Holy cities and fertile marshes
Baghdad – Najaf – Karbala – Nasiriyah – Basra – Babel
This tour is offered on a regular monthly basis from September to April. Let us know your desired departure month by clicking on the learn-more button below: we will match your preferences with the next relevant scheduled group departure. If you are still unsure about your desired departure date, 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 more than 4 friends, you can set your own departure date: we will arrange a bespoke tour just for you for the same price per person advertised below. If you are travelling solo or with less than four companions, we will then organise a slightly more expensive tailored tour according to your time schedule and specific geographical preferences.
Warning: entry to Iraq will be refused to Israeli passport holders and travellers with any evidence (stamp, visa, permits) of visiting Israel.
The following itinerary refers to our most popular route in Southern Iraq. This diverse and fascinating land greets its temerarious guests with a cornucopia of natural, historical and cultural wonders. In case you are interested in a particularly remote area, secretive community, unusual activity and/or off-the-beaten-path attraction within Iraq or if you are just looking for an hit-and-run visit to Baghdad and its surroundings, we can easily meet your needs with a unique tour individually designed according to your preferences. Thanks to our deep knowledge of the territory and longstanding collaboration with independent local guides we are able to offer you a wide range of tailored routes and bespoke itineraries across and beyond the 1001-night cities and the scorching sands of Iraq. We also regularly cater for archaeologists, conservationists, ethnologists, historians and documentarists alike interested in conducting field research in the region. Get in touch for more info on our private tours to Southern Iraq!
Day 1 - Baghdad
Our tour guide will meet you in the arrival hall of Baghdad 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 Iraq.
If time allows you will enjoy a first tour around Iraq's capital city: a fascinating place of mythical past and troubled present.
The rest of the day will be devoted to a slow-paced exploration of the most authentic neighbourhoods of the city that will softly let you acclimatise to the cultural and meteorological atmospheres of Arab Iraq.
Lunch, dinner, and overnight in Baghdad.
Day 2 - Baghdad
We'll spend the entire day exploring Baghdad and its vast array of historical and cultural attractions: mosques, churches, bazaars, impressive monuments and totalitarian architectures.
In the afternoon we’ll pay a mandatory pilgrimage to the National Museum of Iraq: looted during and after the 2003 criminal invasion of Iraq and officially reopened only in 2015, it still contains a incredibly vast array of precious relics from the Mesopotamian, Babylonian and Persian civilisations.
Lunch, dinner and overnight in Baghdad.
Day 3 - Karbala and Babylon
We'll start the day early and visit two of the greatest historical sites in the Middle East: the ruins of the Sasanian-era city Ctesiphon (Taq Kasra), just outside the sleepy satellite settlement of Salman Pak, and the remnants of the no-further-explanation-needed mythical town of Babylonia (Babel).
We'll visit the ruins of this epic city of hanging gardens and mythical kings, and, if time permits, we'll continue today's sightseeing with a visit to the local Saddam's Palace near the large and bustling town of Hillah.
In the afternoon we'll drive east towards Karbala, one of the most important holy cities for Shia muslims.
Karbala sunset tour: fortresses, shrines, mosques and bazaars.
Dinner and overnight in Karbala.
Day 4 - Najaf
After a lazy morning and a rich breakfast we'll transfer to the legendary Shia city of Najaf.
Najaf sightseeing across its vast array of religious sights, cultural curiosities and historical attractions such as the immense Old Cemetery (Wadi-us-Salam), the stunning Imam Ali shrine and the tentacular Central Bazaar.
In the afternoon we’ll also have time to visit the biblical city of Kufa, just a few miles east of Najaf downtown.
Those who prefers to spend more time with the locals instead of visiting an umpteenth historical sights, may indulge in a languid stroll around Najaf downtown in the company of loud and friendly Najafi families.
Dinner and overnight in Najaf.
Day 5 - Nasiriyah and Ur
In the morning we'll head further south to the ancient city of Ur and visit Etemenniguru, arguably the greatest Sumerian Ziggurat.
We will then continue our journey to Nasiriyah, one of the largest towns in the region.
Once in Nasiriyah we'll explore the exotic spice market and enjoy a fairytale sunset over the famous Bridge of Civilisations.
Dinner and overnight in Nasiriyah.
Day 6 - Basra
Today we'll drive towards Basra, the biggest city in Southern Iraq and the country's only seaport.
Basra sightseeing: Shatt-al-Arab Corniche, Old Town, Central Souq, History Museum, Saddam Palace and Central Railway Station.
Lunch, dinner and overnight in Basra.
Day 7 - Mesopotamian Marshes
In the morning we'll enjoy a long boat tour across the legendary Mesopotamian Marshes, a peculiar aquatic landscape providing habitat for rare wildlife and home to the Maʻdān, an Arab Shia population that over the course of the centuries developed their own unique culture, language and rituals.
After having enjoyed a traditional lunch with the people of the marshlands, we'll head back to Basra for a relaxing afternoon in town devoted to coffee culture and urban exploration.
Dinner and overnight in Basra.
Day 8 - Flight back home or transfer to further destinations
After enjoying a last lavish Iraqi-style breakfast together we'll take care of your transfer to the airport/train station of choice.
For those flying out: transfer to any of the following transportation hubs in Iraq: Najaf International Airport, Basra International Airport, Baghdad International Airport.
For those wishing to take the train/bus to reach further destinations: transfer to the train/bus station in Basra.
End of the tour.
3 to 8 participants: 2550 € per person
The price includes: double/twin room accommodation (breakfast included; single supplement: 20 euro/night), private transport in the region (sedan 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, 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 Basra and finishing in Baghdad.
WARNING: Parts of Iraq can be still deemed as an active conflict zone. The cities and the regions listed in our itinerary are considered safe to visit as they are located relatively far away from the frontline. While in Southern Iraq you shall strictly follow the rules your guide will brief you about in Baghdad. We reserve the right to modify the itinerary, interrupt the tour and/or cancel (and refund) your reservation if the security situation deteriorates. Until further notice, however, don't you worry and enjoy this unique adventure. Entry to Iraq will be refused to Israeli passport holders and travellers with any evidence (stamp, visa, permits) of visiting Israel.