Young Pioneer Tours

Explore Syria Independent Tour – 2024 and 2025

Standard Independent Tour to the Syrian Arab Republic

Young Pioneer Tours are now offering independent tours to Syria throughout the entire year.

Beginning and ending in Lebanon’s vibrant capital, Beirut, this tour is your opportunity to witness Syria at a unique point in its history. We know you will fall in love with this beautiful country like we did, and want to give you the option to visit on dates most compatible with your schedule.

Because this is an independent tour, we can make modifications to the itinerary should there be anything you’d like to change. For logistical reasons and factors out of our control, the itinerary is subject to very slight changes, but we will ensure you have a wonderful time in Syria.


Obtaining a Syrian visa is easier than most would expect. All we need from you are a few documents, and we will take care of the rest. For more details, visit our “How to get a visa for Syria” page.

If you are looking for a group tour to the county then check out our Syrian Group Tours page.

Tour Itinerary – 8 days, 7 nights

Day 1 – Beirut, Lebanon Damascus, Syria


  • Pickup by your driver at your named time and location in Beirut (or Amman, Jordan for an extra fee), and begin the drive to Syria.
  • Drive towards the Syrian border, which takes roughly two hours.
  • Cross the border, and stop at duty free in no man’s land for some of the cheapest alcohol and other products you’ve ever experienced. Whether or not you plan to buy, this is extremely interesting just to see what people are taking across the border. You can purchase a SIM card here if you’d like.
  • The border crossing usually takes 1-2 hours, with the border guards being very friendly.


  • Once you’ve cleared Syrian customs, you will continue onward to Damascus, which will take about an hour.
  • After checking into your hotel in old Damascus, you will stop for lunch. You have not truly visited Damascus unless you have tried their shawarma, or falafel if you are a vegetarian.
  • Lunch will be followed by a one-hour walking tour of the old part of Damascus with our first stop being the Ananias Church – Damascus’ oldest church which happens to be underground, and the Omayad Mosque – the main mosque located in the center of the city.
  • You will then explore the Old Town’s bazaar and shopping areas. This is a great spot for sampling local ice cream and some of the best street food in the Arab world. Shisha is widely available here as well.
  • You will then head to Monalisa for dinner. This is one of the most famous and best restaurants in Damascus – this is a true feast and for those inclined, you will be able to try local Arak as well as Syrian Wine.
  • After dinner, you can choose to watch a football match, visit the bars of Old Damascus, or simply return to your comfortable hotel to relax.
  • Overnight at hotel in Damascus.

Day 2 – Damascus


  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • After breakfast, you start heading towards the outskirts of the city and will get your first glimpses of the destruction caused by the recent conflict.
  • October War Panorama – dedicated to the war against Israel, this is one of the most unique museums in the country. It was built with assistance from North Korea!
  • A trip to a museum built with Korean assistance cannot be complete without following up with a trip to Kim Il Sung Park. Syria and the North Korea have had a long history of friendship, and recently the Syrian government decided to dedicate a park to the founding leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Traveling doesn’t get much more YPT than this!
  • You will then visit a shop which will satisfy all your Syrian souvenir desires: flags, drip, magnets, key chains, and of course everything related to President Assad.


  • The day continues with a visit to the National Museum.
  • Following this, you will go on a full city tour of Damascus which includes all the main churches, mosques, and places of historical interest.
  • Depending on availability, you have the option of attending a performance by the Syrian Wind Orchestra at the newly reopened Syrian Opera House. Very few foreigners get to have this unique experience. If the Opera is unavailable, or if you are not interested, you can attend a classic Syrian dance performance.
  • You’ll be hungry after attending the performance, so you will head over to Naranj Restaurant, which has shisha available if you are interested.
  • Following dinner, you will go next door to our favorite bar in both Damascus and the world. We won’t spoil the surprise by giving away its quirks, but rest assured it is well worth it.
  • Overnight at hotel.

Day 3 – Damascus – Maaloula – Homs – Aleppo


  • Breakfast at hotel.
  • Today will be a long day on the road, since the main route between Damascus and Aleppo runs very close to areas controlled by the Al Nusra Front, so you’ll be going on a more lengthy but also more scenic route.
  • The first stop of the day will be Maaloula, a small Christian town that was nearly obliterated by ISIS in 2014.
  • You will go see the Greek Catholic Church that has largely been rebuilt since its destruction during the war.
  • This town is one of the last in the world where people speak the Aramaic language – the same language Jesus spoke, and it’s possible to hear the Lord’s prayer being spoken using it.
  • Then you will walk through a canyon to the St. Sergious and Bakhous Monastery where you’ll have the chance to meet nuns who were kidnapped and held hostage for several years.
  • This is also a great place to stop for a coffee, snack, or even to buy wine produced by the Christians of the area (and yes, they offer free samples).
  • Then you will walk through a canyon to the St. Sergious and Bakhous Monastery where you’ll have the chance to meet nuns who were kidnapped and held hostage for several years.


  • The next stop on the way to Aleppo is Homs.
  • The first stop in Homs is the St. Mary Church of the Holy Belt, the Seat of the Syriac Orthodox Church, where the Virgin Mary’s belt was kept until shortly before the war. Fortunately the belt had already been removed by the time the church was looted and all of its icons and artwork got burned or stolen.
  • You will have your first chance at the Safir Hotel properly explore the destruction that is now commonplace in Syria. Until 2014, it was a 4-star hotel that accommodated many international guests. Now it is a shell filled with rubble. Among the rubble, you will find “do not disturb” signs, menus, folders of guest information, time sheets, crockery, and all sorts of other hotel items.
  • Visit the grave of Frans van de Lugt – a Dutch Jesuit priest who established a community center and farm in Homs where he worked with the homeless, disabled, sick, and hungry. He is also notable for working towards harmony between Christians and Muslims. Greatly respected by locals, he was shot dead in the garden in 2014 by members of the Al-Nusra Front. The garden is now a memorial to him and his honorable work.
  • The drive to Aleppo then continues, and you will arrive in the late afternoon.
  • On arrival, you will stop at the best falafel and kebab restaurant in the city before checking into the centrally-located Aleppo Palace Hotel.
  • After a quick freshening-up, you will begin an evening tour of Aleppo.
  • For dinner, you will go to the famous Cordoba Restaurant, which is walking distance from the hotel. Popular favorites include the Aleppo Kebab and lamb testicles for the truly adventurous.
  • After dinner, you can choose to return to your hotel, or you can visit the only bar in Aleppo: Cheers Bar. Being an independent tour, you may also ask your guide to take you anywhere else people hang out.
  • Overnight in Aleppo.

Day 4 Aleppo


  • Breakfast at hotel.
  • Aleppo was arguably one of the worst affected cities during the Syrian war. Here you’ll get the chance to see some of the terrible destruction as well as the opportunity to witness the early stages of rebuilding that Syrians are now partaking as they slowly return to their homes.
  • Your first stop of the day will be the famous Aleppo Citadel, or Aleppo Castle. This is a truly amazing experience and you will spend a few hours exploring here. During the Syrian Crisis army troops were blockaded in the citadel for over a year and you will still see bullets strewn around.
  • When you hit the summit, you can take some amazing pictures of Aleppo City before exiting by VIP secret passage, something only YPT can offer!


  • You will have lunch at the imaginatively titled Citadel Cafe, where you get some tea with Syrian sandwiches called muhammara kashkawan. This is the perfect place to engage in some people-watching.
  • A flourishing metropolis since the 3rd millennium BC, Aleppo has been contending with Damascus for the title of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited city. This old city has some of the most beautiful souks in the Middle East. Visiting the formerly bustling souks is not only one of the highlights, but also probably the saddest part of visiting Aleppo. The souks here were previously the biggest and most profitable in the Arab world, but now lie in ruins. Here you will witness the slow rebirth after a period of painful destruction.
  • While visiting the souks, you will visit a Syrian institution in the Aleppo Soap Company where they have making soap the same way for 800 years, stopping only during the years the company was under ISIS control. Not only will you get to see how the soap is made, but you will also get the chance to buy some – they make excellent gifts and souvenirs.
  • The next stop is another sober highlight featuring true living history – the oldest hotel in Syria: Baron Hotel. Though not currently operational, it is still worth a visit. Previous guests have included Lawrence of Arabia and Agatha Christie among countless others. The manager here is very open to sharing his story, which includes surviving an attack while drinking on the balcony.
  • You will then experience the Syrian sunset at one of our secret spots overlooking Aleppo before heading back to the Aleppo Citadel area for dinner.

Overnight at Aleppo Palace Hotel.

Day 5 Aleppo Hama Almishtaya


  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Before departing Aleppo, you’ll stop at the “I Love Aleppo” sign for a photo op before heading over to the Presidential Park. This is one of the few places where you will see a bust of the elder Hafez al-Assad, father of the current President Bashar al-Assad.
  • You can expect a warm welcome when you enter the houses, with singing and tea with your hosts.


  • You will stop in Hama City, which is famous for its water wheels. You will have lunch down by the riverside, giving you another great opportunity to witness everyday Syrian life.
  • After lunch, you will visit yet another highlight of Syria: Krak des Chevaliers. This former castle was built for Christians to house them on their way to the crusades. In addition to its rich and ancient history, it also boasts a darker contemporary one, with our guide being held hostage and tortured by Al Nusra during its occupation.
  • This highlight is followed by yet another highlight: the nearby Christian village of Almishtaya. After checking into your quaint hotel, you will head out for the night.
  • Dinner at Le Monde, after which you can either go back to the hotel, or further explore the nightlife.
  • A short drive from here is the village of Marmarita and the trendy Couples Bar. The trendy kids of the town hang out here. If you’re a trendy kid, you can end up dancing with them.
  • Overnight in Almishtaya

Day 6 Almishtaya – Palmyra – Damascus


  • Breakfast at hotel.
  • Visit Palmyra, one of Syria’s most famous sites. Once a lush city on the Silk Road, Palmyra was even briefly its own empire in the 3rd Century, stretching from Turkey to Egypt. Although the old city was ruined, it was famously in spectacular condition and exceptionally well preserved. Sadly, it fell under the control of ISIS in 2015, and a lot of the buildings were brought to the ground.
  • Here you will visit the formerly unreachable ancient sites while enjoying a picnic lunch.


  • After lunch, the long drive back to Damascus begins. You will stop on the way for dinner of lamb ribs, also known as Kastalita.
  • Check back into hotel in Damascus.
  • Overnight in Damascus

Day 7 – Damascus – Busra – Damascus


  • Breakfast in hotel
  • Today will involve a lot of driving, but the ends will certainly justify the means as you visit the seldom seen Busra. This is on the way to the Golan Heights, as well as Jordan. You will be able to stop for numerous picture opportunities.


  • Once you arrive at Busra, you will first visit the truly amazing Busra Colosseum, the most complete Roman amphitheater in the world.
  • There is still lots to see in this old Roman town, such as the oldest Mosque in Syria, but there has been much looting and there are hawkers trying to sell “treasure.”
  • Perhaps most interestingly, Bosra, or Busra lies outside of the control of the Syrian government, with the area protected by local militias. While not at war with the government, this is one of the only places you will see the green rebel Syrian flag.
  • You will have a late lunch, but it is very much worth it, being a classic Arabic tent feast followed by lots of dancing.
  • Long drive back to Damascus.
  • You will head for tea or drinks at the home of Professor Abdul Homsi, the most famous tour guide in Syria. He not only has very interesting views, but was also the guide for President Carter, as well as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, the latter of which even gave him a kiss!
  • You will then have your last dinner in Syria before either heading back to the hotel. If you’d like, you can also experience an expensive night club, or have your guide take you somewhere else.
  • Overnight in Damascus

Day 8 – Damascus – Beirut, Lebanon


  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Last chance to do some last minute exploring of Damascus, including a stop at the iconic “I love Damascus” sign and a drive past and stop at the Presidential Palace.
  • You will also stop at some special souvenir shops, where you can buy everything from a national football jersey, to Assad posters.
  • Then you’ll head back towards the Lebanese border. Times are flexible to ensure you get back to Beirut in time if you have a flight to catch.
  • Tour concludes – your driver can drop you off either at the airport or a hotel in Beirut.


  • Transportation to and from Beirut
  • All transportation in Syria in a private, modern, and air-conditioned car
  • Accommodation and breakfast for each day
  • Entrance fees for sites
  • Local English-speaking tour guide
  • One large bottle of water per person per day
  • Security clearance (visa approval)
  • Departure tax
  • Special permission to visit Palmyra


  • International flights to and from Beirut
  • Tips (although not compulsory, it is always greatly appreciated)
  • Lunch, dinner, and drinks
  • Visa fee at the border (depends on your nationality and is subject to change, but should be between US$50 and $200)
  • Departure tax (Approximately US$5, paid at the border)
  • Hammam (Approximately US$10 per person)