If you want to enjoy some leisure time on your trip to Erbil, then make sure you pay a visit to Sami Abdulrahman Park – a stunning oasis of greenery, flecked with roses, gorgeous trees, and sublime, tranquil lakes. It’s a popular place with Erbil’s inhabitants who come here to exercise or picnic with their families.
If you are an admirer of art, Shanidar Art Gallery, the city’s oldest exhibition space, is to be recommended. Its exhibited works give subtle insight into regional life and some breathtaking pieces are on display. There are also opportunities to meet local artists, who are only too happy to discuss their work.
For a spectacular perspective on the region, pay a visit to Rawanduz, 90 minutes’ drive from Erbil, for a journey on the Shinglbana. This is a 50-carriage train that follows a sweeping, curving path through the Bradost, Korek, Zozig and Hendren mountains, giving you spectacular views of the region, including Bekhal Waterfall and the Rawanduz Valley.
Back in Erbil, visit Park Minara, named after the city’s archaeological lighthouse (“Minara” means lighthouse), which now occupies one corner of the park. Situated almost at the heart of the city, the park contains a theatre on its west side, with a capacity of 5,000, making it an important entertainment venue. The park also contains a cafeteria and plenty of places to sit and watch the world go by.
Further out, Korek Teleferic is located near the town of Soran, north of Erbil. It is an 8km long, 75m high cable car system that will transport you around Korek Mountain. The mountain is home to a vast tourist complex, stretching for 110km and containing restaurants, cafés, motels and an amusement park.