|Flight time||from UK: 6hrs 30mins; from US: 18hrs 15mins|
|Ideal length||9 Nights|
|Price||From £2400 pp|
|When to go||Mid March – May; September - November|
Enjoying the age-old tradition of backgammon with the arghile-smoking locals over a cup of mint tea.
Staying in a beautiful traditional 17th Century Damascene house.
Strolling through the gold and spice souks by day, drinking arak with the locals in the old town at night, and revelling in the beauty of the whirling dervishes.
Visiting the interior of the Hejaz railway station, and drinking coffee at Al-Nofara in the old town.
It's no surprise that Syria's capital is nicknamed 'al fayhaa', the fragrant city. And we're pretty certain that this is one trip that will take you on a totally stylish sensory experience.
The heart of the city is bustling and vibrant but we suggest you move off the beaten track and explore the maze-like alleys, scattered with mysterious doors that uncover picturesque courtyards and ornately decorated damascene houses.
For all you architecture buffs Damascus will not disappoint. Don't miss the magnificent white marbled Umayyad Mosque: older than much of the Old Testament, it is one of the grandest mosques in the world.
The Old City is also home to Azem Palace and the Museum of Arts and if you’re looking for a taste of the magical (and a bit of a splurge), the real piece de resistance of the old town is Souk al-Hamidiyeh. Dating back to the Ottoman era; it pans an overwhelming 600 meters and two-storeys with stunning textiles and exotic antiques bursting from its seams.
Sunlight twinkles like stars as it passes through the perforations in the markets iron roof, and the lamps lining the wide passage give the whole place a glow. A truly unmissable experience, with bundles of Arab charm and buzzing energy.
During your stay you should also visit the Christian quarter and take a taxi to the National Museum, home to a 2nd century synagogue (that’s pretty old). Stroll down to "Handicrafts Lane" to witness the ancient craft of glass blowing; take a breather at the oldest café in Damascus, Al-Nofara; or, for a bit of a refresher, steam up at one of the city's hammams.
And after a day of haggling, sight-seeing and embracing all that the capital has to offer, head back to the city's very first boutique hotel, Beit al Mamlouka. Blending Syrian tradition with up-to-date luxury, evenings here can be spent in the converted stable which is now a gallery, restaurant and bar. Alternatively, visit local cafés in the old city and head to a restaurant to watch a show.
The road to Damascus is just waiting to be discovered, bursting with life, energy and timeless hidden gems.