Having survived a brutal civil war that saw ISIS literally on their doorsteps, Damascus has slowly recovered to a place that is welcoming tourists again.
Things might not be exactly back to normal yet, with it still occasionally (and recently) getting bombed, but that does not take away from the wonder of the city. This is our Damascus Guide.
Damascus Guide – How to get there
As the capital of the country generally speaking all roads lead here. The main road of course comes from Beirut, with that journey taking just 4 hours, when it is not snowing at least. The other main international border is through Jordan, which offers a chance to stop at Bosra.
There is an international airport in Damascus with routes to much of the Middle-East. This was of course recently bombed and generally speaking we at least stick to the roads.
Essential things to see in Damascus
There is a huge array of things to see and do in Damascus, so we have split into must see, as well as the slightly more obscure off the beaten track sites that are more to a Pioneer’s taste.
Major Sites in Damascus
- Damascus Umayyad Mosque
- Al Azem Pause
- Saladin Mausoleum
- Damascus Centre
- National Museum of Damascus
So, while they are the most see sites of Damascus, the following is our list of slightly more off the wall and interesting things to do in Damascus.
Watch the Syrian Wind Orchestra – A truly amazing spectacle that while not on offer throughout the year is a great choice when it is available. You can read about it here
October War Panorama – It was built by North Korea and has many parallels with museums that you see within the DPRK
See the latest bomb site in Damascus – No matter what is thrown at Syria they still carry on and this includes air strikes from Israel and the United States. These regularly happen in Damascus and this means they can be seen.
Watch a football match in Damascus – Syria is pretty good at football, so this is an added extra that we offer on a number of our tours. And if you can’t see a match why not just buy a shirt ?
Eating in Damascus Guide
The best food and drink of Syria can be found in Damascus and the best of the best in Damascus is in the Old Town. We have therefore kept our best Damascus restaurants to those situated around the old town.
Best restaurants in Old Damascus
Naranj Restaurant – Heart of the old city with a great Syrian menu and lots of Arak.
Chevalier Restaurant –Upcale local restaurant that is one of the oder establishments in Old Damascus.
Al Sediq – A little hard to find, but worth walking through the cobble streets to find. Great atmosphere and welcoming owners.
Aura By Dina – New, cool, pricey and hipster, this represents the New Old Damascus.
Street Food Damascus
I’ll undoubtedly do a proper street food on my street food blog, but for now I will list the street foods that you need to try in Damascus, rather than specify establishments.
- Shawarma in Damascus
- Hamburgers in Damascus
- Damascus ice-cream –
- Street drinking in Damascus .
Damascus Guide to the best bars in the city
Despite being Muslim drinking in Syria is great and drinking in Damascus is just amazing. Truly eclectic bar scene featuring elegant places, all the way down to girly bars and street vendors selling cocktails.
Best Bar in Damascus – Barber Shop – My favorite bar, which you can read about here. Speakeasy setting with an amazing toilet!
Copper Cocktail Bar. – The place to go for young people enjoying expensive, but good cocktails.
Abu George Bar – An Irish bar in Damascus? Sign me up….Also a great place to watch sport.
The Piano Bar – A great upscale place fr ambience on a date rather than messing it up with the lads. A nice after diner sundown place.
Ahla Talleh – A restaurant that has a great range of Arak, the local beverage, so one we give big kudos to.
Damascus Guide to Hotels
Damascus has a hotel to fit every budget, although the top end tend to be too expensive, while the cheaper ones are not great and too much for the money.
This leaves the perfect middle ground as the middle, such as boutique hotels. On all YPT tours we stay in the middle ground of the hotel world.
Beit Al-Mamlouka hotel’ -Really old hotel and our favorite. The very definition of a boutique hotel. Nice owners and perfect location.
Sheraton Damascus – Is it a real Sheraton? We do not know, but it looks the part.
Al Wali Hotel – Great central location and the best hotel in the lower priced category in Damascus.
Of course the city does have many other hotels, but the best place for many reasons is in the Old Town, which is why our Damascus Guide has concentrated on here.
And that is the YPT Guide to Damascus, your gateway to traveling around and sam-ling the wonder that is Syria.
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