Iraqi Kurdistan Nowruz Tour
What's it all about?
Our Iraqi Kurdistan tour offers an extensive look into the autonomous region of Northern Iraq. Kurdistan offers not only safety, but stunning mountain ranges with thousands of archaeological sites and some of the most friendly and welcoming people on the planet.
The region has long been known in Middle Eastern literature as ‘paradise on earth’. There’s no better time to visit than the Persian new year festivities celebrated by Kurds around the world.
The tour begins with either flying in from our Baghdad & Babylon tour or joining us on the Friday by your own means before we head hit the road to explore. The trip takes us to the world’s most important Yazidi shrine at Lalesh (40 KM from Mosul), before heading north to Duhok, Saddam Hussein’s former palace, Amadiya, Sulaymaniyah and back to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Erbil.
This is one of our favourite tours and it’s a great place to start if you have never visited the Middle East before. It’s also a great tour for those who hate applying for costly and time consuming visas! Check out the itinerary below and book your place today.
Erbil - Lalish - Duhok - Rawandas - Sulaymaniyah - Erbil.
March 18th - 24th, 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.
March 18th - Erbil
- Arrival in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan. Our guide will be waiting to pick you up from the arrivals hall. Transfer to the hotel.
- 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.
March 19th - Duhok
- We begin the day with a two-hour drive to Lalesh. This is the most sacred town for the Yazidi religion. We’ll tour the temple, meet the locals on pilgrimage here and learn about their recent dark history with ISIS.
- Our next stop is at one of 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.
- Following lunch, we’ll drive on to Duhok and check into our downtown hotel.
- Walking city tour around the bazaar.
- Overnight in Duhok.
March 20th - 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.
March 21st - Sulaymaniyah - Nowruz!
- Happy New Year!
- 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.
- We drive a further 3 hours to the second major city of Iraqi Kurdistan – Sulaymaniyah.
- Take in the Nowruz street festivities and walk around the night market of this historical city.
- Overnight in Sulaymaniyah.
March 22nd - Sulaymaniyah
- Visit the infamous “Red prison” – once a centre torture for Saddam Hussein’s regime. The prison is now a fascinating museum.
- 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.
March 23rd - Erbil
- Free morning to explore Sulaymaniyah and do some shopping.
- We again hit the road for the long trip back to Erbil.
- Stop for a lakeside lunch and go for a swim if you fancy it.
- 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.
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