When is the best time to visit Uzbekistan? It depends on your plans and preferences.
Breakdown by season
Spring and autumn
March-April and October-November have temperate, pleasant weather. Sweaty 40°+ afternoon temperatures are a possibility in a large part of the country from early May until late September.
Most major events take place in spring and autumn. It follows that this is peak season for Uzbekistan, especially for tour groups, and sites can feel crowded.
Backpackers can leave it until the last minute; there’s always a bed available in a hostel and shared taxis can be arranged on the spot, plying the same routes as trains for the same money, only slower and less comfortable. But if you want a nice bed and breakfast in the historic centre and a comfortable ride in a fast train: book in advance.
High summer (July-August) brings unpleasant heat; you might find yourself wanting to escape to the mountains or to the comfort of your air conditioned room.
It’s sometimes difficult to time a multi-stan trip exactly right if you are planning a very short or a very long trip, but we advise to avoid Uzbekistan during summer. Too hot. You want to be in the high mountains of Kyrgyzstan or Tajikistan when it’s hot, and in Uzbekistan a bit earlier or later.
Still, expect a good amount of people. Fewer tour groups, more backpacking students.
In the winter months, temperatures hover around freezing point in central Uzbekistan. In the western desert, the mercury can drop to -20. You have the place to yourself; there are not many tourists around in winter.
The atmosphere is more subdued. Prices drop. You can go skiing. Hawkers selling silk scarfs and ceramic dishes occupy themselves elsewhere.
Sightseeing: can be done year-round, but July and August are uncomfortably hot. Temperature-wise, the best months are April and October. To avoid the crowds, come between mid-November and early March.
Hiking: June to September is generally good for hiking in the Uzbek part of the Tien Shan mountains. July and August are preferred if you are planning to cross passes over 3000 m.
Cycling: Early spring or late autumn are ideal, tackling Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in July and August.
Skiing: December to March.
Rafting: Depends on the river, but generally August – October is best as the glacier melt is highest then.
Kok boru: November to March.
Events and festivals
Note that the bar charts above are averages. Outliers are not unusual.
When to travel the Silk Road
Climate bar charts courtesy of World weather online