Frequently Asked Questions
What's the best time of year to visit?
The best months to visit Iraqi Kurdistan are April and May. This is when the snow has all melted, temperature is most mild, and the landscape is a beautiful green, which is a pleasant surprise because most tourists don't expect Iraq to be so lush. April and May are also the months with the most religious celebrations, offering you a nice glimpse into Kurdish culture.
The next best time to visit is during the fall because temperatures are cooler than the winter. However, like summertime, the landscape will be more dry and brown.
Winter is the most difficult time to travel around Iraqi Kurdistan due to snowfall, particularly in the mountains. Because of this, some attractions might be closed or impossible to get to.
Where should i stay in erbil?
I suggest booking at Merci Hotel while in Erbil. It is a clean and modern establishment with Western toilets, as well as an English speaking staff. Prices are very reasonable, breakfast is included and there is small, on-site gym. You'll need to rely on taxis for transport around the city but they are fairly cheap.
Slightly cheaper hotels can also be found in the bazaar but they do not have Western toilets and some clients have said they're not very clean.
For higher end accommodation, I suggest the Erbil Sheraton Hotel, which also goes by Erbil International Hotel.
What do i do about money?
It's highly suggested that you bring some US dollars upon arrival as it's the most versatile currency in Iraqi Kurdistan. Many places accept US dollars and they're accepted at all currency exchange businesses, as well as many restaurants. The exchange rates are very reasonable and don't vary too much from business to business. ATMs/cash machines can now be found in Erbil, Duhok and Sulaymaniyah and dispense both US dollars and Iraqi dinar. Some hotels are also starting to accept both Visa and Mastercard credit cards.
what can i eat if i am a vegetarian?
In Iraqi Kurdistan, most of our meals consist of meat, rice, bread or naan, and various side dishes like salads, bean soup and stewed okra. We mainly eat lamb, beef and chicken. Common main dishes include roasted chicken and rice, leg of lamb and rice, kebabs and shwarmas.
Vegetarians have the option of eating falafel, eggs, yogurt, rice, naan, and side dishes like salads, bean soup and stewed okra. Options for vegans are more limited since we don't really have this concept in Iraq, but is similar to the options available to vegetarians.