The Silk Road: Xian to Rome

An epic journey tracing the mightiest route of commerce, culture, and ideas

  • As featured in Condé Nast Traveler
  • Travel with Carolyn McIntyre, an Asia and Middle East expert, and a beloved GeoEx trip leader
  • China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey, and Italy
Silk Road with GeoEx
Trip Type: Scheduled Departure
Trip Length: 22 Days
Activity type(s): Cultural Tour
Trip Extensions: Call 888-570-7108 for custom extension options

This trip links the greatest and most resonant of the place names along the famed Silk Road, traveling through 7 countries in just over 3 weeks. We begin in China's ancient capital of Xian, where we commune with the astounding army of Terracotta Warriors, and then move west, crossing the Turugart Pass. After exploring the desert oasis of Kashgar and beholding its action-packed Sunday Bazaar, we continue to the new Central Asian nations of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, soaking in the best of their fabled cities. Next into Iran, stopping first in holy Mashhad, a site rarely visited by Westerners, and then heading northward, tracing the Silk Route to Byzantium and Rome.

Along the way we visit 9 dazzling UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Dunhuang’s impressive Mogao Grottoes and Esfahan's magnificent Imam Square, said to be the most beautiful on the planet. GeoEx's acclaimed and beloved trip leader, Carolyn McIntyre, brings the history to life and guides us expertly through the enormous range of cultures, landscapes, and border crossings. And to make the experience even more meaningful, we relish special lunches with locals and private visits with artists, museum directors, and other lecturers. It's an epic journey that ties together whole passels of civilizations, epochs, and sceneries, the kind of adventure generations of far-fetchers would have mort­gaged their souls to make.

Silk Road tour map

Itinerary at a Glance

  • Day 1: arrive Xian, China
  • Day 2: Shaanxi History Museum, Terracotta Warriors
  • Day 3: fly to Dunhuang, camel ride in Singing Sands
  • Day 4: Cave of a Thousand Buddhas, fly to Urumchi
  • Day 5: Xinjiang Autonomous Region Museum, fly to Kashgar
  • Day 6: Kashgar Sunday Bazaar
  • Day 7: cross Turugart Pass to Kyrgyzstan
  • Day 8: to Kochkor, lunch with family, felt-making demo; drive to Bishkek
  • Day 9: Bishkek tour, Ala Archa Gorge walk
  • Day 10: fly to Tashkent, drive to Samarkand
  • Day 11: Samarkand touring
  • Day 12: by road to Bukhara
  • Day 13: explore Bukhara
  • Day 14: on to Turkmenbat, Turkmenistan; fly to Ashgabat
  • Day 15: Ashgabat touring
  • Day 16: drive to Mashhad, Iran
  • Day 17: Holy Shrine of Imam Reza, evening flight to Esfahan
  • Day 18: Esfahan exploring
  • Day 19: drive to Tehran; fly to Istanbul
  • Day 20: see Istanbul highlights
  • Day 21: Istanbul, afternoon flight to Rome
  • Day 22: depart for home.