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Climate & when to go

Syria has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers (June to August) and mild, wet winters (December to February) close to the coast. Inland it gets progressively drier and more inhospitable. On the coast, average daily temperatures range from 29°C in summer to 10°C in winter and the annual rainfall is about 760mm. On the cultivated steppe area, temperatures average 35°C in summer and 12°C in winter. Rainfall varies from 250mm to 500mm. In the desert, the temperatures are high and rainfall is low. In summer, the days average 40°C and highs of 46°C are not uncommon. Winter can be extremely cold in mountainous areas, including Crac des Chevaliers.

Spring is the best time to visit as temperatures are mild and the winter rains have cleared the haze that obscures views for much of the year. Autumn is the next best choice. The busiest tourism periods are Easter, July, August, October and Islamic religious holidays. During these times it is essential to book accommodation in advance. This chapter often quotes opening hours as 'summer' or 'winter'; summer hours generally refer to April to September and winter hours to October to March, but these aren't set in stone and can be dependent on the weather.