Afghanistan in winter

Feb 18-28
11 Days

After visiting Afghanistan multiple times during all seasons, I can finally confirm that winter is the prettiest time to visit Afghanistan, when the country is covered is snow.

After a very successful winter expedition in 2024, we decided to repeat it in 2025.

We are running several expeditions in Afghanistan every year, so we’re slowly becoming the number 1 experts in this country.

Join us to discover Taliban Afghanistan.


February 18th to 28th, 2025


11 days

Lead by Oriol López

travelers who joined us say


Note that we always keep the itinerary flexible, and it may be subject to change, depending on the political situation.

Day 1 – Arrival in Kabul

Day 2 – Kabul

Day 3 – Fly to Mazar-e-Sharif

Day 4 – Drive to Bamyan

Day 5 – Full day in Bamyan

Day 6 – Band-e Amir National Park

Day 7 – Ghazni

Day 8 – Drive to Kandahar

Day 9 – Kandahar

Day 10 – Fly to Kabul

Day 11 – Kabul and departure

Day 1 – Arrival in Kabul

  • Day 1 is the arrival day, a day which we will spend picking you up from the airport and checking in the hotel, as well as giving you a warm welcome through an introductory briefing on Afghanistan.
  • In the evening, we will all go out together for a traditional Afghan meal.
  • Overnight in Kabul.

Day 2 – Full day in Kabul

  • In the morning, we will head to Old Kabul, where we will spend the morning walking slowly through all the different bazaars, including the worldwide famous bird market, a photogenic bazaar where they sell different types of birds as pets, one of the top tourist attractions in Kabul.
  • After a hearty meal, we will travel west of Kabul to visit Sakhi Shrine, a mini version of the Blue Mosque in Mazar and also one of the most stunning mosques in Afghanistan.
  • Our day will be finished in Bibi Mahro Hills, the highest point in all of Kabul, from where you get a 360º view of the city, and whose center features the tallest flag pole in the country, today this flag being a massive Taliban flag.
  • This place is always busy with locals for sunset, so it will be a great chance to interact with them too.
  • Overnight in Kabul.

Day 3 – Mazar-e-Sharif

  • In the morning, we will catch a flight to Mazar-e-Sharif, a northern city close to the Uzbekistan border, so here you will find a large population of Uzbeks.
  • From the airport, we will drive straight to Balkh, an ancient city once the center of Buddhism, Sufism, and Zoroastrianism. Among other landmarks, we will visit Bala Hisar – the ancient citadel built by Alexander the Great when he destroyed the Kurush (Persian empire) – and Parsa Mosque.
  • Then, we will head back to Mazar to spend the entire afternoon in the Blue Mosque, one of the highlights in all Afghanistan, a huge shrine composed of mind-blowing turquoise patterns that comes to life with the thousands of worshippers that visit it every single day. It’s not a place to rush, so we will take our time there.
  • Overnight in Mazar-e-Sharif

Day 4 – Drive to Bamyan

  • This is an exciting day, for two different reasons.
  • On the one hand, few travelers have done this journey by road, since the area between both destinations used to be extremely dangerous before the Taliban took over, but no longer.
  • On the other hand, we will drive through the Hindu Kush range, witnessing amazing landscapes and passing through 5 different provinces: Bamyan, Parwan, Bghlan, Samangan and Balkh.
  • We will arrive in Bamyan in the evening.
  • Overnight in Bamyan.

Day 5 – Full day in Bamyan

  • Bamyan, the heartland of Hazara people, and the only sort of tourist-friendly place in all Afghanistan.
  • It’s located at the heart of the Hindu Kush, in a stunningly beautiful area surrounded by mountains and lush, green fields, but also a region rich in ancient history.
  • The journey by road takes around 3.5 hours but for the most part, it’s a truly scenic enjoyable drive. After checking in the hotel, we will have lunch and then we will pay a visit to the giant Buddhas that were carved from the rocks back in the 6th century, but unfortunately destroyed by the Taliban in 2001.
  • The big Buddha-shaped holes they left behind are impressive though, and the views from the top even more.
  • We will finish the day on top of Shahr-e Gholghola, an ancient fortress from where you get jaw-dropping views of all Bamyan and surrounding mountains.
  • Overnight in Bamyan.

Day 6 – Band-e-Ameer National Park

  • Band-e-Ameer is a UNESCO World Heritage and also the only National Park in all Afghanistan, a set of deep-blue lakes that are absolutely jaw-dropping.
  • Overnight in Bamyan.

Day 7 – Bamyan to Ghazni

  • The drive to Ghazni from Bamyan will go through an actual off the beaten path region in Afghanistan, passing by isolated villages in the middle of the desert.
  • The drive will take 4 hours.
  • Upon arrival in Ghazni, we will have lunch, and then we will visit the Ghaznavid minarets, two masterpieces of Islamic engineering from the 12th century.
  • Overnight in Ghazni.

Day 8 – Drive to Kandahar

  • At 7:30am, we’ll start driving towards Kandahar through some of the most isolated cities in Afghanistan.
  • We will stop in an area filled with destroyed American artillery, including tanks.
  • Overnight in Kandahar.

Day 9 – Kandahar

  • Kandahar is the heartland for the Pashtun people.
  • Long-bearded men and women in burqa, but also dust, utterly hot summers, and an insane level of military security.
  • Kandahar is like the Afghanistan we have been watching on TV, but it’s also rich in history, since it was actually founded by Alexander the Great himself in the 4th century BC.
  • The city, however, is also infamous for being the place where the Taliban movement was founded, and the actual Taliban capital when they ruled the country from 1996 to 2001.
  • We will visit the remains of the city founded by Alexander the Great but our visit will also have a big focus on the Taliban history, and that will include the mosque where Mullah Omar and Osama Bin Laden used to pray, as well as a Taliban school.
  • Overnight in Kandahar.

Day 10 – Fly to Kabul

  • We will catch the morning flight from Kandahar to Kabul.
  • We will check in at the hotel and after lunch, we’ll visit all the places we missed on day 2 of the tour.
  • Overnight in Kabul.

Day 11 – Kabul and departure

  • In the morning, we’ll head to Chicken Street, the only place in Kabul where you can find actual souvenirs, ranging from fridge magnets to coffee mugs and the carpet bazaar.
  • Airport transfers will be arranged accordingly.

Gallery of photos


All mentioned domestic flights

10 nights of accommodation in secured hotels mentioned in FAQ

Permits and security clearance for driving around Taliban-Afghanistan

Private transportation around Afghanistan

All meals

Letter of Invitation needed for the visa

Visa advice and support.

English-speaking Afghan guide

European tour leader

Entrance fees to all places listed in the itinerary

Not Included

International flights to Kabul

Visa fees

Local Clothes: around $40-$65

Single supplement: 190€


February 18th to 28th, 2025


11 days

Lead by Oriol López


Which hotels do we stay in?

These are the secured hotels where we stay. Note that they might be subject to availability.

How does the room distribution work?

The price of the tour includes accommodation in a twin room.

If you are a solo traveler, you will be sharing the room with another like-minded traveler from the group. We always try to group people of same gender and age together but note that this won’t always be the case. Moreover, in the hypothetical case there weren’t perfect pairs, one of the rooms would be a triple room.

If you wanted to have your own single room, you will have to pay an additional €190.

How to fly to Kabul?

There are daily flights from Dubai (Fly Dubai and Kam Air) and Islamabad (only Kam Air). 

You can also find occasional flights from Istanbul, Doha, Tashkent and Dushanbe, also with Kam Air. 

How to get a visa?

You can get a visa in many embassies in Europe, including London, Berlin, Paris or Madrid, but that will depend on your residence. 

Alternatively, you can easily get it in either Dubai or Islamabad in less than a day. That’s actually the easiest option. 

More details will be shared upon booking your spot.

Is Afghanistan safe nowadays?

Before the Taliban took over the country in the summer of 2021, the country was going through a civil war. Now that the Americans left and the Afghan Army isn’t fighting the Taliban anymore, the country is finally safe, from a tourist perspective.

For more information, check my Afghanistan safety guide.

What about Americans?

Yes, despite the American intervention, the country is as safe for Americans as it is for other nationalities.

Can women join an Afghanistan expedition?

Yes, women can join this expedition, no problem.

While the local Afghan women do suffer from huge repression and lack rights, foreign women will always be safe, especially if you go accompanied by our team.

Regarding clothing, you don’t need to wear a burqa but just a regular hijab and an abaya, like you’d do in Iran.

Which nationalities can join this tour?

All nationalities are welcome, including Americans.

How does payment work?

In order to secure your spot on the tour, we require a deposit.

All details will be shared upon booking your spot.

Do you recommend a specific travel insurance?

Either you are joining one of our trips, or you are traveling by yourself, you might want to look for proper travel insurance. Against the Compass has been a partner with IATI for several years already, recommending it to all readers, as well as covering all Joan Torres’ personal trips.

We like it because It covers all the countries where the FCDO advises against all travel, it offers budget plans and covers all sorts of adventure activities.

Against the Compass readers can benefit from a 5% discount.

Get a quote here to claim your discount

What about the cancellation policy?

Please refer to our Terms & Conditions.