Skip to content Skip to footer

Iraq Travel Guide

Embark on a virtual journey to Iraq, a land of ancient civilizations and rich cultural heritage. Iraq, often referred to as the cradle of civilization, is a country with a history that spans thousands of years, from the Mesopotamian era to the present day. However, it's important to note that due to ongoing conflicts and safety concerns, traveling to Iraq is not advisable at this time.

This guide is intended for curiosity and entertainment, offering a glimpse into the remarkable historical and natural wonders of Iraq, a country that has played a pivotal role in the history of human civilization.

Quick Info

Capital city: Baghdad

Currency: Iraqi Dinar (IQD). 1 USD = 1,310 IQD.

Electricity: Power voltage is 230 Volts. Power socket types C, D, and G.

Language: Arabic and Kurdish are the official languages, but Mesopotamian Arabic is by far the most spoken.

10 Handpicked Highlights of Iraq


Baghdad, once a leading center of the Islamic Golden Age, is a city with a rich history. Though it has faced challenges in recent years, its historical significance is undeniable. The city was founded in the 8th century and became a hub of learning and culture, home to the famous House of Wisdom. While the modern city is much changed, Baghdad remains a symbol of the rich cultural and intellectual history of the region. 

The Ruins of Babylon

The ancient city of Babylon, a name that resonates through history, was the heart of one of the most influential empires of the ancient world. The ruins of Babylon, near the modern city of Hillah, include remnants of the famed Hanging Gardens, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the Ishtar Gate. Though much of the ancient city has been lost to time, the site remains a testament to the grandeur of ancient Mesopotamian civilization.


The Marshes of Southern Iraq

The Marshes of Southern Iraq, also known as the Mesopotamian Marshes, are a unique wetland ecosystem in the Tigris-Euphrates river system. These marshes are home to the Ma’dan, or Marsh Arabs, who have lived in harmony with this environment for millennia. The area, a mix of waterways, reed beds, and small islands, supports a variety of wildlife and is a significant site for biodiversity.

Erbil Citadel

Erbil Citadel, located in the heart of the Kurdish region of Iraq, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the world. This ancient citadel sits atop a tell, or occupied mound, and is surrounded by a bustling modern city. The site reflects the layers of history that have shaped the region over the millennia, from ancient Assyrian times to the present.


Ctesiphon, an ancient city on the banks of the Tigris River, is home to the Taq Kasra, also known as the Archway of Ctesiphon. This monumental archway is a remnant of the ancient Persian capital and is an architectural marvel of its time. The site speaks to the historical significance of the area as a center of power in ancient Persia.

The Ziggurat of Ur

The Ziggurat of Ur, near Nasiriyah, is an ancient Mesopotamian temple complex built in the early Bronze Age. This massive step pyramid is a significant example of Sumerian architecture and offers insight into the religious practices of one of the world’s earliest civilizations. The site, though partially reconstructed, evokes the grandeur of ancient Sumer.

Ziggurat of Ur
Ziggurat of Ur


Hatra, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is an ancient fortified city that was once the capital of the first Arab Kingdom. This well-preserved city is known for its unique blend of Hellenistic and Roman architecture with Eastern decorative features. The site is a symbol of the cultural diversity and resilience of the ancient civilizations that thrived in the region.


Samarra, another UNESCO World Heritage site, is known for its iconic Great Mosque and its unique spiral minaret, the Malwiya Tower. The city was the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate in the 9th century and represents a significant period in Islamic history. The architectural innovations found in Samarra had a lasting influence on the Islamic world.

The Kurdish Mountains

The Kurdish Mountains in northern Iraq, including the Zagros range, offer some of the most stunning natural landscapes in the country. This region is characterized by rugged terrain, scenic valleys, and a relatively cooler climate. It is an area rich in natural beauty and cultural diversity.


Al-Kadhimiyah Mosque

The Al-Kadhimiyah Mosque in Baghdad is one of the most important Shia Islamic sites. It is a stunning example of Islamic architecture and is visited by millions of pilgrims each year. The mosque is notable for its two golden domes and four minarets, and it houses the tombs of the seventh and ninth Shia Imams.

Iraq's Geography & Landscapes

Iraq’s geography is marked by a variety of landscapes, each with its own unique characteristics:

  • Mesopotamian Plains: The region between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, known as Mesopotamia, is characterized by fertile plains and is considered the cradle of civilization.
  • Northern Highlands: Including the Kurdish Mountains, this area is dominated by rugged terrain, with the Zagros Mountains forming a natural border with Iran.
  • Western Desert: A vast expanse of arid land that covers the western part of Iraq, part of the Syrian Desert.
  • Al-Jazira Region: Located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, north of Baghdad, this area is a mix of desert and fertile land.
  • Southern Marshes: Also known as the Mesopotamian Marshes, this area near the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates is a unique wetland ecosystem.

Best Time To Go To Iraq

Iraq’s climate varies from region to region, affecting the best times for travel:

  • Winter (December to February): Characterized by cooler temperatures, especially in the northern highlands where it can be quite cold. This is a good time for visiting cultural and historical sites in the central and southern regions.
  • Spring (March to April): The weather is mild, making it a comfortable time for travel. This is also when the Mesopotamian plains and northern highlands are most lush and green.
  • Summer (May to September): Marked by very high temperatures, particularly in the south and central regions, where it can be extremely hot. Travel during this time can be challenging due to the heat.
  • Autumn (October to November): Similar to spring, with mild temperatures and generally pleasant weather, suitable for outdoor activities and sightseeing.

The best time to visit Iraq for comfortable weather and outdoor exploration is during the spring and autumn months. However, it’s crucial to be aware of the current travel advisories and safety concerns before planning a visit.

Lake in Kurdistan
Lake in Kurdistan

Traveling in Iraq

Staying Safe

Traveling in Iraq involves significant risks, and it’s crucial to be extremely cautious and well-informed. Here are some safety tips for those considering travel to Iraq:

  • Consult Travel Advisories: Regularly check your government’s travel advisories and understand the risks involved.
  • Local Laws and Customs: Respect local laws, customs, and religious beliefs. Dress conservatively and be aware of cultural sensitivities.
  • Avoid Conflict Areas: Stay clear of areas with ongoing military or sectarian conflict.
  • Secure Documentation: Always carry identification and necessary travel documents.
  • Use Trusted Transportation: Use reputable transportation services, particularly for long journeys.
  • Stay Informed: Keep updated on the local news and security situation.
  • Emergency Contacts: Keep contact details of your embassy and local emergency services handy.
  • Health Precautions: Ensure you have necessary vaccinations and health insurance. Be cautious of local water and food hygiene.
  • Avoid Crowded Places: Crowded areas can be targets for unrest and violence.
  • Hire Local Guides: If visiting historical or cultural sites, consider hiring knowledgeable local guides for safer navigation.

Getting to & Around Iraq     

Transportation options in Iraq can be limited and are often influenced by the security situation:

  • Airports: Major international airports include Baghdad International Airport, Basra International Airport, and Erbil International Airport in the Kurdistan region.
  • Airlines: Iraqi Airways is the national carrier, offering domestic and international flights.
  • Road Travel: Traveling by road can be dangerous in certain areas. Car rentals are available, but it’s safer to use a driver familiar with the region.
  • Taxis: Taxis are available in cities but ensure they are from a reputable company.
  • Public Transportation: Buses are available but can be unreliable and not recommended due to safety concerns.


Accommodation options in Iraq vary widely, depending on the region and current situation:

  • Hotels: In major cities and safer regions like the Kurdistan area, there are hotels ranging from luxury to budget options.
  • Guesthouses: Available in some areas, offering basic facilities.
  • Security Measures: In conflict-free areas, hotels generally have good security measures in place.
  • Prices: Accommodation prices can vary. In regions with fewer tourists, options may be more limited and potentially more expensive.
  • Booking: It’s advisable to book through reputable travel agencies or organizations with experience in the region.

All Articles About Iraq