Fancy somewhere different for a holiday this year? With sunshine, mountains and a fascinating local culture and history? Obiter suggests Iraqi Kurdistan. The semi-autonomous province is accessible, friendly and the prospect of oil wealth has encouraged a spate of luxury hotel building. Though you’ll want to avoid the seven-star end of the market, unless your firm bills oligarchs by the hour.
Is it safe? Surely. The Kurdish region has escaped the sectarian violence that plagues the rest of Iraq and every vehicle passing in and out is checked several times by Kalashnikov-toting troops and police. As for everyday crime, visitors can rely on a Kurdish sense of hospitality – and pride.
Obiter visited a few out-of-the-way places last week in the company of a local driver who turned out to speak some idiomatic English. ‘I used to work in Asda, innit?’ When we suggested that it was a bad idea to leave a bag containing several thousand pounds’ worth of computer and camera equipment visible on the back seat of his parked car, he bristled. ‘No one breaking no windows here, man, you ain’t in London now.’