London to Uzbekistan
Rail Adventure

London to Uzbekistan – Rail Adventure – a 24 day Private Tour from £3,800 per person.


We have created this unique adventure based on two of our greatest passions. We have spent decades exploring the world by train and know what a fabulous way it is to discover new countries and to meet local people. As for Uzbekistan and the Silk Road we absolutely adore the region and know our travellers feel the same. It is of no surprise to us that given visa-free entry is now available for many, that the country is getting the attention it deserves. Just don’t leave it too long before going, and for the ultimate adventure why not take the train?

The journey broadly consists of two parts. Firstly you will take an amazingly scenic route from London to Vienna via Switzerland and the fabulous Arlberg Pass through the Alps and into the Austrian Tirol. After time to explore Vienna head east by sleeper train to Ukraine and the beautiful city of Lviv. Continue to Kiev and then to Moscow where you will stay for a couple of nights and take in the city’s key landmarks including Red Square and Saint Basil’s cathedral.

The second part of your journey will take you south and deep into Central Asia. Look forward to a truly epic, 2,000 mile odyssey, travelling across the Steppes of mighty Kazakhstan, the world’s ninth-biggest country. And finally cross into Uzbekistan where you will take time to explore the legendary Silk Road cities of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand before your remarkable adventure ends in in the Uzbek capital Tashkent.

 

Tour ratings.

  • Fitness
  • Off the beaten track 
  • Culture
  • History
  • Wildlife

Tour pace

Busy

Tour style

Traveller

Relaxed Pace

Relaxed tours are easy paced with plenty of leisure time built in. The tour will in all probability still be off the beaten track, with the occasional early start and there may still be occasional long drives. In general on a relaxed pace tour you can enjoy easy-going activities and experiences with opportunities to absorb the sights and immerse yourself in the local surroundings.

Moderate Pace

Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a tour experience that combines activities and experiences with some time to relax. Typically you will be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries. In general on a moderate paced tour there may be some long journeys involved but the tour is not an expedition or a road trip. On a moderate paced tour it will be necessary to have some early starts.

Busy Pace

A busy paced tour means that you can expect to be doing, seeing or experiencing something new almost every day, and moving on from place to place to pack in as much as possible. There may be early starts, long journeys and tiring days along the way, but you’ll return home feeling you’ve really experienced as much as you possibly could.

Pioneer Class Tours

On our Pioneer tours, you will be amongst an elite group of intrepid travellers and some of the first to explore a country that few have been privileged enough to discover. Of course, exploring such areas of the world will come with its challenges; it may mean several nights camping, long journeys by 4WD and the need to maintain a degree of flexibility for when carefully laid plans change. These are challenging tours in countries and areas that may have poor infrastructure, high levels of poverty and illiteracy. This can translate in to low standards in hotels, bad roads and poor driving standards among other issues. We try and smooth out as much of these issues as we can but you should be prepared to experience the bad with the good.

Traveller Class Tours

Our Traveller itineraries are at the core of our programme. These journeys are designed for travellers who still want to discover a land away from the tourist crowds but expect minimum standards. Accommodation will be primarily hotel based, although you could still find yourself camping, or the guest of a local family. Depending on the destination and itinerary, you’ll likely be travelling in a private vehicle, with occasional use of public transport. This is adventure travel with some of the rough edges smoothed out.

Itinerary.

Take a morning Eurostar to Paris. Upon arrival at Gare du Nord make your own way to Gare de Lyon. As you will be travelling with luggage we would recommend a taxi, rather than taking the metro. Or for peace of mind we can pre-arrange a private car transfer. Just let us know at the time of booking. And make sure you allow plenty of time to travel across Paris; we would suggest a minimum of 1½ hours. Or allow a bit longer and why not break your journey for lunch at the fabulous Train Bleu restaurant inside the Gare de Lyon. Opened in 1900, it is decorated in a sumptuous art nouveau style. A great start to your adventure. Be sure to book a table in advance. Continue from Paris to Zurich on a TGV-Lyria train, a journey of just over 4 hours. Arrive in the late afternoon or early evening and stay overnight. We have chosen a hotel that is in close proximity to the station. Overnight Hotel St.Gotthard or similar.

Travel by Rail Holidays

Leave Zurich mid-morning for Vienna by a slick Austrian Railjet train via the fabulous Arlberg Pass through the Alps and into the Austrian Tirol. The train runs along the Zürichsee and Walensee lakes, and then hugs the mountainside, before it snakes through a huge valley, past Swiss and Austrian scenery taken straight from the Sound of Music.  Sit back, relax and perhaps enjoy lunch served at your first class seat. Arrive in Vienna and check-in to your hotel, located very close to the station. Overnight Novotel Wien Hauptbahnhof or similar. (B)Austrian Tyrol

Austria’s Imperial capital offers a unique blend of imperial traditions and stunning modern architecture. It is famous for its cultural events, imperial sights, coffee houses, cosy wine taverns, and the very special Viennese charm. Enjoy the day at your own pace, or if you prefer we can pre-book you a guided tour so you can be sure not to miss any of the key sights. Alternatively, ask at your hotel about taking a popular hop-on-hop-off bus tour. Overnight Novotel Wien Hauptbahnhof or similar. (B)

Late afternoon head back to the station for the next part of your adventure. Board the sleeper for the beautiful city of Lviv. For good reason it is often referred to as the new Prague, so now is the time to visit, before it becomes too discovered. Your accommodation will be in a Ukrainian sleeping-car with private compartments. And be prepared for something quite unusual. At the town of Chop on the Ukrainian border the carriage is jacked up to have its wheelsets changed from European standard gauge (4’8½”) to Russian gauge used in Ukraine (5′). Unfortunately this does take place in the early hours, so you might want to bring some earplugs.

During the evening a Hungarian restaurant car is normally attached to the train, so enjoy dinner before retiring to your cabin. We can recommend you try a glass of Hungarian rose. However, as with all overnight journeys, it is a good idea that you take some provisions. This includes water and perhaps some items to have for breakfast the next morning. Overnight sleeper train (2 berth compartment). (B)

Arrive Lviv mid-morning where you will be met by our local partner and transferred to your hotel. We have kept the rest of the day free for you to relax after your journey from the UK. Or have a wander around as the city can easily be explored on foot. Overnight George Hotel or similar.

Lviv is renowned as one of the prettiest towns in Ukraine and its historic centre has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the morning take in some of its highlights on a guided tour including the Opera House, the Dominican Church and Lviv High Castle, located at the highest point in the city at 413m above sea level. Spend the afternoon at leisure. Overnight George Hotel or similar (B)

Today you will continue by train, taking a late morning departure to Kiev. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel, where you can expect to arrive in time for dinner. Overnight Hotel Rus or similar. (B)

After breakfast meet your guide and explore some of the key sights of Kiev, including the ancient ‘onion-domed’ St Sophia Cathedral, its bustling main boulevard Kreschatyk, and the Golden Gates, the only remaining section of ancient Kiev’s original fortifications. After lunch visit the Pyrohovo Museum of Rural Life and Architecture, a recreated village which contains excellent examples of traditional Ukrainian buildings in an open-air setting. After stocking up on some provisions for the next leg of your journey, your guide will take you back to the station where you will board the overnight sleeper for Moscow. Overnight sleeper train (2 berth compartment). (BL)

Arrive in Moscow at around 10am. You will be met at the station and transferred to your hotel. Your room will probably not be available right away so relax in the hotel’s lounge or explore the local area on foot. After you have been able to check-in and had time to freshen up, your guide will return to the hotel and take you on a short city tour. You will proceed to Red Square – one of Russia’s most iconic landmarks, filled with history. You will see traditional Russian churches with their onion domes and go inside some of them. Later walk through the 130 year old GUM shopping mall. Then see the famous tomb of the first Russian communist leader – Lenin followed by Saint Basil’s cathedral. Overnight Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya.

After a leisurely breakfast enjoy a tour of Moscow’s famous metro system. With your guide ride the metro like a local and enjoy a personalised itinerary. Learn about the history of the system and admire the intricate design, including the futurist architecture at the Mayakovskaya station. Hear stories about each station and choose to add additional stations to your tour. Later return to your hotel and enjoy a free afternoon. Overnight Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya. (B)

Enjoy a full day at leisure before you are escorted to nearby Leningradskaya Station to board a modern overnight sleeper train for the 650 mile journey south to the city of Samara located on the Volga River. Overnight sleeper train (2 berth compartment). (B)

Arrive in Samara at around 9am. You will be met at the station and transferred to your hotel. Your room will probably not be available right away so relax in the hotel’s lounge or explore the local area on foot. After you have been able to check-in and had time to freshen up, your guide will return to the hotel and take you on a short city tour. Located on the east bank of the Volga River Samara was officially founded in 1586 when a fortress was built on the site due to its great vantage point along the river. Legend has it that Alexius, Metropolitan of Moscow and later Patron Saint of Samara visited the site of the city in 1357 and predicted that a great town would be erected there and that the town would never be ravaged. It became a popular port and developed into an important trade route with the East. Probably due to its economic and industrial stability Stalin chose Samara as the capital of the Soviet Union if Moscow was to fall during WWII. Many government ministries and government workers were evacuated to the city at the beginning of the war. Evidence of this decision is the bunker that Stalin had built under the Academy of Art and Culture, which is untouched as it was never used. Samara was an integral part of Russia’s innovative space program and there is a Cosmic Museum and a rocket monument to celebrate this feat. Also not to be missed is the railway station which was opened in 2001. It is the tallest railway station in Europe. At 85m in height there is a viewing point from a balcony on the dome. Overnight Holiday Inn.

After a day to relax in Samara and having enjoyed its riverside location, at around 5pm join the thrice weekly Uzbekistan train for a two night, 1,400 mile journey south. En-route the train crosses Kazakhstan, taking you through wide open plains, alongside mountains, and into the heart of central Asia. You should expect plenty of checking of passports so it is essential that your visas are in order, but such formalities will only add to the sense of adventure, and that this is no ordinary journey. As with the other trains used on this tour, your accommodation on-board will be comfortable and fairly spacious 2-berth sleeper compartments. Dining facilities on the train can be limited so be sure to come prepared. Perhaps ask your hotel to provide some food or a picnic for the long journey. Overnight sleeper train (2 berth compartment)

A full day on-board the Uzbekistan spent passing through Kazakhstan, with plenty of time to meet your fellow passengers. Expect little English to be spoken but no doubt you will make new friends over a few beers or a little vodka in the train’s restaurant car. This is what long distance rail travel is all about; watching the world go by, chatting to other passengers and all of the time discovering a new country and the local culture. Although the train is not as famous as the legendary Trans-Siberian, your journey will be just as exciting and there is a good chance that you will be the only western travellers on-board. (B)

The train continues travelling through Kazakhstan until it reaches the Uzbek border in the afternoon. And finally the Uzbekistan is due to arrive in Tashkent at around 6pm, and considering the sheer distance covered is generally fairly punctual. To offer you a warm Uzbek greeting at the station will be our local guide. Head straight to your hotel, where after two nights on the train a hot shower will be very welcome. Overnight Shodlik Palace or similar.

 

Morning at leisure to relax after your long journey. In the afternoon join your local guide to explore the city. Visit Old Tashkent, the impressive Khast Imam Square, the holy heart of the city where the Telyashayakh Mosque houses the Uthman Koran, said to be the world’s oldest. Afterwards there will be time to wander through Chorsu Bazaar, the largest farmer’s market in Tashkent, filled with the heady smell of spices. Later enjoy an early dinner before a transfer to the railway station where you will board the overnight sleeper to Khiva, a stunning city with a wealth of ancient monuments. Overnight sleeper train (2 berth compartment). (BD)

Arrive in Khiva in the late morning where you will be met at the station and transferred to your hotel. Take the rest of the day to relax, or wander around on your own and soak up the atmosphere of this most remote of Central Asia’s Silk Road cities. Overnight Malika Khiva Hotel or similar.

Meet your guide for a full day city tour including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ichan Kala, or inner town. Highlights include the 18th century Juma Mosque where 213 black elm pillars support the prayer hall’s roof, and the late 20th century Islam Khoja Minaret whose colourful stripes reach almost 57 metres. Afterwards we explore the 12th century Kunya Ark, a fortified residence of Khiva’s khans, and its watchtower. Elsewhere, in the tiled courtyard of the 18th century Pakhlavan Mahmud Mausoleum, there will be time to appreciate what must be one of the city’s most beautiful retreats. After lunch at a private house we visit the bazaar and one of Khiva’s many historic caravanserais. Overnight Malika Khiva Hotel or similar. (BL)

Today you will be transferred back to Khiva’s railway station to board the train south to Bukhara, where the city’s historic centre is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel. Overnight Caravan Hotel or similar. (B)

Bukhara is one of the region’s most spectacular cities, where a superbly preserved old quarter lends itself to exploration on foot. Highlights of today’s city tour include the spectacular 12th century Kalyan Minaret, one of the defining symbols of Bukhara and once the tallest building in Central Asia, and the three domed bazaars; the Jewellers’ Bazaar, the Cap Makers’ Bazaar and the Moneychangers’ Bazaar. Take a break for lunch at a local restaurant and afterwards head to the emphatic bastions of the Ark fortress, a royal town within a town and home to the city’s khans for over a millennium. Finally, just outside the historic centre you will have time to see the Samanid Mausoleum, an exceptional example of early Islamic architecture, completed in 905 AD. Overnight Caravan Hotel or similar. (BL)

After a morning at leisure and perhaps a final opportunity to explore one of the region’s true gems, board a mid-afternoon Afrosiyob high-speed train to the legendary city of Samarkand. Built in Spain by the Talgo Company these trains are the flagship of Uzbekistan Railways. The journey will take around an hour and half. You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel. Overnight Malika Hotel or similar. (B)

Join your guide for a tour of Samarkand’s spectacular collection of architecture, the most famous of which are found at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Registan. Early western travellers wrote extensively of Samarkand’s remarkable mosques, madrassas and mausoleums, all elaborately decorated by blue ceramic tiles and traditional Islamic art. Nearby, at Gur-e-Amire, lies the 15th century tomb of Amir Timur, also known a Tamerlane, one of the most effective military leaders in history, and his grandson, Ulugh Beg a visionary astronomer. Elsewhere, after admiring the impressive Bibi Khanym mosque continue to the extensive Siab Market, before taking lunch. In the afternoon visit Shakhi Zinda, a collection of richly tiled mausoleums for rulers and nobles of Samarkand. The site’s name translates to Living King and refers to an original shrine thought to be the grave of Qusam ibn- Abbas, a cousin of the prophet Muhammad.  Overnight Malika Hotel or similar. (BL)

After a free day set aside for you to explore Samarkand on your own, you will be transferred to the railway station to re-join the Afrosiyob high-speed train for the very final leg of your epic adventure to Tashkent. Arrive in the evening, and after a transfer to your hotel celebrate what has been an amazing journey. Overnight at Shodlik Palace or similar.

The tour ends with a transfer to the airport to connect with your onward flight. (B)

Mapped itinerary.

Want to see details of your itinerary on a map?

Download PDF.

Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.

London to Uzbekistan Tour Map via Vienna

For expert advice get in touch now with our passionate,
well-travelled team.

+44(0) 191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA

We offer this tour for private departures only

Prices start from £3800 per person, based on two people travelling.

Call us to book.

Tour Notes

Single Supplement from £1130.

One way flights from Tashkent to London start at £260. Contact us for a quotation.

Tour inclusions.

  • All accommodation
  • Transfers as per itinerary with a private car or minibus

  • Rail travel based on 2nd class seats for day time journeys and private sleeping compartments for overnight journeys. Please contact for details of first class upgrades

  • Private guided sightseeing tours as per itinerary, with the services of an English-speaking guide or driver/guide

  • Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)

  • Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary

Tour exclusions.

  • International flights
  • Any airport taxes
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas
  • Meals not stated in the itinerary
  • Drinks
  • Tips

We had a very enjoyable trip. I would like to specifically highlight our guide in Uzbekistan who was very good. The trip was well organised and we wouldn’t have any hesitations recommending your company to others.

 

Ben and Rika Smethers, Japan