With the most beautiful stretch of beach in Syria, there should be no doubt why many of those who know about al-Samra (السمرا) want to keep it a secret. Due to it’s difficulty to reach, proximity to the Turkish border, and small size (too small for any significant development), it will hopefully remain largely unknown. Getting to al-Samra (السمرا) is a challenge, but if you have a full day to devote to a trip to the beach, this is the place to go.
Getting There: The first step to reaching al-Samra (السمرا) is to take a microbus from Lattakia (اللاذقية) to Kassab (كسب). Frequent microbuses travel this route from the main microbus station in Lattakia (اللاذقية). The trip takes between 45 minutes and an hour. Once in Kassab (كسب), the remaining distance must be covered by taxi, hitchhiking, or on foot. While it is over an hour journey on foot, the beautiful scenery makes the trip worthwhile. From the center of Kassab (كسب), a sign-posted road leads west up a hill. From the top of this hill, it is about six kilometers (entirely downhill) to the coast. As the road forks just outside of Kassab (كسب), stay to the right.
Eventually you’ll reach the predominantly Armenian village of al-Samra (السمرا), which has a couple small shops and cafes open in the summer. Continuing beyond the village a couple kilometers towards the sea you’ll reach a small restaurant on the left, overlooking the coast. Passing through this restaurant you’ll reach a dirt track. Keep to the left and follow a small path (probably overgrown a bit in the off-season) to the south which will eventually wind down to an isolated stretch of beach.
Note that the mountains north of al-Samra (السمرا) mark the Syrian border with Turkey, and even the beach just a few hundred meters north of the restaurant is off-limits. Do not attempt to wander anywhere north of the road unless you’re looking for trouble. You may attract the attention of Syrian security agents regardless.