Small Group Uzbekistan Tours 2018-2019

Small Group Tour: Essentials of the Silk Road 201927 Days | Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia

Tour map

Group size: 1 - 16 persons

Please note that itinerary and price on 2019 tour are subject to change due to airline and train schedule changes, currency fluctuations and other unforeseeable events.

A shorter itinerary doesn’t mean that this tour isn’t full of the most interesting and important sights of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan in Central Asia; Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia in South Caucasus. In just 27 days, you’ll go from medieval metropolises to vast desert, rich flavors to richer decorations. Uzbekistan is all about the great cities of the Silk Road: Tashkent, Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand. The grandest monuments of these cities have been preserved, allowing you to walk through the same streets that traders and caravans would have crossed thousands of years ago. Turkmenistan is a land of desert, with oasis cities that flourished as refuges from the intense heat and helped those on long journeys. Kunya-Urgench and Mary, once powerful cities, have long since become ruins, while Ashgabat has risen to become the grand capital of Turkmenistan. Head to Baku next, to immerse yourself in the charm and character of the Caucasus. Enjoy the prehistoric petroglyphs and royal palaces of Azerbaijan, and the mountain churches and warm flavors of Georgia. Both countries are full of multicultural traditions and stunning landscapes, sure to leave you with vivid memories. The Essentials of the Silk Road Tour does more than just take you to these places - you’ll get to taste regional dishes, meet with locals, and share your experiences with like-minded travelers from around the world in your group.

Participants need to be in good health, be able to walk for 4-6 hours every day at moderate speed, climb stairs and hills, and be able to carry their own luggage for up to 1 km across borders.

Tour itinerary:

Day 1, Th: Tashkent – arrival (UZB)
 
Arrive in Tashkent. You will be met by our driver and transferred to the hotel. Check in to the hotel at 14:00. Free time. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 2, Fr: Tashkent – Urgench – Khiva (UZB)
 
After breakfast at 09:00 start Tashkent city tour. You will visit Old City part of Tashkent that includes Khast-Imam Complex and Chorsu Bazaar. After, continue to the city center to walk through Amir Timur Square, Independence Square and explore Applied Arts Museum. Free time. At 16:30 transfer to the domestic Airport to get the evening flight HY057 to Urgench at 18:40 (1093 km, 1 h 40 min). Arrival in Urgench at 20:20, transfer to the hotel in Khiva (30 km, 35 min).
Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours
Day 3, Sa: Khiva (UZB)
 
After breakfast start guided walking sightseeing tour. Spend a day in Ichan-Qala fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit Mukhammad Amin Khan Madrasah, Mukhammad Rahimkhan Madrasah, Kalta Minor, Kunya-Ark, Juma Mosque, Tosh-Khovli Palace, Pakhlavan Makhmud Mausoleum, Minaret of Islom-Khoja. Free time in the afternoon. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 5 hours
Day 4, Su: Khiva – Kunya-Urgench – Darvaza gas crater (UZB/ TUR)
 
Breakfast. At 08:00 drive to Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan border point Shavat-Dashoguz (60 km, 1 h). Go through border formalities on both checkpoints. Cross the 1.5 km neutral zone (transportation may not be available). Meet your Turkmenistan guide and drive to Kunya Urgench (100 km, 1 h 30 min). Visit mausoleums of Turebek-Khanym, Sultan Tekesh, Sultan Il Arslan, Najmad-din-Kubra, Sultan Ali. Discover the Kutlug Timur Minaret and Kyrk Molla hill. In the afternoon drive to Darvaza gas crater located in the middle of Karakum desert (270 km, 4 h). Set up the camp. Enjoy a delicious fire-cooked meal for dinner near the burning gas crater. Overnight in tents.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 2 hours
Day 5, Mo: Darvaza gas crater – Ashgabat (TUR)
 
After camp style early breakfast depart to Ashgabat at 08:00 (280 km, 3h 30 min). On the way stop at Erbent village to witness the life of locals surrounded by desert. Arrive in Ashgabat at 11:30. Start a sightseeing tour in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan that has recently been noted by the Guinness Book of World Records as having more white marble buildings than any other city in the world. During the city tour you will explore an archaeological site of Old Nissa (included in UNESCO World Heritage list) and Spiritual Mosque, one of the biggest mosques in Central Asia. You will visit the National Carpet Museum, the Monument of Neutrality, Presidential Square, Ertugrul Gazy Mosque and newly built Independence Park. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 6 hours
Day 6, Tu: Ashgabat – Mary – Merv – Bukhara (TUR/ UZB)
 
Early breakfast. Transfer to the Airport to take a morning flight to Mary at 06:15 (370 km, 40 min). Upon arrival, drive to Merv (40 km, 30 min), an ancient city that was a major center of international trade and crafts on the Silk Road. Discover historical park: Sultan Sanjar Mausoleum, Large and Small Gyz Gala, Erk Gala, Gyaur Gala, Keshk Fortress and others. In the afternoon drive to Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan border point “Farap-Alat” (290 km, 5 h 30 min). Go through border formalities on both checkpoints. Cross the 1.5 km neutral zone (transportation may not be available). Meet your driver and continue to Bukhara (100 km, 1 h 30 min). Arrival in Bukhara, check in to the hotel for overnight.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours
Day 7, We: Bukhara (UZB)
 
Breakfast. Enjoy a walking sightseeing tour with a guide in Old City. Visit Lyabi-Khauz Ensemble, Magoki-Attori Mosque, Chor-Minor Madrasah, trade domes, Kalyan Minaret, Kalyan Mosque and Miri-Arab Madrasah, Ulugbek and Abdulazizkhan madrasahs, Ark Fortress, Bolo-Khauz Mosque, Ismail Samani and Chashma-Ayub mausoleums. Visit a national show at Nadir Divan-begi Madrasah. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours
Day 8, Th: Bukhara – Samarkand (UZB)
 
Breakfast. Continue sightseeing tour with a guide. Drive out of the city to Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa – the summer residence of Bukhara’s last emir. Head to the Mausoleum of Bakhouddin Naqshbandi. At 15:00 transfer to the railway station to take the high-speed Afrosiyob train departing to Samarkand at 15:50. Arrive in Samarkand at 17:25. Transfer to the hotel. Free time. 
Duration of sightseeing tour: 2-3 hours
Day 9, Fr: Samarkand – Penjikent – Samarkand (UZB/ TAJ/ UZB)
 
Early morning transfer to the Uzbekistan-Tajikistan border crossing at Jartepa (50 km, 1 h). Customs and passport control on both sides, cross the border, meet Tajik local guide and driver and drive to Seven Lakes (80 km, 1.5 – 2 h). The Seven Lakes are located in the west of the Fann Mountains; each of them has its own colour, which varies from calming turquoise to mesmerizing purple. After lunch drive to Penjikent. Sightseeing in Penjikent: Rudaki Museum, local Bazaar and mosque. Lunch at local restaurant. After lunch drive to the ruins of ancient Penjikent located within 5 minutes drive from modern Penjikent. Panjikent a major Sogdian city is dating back to 5th century and was destroyed with Arab conquerors in 8th century.
Late in the afternoon return to the Jartepa border crossing (130 km), customs and passport control, continue to Uzbekistan. On Uzbekistan side meet your driver and transfer to your hotel in Samarkand.
Day 10, Sa: Samarkand (UZB)
 
Breakfast. Start city tour. Visit spectacular Registan Square, Gur Emir Mausoleum – the mausoleum of Amir Timur, remains of Bibi Khanum Mosque, Siyob Bazaar and Ulugbek Observatory. Then drive to Konigil village to explore traditional way of making Samarkand paper from mulberry. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours
Day 11, Su: Samarkand – Tashkent (UZB)
 
Breakfast. Continue sightseeing: visit Shakhi-Zinda Necropolis, Afrosiyob Museum, the Tomb of Saint Daniel. Free time. At 16:30 transfer to the railway station. Take the high-speed Afrosiyob train departing to Tashkent at 17:30 (300 km). You will arrive at 19:40. Pick-up and transfer to the hotel. Enjoy dinner and your last day in Central Asia.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 3-4 hours
Day 12, Mo: Tashkent – Baku (UZB/ AZE)
 
Transfer to Tashkent International Airport. Departure to Baku on HY 755 (07:00 - 08:55). Arrival in Baku. Transfer to your hotel for luggage drop off. Check-in at 14:00. Free day in Baku.
At 18:30 meet your guide and the group members at the hotel lobby. Enjoy dinner at a national restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 13, Tu: Baku (AZE)
 
At 09:00, start a sightseeing tour in Baku. Visit Martyrs' Lane called ‘Shehidler Khiyabany’ among locals. When you walk through Martyrs' Lane, you will find a beautiful view overlooking Baku’s coastline. Continue touring new Baku and exploring architecture of 19-20th centuries: Nizami Street, Fountain Square, Nizami Ganjavi monument. Pay a visit to Azerbaijan History National Museum and move to Icheri Sheher, the old part of the city. Visit Maiden Tower, Shirvanshahs’ Palace, Caravanserai, and market square with numerous art studios and souvenir stalls. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 5-6 hours
Day 14, We: Baku – Gobustan – Absheron Peninsula – Baku (AZE)
 
Meet your guide at 09:00. Today you will visit the area of the Greater Baku and Absheron Peninsula. Start with Gobustan National Park. Pay a visit to the Petroglyphs Museum and explore petroglyphs dating back to 10,000 BC. If the weather allows, continue to mud volcanoes in Gobustan Reserve (change of vehicle to smaller cars). Gobustan is home to almost half of world’s mud volcanoes. Later drive to Ateshgah – temple of fire worshippers located in Surakhany village. Zoroastrians from India travelled thousands of kilometers to Ateshgah to worship fire coming out of the earth. Drive to Yanardag Mountain with natural gas burning for several thousands of years. Return to Baku. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 7-8 hours
Day 15, Th: Baku – Shamakhi – Lahich – Sheki (AZE)
 
At 08:30, depart Baku and drive to Sheki. On the way, stop at Diri Baba Mausoleum in Maraza village. Continue to Shamakhi and have a sightseeing of historical Juma Mosque. If the weather allows, drive through Girdimanchay River canyon to visit Lahich, the 5th century quaint corner high in Caucasus mountains rich in its historic and architectural values. Lahich is an ancient village with charming cobbled sidewalks. It is famous for its medieval water supply and sewage systems, as well as traditional jewelry, copperware, carpets, pottery, daggers, and iron tools workshops. Continue driving to Sheki. Arrival in Sheki at 18:00-19:00 for overnight at the hotel.
Day 16, Fr: Friday: Sheki – border Lagodekhi – Kvareli – Gremi – Telavi (AZE/GEO)
 
At 10:00, start a sightseeing tour. Visit Sheki Khans Palace, handicrafts workshop, caravanserai, and local bazaar. Depart Sheki and head towards border with Georgia (115 km, apx. 2 h). Cross the border, meet your Georgian guide and start exploring the eastern part of Georgia, famous for its viticulture and winemaking traditions. On the way to Winery Khareba you will enjoy beautiful landscapes of vineyards and wine-producing villages. The unique wine cellar is located in the tunnel carved out of the rock. Originally built for military purposes, today the tunnel is used to store Kakheti’s finest wines. Wine tour and wine tasting. Continue to Gremi architectural complex, 16th century royal residence and the capital of Kakheti Kingdom. Reach your hotel at 18:30-19:30.
Day 17, Sa: Telavi – Tsinandali – Bodbe – Sighnaghi – Tbilisi (GEO)
 
Continue exploring Kakheti; you will visit Tsinandali, residence of dukes of Georgia, with beautiful English garden, museum, and wine cellar which belonged to prince Chavchavadze, public figure and poet of the 19th century. Continue to Bodbe Convent and Sighnaghi Royal Town, one of the crossroads of the Silk Road surrounded by defensive walls with 23 towers. In the afternoon, head to Tbilisi for overnight.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours
Day 18, Su: Tbilisi (GEO)
 
In the morning, start a sightseeing tour in Tbilisi. Start at Metekhi church and the monument to Vakhtang Gorgasali, the legendary founder of Tbilisi. Visit Narikala Fortress to enjoy breathtaking panoramic view of the city. Walk down to the district of Sulphur bath houses passing by the only mosque in Tbilisi. Stroll through the Sharden area full of narrow streets with cozy cafés, wine tasting bars, souvenir shops, and breathe in the living past. Visit Sioni Cathedral, Anchiskhati Basilica, the clock tower of famous Rezo Gabriadze Theatre, and Bridge of Peace leading to Rike Park.
At 19:30, visit a local restaurant to taste dishes of traditional Georgian cuisine. Overnight in Tbilisi.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 5-6 hours
Day 19, Mo: Tbilisi – Jvari – Ananuri – Kazbegi – Gudauri (GEO)
 
Today you will explore the north of Georgia. First stop will be at Jvari Church, a true architectural masterpiece of the early Medieval Period built on a hilltop. You will enjoy the views of the confluence of Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers. Continue to Ananuri complex, a former residence of Argveti Dukes. The complex features churches and towers dating back to the 16-17th centuries, beautifully overlooking the Jinvali reservoir. Drive further to see the conjunction of two small mountain rivers famous for keeping different colors even after they merge. Then, drive over the Cross Pass and make a short stop at the Soviet-era “People’s Friendship” mountain view point. In Kazbegi, you will change the vehicle to a four-wheel drive car to reach Gergeti Holy Trinity Church located at an altitude of 2170 m and enjoy breathtaking views of Mount Kazbegi. Reach Gudauri at around 19:00. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 20, Tu: Gudauri – Gori – Uplistsikhe – Mtskheta – Tbilisi (GEO)
 
After breakfast, drive to Gori and visit the Stalin Museum. The museum includes more than 60,000 artifacts, the tiny house where Stalin was born, and impressive bulletproof train Stalin used to travel to Yalta and Potsdam. Explore the cave town Uplistsikhe, dating back to Hellenistic Period and notable for the unique combination of various styles of rock-cut cultures and co-existence of pagan and Christian architecture. Continue to Mtskheta, one of the oldest towns and the cultural and religious centre of Georgia. Mtskheta was the capital of the Eastern Georgian Kingdom of Iberia from the third century BC. Visit Svetitskhoveli Cathedral which may be translated as "The Life-giving pillar". Svetitskhoveli is the main cathedral of Mtskheta and a sacred place where the robe of Christ is being kept. Reach Tbilisi for overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 9-10 hours
Day 21, We: Tbilisi – free day (GEO)
 
Free leisure day in Tbilisi (guide and transportation are not provided). Please see the suggested day-long getaways:
Kutaisi Tour
Dmanisi and Bolnisi Tour
Khada Gorge Trekking
If you opt for staying in Tbilisi, we have compiled the list of must-do activities.
We suggest visiting:
  • National Gallery on Rustaveli avenue to see paintings of famous Georgian artists Niko Pirosmani, David Kakabadze, and Lado Gudiashvili;
  • Tbilisi flea market at Dry Bridge where you can find antiquities, many of which are from the Soviet period, paintings of local artists, and handmade Georgian souvenirs;
  • Recently-renovated pedestrian David Agmashenebeli Avenue full of historical buildings with beautiful facades made in art nouveau, pseudo gothic, classicism styles with mix of typical Georgian ornaments and balconies. All along the street there are plenty of cozy art cafés, gallery-shops, and wine bars;
  • Dezertirebi bazaar with local natural products such as Georgian sweets – churchkhela, dried fruits, various kinds of nuts, spices, and Georgian cheeses;
  • Funicular railway to Mtatsminda mountain with a beautiful view of Tbilisi;
  • Wander in Sololaki area full of Art Nouveau houses.
In the evening, you can visit famous Tbilisi sulphur bath houses and relax after a long day in a hot, naturally sulphur-enriched water.
For those who are interested in culture, we suggest visiting State Opera House of Georgia and enjoy ballet or opera performance.
Day 22, Th: Tbilisi – Armenian border – Haghpat – Lake Sevan – Sevanavank – Yerevan (GEO/ARM)
 
At 09:00, our driver will meet you at your hotel in Tbilisi and transfer to “Sadakhlo-Bagratashen” Georgian-Armenian border point. Cross the border, meet your Armenian guide and driver to start the journey to the land of ancient traditions and the oldest temples.
Drive to Lori region and visit Haghpat monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This stunning example of Armenian traditional architecture was erected in the 10-13th centuries. Standing on a hillside, Haghpat beautifully overlooks the Debed River. The location of the monastery was chosen to protect the peace and seclusion of the monks. Drive through Dilijan to Lake Sevan, “The Jewel of Armenia” and one of the largest high-mountain freshwater lakes in the world. The coastline of Lake Sevan is rich with thick woods, white bare steep rocks, mountain steppes and Alpine meadows. Stop at Sevanavank to visit the remnants of the monastery that include two temples – Surb Arakelots and Surb Astvatsatsin standing among numerous khachkars - carved cross-stones. The buildings were constructed from black tuff which probably gave the monastery its name Sevanavank – “the Black Monastery”. The place opens up a magnificent view: the mountains surround lake from all sides and snow tops are seen almost on the entire perimeter and disappear behind horizon. Continue to Yerevan for overnight.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 9-10 hours
Day 23, Fr: Yerevan – Etchmiadzin – Yerevan (ARM)
 
At 10:00, start city tour in Yerevan.
One of the oldest cities of the world, Yerevan is famous as a pink city and calls visitors with its humble and at the same time splendid landscapes. Visit the Cascade Monument, which was the main symbol of the city’s 2780th anniversary with the equivalent number of stairs. The mega scale staircase is 500 meters high and 50 meters wide. A panoramic view from the monument opens breathtaking city view with Opera House, Mount Ararat, Swan Lake, Republic Square, and Abovyan Avenue, which you will also walk by during the tour. Visit the Armenian Genocide memorial complex on the hill of Tsitsernakaberd. Continue to the Holy See of Armenia, Etchmiadzin. Visit Etchmiadzin Cathedral, which is the residence of the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Catholicos of All Armenians. Return to Yerevan for overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours
Day 24, Sa: Yerevan – Khor Virap – Areni cave – Noravank – Goris (ARM)
 
At 09:00 head to Khor Virap Monastery (“deep pit”). According to the legend, St. Gregory the Illuminator, the patron saint of Armenia, was kept here in the basement for 13 years for the disseminating of Christianity until King Tiridates decided to adopt the new religion. The monastery's location allows you to enjoy the best views of the Mount Ararat. Drive to Areni cave complex, where in 2010 the earliest shoe was found. Continue to Noravank Complex, situated on a ledge above a deep winding gorge. The Noravank ensemble stands amidst the bizarre-shaped precipitous red cliffs.
Arrival in Goris at around 18:00. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 25, Su: Goris – Tatev – Areni – Yerevan (ARM)
 
After breakfast at 09:00 check out from the hotel.
Drive to Tatev Monastery (9-13th centuries). Approaching the jewel of medieval Armenian architecture on the longest aerial tramway in the world, you will see the monastery, the powerful impregnable stronghold towering on a rock. The remote location of the monastery was strategically favorable as it played the role of religious and political center of the region.
Depart back to Yerevan. On the way, stop in Areni, a town known for producing wine from pomegranate, apricots, and a variety of berries. Have a wine tasting at a local winery. Arrive in Yerevan at around 18:00. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 26, Tu: Yerevan – Garni – Geghard – Yerevan (ARM)
 
At 09:00, depart Yerevan and drive to Garni, one of the major villages in Armenia famous for its fortress. The fortress is the only pagan sacred place from the 1st century that survived aggressive introduction of Christianity in the 4th century. Next stop is at the monastery complex Geghard  (“spear”). The beautiful landscape of Geghard is framed with towering cliffs. Decorative art cut into rocks reflects and explains Middle Ages development in this part of the world. The complex appeared in the 4th century as a sacred spring inside the cave. Return to Yerevan. Free time.
At 19:00, enjoy farewell dinner at the traditional restaurant with a folklore show. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 5-6 hours
Day 27, Tu: Yerevan – departure (ARM)
 
Check-out from the hotel till noon. Free time till transfer to Yerevan International Airport. End of the tour.

Accommodation:

City

Hotels

Nights

Tashkent

Ichan Qala, Bek, Sharq

2

Khiva

Malika Kheivak, Orient Star, Qosha Darvoza

2

Darvaza

Camping

1

Ashgabat

Ak-Altyn, Grand Turkmen

1

Bukhara

Fatima, Volida, Amulet, Minzifa, K.Komil

2

Samarkand

Sultan, City, Platan, Malika Prime

3

Baku
Shah Palace, Intourist
3
Sheki
Sheki Saray, Sheki Palace, Marxal, Issam
1
Telavi
Chateau Mere, Royal Batoni, Lopota Lake Resort, Akhasheni Resort
1
Tbilisi
River Side, Ibis, Citrus, Coral Boutique
4

Gudauri

Marco Polo, Carpe Diem

1

Yerevan

DoubleTree by Hilton

4

Goris

Mirhav, Goris

1

 

  • All transfers;
  • Accommodation based on double/twin room sharing, breakfasts included;
  • Sightseeing tour program in each country with local English-speaking guides;
  • Entrance tickets to sights as per itinerary;
  • Economy class tickets for flights: Tashkent-Urgench, Ashgabat-Mary, Tashkent-Baku;
  • Economy-class tickets for trains: Bukhara-Samarkand-Tashkent;
  • Visa support letter for Uzbekistan triple entry visa;
  • Visa support for Turkmenistan tourist visa;
  • E-visas to Tajikistan and Azerbaijan;
  • National folklore show in Bukhara;
  • Meals: camp style dinner at Darvaza on Day 4, lunch in Penjikent on Day 9, dinner in Tashkent on Day 11, dinner in Baku on Day 12, dinner in Tbilisi on Day 18, farewell dinner in Yerevan on Day 26;
  • Three wine tastings: two in Kakheti region, Georgia, and one at Areni wine factory, Armenia.
  • Full board (lunches and dinners);
  • Hotel charges for additional services;
  • A tax of 2 US$ per night in Turkmenistan, paid to the hotel upon check out;
  • Personal travel insurance;
  • Consular fees for tourist visas and Turkmenistan migration tax (12 US$);
  • Visa support for Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan tourist visas;
  • E-visas to Georgia, Armenia;
  • Outbound and inbound flight tickets.

 

More similar tours toSmall Group Tour: Essentials of the Silk Road 2019

China-Kyrgyzstan Group Tour 2018

Travel from Urumqi to Bishkek across some of the most spectacular sights of Central Asia. Shop in ancient bazaars, gaze into lakes, and explore the streets of Kashgar and Osh, colorful ...

Details
$ 2875 per person
Silk Road Group Tour 2019

Tour the best of the Silk Road and visit the best of eight countries as you cross thousands of kilometers, magnificent landscapes, and dozens of cities. The most comprehensive and best Silk ...

Details
$ 6530 per person
China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Group Tour 2018

Imagine yourself as a merchant along the Great Silk Road, with stops in the legendary cities of Kashgar, Osh, Bukhara, and Samarkand. Visit archaeological and historical sights, and meet ...

Details
$ 3480 per person