Best Places to visit in Uzbekistan with a 7-day and 10-day Uzbekistan Itinerary

Best Places to visit in Uzbekistan with a 7-day and 10-day Uzbekistan Itinerary

 

Are you planning a trip to Uzbekistan soon and looking for a detailed Uzbekistan itinerary?

Are you wondering how to see the best cities of Uzbekistan in one week or 10 days?

Here are a 7-day and 10-day itinerary including the most beautiful places to visit in Uzbekistan. 

 

The Best Places to visit in Uzbekistan including a 7-day and 10-day Uzbekistan itinerary - Journal of Nomads

 

Uzbekistan is a country in Central Asia famous for its stunning mosques, mausoleums, madrasahs and other sites linked to the Silk Road, the ancient trade route between China and the Mediterranean. 

 

Registan Samarkand Uzbekistan - Journal of Nomads

 

If you love historical sites and beautiful Islamic architecture, then you’ll certainly love traveling to Uzbekistan!

 

While many tour companies offer tours around the country, it’s honestly not really needed to book a trip to see the highlights of Uzbekistan.

 

All the main Silk Road cities and places of interest in Uzbekistan are connected by train or bus so it’s very easy to travel independently around the country. 

 

I’ve visited Uzbekistan twice, once on my own in 2017 and once with my partner Niko in 2019 and I’ve genuinely enjoyed both my trips!

 

As I know the country very well by now, I decided to make your preparations easier by telling you more about which places you should definitely visit during your Uzbekistan trip.

 

I also made 3 comprehensive itineraries if you’re planning a 7-day or a 10-day trip to the country and an additional list of places to see if you have 14 days or more in Uzbekistan. 

 

Traveling and Backpacking Uzbekistan - Samarkand - Journal of Nomads

  

For all the practical tips and info, including getting a visa for Uzbekistan, how to get around the country, etc …, definitely read:

Everything you need to know about backpacking and traveling to Uzbekistan independently

 

 

Best of the Silk Road – The Top 4 Places to Visit in Uzbekistan

 

Here are the top 4 destinations in Uzbekistan that have the most stunning and impressive Islamic architecture of the entire country.

 

If you’re going to Uzbekistan to find treasures of the ancient Silk Road, then these are the 4 cities in Uzbekistan you really can’t miss!

 

1. Tashkent

Tashkent is Uzbekistan’s capital and one of the wealthiest cities in Central Asia.

 

The city is a reflection of the historical development of the country and offers a great introduction to the stunning Islamic architecture, the signature of Uzbekistan’s Silk Road history. 

 

Barak Khan Madrasah - Hazrat Imam Complex - places to visit Tashkent- Uzbekistan - Journal of Nomads

Hazrat Imam Complex in Tashkent

 

Tashkent has some beautiful historical sites like the Hazrat Imam Complex and the Kukeldash MadrasahSoviet architectural buildings like the State Museum of History and Hotel Uzbekistan and modern parks with stunning fountains and statues like you can find on Independence Square

 

Independence Square Tashkent Uzbekistan

Independence Square in Tashkent

 

And let’s not forget Tashkent’s spectacular metro stations, which is, in my opinion, the highlight of the city!

 

Alisher Navoi Metro Station Tashkent - Most beautiful metros of Tashkent - Journal of Nomads

The ceiling of Alisher Navoi metro station, one of the many stunning metro stations in Tashkent

 

While a lot of people tend to skip Tashkent to rush towards the other Silk Road cities listed below, I’d recommend spending at least one day there. 

 

Tashkent will very likely be the first city you arrive at when traveling to Uzbekistan as it’s home to the country’s international airport.

 

If you’re coming from one of its neighboring countries, there are buses and/ or trains connecting Almaty (Kazakhstan) or Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) to Tashkent. 

 

Amir Timur Square Tashkent places of interest

Amir Timur Square in Tashkent with Hotel Uzbekistan in the background

 

That’s why I’ll use Tashkent as the starting point for the Uzbekistan itineraries that you can find later on in this post. 

 

For a complete Tashkent itinerary, see:

Top Things to do in Tashkent in One Day

 

2. Samarkand

Samarkand was one of the most important cities on the Silk Road and is often referred to as the “Crossroad of Cultures”. 

 

Poets and historians described Samarkand as “The Pearl of the Eastern Muslim World” so it’s no surprise that this city is Uzbekistan’s number one destination.

 

The historic city center is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Center where you’ll find unique masterpieces of ancient architecture, glittering minarets, dazzling turquoise domes and hypnotic mosaics.

 

Gur-e-amir Samarkand Uzbekistan

Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum

 

The main attraction in Samarkand is without a doubt Registan Square. It’s the most iconic sight of Uzbekistan. 

 

All the main roads of Samarkand lead to Registan as it was the heart of the Timurid dynasty.  The square is framed by 3 stunning madrasahs (Arabic for Islamic school). 

 

Best Cities to visit in Uzbekistan -Backpacking Uzbekistan - Everything you need to know - Samarkand - Registan - Journal of Nomads

Registan Square

 

Another stunning historical site and my personal favorite in Samarkand is the Shah-i-Zinda Complex

 

This necropolis consists of rows of blue tombs and various spectacular mausoleums grouped along a narrow avenue. It’s definitely a site you can’t skip when you’re in Samarkand!

 

Top places to see in Samarkand - Shah-i-Zinda Samarkand Uzbekistan

Shah-i-Zinda, one of the most beautiful places in Uzbekistan

 

 

3. Bukhara

Bukhara was one of the great trading cities along the Silk Road and Central Asia’s holiest city as it was an important base for Islamic theology.

 

The historic city center of Bukhara is the most complete example of a medieval city in Central Asia and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

Best places to visit in Uzbekistan - Bukhara - Uzbekistan 10-day itinerary

 

While Bukhara’s old center has been through a lot of restoration over the last few years, the repairs of the buildings are a lot more subtle than in Samarkand for example. 

 

Bukhara still feels very authentic and is a true architectural mirror of the past.

 

Uzbekistan One Week Itinerary

 

It contains more than 140 architectural monuments of the Middle Ages, including the Poi-Kalan ensemble, the mausoleum of Ismail Samoni and the Ulugbek and Abdulaziz Khan Madrasahs.

 

Poi Kalon Bukhara - main attraction Uzbekistan - Places to visit Bukhara - Journal of Nomads

Poi Kalon Ensemble

 

You can easily spend 2 to 3 days in Bukhara just strolling around the city and marveling at its architectural legacy. 

 

Find out all the top things to do and the best places to see in Bukhara in our

Complete City Guide to Bukhara!

 

4. Khiva

Khiva is probably one of the most noteworthy cities in Uzbekistan and Central Asia.

 

Khiva panoramic view

 

The city used to be a major trading center on the Silk Road. All the caravans had a stop here on their way to China and back. But while you might think that the caravans were only trading goods on the Silk Road, Khiva was known as a slave-trading post…

 

This UNESCO World Heritage Site, completely surrounded by thick mud walls, has now been restored and has the feel of an open-air museum. 

 

Best Uzbekistan Silk Road Cities - Khiva

 

It’s difficult to imagine how ancient Khiva was like when you see this little touristic town nowadays.

 

There are about 50 historical monuments to visit in the city and with the carpet weaving workshops, stunning minarets overlooking the ancient town and gorgeous tile-covered towers, you’ll definitely have a great time in Khiva!

 

is Khiva safe?

 

 

 

The best of Uzbekistan in 7 days and 10 days – Uzbekistan Itineraries

 

The following itinerary suggestions will allow you to see the best places in Uzbekistan.

 

Even if you’d only have one week in the country, these itineraries will give you the opportunity to visit the most beautiful and important cities in Uzbekistan. 

 

In case you’d have more than 10 days in Uzbekistan, I also added a few other places of interest to visit in Uzbekistan. You can find them back below the itineraries. 

 

The quickest way to travel around Uzbekistan is by train. The modern high-speed train, called the Afrosiyab, is a bit more expensive than the old-fashioned Sharq train but you’ll get faster to your destinations.

 

Afrosiyob Fast train Uzbekistan - Train Travel Uzbekistan - Journal of Nomads

The interior of the Afrosiyob, Uzbekistan’s high-speed train

 

I highly recommend booking your train tickets at least one day in advance. Some trains are quickly sold out, especially in the summer during high season.

 

It would just really suck if you have to wait an extra day to catch the train to the next city, especially when you’re on a tight schedule, and therefore have to skip a destination.

 

While the official Uzbekistan railway website offers the possibility to buy your train tickets online, this e-ticket system isn’t 100% reliable yet. We’ve heard from many other travelers that it was quite complicated to book their train tickets online and that it often didn’t even work at all.

 

I’m sure this will change in the future but for now, your best option is to write down the exact dates you need to travel, go to the train station itself and buy all the train tickets you need in one go. 

 

 

1. What to see in Uzbekistan in one week (itinerary 1): Tashkent – Samarkand – Bukhara – Khiva

This itinerary includes the 4 most beautiful and interesting destinations in Uzbekistan.

 

The only thing though is that Khiva lies at a big distance from the other cities (see map below). If you really want to visit these 4 stunning Silk Road cities in 7 days, you’ll have to be willing to rush a bit and not spend more than one full day in each place.

 

But don’t worry, if you follow this itinerary, you’ll still be able to see the highlights of Uzbekistan in 7 days!

 

 

Day 1: Tashkent

The first thing I recommend you to do when you’re in Tashkent is to go to the Northern Railway Station (Tashkent Vokzal) and buy your train tickets for the duration of your trip in Uzbekistan. 

 

Look on the map below to see where you can find Tashkent Vokzal. The easiest way to get there is by taking the metro and get off at Tashkent Metro Station. The ticket office is on the left-hand side of the train station.

 

 

Try to go as early as possible (the Tashkent train station should be open from 8:00 am) to avoid waiting in line for hours. Most of the clerks speak English.

 

Don’t forget to bring your passport and cash money! When we were there in the summer of 2019, we weren’t able yet to pay for our tickets by visa or master card. 

 

Train Station Tashkent Uzbekistan - Journal of Nomads

Tashkent  Northern Train Station

 

As soon as you’ve got the transport for your Uzbekistan trip covered, you can start with the fun part – exploring Tashkent!

 

Now how to spend a fun day in Uzbekistan’s capital city?

 

There are many fun things to do and attractions to visit in Tashkent. Even if you wouldn’t have much time, here are my personal top 5 places and activities to do in Tashkent:

  1. Admire the Islamic architecture of the Hazrat Imam Complex and see the oldest Koran in the world
  2. Go shopping or watch people at the Chorsu Bazaar
  3. Have lunch at the Central Asian Plov Center
  4. Ride the Tashkent metro and photograph some of the world’s most beautiful metro stations
  5. Go for a stroll around Amir Timur Square where you’ll also be able to visit Hotel Uzbekistan and the Amir Timur Museum nearby

 

For a complete one-day Tashkent itinerary, that also includes these top 5 places, check out my Complete City Guide to Tashkent

 

This guide tells you everything you need to know about visiting Tashkent, including how to get around Tashkent easily, the top 15 things to do in the city and how to get to every place of interest by public transport. 

 

Almaty to Tashkent - Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan - Journal of nomads

Amir Timur Museum in Tashkent

 

 

Where to stay in Tashkent

  • Budget: 

Art Hostel is currently one of the top hostels located in the center of Tashkent. Extra plus: the hostel has an indoor pool!

Click here to check out rates and availability for “Art Hostel”

 

  • Mid-range:

Happy House Hotel is a 3-star guesthouse that has a lovely garden and offers a delicious free breakfast. 

Click here to check out rates and availability for “Happy House Hotel

 

  • Luxurious:

The Ichan Q’ala Hotel is the best-rated hotel in Tashkent. It has beautifully decorated rooms, an indoor fitness center and a swimming pool.

Click to check out rates and availability for “Ichan Qal’a Hotel”

 

Tip: There are also many cool AirBnB places in Tashkent! If you use this link, you’ll even get a nice discount during your first visit!

 

How to get from Almaty to Tashkent - Journal of Nomads

Amir Timur Square with Hotel Uzbekistan in the background

 

Day 2: Tashkent – Samarkand

There are daily 3 trains leaving in the morning from Tashkent to Samarkand. If you book the Afrosiyob train in the early morning, you’ll arrive in Samarkand in just a bit over 2 hours.

 

This way, you’ll still be able to enjoy the rest of the morning and the day in Samarkand, which will be enough time to see the highlights of this magnificent Silk Road city.

 

Once you arrive at the train station, you can take a taxi to your hotel/hostel. The historic center of Samarkand is about 5km from the train station.

 

The standard rate to get from the train station to the historic center of Samarkand by taxi is 5000 UZS. Never get into a taxi before agreeing on the price!

 

The main attractions of Samarkand are located at a walking distance from each other. In case you still want/need to take a taxi to get around the city, know that the standard rate for taking a taxi in Samarkand is 4000 UZS. 

 

Here are the top 3 places in Samarkand you definitely should visit:

  1. Registan Square
  2. Gur-e-Amir Mausoleum
  3. Shah-i-Zinda Complex

 

For a complete one-day Samarkand itinerary, read my Samarkand City Guide!

 

This guide tells you everything you need to know about visiting Samarkand, including how to get around Samarkand easily, the top 7 places to see and the best restaurants to eat.  

 

Registan Square in Samarkand - Journal of Nomads

Registan Square at night

 

Where to stay in Samarkand

  • Budget

Amir Hostel is one of the best budget-hostels of Samarkand!

The owners are very friendly and helpful and the hostel is located at a 20-minute walking distance from Registan Square. 

 

Check here the rates and availability for “Amir Hostel”

 

  • Mid-range

Alisher Hotel is right in front of the Shah-i-Zinda complex and a 20-minutes walk from Registan Square. 

The hotel offers a very tasty breakfast, has clean and comfortable rooms and even has an inner yard where you can relax.

 

Check out the rates and availability for “Alisher Hotel”

 

  • Luxury

Platan is a small 4-star hotel located at a 30-minutes walking distance from Registan Square.

It offers luxurious rooms with great facilities, a well-kept garden and a relaxing atmosphere. You’ll definitely get value for your money!

 

Check out the rates and availability for “Platan”

 

Shah-i-Zinda Complex

 

Day 3: Samarkand – Bukhara

The train journey between Samarkand and Bukhara isn’t very long – 1,5 hours with the Afrosiyob train and little bit less than 2,5 hours with the Sharq train – and there are trains leaving from Samarkand in the morning, early afternoon and evening.

 

My suggestion would be to take the Sharq train to Bukhara in the early afternoon or the Afrosiyob in the evening. This leaves you more time to explore Samarkand (or relax a little) as you’ll have a full day in Bukhara anyways on day 4. 

 

The train station of Bukhara is located in the new part of the city. You can take a taxi from the train station to the historic center of Bukhara. It’s a 30-minute drive and while the taxi drivers will try and charge 50.000 UZS, know that you shouldn’t pay more than 25.000 UZS. Agree on the price before you get in the taxi!

 

Historic center of Bukhara - Best places to visit in Uzbekistan - Journal of Nomads

The historic center of Bukhara

 

Where to stay in Bukhara

  • Budget:

Zam-Zam is one of the best-rated budget guesthouses in Bukhara and ideal for solo travelers. The guesthouse has an excellent location in the historic center of Bukhara and also offers a huge breakfast in the morning.

 

Check here for the rates and availability for Zam-zam

 

If you’re traveling with your partner or friend, we highly recommend booking a room in Art Guest House USTO, a guest house located in the heart of Bukhara.

Shavqat, the owner of this guesthouse, is a famous Uzbek photographer and has a goldmine of information and insights related to Bukhara!

 

Click to check out rates and availability for “Art Guest House Usto”

 

  • Mid-range:

Khalima is a small newly renovated hotel in the heart of Bukhara. It offers clean and tastefully furnished rooms and the family owning this hotel makes sure you start your day with a lovely breakfast!

 

Click here to see the rates and availability for “Khalima”

 

  • Luxury:

Boutique Hotel Minzifa is the perfect choice for travelers looking for a top-notch oriental experience.

 

Click here to see the rates and availability for “Boutique Hotel Minzifa”

 

Uzbekistan itineraries - Bukhara itineraries - Ark of Bukhara

The Ark Fortress in Bukhara

 

Day 4: Bukhara

Today is a full day of exploring Bukhara!

 

The historic town of Bukhara isn’t very big and all the main sights are so close to each other that you don’t even need a taxi to visit them all.

 

Here are 5 top places to visit in Bukhara:

  1. Ark Fortress
  2. Poi Kalon Ensemble
  3. Lyabi-Khauz Ensemble
  4. Chor Minor Madrasah
  5. Ulugbek and Abdulaziz Khan Madrasah

 

There are of course many more places to see and fun things to do in Bukhara. Check out our Complete City Guide to Bukhara with everything you need to know about this city, including all the main attractions, cool activities and best places to eat!

 

Chor minor Bukhara - Top things to do in Bukhara

Chor Minor Madrasah, one of the top sights in Bukhara

 

Day 5: Bukhara – Khiva

There’s only one train per day that goes directly from Bukhara to Khiva. This train usually leaves around noon and arrives in Khiva around 6:00 pm. 

 

This means that you can sleep in or explore Bukhara during sunrise, which I highly recommend if you’re into photography!

 

Sunrise Bukhara Poi Kalon Ensemble

Visiting the Kalon Mosque (part of the Poi-Kalon ensemble) during sunrise

 

You can ask your hostel/hotel to help you with arranging a taxi to the train station. You’ll also find plenty of taxis near Lyabi-Khauz. A taxi from the old center of Bukhara to the train station shouldn’t cost more than 25.000 UZS.

 

Once you arrive at the train station in Khiva, you could easily walk from the train station to Itchan Kala, the historic center of Khiva. It’s just 20 minutes walking from the train station.

 

If you’re not up for the walk, you’ll find many taxis around the train station that will bring you to Itchan Kala but don’t pay more than 8.000 UZS for a taxi!

 

Itchan Khala Khiva - Uzbekistan Itinerary 7-days

Inside the walls of Khiva’s historical center

 

Where to stay in Khiva

There are many good hostels and hotels surrounding Khiva but I think it’s nicer to stay in Itchan Kala, inside the walls of Khiva’s historical center. Here are my suggestions on where to stay in Itchan Kala:

 

  • Budget

Whether you’re traveling on your own or with your partner or friend, Khiva Mirza Bobor Guesthouse is an excellent budget option in Khiva. This guesthouse, run by a very welcoming family, is located right in the heart of the old city center and has a shared room for solo travelers and private rooms.

 

Click to check out rates and availability for “Khiva Mirza Bobur Guest House”

 

  • Mid-range

Mubina Khiva B&B is a stunning Bed and Breakfast located in the center of Khiva. All the rooms are decorated in a typical Uzbek style and have their own seating area. The family who owns this B&B also offers breakfast, lunch and dinner.

 

Check out the rates and availability for “Mubina Khiva B&B” here.

 

  • Luxury

Arkanchi Hotel is one of the few 4-star hotels located inside the old town of Khiva. This hotel has sparkling clean air-conditioned rooms, a bar, a fitness center and a sauna. If you like to pamper yourself a bit, you’ll like your stay in this hotel. 

 

Check out the rates and availability for “Arkanchi Hotel” here.

 

Itinerary Khiva Uzbekistan - Journal of Nomads

 

 

 

Day 6: Khiva

Khiva is such a small town that you’ll be able to see all the main sights and attractions in one day!

 

So what is there to see and do in Khiva? 

 

For a detailed list of things to do, I highly recommend – of course – our very own City Guide to Khiva.

 

This guide covers all the main sites in Khiva, some history, great tips concerning entrance fees and museum tickets (and how to save money) and practical travel info concerning this open-air museum of Uzbekistan. It’s a must-read!

 

Here are the top 4 places in Khiva you should definitely see:

  1. The Kalta Minor minaret
  2. The Islam Khodja minaret – definitely climb to the top for a panoramic view over Khiva!
  3. The Juma mosque
  4. The Kuhna Ark Fortress – climb the watchtower to see the sunset over Khiva!

 

visiting Kalta Minor in Khiva

The Kalta Minor Minaret

 

Day 7: Khiva – Tashkent

Today will be a day of traveling as it’s quite a long train journey to return from Khiva all the way to Tashkent.

 

You can take the direct night train from Khiva to Tashkent, which leaves every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday in the early afternoon. You’ll arrive in Tashkent the morning after around 7:00 am. 

 

Although it’s a long train ride (around 17 hours), we found it quite comfortable to travel by night train. You get a pillow and blanket and the beds are quite comfortable (unless you’re a tall person…). They also serve food on the train but I’d suggest bringing your own food with you. 

 

For more information about traveling on these night trains, read our Travel Guide to Uzbekistan

 

Sleeper Train Uzbekistan - Long distance train Uzbekistan - Train Travel Uzbekistan - Journal of Nomads

Night trains in Uzbekistan

 

If you go for this option, you still have a full morning to enjoy some time in Khiva and you can take your return flight the day after in Tashkent.

 

If you’ve booked your return flight home on the evening of day 7, then your best option is to take a taxi to Urgench (about 30 minutes driving from Khiva) and take a domestic flight from there to Tashkent.

 

You can book a flight from Urgench to Tashkent with Uzbekistan airways

 

Backpacking to Uzbekistan - Everything you need to know - Samarkand - Journal of Nomads

 

 

2. How to spend 7 days in Uzbekistan (itinerary 2): Tashkent – Samarkand – Shahrisabz –Bukhara

This itinerary is quite similar to the one above but it has a more relaxing program. I left Khiva out in this itinerary so you have more time to visit the 3 other major cities.

 

I’ve also included a day trip from Samarkand to see Shahrisabz, another ancient Silk Road city and the birth town of Amir Timur, Uzbekistan’s most famous historical figure.

 

 

Day 1: Tashkent

See itinerary 1

 

Day 2: Tashkent – Samarkand

On this day I’d suggest you take the Afrosiyob train from Tashkent to Samarkand in the evening.

 

This will give you an extra day in Tashkent as you might not have had much time on day 1 to visit the highlights of Tashkent due to your arrival time at the airport, waiting in line to get train tickets,… 

 

Where to stay in Tashkent

You might want to spend some extra time in Tashkent to recover from your flight, enjoy the beautiful parks,…

 

Day 3: Samarkand

Today is a full day of exploring Samarkand!

 

I already mentioned the highlights of this ancient city on the Silk Road in itinerary 1 but now you’ll definitely have enough time to follow my detailed Samarkand itinerary.

 

Day 4: Shahrisabz

Today you can go on a day trip to Shahrisabz, a city located at 88 km south of Samarkand.

 

Shahrisabz, also written Shakhrisabz and formerly known as Kesh, is one of the most ancient cities along the Silk Road.

 

It was the birthplace of Amir Timur, founder of the Timurid dynasty and one of the most important historical figures of Uzbekistan and Central Asia.

 

If you’ve spent the previous days in Tashkent and Samarkand, you’ll definitely have seen his statue everywhere, along with his stunning architectural projects. 

 

Best places to visit Uzbekistan - Shahrisabz - 7-day itinerary Uzbekistan

Amir Timur statue in Shahrisabz

 

What are the things to see in Shahrisabz?

 

Shahrisabz has some impressive monuments that are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. 

 

The most famous place in Shahrisabz are the gate arches of the Ak-Saray Palace, the only remainders of the palace that was built for Amir Timur. 

 

Other places of interest in Shahrisabz are the Dorut Tilovat Complex with the Kok Gumbaz mosque and the Dorus Siyadat Complex which contains the tomb of Timur’s eldest son. 

 

Best cities to visit on the Silk Road in Uzbekistan - Shahrisabz - Journal of Nomads

Ak-Saray Palace in Shahrisabz

 

Shahrisabz is a small city so you can easily see all the main attractions in 2 hours.

 

You could leave in the early morning and be back in Samarkand in the late afternoon to spend more time visiting places around the city. 

 

How to get from Samarkand to Shahrisabz and back:

It’s about one and a half hours driving from Samarkand to Shahrisabz. 

 

The best way to get there is to hire a taxi driver who’ll drive you there, wait for a few hours and take you back to Samarkand.

 

This 2-way trip with the driver waiting costs about $40 USD. You can always ask around in your hostel or hotel if someone wants to join you and share the costs.

 

If you don’t want the driver to wait or want to keep the costs lower, you can also go by shared taxi.

 

You can find a shared taxi from Samarkand to Shahrisabz at Suzangaran, which is about 100m south of the Registan mashrutka stop.  You shouldn’t pay more than 5000 UZS for a seat in the shared taxi.

 

It might happen that the taxi only goes to Kitab, a town located at 10 km from Shahrisabz. From there you can take a mashrutka (minibus) or another shared taxi to Shahrisabz, which shouldn’t be more than 2000 UZS. 

 

To get back from Shahrisabz to Samarkand, you can look for a taxi in the surrounding area but be aware that the taxi drivers might ask a lot more money.

 

You could also take a mashrutka (minibus) from Shahrisabz to Kitab, visit the bazaar there and go to the taxi stand near the junction at the bazaar. Ask the locals for directions if needed. 

 

Siyob Bazaar - places to visit Samarkand Uzbekistan

Market in Uzbekistan

 

Day 5: Samarkand – Bukhara

There are trains departing from Samarkand to Bukhara in the morning, around noon and in the evening. 

 

As I think that by now you’ve had plenty of time in Samarkand, I’d suggest you take the Afrosiyob train in the morning so you arrive in Bukhara just before noon.

 

See itinerary 1 for info on how to get from the train station in Bukhara to the old city center, where to stay in Bukhara and the top things to do.

 

Bukhara itinerary Uzbekistan - Journal of Nomads

Sunset in Bukhara

 

Day 6: Bukhara

See itinerary 1

 

Day 7: Bukhara – Tashkent

Depending on when you have your return flight home – or your bus/ train to Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan or Tajikistan  – you’ll have to decide when you want to take the train back to Tashkent.

 

You can take the Afrosiyob train that leaves Bukhara a bit before 5:00 am in the morning so you arrive in Tashkent around 9:00 am. This will give you some extra time to spend in Tashkent.

 

If you’re not in a hurry to return to Tashkent, you could also take the Afrosiyob train or the Sharq train in the afternoon and arrive in Tashkent in the evening. Check the train schedule here

 

Dzuma Mosque - Tashkent tourist places of interest

Dzuma Mosque, Tashkent

 

3. 10-day itinerary Uzbekistan: Tashkent – Samarkand – Shahrisabz – Bukhara – Khiva

 

10 days is the ideal amount of time to visit all the most beautiful Silk Road cities in Uzbekistan without being in a rush.

 

You’ll notice that this itinerary is a combination of the two previous Uzbekistan itineraries so for each day I wrote down which of the 2 itineraries above you should check for information.

 

I still decided to give an overview of this itinerary so you have a good idea of how to spend 10 days in Uzbekistan. 

 

 

Day 1: Tashkent

See itinerary 1

 

Day 2: Tashkent – Samarkand

See itinerary 2

 

Day 3: Samarkand

See itinerary 2

 

Day 4: Shahrisabz

See itinerary 2

 

Day 5: Samarkand – Bukhara

See itinerary 2

 

Day 6: Bukhara

See itinerary 2

 

Day 7: Bukhara – Khiva

See itinerary 1

 

Day 8: Khiva

See itinerary 1

 

Day 9: Khiva – Tashkent

See itinerary 1

 

Day 10: Tashkent

A day to relax in Tashkent

 

Is Samarkand Safe - Journal of Nomads

 

4. 8 Places to add to your Uzbekistan itinerary if you have more time

In case you’ve foreseen 14 days to 3 weeks for your Uzbekistan trip, here are other top places in Uzbekistan to add to your itinerary.

 

I’ll tell you for each place where it would fit well combined with the 10-day itinerary above and how to get there by public transportation.

 

You can find the location of these destinations, together with the 4 major cities (Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva) on the map below.

 

 

1. Fergana Valley

The Fergana Valley has always been an important place as it used to be the main Silk Route between Samarkand and Kashgar (China).

 

It’s also the most fertile region of Uzbekistan, making it Uzbekistan’s agricultural heartland and the most industrious province.

 

Despite its historical and agricultural importance, the Fergana Valley doesn’t receive many tourists.

 

One of the reasons is that the valley has had many ethnic conflicts in the past because it’s split by political borders with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

 

You might wonder now if the Fergana Valley is safe to travel to. While there is nowadays still some tension (mostly from the Kyrgyz side), the region has been stable since 2010. 

 

Travelers are super welcome in the Fergana Valley. You’ll notice that the locals are some of the friendliest and hospitable people you’ll meet in Uzbekistan.

 

While you won’t find Islamic masterpieces in this region, you’ll still see ancients mosques and madrasahs. This region is also the center of traditional Uzbek handicrafts like pottery and silk. 

 

beast things to do in Khiva - Visit the rug weavers

 

If you’d love to have an authentic cultural experience in Uzbekistan, you should definitely visit the Fergana Valley!

 

The best way to add the Fergana Valley to your itinerary is to go here after your arrival in Tashkent (on day 2 or 3) or once you’re back in Tashkent at the end of your trip through Uzbekistan. if you do the latter, you could continue traveling to Osh in Kyrgyzstan as it’s very close to the border. 

 

I suggest spending at least 2 to 3 days in this region.  

 

Timezone Junkies - Jami Madrasah - places of interest Kokand Uzbekistan Fergana Valley

Jami Mosque and Madrassah in Kokand – photo by Timezone Junkies

 

How to get to Fergana Valley from Tashkent

There’s daily a train leaving from Tashkent to Kokand, the first destination of the interesting places to visit in the Ferghana Valley. 

 

Here are the 4 best places to visit in the Ferghana Valley. You can visit them in the following order:

 

(1) 1. Kokand

Kokand, in Ferghana Valley, is usually overlooked by travelers in favor of the more famous cities of Bukhara, Samarkand and Khiva.

 

It does, however, boast some interesting history and did play an important part during the Ancient Silk Road, linking South Asia and East Asia and acted as a crossroads between these routes.

 

Timezone Junkies - Kamol Kazy Madrasah Kokand Uzbekistan - Places to visit Ferghana Valley

Kamol Kazy Madrasahphoto by Timezone Junkies

 

There are some places of interest in Kokand, including The Palace of Khudayar Khan, Kamol Kazy Madrasah and the Jami Mosque.

 

Timezone Junkies - Jami Madrasah - places to visit Kokand Uzbekistan Fergana Valley

Inside the Jami Mosque – photo by Timezone Junkies

 

You can spend the night in Kokand and continue towards the next destination in the Fergana Valley the morning after. 

 

Where to stay in Kokand

  • Budget:

Ho’ja Nasriddin Hostel is currently the only budget-hostel in Kokand that is cheaper than $20 per person per night. 

Check out the rates and availability for “Ho’ja Nasriddin Hostel”. 

 

  • Mid-range

There is quite a good range of hotels and guest houses available in Kokand starting at 20$ and up. As always in Central Asia, breakfast will most likely be included.

 

Asr and Silk Road Kokand Hotel are currently the top-rated hotels in Kokand. 

 

(1) 2. Rishton

Rishton is a small village in the Ferghana Valley that is famous for its pottery.

 

Rishton’s inhabitants make a living by creating ceramics from the local red clay that they decorate with deep blue colors, made from natural products.

 

These traditional pottery techniques and designs have been passed down from father to son for more than 800 years. 

 

You should definitely visit the Art Ceramic Factory,  where you can watch the craftsmen at work using a combination of modern machinery and traditional techniques.

 

You can also make your own ceramics using the traditional techniques at the neighboring workshop of Rustam Usmanov, who’s a traditional pottery master. 

 

The Art Ceramic Factory and the Usmanov Ceramic Workshop are open daily from 09:00 am until 06:00 pm.

 

Uzbekistan Ceramics Rishton

 

How to get to Rishton

You can take a shared taxi from Kokand to Rishton. It’s about one-hour driving.

 

(1) 3. Margilan

Margilan has been the most important silk production center of Central Asia since the ancient Silk Road.

 

If you want to see the whole silk manufacturing process – from how the silk is made, the traditional silk-weaving techniques to the final product, you should definitely visit the Yodgorlik Silk Factory. The entrance and tour in this factory are completely free.

 

Aside from the Yodgorlik Silk Factory, you should also visit the colorful Kumtepa bazaar, the Said Akhmad-Khoja Madrasah, the Pir Siddiq Complex, and the Khodja Maggiz Mausoleum.

 

You could spend the rest of the day in Margilan and take a shared taxi in the evening to Fergana City.

 

Fergana city is only a 10-minute drive away from Margilan and while there isn’t much to see or do there, the accommodation options in Fergana city are better and it’s a good base to take a shared taxi towards your next destination the day after. 

 

Uzbekistan Silk Weaving Places to visit Ferghana Valley

 

How to get to Margilan

You can take a shared taxi from Rishton to Margilan. It’s about one-hour driving. 

 

In case you didn’t want to visit Rishton, you can also take a direct train from Kokand to Margilan. 

 

Where to stay in Margilan

  • Budget:

There aren’t any hostels or hotels cheaper than $20 per night in Margilan. If you want a budget-friendly place, take a shared taxi from Margilan to Fergana (only 10 minutes driving) and stay at the Status House.

 

The rooms in this hotel are newly renovated, there’s also a kitchen if you want to cook for yourself and even if you’re traveling solo, for $10 per night you can get a private room here. 

 

Check here the rates and availability for “Status House”. 

 

  • Mid-range:

The Adras House Hotel is a stunning hotel with spacious cozy rooms and a fantastic breakfast buffet. 

Check here the rates and availability for “Adras House Hotel”

 

(1) 4. Namangan

Namangan is the religious center and one of the most conservative cities in Uzbekistan. There used to be more than 600 mosques in this city but most of them are gone now. 

 

There are still some interesting places and buildings to visit in Namangan, such as Babur Parkthe bazaar on Uychi avenue, the Mullah Kyrgyz madrassah, the Khodjamni Kabri Mausoleum and mosque, the Jummi Mosque and the Atavalikhonture Mosque.

 

The Atavalikhonture Mosque, also known as Ota Valikhon Tur Mosque, is the place where the now-banned Wahabi Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan was founded. 

 

Namangan can be done as a day trip from Margilan. You can spend another evening in Margilan or Fergana or take the train from Margilan back to Tashkent in the late afternoon. 

 

How to get from Margilan to Namangan and back

You can get to Namangan and back from Margilan by shared taxi. It’s a one-hour drive between both cities.

 

In case you spent the previous night in Fergana, you can take a shared taxi from there as well. It’s about 1.5 hours driving between Fergana and Namangan. 

 

5. Aydar Lake (Aydarkul)

If you’re craving some nature during your trip to Uzbekistan, then you should definitely visit Aydar Lake in the south-eastern Kyzyl Kum desert.

 

Aydar Lake is part of the man-made Aydar-Arnasay system of lakes, which covers an area of 4,000 km2.

 

The lake is particularly beautiful during spring and summer when it’s surrounded in colorful alpine grasslands. You’ll also spot birds like pelicans and herons here.

 

There are also a lot of fun things you can do at Aydar Lake. You can go for walks or explore the area by horse or camel.

 

The water is warm enough from June until August to swim in the lake and you’re also allowed to do some fishing between the months of September and April.

 

You should add at least 2 days to your itinerary if you want to visit Aydar Lake.

 

You can visit this lake on your way from Tashkent to Samarkand, after your visit to Samarkand or on your way back from Bukhara (see below “How to get to Aydar Lake”). 

 

Aydarkul Lake Uzbekistan

Camels on the shores of Aydarkul lake – photo by aamengus

 

 

How to get to Aydar Lake

Aydar Lake is quite remote and you can only get there by driving there yourself or taking a shared taxi. Just know that taking a taxi there can be on the expensive side. It’s also possible to hitchhike there. 

 

If you’re planning a visit to Aydar Lake when you’re coming from Tashkent or Samarkand, you first have to take a mashrutka (minibus) or shared taxi to the city of Jizzakh. From there you can take a shared or private taxi to “Aydar”, a small settlement located at 7km from the lake. 

 

If you’d visit Aydarkul coming from Bukhara, you first have to take a marshrutka (minibus) or shared taxi to the city of Navoi (you can also do this coming from Samarkand). From there you can take a shared or private taxi to “Aydar” or try to hitchhike there. 

 

Where to stay at Aydar Lake

There aren’t any guesthouses or hotels near the lake but you can stay at the yurt camp in Aydar. If you travel with a tent, you can also camp near the lake. 

 

6. Sentyab village

Alex and Malin from Timezone Junkies also recommend visiting Sentyab (or Sentob).

 

This village is a little oasis hidden away from the harsh aridness of the endless steppe in Uzbekistan and located not too far away from Aydar lake so you could combine both places in your itinerary. 

 

Sentyab Sentob Places to visit in Uzbekistan Sentyab – Photo by Timezone Junkies

 

The road into Sentyab is winding and takes you into the cool shade of walnut trees which run along the banks of the stream that gives life to this small village.

 

The inhabitants of Sentyab are mostly Tajik who fled the armies of Alexander the Great in Tajikistan.

 

Uzbekistan itinerary Sentob- Journal of Nomads

Tajik family living in Sentob – photo by Timezone Junkies

 

This little oasis is a great place to relax and get your fix of nature, especially after spending days checking out the impressive caravanserais, mosques, and madrasahs of Uzbekistan’s cities.

 

Check out Timezone Junkies’ video about their visit to Sentyab.

 

How to get to Sentyab

There are several ways to get to Sentyab.

 

The easiest would be to get a shared taxi to the closest city, Jizzakh. From there you can get a shared or private taxi to Sentyab.

 

This might be a little expensive because of the lack of clients and the fact that the drivers might have to drive back without any customers.

 

It is also possible to hitchhike this route with a bit of patience and willingness to explain what hitchhiking is!

 

Where to stay in Sentyab

There are 3 main places to stay in Sentyab.

 

The first one is Rahima’s Guesthouse which has a lovely garden and friendly owners.

 

The second is Mutabar’s Guesthouse which also boasts a pleasant garden and simple but comfortable rooms.

 

The last one, Manzarahoi Sentob hostel, is the only place you can book online in advance. 

 

Abandoned village in Sentyab

Abandoned village in Sentyab – photo by Timezone Junkies

 

7. Nukus and Karakalpakstan

Nukus is quite a desolate city in Uzbekistan and there is honestly not much to do or see here. 

 

However, it’s the gateway to visit the ship graveyard in Muynak (see below) and it’s the capital of the autonomous republic of Karakalpakstan. 

 

Karakalpakstan is located in western Uzbekistan near the Aral Sea and is surrounded by the Karakum Desert and the Kyzyl Kum desert. 

 

While Karakalpakstan is now mainly one huge desert, it used to be called Khorezm and was one of the most historical and cultural regions of Central Asia. 

 

Archaeologists have found dozens of ancient cities, ruins of castles and royal palaces spread over the arid steppes. These are called The fortresses of Ancient Khorezm.

 

 The most famous are Toprak-Kala, Janbas-Kala, Koy-Krylgan-Kala, Kyzyl-Kala, and Ayaz-Kala.

 

If you love unusual sites and/or are planning to visit the ship graveyard in Muynak, then you could add one day to your itinerary (after visiting Khiva)  for visit to the desert fortresses of Karakalpakstan.

 

Karakalpakstan Uzbekistan

Ancient Khorezm – photo by Joanne

 

How to get to Nukus and Karakalpakstan

If you’re following one of my itineraries above, I’d suggest you first go from Khiva to Urgench by shared taxi. There’s also daily one train that goes from Khiva to Urgench around 2:30 in the afternoon. 

 

From Urgench you can take a shared taxi to Nukus. The ride is around 2.5 hours.

 

You can also go on a tour to visit the fortresses of ancient Khorezm. There are local tour companies in Khiva offering this tour and you’ll definitely find some in Nukus as well.

 

Ask in the tourist information center for more info about these tours.

 

Where to stay in Nukus

  • Budget

Besqala is one of the top-rated hostels in Nukus. The chances are high that you’ll find other (solo) travelers here with whom you can share a ride or a tour to the fortresses of Ancient Khorezm.

Click here to see the availability and rates for “Besqala”

 

  • Mid-range: 

Tashkent Hotel is a really nice 3-star hotel and also very affordable if you’re traveling alone.

Click here to see the availability and rates for “Tashkent Hotel”

 

8. Muynak, Aral Sea

Muynak is a city in Karakalpakstan and used to be a lively fishing town on the shores of the Aral Sea. 

 

The Aral Sea used to be one of the four largest lakes in the world until the 1980s.

 

Ambitious Soviet planners wanted to turn Central Asia into the world’s largest producer of cotton.

 

Due to the diversion and the usage of the river water for irrigated farmlands, the amount of water from the rivers that normally fed the sea started to decline.

 

By the 1980s, the two rivers dried up before they could reach the lake and the Aral Sea quickly began to evaporate, leaving fishing boats abandoned in the sand that was once the seafloor. 

 

Read: What exactly happened to the Aral Sea?

 

Aral Sea Uzbekistan - Against the Compass

This is how the Aral Sea looks like now – photo by Against the Compass

 

The residents of Muynak had to leave as their fishing businesses closed down and had to search somewhere else for work. Muynak is nowadays a ghost town and a ship graveyard. 

 

While it sounds eerie, it’s quite fascinating to visit this ship graveyard. Definitely worth adding to your Uzbekistan itinerary if you have the time!

 

I suggest you go to Muynak after your visit to Khiva. You could combine this with a trip to Nukus, as you can take a bus from Nukus to Muynak (see below).

 

Ship Graveyard Uzbekistan - Against the Compass

The ship graveyard in Muynak – photo by Against the Compass

 

How to get to Muynak and where to stay

Read this detailed guide about Muynak with suggestions on how to get from Nukus to Muynak by public transportation and where to stay, written by Joan from Against the Compass. 

 

 

I hope this article was useful and has given you lots of ideas for your upcoming trip to Uzbekistan. I wish you a fantastic time in this stunning Silk Road country!

 

Have you recently been on a trip to Uzbekistan or are you going soon? What were the highlights of your visit? Do you know more places I should add to these itineraries? Please let me know in the comments below!

 

Uzbekistan Travel - Best Places to visit in Uzbekistan - Uzbekistan itinerary

 

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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO – UZBEKISTAN TRAVEL TIPS:

 

 

 

 

 

Follow Cynthia - Journal of Nomads:

Writer, travel photographer, Panasonic Lumix Ambassador and co-founder of Journal of Nomads

I have Belgian roots but the world has been my home for the past 8 years.I'm an artist at heart and often get lost in my thoughts. I like to create some-thing out of no-thing and once I feel inspired, I'm unstoppable.I love telling stories and taking photos, showing the beauty and extraordinary of the world around me.Oh, and I love making the impossible elegantly probable.Once you realize that you're a creator and the world is your playfield, there's no limit to what can be done!

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