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.

The situation (June 2017) has vastly improved with the Iraq Government forces, the Kurdish Peshmerga forces,and associated militia and supported by foreign Government air forces having taken back most of Mosul City and recovering Iraq territory with the intention of forcing DAESH back over the Syrian border. Kurdistan Iraq has held its Provincial border and also taken Kirkuk. With the recovery of Tikrit and most of Mosul there is now a safe corridor possible from Baghdad via Samarra to Tikrit and to Erbil.

Under the umbrella of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture we have successfully this year 2017 amended our tours of 9 and 14 days to begin in Baghdad as usual but travel only as far north as Samarra but to also explore more extensively the wonderful deserted ancient Sumerian sites in the south. We still have the rest of this year with tours operating in September, October and November with a full programme for 2018 being promoted beginning in March of that year.

The situation In Iraq remains fluid in the north but we have the ability to change our schedules at any time to suit the on going conditions. We will revive our past 16 day schedules, when it is appropriate and possible to include some of Kurdistan and the north Iraq sites.However it should be noted that these north Assyrian sites, Nineveh, Nimrud and Assur, plus Hatra have been damaged and left in dangerous conditions by Daesh as has the city of Mosul and districts.

We continue to support Iraq through its trials. Bradts have published our guide book IRAQ-The ancient sites & 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
2017 - September 10th, October 10th, November 12th.
2018 - 4th March, 1st April, 6th May, 9th September, 14th October, 11th November.
2019 - Request dates.

Both tours run concurrently, starting in Baghdad and with Samarra, Babylon, the Shrine cities amongst the highlights, with 9 day tour returning to Baghdad and the 14 day tour travelling further south exploring not only the well known ancient sites of Uruk and Eridu and Ur but the little visited sites of Larsa, Lagash and Telloh. Staying in Nasiriya also extends our time in the Marshes of Iraq area before reaching Basra and 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 £2,400 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 Marshes excursion then Querna where the Euphrates meets the Tigris and to 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 £3,150 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.

Because of the ongoing DAESH situation involving Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan and their borders our cross border tours of Iran, Turkey and Iraq are on hold at the moment but we will resume our Combination tour of Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan on 4th Sept 2017. This can be either 15 days or 20 days to suit your available time schedule. Apply for costings and schedule etc. email.

Combination tours including Kurdistan
Because of the ongoing DAESH situation involving Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan and the surrounding countries and the borders our cross border tours of Iran, Turkey and Iraq are on hold for the moment but we resume our Combination tour of Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan this September 4th 2017 and Sept 5th 2018 this tour schedule begins in Erbil and follows through to Baghdad to join our normal 9 or 14 day tour.
Kurdistan section
Day 1 Arrival Erbil overnight Erbil.
Day 2 Erbil overnight.
Day 3 Drive to Dohuk visit Ain Sifni, Yezidi Temple at Lalish, the Assyrian reliefs at Bavian Gorge, overnight Dohuk.
Day 4 Drive via Amadiya on northern road to Rawanduz.
Day 5 To Dokan and Sulaminya.
Day 6 Visit Halabja and travel via Kirkuk to Erbil.
Day 7 Depart by air to Baghdad airport - Meet up with 9/14 day tour groups. Overnight Baghdad.
Day 8 onward 9 and 14 day schedules as above make up the Combination tour..
Costs include Internal flight Erbil to Baghdad. £4,150 for full combination 20 day tour/

IMPORTANT INFORMATION for all tours in Iraq
Each tour is led by a Hinterland Travel tour guide in addition to the English speaking Iraqi interpreter/guide All land transport is by local air conditioned vehicle with an Iraqi driver.Hotel accommodation 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 a single supplement is levied at all the hotels we use. Two meals a day are included.

All passports need to be acceptable to the Iraq 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 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 Iraq authorities. Four weeks should be allowed to obtain these and your passport will be stamped on tour arrival date only at Baghdad airport. A cash payment is required 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 transfer and visa arrangements we require our clients to arrive in the morning of the tour start date . However we have a certain group size criteria for the visa. Please check with us before booking your flights.

The group size will be a maximum of 20 persons however the average group usually numbers up to twelve 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 sites/buildings travel papers and security are required and these have to be adhered to by all our 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 insurance can be difficult to obtain as Hinterland Travel recognize. However some insurance cover can be obtained directly with High Risk Voyager Travel Insurance Co. We will take clients, although totally at their own risk, without insurance cover as it can be so difficult to obtain. Please note we 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, media coverage and are fully aware of the travel risks . While travelling/operating any tour in Iraq if we are forced to abandon or curtail our tour through, Iraq Govt action or terrorist activity, we do not consider Hinterland Travel liable in any way for any losses sustained by our clients due to this abandonment or curtailment. 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.