Carbon Neutral 100%
Top destinations of the moment in Asia
  • Tour Ideas
Trip Types
  • Travel Style
  • Interests and Activities
  • Tour Ideas by Month
  • Continents and Regions
An update from Evaneos

Khiva (Uzbekistan)

Practical information on Khiva

  • Family
  • Relaxation
  • Encounters with locals
  • Viewpoint
  • Desert
  • Place or Religious Monument
  • Museums
  • Castle and fortress
  • Place or Historical Monument
  • Unesco World Heritage
4 / 5 - 3 reviews
How to get there
6 hours from Boukhara by bus
When to go
April through late October
Minimum stay
1 to 2 days

Reviews of Khiva

Seasoned Traveller
13 written opinions

Once inside the walls of Itchan Khala, despite this funny feeling of being in a museum (with boutiques) rather than in a city, time seems to have no effect on Khiva, which is even more memorable than Samarkand.

My suggestion:
Stay at least two days to see the sunset from the top of the ramparts or the Koukhna Ark watchtower.
My review

The last oasis on the Silk Road, before heading to Iran or the Volga, Khiva has what charms many a traveler.

Upon arriving in the city, the strong fortress is imposing. When I entered the area, the network of small alleys, overhung by the minarets of Islam Kodja or Kalta Minor, made me dizzy and took me on a trip through time. It's too bad that there only few inhabitants in the city (aside from the northern part), only some boutiques, cafes, and hostels to accommodate the many groups of tourists.

An advantage, however, is that all of these groups are always accompanied by French-, German- or English-speaking guides. It's perfect for understanding the rich history of this ancient kingdom. If you're a fan of cultural visits, Khiva is for you !

Be aware that Khiva may be nice in a desert, but it can be very cold at night, especially if coming from Tashkent or Ferghana Valley.

Khiva from the Koukhna Ark watchtower
Seasoned Traveller
25 written opinions

Khiva is a small, fortified town located in the middle of the Uzbek desert. The town is an open-air museum with an enormous number of Islamic religious monuments that are open to visitors.

My suggestion:
Be careful; I was surprised to find that there was not a single functioning bank in Khiva when I arrived. Therefore, make sure that you have plenty of cash to cover the costs of your stay, as the nearest bank is in Urgench, 35 kilometers away.
My review

Despite the absence of any sign of life after 7 p.m., Khiva remains my favorite town from my entire journey to Uzbekistan.. I enjoyed the complete lack of traffic within the central area, meaning that I could walk everywhere in complete peace and tranquility.

If you enjoy a good view, I firmly recommend climbing the many steep steps up to the Islam Khodja minaret to experience a panoramic view over the city and its architecture that is worthy of the "Arabian Nights."

Admire the view as the sun sets over the ramparts of the fortress, and the city is bathed in an orange glow, providing a wonderful opportunity to take some stunning photos.

Finally, my last tip about Khiva is to get out of the old town to discover the authentic local life of the Uzbeks outside the tourist enclave, where you can really get a sense of the atmosphere of the place.

View of Khiva
Timothée D. Seasoned Traveller
285 written opinions

An incredible, historic town built in clay, with magnificent turquoise domes, Khiva recalls the architectural beauty of the days of the silk road.

My suggestion:
Make sure that you stay long enough to experience a sunset, when the clay used to build the houses turns red, emphasizing the beauty of the city.
My review

Located in the middle of the desert, near the border with Turkmenistan, Khiva is an absolutely exceptional historical city. So well preserved that it is sometimes pejoratively dismissed as a "living museum" the downtown area bears witness to centuries of incredible history, with towering fortresses, mosques, and traditional clay houses out of which turquoise and emerald-green domes rise and glisten in the sun.

I was absolutely smitten with my stay here, and I would strongly recommend to anyone visiting Uzbekistan to spend at least one or two days visiting the city. Even though it's fair to say that the Khiva is a little quiet, and perhaps a little lacking in authentic, everyday life, it remains an absolutely unmissable destination.