Entire Iraq Tour

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What's it all about?

It’s the final Entire Iraq tour of the year and we’ve saved the best for last. 
 
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 north along the former death highway to Samara and back again to Najaf, Karbala, the Mesopotamian marshlands and onto Basra before boarding the only train in the country back to Baghdad. 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 - Najaf - Karbala - Babylon - Nasariyah - Samarra - Baghdad - 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. If you are not from one of these countries then we will apply for a visa on your behalf. An invitation letter is issued and you can bring this to your local embassy to apply for the visa.

The Itinerary

Map

September 30th - Baghdad

  • Arrival in Baghdad. Your tour guide will meet you in Baghdad Airport.
  • Introductory briefing on travelling in Iraq and a breakdown of the itinerary
  • Baghdad tour (depending on your arrival time) – see the Liberation square monument. The victory over America Palace and the place where Saddam’s statue was toppled in 2003.
  • Dinner and overnight in Baghdad.

October 1st - 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 and well renovated Al–Mustansariya School. This is commonly known as the oldest school in the world.
  • Walk through the adjoining copper market. A great place for souvenirs and photography.
  • 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 and overnight.
Continue reading

October 2nd - Samarra & Karbala

  • 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!
  • Drive back to Baghdad and head straight to Abu Ghraib. Not the prison which is long gone but it’s ancient site of Agargouf Ziggurat.
  • Continue south onto the holy city of Karbala, just in time to catch the historic centre at sunset
  • Dinner and overnight in Karbala.

October 3rd - Karbala and Babylon

  • After breakfast we visit Karbala’s famous Al Abbas mosque and Iman Husayn shrine
  • 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 Najaf. Visit the most important site of Najaf  – the Imam Ali shrine for the daily late night ceremony.
  • Dinner and overnight in Najaf.

October 4th - Najaf, Nasiriyah and Ur  

  • In the morning we’ll go for a walking tour of Najaf, including Imam Ali’s house (the very spot where imam Ali was killed) and the grand Kufa Mosque.
  • Drive south to visit the Ziggurat of Ur, a neo-Sumerian construction built in 2000 BC.
  • 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.
  • Continue the journey to Nasiriyah, one of the largest cities in southern Iraq
  • Explore the exotic spice market and soak up the atmosphere of this vibrant city
  • Dinner and overnight in Nasiriyah.

October 5th - Baghdad

  • Hit the road for the drive back to Baghdad.
  • Visit the incredible Suffi shrine – a welcome escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.
  • 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.
  • And of course, Baghdad can’t be completed with a visit to the Flying Carpet Monument, Alibi Baba and the 40 thieves’ monument and the Magic Lamp monument.
  • Overnight in Baghdad Hotel.

October 6th - Baghdad - Erbil

  • Say goodbye to those joining us for only the Southern part Iraq
  • Fly on Iraqi Airways to Erbil. Your guide will pick you up from the airport.
  • Time depending we will do a full Erbil tour.
  • Walk through the main bazaar and change your money into Iraqi Dinars with the help of our local guide who will find you the best rate. Pick up a few souvenirs or just take in the atmosphere. Stop for Kurdish tea deep in the market.
  • Visit the citadel – the oldest continually inhabited place in the world. Visit the central mosque. Take in the views over the city from the top of the Citadel.
  • Optional visits to the textile museum, Kurdish museum, Minaret Park & the Jalil Khayat Mosque.
  • Rest up in the hotel before going out for dinner on food street – plenty of Kurdish cuisine on offer.
  • 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 four-hour drive to stunning Rawandas.
  • High in the Kurdish mountains we’ll take an optional walk here and settle in for the night at our hotel.
  • Overnight in 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 getting on the only mountain cable car in the region for breathtaking views of the surrounding valley.
  • Lunch.
  • We drive a further 3 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.
  • Lunch in a village near Kirkuk.
  • 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

  • End of the Iraq tour, we can arrange additional accommodation or cheap transport to the airport.
What else?
Inclusions
Exclusions
  • Secure Hotels in Iraq

    Twin share accommodation (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.

  • Visa Support

    We will supply you an invitation letter which will allow you to apply for the Iraqi visa at your nearest embassy.

  • Domestic flight

    Flight between Baghdad & Erbil.

  • International Fights

    Flights in and out of Iraq.

  • (Breakfast) Lunch and Dinner

    Breakfast is included at most hotels but not all. All other meals are extra charge.

  • Visa Fee

    The price varies depending on the embassy applied at.

  • 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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