Arrival in Istanbul, drive to Safranbolu/Kapadokya, a day of easy trekking, views from Uchisar. We climb Nemrut Dagi, meditate with gods and press on to Iraqi Kurdistan via Silopi. For safety read this:
“The three provinces of Dohuk, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah form the Kurdistan Region and are administered by the Kurdistan Regional Government which, under the 2005 constitution, has considerable powers of autonomy within a federal Iraq. The Kurdistan Regional Government administered area has significantly greater stability, compared with the rest of Iraq.”
KRG is a para-state with its own police, visa policy (visa not valid in the “other” Iraq), government, etc.
In Turkey we stay in cool little traditional hotels, in KRG in cool but simple modern hotels, there are no traditional hotels in KRG.
We explore the mountains, the waterfalls; everything is so easy and accessible in Northern Iraq; perhaps a little better than on the other side of the border in Turkey where there are numerous checkpoints and a heavy military presence.
After 3 days in Iraqi Kurdistan we continue to Iran if Allah allows us to do so. We should be fine; we’ve been doing it since 2009😎
And then... Yes, you don’t cross the Iraq-Iran border every day, do you? In mystical NW Iran we stop in Orumiyeh, drive along the banks of the Aras River, climb to Armenia - a 35km climb to the altitude of 2600m, visit the absolutely stunning mountainous monasteries & churches and the mystical Armenian Stonehenge called Zorats, explore Lake Sevan and the remnants of ex-Soviet lake tourism; then we cross into Georgia, eat khachapuri in beautiful Tbilisi, hit the Georgian Military Highway, go deep into its side valleys and canyons and so much more. In the end we go to the cave city of Vardzia and take a wonderful mountainous road back to Turkey. The village of Barhal in NE Turkey offers vistas and treks you WILL write home about! A gorgeous expedition! Expedition ends in Dogubeyazit or Erzurum or Trabzon or Kapadokya or Istanbul.
Price: from 4800€/person for 21 days