Visit Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan travelling from Istanbul to Tashkent.

Embark on the trip of a lifetime through Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan on a tour from Istanbul to Tashkent. Beginning in the atmospheric city of Istanbul, travel overland through Turkey’s vast interior, exploring the mysterious landscape of Cappadocia before heading into the interior of Iran. One of the greatest cultural locations on Earth, Iran's amazing history vies with its hospitality for visitors' attention. It's a really friendly country with some of the world's most stunning Islamic architecture and relics of antiquity. Exploring Esfahan and the ancient capital Persepolis gives you a brief glimpse of its cultural wealth. North of Iran, we head back to the Turkic world and enter Turkmenistan, traversing the Karakum Desert bound for the legendary cities of the Silk Route – Bukhara and Samarkand - a fitting end to this magnificent journey from Istanbul to Tashkent.

Start
Istanbul, Turkey
Finish
Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Countries
Turkey,
Turkmenistan,
Uzbekistan,
Iran
Themes
Overland
Code
EDOYC
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 4, Max 21
Carbon offset
0kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Wander Istanbul's backstreets before starting this tour of Turkey
  • Discover Cappadocia's enchanting skyline in Goreme
  • Make camp in the wilds of Iran
  • Experience the beauty of Esfahan
  • Explore the ruins of Persepolis
  • Delve into the sprawl of Tehran
  • Munch on a kebab in Yazd
  • Wonder at Ashgabat´s futuristic architecture
  • Discover the romance of the Silk Road in Samarkand
  • Gaze up at the ancient walls surrounding Khiva
  • Walk through Bukhara's historic Old Town

Itinerary

Welcome to incredible Istanbul! Have your fortune told in the Taksim, bargain up a storm in the Grand Bazaar or admire the imposing Blue Mosque in this fascinating city.
Visit Turkey's salt lake, Tuz Golo, which provides 63% of Turkey's salt. Bush camp in the evening.
Discover Cappadocia's Goreme Valley and underground troglodyte cities, fairy chimneys and caves. Perhaps also enjoy a traditional Turkish bath or sip tea with locals in the quaint cafes of this fascinating area of Turkey.
Travel overland into Eastern Turkey via ancient trade routes. Camp under skies that have been gazed at for centuries by fellow travellers.
Visit Ishak Pasha Palace near Dogubayazit on the Iranian Border. The town of Dogubayazit is at the foot of Mount Ararat, reportedly where Noah's Ark came to rest after The Flood.
Enjoy the first night in Iran at Kandovan, an ancient village of caves built into the volcanic rock - and where locals still live.
Explore Zanjan's delightful bazaar and check out the beautiful handicrafts on sale here - perhaps answer the question: does a handcrafted rug fit in a backpack?
Travel to Tehran and be awed by this vibrant city where ancient meets modern. There is plenty of time here to explore the incredible Golestan Palace, the city's many fascinating museums and galleries, and to relax and chat with locals while watching this interesting part of the world go by.
Spend three days in this breathtaking city and take time trawling the souqs, bazaars, beautiful squares and blue tiled Mosques of Esfahan.
Visit the stunning Islamic Shiraz - discovering its impressive citadel and mosques.
Explore the ancient ruins of Persepolis, Persia, then feel transported back in time while staying in a traditional caravanserai in the Dasht-e Lut desert.
Wind through the old city of Yazd - reputedly one of the oldest towns in the world. Sign up for a scrub in a local hamam or sample some tasty Iranian cuisine.
Travel through the Dasht-e Kavir Desert, which lies in the middle of the Iranian plateau, to the tranquil oasis of Khoor.
Explore Iran's oldest surviving mosque - dating back to the 1st century - in Damghan.
Relax by Shirvan's Atrak River, which gives this small town a lush and peaceful feel.
Say goodbye to Iran and travel into Turkmenistan. Continue the adventure among the futuristic architecture of Ashgabat.
Sleep under the stars in the Karakum Desert. See the spectacular fires of the Darvaza Gas Crater.
Gaze up at the ancient walls surrounding Khiva and imagine how they once provided sanctuary for weary Silk Road travellers. Explore the historic and perfectly preserved Old Town, beautifully decorated in classic turquoise tiles.
Get to know Central Asia's holiest city, where the combination of buildings spanning a thousand years and a thoroughly lived-in Old Town help create the awe-inspiring atmosphere.
Spend a night in a yurt camp with the local nomads, sleeping among the dunes of the Red Desert.
Travel to one of Central Asia's most magical cities, Uzbekistan’s Samarkand. Discover the romance of the Silk Road in this perfectly preserved city full of exotic architecture and majestic buildings.
End your Samarkand and Tamerlane’s Testament adventure in the most modern of Uzbekistan’s cities. Visit Tashkent’s thriving Chorsu Bazaar to pick up Soviet-style souvenirs and admire the ornately decorated Kukeldash Medressa.
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Inclusions

Meals
n/a
Transport
Overland vehicle
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (7 nights), Camping (with facilities) (2 nights), Guesthouse (1 night), Hostel (2 nights), Hotel (25 nights), Yurt (1 night)
Included activities
  • Ali Qapu Palace
  • Ashgabat - Sunday Market
  • Bukhara - Guided walking tour
  • Esfahan walking tour
  • Goreme - Guided Goreme Valley tour
  • Guided tour of ancient ruins of Persepolis
  • Guided walking tour
  • Iman Mosque entrance and guided tour
  • Ishak Pasha Palace
  • Jameh Mosque
  • Konye-Urgench - Ancient City ruins
  • Samarkand - Guided city tour
  • Tehran walking tour
  • Visit to Lake Tuz

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Trip notes

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