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Welcome to the cradle of civilization: Iraq

Join us on our annual autumn trip to Iraq. During this period the temperature is at its most pleasant across the country. On our tour we will visit all the famous places of Iraq, from the past to the present. The programme includes a visit to Samarra, Babylon, Baghdad, Basra and the Ctesiphone. We will also visit the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf. During the trip we have an amazing guide with us who will tell you a lot about the cradle of our civilisation: Iraq.

General info

Start dateFriday 13 October 2023
End dateThursday 19 October 2023
Days7 days / 6 nights
Price€ 2,895
€ 3,990 (Kurdistan Tour combo)
IncludingAccommodation (shared)
Transportation on the ground
Western & local guide
Breakfast
Entry fees
ExcludingInternational flights
Single room (€50 per night)
Insurance
Visa
Lunch & Dinner
Tips for the guide
Personal expenses

This offer is covered by the STO Garant guarantee. You can find the conditions for this guarantee scheme on STO Garant’s website.

Itinerary

Friday 13 October – Baghdad

  • Arrive at your own convenience at the hotel in Baghdad (we will provide instructions).
  • 8:00 AM – Meet up with our local guide who will give an introduction on travelling in Iraq.
  • Al-Mutanabbi street, this is the famous book street, here used to gather all the intellectuals.
  • National Museum.
  • Al-Mustansariya School, this used to be the most important university in the Islamic world.
  • Copper market.
  • Highlight: Al Shaheed Monument, an imposing structure commemorating the first Gulf War.
  • If time permits we’ll take a quick tour around at Tahir Square, Firdos Square (where Saddam’s statue was toppled in 2003) and Former Camp Al-Adala (where Saddam was hanged) and try to catch a glimpse of the crossed swords, which are located in the off limits green zone.
  • Overnight stay in Baghdad.

Saturday 14 October – Baghdad – Ctesiphone – Agargouf Ziggurat – Karbala

  • We get up early for our drive to the Ctesiphone.
  • Take a look at the old, gigantic brick arch, its under construction, but still an impressive sight to see.
  • Drive to Abu Ghraib (not the prison).
  • Agargouf Ziggurat, a popular place for relaxation during the Saddam Hussein period.
  • Continue on south to Iraq’s holiest city of Karbala.
  • Al Abbas Mosque, the place where Abbas ibn Ali is buried.
  • Imam Hussein Shrine, the place where Imam Hussein is buried.
  • Overnight stay in Karbala.

Sunday 15 October – Karbala – Babylon – Najaf

  • Drive to Babylon.
  • Highlight: Guided tour of the ruins of Babylon, including the Hanging Gardens and the Tower of Babel.
  • Palace of Saddam Hussein, on top of a hill in the centre in Babylon.
  • We continue to Najaf.
  • House of Imam Ali. Imam Ali was the son-in-law and nephew of the prophet Mohammed. This is where he was murdered.
  • Kufa Mosque, one of the oldest mosques in the world.
  • Visit to the ceremony at the Imam Ali Shrine. Imam Ali is buried here.
  • Overnight stay in Najaf.

Monday 16 October – Najaf – Marshes – Basra

  • Wadi-e-salam Cemetery, probably the largest Islamic cemetery in the world.
  • We leave Najaf and head South.
  • Highlight: Visit to the ziggurat of Ur. An imposing structure in the middle of the desert.
  • Drive to the Marshes (wetlands).
  • Boat trip through the wetlands, with the famous ‘floating villages’.
  • See the confluence of the Euphrates and the Tigris river, next to it is the Tree of Adam & Eve.
  • Drive to Basra.
  • Overnight stay in Basra.

Tuesday 17 October – Basra – Baghdad

  • Highlight: Ashar & Shanashil Al Basra (Old Basra).
  • Boat trip on the Shatt Al Arab River, where we see several shipwrecks.
  • Former Palace of Saddam Hussein.
  • Long drive back to Baghdad, just outside of Basra we’ll visit the vast Basra British War Memorial.
  • Overnight stay in Baghdad.

Wednesday 18 October – Baghdad – Samarra – Mosul

  • Getting up early for the drive to Samarra, on the way we drive through villages that have been destroyed in the fight against IS. 
  • Highlight: See the Samarra Minaret (also known as the Great Mosque of Samarra). If you like you can walk to the top.
  • We continue north, towards Mosul.
  • If possible we will stop at the famous UNESCO sight of Hatra. Permissions are not always granted, but we will try it.
  • Arrival in Mosul.
  • Overnight stay in Mosul.

Thursday 19 October – Mosul – Bakhida – Erbil

  • See the remains of the Al-Nuri mosque, the most famous landmark of Mosul.
  • Visit the Al Tahira church.
  • Bash Tapia castle.
  • We leave Mosul and head for the Christian village Bakhida. This village was largely destroyed by ISIS, but has completely been restored.
  • Visit the Church Square, the place where the Pope gave a mass on his historic visit to Iraq in March 2021.
  • The village is full with churches, but we’ll visit the Immaculate Church. An impressive place where you can still see bullets and bullet holes from the ISIS-time.
  • We leave Bakhida and continue towards Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.
  • Arrival in Erbil and end of the tour.
  • OR: join the Grand Kurdistan Autumn Tour.