Transport facilities in Syria are quite inexpensive, and you can choose from buses, taxis and trains and even domestic flights which usually operate as per schedule. You can choose to be part of a Syria tour in and around the destination of your choice, or you can rent a car and explore the city or town yourself. Trains are a preferred mode of travel, as there plenty of trains connecting most cities. To book your private car or bus in Syria you may visit www.greenpathtransfers.com.
If you're travelling short distances like say from the hotel to the bazaar or a tourist attraction in a neighbouring city, a chartered taxi is your best bet - you can rent them for a day or go on metered short trips.
This Syria Transportation Guide will tell you all you need to know about travelling to and around Syria. Use our Syria Destination Guide or click on our Syria Tours page if you want to know more about travelling throughout Syria and what there is to see and do whilst there. For more local information, our Aleppo Transport Guide or Damascus Transport Guide can help you out!
There are three international airports in Syria - Damascus International Airport (DAM), Aleppo International Airport (ALP) and Lattakia International Airport, Syria's main seaport. The first two have flights served by British Airlines and Syrian Arab Airlines to Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. The third, however, operates flights only to and from Egypt (Cairo). Depending on your itinerary, you can choose to land and leave from either of these airports.
There are overlapping flights to almost the same destinations from both DAM and ALP. Many European airlines like Lufthansa, British Airways and Aeroflot operate flights to DAM. If you're looking for cheap or reduced airfare, your choices are Czech Airlines, Cyprus Air, Royal Jordanian or Maley. The only connection to the US is Conviasa, which operates a non-stop flight from Damascus to Caracas.
For transport from the airport to the city (or from the city to the airport), we recommend Green Path Transfers, who offer eco-friendly airport transfers in hundreds of destinations around the world, including Damascus and Aleppo.
Visit our partner Air Valid for Airline Reviews and Information about Syria.
You can take a train from either Tehran or Istanbul: one connects Tehran-Aleppo-Damascus, while the other connects Istanbul-Aleppo. In fact, flying to Istanbul and then going on a train journey to either Damascus or Aleppo is a relatively inexpensive option (£200 return flights between UK and Istanbul). It'll take you roughly 36 hours, but the journey is not taxing. All trains to Syria from Istanbul are jointly run by TTCD (Turkey) and CFS (Syria) and are the cheapest way to travel to Syria from Europe.
If you're travelling overnight or long distance, you have sleepers, so you can spend your journey mostly horizontal and remain fresh and alert for your exploratory daytrips. All trains are air-conditioned, which is quite a blessing, as the heat can get to you.
If you're coming to Syria from Lebanon, you can opt for service taxis, which follow a fixed route between bus stations. These are convenient and the preferred way to reach the Syrian cities of Damascus, Aleppo, Tartus, Homs and others. You can also share a service taxi from Beirut to Damascus, which will roughly cost you around $10 to Damascus and around $20 to Aleppo. If you're coming from Turkey, the rate would be around 60$ from Gaziantep Airport in Turkey to Damascus.
Yellow taxis are a good mode of transport if within the cities. However, you will need to know a smattering of Arabic as most drivers are not that fluent in English. Do remember to insist that the driver puts the metre on, as you may be duped into paying more than the correct rate. If the driver knows you're a traveller, he may try to haggle with you - be firm. Once they know you mean business, they'll put a stop to the theatrics and put the metre on. Taxis from the airport to Damascus will cost you around 600-800 SP, marginally more at night. Private cab rentals charge more, so do enquire at the airport and get some prior information before hiring a taxi.
Taxi drivers are friendly and keep you regaled during the journey. But as with everywhere else in the world, keep a close eye on the metre - you might overpay without realising it.
Called ‘servees' or ‘meecros' in the local lingo, these are minibuses or vans that seat around 10-12 people and carry passengers in and around cities on predetermined routes. The route details are usually written on the front of the microbus in Arabic, so you may need the help of a local to decipher it. And in what is a quaint practice, a local passenger sits behind the driver and deals with the tickets and money. While these microbuses also operate longer routes to neighbouring cities and villages, they are quite uncomfortable as the seats are narrow and there's not much leg space. But within the city, these are a convenient mode of transport to get around.
If making a trip from, say, Damascus to Palmyra, an air-conditioned coach is a comfortable, cheap and fast option. But since the schedules are changed very often, exercise caution while booking trips.
The railway system in Syria is quite contemporary and up-to-date. It's relatively inexpensive and runs on fixed timings, which do not veer away from set schedules unless there's really a need to. However, the one minus point of choosing to travel by train is that most railway stations are at quite a considerable distance outside of cities and towns. The main line connects the cities of Damascus, Aleppo, Qamishle, Hassake and Deir ez-Zor. Another line runs along the Mediterranean coast. If you're brave enough to undertake a journey to Syria in summer, keep a lookout for the little steam train that runs from Hejaz Railway Station along Damascus onto the Anti-Lebanon Mountains. It's a cool summer picnic spot - literally!
Renting a bicycle and exploring Syrian cities at a leisurely pace can be fun. This is a convenient and easy way to get to places like the dead cities of Bauda, Jerada and Ruweiha, as other vehicles might not be able to traverse through their narrow lanes. And chances of being invited for coffee or a meal by locals are much more if you're pedalling along on a bicycle. Try it - you might like it.