15 things to do

All Places Syria

Ishtar Hotel

Was one of the best hotels in Palmyra with very reasonable prices - USD30 for a double room , USD20 for a single room including tax and breakfast. It had a nice cave bar in the basement where you could enjoy the local beers and the tasty red wine. Clean comfortable rooms with private bathrooms and AC in every room. The friendly owner Naim spoke fluent English and French, and was happy to help you about anything you needed in Palmyra.

Camel race

If you visited Palmyra around October/November time you might have been lucky enough to be there for the week of camel racing. This was an exciting day out, especially if you had gotten a lift in one of the many vehicles travelling round the track, alongside the camels. There was a camel beauty competition and racing with and without riders - although it was recommended to go with someone who could explain what was going on.

DO   —  Map

Evening in the desert

Spend an evening in the desert, in a Bedouin tent with traditional music, food and wonderful hospitality - just ask at your hotel or your tour group leader. After the ruins, this was definitely the highlight of any trip to Palmyra. A drive away from the ruins is a natural sulphuric water lake (take care as at certain times of the year it is pretty dried up!) and a camp site was nearby.

DO   —  Map

Al Faris Hotel

By the entrance to the village, on the left. Very nice and clean place with big rooms and a nice owner. A single room was 300 SYP and double room was 600 SYP (August 2009). The owner (who spoke English) welcomed visitors with a watermelon and a tea and could provide a lift anywhere around with his car inexpensively.

SLEEP   —  +963(955)865-545 —  Map

The Sun Hotel

Just around the corner on the main street near the ruins end, this quiet backpacker joint had a great dorm on the roof and friendly, relaxed owners. Home cooking for all meals of the day (extra cost), very tasty. Double and Triple rooms were available with average bathrooms for 1000 SP in April 2010.

SLEEP   —  +963(31)591-1133 —  Map

Hike and trail run

See the external link for the GPS track of the route. This loop ran from the middle of town up to Palmyra castle to view the sunrise or sunset. The first half of this loop was on sidewalk and paved road. The second half, descending from the castle, was on a trail going through the Great Colonnade.

DO   —  Map

New Afqa Hotel

A good budget bet, was just around the corner from the tourist office. Staff were friendly and spoke English well. Rooms were clean with en suite bathrooms, heating / air conditioning and satellite TV. A double room with breakfast included was 1200 SP for two people in April 2011.

SLEEP   —  Map

Run laps

See the external link for the GPS track of the route. The route was relatively short, so could be run several times to get more distance in. It was on a wide and well lit sidewalk. It was suitable even for a night run in December as it got dark early.

DO   —  Map

Al Nakheel Hotel

Was a clean and very friendly hotel with comfortable beds and private bathrooms only a few minutes from the ruins. Run by Mohammed and his brother Ahmed, Mohammed helped you in anyway he can to ensure you had a great time in Palmyra.

SLEEP   —  +963(31)591-0744 —  Map

Sunrise and sunset view

Just outside of Palmyra, go for a walk up to the top of the sandstone cliffs at sunrise or sunset - truly stunning! You could have taken a taxi to Palmyra castle or walked [] there.

DO   —  Map

Bel Hotel

Had a friendly family atmosphere; clean rooms with en-suite bathroom, satellite, fridge, air-con and heating. 24-hr hot water, wi-fi, and on-site restaurant were available.

Baal Shamen Hotel

Another backpacker favourite. Accommodation was more basic than at the New Afqa Hotel but the rooms were still clean and staff were friendly.

SLEEP   —  Map

Orient Hotel

Was located in city centre, clean, with friendly staff and generous breakfast included.

SLEEP   —  +963(31)591-0131 —  Map

Heliopolis Hotel

Had unobstructed views of the ruins, Internet service, traditional breakfast.

SLEEP   —  +963(31)591-3921 —  PO Box 75

Camel ride

DO   —  Map

About Palmyra

Palmyra's Roman Arches were overshadowed by the Arab Castle
Palmyra's Roman Arches were overshadowed by the Arab Castle

Palmyra sat on the standard tourist trek around Syria. Intense competition for business amongst local outfits made the experience somewhat overwhelming to the traveller who had come from the North and had enjoyed a relatively 'quiet' trip thus far. The major tourist attraction of the area was the stunning ruins - the most famous and well-preserved of which were the Temple of Bel, the colonnade, the funerary towers, the hypogeum of 3 brothers, and the Arab castle. All were within a few kilometres of each other.

Not all but at least most of this irreplaceable heritage was deliberately destroyed during armed conflict in 2015. Although Syria's directorate of antiquities and museums makes hopeful statements about rebuilding at least part of the lost heritage using the original pieces, Palmyra is landmine-infested rubble in 2016 and no longer a tourist destination.

Do not assume that anything listed here still exists.

Source: wikivoyage