top of page

Top Places to Visit in Uzbekistan - A Travel Guide

Uzbekistan is a Central Asian country with a rich history and culture. It has many impressive mosques, mausoleums, madrasas, bazaars and ancient cities along the famous Silk Road. This travel guide will help you find out the best places to visit in Uzbekistan.

I have visited Uzbekistan and was amazed by its hospitality, delicious food and turquoise domes of ancient buildings. In this article, I want to share my top recommendations on what is worth seeing in Uzbekistan as a tourist.

Is Uzbekistan Worth Visiting?

Definitely yes! Uzbekistan is one of the world's oldest countries with over 3000 years of history. While traveling across Uzbekistan, you'll discover ancient cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva that used to be important trading points on the Great Silk Road.

Uzbekistan has a lot to offer to any tourist - you can spend hours walking in historic city centers, do shopping at colorful bazaars, climb ancient fortresses or just relax in nice parks and squares. Local cuisine is another highlight you shouldn't miss when visiting Uzbekistan.

When is the Best Time to Visit Uzbekistan?

The climate of Uzbekistan is continental with very hot summers and cold winters. The best time to visit is spring (mid-March to May) when mountain flowers start blooming and temperatures are pleasant.

Autumn (September to mid-November) is another good season with sunny and warm weather. Summers are dry and hot, so if you visit Uzbekistan between June and August make sure to always have water with you and avoid walking under the sun during midday hours.

Top 10 Places to See in Uzbekistan

Registan Square in Samarkand

Registan is the main square of Samarkand lined with three madrasas and the most photogenic place in the city. The architectural ensemble consists of three madrasas - Ulugbek, Sher-Dor and Tilla-Kori built in the 15th-17th centuries. Impressive minarets, turquoise domes and Islamic ornament make it one of Uzbekistan's top attractions.

best Places to Visit in Uzbekistan

Shah-i-Zinda Necropolis in Samarkand

Shah-i-Zinda is a holy place with series of mausoleums built between the 11th and 19th centuries. Located near the ancient settlement Afrosiab, Shah-i-Zinda is part of the World Heritage Site - Samarkand. The ensemble has over 20 buildings with intricate mosaics, tiles and Arabic scriptures.

Places to Visit in Uzbekistan

Ark Fortress in Bukhara

Ark fortress dates back to the 5th century AD and used to be residence of Bukhara rulers. The Citadel has seen several reconstructions over centuries with its current layout made in the 18th century. Today visitors can see Throne Room, Reception Hall, Mosque, Prison Cells and Royal Mint Place.

Poi Kalon Complex in Bukhara

Poi Kalon consists of three structures built in the 12th-16th centuries - Kalon Minaret, Kalon Mosque and Mir-i-Arab Madrasa. Kalon Minaret (48 m high) dominated over Bukhara for centuries and served as lighthouse for travelers. You can also visit the mosque and madrasa to see old Qur'ans and artifacts.

Lyab-i Hauz Ensemble in Bukhara

Lyab-i Hauz is a cozy square surrounding one of the few remaining hauz (ponds) in Bukhara. The pond was the main source of water in the past, while now it is surrounded by traditional teahouses. Other prominent buildings located here are the 17th century Kukeldash Madrasa and largest shopping domes in Bukhara.

Itchan Kala in Khiva

Ichan Kala is an old walled city of Khiva that preserves the appearance of this important Silk Road Oasis down to the smallest details. With more than 50 historic sites located within the city walls, Khiva seems to be an open-air museum. Make sure to see Kunya Ark, Tosh Hovli Palace, Juma Mosque, as well as minarets and madrasas.

Afrosiab Museum in Samarkand

Located on the site of ancient settlement of Afrosiab, this museum has one of the world's best collections of wall paintings found in old palaces of Samarkand. Besides 13th-15th centuries paintings, there are also many artifacts discovered on site - coins, ceramics, glassware and sculptures spanning several periods.

Chorsu Bazaar in Tashkent

As the capital and largest city in Uzbekistan, Tashkent has its fair share of bazaars. But Chorsu is the Grand Bazaar located right in the heart of the Old City area. Under turquoise domes you'll find displays of traditional bread, spices, dry fruits all accompanied by authentic Oriental music. Don't forget to try hot green tea with Uzbek bread!

Amir Timur Square in Tashkent

Being the central square in Tashkent, Mustakillik Square offers pleasant walks along fountains and modern buildings neighboring important sites like Opera House and Independence Monument. Previously it was called Lenin Square during Soviet times, but in 1992 got renamed after medieval ruler Amir Timur who established the Timurid Empire.

Fergana Valley

Despite most popular cities being on the Silk Road route, Fergana Valley in the heart of Central Asia equally deserves your attention. Scenic mountain views, green landscapes, craft workshops and talkative people shape the mood of the valley. Consider visiting cities like Margilan, Rishtan or Kokand to experience true Uzbek village lifestyle.

Places to Visit in Uzbekistan

How Much Time Do You Need to Visit Uzbekistan?

Realistically you need around 7-10 days to visit the most important destinations of Uzbekistan. It's possible to see all in a shorter 5-6 day tour as well by taking night trains, but some places require long drives so you'll lack time to fully enjoy cities.

Ideally plan to spend 2 full days in both Samarkand and Bukhara. Khiva and Tashkent can be covered in a day each. Also think of getting outside cities to enjoy scenic nature around Tashkent or drive into the Kyzyl Kum desert from Khiva.

Getting Around Uzbekistan

  • Samarkand and Bukhara are connected by the Afrosiab high-speed train - most comfortable option

  • Shared taxis connect all key destinations usually with fixed prices - no need to negotiate

  • Tashkent has very convenient metro that takes you quickly across the capital

  • Consider hiring a private car for day trips from Bukhara and Khiva

Where to Stay in Uzbekistan

There's a wide variety of hotels in Uzbekistan - from cheap hostels for backpackers to luxury 5-star branded properties. I would highly recommend staying in historic boutique hotels that are often built inside old madrasas or traditional houses. This way you get even more exposures to Uzbek culture.

In general hotels are quite affordable for Western tourists in Uzbekistan and offer good value. Make sure to book early online to secure rooms in popular historic hotels.

Some of my favorite hotels in Uzbekistan:

  • Caravan Hotel in Bukhara

  • Arkanchi B&B in Khiva

  • Grand Samarkand Hotel Superior at Registan Square

  • City Palace Hotel in Tashkent

What is Uzbekistan most famous for?

Uzbekistan is most famous for its ancient Silk Road cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva which contain stunning Islamic architecture. Other major highlights are Registan square in Samarkand and the ruins of once a powerful empire - Timurid dynasty founded by Amir Timur.

How many days are enough to visit Uzbekistan?

You need a minimum of 7 days to visit the key destinations of Uzbekistan including Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva and the capital Tashkent. 10 days are ideal to not rush and enjoy the sights at leisurely pace. Consider visiting during spring or autumn seasons.

What are 3 interesting facts about Uzbekistan?

Three interesting facts about Uzbekistan:

  1. Uzbekistan is one of only two countries in the world that is double landlocked - meaning surrounded completely by landlocked countries.

  2. The ancient cities of Samarkand and Bukhara were flourishing cultural and scientific centers during the Middle Ages - scholars from Europe traveled to study there.

  3. Uzbekistan stands in the historical crossroad between the East and West for millennia as shown by blending of cultures.

Famous things to buy in uzbekistan?

Popular Uzbek souvenirs to buy include colorful ikat fabrics, handmade carpets from Bukhara, ceramics decorated with national ornament, as well as traditional clothing and authentic skull-caps. Great for memorable gifts or your home decoration.

Uzbek Food You Should Try

Lastly, one of the highlights of visiting Uzbekistan is enjoying the delicious cuisine. Here are top 5 Uzbek dishes I would highly recommend trying:

  • Plov - most popular rice dish with lamb, carrots and raisins

  • Manti - steamed meat dumplings that are served with sour cream and tomato sauce

  • Shashlik - skewered chunks of lamb grilled over charcoal

  • Samsa - baked triangle pies with lamb or pumpkin filling

  • Lagman - noodle soup with vegetables and lamb

Whatever places in Uzbekistan you decide visiting, I'm sure you'll come back charmed by its hospitality, iconic blue domes and embroidered skull-caps sold at every corner. Let the adventure begin!


Uzbekistan is an underrated Central Asian travel gem waiting to be explored. For many centuries, it stood at an important crossroad of ancient civilizations as part of the legendary Silk Road. This rich past has left a spectacular cultural legacy - magnificent Islamic architecture blending Eastern and Western influences.

The ancient cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva give a glimpse into medieval times through majestic mosques, madrasas and mausoleums. Beyond history, Uzbekistan charms with intricate crafts and textiles as well as warm hospitality and tasty cuisine. Its diverse natural scenery from desert sands to mountain trails invites adventure seekers as well. After traveling across Uzbekistan, you’re sure to leave with unforgettable memories that will stay long after returning home.


bottom of page