Getting around Damascus

Public transport

The easiest way to visit the sights in Damascus is on foot, and for most of the old city that is the only way. The white-and-blue public buses and the white microbuses are cheap, but very crowded and difficult to use as the destination and numbers are only written in Arabic. The best place to pick either up is from the city bus and microbus depot, on Sharia Shukri al-Quwatly, underneath the flyover right next to the National Museum, which is also where you can get some information.

Taxis

After walking, taxis are the best way to get around in Damascus, as they are plentiful, drive around town at all times of the day and night, and are relatively cheap. Insist on using the meter (although fewer drivers are willing to these days) or agree on a price before leaving. To book a taxi in advance, call either Damascus Taxi Service (tel: (011) 331 0358) or Almashroue Taxi (tel (011) 312 0616); otherwise, ask your hotel to book you a taxi, but expect to be overcharged.

Car hire

Car hire in Damascus is readily available and most companies have offices at the airport and/or in the city centre. These include Cham Car (tel: (011) 221 6615; www.chamhotels.com/cars.html), Europcar (tel: (011) 543 1536; www.europcar.com) and Hertz (tel: (011) 223 2300; www.hertz.com).

Most car hire companies will ask to see your International Driver's licence, even though their websites claim they accept British driver's licences; if you do not have an international one, then print the company's policy from their website and bring it with you when you pick up the car in case you need to argue your point.

Bicycle hire

There are no bicycles for hire in Damascus.

Edited by Tina Banerjee
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