A protracted uprising in 2011 as part of the Arab Spring has been met with a savage government crackdown. The UK Foreign Office recommends against all travel to the country. Bashar al-Assad and his father have ruled the country for 40 years. Most of the population lives in the west, while the eastern desert of Palmyra holds Syria's biggest tourist attraction – the ruins of a Roman city. Aleppo in the north has a huge ancient citadel.

Damascus has the spectacular Ummayad Mosque and numerous souks, as well as the Mausoleum of Salah al-Din, or Saladin, who defeated the Third Crusade led by Richard the Lionheart.


Syria flag

Why you should go:

You are prepared to avoid all public demonstrations and crowds.

Why you shouldn't:

There is an ongoing brutal crackdown.

Map of Syria