Where to sleep?
Know before you go
Know before you go
Syria does not operate a tourist office in the United Kingdom, but travellers can consult its tourist website - www.syriatourism.org
Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic – 8 Belgrave Square - London SW1X 8PH - t 0207 245 9012 - www.syrianembassy.co.uk
Republic of Ireland
Syria does not operate an embassy or tourist office in the Republic of Ireland and travellers are asked to contact their London embassy and tourist office - www.syrianembassy.co.uk and www.syriatourism.org
When to go
Spring (May-June) and autumn (September-October) are without doubt the best seasons to visit Syria. The weather is mild and the tourist sites aren’t too overcrowded, with the exception of a peak over Easter.
Winter can be rainy and the days are shorter, but it is however the best time to explore the desert: when the winter sunshine catches the tips of the stones and ruins of Palmyra and the peaks are capped in snow.
It is of course possible to visit Syria in summer, but you should expect scorching temperatures. If you do so, make sure you include a few breaks in the mountains or along the Mediterranean coast.
Whatever the season, night falls at 8pm.
The time in Syria is GMT+2 (or GMT+3 - daylight saving time). So, when it is 12noon in London and Dublin, it is 2pm in Damascus.
The following is indicated as a rough guide and regulations can change.
Your passport must have a visa and be valid for at least six months after your date of return home. Visas are obtained prior to departure (and never on arrival) by application to a Syrian consular mission abroad.
When you cross the border, your passport must not contain an Israeli visa or a stamp of entry into Jordan or Egypt via an Israeli border post.
If you stay for longer than two weeks, you must apply to the immigration department for an extension.
Holders of Arab passports do not require a visa.
No vaccination is required to enter Syria from Europe or North America.
The following items may however prove useful: antibiotics, intestinal antiseptic, anti-diarrhoea medication, mosquito repellent and a high SPF sun block cream (the sun is extremely strong in the desert).
Syrian chemists are however well stocked for the most part.
Travel insurance is advisable (automatically provided by some bank cards).
The following websites will help you prepare your journey:
www.cafe-syria.com: independent website devoted to Syria.
www.syria-today.com: same as above but with an economic slant.
www.damascus-online.com: devoted to Syrian culture.
www.syriatourism.org: official website of Syrian tourist board.