The first time I ever went to Syria was actually during Christmas, in 2018.
The peculiarity of that Christmas was that it was the first time since the beginning of the war in 2011, that the festivity was celebrated in the streets of Damascus.
Home to a large Christian population, the souqs and the old city of Damascus were absolutely packed, and the Christian district was beautifully decorated with lights, while the Muslim community wanted to also be part of the event.
It was beautiful, something unseen in the Middle East, and that’s why I decided to schedule one tour to experience the magic of Damascus during Christmas.
Unlike other longer group expeditions, this is a 5-day tour that will be composed of maximum 6 people, and no tour leader will attend, only the local guide.
December 24th to 28th
Note that we always keep the itinerary flexible, and it may be subject to change, depending on the political situation.
Day 1 – Arrival in Damascus (from Beirut)
Day 2 – Damascus
Day 3 – Maaloula, and Aleppo
Day 4 – Aleppo, Homs, Damascus
Day 5 – Damascus and departure
The tour will start at 8am in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, from where we will drive towards the Syrian border and Damascus.
The whole journey takes around 3-4 hours, with border crossing included.
Once in Damascus, we will check in at our hotel, followed by a traditional lunch and a stroll around the old city, to experience and enjoy Christmas eve in Damascus.
With more than 5000 years of history, Damascus might easily be the oldest capital in the world, a city absolutely packed with historical sites, as well as lively souks and bazaars.
We will spend the entire day exploring the city’s most well-kept secrets, as well as landmarks such as the Umayyad Mosque (where Yahya is buried, John the Baptist for Christians) and Sayyidah Ruqayya Mosque, one of the most important shrines for Shia people.
As always, we will be visiting the city at our own pace, with plenty of time for photography and local interactions.
Overnight in Damascus.
On day 3, we will drive to Aleppo, first stopping in Maaloula, one of the most important Christian towns in the Middle East, and one of the very few places in the world where people still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus.
Once occupied by Al-Nusra, Maaloula was largely destroyed due to the recent war, but its most important churches and monasteries have been rebuilt, and we will visit two of them, where we might get the chance to meet nuns who were kidnapped and held as hostages for three months.
After Maaloula, we will head towards Aleppo, for an afternoon/evening visit.
Overnight in Aleppo.
In the morning, we will visit Aleppo.
Once the most populated city in Syria, and one of the most prominent cities in the Middle East, Aleppo was one of the most affected cities by the Syrian war.
Life, however, is coming back to Aleppo, visible in the ongoing reconstruction and all the people who are slowly returning to their beautiful home city.
During our visit, we will visit the Citadel of Aleppo – the last Syrian Army stronghold – as well as the historical souk.
After lunch, we will head back to Damascus, stopping in Homs.
Homs was, by far, the most affected city by the Syrian war, today mostly composed of destroyed buildings and rubble. Honestly, there’s not much left to see in Homs nowadays but we will do a quick visit.
Overnight in Damascus.
After breakfast, we will visit the remaining touristic places in Damascus, including the new part of town, as well as do any necessary shopping.
Transfer to Beirut and end of the tour.
Transfer to and from Beirut
4 nights of accommodation (twin shared) in hotels mentioned in FAQ
Security clearance (needed for the visa)
Private transportation and driver around Syria
English-speaking knowledgeable Syrian guide
Entrance fees to the places listed in the itinerary
International flights to Beirut
Lunch & dinner
Alcoholic drinks or any extra drink
Single supplement. Having your own private room costs 200€
December 24th to 28th
These are the hotels where we always stay but note that once in a while, they might be subject to availability.
Price of the tour includes accommodation in a twin room.
If you are a solo traveler, you will be sharing the room with another like-minded traveler from the group. We always try to group people of same gender and age together but note that this won’t always be the case. Moreover, in the hypothetical case there weren’t perfect pairs, one of the rooms would be a triple room.
If you wanted to have your own single room, you will have to pay an additional €200.
Maximum of 6-7 people.
In order to come to Syria, you must first obtain a security clearance (Letter of Invitation). We will take care of that, so you don’t need to visit the embassy.
Price varies depending on nationality:
The visa fee is paid at the border, to the respective authorities.
All nationalities, and that includes US passport holders.
Syria started issuing visas for Americans in March 2023, so US citizens are welcome to join too.
The trip starts and ends in Beirut, and transfer to and from Damascus is included in the price.
Beirut International Airport (BEY) has plenty of connections with anywhere in the Middle East and Europe.
If coming from Europe, common stopovers include Istanbul (either Pegasus or Turkish), Frankfurt (Lufthansa), or Paris (Air France).
If coming from the American continent or Australia, Doha (Qatar Airways) or Dubai (Emirates) are also worth checking.
As of today, the areas which are controlled by the Government (the ones we visit) are perfectly safe.
We’d never take a group of travelers to a risky area.
Moreover, know that our team in Syria is continually monitoring the area and has the latest security updates.
For more information: Is Syria safe?
In order to secure your spot on the tour, we require a deposit.
Then, the remaining amount should be paid upon arrival in Damascus in cash, in USD.
Methods of payment will be shared upon booking your spot.
Please refer to our Terms & Conditions.