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.
Lying at the heart of the ancient silk trading route, and bordering no less than five other countries, Uzbekistan was, and still is, a cultural and ethnic melting pot. This fascinating and inspiring country offers a vast array of attractions that can captivate even the most seasoned of travelers. Along the way through the classic cities of Khiva, Bukhara, Nurata, Aydarkul, Samarkand, and Shakhrisabz, you’ll find archeological ruins stemming back to nomadic tribes, alongside huge Persian Palaces, next to Soviet-era monuments. There really is something quite unique about this country which cannot be adequately expressed in a travel book. This 11-day tour will show you exactly why.
On your first day, you have the capital of Tashkent all to yourself. Although not world famous when it comes to its collection of tourist attractions (unlike the rest of your stops on this trip), the city does offer a certain charm. Take a stroll around the old town and get lost in the ancient mud-walled maze of houses, or head out after dark to experience some of the pulsating live shows lining the city streets.
Enjoy a fine buffet breakfast at your luxury hotel before heading out for a more structured day of sightseeing in Tashkent. It’s off to the Museum of Applied Art and around the oldest Orthodox Church in Tashkent; both ports of call offer an excellent introduction into Uzbek culture. An evening flight takes you to Urgench, where you’ll transfer to Khiva - your next stop.
The first thing on most travelers’ to-do list in Khiva is to explore the Djuma mosque, the spiritual center of this ancient city with 212 carved wooden columns. Afterwards, your private tour will head on to several of the city’s mausoleums that all follow a stunning blue theme throughout. In the evening, it’s back to Urgench for an evening flight to Bukhara.
The beautiful city of Bukhara has long been a place of worship, pilgrimage and Islamic education, drawing in visitors from far and wide. Today, it still attracts these visitors who come in their thousands to experience the city’s rich beauty and history. On your guided tour, visit the magnificent Poi-Kalyan Square and Abdul-Azizkhan, a stunning royal mosque.
Today marks a continuation of your in-depth Bukhara exploration. You’ll really sink your teeth into ancient Islamic history, visiting a good range of monuments and museums around the city. Look out for the impressive Bolo Khauz Mosque and the huge Bahauddin Nakchbandi ensemble, situated 7.5 miles outside the city and a popular place of pilgrimage.
A morning 2.5-hour trip takes you to Nurata, a town chiefly populated by Kazaks who have preserved their traditional, simple nomadic lifestyle throughout the centuries. Visit the mosque with a pool of sacred fish, which local people believe are the spirit of their ancestors. After lunch you’ll head to Aydarkul, where you’ll enjoy a camel ride through the rustic surroundings. There aren’t any five-star hotels here in the middle of nature - instead, you’ll bed down in a traditional yurt tonight.
Rise early to watch the stunning sun rise across the majestic Aydarkul landscape. Once fortified with a good breakfast, depart to Samarkand (143 miles/3 hours), a world-famous city which used to lie at the crossroads of the silk trading route through Europe and Asia. Take a good look round the Royal Square of Registan, which consists of three elaborately decorated madrassas (Islamic schools)
You’ll be treated to a full day sightseeing on this eighth day. Bibi-Khanym Mosque is one of many highlights, with its ocean-blue domes and painstakingly detailed carvings. Zinda necropolis is also on the agenda; a great collection of monuments between 500 and 1000 years old, each with its own beauty and historic significance. Come evening, it’s back to the hotel for dinner and to prepare for the following day’s travels.
A morning drive will take you from Samarkand to Shakhrisabz, a city famous for being built and ruled by the ancient Timur leader in the 14th century. Everything in the city seems to be connected with the great leader in one way or another, including the pristine ‘White Palace’ that you’ll get to explore. After lunch, it’s back to explore Samarkand some more.
It’s your final full day and your last chance to see the remaining attractions of Samarkand. You’ll see Ulugbek observatory, the first and biggest observatory in the Central Asia. You can explore both above or below land as the site features some interesting underground passageways. There’s also time for the local paper factory - offering a fantastic insight into the traditional paper production techniques of Uzbekistan. Catch the ‘rapid train’ to make it back to Tashkent for your overnight accommodation.
Wake up in this unique, diverse and fascinating land for one last time on this trip. Today you’ll have the chance to prepare for your flight home or grab some last minute souvenirs in the capital of Tashkent. After checking out of your hotel, private transportation will take you to the airport where you’ll catch a flight onto your next destination.