Highlights of Kurdistan

Highlights of Kurdistan

Style: PioneerGroundbreaking tours to unique destinations
Duration: 8 days
Type: GroupTravel with a small group of other travellers


Day 1 – Erbil

Arrive and transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax or explore. Overnight Darin Plaza Hotel or similar.

Day 2 - Erbil

We begin our adventure by exploring on foot the capital city of Erbil, one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world and in our opinion, becoming one of the new hot spots of the Middle East. We visit the historic Citadel (Qalat Hawler), as well as the Kurdish Textile Museum, and time permitting explore the Qaysari Bazaar, a labyrinth of streets and alleys selling everything from fascinating antiques to sweet delights. Overnight Darin Plaza Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Day 3 - Gaugamela – Lalish - Dohuk

After breakfast, we depart for the third century St Matthew’s Monastery and take a tour guided by the local monks, then head to Gaugamela, the site of the famous battle between King Darius and Alexander the Great. Continuing we drive to Lalish, home to the followers of the Yazidi faith, before continuing to Dohuk where we visit a cave used for worship by Zoroastrians. Overnight Dohuk Motel or similar. (BLD)

When we visit the village of Lalish, outer footwear must be removed. It is advisable to take a pair of very thick black socks especially for this purpose. (Socks are allowed).

Day 4 - Dohuk - Zakho

Visit the churches and monasteries of Al Qush, including the third century Hurmiz monastery, once home to around six hundred monks. Then head to the ancient Jewish town of Zakho to see the Delal Bridge, a stunning stone arch bridge over the Khabur river and take a walk through the town. Later in the afternoon, we return to Dohuk and time permitting can explore the bazaar. Overnight Dohuk Motel or similar (BLD)

Day 5 – Amadiya – Barzan - Rawanduz

Head to the nearby mountain town of Amadiya where we visit the 400-year-old mosque and see the minaret, with bullet holes from the Kurdish Civil War still visible. We continue south east to the town of Barzan, the ancestral home of the Barzani family who are central to Kurdish politics in this part of the region and then reach Rawanduz. Overnight Pank Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Please note that the Pank accommodation is very basic as is the food supplied in the restaurant.

Day 6 – Dukan - Suleimaniyah

Leaving Rawanduz we pass through the mountains and down through Dukan, arriving into Suleimaniyah, the second largest city in Iraqi Kurdistan, and possibly the most relaxed and cosmopolitan. We witness first-hand the terrible legacy of Saddam Hussein as we visit the Amna Suraka (Red Security) buildings including the many prison cells and torture chambers where thousands of people, mostly Kurds were imprisoned, tortured or killed. Overnight Hotel Dawa or similar. (BLD) 

Day 7 – Halabja

We travel to the nearby village of Halabja, a place of almost unspeakable horror at the hands of Saddam Hussein’s military forces, and visit the Monument of Halabja Martyrs and the Halabja Cemetery before returning to Suleimaniyah. The afternoon is free to explore the city. Overnight Hotel Dawa or similar. (BLD)

Day 8 – Suleimaniyah - Erbil

Visit Suleimaniyah’s museum to see Kurdistan’s largest display of antiquities, dating back thousands of years. Afterwards drive back to Erbil via the ancient Qizqapan cave and the old Jewish city of Koisinjak. After lunch in Suleimaniyah, transfer to the airport for your onward flight. (BL)