Syria has visible the imprint of countless civilisations and offers the cultural tourist a plethora of artistic and architectural treats: the wall-paintings of Dura Europos, the expansive splendour of Roman Palmyra, the grandeur and artistry of the Ummayad Mosque, the ghostly remains of the Byzantine ‘Dead Cities’. It is also a country of great beauty, friendly people and excellent food.
Day 1 Arrive in Damascus. Stay in Damascus
Day 2 Spend the morning in Damascus. Visit the archaeological museum and the Ummayad Mosque. Drive to east to the Roman city of Palmyra, home of Queen Zenobia. Stay in Palmyra in a hotel in the midst of the ruins.
Day 3 Up early to enjoy the ruins in solitude. Spend the day exploring the colonnaded streets of the town and the sanctuary of Bel. In the afternoon take a trip out to the funerary towers just to the south of Palmyra. Stay in Palmyra.
Day 4 Drive east to the Euphrates. Picnic on the way at Qasr al-Heir al Sharqi, an 8th century palace. Stay on the Euphrates at Deir ez-Zur.
Day 5 Follow the Euphrates south to visit Dura Europos, a ruined Roman city on the Euphrates, and Mari, the mud-brick ruins of an ancient Mesopotamian city. Stay in Deir ez-Zur.
Day 6 Drive west to Aleppo, stopping for lunch at the Roman fortress in the desert at Rasafa. Stay in Aleppo.
Day 7 Spend the day in and around Aleppo. Visit the souk, the citadel and take a short trip out to the Church of St Simeon Stylites. Stay in Aleppo
Day 8 Day trip to visit the Byzantine ‘Dead Cities’, dotted around the olive groves to the south of Aleppo, and the remains of Roman Apamea. Stay in Aleppo.
Day 9 Drive to Damascus via Krak des Chevaliers, the famous Crusader castle. Stay in Damascus.
Day 10 Visit the old Damascene houses and the souk. Depart from Damascus.