Palmyra Travel Guide

  • Funerary Temple at Palmyra
    Funerary Temple at Palmyra
    by atufft
  • Funerary Temple at Palmyra
    Funerary Temple at Palmyra
    by atufft
  • Wall of the Funerary Temple
    Wall of the Funerary Temple
    by atufft

Palmyra Highlights

  • Pro
    atufft profile photo

    atufft says…

     Ruins aren't surrounded by urban life 

  • Con
    atufft profile photo

    atufft says…

     Close to Iraqi border inside a slightly creepy country 

  • In a nutshell
    Zeid profile photo

    Zeid says…

     Extensive ruins in a desert oasis. 

Palmyra Things to Do

  • The theatre of Palmyra

    palmyra pleasant evenings : it is worthy of consideration , whereas the long evenings in the desert are very pleasant.the sight there invites us for some set and meditation ….some people sat here, they ate, drank, wore, and lived life like us ....truly ?..

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  • Temple of Bel

    The size and grandeur of the Temple of Bel make this one of the greatest temples of the Roman east. This enormous temple is quite befitting of the most important Semitic god, Bel (or Baal), who was equated with the Greek god Zeus. The columned porticoes of the outer structure of the temple surround a large courtyard in which the cella (inner...

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  • Grand Colonnade

    Built mostly in the early 2nd century AD, Palmyra's legendary Grand Colonnade measures more than 1km in length. The avenue leads from the Temple of Bel in the east to the Funerary Temple at the western end, and makes two slight turns along the way, at the Monumental Arch and at the Tetrapylon. The two slight turns make this avenue unlike the cardo...

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Palmyra Restaurants

  • Beware your stomach

    Vary basic restaurant with few outdoors tables. The walls are covered with compliments of customers, but I wasn't satisfied by the food and - more - got a little sick with my stomach for a couple of days after visiting it.They serve traditional bedouin food ( for example stewed camel's meat with rice, almonds and peas), mezzah and kebabs. None

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  • Restaurants in General

    I went to about three restaurants when visiting Palmyra. Generally speaking, I was quite dissapointed. Only one of the three were ok, especially service.There are several restaurants to choose from - but check out the menu first.The service at the Traditional Palmyra Restaurant was extrmely bad - and the nargileh there was poor. I did pass there...

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  • Apple Pie in a traditional home

    On the last night of our stay in Palmyra we ate in the unusually named "Home Made Apple Pie" restaurant. It was very welcoming, it brought different groups of tourists together - individuals, couples and large groups - together in a very informal, very relaxed atmosphere. The food was traditional Bedouin, but the dessert wasn't - it was an Eastern...

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Palmyra Nightlife

  • Palmyra's Ancient Ruins

    Some of Palmyra's ruins are beautifully lit by night. Since access to the ancient city is free and open all night, it is possible to wander through the ruins when it is dark, for some great photography. Unfortunately, my photos didn't come out well because I was rushed by my tired and cold fellow travellers (it was below freezing!).

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  • Ruins at night

    The dream has come true, i always used to dream of taking photos of palmyra at night, it is very impressive,,,, and i was very lucky with the moon.... I will never forget this night....

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  • the lake under the stars

    I noticed that there was a lake near Palmyra on a map in the hotel reception and asked the owner about it. He said it was lovely at night and that he could arrange a taxi to take me there, but I didn't like to go on my own. After dinner some of the other guests at the hotel commented that although the sunset had been stunning viewed from the Arab...

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Palmyra Transportation

  • Group Tour - Palmyra

    Although it's a bit costly - i was really intending to do it on my own - but the group tour in a van is convenient. I paid SYP2,500 or $55 at Riad Hotel who arranges the van and enlist people on the tour. I know I could have spent even half of that but well, I felt awkward asking and refusing. It was ok anyway, the driver was kind - albeit no...

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  • Group Tour

    Although it's a bit costly - i was really intending to do it on my own - but the group tour in a van is convenient. I paid SYP2,500 or $55 at Riad Hotel who arranges the van and enlist people on the tour. I know I could have spent even half of that but well, I felt awkward asking and refusing. It was ok anyway, the driver was kind - albeit no...

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  • Travel by Bus

    Traveling by Bus is Syria is a pleasure. There is more than one Bus Stop (not station). I arrived from Hama (via Homs), and left from Palmyra to Damascus.The driver took me to the bus stop from where the next bus was to depart from next. It is very affordable and comfortable to travel by these air conditioned buses.Several Bus Companies offer...

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Palmyra Shopping

  • Rugs and local handicrafts

    Around Palmyra, especially in front or around the highlights of the place, there are several local people selling rugs, they will approach you - they speak english - and ofer you their wares mostly those red rugs. Some are pushy, in general, they're friendly. I heard one guy selling the big rug for SYP300, less than 7 dollars? Unless he meant 300...

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  • Dates

    Palmyra's oasis is full of date palm trees (hence the city's name) and produce commercial quantities of dates. In the city of Tadmor, many shops sell locally produced dates and display them as shown in the attached photograph. Buy some to sample while you're visiting Palmyra.

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  • Shopping for Persian Rugs...

    Since Palmyra is quite near the frontier of Iraq, it's really not too far from Iran either. We found a reasonable collection of khilms and other rugs that had been imported for sale at the ruins. Since these were clearly imported for sale to tourists visiting the ruins, it's important to bargain. However, we made a mistake and didn't buy. I recall...

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Palmyra Local Customs

  • Desert Bedouins

    Palmyra's natives are originally bedouin tribes linked to Arabia. Their traditions and Arabic dialect are quite different from Western Syrian cities. Many of them still wear the red kufiya worn in the Arabian peninsula. The main one in the photo was intriguing because of his red hair, which is surprisingly common in Aleppo and Damascus, though rare...

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  • Camels

    Camels are a common sight in Palmyra, being in the desert and all. They make good subjects for photographs.

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  • Many cultures, many languages.

    Since Palmyra was a center for many different cultures, you will find areas like this that have writings in multiple languages.

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Palmyra Warnings and Dangers

  • aqazi's Profile Photo

    by aqazi Written Apr 19, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    doh! Well I shouldn't have to say this but if you are coming in the summer then you need to be careful because of the heat. There isn't much shade and you probably won't find someone selling drinks when you really want one.

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    • Budget Travel

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Palmyra Tourist Traps

  • Riding a Bedouin horse.

    Just don’t do it, except if you’re really good at horse riding. The Bedouin’s will tell you that their horses are calm, easy going and friendly, in order to persuade you pay for a horse ride. Don’t believe them, this is just another Palmyrian plot; the horses are trained to obey only their masters, and it is very difficult for any other person to...

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  • camel rides

    You will find them in front of the main archaeological sights.. friendly men offering camel rides... prices are not too high but... 1) camels stink2) they are no fun wash ur clothes right after the ride, or you'll never get rid of the smell the alternative is turning down the camel ride. I pretended to be allergic to hairy animals... it kinda...

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  • Palmyra Hotels

    0 Hotels in Palmyra

Palmyra What to Pack

  • atufft's Profile Photo

    by atufft Written Mar 23, 2006

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    Luggage and bags: Leave your travelers backpack or luggage at the hotel, and take the daypack

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Good hiking shoes are strongly recommended for ambling over stones and hiking up to the Arab Citadel. Palmyra will be at least one long day of hiking.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Prepare for the possibility of blisters after the day of hiking, although I didn't have any myself.

    Photo Equipment: All types of lenses are needed--from wide angle to zoom. My images here have poor color because they are digitized from old film positives. However, I also had the problem of a high overcast during April, which tended to ruin colors and contrast. The museum allows for photography however filter correction for flourescent lamps is needed.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Take a water bottle belt and buy bottled water in town before setting out to the ruins. There are no vendors anywhere within the ruins, so it's worthwhile considering a bag lunch. Sunglasses and possibly a hat are also pretty important.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology

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Palmyra Off The Beaten Path

  • Qala'at Ibn Maan

    The Arab citadel of Ibn Maan stands high up on mountain overlooking Palmyra. It is the perfect place to go at sunset. the citadel was built in the 17th century by Fakhr ad-Din, a Lebanese warlord, who held out here against the might of the Ottoman empire. It is believed, however, that there was probably a 12th century Ayubid castle here before...

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  • To Iraq in Palymra

    The road leading to Palmyra is also on the way to Baghdad. I stopped by road signs showing Iraq and Baghdad to take some pictures. It was interesting because it's as if I'm headed to Baghdad during this trying times!

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  • Tower Tomb of Elabel

    The Tower Tomb of Elabel is the best preserved tower in the Valley of the Tombs. It was built in 103 AD and housed 260 sarcophagi. There are steps inside, so you can see all of the levels and some well-preserved ceiling frescoes.

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Palmyra Sports & Outdoors

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Sunset in Palmyra

    by MalenaN Written Mar 12, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Well, I made a lot of walking in Syria. But it is nice with a change. When I was tired of the ruins of Palmyra (had seen a lot of ruins before as well), I went to the swimming pool at Heliopolis Hotel to swim for an hour. To use the pool you pay 150 SP.
    First I didn't know if I could go or not, travelling as a single female. It was OK. There were some young boys playing in the pool and me swimming. Two female American guests at the hotel saw me and came down for a swim (the pool is actually a bit to the side of the hotel). After the swimming I had a sandwich and cola (75 SP). More boys (young and old) came and I don't think I had felt comfortable swimming at that time. There were no girls or women around.

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    • Water Sports

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Palmyra Favorites

  • Fakhrad-din Almaany the II castle :

    the Arabic castle aka castle of IBN MAAN the Lebanese prince Fakhr ad-din al-Maany the second, who ruled internal Syria besides Lebanon.- 16th century-, builds it on a top of strategic mountain, it's overlooking enables defense army to explore the enemies from far away distances in the desert.It was surrounded by a wide moat supplied by a...

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  • The modern city :

    Palmyra today is a modern city with straight streets , and a lot of hotels , cafés and restaurants. Surrounded by a fertile oasis.Inhabitants economic depends on agriculture, trade and tourist services . live around some Bedouin tribes depending on breeding. Palmyra kingdom boomed and reached to the top in the second /third century A.D. when the...

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  • Palmyra/Tadmor

    Palmyra is not Palmyra anymore.. it's Tadmor, now - from its ancient semitic name. Palmyra it's an oasis in the middle of the Syrian desert, about 3 hours from Damascus. And just because this is Syria, things are never like you expect them to be, so th desert is nothing sandy and soft, but dry hard and arid land, with some rocky low hills thrown in...

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Explore Deeper into Palmyra
Palmyra kingdom booming :
Things to Do
Main Street Palmyra, Part I
Things to Do
The view on top of the fortresses.
Things to Do
The Arabic Citadel (on the fortress)
Things to Do
Going up the Palmyra Castle
Things to Do
The Arabic Citadel
Things to Do
Temple of the Standards
Things to Do
The Tetrapylon
Things to Do
The Theater
Things to Do
Palmyra Gateway and grand collonade
Things to Do
Temple of Bel
Things to Do
Tomb of Three Brothers
Things to Do
The Tomb of Elahbel
Things to Do
The Agora
Things to Do
Temple of Bel - The Cella
Things to Do
Tower Tomb of Elahbel - Interior
Things to Do
Palmyra Archaeological Museum
Things to Do
Palmyra - Practicalities
Things to Do
Diocletian Camp
Things to Do
Tadmor
Things to Do
Palmyra
Things to Do
Temple of Bel
Things to Do
Roman Theater
Things to Do
Grand Colonnade
Things to Do
Arabic Citadel
Things to Do
Arab castle (Qalaat ibn maan)
Things to Do
Tower tombs
Things to Do
Don't miss to Bedoin night
Restaurants
Excellent Mensaf!
Restaurants
VIP coach to Damascus
Transportation
Palmyra
Things to Do
Bedouin experience!
Restaurants
Getting to Palmyra
Transportation
Palmyra
Things to Do
The Pancake House - Palmyra
Restaurants
Diocletian's Camp
Things to Do
The Oasis
Things to Do
Temple of Allat
Things to Do
Triumphal Arch
Things to Do
The tourists' place to eat...
Restaurants
Map of Palmyra

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