When to Go
Damascus has a typical Mediterranean climate. Summers (June to August) are hot and dry while the winter months (December to February) are cold and wet. The best time to visit Damascus is spring, although autumn is a good alternative. Avoid booking your trip during Easter or any of the major Islamic holidays.
Airline passengers fly into Damascus International Airport, which is located 16 miles (26 km) southeast of the city center. By train, you'll arrive at either Khaddam Station (southwest of the city center) or Hejaz Station. Damascus has two main bus stations. Harasta terminal services northern destinations, while Al-Samariyeh terminal services southern destinations, including Beirut and Amman.
The easiest way to get around the city is by taxi. Taxi meters don't usually work, so make sure you negotiate a price with the driver before getting in. As of 2009, rides within the city cost about S£25 ($0.50) while cross town rides cost twice as much. The city's rush hour is between 4 and 6 p.m.; you'll be hard pressed to find an empty taxi on weekdays. You can also bike around Damascus.
Old Damascus itself is the city's most intriguing sight. Check out the Sayyidah Ruqayya Mosque and old Damascene houses within the city walls. Marvel at the mosaics of the Umayyad Mosque or visit the Tomb of Saladin.
Browse Syrian handicrafts on Straight Street or take in the sights, sounds and smells of Souq Al-Hamidiyya. Sample ethnic cuisine at the Old City Restaurant, or sit down for a bout of traditional storytelling at Al-Nawfara coffeehouse.
Article Written By Heather Carreiro
Heather Carreiro is a certified English teacher who has been writing since 2008. The editor of Matador Abroad, her work has appeared online at BootsnAll, Matador Network, GoNOMAD, Journey Beyond Travel and Expat Women. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics and Middle Eastern studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is pursuing a Master of Arts in English at Bridgewater State University.