Hi there, in this article, I wanted to tell you a bit more about what to expect in Uzbekistan in winter and whether it’s worth going to Uzbekistan in December, January or February. I will also share our experience exploring Uzbekistan in December, just after Christmas.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
What’s the best time to travel to Uzbekistan?
A lot of people ask when is the best time to travel to Uzbekistan. Well, there is no easy answer, as it really depends on what you’re looking for. Uzbekistan has clearly defined seasons: cold winter, wonderful spring when everything is blooming, sweltering summer and pleasant autumn. In Uzbekistan, summer is generally very hot, with the temperatures reaching 36-55C (half of the days in July 2021 in Tashkent were hotter than 41 degrees). Winter is absolutely fine, it doesn’t usually get colder than -3C, and in Samarkand and Bukhara, winters are often sunny and somewhat warm (5-15C) during the day. However, you can expect subzero temperatures at night (usually around -1- -3C).
If you like really hot temperatures, you will enjoy Uzbekistan in summer – it’s a very cheerful time of the year, and the streets get bustling after sunset. However, most people travel to Central Asia in late March- mid-April and from mid-September to mid-November, when the temperatures are pleasant. In this case, however, you will see Uzbekistan most crowded, as nearly everyone wants to travel there during these months.
Travelling to Uzbekistan in winter: is it very cold?
As I mentioned before, winters in Uzbekistan are not very cold. The temperatures rarely drop below zero during the day; however, they often fall to -1 to -3 at night. For example, it doesn’t feel as cold as in St. Petersburg (Russia), as it’s not that windy in Uzbekistan.
It rarely snows in Uzbekistan, but it snows a lot when it does! We had a very rare chance to see Tashkent covered by a thick blanket of snow, and it really looked magical! People say that snow in Tashkent is an infrequent event these days, so I guess that we were very lucky!
Below you can see the average temperatures in Uzbekistan in December. This one is the weather in Tashkent in December:
This one is the weather in Samarkand in December based on the averages for the last 14 years.
What to expect from Uzbekistan in winter? Things to do in Uzbekistan in December.
Planning a trip to Uzbekistan
We’ve been planning to have a good Central Asia trip visiting Uzbekistan, Kazakstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan back in 2019, then postponed it for Spring 2020 (as you can imagine, it didn’t happen). We couldn’t go there in 2021 either, so we had to split this trip into trips to separate countries. So when we decided to visit family in Russia in winter 2021, we also spotted an opportunity to travel to Uzbekistan just after Christmas! Travelling during the pandemic is really difficult as the rules are changing all the time. Although you might be suddenly banned from entering a country, most airlines don’t consider it enough to issue a refund on the flight you can’t use. That’s why it’s challenging to plan trips that require moving from one country to another and combining two or more countries in one trip!
While it would have been very easy to visit Kazakhstan from Tashkent (it’s almost on the border with Kazakhstan), entrance to Kazakhstan for foreigners was heavily restricted. While I would be able to enter there, Jose wouldn’t; hence, we decided to skip it!
Uzbekistan in December: what to expect
At first, we were a bit reluctant to go to Uzbekistan in December as I’ve heard that it wouldn’t be as cheerful as it is typically and a lot of outdoor activities would be restricted. However, we enjoyed exploring Tashkent and Samarkand in December – it wasn’t too cold (for my Russian standards) and in Samarkand, it was actually pretty warm the last two days (so warm that we didn’t need our jackets).
Moreover, winter was the perfect time to explore Uzbekistan as there were significantly fewer people compared to the high season. We even managed to take photos on the main square of Samarkand without crowds (and actually pretty much without any people), which was amazing. That’s something we definitely didn’t expect. There was something magical about exploring these beautiful landmarks in Samarkand without people. In Tashkent, we also didn’t need any reservations for the most popular cafes and restaurants.
The only downside was trying to find a good restaurant in Samarkand a few days before the New Year. Even though Uzbekistan is a Muslim country, New Year is a big holiday in Uzbekistan (due to the Soviet heritage), so a lot of places were fully booked for private New Year parties and corporate events.
Visiting Uzbekistan in winter: the summary
Overall, as I mentioned before, we really enjoyed visiting Uzbekistan in winter, and it turned out way better than I thought. Not only did we see a very rare event in Tashkent (snowfall), we also had nice, warm and sunny weather in Samarkand during the day, which was lovely. When it comes to packing for Tashkent and Samarkand in winter, I recommend bringing many layers. Don’t bring a jacket that is too warm – you will suffer a bit in case it suddenly gets warm in Uzbekistan (that happens). Make sure to bring a couple of T-shirts, cardigans, hoodies and a light jacket – you can always combine these layers to create an outfit that would be optimal in any weather.
I will be writing more articles about Uzbekistan, so once they are ready, I will leave the links to them below.