Southern Iraq Tour
What's it all about?
Najaf - Babylon - Karbala - Nasariyah - Basra - Baghdad - Samarra.
May 14 - 20th, 2021
We will apply for a letter of invitation on your behalf and then you will need to apply for the visa at the nearest Iraqi embassy in person or by post.
May 14th - Najaf
- Meet in Istanbul at 8am and catch our our morning Iraqi Airlines flight to Najaf (Cost of the flight not included. Exact details to be confirmed closer to the date)
- Meet up with our local guide and fixer who will give an introduction on travelling in Iraq and a breakdown of the itinerary for our stay.
- After checking into our hotel 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.
- Najaf is the third holiest city in Shia Islam. We’ll take in its most important site – the Imam Ali shrine for the late night ceremony after dinner.
- Overnight in Najaf
May 15th - Najaf, Babyon & 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.
- Continue onto the holy city of Karbala. Here we’ll take in the must-see Al Abbas mosque and Iman Husayn shrine.
- Drive back to Najaf.
- Dinner and overnight in Najaf.
May 16th - Najaf, Nasariyah & Basra
- After breakfast we’ll 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.
- Visit the Adam and Eve tree AKA the tree of knowledge in the village of Qurna. Legend has it that Eve ate the apple from this very tree in the Garden of Eden.
- Drive onto Iraq’s southernmost city of Basra
- Dinner and overnight in Basra
May 17th - Basra & Baghdad
- We’ll visit the Ashar and Shanashil area to catch a glimpse of the old Basra. Think old style merchant houses with balconies leaning over the narrow streets.
- We take a cruise across the Shatt Al Arab river and see some shipwrecks from the Iran-Iraq War from the 80s.
- Saddam Hussain also built a grand palace in Basra, and of course we’ll visit it!
- Iraq’s biggest football stadium is in Basra. Iraqi’s love their football and are even more proud of the 60,000 seater Basra sports city stadium!
- After lunch we hit the highway for the long drive to Baghdad with stops along the way.
- Dinner and Overnight in Baghdad.
May 18th - Baghdad
- It’s a Baghdad city tour day and we kick things off with a visit to the National Museum.
- 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.
May 19th - Baghdad & Samarra
- 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.
- Dive by the square where Saddam’s statue was toppled in 2003. A short drive from here to our hotel.
- 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 the high security “Baghdad Hotel”.
May 20th - Baghdad
- Visit the incredible Suffi shrine, a welcome escape from the city!
- The Al Shaheed Monument is the martyr’s memorial spot for people who died during the Iran-Iraq War.
- See the Liberation Square monument which commemorates the establishment of the Republic of Iraq.
- Visit the Flying Carpet Monument, the Monument to Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves and the Magic Lamp!
- End of tour for those not carrying on to Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan. Flights out can be booked for the late afternoon.
You’ll be in the experienced hands of our 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. Our local guide/fixer has a constant ear to the ground and will guide us on the safest route. 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.
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