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We're Andre & Lisa, adventurers and experienced budget travelers.

We have over two decades of travel experience and since 2018 have led a full-time nomadic lifestyle.

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IRAQ TRAVEL GUIDE

Iraq is the birthplace of many of the Earth's oldest civilisations, including the Babylonians and the Assyrians. Officially the Republic of Iraq, it is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest and Syria to the west. The capital, and largest city, is Baghdad.

 

The political situation in Iraq remains extremely unstable, even though the war was officially declared as over in December 2017. Travelling there remains extremely dangerous and strongly discouraged. All foreigners are still in danger of kidnapping, murder, and general armed violence. Although the northeast provinces which comprise Iraqi Kurdistan can be considered relatively safe for foreigners, the margins for errors are small. Sporadic violence can occur anywhere in the country. Tensions have risen especially at the beginning of 2020, with many Western countries recommending its citizens leave immediately due to the threat of a war breaking out or spilling over at any moment. It is important to stay informed about the security situation and to follow the advice of local authorities and your government's travel warnings before planning any international travel.

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  • Capital: Baghdad
  • Currency: Iraqi dinar (IQD)
  • Area: 437,072 km
  • Population: 38,43 million (2018)
  • Language: Arabic, Kurdish (official in Kurdish regions), Turkmen, Assyrian, Armenian, English (spoken)
  • Religion:Muslim 97% (Shi'a 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%), Christian or other 3%
  • Electricity: 230V, 50Hz

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SEASONS AT A GLANCE

Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists. 

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Peak Season

Shoulder Season

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Climate Chart with avergae monthly temperatues and rainfall

BEST TIME TO VISIT IRAQ

Iraq has a dry, desert climate, with hot summers and cool winters.

  • The summer season in Iraq typically lasts from May to September, with temperatures often reaching above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) during the day and dropping to around 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) at night. This season is characterized by low humidity and dry conditions.
  • The winter season lasts from December to February, and temperatures typically range from around 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit) to around 5 degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit) during the day, dropping to around freezing point at night. This season is characterized by occasional rain and higher humidity.
  • The transitional seasons of spring (March-April) and fall (October-November) have milder temperatures and occasional rain.

 

The best time to visit Iraq would be when the security situation in the country has improved and the threat of terrorism is reduced. However, as the situation in Iraq is constantly changing and the threat of terrorism is ongoing, it is important to stay informed about the security situation and to follow the advice of local authorities and your government's travel warnings before planning any international travel.

 

In terms of weather, the best time to visit Iraq is between October and April when the weather is cool and pleasant. The summer months can be extremely hot, with temperatures reaching over 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in some areas.

 

However, again, please note that the security situation must be considered as the first priority before planning any travel to Iraq.

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IRAQ TRAVEL COSTS

The cost of traveling to Iraq can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the time of year, the type of accommodation, transportation and activities you choose, and your overall travel itinerary.

  • Airfare to Iraq can vary depending on the departure city and time of year, but generally ranges from around $600 to $1000 or more for a round trip ticket.
  • Accommodation in Iraq can also vary greatly in price depending on the type of accommodation you choose. Budget options such as hostels or budget hotels can cost around $15 to $25 per night, while more upscale options such as 4-star hotels can cost around $100 to $150 per night.
  • Food and drink are relatively cheap in Iraq, with a meal in an inexpensive restaurant costing around $5 to $10, and a bottle of water around $0.5.
  • Transportation within Iraq is relatively inexpensive, with local buses and shared taxis costing around $1 to $2 for short trips, and renting a car can cost around $50 per day.

It's important to note that the cost of traveling to Iraq can be high due to the security situation and the need for additional insurance, as well as hiring a private guide or security.

 

Overall, it's a good idea to budget for around $50 to $100 per day for budget travel, and $150 to $300 per day for more comfortable travel, but these are just estimates and your actual costs may vary.

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TRAVEL TIPS FOR IRAQ

Here are some travel tips for Iraq:

  • Stay informed about the security situation: The security situation in Iraq can change rapidly, so it's important to stay informed about the latest developments and to follow the advice of local authorities and your government's travel warnings.
  • Get a visa: Make sure to check the visa requirements for Iraq and apply for a visa well in advance of your trip. Some countries may require a letter of invitation from a local sponsor.
  • Avoid certain areas: Avoid travel to certain areas of Iraq, such as the border regions with Syria, Iran, and Turkey, as well as the governorates of Anbar, Ninewa, Salah al-Din, Diyala, and Kirkuk, as they may be more prone to violence and terrorism.
  • Hire a guide: If you plan to travel outside of the major cities, it's a good idea to hire a local guide who is familiar with the area and can help ensure your safety.
  • Dress modestly: Iraq is a Muslim country, and it's important to dress modestly and respect local customs and traditions. This means avoiding shorts, revealing tops, and tight clothing.
  • Pack accordingly: Pack a good quality first aid kit, a flashlight, and a head covering, as well as sunscreen and plenty of water, as the weather can be extremely hot.
  • Be prepared for the unexpected: Be prepared for the unexpected, as services and amenities may be limited or unavailable, especially in rural areas.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: Always be aware of your surroundings and be prepared for the possibility of terrorist attacks, kidnapping, and civil unrest.
  • Have an emergency contact: Have emergency contact information, including contact details for your embassy or consulate, with you at all times.
  • Respect local culture: Iraq has a rich cultural heritage, and it's important to respect the local culture, customs, and traditions.

Please note that the security situation in Iraq is constantly evolving, and it's important to stay informed and follow the advice of local authorities and your government's travel warnings before planning any international travel.

REGIONS & HIGHLIGHTS OF IRAQ

Iraq is a country with a rich cultural heritage, and it has several regions that are worth visiting. Here are some of the main regions of Iraq and their highlights:

  • Baghdad: The capital city of Iraq, Baghdad, is a melting pot of culture and history. Highlights include the Al-Shaheed Monument, which commemorates the victims of the Iran-Iraq War, the National Museum of Iraq, which houses a vast collection of artifacts from ancient Mesopotamia, and the Tigris river which has several beautiful parks along the river bank like Al-Faw palace park.
  • Kurdistan: Kurdistan is an autonomous region in northern Iraq, known for its beautiful landscapes, rich culture, and friendly people. Highlights include the cities of Erbil and Sulaymaniyah, which are both rich in history and culture, and the stunning mountain landscapes of the Kurdistan region.
  • Basra: Basra is a port city located in southern Iraq, known for its rich history and culture. Highlights include the Shatt al-Arab waterway, the Basra Museum, which houses a collection of artifacts from the ancient Sumerian civilization, and the traditional markets, which sell a wide variety of goods and souvenirs.
  • Najaf: Najaf is a city located in southern Iraq, and it's known for its religious significance. It is the site of the mausoleum of the Imam Ali, the first Shia Imam and the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad.
  • Mosul: Mosul is the second largest city in Iraq and the capital of the Nineveh Governorate. It's known for its rich history and culture, including the ancient city of Nineveh, which was once the capital of the Assyrian Empire, as well as the Al-Nuri Mosque and the Mosul Museum, which houses a collection of artifacts from the ancient Mesopotamian civilization.
  • Karbala: Karbala is a city located in southern Iraq and is one of the most important religious sites for Shia Muslims in the world. It is the site of the mausoleum of the Imam Husayn, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad and a central figure in Shia Islam.

Please note that the security situation in Iraq is constantly changing and it's important to stay informed and follow the advice of local authorities and your government's travel warnings before planning any international travel.

WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN IRAQ

Here are some of the best things to see and do when visiting Iraq:

  • Visit the historical sites: Iraq is home to many ancient historical sites, including the ruins of the ancient city of Babylon, the ancient city of Ur, and the ancient city of Nineveh.
  • Visit the religious sites: Iraq is an important religious destination for both Muslims and Christians, and there are many religious sites to visit, including the mausoleum of the Imam Ali in Najaf, the mausoleum of the Imam Husayn in Karbala, and the Monastery of Saint Matthew in Mosul.
  • Explore the markets: Iraq has a rich and diverse culture, and there are many traditional markets to explore, where you can find a wide variety of goods and souvenirs.
  • Visit the museums: Iraq has many museums, including the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad, which houses a vast collection of artifacts from ancient Mesopotamia, and the Basra Museum, which houses a collection of artifacts from the ancient Sumerian civilization.
  • Explore the natural beauty: Iraq has some beautiful natural landscapes, including the Kurdistan region, which is known for its stunning mountain landscapes and the Shatt al-Arab waterway
  • Visit the monuments: Iraq has many monuments and memorials, including the Al-Shaheed Monument in Baghdad, which commemorates the victims of the Iran-Iraq War and the Al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul
  • Experience the local cuisine: Iraq has a rich and diverse cuisine, and it's worth trying some of the local dishes, such as kebab, dolma, and kubba.
  • Enjoy the local culture: Iraq has a rich and diverse culture, and it's worth experiencing it by visiting traditional festivals and events, and by listening to traditional music and dance.

Please note that the security situation in Iraq is constantly changing and it's important to stay informed and follow the advice of local authorities and your government's travel warnings before planning any international travel.

WHAT TO EAT IN IRAQ

Iraq has a rich and diverse cuisine, and there are many delicious dishes to try when visiting. Here are some of the must-try dishes when visiting Iraq:

  • Kebab: Kebab is a popular dish in Iraq and is made with a variety of meats, including lamb, chicken, and beef. It is often served with rice and vegetables.
  • Dolma: Dolma is a dish made of stuffed grape leaves, which are typically filled with rice and meat or vegetables.
  • Kubba: Kubba is a type of dumpling, which is typically made with ground meat or fish and is often served in a rich tomato-based sauce.
  • Masgouf: Masgouf is a traditional Iraqi dish made from grilled fish. It is often served with a variety of sides, including rice and vegetables.
  • Biryani: Biryani is a traditional dish made with a combination of rice, meat, and spices. It is often served with yogurt and a variety of vegetables.
  • Quzi: Quzi is a traditional Iraqi dish made with lamb, rice and a variety of spices. It's usually served with a side of yogurt and vegetables.
  • Harees: Harees is a porridge made of wheat and barley, often served with lamb and yogurt.
  • Falafel: Falafel is a traditional Middle Eastern dish made from ground chickpeas or fava beans, which are formed into balls and deep-fried. They are often served in a wrap with tahini sauce and various toppings.
  • Shorbat Adas: Shorbat Adas is a lentil soup, flavored with a variety of herbs and spices.
  • Khubz: Khubz is a traditional Iraqi bread, which is typically served with meals.

LGBTQ IN IRAQ

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WHERE TO STAY IN IRAQ

For a first-time visit to Iraq, it's important to carefully consider the region or city to stay in, taking into account safety, accessibility to attractions, and cultural experiences. Here are some recommendations along with accommodation options in different price ranges:


Where to stay in Baghdad:

Baghdad, the capital city of Iraq, offers a glimpse into the country's rich history and vibrant culture, although it's important to be mindful of safety considerations. Explore attractions like the National Museum of Iraq, Al-Shaheed Monument, and Baghdadi Museum.

  • Budget: Baghdad Hotel offers affordable accommodations with basic amenities and a central location in the city.

  • Mid-range: Babylon Rotana Hotel provides comfortable rooms and modern facilities with a convenient location near the Green Zone.

  • Luxury: Ishtar Sheraton Baghdad offers luxurious accommodations with upscale amenities, including multiple dining options and a swimming pool.


Tip: Consider staying in the Karrada or Mansour districts for relatively safer areas within Baghdad and consult with local authorities for updated safety information before planning your trip.


For hassle-free bookings, use platforms like Booking.com for competitive rates or Holiday Swap for unique homes worldwide. Ensure to book in advance, especially during peak seasons, and align your preferences with nearby activities such as surfing, snorkeling, or cultural exploration.

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VISA SERVICES

Let iVisa take the pain out of travel planning and assist you with Electronic visas, Travel Authorizations, Visas on Arrival, and even Paper Visas. They can also help with Health Declarations and Embassy Registrations. If you're from the US, they also provide a One-Stop Shop to renew your Passport securely and error-free.

FLIGHTS
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. These are our favorite flight search engines. They index other travel websites and airlines across the globe to easily find you the best deal.

ACCOMMODATION

Booking.com is our number one resource for researching and booking accommodation. In addition to Booking.com, we have found Agoda.com to consistently returns the cheapest rates in Southeast Asia. For longer stays, find unique homes worldwide on Holiday Swap, the most affordable travel platform that allows you to book homes anytime, anywhere in only a few clicks.

TRANSPORT

DiscoverCars.com is a leader in online car rental bookings; we compare car rental deals from many companies so that you can choose which is best for your trip. 12Go connects the world door-to-door, from transfers to flights, under the same user-friendly ticket.

INSURANCE
Travel insurance can protect you against unexpected illness, injury, theft, and cancellations.

 

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