Entire Iraq Tour

What's it all about?

It’s the biggest Yazidi festival tour of the year. The Autumn Assembly, or Cemaiya is a 7 day long festival in honour of Sheikh Adi, who is entombed at Lalish. This will be the centerpoint of this tour. Most Yazidi people in the region will try and make it to Lalish at least once a year during this week. We’ll also see all the rest of Kurdistan’s highlights from Duhok to Sulaymaniyah.
 
The trip begins however, in southern Iraq. We’ll travel from Baghdad south to Karbala, Babylon, Najaf, the Mesopotamian Marshes and back to Baghdad, Samarra, Mosul & finally Erbil! We cover a huge amount of ground with our expert local guide explaining all as we go.
 
We conducted our first ever research tour to Baghdad in April 2018 and followed it up with our first regular Iraq tour. It proved to be not only very safe but incredibly informative & fascinating. The area is spoiled with world-class heritage and is completely unspoiled by tourism meaning we will feel like the only foreign travelers in town.
 
Join us for this unique Iraq tour and see the whole of the country!
Highlights

Baghdad - Karbala - Babylon - Najaf -Nasariyah - Baghdad -  Samarra - Mosul - Erbil - Lalish - Duhok - Sulaymaniyah.

Sept 30th - October 12th, 2022

For Kurdistan, luckily it's visa free for most nationalities including the EU, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. If you're not sure if you qualify just ask us and we'll let you know.

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. 

The Itinerary

Map

September 30th - Baghdad & Ctesiphon

  • Arrival in Baghdad. You will be transferred from the airport to the Taj hotel.
  • Introductory briefing on travelling in Iraq and a breakdown of the itinerary
  • The victory over America Palace and the place where Saddam’s statue was toppled in 2003.
  • Visit the Al-Yassin Shrine arguably Baghdad’s finest.
  • We drive an hour outside of the city to 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.
  • Back to Baghdad for dinner by the Tigris river.
  • Tea, shish-a and overnight in Baghdad.

October 1st - Baghdad

  • After a delicious local breakfast near Tahrir Square, it’s a full Baghdad city tour starting with the Liberation Square monument, 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.
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October 2nd - 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.
  • It’s also home to some of the best baclava in Iraq!
  • Dinner and overnight in Karbala.

October 3rd - Najaf & Ur

  • In the morning we’ll drive to visit the tomb of the prophet Ezekiel in the city of Al Kifl. 
  • Najaf, 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.
  • Leave Najaf and drive south 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 Nasariyah city and overnight.

October 4th - Chibayesh and Baghdad 

  • 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, have lunch in a traditional reed house and then drive back to Baghdad.
  • Stop by the ancient site of Agargouf Ziggurat.
  • Visit the Save Iraqi Culture Monument and see the Green Zone of Baghdad.
  • Dinner in the modern area of Karada and overnight in Baghdad.

October 5th - Baghdad - Samarra - Mosul

  • Hit the road and drive north to Samara. We pass through multiple checkpoints along the route.
  • Samara is famous for its huge 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!
  • Visit the Jawsaq al-Khaqani – otherwise known as the Caliphal Palace. It’s one of the largest of its kind in the Islamic world.
  • 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. We’ll see the incredible refurbishment efforts underway here after its liberation from ISIS.
  • Continue driving to Mosul and overnight.

October 6th - 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.
  • After that, we head to the christian town of Bakhdida or Qaraqosh to visit Church Square – the place where the Pope gave mass on his historic visit to Iraq in March 2021.
  • 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 7th - Duhok

  • We begin the day with a two-hour drive to the world’s oldest monastery’s. Algosh is built into the mountains and is technically part of Mosul and Iraq “proper”.
  • We head for lunch in Algosh town.
  • Lalish. This is the most sacred town for the Yazidi religion. We’ll spend the afternoon here mingling and joining in on the festivities. 
  • When we’re ready, we’ll drive on to Duhok and check into our downtown hotel.
  • Walking city tour around the bazaar.
  • Overnight in Duhok.

October 8th - Rawandas

  • In the morning, we head straight to St Matthew’s Monastery – one of the oldest in existence.
  • Amadiya – the stunning mountain top village. Walk through the quiet streets and visit the mosque and church here.
  • Drive to Saddam Hussein’s former mountaintop palace. You’ll know instantly why he choose this site. Explore the ruins and admire the views.
  • We walk to the famous Shanidar cave before stopping at a restaurant for lunch.
  • Following lunch, we embark on one of our longer journeys: the three-hour drive to stunning Rawandas.
  • Overnight in Soran/Rawandas.

October 9th - Sulaymaniyah

  • Drive the famous Hamilton road.  The road was built by AM Hamilton in the 1930’s for what he hoped would unify the peoples of the region. It linked Iran with Iraq and was an engineering marvel of the time.
  • We continue along stopping at various waterfalls before lunch.
  • We drive a further 2 hours to the second major city of Iraqi Kurdistan – Sulaymaniyah.  We will be stopping along the way for snacks and drinks.
  • In the evening, we walk around the night market of this historical city.
  • Overnight in Sulaymaniyah.

October 10th - Sulaymaniyah

  • We drive one hour to Halabja.  This was the scene of a chemical attack on the Kurdish people, perpetrated by the Baathist regime towards the end of the Iran/Iraq war. Here we’ll tour the memorial and mass grave sites.
  • We head to Tawela on the Iran border, and previously the front line in the Iran/Iraq war.
  • Lunch by the border.
  • We head back to Sulaymaniyah for some leisurely time at chavi land funfair.
  • Overnight in Sulaymaniyah.

October 11th - Erbil

  • Free morning to explore Sulaymaniyah and do some shopping.
  • We again hit the road for the long trip back to Erbil.
  • Stop by the ancient caravanserai at Koya for a look around.
  • On arrival in Erbil we head straight to the Citadel for sunset. We then head into the bazaar where our local guide will help you find some last minute bargains.
  • Farewell dinner in the christian district.
  • Overnight in Erbil.

October 12th - Departure

  • Transfer to the airport & end of the Iraq tour.
What else?
Inclusions
Exclusions
  • Secure Hotels in Iraq

    Twin share accommodation with breakfast (single supplements are available for an extra charge)

  • Entrance fees

    All entrance fees (unless otherwise stated)

  • Guides

    Both an expert local guide and western tour leader.

  • Transport

    Air-conditioned bus and driver.

  • Airport Transfers

    Our driver will meet you inside the arrivals hall and transfer you to the hotel.

  • International Flights

    Flights in and out of Iraq.

  • Lunch and Dinner

    Most lunch and dinners are extra charge.

  • Visa Fee

    The visa on arrival is $77 USD payable in cash only.

  • Tips

    Tips are expected for your Iraqi local guides and driver.

Tour Notes

You’ll be in the experienced hands of our legendary English speaking local guide and Rocky Road Travel guide. We visit Iraq regularly, so we know the best spots and have perfected the itinerary accordingly. Your itinerary may change slightly but we will always endevour to go above and beyond with added extras to the itinerary such as stops at local cafe-bars, shisha lounges and amusement parks.

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.

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

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Premium hotel

12 nights in Iraq

The price

€3680

Description
Itinerary
Included/Excluded
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