11 Days - Classic Escorted Tours

The fabled Silk Road from China to Europe was, in reality, always a number of differing and competing routes, but the most successful of them passed through present-day Uzbekistan. In particular, the cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva. The region was well known in ancient times as the land of the Scythians, conquered back in 329BC by Alexander the Great.  Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes passed through in the 12th-century, followed by Tamerlane, known locally as Amir Timur, a century or so later. Timur initiated a vast building programme and ‘invited’ the greatest artisans in his empire to help create the extraordinary monuments you will explore on our tour. In the nineteenth century, the British in India vied with Imperial Russia to control the area in the so-called ‘Great Game’. After some unsuccessful diplomatic manoeuvres and military defeats in neighbouring Afghanistan, the British lost out to the Russians who finally gained full control after the 1917 revolution. Uzbekistan remained part of the Soviet Union until its collapse in the 1990s. For modern, independent Uzbekistan, Timur has now become the national hero and his colossal statue has supplanted Karl Marx in the main square of the city. The many years within the USSR nevertheless created good infrastructure and a secular society, proud of its ancient past.  As well as its rich history and culture, Uzbekistan has much to offer to those who appreciate art and architecture too. Striking ceramic tiles can be found scattered around the cities, with many of the ornate mosaics decorating the incredible monuments. The region is also famed for its intricate wood carving, found not only on the buildings but also in the local handicrafts of the area. The bustling bazaars are a hive for impressive hand-made ornaments, an abundance of authentic street food and ingredients and a variety of carpets, particularly well-known for their colourful, hand embroidered textiles. Look out for the famous chugirmas too, distinctive, furry handmade hats, made historically from sheepskin. On our fascinating guided tour, be sure to try the culinary traditions of the region too. Authentic Uzbek cuisine is brimming with modest mutton dishes, dumplings and hand-spun noodles. The signature dish of the region is plov, also known as pilaf, a simple rice recipe cooked over an open fire, which often features carrots, onions, raisins and locally sourced mutton. With the abundance of sheep in the country, you’ll notice a lot of mutton dishes on Uzbek menus. Again, it is showcased in the likes of their shurpa (traditional soup), dimlama (stew) and qasqoni or manti (steamed dumplings) often prepared in a special steamer known as a mantyshnitsa.  From mosques to madrassas and mosaics to mausoleums, take in the sights of the Silk Road on this unmissable Uzbekistan tour. Absorb the culture of the ancient cities and astounding desert landscapes of this dynamic destination, full of wonder, culture and history. With recent renewed interest in both the historical and modern Silk Road, now is the ideal time to discover this endlessly intriguing country as it starts to open up to the world, with the bonus of no visa requirements and less than seven hours flying away.


  • Happy by day two or we'll bring you home with a full refund
  • Stay in three of Central Asia’s most extraordinary cities; Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand
  • Guided walks through the incredible UNESCO World Heritage site of Khiva, still completely enclosed by its ancient walls 
  • See the places where the ‘Great Game’ was played out between Britain and Russia in the 19th-century
  • Discover how first the Russian Tzars and then the Soviet state influenced and changed this strategic region
  • Guided visits through bustling local markets and fascinating bazaars full of colourful handicrafts, including Chorsu bazaar, the largest in the country
  • Travel through vast plains and deserts and cross the fabled River Oxus
  • Discover the old summer palace of the last Emir of Bukhara, which was built in the early 20th-century
  • Visit ancient mosques, covered markets and forbidding fortresses, see soaring minarets and vaulted caravanserais
  • Marvel at the outstanding intricacy and vibrant colours in almost every shade of blue of the tiles adorning ancient mosques
  • Visit the little village of Gijduvan, famed for its master potters, to meet a family who have perfected their craft over seven generations
  • Wonder at the exquisite beauty of Samarkand’s Registan Square, the epicentre of Tamerlane’s great empire and visit his mausoleum
  • Travel on Uzbekistan’s new fast trains from Samarkand to Tashkent
  • Stay in hand-picked three-star and four-star accommodation, with daily breakfast and nine meals


  • The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a room. Single rooms are subject to availability, at the relevant supplement. The price includes:
  • Return direct flights
  • Overseas transfers
  • Nine nights in three and four-star accommodation
  • Daily breakfast
  • Nine meals
  • Local accommodation taxes
  • Touring and coach travel as mentioned in the itinerary
  • The services of our experienced and insightful tour manager throughout