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Syria - Getting there & away, getting around

Syria - Getting there & away

Syria has two international airports, one 35km (22mi) south-east of Damascus, the other just north-east of Aleppo. Both have regular connections to Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Flights tend to be quite expensive. There's a departure tax of about US$5.

Buses run between Aleppo or Damascus and Istanbul (Turkey), between Damascus and Amman (Jordan), Damascus and Beirut or Tripoli (Lebanon) and Damascus and Riyadh (Saudi Arabia). Trains go from Aleppo to Istanbul and from Damascus to Amman. Service taxis also run from Damascus to most of the neighbouring countries. You can bring your own vehicle into Syria, but you will need a carnet de passage and local third-party insurance. If you prefer the ferry, there's a weekly service from Lattakia for Alexandria (Egypt) via Beirut. In summer, the ferry also stops in Cyprus.

Getting around Syria

There are internal flights between Damascus and Aleppo, Qamishle, Lattakia and Deir ez-Zur. Syria's road network is excellent, and buses are frequent and cheap - most Syrians use the bus, as very few have their own car. Distances are short and most trips take under four hours. Bus types include the traditional coach, minibuses and Japanese vans known as microbuses. Service taxis operate on the major bus routes but are considerably more expensive than microbuses.

Syria's trains are a modern lot, made in Russia. They're cheap and punctual, but the stations are usually a fair way out of town. The main line connects Damascus, Aleppo, Deir ez-Zur, Hassake and Qamishle, with a secondary line along the coast. There are a few car rental companies in Syria, but rates are around 50% higher than in the West and petrol is expensive and hard to find. Syrians drive on the right.

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