Syria Roundtrip 1530 , 8 Days

Damascus is welcoming you again! Syria has seen some turbulent years recently with a war raging in the country. But now it is slowly going back to peaceful life and opening for tourists again. On this tour, we will explore the country’s rich ancient history and cultural heritage that spans thousands of years. We will visit ancient cities dating back to the earliest Mesopotamian civilisation and learn more about the Roman and Byzantine influence in the region. Syria is also home to some of the oldest Christian communities in the world. The presence of Christianity in Syria dates back to the earliest years of the faith, and we will have the chance to visit some remarkable churches and monasteries in the region. The arrival of Islam in the country brought about a new era in Syria’s cultural and architectural development. Some of the most prominent examples of Islamic cultural heritage can nowadays be seen in the old town of Damascus, the magnificent Umayyad Mosque in Damascus and the Great Mosque of Aleppo.

Highlights:
♦ Damascus - the capital of Syria and one of the oldest cities in the Middle East
♦ Maaloula - one of the few places in the world where Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus Christ, is still used in daily life
♦ Bosra - home to one of the most significant and impressive Roman theatres in the Middle East
♦ Palmyra - an oasis in the Syrian desert which contains the monumental ruins of a great city that was one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world

View Route Map

Itinerary:

Day 1. Arrival in Beirut
Arrival at Beirut International Airport and transfer to your hotel for overnight.-/-/-

Day 2. Beirut - Damascus
We are starting our day early and heading to the Syrian border. After passing through customs and immigration, we will continue towards the capital city of Damascus. In the afternoon, we will explore the highlights of the city, starting with the charming old town, where we will learn more about the traditional Damascene houses with distinctive courtyard architecture. Some houses have been converted into museums, showcasing the lifestyle and crafts of the past, like the Azem Palace. Another unmissable spot here is the Umayyad Mosque, which dates back to the early 8th century and is a unique masterpiece of Islamic architecture. We will also visit the Mausoleum of Saladin - the great leader who liberated Jerusalem from the Crusaders, the Chapel of St. Ananias and the legendary Street Called Straight mentioned in the Bible. We will also have some time to wander around the bustling bazaars and soak in their atmosphere. Overnight in a hotel in Damascus. B/-/-

Day 3. Damascus - Ezra’a - Bosra - Damascus
Today, we are heading south to the towns of Ezra and Bosra. Our first stop, the town of Ezra, is renowned for having one of the oldest functioning churches, the Greek Orthodox church of Saint George (Mar Girgis), which was build in 515 AD. It is believed that the relics of St.George were kept here before being moved to Lod, Israel, where they are to this day. After that we will continue to the ancient city of Bosra, known for its rich Roman heritage. The Roman Theater is known to be one of the best-preserved Roman theaters in the world. The site encompasses also other well-preserved ruins, including a cathedral, a citadel, and city walls. Most of the buildings here were constructed with black basalt stone, which gives the city its characteristic look and makes it different that other Roman cities you might have seen in other parts of the world. In the afternoon, we will return back to our hotel in Damascus. B/-/-

Day 4. Damascus - Maaloula - Sednaya - Homs City Tour - Aleppo
Today we will explore some of the Christian heritage of Syria. Our first stop of the day will be Convent of Our Lady of Sednaya, some 40 km. north of Damascus. According to tradition, the monastery was founded by the Byzantine emperor Justinian I in the 6th century AD., after he had two visions of Virgin Mary, who instructed him to build a church at this place. The monastery is home to a miracoulous icon of St.Mary, believed to have been painted by St.Luka himself. Over time, many miracles have been attributed to this icon and monastery has become a place of pilgrimate for Christians from all over the world, largely due to this icon. Afetrwards, we will continue to the town of Maaloula - one of the few places in the world where Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus Christ, is still used in daily life. Here we will visit the St Sergios & Bacchos Monastery, dedicated to the 4-th century Syrian martyrs. The church was heavily damaged during the recent conflict in Syria and some of the most important icons disappeared. Nowadays, the church is partly renovated and copies of the original icons are displayed. We will then continue to the Convent of Saint Thecla in Maaloula. According to the legend, St. Thecla was one of the first followers of St.Paul. While trying to escape from Roman persecution, she reached the town of Maaloula, where her way was blocked by high rocks. After she prayed to God, however, the rocks split and allowed her to escape. She spent the rest of her life living in a cave nearby, where the monastery is located nowadays. In Homs, we will visit another church of great significance, the Saint Mary Church of the Holy Belt. It is believed that it houses parts of Virgin Mary’s belt, which she gave to Thomas the Apostle during her assumption to Heaven. In the early evening, we will arrive in Aleppo, where we will spend the night. B/-/-

Day 5. Aleppo City Tour
Today is dedicated to exploring the city of Aleppo - one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Our tour starts with a visit to the Citadel of Aleppo - a historic fortress located in the center of the old city. The site of the Citadel has been inhabited since at least the 3rd millennium BCE. Over the centuries, various civilizations, including the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Arabs, have influenced its construction and use. We will then continue with a walk through the city’s souq, which is a testament to the important role that the city once had as a vital hub for trade and commerce, connecting merchants from various regions. Unfortunately, the area witnessed intense fighting and sustained damage during the conflict,, leading to the destruction of many buildings and structures. Here you will have the chance to buy authentic Aleppo soap, made of 100% natural ingredients. Another important site, which was heavily damaged at that time was the Great Mosque of Aleppo, believed to be home to the remains of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. Both of them are revered both in Christianity and Islam and it was not uncommon to see followers of both religion coming to the mosque to pay homage to them. The mosque is currently undergiong renovation and hopefully will be open for visitors soon (December 2023). B/-/-

Day 6. Aleppo - Hama- Crac des Chevaliers
Today we are heading back south. Our first stop for the day will be the town of Hama, situated along the banks of the Orontes Rive. One of the most iconic features of Hama is its ancient wooden waterwheels, known as norias. These large wheels were traditionally used to lift water from the Orontes River to supply it to the city's aqueducts and irrigation channels. The norias have been a symbol of Hama for centuries. We will then continue to the medieval fortress of Crac des Chevaliers. It is one of the most well-preserved and formidable castles from the Crusader period, built in the 11th century by the Knights Hospitaller. The castle played a significant role during the Crusades, serving as a military headquarters and a residence for the Knights Hospitaller. Its strategic location made it a formidable stronghold in the region.Over the centuries, the castle changed hands between various powers, including the Mamluks and the Ottomans and underwent several renovations and modifications. In the late afternoon, we will arrive in the city of Homs, where we will spend the night. B/-/-

Day 7. Homs -Palmyra - Damascus - Beirut (around 10 pm). Overnight in Beirut
Today we have a long day of travelling ahead of us. Starting early in the morning, we will drive east to the ancient city of Palmyra - a highlight of our tour to Syria. Palmyra is renowned for its well-preserved ruins from the time it was a vital caravan oasis along the Silk Road. Some of the main attractions include the Temple of Bel, the Arch of Triumph, the Agora, and the Valley of the Tombs. Althoug a big part of the city was destroyed during the conflict, what remains still reflects the grandeur of the city during its heyday. We will then continue our drive towards the border and cross back into Lebanon. Overnight in Beirut. B/-/-

*Please note it is possible that you arrive very late in the evening in Beirut. Make sure your flight is NOT very early in the morning on day 8 to be sure you will be able to arrive at the airport on time. 

Day 8. Departure
Transfer to airport for departure. B/-/-

Lebanon Extension
Day 8. Beirut - Jeita Grotto - Byblos - Beirut
We start our day with a short city tour of the Lebanese capital. We will visit the National Museum, the beautiful old Beirut City Center and the Pigeon Rocks - natural rock formations just off the coast of Beirut, which have become a symbol of Lebanon in recent years. We will then drive north to Jeita Grotto - a system of limestone caves and tunnels, which boast every shape and size of stalactite and stalagmite. We will visit both of the upper and lower gallery and have the chance to take a boat ride on the underground lake. Our last stop will be the city of Byblos - one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world with a history dating back to over 7,000 years ago. Here we will see the ruins of the Phoenician city and the 12-th century Crusader castle. We will then have some free time to wander around vibrant souks, where you can shop for traditional Lebanese crafts, souvenirs, and local products. B/-/-

Day 9. Beirut - Baalbek - Ksara - Beirut
After breakfast at the hotel, we will drive through the Beqaa-Valley - one of the oldest and most beautiful wine-producing regions of the world. Here we will visit the famous Ksara winery, known for producing exquisite wines and arak (a Middle Eastern highly alcoholic drink). After that we continue towards the ancient Phoenician city of Baalbek, also known as Heliopolis during the Hellenistic period. The city is home to one of the most mysterious ruins of the Roman Empire - The Temple of Jupiter, built to be the largest temple in the empire. After exploring the ruins, we head will head back to Beirut for overnight. B/-/

Day 10. Departure
Transfer to Beirut Airport for departure.


Price Includes:
7 overnights in standard hotels with breakfast
all transport according to the itinerary in AC coach
English speaking local guide
English speaking Penguin tour leader (at min. 8 p)
meals according to the itinerary (B-breakfast,L-lunch,D-dinner)
entrance fees

Not Included:
flight tickets
visa to Syria - to be paid at the border (depending on nationality: 80 – 180 USD)
insurance
drinks and meals not mentioned
tips
personal expenses

Additional Services:
Lebanon extension price pp. 3 days/2nights: 4-5 p: 330 EUR (Single room supplement: 75 EUR) 6-8 p: 300 EUR (Single room supplement: 75 EUR)


Gallery


Syria Roundtrip (Rated 4.65 / 5 Based on 184 Reviews.)
Price
1530 EUR
Duration
8 Days
Single Supplement
320 EUR
Status
Guaranteed departure
Price
1530 EUR
Duration
8 Days
Single Supplement
320 EUR
Status
Open for booking

Currency fluctuations might cause correction of price at any time.

Group Size
6-12
Reservation System Code
SYRUND
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