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World Travel Guide > Guides > Middle East > Syrian Arab Republic > Damascus

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Currency

Getting around Damascus

Public transport

Note: Owing to the outbreak of war in Syria, we are unable to update the information on this page. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all travel to Syria.

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: +963 11 331 0358) or Almashroue Taxi (tel: +963 11 312 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: +963 11 221 6615; www.chamhotels.com/cars.html), Europcar (tel: +963 11 543 1536; www.europcar.com) and Hertz (tel: +963 11 223 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.

Featured Hotels

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Four Seasons Hotel Damascus

The Four Seasons Hotel is the top hotel in town, and with 23 storeys it has become a landmark on the Damascus skyline. Set in a landscaped park, opposite the National Museum, it is only a short walk from the old city. The rooms are sumptuously decorated and have great views over Damascus and the Barada River.

Cham Palace

The Cham Palace, located right in the heart of the city, is one of the oldest luxury hotels in Damascus. The rooms command great views over the city and Mount Qassioun and the lobby is a popular meeting point for Syrian businessmen. The hotel has five good restaurants, including the Étoile d'Or, the city's only revolving restaurant, on the top floor.

Omayad Hotel Damascus

Centrally located, Omayad Hote Damascus is a popular four-star business hotel in Damascus. The hotel has a grand lobby and spacious soundproofed rooms with air conditioning, satellite TV and a free Wi-Fi internet connection.

Sultan Hotel

For many years now the best budget option in Damascus, the Sultan is popular with travellers for its excellent location near the old city, its friendly and helpful staff and the basic, but clean rooms with an unchanged motel-style1960s décor. It is advisable to book ahead.

Beit al-Mamlouka

Damascus's first boutique hotel is in a grand 17th-century city house, built around a central courtyard with fragrant citrus trees and a fountain. The eight luxurious bedrooms are each decorated in a particular style reflecting a period of history and using traditional Syrian furniture and crafts.

Beit Rumman

Beit Rumman is a recent addition to Damascus's burgeoning boutique hotel scene. Located in Bab Touma, Beit Rumman is a converted, 17th-century house complete with its own cellar and courtyard. It offers six bedrooms, each uniquely decorated.