Sulaymaniyah is known for being relatively cool, however this is by Iraqi standards and some visitors may find it more on the hot side.
Although the winter months are mild, there is an increase in rainfall which can put a slight dampener on holiday activities. February and March are a good time to visit and look for accommodation bargains. Visitors should expect summer temperatures to be pretty high between June and August, usually peaking at around 39 degrees Celsius. During this time sightseeing may be gruelling, so planning a flight to Sulaymaniyah during the months of September and November may be more pleasant and ideal for experiencing the best of Kurdish culture. The months of May and October welcome slightly cooler temperatures, generally staying under 30 degrees Celsius, although they can be a little wet. September is a dry month with temperatures in the region of 20 to 35 degrees Celsius. Keep in mind that it may be harder to find a cheap flight to Sulaymaniyah during the months which experience the best weather.
Located in Iraq’s Kurdish region, Sulaymaniyah is known for its mild climate, friendly locals and delicious food – not to mention its wealth of historic sights.
One of the main attractions to take a flight to Sulaymaniyah is the chance to immerse oneself safely in a completely unique and hospitable culture. Drink tea with locals in atmospheric local tea shops, relax in the city’s many leafy parks and haggle with merchants in the bustling bazaar.
Another huge attraction is Kurdish food. It may be little known in western countries, but Kurdish cuisine represents a gorgeous fusion of meat, spices and healthy vegetables. Try delicacies like Yavrax (vine leaves stuffed with minced meat) or Kurdish kebabs with yoghurt garnish.
Sulaymaniyah is also a fine destination for history fans. Visit the Mosque of Slemani, where you can find a fascinating museum dedicated to the modern era of Iraqi history, and you will also have the opportunity to wander around a ruined prison. There is also a beautiful and haunting memorial to Kurdish victims of the Iraqi army, which is not to be missed.
Outside the city, visitors will find unspoilt hiking country where you can stumble upon ancient Zoroastrian temples, the stunning waterfalls of Gali Ali Bag or the caves at Chemi Rezan, which contained some of the earliest evidence of human culture. See thousand-year old arched bridges, swim in hill-top lakes and visit towns built into mountainsides like Amedi.
Sulaymaniyah is also a great jumping off place for day trips to the Kurdish capital, Erbil with its extraordinary Citadel, museums and vibrant markets. But the city itself is welcoming enough to suit all travellers. Safe, friendly, in beautiful surroundings – Sulaymaniyah is a little known jewel that is ready to welcome tourists from across the world.
Taxis are the most popular way to navigate the city of Sulaymaniyah, and renting a car will not generally be possible. However, the city centre is easy to walk around, and there will be cycle-powered cabs on offer as well. For travel to cities like Erbil, buses are the best option, although tours can be arranged with minibus owners as well.
Although there are no regularly scheduled buses between the airport and the city centre, taxis will usually be ready to meet arriving flights to Sulaymaniyah International Airport (ISU). If not, then locals recommend asking drivers if you can share their cabs and cars – and most will be only too happy to help you find your accommodation.