Iraq - Mesopotamia - Kurdistan

Iraq Holiday adventures

As we are all aware these last few years have seen violent changes to the structure of Iraq with the DAESH or ISIS invasion from the self proclaimed CALIPHATE based in Raqqa, Syria and the taking of Mosul city. Now the situation has vastly improved with the Iraq Government Forces, the Kurdish Peshmerga and associated militia plus support by foreign Government air forces have forced DAESH back over the Syrian border and relieved Mosul. Kurdistan Iraq has held its borders and taken back Kirkuk. With the recovery of Tikrit and Mosul there is now a safe corridor from Baghdad to Erbil.

Under the umbrella of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and by changing our tour schedules to 9 and 14 days and only travelling as far north of Baghdad as Samarra but also exploring more extensively the wonderful and deserted Sumerian sites in the south we have continued our tours. A new year, 2018, and for this March and April we will continue the 9 and 14 day schedules as sites and conditions in the northern areas settle down and reconstruction,certainly of the towns,begins. Ambitiously a brief 7-9 day journey in May to the north will assess the damage done to the ancient sites for future tours. Request details for this special foray which will begin from Baghdad. We expect to revive our past 11 and 16 day schedules which will include a little of Kurdistan and some of the sites open to access such as Hatra , Assur, Nineveh, Nimrud and Mar Benham, hopefully in September , October and November 2018 and into 2019. However it should be noted that many of the sites have been damaged and are in a dangerous condition as left by Daesh and as is the city of Mosul and its districts. We continue to support IRAQ through its trials. Bradts have published our guide book. IRAQ - The ancient sites and Iraqi Kurdistan.

All bookings and deposits made in in the calendar year prior to departure will attract a ground tour discount of 5%.

Babylon foundations of the first Ishtar Gate

Tour dates

9 and 14 day tours
2018 - 4th March, 1st April
From 9th September, 14th October, 11th November will be our 11 day and 16 day tours.
2019 - Request dates.

Both tours run concurrently, starting in Baghdad and with Samarra, Babylon,the Shrine cities amongst the highlights with the 9 day tour returning to Baghdad and the 14 day tour travelling further south exploring not only the well known ancient sites of Uruk, Eridu and Ur but the little visited sites of Larsa, Lagash and Telloh. Staying in Nasiriya also gives time in the Marshes of Iraq and enables us to visit Charax Spasinou, Alexanders port city, newly being excavated before reaching Basra and finally returning to Baghdad.

Group in the shadow of the Agargouf Kassite Ziggurat

Mesopotamia and Kurdistan Iraq

With all tours we try to keep costs down but also see as much as is possible within our given tour structures. Security considerations govern some of our time and restrict our absolute freedom but we seek to give you the maximum experience possible. Ancient and religious history abounds in this land between the two rivers. Excitingly, after long years of enforced abstinence the worlds major museums and universities are once again digging in Mesopotamia Iraq and Kurdistan

As dedicated friends of Iraq and wanting to contribute our share to the future of the country we ask all interested travellers, for now and in the future, to send into us your names and contact details so that we can update your regularly as to the travel opportunities in Iraq. Email

9 day Tour
Day 1 Arrive Baghdad, afternoon excursion. Overnight Baghdad.
Day 2 Baghdad city tour - National Museum, old part of the city, Tel Harmal. Overnight Baghdad.
Day 3 Samarra Shrine & Minaret, Baghdad City and environs. Overnight Baghdad.
Day 4 Ancient Mesopotamia cities, Kish, Babylon, Borsippa. Overnight In Babylon.
Day 5 Drive to Ukhaider, the Islamic Castle/Palace, At Tar Caves and nearby monastery. Overnight Kerbala. Shrine city Husayn and Hassan.
Day 6 Drive to Khifal 6th century B.C. tomb of Ezekial the Jewish Prophet, Kufa, Hira and Najaf where Imam Ali is buried. All important Shia cities and shrines. Overnight Najaf.
Day 7 Drive to the ancient site of Nippur famous for its Enlil Temple and Ziggurat return to Overnight at Samawih.
Day 8 Morning visit to Warka (ancient Uruk) the largest excavated site in Iraq. Return by road to overnight Baghdad.
Day 9 Departure from Baghdad Airport.
Basic costs from £2,450 plus flights and visa.

The Marshes - collecting the reeds

14 day Tour
Day 1 Arrive Baghdad, afternoon excursion. Overnight Baghdad.
Day 2 Baghdad city tour - national Museum, old part of city, Tel Harmal. Overnight Baghdad.
Day 3 Samarra Shrine & Minaret, Baghdda City and environs
Day 4 Ancient Mesopotamian cities. Kish, Babylon, Borsippar. Overnight Kerbala.
Day 5 Drive to Ukhaider, the Islamic Castle / Palace, At Tar Caves and nearby Monastery. Overnight in Kerbala Shrine city of Husayn and Hassan.
Day 6 Drive to Khifal. 6th century tomb of Ezekial, the Jewish Prophet, then Kufa, Hira and Najaf where Imam Ali is buried. All important Shia cities and shrines. Overnight Najaf.
Day 7 Drive to Nippur, ancient Mesopotamian city . Overnight in Samawih.
Day 8 Visit Uruk that most important ancient city where writing began, possibly Larsa. Overnight Samawih or Nasiriya.
Day 9 Continue further south to Larsa and then Tel Ubaid, Eridu (a city older than time itself), Ur. Overnight Nasiriya.
Day 10 A very full day exploring some very famous but little visited Sumerian sites, Tell Khaiber, Lagash, Telloh, and Islamic Wasit. Overnight Nasiriya.
Day 11 Marsh excursion then Querna where the Euphrates meets the Tigris and to Charax, Alexanders port city. Overnight in Basra.
Day 12 Basra city excursions. Overnight Basra.
Day 13 Return to Bagdad by road visiting Ezra's tomb en route and passing through Amrah and Kut to Baghdad. Overnight Baghdad.
Day 14 Departure from Baghdad airport.
Basic ground costs from £3,200 plus flight and visa.

For both above tours

Included in the costs - all ground transport (hired local transport), twin bedded rooms, breakfast and dinner, bottled water provided, listed excursions, A printed Hinterland Travel tour guide to the places that we visit is also provided, an Iraqi interpreter /guide, Hinterland Travel Tour leader, group airport transfers. Guards accompany the vehicle at all times.

Not included - International or Internal flights, Visas, single room supplements, insurance.

2018 from Sept, Oct and November our 11 and 16 day tours should commence with new schedules including the Northern Assyrian cities. However full details will not be published until after May. Costs are provisionally estimated from £3,656 for the 16 day tour.

Abu Delif - Samarra

Royal tombs - Ur

Telloh - the ancient bridge

Each tour is led by a Hinterland Travel tour guide in addition to the English speaking Iraq interpreter/guide. All land transport is by local air conditioned vehicle with an Iraqi driver. Hotel accommodation is provided throughout and this varies in standard,some very good some not so good, all on a twin room sharing basis. When single rooms are available then a single room supplement is levied at all the hotels that we use. Two meals a day only, breakfast and dinner, are included.

All passports need to be acceptable to the Iraqi authorities. To make a booking with us a good clear copy of the information page of your passport is required along with the completed booking form and the deposit of £350. The final tour balance to be paid 8 weeks prior to the tour departure date. We have an open age policy as long as you are fit and healthy but clients over the age of 75 should enclose a letter from their doctor confirming that they are fit to travel with us.

The Iraq Tourist visa is obtained through Hinterland Travel by prior arrangement with the Iraqi authorities. Four weeks should be allowed to obtain these and your passport will be stamped on the tour arrival day/date (not before) only at Baghdad airport. Visa authority letters are sent to you for flight boarding purposes before you depart from your home. On your arrival at Baghdad airport you are met by a Ministry rep to facilitate your visa procedure. A cash payment in US Dollars has to be paid to the Immigration desk at the airport.

It is important that we are informed of your flight arrangements as your visa begins only on the tour start date. For visa and transfer arrangements we require you to arrive in the morning of the tour start date. Please check with us before booking your flights.

The group size will be a maximum of 20 persons however the average group size rarely exceeds 12 persons of all ages and nationalities. English is the common language spoken along with the Arabic of the staff.

Security arrangements and procedures are paramount in the Iraq of today. To be able to travel through the innumerable check points and visit the sites ancient and religious travel papers and security are required and these arrangements have to be adhered to by all clients. We provide both, travel papers and the necessary security.

However most Governments issue notices against travel to Iraq by tourists at the present time and travel insurance can be difficult to obtain as Hinterland Travel recognise. The rules for this insurance vary from country to country. For UK citizens High Risk Voyager Travel Insurance Co. can supply the necessary insurance. We will take clients, although totally at their own risk, without insurance cover as it can be so difficult to obtain. Please note that Hinterland Travel consider that once we have received your signed booking form that you have assessed the risks as specified by the various Government departments in your own country, and the worldwide media coverage and are fully aware of the travel risks. Also please note that Hinterland Travel if forced to abandon or curtail our tour while travelling/ operating any tour in Iraq through Iraq Government action or terrorist action does not consider the Company liable in any way for any losses sustained by our clients due to this abandonment or curtailment under those specific actions.

Please read through our booking conditions on this website and any published in any of our literature before booking a tour to Iraq with us.