When to Travel
Spring (April to June)
is the best time to visit, as temperatures are mild and the winter
rains have cleared the haze that clogs up the views during the rest
of the year. Autumn (September to November) is the next-best choice.
If you go in summer (June to August), don't be caught without a hat,
sunscreen and water bottle, especially if you're going to Palmyra or
the north-east. Winter can be downright unpleasant on the coast and
in the mountains, when temperatures drop and the rains begin.
Not surprisingly, Syrian
holidays and festivals are mostly Islamic. The big one is Ramadan,
a month (the date changes every year) when everyone fasts between
sunup and sunset to conform to the fourth pillar of Islam. If you're
in Syria at this time, be sensitive to the fact that most of the
people around you are very, very hungry. Ramadan ends with a huge
feast, Eid al-Fitr, where everyone prays together, visits
friends, gives presents and stuffs themselves. Eid al-Adah,
another moveable event, is the other big feast of the year, and
marks the time when Muslims should make the pilgrimage to Mecca.
Non-religious holidays include the enticingly named Evacuation Day,
on 17 April, and Corrections Movement Day, on 16 November.