Forget long layovers and cramped overnight buses, make your journey the adventure itself with these epic excuses to hit the open road…
Between breathtaking views of highways that stretch into the horizon and landscapes that ooze an exotic mysticism, you’ll be wishing you never reach your next destination.
Head to Uzbekistan for fine weather in a Silk Road showstopper.
Caravanserais. Silk Road. Spices. There’s something undeniably romantic about travel to this ‘Stan’, which has been the cultural heart of Central Asia for millennia.
This is especially true of Uzbekistan’s trio of historic cities – Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva – which glitter with mosaic-tiled mausoleums, mosques and medressas (religious schools) that still speak of ancient times; Bukhara’s Silk and Spices Festival (late May) seeks to celebrate that legacy, showcasing the carpet weavers, wood-carvers, musicians and artists still practising traditional skills. Indeed, May is the perfect month to visit. Temperatures in the mid-20°Cs (70°Fs) make for comfortable sightseeing, while tulips and apricot blossom enliven the landscapes.
Trip plan: Fly to capital Tashkent. Overland, via the Kyzyl-kum Desert, to the walled city of Khiva, then Bukhara, to finish in Samarkand, home to the resplendent Registan Sq.
Need to know: Uzbekistan is one of the world’s two double-landlocked countries (nations surrounded completely by other landlocked countries).
Other months: Apr-Jun & Sep-Oct – warm, lovely; Nov-Mar – cold, clear, quiet; Jul-Aug – uncomfortably hot.
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Photo: Discover the old-world mystique and romanticism of this star of the Silk Road © Ozbalci / Getty Images