Uzbekistan is one of those countries that international travel companies know rather little about. They know what they think they need to know, and that's it. If you ask them anything "off script" don't be surprised if they admit that they don't know the answer. The way to get the right info is by talking to real experts in the destination itself. When to go to Uzbekistan depends on your tolerance for heat, whether you want to witness any local festivals and what sort of terrain you will cover (for the majority this means only the lowlands, but there is increasing interest in the higher parts of the country). The best time to visit Uzbekistan, broadly, is from late March to mid May, and from mid September to early November.
Here's a month by month run through to help you decide:
December, January and February
In theory these are the coldest months for Uzbekistan. In practise don't be terribly surprised if it's rather mild, warm even. Over many years of sending travellers out to Central Asia very few have gone in winter, but those that have done so have had the sights entirely to themselves and one memorable visit was done largely in shorts and t-shirt - but this is not guaranteed! The further out into the desert you go, the colder it can be at times. The mountains will, of course, be cold and snow-capped.
By March, Uzbekistan is warming up a bit. This is the local's favourite time of year: winter is ending, spring is here and there's a huge festival to enjoy - Navruz (Persian New Year, celebrated across Central Asia). Rain is always a possibility, but generally temperatures are pleasant, especially towards the end of the month. There is still snow in the mountains, and the desert is cold at night.
This is probably the best single month to visit Uzbekistan, but beware - it's also the most popular (obviously...). As a country Uzbekistan is not exactly overburdened with visitors given its incredible sights, but even so, if you could choose when to go to Uzbekistan you might want to pick a quieter month. Rain is a possibility, though most days are sunny and warm. There is some snow still in the higher mountain ranges.
Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva (the spine of a typical first timer's itinerary) are all getting quite warm/hot now. A very small chance of some rain in the mountains, but most trips will have blue skies every day. By the end of the month the summer heat is definitely on its way. The mountains are now almost completely snow free and the flowers are out in profusion.
June, July, August
These are the hottest months all round. Many people still go at this time, especially if combining Uzbekistan with Kyrgyzstan (June to August is the high season there). The trick to a successful summer trip is to ensure you take on enough fluids. Drink tea, that's what the locals do. The heat is relatively dry and lacking in humidity, so not as difficult to cope with as in the tropics.
If April is the best month to visit Uzbekistan then September is runner-up. Warm, blue skies, but plenty of other visitors.
This is our own favourite month (especially the second half). Warm temperatures, generally blue skies, fewer visitors than September or April - so in our view this might just be when to go to Uzbekistan.
Like March, November can be a bit wet or overcast, but it can also have that wonderful autumnal clarity and sunshine too. Worth considering!
So there you have it - a mixed bag, but if you choose wisely you can get a great experience on an Uzbekistan holiday. Next up....China.
Make it happen
If you want to start planning your Uzbekistan trip visit, speak to our local experts who can put together your perfect itinerary. To speak to someone in the TravelLocal office, call 0117 325 7898