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Uzbekistan – Ancient Cities of the Silk Road

11days from
£2,116*per person



Discovery awaits along the fabled Silk Road where the region’s colourful history meets Uzbekistan’s rapidly developing metropolises.   Immerse yourself in a city of contrasts as you touch down in Tashkent with ancient Timurid and Islamic influences on full display just a short walk from its energetic new districts. Take to UNESCO-listed Khiva and Bukhara, which boast some of the oldest and best-preserved landmarks in Central Asia.   Onwards to Samarkand, explore the ornate madrassas (religious colleges) of the ancient seat of the Timurid empire and witness its domed skyline at sunset. As your tour comes to a close, take a moment to appreciate authentic Uzbek culture with a day trip to Konigil Tourism village where you’ll see the region’s craftsmanship still very much alive.


  • Begin your adventures in Central Asia with an overnight flight from London to Tashkent, the capital city of Uzbekistan. 
  • Touching down in Tashkent in the early morning, you’ll be greeted by your friendly tour manager who’ll accompany you to your hotel for a well-earned rest. Enjoy a late start with breakfast before an afternoon of sightseeing around Tashkent’s old town.   Your first stop this morning, the Khazrati Imam Complex, offers a glimpse into Uzbekistan’s Islamic heritage. Built around the Mausoleum of Saint Abu Bakr Kaffal Shashi (the plaza’s namesake), the Tillya-Sheykh Mosque is an architectural marvel with pillared facades and domed roofs. Also of interest is the Madrasa Barakhon which houses a storied Muslim relic, the Osman Koran, amongst its library of ancient manuscripts.   The next our tour will take you to the very centre of Tashkent, the Chorsu Bazaar. Translating as ‘four waters’, this market area acted as the meeting point of the Uzbek capital’s original four districts and reflects nods of the Silk Road’s golden age to this day. Pause for lunch in one of the area’s local eateries before an afternoon exploring the bustling shopfronts beneath the bazaar’s blue-tiled dome.  As the sun sets on the Uzbek capital, join your fellow guests for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant with included wine tasting.  
  • Today you’ll enjoy an escorted tour of the Uzbek capital’s new town, starting with a walk along Tashkent’s Broadway Street, which boldly showcases the city’s artistic flair. You’ll witness monuments to the revival of traditional Uzbek culture from the Mustaqilik Maydoni (translating as ‘Independence Square’) to the Monument of Courage, which celebrates the men and women who rebuilt Tashkent after it was devasted by an earthquake in 1966. After exploring Tashkent’s metropolitan areas, return to your hotel for an afternoon at leisure. Why not refresh yourself with a plunge in the hotel’s swimming pool, unwind in its luxury hammam (Turkish bath) or take a treatment in the spa? If you’d prefer a more active afternoon, you can join an optional trip into the Chimgan Mountains. Your tour will take you deep into the heart of the Western Tian Shan Mountain range, stretching from northern China to Uzbekistan. Witness the range’s striking landscapes, from the Charvak Reservoir to the Chimgan mountains, with a cable car ride up to the Chinorkent Complex. Whether you’re returning from the mountains or the poolside, settle into the hotel’s restaurant this evening for dinner (on your account).
  • Rise early this morning for a domestic flight from Tashkent to Urgench. Upon arrival, you’ll have time for a packed breakfast on the move before travelling by coach to Khiva. You’ll then set out with your tour manager for a guided excursion of the ancient city. Khiva’s vibrant history will take centre stage today, the UNESCO-listed Ichan Kala, offering a unique insight into the region’s Islamic and Khanate heritage. Visit the Ismail Khodja complex which memorialises its namesake, the Grand Vizier to one of Khiva’s last Khans, with impressive madrasas and a towering minaret. Moving eastward, discover the fortified walls and blue-tiled audience chambers of the city’s ancient citadel, Konya Ark. Round out your tour of Ichan Kala with a celebration of Uzbek craftsmanship. Explore the unique Juma Mosque, suspended by a web of carved wooden pillars, and Toshholvi Palace, which chronicles public life in Khiva throughout the centuries. Tonight, find dinner locally or choose to join an optional excursion to a local restaurant, set in the inner courtyard of the impressive Nadir Devon-Begi Madrasah, for dinner and a traditional Uzbek folk performance under the stars. 
  • Start the day with breakfast ahead of today’s scenic journey through Uzbekistan’s red desert, Kyzyl-Kum. Aboard your coach, you can admire the exotic vistas in comfort as you pass between charming oasis settlements. Keep an eye out as you glide past rolling dunes, and you may catch a glimpse of the region’s native Bactrian camels!  Enjoy time at leisure and a packed lunch en route with a stop by the Amudarya River before arriving in Bukhara – nicknamed the ‘Copper City’. Freshen up this evening and have dinner at either the hotel restaurant or one of the local eateries.
  • Today, discover Bukhara’s most exciting landmarks after breakfast. You’ll start by paying homage to the city’s celebrated dead as you visit the Ismail Samani Mausoleum, the resting place of the Samanid and the Chashma Ayub Mausoleum, a religious site believed to have been visited by the prophet Job. Next on your excursion will be a walking tour of the 5th-cenutry Ark of Bukhara, known as the ‘city within a city’. Within the citadel walls, you’ll find a wealth of history, from the beautifully restored throne room and court mosque to its archaeological museums.  Pause at midday as you visit a local house for an authentic Uzbek lunch. Here, you’ll enjoy a masterclass in making plov (a traditional Uzbek rice dish similar to pilaf). Having had your fill of a hearty meal, you can observe local customs by running your hand over your face as a sign of appreciation for your hosts’ hospitality.  This afternoon, you’ll explore the Po-i Kalon Complex, the religious heart of Bukhara which houses several 12th-century Islamic landmarks. Originally destroyed by Genghis Khan amidst the sacking of Bukhara, the complex was rebuilt, and you can observe Muslim culture in person with visits to its mosque, complete with its original minaret (tower), and madrasa.   Spend the evening at leisure and enjoy dinner (on your own account) in the city or at the hotel’s restaurant.
  • After breakfast, you’ll explore the Bakhautdin Naqshband Mausoleum, an important Sufi shrine and a popular place of pilgrimage. As the tomb of Khazreti Mohammed Bakhauddin Nakhshbandi, the unofficial patron saint of Bukhara, this impressive monument promises exploration rife with tradition and superstition. Long-held beliefs, popularised by visiting pilgrims, maintain that those who circle Bakhaudtin’s tomb three times enjoy blessings and good fortune.  The stop along the tour will see you enter Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa Complex, the summer residence of Bukhara’s last Emir (ruler). Divided into its original compound and the newer 12th-century additions, this palatial landmark offers an eclectic blend of European and Islamic design. Inside, you’ll find exhibitions celebrating local folk art, music and craftsmanship alongside the palace’s opulent furniture and décor.   Complete the day with a visit to the Coumpol Bazaar, a domed marketplace which has remained amongst traders since the golden age of the Silk Road. Experience this bustling commercial hub, and perhaps enjoy a spot of retail therapy, as you meander through the area’s famous trading domes.   In the evening, you’ll have the choice to return to the hotel or join an optional trip to the Nadir Devon-Begi Madrasah for a traditional Uzbeki folk dance. Set in the open-air courtyard of this grand seventeenth-century building, this folk-dance features dances and styles varying by region. Experience colour, music and tradition as the sun sets on Bukhara. Finally, enjoy dinner (own your account) in a city restaurant before settling in for the night. 
  • After breakfast this morning, board your coach for Samarkand, one of the Silk Road’s most iconic cities. Along the way, stop in for an escorted walk around colourful Shakrisabz. Once home to legendary figures from Amir Timur to Alexander the Great, this ancient city has no shortage of imperial wonders to behold.   Discover the cradle of Uzbekistan with a visit to the birthplace of Amir Timur, the country’s founder and most iconic ruler. The Ak-Saray Palace, although ruined over the centuries, was once the crown jewel of the Timurid empire and remains no less impressive. You’ll also call at the Dorus Saodat complex, which houses the ancestral tomb of the Timurid dynasty before refuelling with lunch at a local restaurant.   After lunch, you’ll continue on to Samarkand. Having checked into your final hotel, spend the afternoon as you please. Perhaps take a gentle stroll through this historic city’s winding streets or relax by the poolside amidst the hotel’s wellness facilities. Take dinner at your leisure at a restaurant of your choice in the city.  
  • Start the day with breakfast at the hotel before setting off on your final city tour with sightseeing around historic Samarkand. Witness the breath-taking Registan Square, home to the exquisite iwans (decorative main halls) of its three madrasas. Continue to the Guri Amir Mausoleum, where you’ll be immersed in the opulent Timurid design of legendary Timur’s final resting place. At noon, take the time to walk around the Siyob Bazaar, the biggest marketplace in Samarkand.   After finding lunch, you'll experience the rich academic history of this Silk Road city with a tour of the Afrosiyab Museum, a frescoed excavation site set in the ruins of Samarkand’s original city. You’ll also have the chance to explore the Ulugbek Observatory, the last building of its kind of the Islamic medieval period.   Concluding your city tour, return to your central hotel for an overnight stay with dinner at your own account.
  • Enjoy a late start this morning with time spent at leisure and a hotel breakfast. After checking out, you’ll travel to Konigil Tourism Village where you’ll experience truly authentic village life in Uzbekistan. Located on a large reserve, and boasting several workshops and market stalls, Konigil offers plenty of artisanal gift options to make the perfect souvenir.  Return to Samarkand’s centre and to Tashkent aboard the ‘Afrosiyob’ high-speed train. After a short time aboard, you’ll arrive back in the Uzbek capital and head to your first hotel. With memories to last a lifetime, join your fellow travellers for your final dinner and reminisce on this unforgettable adventure. 
  • Have breakfast early this morning ahead of your flight back to the UK as you reach the end of your Uzbek adventure.

What's Included

Holiday Highlights

  • Experience Tashkent with its ornate medieval landmarks and vibrant new town
  • Relax in a series of luxury hotels at four stops along the fabled Silk Road
  • Witness Uzbekistan’s diverse natural beauty, from its rugged alpine landscapes and river valleys to the expansive ‘red deserts’
  • Discover Samarkand’s Timurid past with guided tours of its famed monuments
  • Immerse yourself in traditional Uzbek culture with a culinary masterclass and lunch at a local house, as well as a day trip to the Konigil Tourism Village
  • Delve into the history of the Great Silk Road with stops in UNESCO-listed Bukhara, a major hub of Islamic culture, and Khiva
  • Visit the birthplace of Amir Timur, the legendary former leader of the Timurid empire, in Shakhrisabz
  • Enjoy an evening under the stars, accompanied by a traditional Uzbek folk performance, with an optional dinner at the Nadir Devon-Begi Madrasah
  • Venture into the Chimgan Mountains and experience Uzbekistan’s natural world on an optional cable car visit to the Chinorkent Complex

Our Price Includes

  • Nine night’s accommodation in Tashkent (3 nights), Khiva (1), Bukhara (3) and Samarkand (2)
  • Ten breakfasts, six lunches and four dinners
  • Two tours around Uzbekistan’s capital, Tashkent
  • Guided tour of Khiva
  • Drive through the red desert “Kyzyl-Kum”
  • Excursion to Bukhara
  • Lunch at a local house with a culinary cooking class on Bukharan plov
  • Visit to Bahouddin Nakshbandi Mausoleum and Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa Complex
  • Visit to the Coumpol Bazaar, Toki Saraffon (the Dome of Moneychangers), Toki-Telpak Furushon (the Dome of Cap makers), Toki Zargaron (the Dome of jewellers) and Tim Abdullakhan (the Center of silk).
  • Day trips around Shakhrisabz and Samarkand
  • Visit to Konigil Tourism Village
  • Internal flight between Tashkent and Urgench
  • Return flights to Tashkent
  • Comfortable, air-conditioned coach travel throughout
  • Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced tour manager
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Dates and Prices

October 2024
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  • Limited Availability
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Departure Airport:
London Heathrow (LHR)

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Price from:£2,116
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Other Information

Special requirements

If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.

Disabled access

The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

Itinerary changes

Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.

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Holiday code


Holiday provided by Newmarket Holidays

BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE: fully flexible booking policy, covid-19 cancellation cover insurance as standard and 100% protection with ABTA & ATOL. This holiday is sold and operated by Newmarket Holidays (ABTOT 5509, ATOL 2325, ABTA V7812), you can be 100% sure that your money is safe.

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