How Safe Is Iraq for Travel?

Iraq
Safety Index:
14

Iraq is a country located in the Middle East.

It is situated at the north end of the Persian Gulf with a small coastline in the southeast of the country.

It shares its borders with Iran to the east, Kuwait to the south, Saudi Arabia to the southwest, Jordan to the west, Syria to the northwest, and Turkey to the north.

Unfortunately, Iraq has been through tough times in the past 40 years and its tumultuous history has taken a toll on its travel industry.

After the fall of the Saddam Hussein government, known for being extremely hostile to the Shia religion, the holy sites of southern Iraq and in particular the spiritual home of Shia Islam in Karbala welcomed the hordes of religious pilgrims mostly from the Middle East, Iran, and Central Asia.

Religious pilgrimage is still unsafe, but it’s definitely safer than it used to be and knowing the Arab region is also quite useful as it will make you feel safer.

Warnings & Dangers in Iraq

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK : HIGH

Generally, Iraq isn't a safe country to visit, because of its complicated political situation and turmoil that took over the country and its neighbors. It is strongly recommended that you do not travel to Iraq at this time.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : HIGH

Terrorist groups make transportation through the country rather difficult. You might get pulled over at any second. Air traffic isn't safe either. In January 2015, a commercial flight arriving into Baghdad International Airport was fired upon by the rebels.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH

Petty crime in Iraq exists and if you do leave your accommodation for whatever reason - even though this is also strongly advised against - be careful in crowded places such as bus and train stations and keep your valuables in your accommodation.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

As for natural disasters, floods are Iraq's most severe threat. In 2015, a state of emergency was declared in Iraq due to torrential rains resulting in severe flooding.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK : HIGH

Violent crime has actually been on the rise during the past three years. There have also been some kidnappings involving foreigners. Traveling in groups is recommended in Iraq. Avoid any suspicious parts of the country or going out at all after dark.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK : HIGH

Terrorists are very likely to try and carry out attacks in Iraq. The biggest threat is coming from the extremist groups like Daesh that are responsible for the majority of attacks. Remain vigilant at all times.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK : HIGH

Scams are the least of your problems if you're in Iraq, but yes, there are scammers here that will try to trick you. Double-check your change, never pay anything upfront and negotiate everything in advance. Be very careful around ATMs and be wary of people trying to distract you.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : HIGH

Iraq isn't dangerous for women particularly, but it is advised for tourists in general, regardless of their gender, not to walk around Iraq, be it during day or night, as the country is essentially in the state of warfare.

So... How Safe Is Iraq Really?

Iraq is not safe to travel to.

All travel to Mosul, Al-Qaim, Hawijah, etc is strongly discouraged and governments are advising their citizens world-wide against traveling to Iraq.

Though traveling to areas like Basra, Najaf, Karbala, and the majority of Kurdistan is safe, and the north-east provinces which comprise Iraqi Kurdistan can be considered somewhat safe, you should still travel to this country only in cases of absolute necessity.

If it is necessary to visit Iraq, then remain cautious and aware of your surroundings at all times, and consult your embassy before you leave.

If you go to Iraq and you have certain opinions on its history, religion and the sectarian warfare that has been going on for over a decade, keep it to yourself as expressing these opinions in certain areas can end with fatal consequences.

Rule of thumb is to avoid any religious or political discussions.

Keep in mind that Iraq, being a war zone, has minefields pretty much everywhere in every area of the country, so do not stray anywhere, do not walk into fields, especially unmarked ones unless you’re guided by someone who knows the area or is absolutely sure that it’s safe.

It would be best not to go anywhere without an escort from the Iraqi army.

How Does Iraq Compare?

CountrySafety Index
Iraq14
Morocco54
Czech Republic88
Latvia80
Cyprus75
Slovenia87
Bulgaria80

Useful Information

  • Visas - Most countries do need a visa in order to enter Iraq. Make sure your passport is valid for at least the next six months. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need a visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
  • Currency - The Iraqi dinar is the official currency in Iraq. ATMs exist throughout the country and are mostly located outside of banks.
  • Weather - The climate in Iraq is mostly mild, though extremes to both ends can occur. The average temperature in Iraq can range from higher than 48 degrees C in July and August to below freezing in January. It receives plenty of precipitation, mostly within a period between December and April. Rain is more abundant in the mountainous region.
  • Airports - Baghdad International Airport, formerly referred to as Saddam International Airport, is Iraq's largest and main international airport. It is located about 16 km west of downtown Baghdad.
  • Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Iraq, since it covers not only the costs medical problems but also theft and loss of valuables.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Iraq Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 10° C
Feb 13° C
Mar 17° C
Apr 23° C
May 29° C
Jun 33° C
Jul 35° C
Aug 35° C
Sep 31° C
Oct 25° C
Nov 17° C
Dec 11° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
161924303742444440332417
Low
°C
46101520242625211695
High
°F
6166758699108111111104917563
Low
°F
394350596875797770614841

Where to Next?

38 Reviews on Iraq

  1. A
    Anonymous says:

    it’s amazing

    I went to Iraq this summer with my mom, my two sisters, and me. it was perfectly fine. there was not one moment where I felt unsafe.

    I was in the Baghdad area. everyone was living normally. it was beautiful. it makes me sad to see that my home country is always thought of as very unsafe when it’s legit perfectly good.

    1. I
      Iraq is a shithole country says:

      Why are you lying to yourself and others?

    2. Thank you

      Thank you for sharing. It is always different in real life than presented to us by media and website. Your country is beautiful.

    3. UK government continues to advise against all travel to Iraq, including the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

  2. A
    Anonymous says:

    Don’t go

    there’s literally a war there, you are dumb if you choose to go and you’re just asking to get killed

    1. E
      EvilWhiteMan says:

      (Ob)liberated by the USA

      This is what happens to countries who have been “freed” by the USA. Destroyed, raped and robbed for all eternity. Afghanistan and Libya are another fine example of “liberation”.

      1. thanks

        Finally someone realized the key of the middle east problems.

      2. C
        Citizen D says:

        Read a Book

        Sure, none of that has anything to do with the vast influx of foreign fighters and terror organizations who came to the country after the IS occupation. Note did the LONG RUNNING Iraqi civil issues cause the decay. And I guess the corruption which has infected Iraq for generations also had nothing to do with the country’s problems. It was ALL the US…”robbing and raping.” Read a book.

      3. Read a Book

        This is ridiculous. While the US occupation certainly brought strife to the country, the majority of the “raping and robbing and destruction” was caused by foreign fighters and terror groups, Iraqis fighting other Iraqis (the Shia/Sunni conflict had been going in for 1400 years) and the corruption that has plagued the country for generations. Read a book and stop regurgitating ridiculous talking points.

        1. d
          digbick says:

          forign fighters haha it was everyone. Many soliders in my army platoon got our bicks wet plenty of times especially private contractors if you think americans aint getting theirs your sadly delusional.

    2. traveller.

      I have visited Iraq as a British woman on several occasions, I have never felt unsafe in Iraq.

  3. P
    Polarbear says:

    Cool

    Iraq looks beautiful Because I like Mosques And The Sulaymaniyah Area Is cool My most Liked Thing Is Baghdad In Baghdad you sede domes an its A cool Area I Think Iraq Is Better than Iran But I guess Yemen Is cooler

    1. A Great Place to Visit

      I have been on holy Pilgrimages in Iran as well as Iraq and Iran was definitely cleaner. Both places are peaceful and I walked on the street and ate the food and enjoyed the culture. The people are so friendly and welcoming. I would visit again, anytime.

  4. P
    PolarBear says:

    Cool

    I think Iraq Is better Than Lebanon To My Opinion But I think Both Of them are cool Sometimes I Like It Or not like It These are my favorite Countries: Yemen Iran Iraq Lebanon Pakistan Austria Iceland France And Russia are my Favorites

  5. H
    Hadoosh Iq says:

    Iraq is safe for tourists you can see YouTubers videos when they visited it

    1. X
      Xavier Lauzac says:

      You got the wrong message

      No it’s not. Just because people have enjoyed their trips, doesn’t mean it’s safe. Iraq is a warzone, and I don’t have to have been there to know that.

      1. Q
        Qasim Gondal says:

        is sad

        is you are wrong and correct but youtubers can not go there

      2. J
        Johnson Long says:

        Iraq was great! No problems at all in fact, i found a decent little BBQ joint in central Baghdad, best spare ribs Ive had outside of St. Louis with a full bar and wet T Shirt concerts on Thursdays. I forget the name of the place because it was written in farsi, but wow what a trip!

      3. Superficial opinion

        Your though and opinion is dumb and very superficial!!!

      4. T
        Truthtalker says:

        Damn I hate Americans

        Xavier it is obvious you just saw Google pictures of explosions from 2003 because you even said “and I don’t even have to be there to know that” get a brain for god sake

      5. S
        Stop assuming a country is bad just because it’s in war right now says:

        Yes just because it is a war zone, doesn’t mean you can’t feel safe, when I was still in iraq during the bombings, some people didn’t even bother going to bunkers and just decided to sleep through it and I did that too and I’m safe. Like I’ve visited Iraq multiple times and if you have common sense, travel with friends you’ll most likely be fine

      6. N
        NURA GARBA says:

        Dont Judge

        You never been there right? Don’t judge them by what you read on the social media.

    2. Terrible message.

      Uh no, those youtubers most definitely had protection, and absolutely knew what they were doing. Just because some youtuber goes does not mean tourists will be safe.

      It’s a warzone, that should tell you a lot.

  6. warning: do not travel to iraq because of terror. also because of warzones in the deserts ever since united states of america invaded baghad and deserts of iraq

  7. I can't wait to go back!

    I visited a family member in Erbil last year. The scariest part of the trip was trying to get lunch in Chicago before I got to the airport. Erbil is a very safe city at any hour, with a very low crime rate. Compare their murder rate with any major American city and many small towns! There are many beautiful places to see and friendly people everywhere.

    1. There is a reason Irbil felt safe

      You’re review is a bit misleading. Irbil is in a much different part of the country. While officially part of Iraq, I certainly wouldn’t consider the Kurdish areas reflective of the the rest of Iraq.

  8. Iraq is definitely not a safe country. you don’t know what might happen when you’re outside from sexual harassment, assaulting, robbing, bombing, kidnapping..etc. No freedom No safety.

    1. ‘Some places safe, some places not. Don’t generalise

      You’ve obviously never been there if you think that everything in Iraq looks like living in a Call of Duty game. People move on from war, live their lives, have shops, visits bakeries ect. Plus it has a few safe cities, especially in the North and some in the middle like Karbala that are safer than many cities in America. Not a war zone, just a recovering country. In Karbala there are lots of stops at the busy places in the street for women and men to get a quick body check to make sure that there is not a terrorist in disguise who carries weapons. There is police and army driving around for public safety in busy areas. It is not a crazy out of controlled war zone where people are just shooting and bombing each other behind building. Just people in markets trying to sell stuff, visit a mosque / shrine or go to their jobs. At summer, mostly people who have to go somewhere (jobs) at daytime are out and the rest sleep (because it is so hot and can get over 50 degrees celcius). At night, people go to the market, and you’ve got merchants demonstrating some toys or spray perfume through a big ventilator so the perfume wafts through the streets. Not the safest place in the world but definitely not what you describe. Stranger men and women don’t touch eachother or sit to close to eachother, only with their own husbands and wives. Plenty of Westerners visit India, where many Westener women ACTUALLY face a lot of sexual harassment and I’ve read so many horror stories about that. Before anyone comments here, make sure that you have actually been to Iraq cities, instead of seeing some war pictures on Google or those from the army fighting isis, and saying ‘Iraq is (inserted negative adjectives about danger) and I don’t need to have been there to know that!!” It is a big country and it’s safety levels differ greatly in different places.

  9. e

    I’m confused how this is the 5th most dangerous country on the website but it has 1 safe city?

    1. It actually has about 4-5

  10. P
    PolarBear says:

    Not safe

    Hello I don’t want to go here anymore, it’s a season of a big war.

  11. E
    Ewan Maher says:

    Kurdistan Iraq is rather safe. This report ignores that region!

    A very slanted and conjectural report. Sure, Baghdad and most of (Arab-speaking) Iraq to the south is very unsafe indeed.

    But to the north, in Iraqi Kurdistan, which includes such cities of Duhok, Zakho and Erbil, it is pretty safe with many natural wonders and vistas that are visited by many Kurds and Assyrians living abroad. Last time I checked, they all came back in one piece. Some even go there and live for a few years. Sure, these areas are still not the safest in the world, but are still fairly safe for WORLD STANDARDS!

    Such a shame that your report or review on Iraq was purely based on its Arab-populated, defunct, dangerous cities like Baghdad, Mosul, Kirkuk and Basra.

    Either revise this report (where you include Duhok) or just make one solely for Iraqi Kurdistan. I’d personally give that region 55-60 out of 100.

  12. T
    True talker says:

    Best country

    Iraq isn’t the world safest country. But it is pretty safe. It is safer than most cities actually. Please don’t let the media fool you. Remember, this country just stopped being in war. It is still recovering from the war with america (which Iraq won) anyway yes there will be explosions once every 6 months or so but they aren’t something to worry about. Iraq is still safe and everyone who denies that Iraq is safe should visit it themselves

  13. E
    Emma witters says:

    5

    I just came back from a month in Iraq (November 2021) and I didn’t feel unsafe at all anywhere! I’m a you tuber and solo female traveller , I travelled around by shared taxi and I even took the train to Basra, I went to many places alone even Mosul and everyone was so kind and hospitable to me ! I had no problems at all and I met quite a few westerners on my trip ! Absolutely not what the media makes it out to be … I went to the Kurdistan region which is extremely safe …
    I assume all those making negative comments here have actually been for themselves and not just listening to what you hear on government websites or the media

  14. D
    Dude Totti says:

    Kurdistan is very safe

    As overlanders and full time travelers, we’ve been in the kurdish region weeks ago for one month and never ever felt unsafe. Erbil and Sulaimanyia are very safe too and are a great joy to visit. The rest is beautiful and there are dozens of checkpoints, which lead you the right way, once, your way to much off the beaten track.
    That said, Kurdistan is perfect for travel.
    We’re now at the Basra border, entering the arabic Iraq tomorrot and will see, how safe or unsafe it really is.

  15. A beautiful country, unblemished by tourism

    I am an American in Baghdad with my family (staying with my family who is, albeit, Iraqi) and it has been nothing but lovely! Outrageously extravagant malls, restaurants, and foods, contrasted with the effervescent markets and vibrant city life, makes for an amazing and unique trip!

    People are generally kind and hardworking. The biggest negative is the traffic and absence of traffic laws, but that is a somewhat minor inconvenience. And people also look at you kinda funny when you speak loudly in English, but the biggest risk seems to be being overcharged by the local vendors (which is to be expected, and common in most places, not just Iraq).

    It is genuine, and special, and stands out against countries like the UAE, Qatar, and to a lesser extent, Kuwait, which has become one big shopping center, with fewer and fewer Arabic speakers and locals. A gem in the rough.

  16. Sad

    I feel bad for the overseas workers in my country (PH) who chose to go here for a job and became a victim of trafficking instead

Rated 3.61 / 5 based on 38 user reviews.

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