From Halal Food & Travel
Latakia (اللاذقية), also spelt Lattakia, is a major port in Syria, with a population of 550,000.
Latakia Halal Explorer
Welcome sign on the Latakia Train Station Latakia is a city extending back to Ancient Greek times, and continues to be an important commercial port for Syria today. The city itself consists largely of white stucco highrises and streets lined with palm trees, and the most popular beaches are along the coast to the north of the city. Latakia is home to one of Syria's largest universities, Tishreen University, and the city tends to be relatively socially progressive and liberal (by Syrian standards), with a mixed population of Christian, Alawi, and Sunni inhabitants.
Travel as a Muslim to Latakia
- Bassel Al-Assad International Airport IATA Code: LTK 35.407253, 35.944136About 20 km south of the city along the M1 motorway - Bassel Al-Assad International Airport Flights are as of 2022 limited to a few services per week, including an international weekly flight from United Arab Emirates by Syrian Air.
Travel on a Bus in Latakia
Overland travel is limited, but buses connect with regional cities along the Syrian Coast. Bus travel from other cities, such as Aleppo, Damascus, Hama and Homs, is possible but arrangements have to be made on the ground. Expect very long delays due to security checkpoints and detours to avoid areas of conflict.
Muslim Friendly Rail Holidays in Latakia
As of 2022, trains are limited to a twice daily service from Tartous, which takes around 1:15 hours. Long distance trains from Aleppo and Damascus are cancelled indefinitely. National operator CFS provides timetables at their webpage. Latakia railway station GPS 35.515934,35.787295 is located at the major roundabout Yemen Square (ساحة اليمن).
How to get around in Latakia
Much of Latakia is accessible by taxi.
One can walk along the corniche, although it is otherwise not a very walkable city, due to distances between points in the city (beach, downtown, resort hotels, Ugarit, etc).
Pay no more than S£50 to use taxis for getting around Latakia and S£150 from Latakia to the resort area.
Latakia has quite a good bus system. Destinations are labeled in Arabic, but the buses are numbered, operate frequently and follow predefined routes. Illustrative maps indicating intersections of bus routes are found in the buses. Safuan hotel is able to provide you with a hand-made map of bus routes 1 and 2. A ticket is 10 SP and valid for two rides.
- Bus number 1 runs in a circle from the train station via Zera'a, the port, the corniche back to the train station and may be useful for getting to/from the train station to the city center.
- Bus number 2 starts near the city center at the beginning of 14 Ramadan Avenue and goes via the University to the new microbus terminal.
- Bus number 3 operates round about the southern corniche.
What to see in Latakia
The Latakia region is known for its diversity of landscapes, from the green mountains to the sandy beaches, with many important archeological sites, such as the Saladin Castle (a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2006) and the ruins of Ugarit, close enough to see on a day trip from Latakia.
- National Museum of Latakia - المتحف الوطني في اللاذقية - 35.517799, 35.772163 - National Museum of Latakia
- Ruins of Ugarit - أُوجَارِيت - 35.602, 35.782 - Ugarit - The ancient Phoenician city that lays claim to developing one of the first written alphabets in the world. Located about 20km north of Latakia, it can be reached by an organized tour from a hotel in the city, or, for those who are confident in their bargaining skills, can be reached by taxi, but it is important to arrange for joey to come pick you up in the taxi to wait (for a fee), since the road near the Ugarit entrance is not heavily trafficked by taxis for the return trip.
Top Muslim Travel Tips for Latakia
In the city center, the American street attracts the young and fashionable at night. Also the Zira'a quarter and around the university are hip upcoming parts of the city.
- Free public beach near Al Siwar - N35.50097 E35.78184 - The free public beach at the bottom of the cliff below Al Siwar Restaurant is neither particularly clean nor safe due to the debris in the sand.
- Free public beach near South Corniche Park - https://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMAP67_South_Corniche_Park - Rough rocky beach with debris on the sand. From the park, walk on the trail toward the water, crossing the active train tracks. There are other swimmers as well.
- Resort hotels in the north (Le Meridien, Cote d'Azur Cham) - These allow non-guests to use their beaches for a charge. Further north, the beaches at Ras ibn Hani and the black-sand beach at Ras al Bassit are nice, but difficult to get to without one's own transportation.
- Afamia - N35.54784 E35.75686
}}There are two options here on this beach. Rotana Afamia is a luxury resort with clean sand, private pools, boats, jet skis, lunch buffet, hotel, and price tag S£1,000pp. Afamia Beach is immediately next door with private cabins, snacks, crowded beach, average clean sand, and price tag S£150pp.
There are a few routes to run on with views of the sea and near green parks. However, carefully watch your step. There are obstructions along the way: holes, loose rock, gravel, construction, and garbage bags. Even cars share the side-walk.
- Loop run around Latakia Sports Complex - https://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=zgjjknncfoffanou N35.5539760 E35.7531140 - See the link for the GPS track and video of the route. Quiet run around the sports complex completely on side walks off road. During the winter months, the area was mostly deserted of cars and people, save a few runners, walkers, and soccer players. The traffic is heavier in the summer. The complex is about 8km away from the center of Latakia. There is a geocache inside the complex.
- Loop run along Latakia water front - https://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=dqhhfljfbklcuuqx N35.5210150 E35.7905280 - See the link for the GPS track and video of the route. Long run 12km that circumnavigates the city, mostly close to the water. It is busy near the train station. Otherwise, it is very nice on wide sidewalks. Extend this run by linking it with the other loop around the Sports Complex. You will meet many people exercising on this route: speed-walking and jogging.
- Park loop run near the University - https://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=xgsbrhmttfohxovk N35.5163560 E35.7972180 - See the link for the GPS track and video of the route. Short run 1.5km that circumnavigates a park and large city block. It is quiet, on wide sidewalks, with a slight hill for extra training. Run this loop multiple times to increase the distance and practice hill climbing. Stop at the park at the end of each loop for some push-ups and sit-ups.
There are a few caches in Syria and some in Latakia. Check for availability on geocaching.com
There are several neighberhood parks suitable for children to play on structures and in open spaces. List with map, descriptions, locations, and pictures is on waymarking.com
Muslim Friendly Shopping in Latakia
Halal Restaurants in Latakia
- Al Siwar - On the corniche - Probably the best-known restaurant among locals, with a beautiful view of the sea. Thus, one of the more expensive options in Latakia, but still moderately priced. Serves good Syrian mezze and kebabs, as well as fish.
- Spiro - On the corniche - Probably the best-known seafood restaurant among locals. Reasonably priced, is famous for having good, fresh fish.
- View Restaurant - Southern Corniche is a nice place to sit back and enjoy a nice drink especially just before sunset. Western, Italian and Middle Eastern Halal food is also served at moderate prices.
Muslim Friendly Hotels in Latakia
- Saladin Hotel and Hostel - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lattakia-Syria/Saladin-HotelHostel/171198909566893 email@example.com Yousef Alazma Street 35.521655, 35.776879 located in a narrow alley just north of Al-Ajan Mosque. From the main round about in front of the Mosque, take the side road down the right side of the Mosque, then the second alley on the right. The Hotel is the second building on the left. Only 20m from the Mosque. Skype:bebe0932354441 Phone +963(932)354441 from US$6 pp/night Check-in: 2PM / Check-out: noon Double and triple bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms. All rooms include an air-con, TV/digital receiver and Wi.Fi (from Mid March 2022, inshallah :) ). Dorm beds available.
- Safwan Hotel - firstname.lastname@example.org al kornish al gharbi, facing city hall Phone +963(933)376900 Run by a TINTIN fan Mohammad Ziadeh & his family, one of the friendliest hotels in town, hospitable & open minded owner Mohammad Ziadeh, who's also the well-informed unofficial tourist information in town; 22 different rooms & a roof dormitory
- Hotel an-Nour - Sharia 14 Ramadan Phone +963(41)423980 +963(41)468340 Simple, clean hotel, rooms overlook main street. TV and Fridge, owner can organise trips in the locality
- Afamia Hotel Resort - https://www.afamiahotelresort.com/ 35.546683, 35.753795 Phone +963 11 232 0122 An upscale seafront hotel and resort, just north of the city. Remains open despite the ongoing civil war.
- Cote d'Azur Cham Hotel - 35.588100, 35.745799About 10km north of the city center Phone +963 41 428 700 A large (3,000 bed) Syrian-run hotel. Private beach in one of the better areas on the Latakia coastline. Remains open despite the ongoing civil war.
Explore more Halal Friendly Destinations from Latakia
- Qala'at Saladin, or Saladin Castle - https://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=tcadtlyjeuqglhej - In the mountains east of Latakia. See the external link for the GPS track and video of the route. A castle built on a headland overlooking a valley, the builders cut a huge channel at the rear of the castle to separate it from the rest of the headland, but left a column of rock in the middle to rest the drawbridge on. Forethought! Tour operators in Latakia can arrange a car and driver to the castle, which is at least an hour's drive via a winding mountain road from the city center.
To get there by public transport, take the green bus number 2 (Al-Jama'a) the brings you to the microbus terminal station (20 minutes, 10 SP for two tickets), from there take a service taxi to Al-Haffa (50 SP / person). From there it's a 6km walk (although the first 3–4km are not so interesting, however, check the route online before, if you plan to hike) or take a cab (~150 SP per taxi) to get to the caste. You can also start walking and hope for a hitch (the destination is quite popular) or hope for a cab that will be cheaper (i.e. 100 SP) on the way.
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