnicity/etc.. we are all humans and every one is welcome, you will find full shades of humanity in the streets plus all kind of religions (even Jews, which was a surprise for some people). Just be respectful and you shall be respected back.
    7- Couch Surfing is functional in Syria, as i was a host until 2018 when i moved to Germany. But you should always look for good references and avoid the creeps like in every other country.
    8- Money wise: Cash and cash only. no Credit/debit/online/mobile/Googlepay/Applepay payments. Payments in currencies other than the Syrian Pound are not accepted. There are plenty of official exchange points in all major cities.
    9- I personally recommend to visit Maaloula ( as it is the last city to speak western neo-aramaic language (the actual language of Jesus Christ) plus it’s a very important christian monuments and history. (Yes, Syria is full of christian history and attraction sites and has a big Christian community too).
    10- If you speak to locals, it is recommended to say Crisis or situation, as referenced here in this article. what i want to add is you can too say war, since we see it as war including many nationalities from all around the world. But in no circumstance, I mean NEVER call it a civil war, because this is how the war was being falsely advertised in the west, especially by US/UK news agencies, which will take us to the next point.
    11- Being a journalist is definitely a bad point to get in. it is not impossible though. i don’t know if there is any Development regarding this subject.
    12- If you, for any reason, got sick in Syria, you can go directly to a pharmacy, where they probably would understand and speak English, then they will guide you what to do or where to go, (you can get prescription medications without a prescription if the pharmacist sees it fit, plus medications are super cheap).
    13- Always have your passport on you, all the time.
    13- If you have any other questions, i would gladly try to answer it to the best of my knowledge, and you can write to me in Arabic, English, German or French.

      1. I am talking about independent travelers, i hosted a guy from China and another one from Malta back in 2018, I don’t have information on how to obtain a visa as an independent traveler, but i know it is possible.

    1. Thanks for all the updated information. Syria is on my list. Planning my second trip to Lebanon, will see what is possible to add Syria this time. So I will keep following this site (big thanks to Joan for sharing his experience).
      Best regards from Germany

  59. Dr. Miguel P. Tecson

    I thank you from the bottom of my heart for a most enjoyable trip to Damascus on Sept. 2019, made possible by your informative and generous advice through your exceptional posts. I contacted many consulates, embassies, travel agents, and got no replies. Your recommending Ayoub Smadi of Marrota Travels, answered my requests within hours. He personally, with office staff as Ghaidaa and Jasmine, the brilliant and amiable border expert, provided me a most memorable visit. I wish you long lasting success in all your endeavours.

    1. Dr. Miguel
      It was a pleasure meeting you, i hope you are still in a good health, thanks for the recommendation and the good words, looking forward to see you again in Damascus.
      Be safe, god bless

  60. Hey man!
    I unexpectedly realized we have a friend in common, Hadi from Tripoli in Beirut 🙂
    We are very good friends and he personally recommended me to contact you about my ideas plans to travel to Syria! (just 3 days in Damascus actually). Could you assist please? Thanks!!

  61. Hi Joan! Amazing post- thank you so much for taking the time to curate this resource and for connecting me with Mr. Ayoub. I’ve been in touch with him via email and Whatsapp over the past month – he’s provided me with great resources for various itineraries that his company organizes within the country. Communication has been prompt and professional- however I just found out today that my security clearance application was rejected and that all Americans would be rejected for the time being. From the beginning, he set expectations appropriately, that there was a 40% chance of it being approved as an American, which I considered to be too good to be true, and diplomatic relations have eroded since then. I figured this might be a helpful update since the situation is always evolving. Glad I tried and glad my experience was with him- this just gives me more time to explore Lebanon, which of course you provided an incredibly helpful blog post for as well. Thanks again, and safe travels!

    1. Hey Andrea, thank you so much for your positive feedback, and update, and I am very sorry to know that your security clearance was rejected 🙁 Truth is that the diplomatic relations between both countries, USA and Syria, are so volatile and you never know what can happen

  62. Hi, thanks for a great article. I’m planning a trip to Lebanon in the spring and a few days in Syria sound really interesting. Actually now I’m considering the option of continuing to Jordan – as travelling on Icelandic passport I have visa on arrival to Jordan, do you think that arriving from Syria would affect that status?

    1. Hello, I would like to travel in April to Lebanon and Syria and I also thought about to visit Jordan from Syria.
      I have still a lot of douth. Specially about Visum and be able to across every country that I want to visit.
      If doesn’t annoyed you, I would like to be in contact with you in order to feel more calm while I’m organising my solo travel.
      Thank you

  63. Joan, thank you very much for such a detailed guide. Are there any updates about visiting Syria alone, without travel agency? Is it still really hard to get clearance?


    1. Hi Joseph,
      As far as I know, the situation hasn’t changed. Unless you have very strong contacts, your only way to get the clearance is via a travel agency and they will only give it to you if you book a tour with them

  64. Hi Joan
    I’m Syrian living abroad and haven’t seen my home, my family in 10 years.
    Your words about my home country dropped me in tears. I thank you from my deep heart for this article.

    Syrians are very cool nice people, warm heart and welcoming (our problem was always the government not the people, like any other threatened communist regime, zero humane).
    Of course I will be so much happy to hear that tourists are visiting Syria, Tourism in many countries is one of the main source of income for local economies, in addition for many people who are stranded within syria with no possibility to travel nowhere, for those; seeing a tourist is like seeing santa-cruise on Christmas.

    You are always welcome, please be safe and ask a lot before you travel to Syria.

    And Joan, couple of years ago I’ve visited Barcelona, it was the most beautiful vacation I’ve ever had, you should be proud of such a place, next time I’m visiting Spain will contact you for an advice.

    Thnx again

  65. Hello. Thank you so much for all the Information. It’s really help.
    I would like to travel to Syria in April, but the travel agency look like really expensive. More than 1600€ and I’m looking for another alternatives. I don’t know if the travel agency that you know he books just the guide or also the hotels like mine.
    Any extra information that you think I have to take on mind I would appreciate.
    Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Cristina,
      i already have an itinerary for April 6-11 in syria, with travel agency and german guided tour. Are you interested to join? Maybe we can get in contact, if you want.

  66. I’m glad for this post, seriously Seria is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and I used to travel to that part of the world frequently. It a shame because most people would be put off visiting even when it safe.

  67. I have some news!! In 16/2/2020 all syrians assured us by telling us that aleppo is now safe! That means that war is finished

  68. I’ve travelled to Syria in October 2019 as an independant travel. The situation was perfectly safe in Damascus and surroundings (despite it can change from one moment to the other.. Car bombs in February 2020 in Damascus). Regarding the visa, it seems to be the most difficult part of the process of the travelers, in my case I applied in the embassy in Buenos Aires because I’m argentinian. I filled a simple paper with a reference contact in Syria (a syrian friend in my case). It’s important to know that your syrian reference will be contacted by the Security Office in Syria. They will ask about the relation between you and other questions for security purposes. This is the most important part of the application. Without an sponsor you won’t receive the clearance approvals. It took 4 weeks in total to have my visa stamped on my passport (the same type of visa before 2011) . Also, the authorisation is online and you don’t need to have visa stamped on passport. It cost 105 U$ and I only paid when approved. I traveled in a shared taxi from Beirut some hours before the chaos has started and roads became closed. The trip took almost 3 hours. Many checkpoints in the syrian roads but everything straightforward. I’ve walked the city accompanied and unaccompanied and never was detained for anything both in the old city and in new Damascus. I took taxis without any problem so I don’t know why you say it’s mandatory to be accompanied by a local all the time. The only you must take care is avoid take pictures of the military checkpoints. Damascus is without any doubt one of the most interesting cities to visit in the world but you should know that situation in this part of the world is so much volatile and you never know what can happen. Enjoy it!

  69. Since reading your blog a few days ago I have made a booking for May with Ayoub at Marrota travel. A couple of emails and Ayoub is getting my Visa which will take 1-2 weeks.
    He has various well priced packages for Damascus only or longer for Homs. Included are getting visa organised and car pickup from hotel and return in Beirut. The hotel choice looked great. As an elderly female travelling alone I have chosen Beit Al Wali which looks fabulous. Am so excited will post more after my trip.

  70. Susan L Livingstone

    Extremely educational article. Although I am not thinking of traveling there anytime soon, your article was a very interesting read.

  71. I have just returned from trip to Damascus and I can say I’m so happy I took this trip and experienced Damascus myself. I felt perfectly safe, maybe even safer than back home. Food is so tasty! Beers can be found everywhere. Seeing locals living local life and talking to them was priceless!
    It’s totally opposite to what they serve us in western media! Trip (and security clearance) was organized by Ayoub and the guides were girls from Marotta agency. They were all so professional! I fully recommend them!

  72. Hello, please confirm if google maps works in syria without the use of a vpn.
    I heard that it is jammed by the government.
    Or if there is any substitute?

  73. i have been asked by a friend to come to Damascus and help her with a yoga retreat, but that seems impossible as a visa can only be acquired by taking a tour. I contacted the tour operator marrota, but he couldn’t help me or give me any solution.
    So the only way to go to Syria is with a fixed schedule tour. And you cant stay with a friend for 10 days.

  74. Dear Joan
    I find that we are like-minded people in the sense that I love the Middle East and its people that cannot be quenched. Over the past 20 years or so, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Morocco, Tunisia,Egypt, Lebanon,Syria and Palestine. I just cannot get enough of these countries especially Ancient Egypt (have made six visits) and remain hungry for more….does it ever ?, and dear, dear Syria. My heart bleeds for this now tragically destroyed country that I visited on three separate occasions and vowed to return. I must return. Last year I spent A month in Egypt and on my way back I stopped over in Dubai for my connecting flight. On my last night in Dubai, I decided to have a coffee in the foyer of the hotel I stayed at. Somebody approached me , sat down, we chatted and when he told me that he was from Syria. I couldn’t contain myself’ hugged him and wept tears of joy. Such was th mix of emotions that had weighed upon me on that unforgettable meeting.
    I can go on forever, it seems. . But, well, I won’t.
    I would like to know whether I could go there – I am not afraid- I trust and love and miss Syria so much. The Australian advisory is “Do not travel”, and I do know that when people returned here , that were suspect, even locked up,Do you have any info in this regard ?
    Thanks for reading this. I’d better stop now with kind regards.

    1. hey Francois, thank you so much for your beautiful comment, and here’s hoping you can go back to Syria soon!
      As per your concern, I have a Syrian stamp in my passport for more than a year now and didn’t really have any issues other than my Algerian visa being denied. I hold a Spanish passport and never heard of anyone getting into trouble with their governments

      1. Thanks, Joan for your response.
        I think that I haven’t made my query clear enough.
        I may well be paranoid so that my problem was somewhat shrouded in secrecy. I actually meant that there were. I believe , instances where Australians travelling to “no go” countries were denied returning to Australia or interrogated overturning.
        Anyway, should I decide to greenback on a trip to Syria, I’ll take the bull by the horns and see where it all ends up.
        Best wishes to you.

  75. Hello,
    Thanks for your interesting articles about Syria ! I’m planning to visit Syria in the future, once the COVID-19 will be over. I’ve found an association in Paris that will help me with the visa. I have several friends who visited Syria recently due to their associative / religious ties there and enjoyed their time here.

    1. Hi Stef, do you have any updates on you trip regarding Syria?
      How is the situation as a independent traveler at this point and time?

      1. Hello Simon,

        Unfortunately, I had to cancel it because of coronavirus… I’ll wait for Syria to ease visa procedures. Getting a visa for independent traveller seems impossible.

  76. Hi, thank you for these valuable comments about Syria and Lebanon.
    Can you please advise as to the feasibility of a motorcycle trip from Europe to Syrian and Lebanon?
    Coming from Europe (Switzerland), I’d like to travel through Turkey, Syria and Lebanon with my motorcycle this coming summer (2020), assuming that the restrictions due to the COVID19 situation will no longer be in force by then. Is it possible to travel in Syria and Lebanon with a vehicle registered in a foreign country? Is it possible to cross the borders between Turkey and Syrian, and Syria-Lebanon? I will want to push further south to Israel and Egypt. Do you know if the border between Lebanon and Israel is open for motorcyclists travelling with their own bike? Thanks.

    1. Hi Francis, here are my answers:
      Turkey-Syria border – Closed
      Syria- Lebanon border – Closed
      Lebanon-Israel border – Closed

      As per traveling around Syria on a motorcycle, I am not sure about it but what I can tell you is that. as of today, you can’t apply for a visa unless you book a tour, so traveling independently with your motorcycle could be difficult


    2. Hi Francis, do you have any updates regarding the boarders Turkey-Syria/Lebanon-Syria? I am planing to cross Syria with my bicycle at the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021.

  77. Hi!,
    I’m Polish living in Oman. My husband (Egyptian) got a job offer from Syria and we are seriously thinking about moving there when the covid-19 crisis is over (we are thinking about beginning of 2021). I’m trying to find some recent information about travelling there and life in Syria now. The biggest concern for us is transporting our dog. I did not find any regular flights to Syria so I can check the requirements for transporting a pet. Are there any planes having regular flights to Damascus?

    1. Dear Joanna, i live in Syria, the situation here is safe, don’t listen to the fake media.
      when Covid19 situation ends, you can transfer your dog with you easily by flight.

  78. What is the situation near the archaeological sites at Mari, near Tell Hariri? Is visitation possible? Is it safe?

    1. Mari(Tall Hariri) located in Syrian army controlled area’s , but it’s not possible to visit because it’s near the Kurdish control area’s .

  79. I’m American, living in Damascus, Syria for nearly a year now. Life feels incredibly normal here, despite how it’s perceived in the media. It’s definitely not somewhere I’d rush to visit right now, especially considering the current economic crisis and the collapse of Lebanon, but I do hope that tourism will return to Syria one day. Syrians are incredibly kind and hospitable, and the country is so rich in history.

  80. Hi everyone
    I’m nadr from homs city in the middle of the country
    All what he said above is actually right
    I can help any tourist who wants to come here and take a tour around the city
    Welcome to syria
    Wish you all the best ❤️

  81. Hi Nadr. Thanks for being so kind and thoughtful. I am just curious what is a good time to visit Syria? A very good friend of mine is really keen to visit Syria and fortunately, I came across this post and thought to collect more details before I share with him. Thanks and looking forward hearing back from you soon

  82. I would LOVE to visit Syria ..there are some awesome Free Syrians I have become friends with..but you will be a fool to try and visit with Bashar Al Assad still in some power..don’t think for very much longer though..HE GOT TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. I wouldn’t pay too much attention to your Syrian friends say, they might well use your friendship to promote a syle of government you would never live under. Or they might say what your government wants to hear as they claim asylum. Don’t blame them in the second instance.
      This is a travel site, but I will say not every Muslim wants to restore the Ummah and live under a constitution that is not secular. For Syria that’ll mean another few centuries of war, look at their history, centuries of attacks from east and west. The adoption of a Sharia constitution will inevitably lead to the ill-treatment of Christians and Muslim (inc. Sunni minorities), as Britain will spur them on.
      You might welcome that American man in for his 3rd term of office. His wife is Jewish so he could well send the Jews (Israelis) into Syria to commit another genocide. I wonder how the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood will fare under them. Hamas, the Egyptian Muslim Britherhood didn’t do too well. In case you really aren’t a Muslim fundamentalist, the Brothers are the only opposition in Syria. Its a clash of ideologies not political parties.

  83. Thank you for sharing your story and perspective and doing it with such compassion and heart. This was simultaneously beautiful and heart-breaking.

  84. Hi Joan,
    I was also in Lebanon in 2016. It was my first time in the Middle East and I went to visit my Aunt and Uncle after their baby, my cousin, was born. My Uncle is American and was working in Beirut where he met my Aunt, who is Lebanese but raised in Australia as her family fled the civil war. I absolutely fell in love with Lebanon and am grateful that we got to visit Journey, Byblos, Tripoli and Baalbek, which is 30 miles from the Syrian border. I wanted to go to Damascus but, as you know, it wasn’t doable as this was the height of ISIS. That being said, I never once felt unsafe in Lebanon and Beirut reminded me a lot of NYC, where I live. I’m hoping to get back to the Middle East once a Covid vaccine is released and your blog is my go to for up to date info. Long story short, thank you for the detailed information you always provide!

  85. I remember having read somewhere that Syria would do a visa system similar to the Iranian one. It would be great for us travellers. Did anyone hear anything about this ? Thanks, Stef’

  86. Hi, I’m planning to visit Syria around the end of this year from the UK but only concerned about the Covid, I’ve heard the border is open now. Any advice about going during the pandemic? or simply just recommend not to go?

    1. hey, I’m from Lebanon, and I was planning to go to Syria. but Syrian friends that are living in Lebanon right now said that there is a lot of control at the Syrian borders and using or having USD is considered illegal and you might get some problems at the military checkpoints ( Like taking away your money …). The covid 19 is uncontrollable with no proper health system and Some regions are still unsafe. I don’t know if there are recent updates from locals that are living there or more recent traveling experiences.

    2. Hi Kate, do you have any updates on your plan?
      I am also interested to visit Syria at the end of the year. Since I am in Turkey and travelling with my bicycle, I will most likely have to enter thru Lebanon.
      Any updates are appreciated.

    3. Hi, The borders and airports in Syria are open only to Syrian citizens and international organizations, who have obtained an entry visa through a close relationship with a Syrian citizen inside the country.
      Borders and airports are closed to tourism, there are no exceptions at the moment. It is a great hope to allow tourists to enter before Christmas.
      For those entering Syria currently, there is no home quarantine, the procedures followed are to check the PCR test and exchange cars at the border because no Syrian or Lebanese car is allowed to enter the borders of the other country.

  87. Hello Joan,

    I don’t travel as simply as you do. I prefer to have archaeologists show me around a country and I found a licensed archaeologist tour guide in Syria. The problem is that the government’s rule would require me to use an official tour company rather than just a government-loyalist tour guide, which I already intend to use. This would add more than $1000 to the cost of the trip. Do you know of any ways to get the requirement to use an official tour company waived so long as you’re accompanied by an official tour guide at all times?

    By the way, while many travelers dislike the idea of a guide, I think using a knowledgeable archaeologist or historian tour guide is an excellent way to really learn about the history of the sites while increasing the labor intensity of tourism, thereby giving money and employment to a country that needs it, don’t you think? I’m just still angry at that German tourist for ruining things for the rest of us, even if you’re not lol.

    Too bad they’ve shut the borders because of the coronavirus and currency crisis. Hopefully they will give me a visa this May after I show proof of vaccination.

  88. Hi
    My husband and I plan to drive to the UK from the UAE starting in October this year. COVID depending. Would we be able to drive from Lebanon to Turkey through Syria? Would this be safe? Would we be able to get a transit visa?

    1. Hi Hanneke, as of today, the Turkish-Syrian border remains closed. It will also be difficult to get a visa to travel around Syria independently by car, but you should contact the person I recommend on this blog

  89. Hello, Joan!
    This post isn’t about Syria, though I am interested in visiting Syria one day, but I noticed that you mentioned that you are from Spain. Have you ever been/do you know anything about Barcelona? I was planning on traveling there in May 2020, but COVID put a stop to my plans. I still want to plan a different visit in the future because I have always wanted to travel to Spain. If it’s not too much trouble, could you give me some recommendations on where to go in Barcelona? Or, really, anywhere in Spain? Any advice would be great. Thank you so much for your time and I really enjoyed reading your blog.

    Sincerely, Elly

  90. Hi, I am a Canadian who is looking to visit Syria in the summer (if the covid situation calms down).
    Do you know if the entry requirements have changed? Do I need to book a tour? Have the visa requirements changed? I have been told that I can contact the Syrian embassies in Brazil or Cuba to file a visa application.

        1. Syria is officially open to Iraqi tourist groups, government sources said that the country will soon open to all nationalities within two months.

    1. I live in Syria currently, and i speak English like a native, if you ever needed help coming to Hama city i would be there 🙂

  91. Hi, I’m an American who would like to visit Syria for 3 or 4 months starting in April or May. Is the situation the same? Is the government still expecting to open to tourists soon? Are there some good Arabic schools you could recommend?

  92. On the Syrian ministry of tourism website

    It doesn’t mention , tour groups

    I wonder if things have changed ? And people can travel independently

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