Erbil experiences a hot-summer Mediterranean climate, with extremely hot summers and mild wet winters.
Local school holidays and an influx of holidaymakers from Iraq and other Arab countries means that the peak months of May to September are also the most expensive time to visit. During these months the average low temperature is 22°C and the average high is 38°C, although it can even reach the low 40s. As the summer heat can be extreme, some travellers avoid the city during this period and instead prefer to book flights to Erbil when the conditions are cooler.
Winter in Erbil, between November and March, is mild, with temperatures at their lowest around 2°C in January and at their highest around 21°C in November. These months however, can be a bit wet but if you don’t mind, then this can be a great time to book flights to Erbil – particularly at Christmas when the malls are decorated for the festive season. Christmas school holidays, the festive season and the ski and winter sports opportunities nearby see a rise in demand for flights to Erbil from December to February.
October is a lovely time in the city as the temperatures are slightly cooler than summer, usually from 15-31°C and there is less rain than winter. This month is also one of the busiest times in the city as business visitors come for the Erbil International Trade Fair at the Beirut Exhibition Centre, one of the Middle East’s most modern and sophisticated trade show venues.
The low season is from February to March and it’s the best time to look for cheap flights to Erbil. March or April can be particularly good times to visit is when the parks, hills and nearby mountains are green, and the days are warm and pleasant. March is also when locals welcome the Kurdish New Year, and you can take part in exciting Newroz Festivities.
The ancient city of Erbil is in the Kurdistan region of Iraq and its famous Citadel is thought to be the oldest continually occupied habitat in the world. Visiting a city that dates back approximately 7000 years is a thrilling experience and with historic sites and a terrific cultural mix it’s a wonderful holiday choice.
The impressive Citadel has three main quarters – Saray, Taki and Topkhana, and you’ll find the city souk here where you can buy everything from smartphones to Kurdish crafts. While you’re in the Citadel, the Kurdish Textile Centre is worth seeing for gorgeous antique rugs and a good gift shop where you can buy high quality locally-made souvenirs. Shopping is a popular pastime in the city, which will appeal to many who book flights to Erbil. Throughout the city you’ll discover designer brands, antique stores and speciality shops in the Family Mall, Majidi Mall, Hawler Mall and several others.
Explore the unique culture and history of the city during a visit to the Syriac Civilisation Museum or the Erbil Heritage Museum. Be sure to take a look at the magnificent Central Mosque, or plan a visit to Minaret Park to see the 118 ft (36m) tall Mudhafaria Minaret which dates from King Muzaffar Al-Din Abu Sa’eed Al-Kawkaboori’s reign at the end of the 12th century. There is also a beautiful turquoise tiled minaret nearby.
Take the cable car from Minaret Park to Shanidar Park for exciting views over the city, or enjoy a coffee in a street cafe as you watch the world go by in a city that is one of the world’s oldest and most interesting.
Many three and four star hotels employ private drivers for the use of their guests, and although local bus services are limited there are plenty of taxis to choose from. Women may prefer to use the PNK taxis which are specifically for women and have female drivers, and you’ll be expected to negotiate fares with any of the local taxis before boarding.
Erbil International Airport (EBL) boasts one of the world’s longest runways at 15,748 ft (4,800m). The airport is a short drive from the city centre and several taxi firms cover the route. However, be aware that you will pay considerably more for English speaking drivers, and that a price should be agreed before you board. Some local hotels run private car or mini bus services to pick guests up from the airport