Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
In recent years, Uzbekistan has been earning its stripes as a fascinating alternative travel destination in Central Asia. Many are drawn in by its array of royal palaces, busy street bazaars, historic tombs, and widely-revered mosques that can be found dotted throughout the county’s ancient Islamic cities. This 10-day journey through classic Uzbekistan covers it all. After getting a taster of the capital, Tashkent, it’s on to explore the intricately decorated city of Khiva, awash with blue-covered domes and rooftops. The epic mountain journey that awaits will take you on to the equally impressive cities of Bukhara and Samarkand - two spectacular jewels in Uzbekistan’s crown.
After checking in to the hotel, this first day provides some free time for you to discover this interesting capital of Tashkent all at your own leisure. The widely revered Khast Imam Square, the spiritual heart of Muslims of Central Asia, is well worth a visit. A peek into the hectic market (or bazaar) of Chorsu, will hit most new visitors with a sensory overload; it’s full of exotic smelling spices and can get jam-packed on weekends.
After enjoying breakfast at your luxury hotel in Tashkent, it’s time to hit the road - and the sky. A morning flight to Urgench is followed by a short 19-mile drive to the spectacular city of Khiva. Situated deep into the Kyzylkum Desert, this historic settlement boasts a colorful blue theme across some 50 monuments. You’ll be greeted by a private guide who will show you the best of the best throughout the old-town quarter.
Begin the day with an early morning departure for the 7-hour drive to Bukhara. As you enjoy the rugged Kyzylkum Desert pass from your window, there will be ample opportunity to stop off and take in this unique scenery, including a picnic stop for lunch and a visit to a local Karakul sheep farm. Arrive in the monastery-city of Bukhara in the evening and prepare for tomorrow’s full day of exploring.
Waste no time in getting up an about - there are so many interesting sites in Bukhara that you’ll need all the time you can get. First, head to Lyabi Khauz Plaza – a gorgeous square pool at the centre of the city. You won’t want to miss the Ismail Samani Mausoleum either – this is one of the oldest buildings in the Central Asia, and perhaps the most elegant too.
A second day in the intriguing city of Bukhara allows you time for a tour of the Royal Mosque Bolo Khauz, once the residence of Emir of Bukhara. The mosque features impossibly carved stalactites and elaborately decorated pillars through its large complex. A trip to Bukhara’s grandest monument, the Bahauddin Naqshband Ensemble, is saved specially for last.
Time to depart the architectural wonders of Bukhara and journey to Samarkand (3.5 hours), passing through the impressive desert city of Shakhrisabz on the way. After lunch in Shakhrisabz, a sightseeing tour will take you through this great ancient city, including a visit to the Ak-Saray Palace - a summer residence of the great former ruler. In the afternoon it’s back on the road, cutting through the mountains to your next destination of Samarkand.
For the next two full days you’ll be staying in the historic city of Samarkand. Perhaps the most famous city in Uzbekistan, Samarkand has long prospered due to its close proximity to the ancient silk trade route from Asia to Europe. You’ll see the enormous Registan Square and the luxurious Bibi-Khanym Mosque, both of which offer testimony to city’s past riches. Afterwards, take a trip to Siyab local bazaar and taste some traditional bread and fruits of Samarkand.
A second day’s sightseeing trip in Samarkand whisks you off Shakhi-Zinda necropolis - a mini collection of mausoleums from the 9-14th centuries. It’s then on to Ulugbek observatory, an ancient Islamic star-gazing site, before rounding off the day with a trip to a traditional paper factory to observe ancient methods of production.
After spending the last two days delving into the archaeological delights of this fascinating settlement, it’s time to check out of your hotel and depart Samarkand. Your 4.5-hour journey back to the capital will take you through Bakhmal village, where you can discover (and taste) the art cotton honey making. Arrive back in Tashkent for one last look around before enjoying a farewell dinner.