Map from Google - Uzbekistan

In Uzbekistan the climate is arid continental in the vast steppe plains of the central-western part, while it remains continental, but becomes moderately rainy (and snowy in winter) in eastern hills and mountains.
Winter is cold, especially in the north: the average temperature in January is around -6/-7 °C in the northernmost areas (the Aral Sea and the northern part of the Kzyl Kum Desert), while it's around freezing (0 °C or 32 °F) in the central cities of the ancient Silk Road (Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara), and goes up to 3/4 °C (37/39 °F) in the extreme south (see Termez). Summer is hot: the average in July goes from 26/27 °C (79/81 °F) in the north, to 30 °C (86 °F) in the south. In the mountains of course the temperature decreases with altitude. Uzbekistan is exposed to cold air masses from Siberia, especially in the north-west, but also in the centre-south, where they alternate, however, with warmer air masses coming from the south. Clashes of different air masses can cause strong winds, for instance the warm wind blowing from the south-west, which can bring dust storms.
Precipitation is typical of the desert and semi-desert climate in the west, while it's slightly higher, typical of a semi-arid steppe climate, in the central-eastern part. In the mountains, precipitation increases, especially in the more exposed slopes. Summer is sunny, and it's the driest season across the country.
In the capital, Tashkent, located in the east of the country, at 400 metres (1,300 feet) above sea level, the average temperature goes from 1.5 °C (34.5 °F) in January, to 27.5 °C (81.5 °F) in July. From the mountains located south of the city, a dry down-slope wind can blow throughout the year, able to raise the temperature by several degrees. In recent decades, the winter temperature has increased by a few degrees, and also the summer temperature, but to a lesser extent, as happened in many countries of the former Soviet Union. During winter, however, snowfalls and cold waves are quite frequent, though usually less intense than in the past, for instance in January 1969 the temperature reached -29 °C (-20 °F), while during the more recent cold wave of January 2008, it touched -18 °C (0 °F).
In spring, from March to early May, clashes of air masses cause frequent winds, rain and jumps in temperature.
Summer, from June to August is sunny and hot, with highs generally around 35/36 °C (95/97 °F) in July and August, but with peaks above 40 °C (104 °F).
Here are the average temperatures of Tashkent.
Average temperatures - Tashkent
Min (°C)-3-24101418191712730
Max (°C)681422273336342921149
Min (°F)272839505764666354453732
Max (°F)434657728191979384705748

Precipitation, about 415 mm (16.5 in) per year, occurs mostly from November to May, while in summer it almost never rains. Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation - Tashkent
Prec. (mm)505080603012433254555417

In the easternmost part of the country, in Fergana, located in the valley of the same name, around 600 metres (2,000 feet) above sea level and surrounded by mountains, the climate is slightly colder.
Average temperatures - Fergana
Min (°C)-5-329131719171160-3
Max (°C)351322273234322820115
Min (°F)232736485563666352433227
Max (°F)374155728190939082685241

In Fergana, precipitation is scarcer than in the capital: only 165 mm (6.5 in) per year. Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation - Fergana
Prec. (mm)201525202010532122020167

Samarkand, the old city and cultural crossroads on the Silk Road, at 700 metres (2,300 feet) above sea level, has also a climate similar to that of Tashkent, a little less hot in summer, due to the higher altitude. Annual precipitation is around 355 mm (14 in), slightly lower than in the capital, but it follows a similar pattern, with a maximum in winter and spring, and virtually no rain in summer.
Average temperatures - Samarkand
Min (°C)-4-239131618161162-1
Max (°C)681421263234322821159
Min (°F)252837485561646152433630
Max (°F)434657707990939082705948


Bukhara is located practically in the plains, in the south-western desert zone, and in fact receives only 150 mm (6 in) of rain per year. The temperature is not very different from that of the cities already mentioned, but it's a bit hotter in summer: the average of January is 1.5 °C (34.5 °F), that of July is 29.5 °C (85 °F), with highs normally about 37 °C (99 °F). Despite the low precipitation amount, in winter the city may experience some light snowfalls.
Average temperatures - Bukhara
Min (°C)-3-2411162022191473-1
Max (°C)691624303537353022159
Min (°F)272839526168726657453730
Max (°F)434861758695999586725948


In the far south, in Termez the average temperature is higher, going from 4 °C (39 °F) in January to 30 °C (86 °F) in July. Only 150 mm (6 in) of rain per year fall; although the average is fairly mild, in winter sometimes it snows, and even here intense frosts can occur. Summer is scorchingly hot, and in the worst moments the temperature can reach 50 °C (122 °F).
Average temperatures - Termez
Min (°C)-216121619211813841
Max (°C)91218263237393732251812
Min (°F)283443546166706455463934
Max (°F)4854647990991029990776454

The central-western part of the country is occupied by the vast Kzyl Kum Desert (or Qyzylqum), where the temperature can reach -30 °C (-22 °F) in winter and 50 °C (122 °F) in summer, while in the far west we find the Ustyurt Plateau, another desert area, which despite its name has an average altitude of around 200 metres (650 feet). The main river, Amu Darya, flows towards the west and eventually reaches the area of the Aral Sea, which was once fed by the river, but has shrunk over the decades, due to exploitation for agriculture, so that today the river opens into a large delta, which partly drains away in the desert, while in the south-west, a smaller lake, Sarygamysh, was born from a branch of the river.
In the area of the Aral Sea, located in the north of the country, winter is definitely cold, so that the temperature remains below freezing even during the day, for weeks. Summer is a bit shorter and a bit cooler, around 33/34 °C (91/93 °F) during the day, even though the highest peaks exceed 40 °C (104 °F).
Average temperatures - Chimbay
Min (°C)-11-9-341115171592-3-8
Max (°C)-1181927313331251781
Min (°F)121627395259635948362718
Max (°F)303446668188918877634634

Lake Aral

The eastern part of Uzbekistan is home to several mountain ranges, such as the Pamir-Alaj, where the highest mountain in the country is found, Khazret Sultan, 4,643 metres (15,233 feet) high. More to the north, in the region of Tashkent, there is another mountainous area (the western Tien-Shan), where we find the Ugam-Chatkal National Park, which has a diverse landscape, with lakes, forests and canyons.

When to go

The best times to visit Uzbekistan are spring and autumn, to avoid the climate extremes to which the country is subject. In particular, you can choose April and October for most of the country (Tashkent, Samarkand, Fergana valley), and the periods from mid-April to mid-May and from mid-September to mid-October in the north-west (see the Aral Sea).

What to pack

In winter: very warm clothes, down jacket, hat, scarf, gloves; some lighter clothes for mild days in the centre and south (see Tashkent, Ferghana, Samarqand, Bukhara, Termez).

In summer: lightweight clothes, loose-fitting and made of natural fabric (cotton or linen), sun hat, desert turban; a sweatshirt for the evening, especially in the north and in hill cities (see Tashkent, Samarqand, Ferghana). In the mountains, at intermediate altitudes, light clothes for the day, sun hat, sweatshirt and light jacket for the evening, hiking shoes; above 3,000 metres (9,800 ft), sweater and jacket for the evening; above 4,000 metres (13,000 ft), down jacket, hat, gloves, scarf.
For women, it is best to avoid shorts and miniskirts.