Young Pioneer Tours

Iraqi Kurdistan Tours 2024 and 2025

YPT first took groups to Iraqi Kurdistan, the autonomous region of Iraq run by the Kurdish people. This region has experienced remarkable stability in comparison to the region of Federal Iraq, and it offers a completely unique cultural experience. 

We are currently offering the following Iraqi Kurdistan Group Tours for 2024 and 2025, but keep watching this page as we are always looking to add more Iraqi Kurdistan tours. Due to logistical restraints, we can only hold spots up to 16 group members generally, so be sure to book quickly as our Iraqi Kurdistan Tours are very popular and places fill up quickly.

We are currently looking to add more Kurdistan tours that will take in Turkish Kurdistan and Iranian Kurdistan and Syrian Kurdistan – follow the page for updates.


Iraqi Kurdistan Newroz Festival (March 16th-22nd 2024) $1145

Experience Iraqi Kurdistan in a completely different way during our Iraqi Kurdistan Newroz Festival tour. In addition to exploring all of the historical and cultural sites of Iraqi Kurdistan, we’ll also celebrate Newroz, the most important Kurdish holiday of the year that celebrates the beginning of spring and the start of new beginnings. As the streets explode with Kurds celebrating the beginning of the Kurdish New Year, we’ll join in all of the festivities. 

This tour is the adventure of a lifetime, and for those who are wishing to explore even more, it combines perfectly with our Southern Iraq Ultimate Tour. Those who wish to combine the two tours receive a discount as part of the Whole Iraq Spring Combo. 

Iraqi Kurdistan Spring Tour (May 16th-22nd 2024) $1145

Enjoy the best that Iraqi Kurdistan has to offer before the summer heat sets in on our Iraqi Kurdistan Spring Tour. On this tour, we’ll explore the Mountains of Kurdistan, mingle with the locals in Erbil, and get the chance to meet with the Peshmerga, the Kurdish military that have kept this region safe, despite the intense persecution of Kurds under ISIS in recent years. 

This tour offers the perfect opportunity to explore all that Iraqi Kurdistan has to offer, and for those who are wishing to explore even more, it combines perfectly with our Southern Iraq Spring Tour. Those who wish to combine the two tours receive a discount as part of the Whole Iraq Spring Combo.

Iraqi Kurdistan Autumn Tour (October 23rd-29th 2024) $1145

Our Iraqi Kurdistan Autumn Tour takes us to the paradise on Earth that is Iraqi Kurdistan. Home to more than 3500 archaeological sites and one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse communities in the Middle East, Iraqi Kurdistan is a site to behold. h

From meeting with the Yazidis, one of the most misunderstood and persecuted religious groups to enjoying drinks with Kurdistan’s Christian community, this tour offers and unparalleled look at one of the most fascinating and historical regions of the world. 

Our Iraqi Kurdistan tours combine well with our Southern Iraq tours. By combining these tours, you not only are able to see and understand the fascinating diversity and culture of Iraq, but you also receive a discount as part of our Whole Iraq Autumn Combo.

Iraqi Kurdistan New Year Tour (December 26th 2024 – January 1st 2025) $1145

Ring in 2025 in the most memorable way possible. Spend the end of 2024 exploring the only remaining Yazidi shrine in Lalish, exploring the deepest Gorge in the Middle East, and chatting with locals about their struggles with Saddam Hussein and ISIS.

Ring in the New Year with new local friends at one of the best cafes in Erbil while you watch fireworks from Erbil’s citadel, the oldest continuously inhabited building on Earth. Together, we’ll celebrate not only the most memorable News Years possible, but we’ll also cheers to the future of Iraqi Kurdistan in a new era of peace, beauty, and stability.


Below is our sample Kurdistan Tour, this be done bespoke, as is, combined with other destinations, or shortened. We list this as an example of what we can do on an Iraqi Kurdistan Tour.

Day 1 – Erbil

  • Arrive at your convenience into Erbil – the capital and most populated city in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq which is well connected from many countries within Africa and most of Europe.
  • Those who arrive early can use this time to check out Erbil’s bazaar or visit the Erbil citadel, one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the whole world, with an opportunity to shop for souvenirs.
  • Dinner and drinks will be in Erbil’s Christian neighbourhood.
  • Overnight in Erbil.

Day 2 – Erbil – Duhok

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • We then drive to St. Matthew Monastery (Mar Mattei) – the oldest Christian monastery in all Iraq and one of the oldest still in existence. Built into the side of Mt. Alfaf in 363AD, it has a long and storied history of war and turmoil, yet somehow it has survived to the modern day.
  • We’ll stop at the hill of Gaugamela – where Alexander the Great famously defeated the Achaemenid Empire.


  • After lunch at a local restaurant, we’ll continue the journey to up north to Lalish – this is the most sacred town for the Yazidi people and is extremely interesting as it is now maintained by only a few families, waiting for the Yazidi refugees spread out all over the world to come back. To enter the town, we must remove our shoes.
  • Arrive in Duhok, a pleasant old town with its roots in the Dasini tribe of Yazidis.
  • Explore the local bazaar, and head out for dinner and experience the nightlife.
  • Overnight in Duhok

Day 3 – Duhok – Rawanduz


  • In the morning, we’ll be having our breakfast at the Peshmerga Martyrs Cafe. The Peshmerga are the Kurdish military and have kept this region safe from the likes of ISIS, and the cafe has started to honour the martyred Peshmerga and to raise money for the deceased’s families.
  • We’ll make our way along the Gara Mountain – here you’ll catch a glimpse of one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces. Today, the palace has been taken over by the Peshmerga, and they continue to use it as a base for occasional battles that take place between Turkish and Kurdish forces today. 
  • We’ll then head to the ancient city of Amadiya which is located on a high promontory above a breathtaking landscape. It was once an almost impenetrable fortress. The city Gate (Bab Zebar) is on the eastern side of the city of Amadiya built by Imaduddin Al-Zanki 600AD. A minaret 30 meters high stands in the middle of Amadiya.
  • Continue onto the town of Barzan – home to the Barzani tribe, whose members control Iraqi Kurdistan today.
  • You’ll visit the Barzani Memorial Center – built to honour the 8,000 members of the Barzani tribe killed in a genocide led by Saddam Hussein, it is a sombering look at the violence experienced by the Kurdish people.
  • We’ll then embark on one of our longer journeys to Rawanduz.


  • Along the way, we’ll stop at a locally famous fish restaurant that serves a traditional Kurdish dish of fried river fish. 
  • Stop by the Shamarda cave and partake in a short hike to the top – here is an important archaeological site where the remains of 10 Neanderthals were found between 1957 and 1961.
  • Walking tour of Rawanduz before we head for dinner and drinks.
  • Overnight in Rawanduz

Day 4 – Rawanduz – Sulaymaniyah


  • After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll head to one of the waterfalls that is located in the deepest gorge in the Middle East.
  • Drive the famously scenic Hamilton Road. The road was built by AM Hamilton in the early 1930s for what he hoped would unify the peoples of the region. In fact, the road has been fought over many times, especially during the 1980s war with Iran.
  • We continue our journey stopping at various waterfalls and lookouts for pictures.


  • Lunch at a countryside restaurant.
  • We take another scenic drive of around 3.5 hours to the second major city of Iraqi Kurdistan, and the most important regarding tourism, Sulaymaniyah. We will be stopping along the way for refreshments and picture opportunities.
  • In the evening, we take a walk around this historical city visiting its parks and landmarks.
  • Sulaymaniyah has a great street food scene so we go to the bazaar to try some of the local specialities for dinner.
  • Overnight in Sulaymaniyah.

Day 5 – Sulaymaniyah – Halabja – Sulaymaniyah


  • After breakfast we visit the Red House Prison (Amna Suraka) – this is where Saddam’s regime imprisoned and tortured Kurds suspected of being anti-Baath. You’ll visit the prison and torture cells used at the time. Military vehicles from tanks to jeeps are displayed outside. There is also a new extension of the museum dedicated to the war against ISIS.


  • Lunch at a local joint in Sulaymaniyah.
  • Drive one-hour to Halabja – this was where the mass chemical attack on the Kurdish people perpetrated by the Baathist regime took place. Here, you’ll look at the various shrines to the scene of this atrocity, as well as visit a local museum that goes into further detail.
  • Return to Sulaymaniyah.
  • Head to Goizha Mountain to see the stunning view of Sulaymaniyah below as the sun sets. Depending on the weather, paragliding is an optional way down which we highly recommend.
  • Dinner at one of Sulaymaniyah finer restaurants
  • Optional evening endeavour, we’ll head to Chavyland Amusement Park – one of the largest amusement parks in Kurdistan with an equally iconic moniker.
  • Overnight in Sulaymaniyah.

Day 6 – Sulaymaniyah – Erbil


  • After breakfast, we again hit the road, this time back to Erbil.
  • On the way, we’ll stop by the old Koya Caravanserai and the Koya Fortress – fortress towns in Kurdistan of when the Ottoman Empire had control over almost the entire Middle East.
  • If time and weather permits, we’ll head to Dukan lake for a short boat ride towards the dam (optional cost). For a long time, this dam was nonoperational because the Iraqi army stole a crucial computer chip used for monitoring the dam as they left.


  • Complete the scenic two-hour journey back to Erbil, again, stopping for refreshments and photos along the way.
  • Explore the Citadel for a gorgeous sunset, which, although it has seen better days, is still worth a look.  We then head into the bazaar where your local guide will help you find some last-minute bargains.
  • We have a farewell dinner near the bazaar.
  • It is fair to say you do not know a country until you have done a bar crawl, so we finish our time in Iraqi Kurdistan by seeing it off with a last night celebration
  • Overnight in Erbil.

Day 7 – Erbil

  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Tour concludes – YPT is also able to arrange post-tour accommodation or advice for flights.


If a group tour does not fit your calendar, you require something more specific for yourself or group then YPT can arrange a bespoke tour to Iraqi Kurdistan for you.

Prices genuinely depend on the number of people and what level of accommodation you require, but YPT can arrange everything you need for a perfect independent tour to Iraqi Kurdistan.

Tours to Iraqi Kurdistan can also be combined with trips to other places in the region, such as Federal Iraq, Iran, or Kuwait. 


All of our local guides on our Iraqi Kurdistan tours speak English, or a translator is provided. For independent tours to Iraq, guides speaking other languages can be arranged. Additionally, all of our tours are curated by our expert YPT staff with years of experience in the region, and many of our tours are led by western YPT guides who also speak Arabic and specialize in the region. 


Visitors from Albania, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, UK, and USA can all receive visa on arrival to Iraqi Kurdistan. 

Most other countries are eligible to apply for an Evisa to enter Iraqi Kurdistan.  The process is very straightforward, and YPT can provide all documents and information needed to obtain entry to Iraqi Kurdistan.