The Perfect Season to Visit Syria

The best time of year to go to Syria is spring (March to May) when the weather is mild and wildflowers are in bloom. In Damascus, the winter rains will have cleared the haze and swollen the rivers, so the wooden norias (waterwheels) in Hama will be turning and fresh, clean water flowing through the city.

Autumn (September to November) is the next-best choice, between the intense heat of summer and the cloud of winter. If you go in summer (June to August), don’t be caught without a hat, sunscreen and water bottle, especially if you’re going to Palmyra or the northeast. Coastal areas such as Lattakia can get extremely humid, while the interiors will be very hot and dry. Winter can also be rather unpleasant. The winter rains can make sightseeing difficult, but if you’re lucky, a blanket of snow may cover Damascus and the high altitudes. Bear in mind that the cheaper hotels may not have heating.

If you are traveling during school holidays, you should book accommodation well in advance. Traveling in the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan may also require a bit more planning: some cafes and restaurants close during the day, and some offices operate reduced and erratic hours. Ramadan nights, particularly during the final three days of the Eid Ul-Fitr can be particularly lively.

Syria’s historic sites rival those of its Middle Eastern neighbors; it also lays claim to the oldest continuously occupied city (Damascus vies for the title with Aleppo), the spunkiest Crusader castle (Crac des Chevaliers) and the best preserved Roman theater (in Bosra).