ancient citadels, mountain pastures and mystic rituals
Erbil – Dohuk – Sulaymaniyah – Rawanduz – Halabja
Regular monthly departures: this tour is offered regularly once a month. Let us know your desired departure month by clicking on the ask-us button below and we will match your preferences with the relevant scheduled group departure. If you are unsure about the month you wish to travel in, then simply tell us a period or a season of the year and we will provide you a range of scheduled group departures: just pick up yours!
Our scheduled group departures don't suit your plans? If you are travelling with friends and there are 5 or more of you, you can set your own dates and we will organise a tour just for you without charging any additional fee. If you are travelling solo or with less than 4 companions we will organise a slightly more expensive tailored tour according to your time schedule and specific geographical preferences.
Day 1 - Erbil
Our tour guide will meet you in the arrival hall of Erbil International Airport (exact meeting time will be communicated well in advance per email in accordance to your flight schedule).
Introductory briefing about the region, the route and the set of rules to observe while travelling in Kurdistan.
Erbil sightseeing: Qaysari Bazaar, Kurdish Textile Museum, Jalil Khayat Mosque and the labyrinthic network of streets and alleys crisscrossing downtown.
Traditional Kurdish lunch.
Chillout afternoon wandering around the ancient walled Citadel overlooking Erbil.
Dinner and overnight in Erbil.
Day 2 - Lalesh, Alqosh and Duhok
In the morning we'll head northwest to Lalesh, the holiest Yezidi centre in Iraq with plenty of ancient temples to discover and bizarre rituals to experience.
We'll then continue to the impressive mountain monastery of Alqosh, an important centre of Christianity in Iraq, where we'll be able to enjoy a traditional meal accompanied by a couple of fresh beers imported from Turkey.
In the afternoon we'll continue to Duhok, a major town near the Turkish border.
Dinner and overnight in Duhok.
Day 3 - Amadiya, Shanidar and Rawanduz
We'll start the day early and drive east to Amadiya, home to one of Saddam Hussein’s former mountaintop palaces, where we'll spend a few hours walking along ancient hiking trails and admiring breathtaking views over the valleys.
Lunch in a traditional restaurant built inside a cave.
After lunch we'll head further east towards Rawanduz, a traditional mountain village located surrounded by arguably the most beautiful landscapes in the region.
Besides the routine pauses for food, toilet and random landscape pictures, we'll break the 4-hour journey from Amadiya to Rawanduz stopping at the impressive Shanidar cave complex along the way.
Dinner and overnight in Rawanduz.
Day 4 - Rawanduz
We'll spend the whole day exploring Rawanduz and the many wonders around it.
For the athletic ones: early morning start and 6-to-8-hour hike in the hills.
For the lazier ones: late morning start and 2-to-3-hour hike.
For the laziest: chillout time with the locals.
Lunch, dinner and overnight in Rawanduz.
Day 5 - Hamilton Road and Dukan Lake
We'll head south to the fresh waters of the Dukan Lake, driving along the scenic Hamilton Road, an impressive masterpiece of engineering built by the Brits in the early 1930's.
Besides the routine pauses for food, toilet and random landscape pictures, we'll break journey at the Jabal Karukh Mountain Resort for a ride on the only cable car in Kurdistan.
Dinner and overnight in Dukan.
Day 6 - Halabja, Tawela and Darbandikhan
We'll spend a lazy morning on the lake shores before heading to Halabja, the dramatic theatre of the mass chemical attack perpetrated by Saddam's regime against the local civilian population, and Tawela, the last village in Iraq before the Iranian border.
After lunch we'll head to Darbandikhan, a small traditional town built on the shores of the namesake lake.
We'll admire the sunset near the lake and head to Sulaymaniyah for the night.
Dinner and overnight in Sulaymaniyah.
Day 7 - Sulaymaniyah
We'll devote the whole day to Sulaymaniyah, the second biggest city in the country exploring its many architectonic sights, colourful bazaars, leafy parks and ultra-modern malls.
Chillout afternoon for souvenir shopping and coffee joys.
Lunch, dinner and overnight in Sulaymaniyah.
Day 8 - Flight back home or transfer to further destinations
After enjoying a last lavish Kurdish-style breakfast together we'll take care of your transfer to the airport/train station of choice.
For those flying out: we will arrange transfer to either Erbil International Airport or Sulaymaniyah International Airport.
For those wishing to take the bus to reach further destinations: we will arrange transport to the bus station in Sulaymaniyah.
End of the tour.
4 to 9 participants: 1600 €
The price includes: double/twin room accommodation (breakfast included; single supplement: 20 euro/night), private transport in the region (jeep or minivan), entrance fees to the attractions listed in the itinerary, guiding and translation service.
The price does not include: international flights and any other flight not explicitly included in the tour price and itinerary, meals, drinks and tips, transport to and from the airport of arrival/departure (25 euros), visas if required, entrance fees to attractions not listed in the itinerary, insurance.
The route of this tour has been carefully designed after several research trips in the region. It is, however, always possible to slightly modify the itinerary according to the needs and the suggestions of the participants. Our motto is flexibility. It is also possible to make the tour the other way around, starting from Sulaymaniyah and finishing in Erbil.
where the heck am i travelling to?
BELOW you can see the different tour stages marked on a map of the region you are going to explore with us
POSSIBLE TOUR COMBINATIONS FOR THIS ITINERARY INCLUDE
Soviet Armenia and/or Soviet Georgia