Wander Across Iraq

Apr 02 — Apr 14, 2025
13 days
0/12 spots booked
BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE: To reserve your spot on a tour, a $500 deposit will be required. However, you can book with complete peace of mind as this deposit will be refundable - minus a 3% transaction fee - for 30 days. [Deposits are non-refundable within 90 days of the tour start date, even if 30 days have not yet passed since the payment date.]
Forgotten as a travel destination, the situation has now changed...and for those who prefer the road less taken, it's time to visit Iraq!
Get to know the wonderfully welcoming Iraqi people through endless local interactions
Fully experience Baghdad - old city, markets, museums, cultural hangouts, excellent food, nightlife and more!
Spend time learning about local life from the families who live in the unique Iraqi Marshes
Petra
Walk through ancient Babylon and explore one of Saddam Hussein's abandoned palaces
Visit the incredible Imam Ali Shrine in Najaf, with all of its domes, gold, mosaics and colors
Spend time at the medieval Islamic capital of Samarra with its spectacular architectural design
Take a complete and powerful tour of the city of Mosul to learn about its difficul past and its inspiring hopes for the future
Finish the trip in vibrant Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq

This trip will provide you with a deep dive straight into the culture, people, food and history of this absolutely intriguing and complex country. You’ll spend time in vibrant Baghdad, travel south to the gorgeous holy Imam Ali shrine in Najaf and connect with the 5000 year old civilization of the Marsh Arabs, living secluded among the Mesopotamia Marshes. You’ll visit Iraq’s most eye-opening historical sites – from Samarra to Hatra to Babylon and more – while also touring the culturally-proud cities of Mosul and Erbil.

You’ll also spend significant time meeting such kind Iraqi people, learning directly from those we come into contact with. You’ll interact with new people every single day, including our own personal local friends, and you will be treated to a genuine warmth and kindness all over the country. Meeting the people of Iraq will surely be the major highlight of this trip, and something you will never forget.

Of course, we will make sure you try excellent local food in all destinations, explore local markets, experience Baghdad’s nightlife, wander through massive palaces, get out into beautiful nature and SO MUCH MORE. And you’ll do it all with a group of fellow travelers who are beyond excited to participate in such a unique trip!

While many of us think that Iraq could not possibly be a travel destination, this is no longer the case. With our local team, excellent guides and an experienced tour leader, this trip will undoubtedly become one of the most memorable and life-changing trips you will ever take!

*Our Wandering Earl Tour to Iraq is genuinely one-of-a-kind. Our itinerary is full of activities, destinations and local interactions that are only possible due to our local contacts. These contacts are able to gain special access for our groups to a wide variety of sites and people and this is what helps make our tour unlike any other!

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Pay a deposit of $500 per person
  • 1
    Apr 2Baghdad (Arrival Day)
    Baghdad (Arrival Day)
    Arrival day
    Included: Dinner
    Upon arrival in Iraq you'll be met at the airport by our local representative who will assist you with the visa on arrival process. Afterwards you'll be transferred to our centrally located hotel. Once you're settled and have had some time to rest, we’ll start off with an evening orientation and group dinner at a rooftop restaurant with some of the best views of Baghdad.
  • 2
    Apr 3Baghdad
    Baghdad
    Highlights: Full Baghdad city tour, Old Baghdad, Tigris River, Green Zone
    Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Today we'll embark on a full tour through Old Baghdad, delving into the city's rich tapestry of history and contemporary life. The day will first take us through the heart of the city's bustling markets, a sensory feast of colors, sounds, and aromas that showcase the vibrancy of local commerce and culture. We'll continue our adventure with a tranquil boat trip on the Tigris River, offering us a unique perspective of Baghdad and providing glimpses into the daily activities along its banks. A visit to the Baghdad Cultural Center is next, where we'll immerse ourselves in the city's artistic traditions and historical narratives, enhancing our appreciation for Baghdad's cultural significance. Our exploration will finally lead us into the Green Zone, an area known for its political and diplomatic significance in contemporary Iraq. This secured district houses government buildings, foreign embassies, and has been a focal point for Iraq's recent history, offering insights into the country's journey towards stability and governance.
  • 3
    Apr 4Baghdad
    Baghdad
    Highlights: Local breakfast, Modern Baghdad, evening out with friends
    Included: Breakfast, Dinner
    Kicking off the day with a traditional Iraqi breakfast, we'll indulge in a spread that typically includes fresh bread, cheese, eggs, and a variety of jams and honey, all accompanied by strong, aromatic Iraqi tea. This hearty start will be followed by a guided visit to the Iraqi Museum, where we'll marvel at the treasures of ancient Mesopotamia, gaining insight into the cradle of civilization with its extensive collection of artifacts. The tour will then continue through modern Baghdad, showcasing the city's contemporary side and its recent developments. Our day will conclude with an authentic evening out, where our local friends will introduce us to the warm hospitality of Iraq. We'll enjoy dinner at a local restaurant, tasting a variety of local dishes, followed by a relaxed visit to a local shisha café, where we can unwind and share stories, enveloped in the flavorsome smoke of shisha and the vibrant Iraqi night.
  • 4
    Apr 5Baghdad » Babylon » Najaf
    Baghdad » Babylon » Najaf
    Highlights: Ancient Babylon, abandoned Saddam Hussein palace, Imam Ali Shrine, Najaf
    Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Our day begins with an early departure from Baghdad, setting the stage for an immersive tour of the ancient city of Babylon. Here, we'll explore the ruins of one of the world's oldest civilizations, walking through history where the Hanging Gardens once stood and marveling at the remnants of its great walls and gates. The journey through time continues with special access to one of Saddam Hussein's abandoned palaces, offering a rare glimpse into the opulence and isolation of Iraq's past. We'll then proceed to the Valley of Peace, visiting the world's largest cemetery, an expansive and historic site reflecting centuries of Iraqi heritage and solemnity. As dusk falls, we'll prepare for a surreal experience at the Imam Ali Shrine, one of Iraq's most revered spiritual sites, where the evening's atmosphere adds a profound sense of tranquility and reverence to our visit. Our day's travel concludes with a drive to Najaf, a city renowned for its significant cultural and spiritual heritage, readying us for the next chapter in our exploration of this storied land.
  • 5
    Apr 6Najaf » Nasiriyah and the Ancient City of Ur
    Najaf » Nasiriyah and the Ancient City of Ur
    Highlights: Nasiriyah, Sumerian City of Ur, Abraham's house
    Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    We'll start the day with a morning drive to Nasiriyah, setting off early to make the most of the day ahead. Upon arrival we'll dedicate the day to exploring the ancient Sumerian city of Ur, one of the world's earliest cities. Here, we'll delve into history with a visit to the archaeological site that includes the Ziggurat of Ur and the area believed to be the house where Abraham possibly lived. After soaking in the historical and cultural significance of Ur, you'll have the evening to relax and enjoy some free time in Nasiriyah. This is a great chance to wander, absorb the local atmosphere, or simply rest before we gather in the evening for a group dinner featuring some local cuisine.
  • 6
    Apr 7Mesopotamia Marshes » Baghdad
    Mesopotamia Marshes » Baghdad
    Highlights: Al Hammar and Central Marshes by boat, local breakfast and lunch, local activities
    Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Today we'll start with a breathtaking sunrise over the marshes, casting a golden glow over the water and reeds, setting a serene tone for the day. We will then take a boat to visit Al Hammar West and the Central Marshes, immersing ourselves in the dynamic ecosystem and lifestyles of this unique area. A highlight of our morning will be sharing a traditional regional breakfast with some of our local friends in their reed home, offering an intimate glimpse into the local way of life. Our exploration then continues with a boat tour through the marshes, providing up-close encounters with the diverse flora and fauna. After enjoying a fish lunch, showcasing the fresh, distinct flavors of the region, we'll conclude our day with a drive back to Baghdad in the afternoon.
  • 7
    Apr 8Baghdad » Fallujah » Dur Kurigalzu » Baghdad
    Baghdad » Fallujah » Dur Kurigalzu » Baghdad
    Highlights: Fallujah, abandoned city of Dur Kurigalzu, 3400 year old temple tower
    Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    The day's adventure begins with a morning trip to Fallujah, a city known for its abundant history, where we'll dive into the local culture right away with a traditional Fallujah lunch, featuring dishes rich in flavors and history. After lunch, we'll take a leisurely walking tour along the corniche, absorbing the city's atmosphere and scenic views. Our journey then leads us to the fascinating abandoned city of Dur Kurigalzu, where we'll explore the ancient 3400-year-old temple tower, a testament to Mesopotamia's historical legacy. With the evening free, you'll have the opportunity to explore at your own pace before we all gather for a group dinner before heading back to Baghdad for the night.
  • 8
    Apr 9Baghdad » Samarra » Hatra » Mosul
    Baghdad » Samarra » Hatra » Mosul
    Highlights: Spiral minaret of Samarra, fortified city of Hatra, arrival in Mosul
    Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Departing from Baghdad in the morning, our journey takes us to the historic city of Samarra, where we'll marvel at its ancient spiral minaret, an architectural marvel and a symbol of the city's Islamic heritage. This UNESCO World Heritage site offers a unique glimpse into the Abbasid era, showcasing the innovative art and architecture of the period. Our exploration continues as we head to the magnificent fortified caravan city of Hatra, known for its high walls and towers that have withstood the sands of time, and its blend of Greco-Roman and Eastern architectural influences, reflecting the city's importance as a trading hub in ancient times. The day's journey concludes with our arrival in Mosul, setting the stage for further discovery in this city that bridges the past and present with its deep historical roots and bustling culture.
  • 9
    Apr 10Mosul
    Mosul
    Highlights: Full walking tour of Old Mosul, meeting local residents
    Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Today we'll embark on a full walking tour of Old Mosul. Our journey will take us to significant UNESCO sites, including the majestic Al-Nouri Mosque and the venerable Al Tahira Church. As we meander through the bustling Old Bazaar and aromatic spice market, we'll immerse ourselves in the vibrant local culture. We'll engage with the resilient residents, who will share their stories from the ISIS era, offering a deeper understanding of the city's recent struggles. The day will conclude with an evening at a local cultural cafe providing a perfect end to our day.
  • 10
    Apr 11Mosul » Nineveh Plains » Mosul
    Mosul » Nineveh Plains » Mosul
    Highlights: Nineveh Plains, local village with unique local activities!
    Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Embarking on a day trip from Mosul, we'll venture into the heart of the Nineveh Plains where we'll visit a local village that is home to both Christian and Yazidi communities. Our day begins with the warmth of local hospitality, as we're invited to share breakfast with a family, offering us a taste of their time-honored cuisine and a personal insight into their daily lives. As we tour the village, we'll be guided through a series of interesting locations, each with its own story and significance. These stops may include ancient churches, cultural landmarks, and sites of spiritual importance to the Yazidi and Christian communities.
  • 11
    Apr 12Mosul » Erbil
    Mosul » Erbil
    Highlights: Christian town of Qaraqosh, arrival in Erbil
    Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Departing from Mosul in the morning we'll set off towards the town of Qaraqosh, where we'll immerse ourselves in a walking tour of this historically rich town. Qaraqosh, once a thriving center of the Christian community in Iraq, offers a chance to see firsthand the architectural and cultural landmarks that define this area. Our visit includes a stop for lunch, where we'll enjoy local cuisine and perhaps engage with the townspeople. After our time in Qaraqosh we'll continue our journey to Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region. Known for its ancient citadel and bustling bazaars, Erbil presents a fascinating blend of history and modernity.
  • 12
    Apr 13Erbil
    Erbil
    Highlights: Morning walking tour of Erbil, ancient citadel, Grand Mosque, farewell dinner
    Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    In Erbil our day unfolds with a comprehensive morning city tour that showcases the evolution of the city from its ancient roots to its modern-day vibrancy. We'll begin at the Erbil Citadel, a remarkable structure that stands as a witness to continuous human habitation over thousands of years, its ancient lanes offering a tangible connection to the past. From there, we'll navigate through the bustling lanes of Old Erbil's markets, immersing ourselves in the lively atmosphere where the scent of spices fills the air, and the sound of merchants fills the space. The tour will then take us to the Grand Mosque, providing a peaceful interlude to reflect on the spiritual heritage of the area. This will be followed by a tranquil stroll through Shar Park, a verdant retreat in the midst of the city's dynamism, as well as a local lunch featuring the abundant flavors of Kurdish cuisine. The afternoon will be yours to keep delving deeper into Erbil's charm at your own pace before we gather for our farewell group dinner, sharing all of the amazing experiences we collected along the way.
  • 13
    Apr 14Erbil (Departure day)
    Erbil (Departure day)
    Departure day
    Included: Breakfast
    You will be picked up at the hotel by a private driver who will take you to the airport for your departing flight.

Tour Essentials

Medium Physical Level
While the tour itself is not very strenuous, please note that it can involve the following: long days, a good amount of walking through ancient ruins, being out in the sun in potentially hot temperatures, long bus rides, boat tours, early morning wake-ups and other similar scenarios.
Accommodation
We’ll stay in a combination of 3/4* hotels on this trip. Accommodation is mid-range, with good, comfortable rooms. Please keep in mind that given the lack of tourism infrastructure, rooms might have some quirks or may be more basic than you are used to. All rooms have a private bathroom with hot water. There are 8 single rooms available. Other rooms will be shared. Solo travelers will be paired together, two travelers per room in two single beds. (*Please note: If you book a shared room and we cannot find another traveler to share that room, there will be an extra surcharge for having a single room.)
Transport
Ride in comfort in our 20 seat minibuses while in the cities and in our deluxe 35 passenger bus while we drive between destinations. The use of such a bus ensures a comfortable ride as there is plenty of space for each guest, a bathroom on board, charging outlets and a refrigerator.
Meals
Breakfast every day, 10 lunches and 10 dinners are included. With included meals, some will be served family style and other times you will be able to order anything you wish from the menu. All dietary restrictions can be accommodated although it might result in a limited menu.
Sustainability
As with all of our trips, we aim to offer as sustainable an experience as we can. Trash is recycled where possible and we avoid mass tourism activities that cause harm to the environment and/or do not benefit local communities.
Small Groups
This tour requires a minimum of 8 participants and has a maximum of 12 participants in order to ensure the best small group tour experience. With such a small group, you'll be able to enjoy unique, rewarding activities that would not be accessible with more people. That's the kind of trip we love to offer!
Safety
While many governments have travel warnings in place for Iraq, the reality is quite different. There is certainly always a risk when embarking on travel to certain destinations, but travelers are now visiting Iraq in increasing numbers. This is due to the improved stability and safety situation. We take safety extremely seriously and do not operate trips if there is any reason to believe our guests could be in danger.

What's included

Included
  • Wandering Earl Tours Expert Tour Leader
  • Small group (maximum 12 participants)
  • Accommodation (12 nights – 3/4* hotels)
  • Transportation within Iraq (private minibus)
  • Local English-speaking guides in each destination
  • All included activities and entrance fees
  • Breakfast every day, 10 lunches and 10 dinners
  • Bottled water throughout the trip
  • Gratuities at hotels/included meals
  • All airport transfers
  • Visa assistance at the airport
Not Included
  • Flights to/from Iraq (Baghdad/Erbil)
  • Passport/visa fees (visa on arrival for most nationalities is $77 USD)
  • Meals and activities not mentioned
  • Travel insurance (mandatory)
  • Other gratuities