>  Uzbekistan   >  Uzbekistan on your own? 4 suggested routes!

Are you planning to go to Uzbekistan on your own? Are you considering potential routes? Understandably, everyone has their own way of selecting routes because it is probably the most enjoyable part of trip planning. However, since it’s always good to have some starting point, we want to recommend to you the most optimised routes through Uzbekistan.


Route 1. “Express Route” – 7 – 8 days


There’s no point in deceiving yourself –a week is not enough time for Uzbekistan. You need to make up your mind: either you do express sightseeing, jumping from one sight to another, or you resign from something. On the other hand, if you can’t go for longer than a week, then it’s better to go for these 7 days than not at all . In a week (provided you are well-organized) you may see the most important places and feel the atmosphere of the country. Below we present our proposition of a short route when all you have are 7 days. It’s a sort of a basis that you may tailor to your needs and (what we strongly recommend!) extend by a few days.


Tashkent – Urgench/Khiva – Bukhara – Samarkand – Tashkent



 Day 1 – Tashkent

The route starts in Tashkent where we will spend only one day or one day and one night, depending on the hour of your arrival. Even though we treat the capital as a transit point, you should find the time for a quick walk around the monumental socialist-realist city centre, a visit to the Minor Mosque or Chorsu bazaar. We discuss the attractions of the capital in detail here: TASHKENT – TOP 7! After this quick visit to Tashkent we recommend that you take the plane to Urgench. It’s the longest leg of the whole route so a plane will be the most convenient means of transportation as will let you save a lot of energy and time. The flight takes an hour and a half. 


Day 2-3 – Khiva

When you reach Urgench, take a taxi or go by cable car to get to Khiva. You can devote full 2 days for exploring Khiva. It will allow you to see the greatest attractions of this old city and “soak” some of its atmosphere. You may intersperse sightseeing (of the beautiful monuments such as the turquoise Kalta Minor Minaret, Tosh Hovli Palace, Pahlavon Mahmud Mausoleum –Khiva’s patron saint, Islam-Khodja Madrasah or Juma Mosque) with visits to the local craft workshops that Khiva is famous for. You may buy there the most beautiful wooden objects such as frames or stamps for decorating bread. Apart from buying handicrafts, we also encourage you to taste the traditional dish called “shivit oshi”. The name stands for a sort of green pasta that you may eat exclusively in Khiva. The next point of your trip is Bukhara. To get there you need to cover the distance of around 450km. You may choose to enjoy a 6-hour drive through the wasteland of the Kyzylkum Desert where you will be able to admire the red desert sands, endless remote landscapes and the Amu Darya River or you can opt for a plane again and save some time. It all depends on your budget, stamina and time. 

Day 3-5 – Bukhara

Bukhara boasts its most beautiful, traditionally designed boutique hotels, which are true gems, frequently with tradition going back several hundred years. You will not regret staying in one of them. It may be a special attraction of the trip in itself although you may need to consider if your budget can allow it. I think that you may choose cheaper accommodation in other cities and save enough to drop a bundle in Bukhara and stay in one of a bit more expensive but much more beautiful hotels where you can for example eat delicious breakfast in a dining room from the 19th century. See here to read more about hotels in Bukhara: HOTELS IN BUKHARA  3-days-long stay (including 2 nights) in one of the oldest cities in Central Asia will be very intensive. A lot of walking is ahead of you because most of the sights are within walking distance from each other. Apart from sightseeing, you should make some time at sunset and go to the bar with the view of Po-i-Kalon Square that we wrote about here:  TASTES OF UZBEKISTAN for a cup of coffee or a mug of cold beer. Another interesting thing to do is going on a shopping spree in one of the local bazaars with handicrafts that’s been in operation for ages. 
The best way to travel to the next wonderful city of the Silk Road, that is Samarkand, is too take the superfast Afrasiab train. It will take you just1h 29min to get there.

Day 5-7 – Samarkand

Samarkand is the next and the last stop of our trip to Uzbekistan. During a three-day stay in that fabulous city of the former Silk Road, glistening with beautiful blue mosaics, you’ll have enough time to see the most important sight. First of all, you should go and see the stunning Registan, a real gem of Samarkand, and the most beautiful Avenue of Mausolea called Shah-I Zinda. We also recommend that you visit the resting place of Amir Timur (Gur-i-Mir) and a monumental mosque called Bibi Khanum. Another must-see is the colourful and noisy Siyob bazaar renowned for its homemade sweets. If you have enough time, go to see the traditional paper factory called “Meros” where you can watch the process of manual production of paper step by step in the surroundings of lovely nature. Another treat would be taking part in a fashion show presenting oriental dresses designed by the famous Valentina Romanenko. You may read more about interesting places in Samarkand here: SAMARKAND OFF THE BEATEN TRACK


Day 7 or 8

If your return flight is from Tashkent, you obviously need to get back there. We recommend the fast train Afrosiyob as the quickest and most comfortable means of Transportation.  The route described above may be reversed –you may start in Tashkent, then go to Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva/Urgench, and then return to Tashkent by car. We definitely recommend extending your stay in each of these cities, what will allow you to include in your route additional numerous attractions as well as more relaxation time and unhurried strolls around the city combined with sitting on benches and watching the way of life of the Uzbek people.
Processed with VSCO with au5 preset  The Minor Mosque Tashkentfoto2Po-i-Kalon Square – Bukhara
Stitched PanoramaLandscape of the Old Town – Khiva  
Bibi Khanum Mosque – Samarkand

Route 2. “Classic with a pinch of adrenalin”


Tashkent – Nukus – Meynaq – The Aral Sea– Nukus – Khiva/Urgench – Bukhara –
Samarkand –Tashkent   12-13 days

The second route that we suggest is a proposition for more adventurous souls seeking extraordinary experiences, real active tourists. The route overlaps with the first routes described above but it is extended by a visit to Nukus and a trip to the Aral Sea. Apart from stays in cities boasting their fabulous oriental architecture, we also included in this route an unforgettable adventure of seeking the constantly “escaping” shore of the Aral Sea.
It’s best to take a plane from Tashkent to Nukus as it will take us only an hour and 40 minutes to cover the distance of over 700km and save us a lot of time and effort. A must-see in Nukus is the renowned Savitski Art Museum called the “Hermitage” of Uzbekistan. You may want to use the services of one of the travel agencies to organize your trip to the Aral Sea to save yourself unnecessary dangers and inconveniences. During that incredible adventure you’ll go through the dried bottom of the Aral Sea by UAZ to reach places that’ll seem to be the true “end of the world”. You’ll be out of range and the driver will have a satellite telephone for security reasons. There will be no trace of human settlements for miles and the poignant silence will be broken only by the sound of the Aral Sea. You are not very likely to meet a living soul by its shore; there might be only few deadly bored shrimp fishers. A night spent in a tent in this middle of nowhere and a sunrise by the shore of the Aral Sea are unforgettable experiences. A trip to the Aral Sea usually takes 2 days including one overnight stay in a tent or yurt. It’s not a small expense but it’s worth including it in your total budget.  Next we travel from Nukus to Khiva, where the journey overlaps with the route described above. How to organize your trip to the Aral Sea? Check here: THE ARAL SEA BEHIND THE SCENES
_CSC1044The Aral Sea
Stitched PanoramaGhost port in Moynaq

Route 3. „Desert, yurts and camels”


Tashkent – Khiva/Urgench – Bukhara – Nurata – Aydarkul Lake – Samarkand –Tashkent
12-13 days      


This is another twist on the first classic route of journey through Uzbekistan, which also starts and ends in Tashkent. This time, however, there will be something for those who love deserts and those who would like to rest a little from the hustle and bustle of cities and traditional tourist itineraries. This route to some extent overlaps with our first proposition but it also includes novel attractions such as a visit to Nurata, an overnight stay in a traditional yurt and a camel ride to the shore of Aydarkul Lake.
The route begins in Tashkent where you’ll stay for one day. Then you’ll fly a plane to Urgench from where you’ll go to Khiva. In Khiva you are going to spend the next 3 days. You’ll have enough time to explore its Old Town, relax a little and visit the nearest neighborhood. After your visit to Khiva, you’ll go by land to Bukhara where you’ll spend the following 3 days (described in the route 1). Then you’ll leave Bukhara and go to Nurata where you’ll take a little time to visit the city itself and its famous Chashma complex with a holy spring. The water from the spring is believed to have healing properties. Then you’ll go in the direction of Aydarkul Lake where you’ll spend the night in one of the traditional yurts. It’s an ideal place to revel in the beautiful sight, charming nature and rest. You may also go for a horse or camel ride if you wish so. It’s really easy to have your trip to Aydarkul Lake organized by a tourist office (both from Tashkent, Samarkand or Bukhara). Organizing it on your own might be a bit more difficult, but where is a will there is a way. The next stop on your journey will be Samarkand and 3 day of intensive sightseeing including a trip to the renowned Shahrisabz, the city of Amir Timur. From Samarkand you will return to Tashkent, and the most convenient way to do that will be taking an Afrosiyob train. 
Stitched Panoramasss

Route 4. “Uzbekistan from east to west”


Tashkent – Nukus – Meynaq –The Aral Sea – Nukus – Khiva/Urgench – Bukhara –
Samarkand –Tashkent – Kokand – Fergana and the surrounding area– Tashkent

25-30 days


 A proposition for those who want to see the whole country, have time to travel the length and breadth of the country and visit all of its greatest tourist attractions. The route may be adjusted in various ways –you may for example go to the Fergana Valley right after visiting Tashkent or, alternatively, you may leave it for the end of your journey. Everything depends on your preferences. You may also first cross the southwestern part of the country and then fly a plane to cross the longest leg of the route between Nukus and Tashkent or go the other way round – first fly to Nukus, then go to the Aral Sea and return by land in the direction of Tashkent. There are countess possibilities.




This route is to a large extent identical to the proposition no. 2, that is “Classic with a pinch of adrenalin”. However, it includes a visit to the eastern part of Uzbekistan, the Fergana Valley. Accordingly, we leave Tashkent and go to Kokand, the gate leading to the Fergana Valley. We need only a day to see the sights of Kokand but the city may also serve as a good starting point for excursions in the surrounding area. Kokand offers attractions such as a monumental Khan Palace and beautiful Modari Khan Mausoleum. When you’ll have seen it, go to Margilan where you should visit a fantastic silk factory called Yodgorlik. You’ll have a unique opportunity to watch every step of the process of silk production. More details here: Silk Factory– a Gem of Fergana Valley! Another place you absolutely must visit in the Fergana Valley is a small town called Rishton located 40km south of Kokand. It is famous for its traditional ceramic production. A family-run workshop of Said Akhmedov is a great place to watch the production in detail and learn more about one of the most popular crafts in Uzbekistan. We wrote a post about one such ceramic workshop: Ceramic Capital of Uzbekistan – Rishton Town. If you have some time to spare, go to see Andijon and visit a beautiful Jami complex including a mosque and madrasah, as well as the Babur House Museum devoted to Babur –a famous ruler, patron of art and science, and author of many poetical texts.  

 After seeing the Fergana Valley, you’ll go back to the capital city where ends your very long and intensive route. 

_DSC0246Yodgorlik Silk Factory in Margilan

_DSC0196Ceramic workshop in Rishtan near Kokand

_DSC0345Yodgorlik Silk Factory in Margilan


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