Baghdad & Babylon Autumn Tour

What's it all about?


Baghdad –  Babylon – Karbala – Najaf -Nasariyah – Baghdad – Samarra – Mosul – Erbil.


Sept 24 – Oct 2nd, 2024


For Southern Iraq a visa on arrival scheme is in force for citizens of the EU, UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Russia, China, Japan & South Korea. 

The Itinerary


Baghdad & Beyond

September 24th - Basra Arrival

  • Arrival into Basra at your own leisure. Airport transfers provided to our hotel.
  • Today is mainly an arrival day so you’ll have free time before we meet up in the hotel lobby at 6pm.
  • Meet & greet / discuss the itinerary before heading out for a group dinner.
  • Overnight in Basra.

September 25th - Basra

  • Breakfast at the hotel before exploring Basra for the day.
  • Visit the Ashar and Shanashil Al Basra area to catch a glimpse of the old Basra: traditional style merchant houses with balconies leaning over the narrow streets.
  • Take a cruise across the Shatt Al Arab river and see some shipwrecks from the Iran-Iraq War from the 1980s.
  • See the famed Tree of Knowledge – the same tree, according to local legend, that Eve ate from in the Garden of Eden.
  • Traditional Iraqi Lunch.
  • We’ll also have the opportunity to explore  one of Saddam Hussain’s palaces’ – the now converted Basra Museum.
  • After we’ll stop by the Souq and the historic old Central Railway Station.
  • Dinner and overnight in Basra.

September 26th - Chibayesh | Ur | Uruk | Najaf

  • Up super early for sunrise in Mesopotamian Marshes! We’ll take a boat trip through the maze of marshes stopping by local villages for tea. The marshes once engulfed a whole swathe of Southern Iraq with numerous floating villages. Today the receding waters have led most families to change their livelihood but we’ll still see the few that remain.
  • It is also home to the Maʻdān population who over the centuries have adapted to life on the water. Stop by a traditional house for lunch and tea.
  • Tour the local market of Chibayesh and have lunch in a traditional reed house.
  • Continue to visit the Ziggurat of Ur, a neo-Sumerian construction built in 2000 BC. This used to be the capital of Mesopotamia during the Sumerian time and it is a UNESCO world heritage site since 2016.
  • Drive to Ancient Uruk – home of the world’s oldest civilisation and first alphabet. 
  • Drive to Najaf.
  • Dinner and overnight in Najaf.
Continue reading

September 27th - Najaf & Karbala

  • Najaf tour, including Imam Ali’s house (the very spot where imam Ali was killed) and the Imam Ali Shrine itself.
  • Visit the Wadi-Us-Salaam – the world’s largest graveyard. It is said to contain tens of millions of bodies. Many shiites request to be buried here in one of the numerous catacombs.
  • After lunch head to Karbala and visit the holy city’s famous Al Abbas mosque and Iman Husayn shrine at dusk.
  • It’s also home to some of the best baclava in Iraq!
  • Dinner and overnight in Karbala.

September 28th - Babylon & Baghdad

  • Drive to Babylon, once the largest and most important city in the world. We tour the ancient ruins with our local expert and see what’s left of the hanging gardens.
  • Saddam Hussain Palace – Perched right on top of Babylon, the dictator made sure he had the best view of the site. We spend some time exploring the looted remains of one of his many former palaces.
  • Trip Highlight – *We’ll have a picnic lunch inside Saddam’s abandoned palace!*
  • After extensively exploring Babylon, continue onto the ancient city of Ctesiphone.
  • These days all that’s left is the palace archway which is the largest single span vault of unenforced brickwork in the world.
  • Drive an hour to Baghdad.
  • Visit the Save Iraqi Culture Monument.
  • Dinner and overnight in Baghdad.

September 29th - Baghdad 

  • After a delicious local breakfast, it’s a full Baghdad city tour starting with the Liberation Square monument in Tahrir Square, which commemorates the establishment of the Republic of Iraq.
  • Visit to the National Museum of Iraq. Reopened in 2015 after notorious looting during the war, it contains various treasure from the Mesopotamian and Babylonian periods.
  • Stroll along the Tigris River and cross over the water on a boat.
  • Visit the incredible and well renovated Al–Mustansariya School. This is commonly known as the oldest school in the world.
  • Walk through the book market and adjoining copper market. A great place for souvenirs and photography.
  • Take a well deserved break in the Shabinder cafe for tea and Shisha.
  • Lunch in the famous Kubba restaurant next door.
  • The Al Shaheed Monument is the martyr’s memorial spot for people who died during the Iran-Iraq War. These days it’s a highly controversial monument, as it was originally built during the Saddam era.
  • Traditional Fish Masgouf dinner and overnight in Baghdad.

September 30th - Baghdad - Samarra - Mosul

  • Hit the road early and drive north to Samara. We pass through multiple checkpoints along the route driving by many villages recently destroyed during fighting against ISIS.
  • Samara is famous for its Minarets (we will likely see the spectacular & less visited Abu Delef Minaret). We’ll climb the spiral staircase all the way to the top for the 360 degree view. Not for the faint hearted!
  • After lunch drive towards Hatra, an important historic religious center with a strategic position along caravan trade routes. Hatra was one of the first Arab states to be established outside of Arabia.
  • Continue driving to Mosul and overnight.

October 1st - Mosul - Erbil

  • Start the day with a local breakfast before we start discovering the reconstruction of the old city including the Al-Nuri mosque and Al Tahira church.
  • See the Bash Tapia castle with its amazing views over the city and Tigris river.
  • Lunchtime with the “Kubba of Mosul” the area’s most popular dish.
  • Before sunset we head to Erbil in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
  • Farewell dinner to those leaving us in Erbil and meet up with those joining us for the Kurdistan tour.
  • Overnight in Erbil.

October 2nd - Erbil

  • End of Tour.

Don’t feel like ending just yet? Add on the Kurdistan Yazidi Festival tour by doing the Entire Iraq Combo!

What else?
  • Secure Hotels in Iraq

    Twin share accommodation (single supplements are available for an extra $60 per night)

  • Entrance fees

    All entrance fees (unless otherwise stated)

  • Guides

    Expert local guide only on budget tours. Both a local guide and western tour leader on regular tours.

  • Transport

    Air-conditioned bus and driver.

  • Visa Support

    If you do not qualify for the visa on arrival - We will supply you an invitation letter which will allow you to apply for the Iraqi visa at your nearest embassy.

  • Airport Pickup/Dropoff

    Airport transfers included.

  • International Flights

    Flights in and out of Iraq.

  • Lunch and Dinner

    Most lunch and dinners are extra charge.

  • Visa Fee

    $80 on arrival in Baghdad, Najaf and Basra airports.

  • Tips

    Tips are expected for your Iraqi local guides and driver.

  • Pre/Post Tour Accommodation

    If you would like to spend a day or more pre or post tour, let us know and we'll reserve the hotel for you.

Tour Notes

You’ll be in the vastly experienced hands of our English speaking local guides & fixer as well as your Rocky Road Travel guide. We visit Iraq regularly, so we know the best spots and have perfected the itinerary accordingly. Given the unpredictable nature of travelling in Iraq, the itinerary may change slightly, but we will always go above and beyond with added extras to the itinerary such as stops at local cafe-bars, shisha lounges and amusement parks. We are in constant communication with our local partners on the ground who advise the safest routes to take.

Before each tour we will add you to a dedicated WhatsApp group so you can share photos easily with your travel mates. Just let us know is you want to opt out of this.

To book simply hit the button below and start the conversation today.

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Sept 24 - Oct 2nd, 2024

Baghdad & Babylon Tour

Iraqi Kurdistan Option

Continue North to Kurdistan

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8 nights in Iraq

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