Bustling Oriental Bazaars
Discover Uzbekistan's Ancient Capitals From Tashkent to the Magical Samarkand & More
Embark on an 8-day cultural Uzbekistan tour that unveils the historic tapestry of the country’s main Silk Road cities, granting an in-depth exploration of the rich past of Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva. Delve into the archives of ancient history as you explore the resplendent mediaeval mosques and minarets, each narrating tales of bygone eras.
Your journey will take you through bustling oriental Bazaars, where the vibrant pulse of local life intertwines with the echoes of history. Engage in meaningful interactions with the hospitable local communities, leaving indelible memories etched into your travel experience. Immerse yourself in the architectural grandeur of the region’s cultural landmarks while absorbing the stories intricately woven into the fabric of each historical site.
Prepare for your cultural odyssey through the heart of Uzbekistan’s history, offering a profound connection to its past through encounters with architecture, people, and traditions. If you’re looking for an even longer trip to explore beyond Uzbekistan’s Silk Road cities, then you may be interested in our 11-Day or 14-Day Uzbekistan Cultural Tours.
Highlights of the Tour
Visit iconic landmarks including Independence Square, Amir Timur Square, and the History Museum of the People of Uzbekistan
Admire the Khast Imam Complex, home to the oldest known copy of the Quran dating back to 655 AD
Wander amidst blue-tiled mosques, minarets, and madrasas, capturing the essence of an Arabian night
Journey through the vast expanse of the Kyzyl-Kum desert en route to Bukhara
Stroll through mediaeval trading domes, from the Abdul Aziz Khan and Ulugbek madrasas to the awe-inspiring Kalon Ensemble
Soak in the bustling energy of the Chorsu Bazaar in Tashkent and Siyob Bazaar in Samarkand
Day 1 – Arrive in Tashkent: Meet with your driver who transfers you to the hotel.
Day 2 – A sightseeing Tashkent tour: Visit includes Independence Square, Amir Timur Square, History Museum, Khast Imam Complex, Chorsu Bazaar, Kukaldosh madrasa & more!
Day 3 – Flight to Urgench and transfer to Khiva: A full-day sightseeing tour awaits in Ichon Qala including visits to Kuhna-Ark citadel, Mohammed Amin Khan madrasa, Kalta Minor minaret & more.
Day 4 – From Khiva to Bukhara: Drive through the Kyzyl Kum desert to transfer from Khiva to Bukhara.
Day 5 – Full day sightseeing Bukhara tour: Visit includes Trading Domes, Labi Haus Ensemble, 12th-century Kalon Minaret, Bolo Khauz Mosque, Maghoki Attori Mosque, Ismail Samani Mausoleum, Ark citadel & more.
Day 6 – Transfer from Bukhara to Samarkand: Half-day Samarkand tour awaits with visits to Gur Emir, Registan, Bibi-Khanum Mosque, and Siyob Bazaar.
Day 7 – Samarkand to Tashkent: Continued half-day Samarkand tour including visits to Shah-i-Zinda necropolis, Afrosiab Museum, and Ulugbek’s Observatory before an afternoon transfer back to Tashkent.
Day 8 – End of the trip: After breakfast, meet your driver who transfers you to Tashkent International Airport.
END OF THE TRIP
Click the “Itinerary” tab to see a detailed itinerary.
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Your hotel in Tashkent
All year round.
Check the availability for this tour on the sidebar calendar.
Tashkent, Khiva, Bukhara & Samarkand
From 2 to 12 travellers
- 7 nights in the hotels based on twin/double room sharing
- 7 breakfasts
- Economy class flight ticket: Tashkent to Urgench
- Entrance tickets as per itinerary
- Transport throughout the tour including airport pickups, drop offs and transfers between locations
- Local English-speaking guides
- Letter of invitation for a tourist visa (if required)
- International flights
- Camera fees charged separately by museums and attractions
- Lunches and dinners (consider EUR 150 – 160 approx. per person)
- Personal travel insurance
- Additional hotel charges or extra services not mentioned as included
- Driver for airport pick-up and drop off
- English-speaking local guide
Your 8-Day Cultural Uzbekistan Tour Itinerary
Day 1 – Tashkent
Arrive at Tashkent airport in the afternoon and be transferred by our drivers to your hotel. Depending on the time of your arrival you may choose to go out for dinner or stay in and relax at your hotel.
Accommodation in Tashkent
Day 2 – Tashkent
Today, we’ll spend the whole day exploring sights and sounds on a Tashkent city tour. Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan, a Central Asian nation that has existed for more than 2,000 years. The city was completely rebuilt by the Soviet government with spacious avenues, large parks, and ever-present fountains after being flattened by the devastating earthquake of 1966. Our first stop will include visits to Independence Square, Amir Timur Square, and the History Museum of the People of Uzbekistan. Continuing on, we’ll visit the Khast Imam Complex, which contains the oldest known copy of the Koran dating from 655 AD.
From Khast Imam we’ll visit the nearby Chorsu Bazaar – the largest and oldest market in Central Asia. Wandering through this huge bustling market is a great way to see local people going about their daily lives. You will also meet many friendly local vendors who will engage with you as you pass by. The 16th century Kukaldosh madrasa – Tashkent’s most renowned Islamic learning centre and 15th century Juma Mosque are also both located at a short walking distance from Chorsu Bazaar. If time permits, we can still visit the Fine Arts Museum of Uzbekistan and the Museum of Applied Arts.
Accommodation in Tashkent
Day 3 – Tashkent-Khiva
An early flight takes us from Tashkent to Urgench (1 hour 40 min). From there we will be driven to the fabled city of Khiva (30 min) where you will check in to your hotel before venturing on a tour of the city.
Archaeological findings testify that in the territory of present-day Khiva people have been living for two millennia. According to legend, the city of Khiva came into being after people discovered the Kheivak well in the area of the Itchan Kala (inner city) fortress. The name of Khiva is believed to be derived from the name of this ancient well. Being strategically located on the Volga branch of the Silk Road, Khiva was one of the three important trading centres of the area. In the 19th century, Khiva was the capital of Khiva Khanate, which hosted the most famous slave market on the Silk Road. At present Khiva is one of the best preserved ancient cities in the region.
We’ll start exploring UNESCO World Heritage site Itchan Kala. Entering through the gates of the walled Ichon-Qala fortress you will find yourself surrounded by beautiful mediaeval blue-tiled mosques, minarets, and madrasas, making you feel like you’re stepping back in time into a scene from the Arabian nights. Wander through a maze of twisted alleyways, bargain with locals on the market, and view the town from the top of Kuhna-Ark citadel. Today’s sightseeing tour includes visits to the Mohammed Amin Khan madrasa, Kalta Minor minaret, Kuhna-Ark citadel, Juma Mosque, Tosh-Hovli palace, Pahlavan Mahmud Mausoleum (Khiva’s patron saint), Mohammed Rakhim Khan madrasa and minaret of Islom-Hoja.
After a full day of extensive sightseeing, enjoy a free afternoon to roam around at your own leisure.
Accommodation in Khiva
Day 4 – Khiva – Bukhara
Today, we will be following in the trails of ancient caravans for a long drive to the historical city of Bukhara (6 hours /480 km) through the Kyzyl-Kum, the largest desert in Central Asia. The Kyzyl-Kum desert is populated by nomadic people and driving through this lifeless desert you will see odd shepherd’s huts and a herd of camels. The road to Bukhara runs alongside the Amu Darya River (Oxus River) which starts far from the snow-capped Pamir Mountains. We will try to break up this long journey as much as possible with stops along the way.
Arrive in Bukhara and enjoy a free afternoon wandering through busy trading domes full of embroideries, handicrafts, jewelleries, and various spices. You can also have tea while relaxing on the tapchans (tea beds) under centuries old mulberry trees in the local chaikhana at the delightful Lyabi-Hauz pool.
Accommodation in Bukhara
Day 5 – Bukhara
Today’s full-day tour of Bukhara starts with a visit to Lyabi Hauz, 9th century mosque Maghoki-Attar, and Nadir Divan Begi madrasa. With more than one hundred unique monuments, Bukhara is regarded as the ‘Bastion of Islam’ and the holiest city in Central Asia.
Passing mediaeval trading domes we’ll visit the Abdul Aziz Khan and Ulugbek madrasas and continue to the Kalon Ensemble consisting of Kalon Minaret and Kalon Mosque. The 47 metres tall Kalon Minaret was built by Bukhara’s ruler Arslan Khan in 1127. The minaret is also called “Tower of Death”, because prisoners were once flung to their death from the top of it on market days.
Opposite the Kalon Mosque, there is 16th century Mir-i-Arab madrasa, which is still in operation. We’ll continue further west from the Kalon Ensemble and visit the royal Ark fortress dating back to 5th century AD. This fortress was the ancient centre of Bukhara and the scene of many gruesome events. Inside the Ark, we’ll see the Juma Mosque, Reception & Coronation Court, Zindon (‘Bug Pit’ prison), and the emir’s official place of worship, Bolo-Hauz Mosque. After leaving the Ark fortress we’ll head through Registan Square towards Samani Park to visit the 10th century Ismail Samani and Chashma Ayub mausoleums.
After our tour, you’ll have the evening to spend at your own leisure to explore the nightlife in Bukhara.
Accommodation in Bukhara
Day 6 – Bukhara – Samarkand
This morning we’ll leave Bukhara and drive to the ancient city of Samarkand. One of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, Samarkand is truly a jewel of the ancient and modern Silk Road. From its foundation in the 5th century BC, Samarkand was the centre of artisans and traders playing an important role in the trade crossroads between China, Persia, and India. The city was taken by Alexander the Great (in 329 BC) and ruined by Genghis Khan before it started to blossom as the capital of Amir Timur’s (Tamerlane) empire in the 14th century.
After checking in at your hotel, our sightseeing tour will begin in the afternoon with a visit to the Guri Amir Mausoleum. The mausoleum was originally built by Timur for his grandson and later became the resting place for himself, his sons and grandsons, as well as Timur’s teachers. From here, we move on to visiting the Registan ensemble containing Ulugbek, Sher Dor, Tilla-Kari madrasas, and the Registan Square. Being among the world’s oldest surviving madrasas, these three edifices were mediaeval academies from where region-renowned scientists graduated. Wander through blue tiled and majolica decorated madrasas of mighty Registan, considered one of Central Asia’s most captivating monuments.
From the Registan, we’ll walk further north through the busy handicraft and souvenir stalls of Tashkent Street towards the Bibi-Khanym Mosque. Legend says that it was Bibi-Khanym, Timur’s beloved wife who gave the order to build this grand mosque with its huge cupola to surprise Timur, who at the time was away at war. The Bibi-Khanym mosque overlooks the busy Siyob Bazaar, where you can test your bargaining skills with friendly local merchants and sample some fresh produce on offer. This place also serves as a great photo opportunity to capture the many bustling stalls and meet the hospitable local people. The evening is free for you to wander around and explore the nightlife of majestic Samarkand.
Accommodation in Samarkand
Day 7 – Samarkand -Tashkent
After an early breakfast, a continued half-day Samarkand tour begins with visits to Shah-i-Zinda necropolis, the Afrosiab Museum and Ulugbek’s Observatory. On the opposite side of Siyob Bazaar, you will see Shah-i-Zinda necropolis, a row of beautiful mausoleums lavishly decorated with blue tiles and majolica, the place is also known as ‘Town of the Dead’. The most important site in Shah-i-Zinda is the shrine of Qusam ibn-Abbas, the cousin of Prophet Mohammed who was first to preach Islam in this area.
After leaving Shah-i-Zinda we’ll continue to Ulugbek’s observatory with an enroute stop at the Afrosiab Museum. Timur’s grandson Ulugbek was more famous for being an astronomer than a ruler. This great mediaeval astronomer built an extraordinary observatory that enabled him to calculate the length of the year to within 1 minute of what we now know it to be. Our half-day city tour of Samarkand comes to an end after exploring the observatory. In the afternoon a driver will transfer you back to your hotel in Tashkent.
Accommodation in Tashkent
Day 8 – Tashkent
After breakfast, meet your driver to be taken to Tashkent International Airport.
Private Tour Enquiry
All our tours are available as private tours. To request private tour departure dates you can send us an enquiry here. Please fill in your details and select your preferred cultural tour in the form below and we will get back to you with available departure dates.