How to visit Syria as a tourist in 2018

Bab Touma Checkpoint and Square

The last week of July 2018, I visited Syria as a tourist. I wrote an article about visiting Syria as a tourist on my blog. As a result, I received a lot of questions on how to travel to Syria as a tourist. I am willing to share with you how I travelled to Syria for the people who are interested.

This article has been updated on November 2018.

Teatime Beit Al Wali HotelThis might be you sipping tea or Arabic coffee in the Beit Al Wali hotel in Damascus


Before I share this information with you, I would like to make some things clear:

  • You can now ask for a visa and get permission to enter with a travel agency.
  • The application to the Ministry of Tourism costs about 200 USD paid by Western Union or by cash at the border (depending on your agency), an approval letter to get the visa on arrival at the border. The visa fee is paid at the border and depends on your nationality (50€ for Belgian citizens if I remember correctly). This price can value from travel agency to travel agency.
  • Currently, the only way to enter with an approval letter is via Beirut, through Masnaa border to Damascus and you will need a driver to pick you up with the original approval documents. Some people recently claimed they entered through another border, via Tripoli.
  • The application takes at least 40 days so keep this in mind when making plans. Other agencies can fix it in just 2 days for a higher price.
  • Do not forget that you’re not allowed to enter Syria if you have Israeli passport stamps or any other proof that you have been to Israel.
  • Last but not least: I do not receive any commission for this, nor did I receive any discount on my tour for doing this. I just paid the tour myself and nobody sponsored me to visit Syria. The Syrian people who helped me to visit Syria are the ones behind this tour agency.


Umayyad Mosque Damascus Syria (4)

You should definitely visit the Umayyad mosque in Damascus – The fourth holiest place in the world for Muslims


If you take these 6 points I shared in mind and you’re fine with it, you can choose to visit Syria and contact the persons that have helped me to visit Syria. Good luck and feel free to follow me on Instagram @unusualtravelblog.

People successfully visited Syria with other agencies. One of the most used agencies that allow you to travel freely in Syria is Travel King. I do not have experience with them but I hear a lot of positive things.

Good luck and safe travels!

Any additional questions will be answered in the comments below.

I Love Damascus


8 Comments on “How to visit Syria as a tourist in 2018

  1. Hi George,

    First of all, thanks for super informative posts!

    I plan to do Lebanon-Syria-Jordan overland (now that the Jordanian border has been reopened). If budget permits, I will be in Syria for 3 days, covering Damascus and Bosra. Since I have a certain limit on budget, would you mind sharing the details of costs of your paperwork and travel in Syria? Is the US$200 application cost based on per person or per group basis?

    Thanks indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Is my understanding correct that this USD200 is only for invitation letter, border pickup and border drop off, and that your pay extra for their (compulsory?) tour? Thanks again!


      • Hi Lim. Sorry for the late reply. 200USD was only for the invitation letter. I had 2 days on my own in Damascus. Outside Damascus I was with a tour guide and also 1 day in Damascus with a guide too to not miss the most important sights and to help me with some shopping. If Mithra doesn’t allow you on your own, you can try Travel King. Good luck!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Do you remember what the River Barada was like there? Do you think it would be possible to stand up paddle on it? Was there much water or was it dried up? Any access restrictions that you are aware of?


    • Hi Johnny.
      I have only seen a part of the Badara river, right in the centre of Damascus at Bab Touma district. I saw just a little bit of water which was full of trash and brown-yellow water. Maybe you can find clean and plenty of water more North-West side of Damascus, but I cannot confirm that.


  3. Hi George, your experience is amazing. This is Charlie from Hong Kong. I’m also considered of the possibility to visit Syria. May I know turnout how much you have spent for Syria trip? Would you mind sharing the details in terms of agent, visa, tour guides, hotel, transportation, etc.?


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