Uzbekistan Travel Guide

Are you planning to visit Uzbekistan or want to learn more about the country when exploring your travel options? If so, this Uzbekistan travel guide will provide the answers you need. 

Located in Central Asia, the Republic of Uzbekistan has become an immensely popular destination in recent years. In fact, over 6.75 million tourists flocked to the country in 2019 and, while the figures have not returned to pre-pandemic levels, it is certainly one of the region's most visited nations.  

When looking for a unique holiday packed with unforgettable moments, this Central Asian gem is the perfect choice. Before packing your luggage and booking your flights, read the Uzbekistan travel guide below to learn more about where to go, what to do, and how to travel around Uzbekistan in style.  

Best Things to do 

When looking for things to do in Uzbekistan, you will not be short of exciting options. The double-landlocked former Soviet Union territory boasts a rich culture enhanced by a diverse range of influences. The result is a truly awe-inspiring destination blessed with breathtaking sceneries, stunning Islamic architecture, and modern attractions. 

The country has huge cultural significance. Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and Tamerlane all had strong links to Uzbekistan while the mosques and other landmarks tell the history of the nation’s people. The country’s independence from the Soviet Union came in 1991, so there is a lot of modern history and cultural attractions to see too. 

When building an itinerary, the reality is that you won’t have enough time to do it all. While you may not see everything on one trip, every great Uzbekistan travel guide will feature the following highlights: 

Visit Registan Square 

Found in the city of Samarkand, Registan Square is one of the most stunning sites on the planet. It was built in the 14th century by Tamerlane following the destruction of the former site during the Genghis Khan reign and became a halfway point on the Silk Road. While its cultural significance will appeal to history buffs, the square has much more to offer. 

The beautifully designed Registan Square features three grand madrassas - Ulugh Beg, Sher-Dor and Tilya-Kori - which have been symmetrically placed to create a truly stunning overall aesthetic. The mosaic of blue tiles looks incredible in the summer sun while the square takes on an entirely new vibe during the evening time as the buildings become lit up. It's peaceful, romantic, and somehow leaves you feeling connected to others. 

Registan takes its name from the Persian for “desert”. The unique design of the three madrassas, which come together as one, has seen the site become arguably the most famous place in the whole of Uzbekistan. When you return home after your trip to this part of the world, it is one of the highlights that you’ll eagerly tell others about. 



Explore the seabed of the Aral Sea 

The Aral Sea was once a vast lake running from Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan and covering an area of 68,000 km2, which would place it as the fourth largest on the planet. However, it started to shrink in the 1960s due to irrigation projects under the Soviet Union. By 2014, the eastern basin had completely dried. With this being said, it’s remains a popular tourist destination.  

There are several locations that you could visit around the Aral Sea. Moynaq is a quiet city that once thrived while it also features the Aral Sea Memorial and Aral Sea Museum just to the north of the city. Tokmak village is another popular choice while you can still visit the last remaining parts of the lake at the South Aral Sea. They are beautiful, even if the rest of the lake is no longer there. Group tours often include trips to this iconic destination. 

If interested in dark tourism, Uzbekistan and this region have plenty to offer thanks to its historical reigns, with the site of this environmental disaster is one of immense significance. Trips to the northern part of the country can be followed by border crossings into Kazakhstan to continue the adventure. 

Ride on the high speed train 

Uzbekistan is very well known for its high speed train line, not least because it is a great way to travel between major cities like Tashkent and Bukhara. The 600km route sees the train hit speeds of 160mph while passing through Sirdaryo, Jizzakh, Samarqand, and Navoiy.  

The high speed train line is operated by Uzbek Railways under the name Afrosiyob. The experience of riding the bullet train without the stress and crowds seen in some other countries is a joy in itself. It’s also an ideal opportunity to meet other people while simultaneously taking in the beautiful sceneries found along the route. As an added benefit, it is the most affordable way to travel around Uzbekistan and its famous cities. 

Following the success of the initial route, further journeys have gained attention including Tashkent to Khiva. Whichever journey is enjoyed on the high speed train, there is no question that it will deliver a memorable experience. Better still, the attractions at both ends ensure that you can enjoy the best of Uzbek culture. 

See the sights of the Silk Road  

The Silk Road network of trade routes connected Europe and Asia for over 1,500 years. Spanning a distance of over 6,400kms, it was the key to facilitating Eurasian relations until its decline in the middle of the 15th century. Its economic, political, and religious impacts over the years cement its place as one of the most culturally significant stretches on earth. 

As the route connected countries from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, visiting sites along it can feel far bigger than the destination itself. When you look to see the Silk Road sights of Uzbekistan, you can see everything from the Registan Square of Samarkand to the Ark in Bukhara or the Teleshayakh Mosque in Tashkent.  

Given the Silk Road’s influence on human history and impact on the culture of many countries in the world, its appeal to Uzbek visitors is easy to understand. You can even use the route to embrace the high speed train or complete other bucket list items for your trip to the beautiful country. 


Must Visit Places  

Interestingly, Uzbekistan is one of only two (alongside Liechtenstein) double- landlocked countries on the planet. The land borders are Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. However, the Central Asian has plenty to offer without hopping over its  borders. 


Another of the major cities on the old Silk Road is Samarkand, which is the country’s third-largest and boasts a history dating back at least 2,700 years. Ancient parts of the city still have remnants of the former Sogdian rulers while a stunning backdrop of the Zarafshan River means that the natural beauty is there to support the cultural significance. 

Samarkand is another city blessed with some of the most iconic Islamic architecture in the world. However, guests wishing to break up their trip with the calming tones of nature will enjoy the Seven Lakes of Samarkand, the Devsharshar Waterfall, and Mount Kemkutan. The city is also blessed with excellent shopping facilities while the street entertainment is a key part of the local culture too.  

When visiting Samarkand, the tombs of Shah-i-Zinda and the centrepiece of Registan are must-see places. Whether part of a trip to Uzbekistan or a Central Asian tour, Samarkand is a location that should be added to your list. However, it truly is a versatile destination that allows you to build a trip perfectly aligned with your preferences. 




As the most populated city in Uzbekistan with over 3 million residents, Tashkent is one of the most frequently visited cities in the country. While its history dates back 2,500 years, it was notably destroyed by Genghis Khan in the 13th century and was also the capital of Russian Turkestan from the mid-19th century until this ended. 

While the city’s long history can be seen in its architecture, it is also a city that boasts a lot of contemporary architecture. The local culture is also heavily influenced by modern art. As a destination that marries the old with the new, Tashkent has something to offer visitors of all ages and tastes. In the winter months, Chimgon Mountain is often topped with snow. Other popular destinations include Chorsu Bazaar’s open air market and Independence Square. 

Tashkent is also known for its beautiful metro system. Many of the stations are breathtakingly beautiful and provide an insight into the Soviet Union years. For visitors who wish to delve deeper into the historical parts of the city, a trip to Old Tashkent is advised. The architecture and atmosphere stand out from the rest of the region. 




The mediaeval desert town of Khiva was established over 1,500 years ago, making it another location where historical significance is seen at every turn. Meanwhile, when looking at its modern significance, in 1991 the city was Uzbekistan’s first addition to the World Heritage Site list. It is located in the west, close to the border of Turkmenistan. 

Khiva is split into two main parts, Dichan Kala (outer town) and Itchan Kala (inner town). The destination is well known for being preserved to maintain the charm of previous generations, including its 16th century rise to prominence in the region. Madrassas, mosques, caravanserais and palaces line the inner city. It is a particularly popular place for walking tours while the Elliq-Qala is one of the city’s unique fortresses. 

The old town is fairly small, meaning it can be explored with a two-day stay. When embracing some of the outer city attractions, you may want to extend this. Thankfully, hotels including Khiva Abdulla Guest House and Zukhro Boutique Hotel have you covered. Meanwhile, restaurants like Bir Gumbaz will showcase the finest in Uzbek cuisine. 




Bukhara is now the country’s fifth largest city in terms of population, up from seventh just a few years ago, and is the capital of the Bukhara region. It has been a place of cultural significance for over 2,500 years and was a prominent feature of the Silk Road. However, its appeal isn’t restricted to historical context.  

There are over 150 monuments in the city while Bukhara also boasts a wide selection of great hotels at multiple price ranges. Samanid Mausoleum is the oldest in Central Asia while visitors can also enjoy trips to the mountains and the desert. It’s also a wonderful destination to embrace cooking classes and other activities that allow you to truly immerse yourself in the culture enjoyed by Uzbek populations.  

The city regularly features on tours of the country, especially those built around the focal points of the Silk Road. Given its distinct culture, which is highlighted by the Tajik dialect that’s spoken, Bukhara is a must-visit destination for your Uzbekistan bucket list. Better still, it is one of the locations where you can take international flights. 



Best Time To Go 



















When visiting Uzbekistan, you will find plenty to see and do at any time of the year. However, several attractions are either dependent on the weather or will at least deliver significantly different experiences depending on the time of travel.  

Climate figures show that the average temperatures fluctuate by up to 30°C between the height of summer and the cold of winter. Consequently, you should pay attention to the time of your visit regardless of what attractions appear on your personal Uzbekistan travel guide itinerary. 

While the winter months are cold and will require you to wrap up, you can still enjoy the sights and many of the attractions. Meanwhile, the months of November to February are the slowest for tourism as well as local footfall. So, you can often book travel to international airports at a lower cost and travel around Uzbekistan undisturbed. This makes it ideal for photographers and tourists who like to explore attractions at their own pace. 

A lot of tourists avoid the height of summer in July and August, especially when planning to visit the southern areas where temperature hit 40°C. However, the Central Asian country is particularly popular in May to June and September to October. The temperatures at these two times of the year are still around 30°C.  

Spring is often the busiest time, which is reflected in the price of international flights. However, the choice between this and the autumn months is largely a personal preference as both options provide the foundation for an awe-inspiring adventure. However, the autumn does turn the destination into a sea of red and gold whereas the spring has vibrant colours and plant life that reflects the energy seen throughout a period packed with several national celebrations. 

For further information, check out our guide on the best time to visit Uzbekistan, which also highlights some of the major events happening throughout the year. 


Food and Drink  



















Delighting the taste buds and discovering new foods is always a holiday highlight, and it’s an area where Uzbekistan thrives. The country is known for farming wheat, barley, rice, corn, potatoes and fruits and vegetables, all of which are heavily present in the nation’s cuisine. 

As one of the countries located on the famous Silk Road, Uzbekistan’s culture is heavily influenced by centuries of trade with other nations in the Central Asian region. Uzbek cuisine is described as “hearty, rich, and full of flavour” while dishes often deliver a unique take on Asian favourites. The county’s rich tapestry of restaurants and street foods guarantees a memorable dining experience at an affordable price. 

Beef and mutton are the most commonly eaten meats across the country, featuring in the national dish known as Plov. While many variants exist, it is prepared in a large pot and often includes onions, kazy sausage, carrots, and eggs. The dish is synonymous with life in Uzbekistan and features on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. 

Other popular dishes in Uzbekistan include Achichuk, Shashlik, and Samsa. They can all be found throughout the country, although some distinct contrasts may be found in different parts of the country. 

Entry Requirements  

Is it safe to travel? 

Safety is a top concern regardless of the destination. When asking “Is Uzbekistan safe?”, the rule of thumb is that you can safely visit the country but should show a degree of caution. 

The main exception to this rule is the Temez region which shares a border with Afghanistan. You should not visit this region.  

Travellers are often the targets for pickpocketing and robbery as is the case in many destinations. Unlicensed taxi drivers are another potential source of danger and should be avoided at all costs. 

Travel insurance is highly advised, not least because you have to pay cash for treatments at medical facilities. 

As long as you are aware of the dangers, travel in Uzbekistan is considered quite safe. However, for optimal safety, using a Uzbekistan travel guide to arrange safe activities is the perfect solution. 

How to travel around Uzbekistan 

Uzbekistan is the 57th largest country by land mass. There can be large distances between the major cities in the former Soviet Union country. Some examples are; 

  •  Khiva to Tashkent - 991 km. 
  • Bukhara to Karakalpakia - 966 km. 
  • Nukus to Samarkand - 796 km. 

 Understandably, then, taking a domestic flight is the preferred method of travel when travelling from one end of the country to the other, especially as Uzbek Airways has a reliable schedule. 

However, train routes are commonplace for some of the more reasonable journeys and are very affordable. The 2.5 hour train ride from Bukhara to Samarkand while a train ticket costs just $13 and takes in some beautiful scenery.  

Meanwhile, the high speed bullet train between Bukhara and Tashkent takes just 3.5 hours and includes sections of looking at desert landscapes. So, you get an insight into the country as well as gaining the bullet train experience. It’s just as quick as taking a domestic flight too as you don’t have to worry about boarding processes. 

Buses and shared taxi services are also popular for travel between cities that are close to each other. Both shared taxi and private taxi drivers provide great services for navigating cities themselves. It can be particularly useful when you travel during peak seasons as it can help you avoid the major traffic spots and reach the attraction. 

What should I wear?  

When visiting Uzbekistan, you will naturally want to respect the cultural approach to clothing choices. The country is predominantly Muslim but is considered to have conservative views regarding fashion, particularly when it comes to the expectations placed on tourists. Many women in the nation do not wear head coverings, even in religious buildings, and you do not have to worry about buying one for your stay. 

While not a law, it is commonplace for shoulders and knees to be covered in public, which is something to consider. Ultimately, though, the biggest issue to consider when thinking about how to dress in Uzbekistan is the weather. As already explained, there is a huge contrast between summer and winter. So, there is no one single solution that’s suitable throughout the year. 

Light and easy clothing is the best choice outside of winter with t-shirts, shirts, shorts, and dresses featuring prominently. Cotton and breathable fabrics are also highly advised for your Uzbekistan travel itinerary. If staying in a hotel that features a pool, suitable swimming costumes are necessary too. 

In the winter months, you will notice the cold. So, it’s important to wrap up with a jacket and extra layers. Still, it’s vital to ensure that there is enough movement for you to enjoy the sights and attractions in style. 

Whether enjoying an excursion with a professional Uzbekistan travel guide or exploring the city alone, you will also note that vibrant dresses and jackets are often worn. Opting for similar fashion will help you blend in. Finally, you will likely explore a lot of attractions on foot, which is why suitable footwear is essential. 


The official language of Uzbekistan is Uzbek, a Turkic language that is spoken throughout the country. For the past 30 years or so, it has been written using the Roman alphabet but with heavy usage of the Cyrillic alphabet. Uzbek is the second most widely-spoken Turkic language in the world, after Turkish, and has been the country’s official language since the 1920s. 

Several other Turkic languages, including Russian and Persian, are heavily spoken throughout the country while the autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan also has Karakalpak as its chosen language. Meanwhile, minority languages in different regions include Dungan, Erzya, Koryo-mar, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Southern Uzbek, and Tatar. 

English is not considered a widely spoken language in Uzbekistan. However, as you travel around Uzbekistan, you will often find people who speak it in the major cities like Bukhara and Samarkand, as well as destinations that attract high levels of tourism. In particular, people from younger generations are likely to boast basic English even if they are not fluent. 

Group Tour or Tailor-made  

Uzbekistan is truly a hidden gem, with a rich history blend of cultures. With a mix of historical and modern attractions, there is something to suit every traveller’s interests. It is a destination that sparks curiosity and captivates the imagination. 

To ensure a smooth and stress-free experience, it is recommended to work with a team of experienced travel professionals. We here at Wild Frontiers, are an award-winning tour operator, offering small group tours and tailor-made adventures that allow you to explore Uzbekistan however you would like. By partnering with local guides, you can avoid language barriers and logistical issues, making your trip hassle-free and unforgettable. 

With over 25 years of experience travelling to Central Asia, our experts are here to bring your dream trip to life. We take care of the entire itinerary, including everything from travel and accommodation to activities and excursions, which allows you to focus your attention on enjoying the attractions. 

Our sustainable and immersive travel options aim to break down barriers, dispel myths and bring people from different cultures and communities together. Our small group adventures to Uzbekistan are available throughout the year and are the perfect outlet for solo travellers and couples to meet other travel enthusiasts before taking in the sights of a truly beautiful country.  

We use our experience, expertise, and network of connections to build the best tour packages. In order to enhance the travel experience, we limit our group size to a maximum of 12 participants, typically travelling with around 9 individuals. By keeping groups small, we are able to create more intimate connections with locals and attractions, while also reducing our environmental impact and leaving space for spontaneous moments... Our knowledge of the key destinations from Bukhara to Tashkent, as well as events taking place throughout the year, leaves us perfectly positioned to design and deliver world-class experiences. 

Alternatively, our tailor made holidays to Uzbekistan are perfect when you want things your way.  

Our team of travel experts will collaborate with you throughout the planning process to ensure you have a truly unforgettable journey. We combine popular attractions with unique, off-the-beaten-path adventures to create a one-of-a-kind trip that will leave a lasting impression on you. 

Our award-winning guides don’t only take you to extraordinary places. We also bring them to life, allowing you to take in the incredible culture with unparalleled results. Moreover, our experts are here to assist you with the entry requirements and other preparations. Unique travel to Uzbekistan never looked better. 

Whichever route you take, our tour operators are 100% committed to building incredible packages that allow you to explore beautiful Uzbekistan in the most effective and convenient ways imaginable. Our passion for exploration is evident and we’ll allow you to enjoy both the best known tourist attractions and hidden gems for an unforgettable and magical time. 

To find out more or book your trip to Uzbekistan, get in touch today.