When to go to Uzbekistan

The best time to visit Uzbekistan

Although Tashkent is on the same latitude as New York, Uzbekistan’s climate is rather different. As one of only two double landlocked countries in the world (Liechtenstein is the other one), Uzbekistan is a long way from any ocean.

The lack of a cooling sea current gives Uzbekistan a dry, cloudless climate with long, hot summers and cold winters, and only short spring and autumn seasons.

Month-by-month

Spring (March-May) is the best time to visit Uzbekistan, and together with autumn, is the tourist high season. The weather is pleasant and it’s the time when most of the country’s major events are being held. A flush of green spreads over the mountains and red poppies and wild tulips colour the fields. White apricot blossoms scent inner-city squares and village backstreets.

The traditional New Year festival of Nowruz (21st of March) sees the whole country welcome the arrival of spring with special dishes, music, dance and games of kok boru (headless goat polo). In April, the village of Boysun holds the Boysun Bahori festival, Uzbekistan’s biggest celebration of traditional games, song, dance, arts and crafts.

Summer (June-September) is tougher on the body; the burning sun brings a slower pace of life to Uzbekistan and visitors should drink copious amounts of green tea in the presence of white-beards to relax from the heat. On the other hand, it’s the best time for a multi-stan tour; the high mountains of the Tien Shan and Pamir ranges in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are inaccessible the rest of the year. Musically, the Sharq Tarolanari festival (held biannually, on uneven years) is the highlight, showcasing ethnic music from the region and beyond with Samarkand’s Registan as its spectacular backdrop.

Autumn (September-November) sees temperatures drop to acceptable levels and the tourist high season resumes. It’s a great time if you love markets: delicious pomegranates, watermelons, nuts and much more all overflow from bazaar stalls across the country.

If you want to have the place to yourself, winter (December-February) is the time to go. It’s cold outside, but the dry air makes it easier to bear low temperatures. The atmosphere is subdued and locals take back their city centres from tourists.

It’s also a good time for photography: the low winter sun’s soft light adds angles and shadows, while the lack of leaves on trees opens your shots.

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