My husband and I are thinking of taking his mum to Syria for a holiday next April/May - she is a Muslim and is very keen to see the mosques in Damascas and Aleppo. She is 70 and not very mobile, she can walk a little but pretty slowly. We also have a baby, who will be just over a year old then.
Our idea is to get a tailor-made trip with a private driver, and the itinerary we are thinking of is Damascus - Palmyra - Krak de Chevaliers - Hama - Aleppo. We are happy to pay a bit extra to stay in good hotels.
Is this a practical plan? How hard will it be? Any tips on travelling with a child in Syria, or on good quality hotels that would be suitable for our group?
First of all, Syria is fantastic!
We visited the same places as you are planning but in a different order - from Damascus we went to Krak de Chevaliers - Hama - Aleppo - Palmyra and then back to Damascus which took us about 8 days.
Syria is very easy to travel around and the distances aren't too large so you should be fine to organise a private driver for a good price (petrol is cheaper over there). we got a private driver from Damascus to Krak de Chevaliers and Hama and then used public buses from then on which are very cheap and frequent. We just bumped into our guide walking around the amazing Umayyad Mosque in Damascus - after taking us round the mosque he took us on a guided walking tour of the city and then we arranged the transport with him for the next day.
I think you will be fine travelling with a child - we felt totally safe in syria and people went out of their way to help us.
In Damascus we stayed in this hotel which was nice:
and in Aleppo here, which was gorgeous: http://www.dar-halabia.com/
elsewhere we stayed at budget places.
hope this helps - let me know if you need any more info.
Age is of no problem in Syria if the elderly person is in good health. However, you, for sure will determine if the hotel or any site to be visited is suitable and accessible. Unfortunately, hotels , places and sidewalks that are set up for wheelchair/ stroller users are rarely to find. So, I wouldn't recommend a wheelchair or a stroller for that reason, in addition to that, Also remember how difficult is to handle them while getting in/off taxis or busses! it will be a "nightmare" in narrow rough wet streets or in the long Old Souk of Aleppo. I also agree with Akguindy, #2 Castles like Crak or any other Castel in Syria have high steps, so better to avoid visiting them with your mother in law who has difficulty in walking.
About your baby? Well, make sure you get a baby carrier to put on your back and other facilities like some remedies, heavy duty diapers and layers to keep your child worm. Most importantly, is to hire a friendly guide driver from now, as April/May are the tourist high peak season in Syria. I know how difficult your trip will be, yet, it will be enjoyable, I hope, if you plan it early enough.
I hope that helps a little but If you need more info then feel free to drop me a line.
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
Thank you so much for your helpful posts.
bex76, will you please tell us something on how much should we pay for a driver and a guide throughout the major sites you kindly mentioned? or, in general, give us an idea on how much to pay for a guide and driver in the city and outside the city full day basics. Thank you again.