DAMASCUS

Things to do

Things to do in Damascus

  • View the city from Mount Qasioun is a must-do activity in Damascus as it offers a panoramic view. The peak is accessible at any time, although the view is perhaps most spectacular at night when the whole city is lit up and the minarets of mosques are bathed in green light. The Umayyad Mosque in the old town is particularly impressive when viewed from the mountain. There is a wide range of food and refreshment available on the peak from stalls to fancy restaurants that serve good local cuisine and alcohol. Check the price before you get too comfortable though- it is a well-known scam for local cab drivers to take you to their 'favorite' cafe, where you'll end up paying anything up to 500SP for a cup of tea.
  • Visit a restaurant in old Damascus. There are many restaurants in the old quarter each with their own unique character, but perhaps the most famous (and touristy) is "Beit Jabri", although "Al-Khawali" is considered by many to be the best dining experience in the old city. Another restaurant in the old city, Narcissus Palace, located close to Maktab Anbar, would offer an enlightening experience. Every night, a singer and band play old Arabic music and create an amazing atmosphere in the restaurant. A good idea, when considering these restaurants, is to go for breakfast, and then go sightseeing. The breakfast is very cheap, the bill will amount to 1000 SP for about four people.
  • Bathe in a Hammam, i.e., a Turkish bath. The Nur-al-Din Bath (between the Azem Palace and Straight Street) and the Bakri Bath (first street on the right after entering the Old City at Bab Touma) are two baths that are familiar with Western tourists. A visit to either costs about 500 SP, and includes towels, soap, scrub, a massage and a tea. The price is typically composed of bath entry (300 SP), scrub (50 SP), sauna (100 SP), massage (100 SP) and extras such as tea or soap. Nur-al-Din is for men only, Bakri might be able to accommodate women or mixed groups upon prior arrangement. Bakri Bath: for women each day except Friday 10 - 5PM
  • Relax at a Hooka cafe "Narjelah" Hooka cafe's are popular in Damascus and are easy to find. When visiting the old city, you'll get a more cultural or traditional experience. You'll probably find a crowd of tea-drinking, backgammon-playing men all smoking hooka. In the modern city, most cafe's cater to a younger crowd and are a big part of the night life offering a huge variety of flavored tobacco ranging from double apple which is the most common, to cappuccino. In almost every major restaurant, hookas are available, including the restaurants in the old city.

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