We stopped for lunch by the lake formed by the Balloran Dam. This dam was constructed in the 1950s to conserve the water from the hills. It ia a large expanse of water and very peaceful. We were there on a Friday and there were many people, some eating at the Tahon Restaurant, others cooking their own food beside the road or in the forest.
To get a feel for the old Kassab before developers arrived, head uphill until you see a stone-brick church with red-tiled roof. This is the old centre of Kassab, and you can see several old houses around the church. I imagine if the apartment blocks were demolished, Kassab could be a very pleasant village indeed.
You are probably sick to death of being told by me to go for a walk...I say it for nearly every place I build a page for...but again, it is the best way to get to know a place. And anyway, there isn't anything else to do in Kassab. Just be careful if you go too near the Turkish border, as the police are none too pleased about letting you see over into Turkey.
This restaurant is built out onto Balloran Lake. It seems very popular, and justifiably so. The food is excellent. You order meat by weight, so we had a kilo between 4 of us. This was mixture of grilled chicken, lamb and kofta/kababs. We had astarter of french fies, hummous and toumiya [garlic in thick yoghurt/labna] and pickles. All delicious.
Favorite Dish: I loved everything but especially the kofta and toumiya.
Minibuses to Kassab from Latakia take roughly an hour and cost very little...on the way into Kassab, you pas a border crossing into Turkey, so maybe you could try crossing here...then the bus turns left and you can see the village of Kassab sprawled on the mountainside for many kilometres. The bus keeps stopping to allow locals off, but don't get off until you reach the turnaround point in the village square, otherwise you'll be left with a steep climb. To return, minibuses run through the village looking for potential passengers, so if one beeps at you, wave at it and it will stop.
A roadside shop with herbs, honey and oil on sale.
As my husband is a firm believer in the curative properties of honey, he insisted on stopping when we were passing a roadside shop with shelves of oil and honey on display. He bargained for the honey but the old man was reluctant to reduce his price.
What to buy: Mountain honey and zattar [dried oregano]
What to pay: depends on how well you can bargain
Between Kassab and Ra's al-Basseet is a long twisty road with little traffic and great views of the coast and the mountains. it makes for a pleasant walk, or at least it would do if it wasn't for fierce barking dogs blocking the road in some villages...I was almost attacked three times, so decided it would be best to head back into town. If you start very early in the day, then maybe it is feasible to walk all the way to the coast...and according to LP, there are roadside restaurants with "views to die for" en route. But if you get tired, be warned that there are no buses and very few cars!