Last update: 2015-11-22
Uzbekistan has many things to offer for tourists. The towns on the ancient Silk Road are famous: Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva.
Uzbekistan railways offer a comfortable, reliable and cheap way to explore the touristic highlights of the country. Alltough shared-taxis and buses often provide a more frequent means of transportation, I recommend to travel by train. Several new express trains have been introduced since 2004.
Since 2012 Spanish-built highspeed trains (called "Afrosiab") are operatring between Tashkent and Samarkand at top speeds of 250 km/h.
In 2015 the service was extended to Karshi, and probably in 2016 or 2017 these trains will also run to Bukhara (Tashkent - Samarkand - Bukhara).
Some photos of the "Afrosiab"-train, taken from http://www.parovoz.com/newgallery/?LNG=EN:
Tashkent - Samarkand is served by 2 daily highspeed-trains, which cover the 350 km long route in just 2h10min. One of these trains continues beyond Samarkand to Karshi.
In addition there is a daily (twice daily on fridays and sundays) express train Tashkent - Samarkand - Bukhara (named "Sharq"). Travel time Tashkent - Bukhara (~600 km) is about 6,5 hours. The trips Tashkent - Bukhara and Bukhara - Samarkland take just over 3 hrs each.
Tashkent - Bukhara can also be done by overnight train. A daily overnight train offers the possibility to travel during the night and win one day. Comfortable sleeping cars allow a good sleep.
Overnight trains also run from Tashkent and Samarkand to Urgench (daily) and to Nukus - Kungrad (3 times weekly), so it's also possible to travel to Khiva (30 kilometers from Urgench, taxi/bus available) or to the Aral lake (Moynaq, 70 km from Kungrad) by train.
I have also included some suggestions for round-trips by train:
Tashkent - Bukhara - Samarkand - Khiva - Tashkent in 9 days
Tashkent - Samarkand - Bukhara - Tashkent in 7 days
More details about round-trips
International trains are available to Almaty in Kazakhstan, Moscow, Saratov, Volgograd, Ufa, St. Peterburg, Novosibirsk in Russia (so you can link to the Transsiberian railway).
From Almaty connecting trains are provided to Urumchi in China.
With only one change of trains in Moscow you can travel overland from Central and Western Europe (Berlin, Paris, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Helsinki, etc.) to Tashkent and v.v..
More details about international trains
With this website I want to make it easier for tourists to use rail services in Usbekistan. I myself travelled by train through Usbekistan and it was a great experience.
I hope you like the website. It is still under construction, and if you find a mistake or have any idea to improve something, please feel free to contact me: email@example.com
Vienna - Austria