Baghdad & Babylon Tour
What's it all about?
Baghdad – Najaf – Babylon – Karbala – Nasariyah – Samarra – Mosul – Erbil
March 4 – 11th, 2024
For Southern Iraq a new visa on arrival scheme has been announced for citizens of the EU, UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Russia, China, Japan & South Korea.
Baghdad to Erbil
March 4th - Baghdad
- Arrival in Baghdad. We will provide airport transfers for all incoming flights.
- Check into the hotel and overnight.
March 5th - Baghdad
- Breakfast in the hotel before meeting your fellow travellers in the lobby. Baghdad tour – see the Liberation square monument and the place where Saddam’s statue was toppled in 2003.
- See the iconic Al-Shaheed (Martyr) Monument.
- Visit the Save Iraqi Culture Monument and see the Green Zone of Baghdad.
- Visit the Al-Yassin Shrine arguably Baghdad’s finest.
- Traditional Fish Masgouf dinner and overnight in Baghdad.
March 6th - Baghdad & Ctesiphon
- After breakfast it’s a full Baghdad city tour starting with a 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.
- Visit the incredible Al – Mustansariya School. This is commonly known as the oldest school in the world.
- Stroll through the nearby bazaar with book markets, antiques and cooper galore!
- Stroll along the Tigris River and see the famous old clock tower.
- Take a well deserved break in the Shabinder cafe for tea and Shisha.
- Lunch in the famous Kubba restaurant next door.
- Drive out to one of the greatest historical sites in the Middle East: the ruins of Ctesiphon. These days all that’s left is a gigantic arch which also happens to be the world’s largest span of unreinforced brickwork.
- Dinner and overnight in Baghdad.
March 7th - Babylon & Karbala
- 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.
- After extensively exploring Babylon, continue onto Karbala.
- Visit Karbala’s famous Al Abbas mosque and Iman Husayn shrine at dusk
- Dinner and overnight in Karbala.
March 8th - Najaf & Ur
- In the morning we’ll drive to visit the tomb of prophet Ezekiel in the city of Al Kifl.
- Walking tour of Najaf, including Imam Ali’s house (the very spot where imam Ali was killed) and the grand Kufa Mosque.
- 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.
- Continue the journey to Nasiriyah, one of the largest cities in southern Iraq.
- Stop on the way to visit the Ziggurat of Ur, a neo-Sumerian construction built in 2000 BC.
- Dinner and overnight in Nasiriyah.
March 9th - Chibayesh and Baghdad.
- Early drive south to the 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 then drive back to Baghdad.
- Dinner in the modern area of Karada and overnight in Baghdad.
March 10th - Baghdad - Samarra - Mosul
- Hit the road 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 Minaret (also known as the Great Mosque of Samara). 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.
March 11th - 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.
- Lunchtime with “Kubba of Mosul” the area’s most popular dish.
- Before sunset we head to Erbil in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
- Final group dinner!
- Airport transfers depending on your flight time.
- End of tour.
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 & after each tour we will add you to dedicated email and social media groups so you can share photos easily with your travel mates. Just let us know is you want to opt out of this.
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Iraqi Kurdistan vs Federal Iraq Iraq is a complicated place. Sectarian divisions have long characterised the country, be that between the various factions of Islam