Uzbekistan Small Group Tour 2023

Tashkent, Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand

Uzbekistan remains the most-visited country in Central Asia, and it’s easy to see why. The country is bursting with ancient architectural wonders, friendly people and mouth-watering food. The fact that it’s small in size makes it possible to visit all the major cities in a short period of time, and you’ll find that while Uzbekistan is growing in popularity among tourists, it has continued to retain an atmosphere of authenticity and simplicity.
On our Uzbekistan Small Group Tours 2023, you’ll travel by plane, train and private car to Uzbekistan’s four most beloved cities: Tashkent, Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand, where you’ll see world-famous sights, haggle with vendors in the bazaars, and taste each city’s culinary delights. These partially escorted tours of Uzbekistan also take you off the beaten path to overnight in a yurt camp, learn pottery from a local master and travel the lonely desert sands, providing a rich week-long experience in this endearing land.

Arrive in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, where your driver will help you to transfer to your hotel. Hotel check-in begins at noon, followed by a free day in Tashkent. Overnight in your Tashkent hotel.
Meals: none
Optional Activities:
After breakfast you’ll take a Tashkent to Urgench flight from the domestic airport (1093 km, 1 hr 40 min).
Upon arrival in Urgench your driver will meet you at the airport to take you on a tour of Ellik Kala Region (80 km, 1-1.5 hrs). This area holds the Desert Castles of Ancient Khorezm, historically significant fortresses built during the height of the Kushan dynasty. Your drive will include stops at three major fortresses:
  • Kyzyl Kala Fortress, a remnant of antique history from the Kushan dynasty.
  • Toprak Kala, one of the most unique monuments in all Khorezm due to its size and architecture, which served as the capital of Khorezm in the 3rd century AD.
  • Ayaz Kala, a Zoroastrian complex that holds on of the largest fortresses in Khorezm, with ruins dating from 4th century BC – 2nd century AD.
End your day at a yurt camp, where you’ll enjoy a local meal while stargazing under the desert sky. Overnight at the yurt camp.
(Note: no guide will accompany you on Day 2).
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
After breakfast drive to Khiva (110 km, 2 hrs), stopping along the way for photos of sand dunes in the Kyzylkum Desert. Check-in to your Khiva hotel around noon and begin your walking tour within Khiva’s Ichan Kala Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to visit its most famous places:
  • Kunya-Ark Fortress, the inner citadel of Ichan Kala.
  • Kalta Minor Tower – Had construction been completed, it would have been the tallest minaret in Central Asia, yet now its name literally means “the short tower”.
  • Muhammad Amin-Khan, the largest medieval madrassah in Khiva.
  • Muhammad Rahim Khan Madrasah – one of the largest madrassahs in all of Central Asia.
  • Juma Mosque (Friday Mosque), with 212 wooden columns and a minaret 32.5 meters high.
  • Tash-Hauli (Stone Courtyard) Palace, resembling a fortress with high battlements, towers and fortified gates.
  • Pahlavan Mahmud Necropolis - the former religious center of Ichan Kala.
  • Residence of Islam Khodja, the vizier of the last khan. This ensemble includes a madrassah and a minaret with a viewing platform 45 meters high, the highest observation point in town. Climb the minaret yourself to enjoy the breathtaking panoramic view!
Overnight at your Khiva hotel.
Tour duration: 6 hours
Meals: breakfast
After breakfast, head to the railway station for your morning departure to Bukhara. Your train will take a similar route as that of the Great Silk Road, which also ran through this desert between Khiva and Bukhara. Arrive in Bukhara in the afternoon, where your driver will meet you at the station to take you to your hotel.
Enjoy down time as you explore the old streets of Bukhara, whose alleyways resemble a living depiction of “A Thousand and One Nights”.
Overnight at the hotel.
Meals: breakfast
Optional Activities:
  • The Bozori Kord Hammam (public bathhouse) was built in the 14th century and has been in regular use ever since. The hammam experience may be one of the most memorable ones of your trip! You’ll immerse yourself in centuries-old traditions and, after two days in the desert, will come out cleaner than you’ve ever been. (App. 25 USD).
  • Nodir Devon Begi evening folk-show includes local dances, colorful costumes, a traditional band and even an Uzbek fashion show. (App. 10 USD)
Begin the day by exploring Bukhara on a walking tour with your local guide. Enjoy your private tour of the Old City’s most impressive sights:
  • The Lyabi-Hauz ensemble holds the largest artificial reservoir of medieval Bukhara (14-17th centuries) and includes the Khanaka and Kukeldash Madrassahs (16th century), and the Nadir Divan Beghi Madrassah (16th century).
  • Magoki-Attori Mosque, the oldest mosque in Bukhara (12th century), is considered a masterpiece of Bukharin architecture.
  • Four Trade Domes (15-16th centuries): Toqi Zargaron, Toqi Sarrafon,Toqi Telpak Furushon and Tim Abdulla Khan, where you can join your traveling predecessors in purchasing carpets, jewelry, fabrics, ceramics and other handmade souvenirs inside these domes.
  • Poi Kalyan Ensemble (12-16th centuries), consisting of the Kalyan Minaret, Kalyan Mosque, Amir-Allimkhan Madrasah and Miri-Arab Madrasah. Includes an active madrassah, one of the most esteemed Islamic universities of ancient times and a ‘Tower of Death’ minaret where criminals were formerly executed.
  • Ulugbek Madrasah (15th century) and Abdulazizkhan Madrasah (17th century), these relatively untouched religious schools have remained crudely intact through the passing of time.
  • The Ark Fortress (4th century), the ancient center of Bukharin statehood and currently home to a small museum.
  • Bolo-Khauz Complex, consisting of an artfully decorated 18th century mosque, a minaret and reservoirs that once provided water for the entire city.
  • Samanids Mausoleum (9-10th centuries), the most ancient brick building in Central Asia.
  • Chashma Ayub Mausoleum (Saint Job’s Source, 14th century), once considered a sacred site where a prophet of old caused clear springs of healing water to burst forth from the earth.
Overnight at the hotel.
Tour duration: 6-7 hours
Meals: breakfast
Check-out of your hotel after breakfast and begin the day with an excursion to Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa, the summer residence of Bukhara’s last emir.
Drive to Gijduvon (50 km), a small town whose traditional crafts and ceramics have been sought after in Central Asia for centuries due to their quality and colorful, decorative style. You'll take a pottery class taught by a local master.
After lunch, continue driving to Samarkand (240 km, 3.5 hrs). Along the way, stop by the Rabat-i-Malik Caravanserai ruins and Sardoba, an ancient reservoir.
Arrive in Samarkand, the capital of Tamerlane's Empire. Check in to the hotel and have a free evening to rest or explore your neighborhood.
Overnight at the hotel in Samarkand.
Meals: breakfast, lunch
Optional Activity:
  • Visit the Samarkand Khovrenko Winery, which is over 150 years old and today continues to produce a range of wines, brandy and vodka. The tour includes a wine museum and a special wine tasting room. (App.15 USD)
After breakfast, your guide will meet you at your hotel to begin your private city tour of Samarkand. Led by your local, professional guide, you’ll visit:
  • Gur Emir, the mausoleum of Tamerlane and Mirzo Ulugbek.
  • Registan Square, the social and commercial center of Samarkand for centuries and Samarkand’s most famous site today. The square includes three madrasahs: Ulugbek Madrasah (15th century), Sher-Dor Madrasah (17th century) and Tilla-Kori Madrasah (17th century).
  • A boulevard lined with workshops, souvenir stores and ice cream stands.
  • Siab Bazaar, a multi-level complex where you can shop for souvenirs and sample sweets, fruits and Samarkand’s famous bread.
  • Bibi Khanum Mosque, built by Tamerlane for his favorite wife.
  • Shakhi-Zinda, a burial complex built between the 9th-14th centuries. Climb the blue-domed path and explore more than 20 small mausoleums that line the broad alleyway.
  • Ulugbek Observatory, the remains of a 14th-15th century sextant, and its accompanying museum on the astronomer’s life.
After your Samarkand tour you’ll be taken to the railway station to catch your train to Tashkent. Upon arrival in Tashkent, a driver will meet you and bring you to your hotel. Overnight at the hotel in Tashkent.
Samarkand City tour duration: 6 hours.
Meals: breakfast
Check-out from the hotel by noon. Your driver will take you to the airport for your departure flight. End of the Uzbekistan Small Group Tour.
Meals: breakfast

Dates & prices

Departure End Deadline Status Price
  • Accommodation based on double/twin room in a B&B, with breakfast (6 nights);
  • Accommodation in a yurt camp, shared room, with lunch, dinner and breakfast (1 night);
  • Transportation on days 2, 3, 6, 7 and all pick-up and drop-off from airports and train stations (1-2 people in sedan, 3-8 in minivan);
  • Private, local English-speaking guide and entrance fees to the sights as per itinerary on days 3, 5 and 7;
  • Economy-class tickets for the Khiva-Bukhara, Samarkand-Tashkent train (on rare occasions when the high-speed train is unavailable, we will replace it with tickets on the regular train);
  • Economy class flight ticket from Tashkent to Urgench (flight times subject to change based upon availability);
  • Pottery masterclass and lunch in Gijduvan;
  • 1L bottle of water per person per day.
  • Tour leader to accompany the travelers for the whole duration of the tour;
  • Full board (lunches and dinners);
  • Costs for the ‘optional activities’ listed on days 1, 4 and 6;
  • Hotel charges for additional services;
  • Consular fees for Uzbekistan tourist visa;
  • Travel insurance;
  • All services not mentioned above as included in the Uzbekistan tour plan price.


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