10-day itinerary in Iraq (Federal + Kurdistan)

10-day itinerary in Iraq


Iraq Travel Itinerary

I’ve spent more than 45 days in the country, but I know that most travellers tend to stay for shorter periods and visit one place after another, stopping only at the main places of interest. If that’s the case, I’ve put together a simple itinerary that covers the historic sites and major tourist towns to visit in Federal Iraq in 10 days, plus a stopover in Kurdistan.

Read also
🔎 How to travel to Iraq


10-day itinerary in Iraq
© Spirit Travelers / 10-day itinerary in Iraq


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Day 1 & 2 : Baghdad

Things to do in Baghdad
Spirit Travelers / Visit Baghdad – 10-day itinerary in Iraq

Baghdad is the city you should arrive in if you want to visit federal Iraq and Kurdistan. The Iraqi capital is an essential stop on any trip to Iraq. I counted on spending at least two days in Baghdad, so as not to leave on the run as soon as I arrived in the country. Take the temperature in the city, visit the many places of interest, then set off for Karbala.

🔎 Baghdad Travel Guide

Day 3 : Karbala – Babylon

1. Karbala

The mausoleum of Abu Abbas in Karbala
© Spirit Travelers / Visit Karbala, 10-day itinerary in Iraq

Distance: 116 km from Baghdad

Karbala is an ancient and holy city of Shiite Islam to which many pilgrims go, as the tomb of one of the 12 Imams is located there. This very religious city is full of fervour. Be sure to dress modestly here. Karbala can be visited in half a day.

🔎 Karbala Travel Guide

  • How to get to Karbala:

From Baghdad, go to the “Garage Alawi” and take a shared taxi. The fare is 10,000 IQD per person.

📍 Garage Alawi

2. Babylon

The hanging Gardens of Babylon
© Spirit Travelers / Visit Babylon, 10-day itinerary in Iraq

Distance: 50 km from Karbala

Babylon is one of Iraq’s most important and unmissable tourist sites. You will arrive in the town of Hillah before reaching the ruins. Babylon can easily be visited in half a day.

🔎 Babylon Travel Guide

  • How to get to Babylon:

From Karbala, go to the “Garage Hillah” where you can take a shared taxi to the town of Hillah, near the site of Babylon. The fare is 2,000 IQD per person. If you’re not interested in visiting Karbala, you can go directly to Hillah from Baghdad from the Alawi Garage for 10,000 IQD.

📍 Garage Hillah (to Babylon)

Once in Hillah, you’ll have to take a private taxi. The first one cost me 3,000 IQD on the way out and 4,000 IQD on the way back.

Day 4 : Najaf

Najaf is a place to visit on a trip to Iraq
© Spirit Travelers / Wadi Al-Salaam (Valley of Peace) Cemetery, Najaf

Distance : à 62 km de Hillah (Babylone)

Najaf, or Najaf, is also a holy city in Iraq and in the Shia Muslim world, as it is the site of the tomb of one of the twelve Imams. This historic city also boasts the world’s largest cemetery, with almost 5 million mainly Shiite tombs. The faithful believe that they will find absolute peace and be cleansed of their sins by being buried here.

Also visit nearby Kufa and its great mosque, the founding capital of the Abbasid Empire. It’s a place full of myths and mysteries. For example, legend has it that Adam was buried here. It is also the place where Noah built his ark, according to Shiite beliefs.

  • How to get to Najaf :

From Hillah, go to the bus station where you will take a shared taxi to the town of Najaf. The fare is around 7,000 IQD.

📍 Bus station

Day 5 : Nasiriyah

Visit the Great Ziggurat of Ur
© Spirit Travelers / The Ur ziggurat – 10-day itinerary in Iraq

Distance: 250 km from Najaf

Nasiriyah is a town in southern Iraq. From here, you can visit the must-see ziggurat of Ur, the birthplace of Abraham, and the Mesopotamian marshes with their traditional reed huts made by the inhabitants of an atypical Arab culture.

  • How to get to Nasiriya :

From Najaf, go to the “Garage Al-Najaf” where you will take a shared taxi to the town of Nasiriya. The fare is around IQD 10,000. To visit the Ziggurat of Ur, you’ll need to take a single private taxi to and from the site, which is deserted. There were absolutely no visitors when I was there!

📍 Garage Al-Najaf (to the South)

Day 6 : Samarra

How to visit Samarra in Iraq
© Spirit Travelers / Visit Samarra – 10-day itinerary in Iraq

342 km distance between Nasiriyah and Bagdad
127 km distance between Bagdad and Samarra

Samarra was one of the capitals of the Abbasid Empire. Today it is one of Iraq’s holiest cities, with pilgrims visiting the tombs of Imams Ali and Hassan Askari and visitors coming to see the famous Malwiya minaret and its mosque.

🔎 Samarra Travel Guide

  • How to get to Samarra:

From Nasiriya, go to the bus station where you will take a shared taxi (25,000 IQD per person) to Baghdad, where you will spend the night.

📍 Nasiriya bus station

The next morning, get up early and go to the Alawi bus station of Baghdad to go to Samarra. You won’t be able to sleep there, as it’s forbidden. You will have to leave the same day for your next destination, Mosul, which is at least 5 hours away.

📍 Garage Alawi

Day 7 : Mosul

How to Visit Mosul Travel Guide
© Spirit Travelers / Visit Mosul – 10-day itinerary in Iraq

Distance: 294 km dfrom Samarra

Mosul is one of Iraq’s most important cities, with exceptional ethnic and religious diversity. It is also the meeting point of the Kurdish and Arab worlds, and home to the mighty city of Nineveh: a must-see on your Iraq itinerary. Find out more in the guide below:

🔎 Mosul Travel Guide

  • How to get to Mosul:

From Samarra, go to the bus station where you will take a shared taxi to Tikrit (there is no direct service to Mosul).

📍 Samarra bus station

From Tikrit, go to the bus station where you will take a shared taxi to Mosul. It will take you a full day to visit Samarra and drive to Mosul.

📍 Tikrit bus station


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Day 8 : Mar Mattai / Bakhdida

Mar Mattai

Visit Mor Mattai Monastery
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons / Mar Mattai Monastery

Distance: 40 km from Mosul

Mar Mattai is an Orthodox monastery on the border with Iraqi Kurdistan. If you decide to visit it, you will need to take a private taxi to get there from Mosul. You won’t be able to find a shared taxi from Mar Mattai unless you hitchhike. Visitors generally make the round trip, as the monastery is not far from the city.

📍 Garage Al-Shemal


Visit Bakhdida in Mosul
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons / A church in Bakhdida

Distance: 32 km from Mosul

Bakhdida is the largest Christian town in Iraq. It is easily accessible from Mosul by public transport, from the Al-Shemal bus station.

📍 Monastery Location

Day 9 : Akre

Visiter l'Irak en 10 jours
© Spirit Travelers / Akre during the sunset is mind blowing

Distance: 97 km from Mosul

Akre is one of the most beautiful towns in Iraqi Kurdistan and one of my favourites. It’s close to Mosul and gives you a great overview of the region. It’s a human-sized town that can be visited in a day, but it makes you want to stay longer. I spent at least 10 days there!

🔎 Akre Travel Guide

  • How to get to Akre:

From Mosul, go to Al-Shemal bus station, where you can take a shared taxi to Akre. Make sure you get there before 1 p.m. otherwise it will be very difficult to find a driver for this destination. The fare is 10,000 IQD.

📍 Garage Al-Shemal

Day 10 / Erbil

Things to do and places to visit in Erbil
© Spirit Travelers / Visit Erbil – 10-day itinerary in Iraq

Distance : 94 km from Akre

Erbil is the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan and there’s a lot to see here, so take a look at my guide. It’s from here that you can fly out of Iraq, with prices similar to Baghdad.

If you’re thinking of visiting the region, check out all the places to see in Iraqi Kurdistan and get all the information you need to know in this travel guide. You should know that Kurdistan is absolutely different from Federal Iraq, which do not share the same culture, apart from Islam. Think of these worlds as separate and distinct countries, even though they are both on the same territory.

🔎 Erbil Travel Guide

  • How to get to Erbii:

You can easily stop a shared taxi at the entrance to Akre. The fare is 10,000 IQD.

Iraq Travel Guides

Find a complete travel guide for visiting Iraq on your own. You’ll find all the information you need to make your stay in the country as easy as possible:

Must see places – formalities – visas – safety – getting around – where to stay (…)

🔎 Federal Iraq Travel Guide
🔎 Iraqi Kurdistan Travel Guide

You might like also:


Iraq Travel Guide
© Spirit Travelers / Click on the image to consult our complete travel guide to Federal Iraq

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About the author

Picture of Tom Spirit
Tom Spirit
Hey, it's Tom! Welcolme to Spirit Travelers. I'm a nomad traveler for several years and I share my experiences by publishing content and travel guides on this blog. Find some of the most popular countries to visit but also off the beaten track destinations.

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