Iraq New Years Tour

What's it all about?

It’s our signature Iraq tour which starts in Baghdad and ends up in the Kurdish capital of Erbil – just in time for new years celebrations! This is one of our budget friendly Iraq tours.
What’s the difference? Our budget trips are one day less and will not have a western tour leader accompany the group. Don’t worry though, the group will be no bigger than 6 people and will be led by our expert local guides.
This Baghdad to Erbil tour will take in all of the major highlights of federal Iraq between the two cities. 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.
There is a huge amount of ancient and modern history waiting to be explored. We’ll travel from Baghdad heading south to Babylon & the holy cities of Najaf & Karbala. We will also head all the way to the Iraqi Marshlands before driving north to Samarra, Mosul and finally Erbil. We cover a huge amount of ground with our expert local guide keeping us informed and your Rocky Road Travel tour leader keeping you entertained all the way.
Join us for this December for a one of a kind Iraq new years tour!

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


Dec 26th – Jan 1st, 2025


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


Dec 26th - Baghdad

  • Arrival in Baghdad. We will provide airport transfers for all incoming flights.
  • 10am meeting time in the lobby of our hotel.
  • 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.
  • See the Liberation square monument and the place where Saddam’s statue was toppled in 2003.
  • See the Al-Shaheed (Martyr) Monument.
  • Traditional Fish Masgouf dinner and overnight in Baghdad.

Dec 27th - 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.
Continue reading

Dec 28th - Najaf & Ur

  • Tour Najaf, including the Imam Ali’s Shrine.
  • 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.
  • Overnight in Nasariyah.

Dec 29th - 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.
  • After a local lunch drive back to Baghdad.
  • Dinner and overnight in Baghdad.

Dec 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.

Dec 31st - Mosul - Erbil

  • Tour 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.
  • Drive to Erbil in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
  • Welcome dinner and drinks in the christian quarter of Erbil and meet up with those joining us for the Kurdistan tour.
  • Hit the nightlife and ring in the new year Kurdish style!
  • Overnight in Erbil.

Jan 1st - Erbil

  • Transfer to the airport and end of tour.
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 guide & fixer. 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 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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