There are international airports in Basra, Erbil, Sulaymaniyah and An-Najaf, but the largest is located in Baghdad, 16 km west of the center. It is not yet possible to get directly from Russia, there are flights with 1-3 transfers. Royal Jordanian Airlines delivers from Domodedovo for 335 USD in both directions, travel time – 7-27 hours, docking in Amman. Pegasus Airlines and Turkish Airlines are transported via Istanbul, prices for the first carrier start at 445 USD round trip, for the second (departure from Vnukovo) – from 455 USD, on the road – from 8 hours.
Note: according to allcitypopulation, the population of Iraq is 41.18 million (2021).
From the Baghdad airport to the center, it is better to take a taxi: buses are still unsafe. The trip will cost 55,000 IQD and take about half an hour.
It is more profitable to fly from St. Petersburg with Pobeda, Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines: tickets in both directions – from 505 USD, transfers in Moscow and Istanbul, duration – from 15 hours. If you need it faster, you will have to fork out: Turkish Airlines and UTair have a route with the same connections lasting from 8 hours and costing from 840 USD round trip.
Visa and customs
To enter Iraq, Russians need a visa: a tourist visa for 3 months with the right to stay for 30 days, business or guest. They are issued at the embassy in Moscow, from the documents you need a passport valid for at least 6 months after the expected end of the trip, a completed application form, 2 color photographs, an invitation from a private person or company, travel route, confirmation of the Iraqi address and financial viability.
A separate visa is required to visit Kurdistan.
You can import up to 200 cigarettes, 250 g of tobacco or 50 cigars, 500 ml of perfume, 1 liter of alcoholic beverages into the country. Foreign currency is subject to declaration, local limits are 25 IQD upon entry and 5 IQD upon exit, Israeli shekels cannot be taken. Drugs, weapons, ammunition, chemicals and materials that promote immoral behavior are prohibited. You cannot export foreign currency in excess of the declared amount, as well as gold weighing more than 100 g and antiques.
Pets are allowed with an international veterinary passport and certificates of vaccination against rabies and infections.
It is more convenient and safer to travel between cities on Iraqi Airways aircraft: you can fly from Baghdad to Basra for 52,000 IQD, to Erbil – for 120,000 IQD. The railway track is almost completely destroyed, but is gradually being restored: new trains have been launched on the section between the capital and Fallujah, tickets cost from 2000 IQD. Bus service has not yet been established, and it is still reckless for tourists to use intercity and city buses. A reasonable alternative is taxis, which cost between 6,000-18,000 IQD.
Rent a Car
In Baghdad, Mosul and other large cities, rental offices are open, for rent you need a passport and a driver’s license, sometimes they ask for a deposit. International companies provide more guarantees, Europcar prices start from 110,000 IQD per day for a pickup truck, from 60,000 IQD for a compact model. But with the locals, you can agree on the services of a driver – “+1” to the “safety” piggy bank. The cost of gasoline is 850 IQD per 1 liter.
Oddly enough, driving in Iraq at night is quieter than during the day.
Most of the roads are in a deplorable state, the drivers are all reckless, weakly observing the rules, there are traffic jams in the cities. Checkpoints are set up everywhere, passing by is stopped every now and then to check documents. There are almost no parking lots: Iraqis leave their cars at their houses, tourists are left with sites near hotels and roadsides, but the police, at any opportunity, try to make money on the “wrong” parking lot.
Communication and Wi-Fi
Iraqi communications are dilapidated, but mobile operators still exist: Zain and AsiaCell offices are open everywhere. Zain offers Zeyarah Line tourist fare with domestic calls at 3 IQD per second and international calls from 350 IQD per minute. Replenishment cards are sold in stores, when replenishing from 1000 IQD, an initial credit of 500 IQD is activated – services within this amount are free. Free Wi-Fi is available in hotels, some restaurants and public places, an hour of connection in an Internet cafe costs 1000-1600 IQD.
It is better to prefer hotels located in central areas – with security and modern amenities. Most often they are with parking lots, breakfast is included in the price.
In capital hotels, 3 * double rooms cost from 90,000 IQD per night, in 4 * – from 100,000-105,000 IQD, in 5 * – from 200,000 IQD. In An-Najaf, you can rent a double room in the “four” for 33,000 IQD per day, in the “two” of Karbala or the “three” of Erbil – from 40,000 IQD, in the “five” of Sulaymaniyah – from 127,000 IQD per day.
The voltage in the Iraqi electrical network is 230 V, in hotels there are both the usual type C sockets and those requiring adapters D and G.
The country’s monetary unit is the Iraqi dinar (IQD), in 1 dinar there are 1000 fils. Current exchange rate: 1 IQD = 0.04 RUB (1 USD = 1469.99 IQD, 1 EUR = 1546.42 IQD).
Almost everywhere you can pay not only with dinars, but also with US dollars and euros. It is more profitable to change currency in bank branches (working hours are from Saturday to Wednesday from 8:00 to 12:30, on Thursdays until 11:00), there are also exchangers in markets, shopping centers and hotels, but the exchange rate there is not so attractive. It is better to have small bills in your wallet: cunning sellers may refuse to change from large ones. There are no ATMs, credit cards are not accepted, it is almost impossible to cash travelers checks.
It is customary for service personnel to leave a 10% tip, and they are usually included in the bill. Remuneration to waiters – 10-15% of the check.