From the most mind-blowing landscapes in the Middle East to breathtaking Christian monasteries and some of the oldest cities in the world, Iraqi Kurdistan is a particularly safe, autonomous region within Iraq that will definitely break all stereotypes you may have about any Middle Eastern destination of this kind.
In this EXPEDITION, we will explore beautiful remote mountains, discover Saddam Hussein’s legacy, visit endless historical, cultural, and religious sites and, of course, learn about the Kurdish culture.
April 13th to 19th, 2024
Lead by Oriol López
Note that we always keep the itinerary flexible, and it may be subject to change, depending on the political situation.
Day 1 is the arrival day into the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, Erbil.
We will greet and pick you up at the arrival terminal of Erbil International Airport, followed by checking into the hotel.
In the evening, we will give an introductory briefing on Kurdistan and the tour, and then we’ll go out for drinks and dinner.
Early in the morning, we will head for the historical Christian monastery of Mar Mattai, located only 20km from Mosul, and very close to the former front line against ISIS.
Then, we will go to Lalish, the holiest place for Yazidis, a religious group who mainly live across the Middle East, the Caucasus, Turkey, and Russia but Iraq has the largest population.
We will visit their temple and meet the Yazidi community.
We will finish our day in Dohuk, one of Kurdistan’s main cities.
Dinner and overnight in Dohuk.
It’s a 5,000-old historical village and believed to be the home of the Three Wise Man, who made a pilgrimage to Bethlehem to see Jesus Christ after his birth.
On the way, however, we will stop at one of the several abandoned palaces that Saddam Hussein had across Iraq. Today, the palace has become a Peshmerga base.
After lunch, we will drive through the most scenic road in all Iraq, stopping on the way in Barzan, a village and the epicentre of Kurdish nationalism.
Dinner and overnight in Soran.
In the morning, we will head for Rawanduz: jaw-dropping canyons, pretty meadows, deep gorges and traditional Kurdish villages.
Rawanduz is a small town surrounded by the finest and most beautiful landscapes in the region and we will spend the day exploring its natural wonders.
We will also drive through the Hamilton Road, an internationally famous road built in the 30s.
This is going to be a particularly long driving day, but a very scenic one.
Dinner and overnight in Rawanduz.
In the morning, we will visit the Red Security Museum, aka Saddam Hussein’s House of Horrors, located in what used to be the headquarters of Saddam’s regime.
The museum summarizes all the atrocities Sadam Hussein committed against the Kurds and today, it also features an ISIS-related section.
Moreover, the museum’s courtyard contains tanks and a set of weaponry once owned by Saddam Hussein.
Then, we will head for Halabja, a small town in which Saddam Hussein organized a massive attack with the use of chemical weapons, killing thousands of people in a matter of seconds.
We will visit a sobering memorial and museum.
Dinner and overnight in Sulimaniyah.
Very early in the morning, we will drive to Erbil.
Erbil is a 7,000-year-old city, one of the oldest in the world, filled with historical sites and inhabited by some of the most hospitable people in the Middle East, the Kurds.
For sightseeing, this is my favorite capital in the Middle East.
During our visit, we will visit the Old Citadel, the bazaar, Jalil Khayat mosque and, in the evening, we can all go for drinks to the Christian district of Ankawa.
Dinner and overnight in Erbil.
After enjoying breakfast altogether, we will take care of your transfer to Erbil International Airport.
If your flight is later in the afternoon or evening, no problem, we can spend the day together hanging out in Erbil Old Town.
April 13th to 19th, 2024
Lead by Oriol López
These are the hotels where we always stay but note that once in a while, they might be subject to availability.
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 the same gender and age together but note that this can’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 want to have your own single room, you will have to pay an additional €150.
There is a visa on arrival available at Erbil International Airport.
It costs €60 or $75.
Note that this visa is only valid for the Kurdistan region, not for Federal Iraq.
If your passport is not on the lucky list, we can get you a Letter of Invitation, with which you’ll be able to apply at your nearest embassy.
12 to 13 people maximum.
Erbil has an international airport with loads of connections.
If you are coming from anywhere in Europe, the best is to come via Istanbul (either Pegasus or Turkish Airlines), and those coming from the American continent, also have the option of coming via Doha or Dubai.
Lufthansa and Air France also fly to Erbil.
Iraqi Kurdistan has been possible to visit for a long time, even before they introduced VOA for Federal Iraq, and the reason is that the region has always been relatively stable and safe.
In order to secure your spot on the tour, we require a deposit.
All details will be shared upon booking your spot.
Please refer to our Terms & Conditions.