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7 Amazing Reasons to Visit Islamabad, Pakistan!

Islamabad, Pakistan, is such an underrated city, that not many people ever think about visiting. For me, Islamabad is one of my favourite places in the world – and I’m sure if you’re lucky enough to visit, you’ll also think the same! Check out these 7 amazing reasons to visit Islamabad, Pakistan!

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What is Islamabad Famous For?

24 hours in Islamabad

What is Islamabad famous for? Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan, is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty and meticulously planned infrastructure. Nestled against the backdrop of the picturesque Margalla Hills, Islamabad offers an abundance of scenic vistas and outdoor activities, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts and hikers. One of the city’s most iconic landmarks is the Faisal Mosque, the largest mosque in Pakistan, which stands as a symbol of Islamabad’s architectural splendour and Islamic heritage. The mosque’s unique design, featuring eight-sided shell-shaped sloping roofs and a vast courtyard, attracts visitors from around the globe. Moreover, Islamabad’s green spaces, such as the Rose and Jasmine Garden and Fatima Jinnah Park, provide ample recreational opportunities and foster a tranquil environment that starkly contrasts with the bustling energy of other metropolitan areas.

In addition to its natural and architectural allure, Islamabad is also famed as a centre of political and diplomatic activity. As the seat of the Pakistani government, the city is home to key political institutions, including the Presidential Palace (Aiwan-e-Sadr), the Parliament House, and the Supreme Court. This concentration of political power makes Islamabad a hub for both national and international diplomacy, hosting numerous embassies and foreign missions within the Diplomatic Enclave – and if you’re lucky enough like I was – you might also be invited for dinner at one of the embassies!

Is Islamabad Cheap?

24 hours in Islamabad

Is Islamabad cheap? Islamabad is often perceived as an affluent city when compared to other cities in Pakistan, and this is reflected in its cost of living, which tends to be higher compared to cities like Karachi and Lahore.

While basic necessities such as food and transportation can be reasonably priced, the cost of housing and real estate in Islamabad is notably elevated, largely due to the city’s status as the capital and its well-planned infrastructure.

Upscale residential areas, such as F-6, F-7, and E-7 sectors, offer high-end living with corresponding price tags, while more affordable options are available in sectors farther from the city centre. Services and amenities such as healthcare, education, and dining can also be more expensive, especially in premium establishments and international schools.

However, Islamabad compensates for these costs with high standards of safety, cleanliness, and quality of life, making it a desirable location for both Pakistani residents and expatriates despite the higher living expenses.

Things To Do In Islamabad:

If you’re interested in some of the best things to do in Islamabad, then check out these amazing activities:

  • Islamabad City Tour – Experience the captivating charm of Islamabad through the eyes of a local guide, unlocking hidden gems, cultural insights, and breathtaking views that you won’t find in any travel guide. This activity is a must for anyone wanting to experience Islamabad on a deeper level.
  • From Islamabad: Skardu and Baltistan Excursion – Embark on an unforgettable journey from Islamabad to the enchanting landscapes of Baltistan and Skardu, where rugged mountains, pristine lakes, and rich cultural heritage await to mesmerise your senses.

7 Reasons To Visit Islamabad, Pakistan:

If you need any convincing, then these are the 7 best reasons to visit Islamabad, Pakistan:

1. The People Are Amazing

The warmth and hospitality of the people in Islamabad add a unique charm to the city, making it a compelling reason to visit. Islamabadis are known for their friendliness and courteous demeanour, often going out of their way to make visitors feel welcome and at ease. I have been to around 45 countries, and the people of Islamabad are some of the kindest!

Whether you’re exploring the bustling markets of Jinnah Super or wandering through the serene corridors of the Faisal Mosque, you’re likely to encounter locals ready to offer assistance, share fascinating stories about the city’s history, or simply engage in pleasant conversation. This genuine kindness is deeply rooted in the cultural values of Pakistan, where hospitality is considered a paramount virtue.

Interacting with the residents provides not only a sense of belonging but also an authentic glimpse into the local lifestyle and traditions. Visitors frequently leave Islamabad with cherished memories of the graciousness and generosity they experienced, reinforcing the city’s reputation as not just a beautiful but also a heartwarming destination. The people who live here are definitely one of the top reasons to visit Islamabad.

2. The Food is Unlike Anywhere Else

The culinary scene in Islamabad is a delightful amalgamation of traditional Pakistani flavours and modern gastronomic innovations, making it an excellent reason to visit the city. From the aromatic biryanis and succulent kebabs of authentic local eateries to the diverse offerings of upscale international restaurants, the city’s food landscape caters to all tastes and preferences.

Street food stalls in areas like Melody Market serve mouth-watering samosas, golgappas, and pakoras that offer a quick and flavorful taste of local culture. Meanwhile, fine dining establishments in sectors like F-7 and Kohsar Market provide gourmet experiences with international cuisines such as Italian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern, often with a Pakistani twist.

Not to be missed are the rich and creamy desserts like gulab jamun, jalebi, and kulfi that conclude any meal on a sweet note. This dynamic food culture, combined with the hospitality of local restaurateurs and chefs, ensures that every meal in Islamabad is not just a bite but a culinary journey worth savouring.

3. It’s Extremely Cheap

24 hours in Islamabad

While Islamabad is often seen as an upscale city with certain high-end living costs, it also offers a range of affordable options that make it accessible for budget-conscious visitors. Public transportation, such as the Metro Bus System, is incredibly inexpensive and efficient, providing easy access to key areas of the city without the need for costly private transport.

Dining out can be very affordable if you choose local eateries and street food vendors, where you can relish delicious and authentic Pakistani meals like biryani, nihari, and chapli kebabs at a fraction of the price you’d pay in upscale restaurants.

Additionally, numerous budget accommodations, including guest houses and mid-range hotels, offer comfortable stays without breaking the bank. Many of Islamabad’s attractions, including the stunning Faisal Mosque, Daman-e-Koh viewpoint, and numerous parks and museums, have low or no entry fees, allowing you to explore the city’s beauty and culture without significant costs. With this being said, it can mean a lot to give a little extra to locals – for instance, every time I took a taxi that cost around 60p, I would end up giving around £5 to the taxi driver, and he would always be so happy.

4. Islamabad is Very Easy To Get Around

24 hours in Islamabad

Navigating Islamabad is remarkably straightforward, thanks to its well-planned layout and efficient transportation options – which is another of the many great reasons to visit Islamabad. The city is divided into distinct sectors, each organized in a grid-like pattern that simplifies travel and reduces the likelihood of getting lost.

Public transportation, such as the Metro Bus System, offers an affordable and reliable way to traverse the city, connecting major hubs and reducing the need for private vehicles. Taxis and ride-sharing services like Careem and Uber are also readily available, providing convenient door-to-door service at reasonable rates.

For those who prefer driving, the wide avenues and well-maintained roads make for smooth and stress-free travel. Additionally, many of the city’s primary attractions, such as the Faisal Mosque, Daman-e-Koh, and various markets, are situated close to one another, making it easy to visit multiple sites in a single day. Pedestrian-friendly areas, bicycle lanes, and numerous green spaces further enhance the experience, ensuring that getting around Islamabad is both easy and enjoyable for residents and visitors alike.

5. There is History Everywhere

24 hours in Islamabad

Islamabad is a treasure trove of historical and cultural sites that make it a compelling destination for history enthusiasts. The city itself, despite being relatively modern compared to other historical capitals, is surrounded by ancient landmarks and relics that paint a vivid picture of the region’s rich past.

One of the most significant historical attractions is the ancient city of Taxila, just a short drive from Islamabad, which dates back to around 1000 BCE and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Taxila offers a fascinating glimpse into the Buddhist, Persian, Greek, and Hindu civilizations that once thrived there, featuring well-preserved ruins, stupas, and museums brimming with artefacts.

Within Islamabad, the Pakistan Monument stands not only as a national emblem but also as a repository of the country’s history, with its adjacent museum showcasing the nation’s journey from ancient times to the present. Additionally, the Lok Virsa Museum provides an immersive experience of Pakistan’s diverse cultural heritage through its extensive collections of traditional crafts, costumes, and musical instruments. Such sites collectively offer a deep dive into the historical fabric of Islamabad and its surrounding regions, making it a must-visit for those keen on understanding the historical narratives that have shaped this vibrant area.

6. So Many Beautiful Green Spaces

24 hours in Islamabad

Islamabad is renowned for its abundant green spaces and natural beauty, which offer a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life. The city’s planning incorporates extensive green belts, parks, and gardens, making it one of the greenest capitals in the world and a perfect destination for nature lovers.

At the heart of Islamabad lies the iconic Fatima Jinnah Park (also known as F-9 Park), sprawling over 750 acres and offering a peaceful haven with well-maintained lawns, jogging tracks, and stunning sculptures. Another jewel is Daman-e-Koh, a scenic viewpoint situated in the Margalla Hills National Park, providing panoramic views of the city and a gateway to numerous hiking trails that wind through lush forests and lead to picturesque spots like Pir Sohawa and the Monal Restaurant.

7. It’s Seemingly Untouched

Islamabad, often overshadowed by more frequented destinations, remains somewhat of a hidden gem, making it an ideal spot for travellers seeking serenity and an unspoiled experience. Islamabad also reminded me a lot of the 80s, especially the way people dressed and certain decor. Unlike the bustling urban centres of Karachi or Lahore, Islamabad exudes a tranquil ambience, with fewer crowds and a more leisurely pace of life.

The city’s carefully preserved natural beauty, from the verdant Margalla Hills to its extensive parks and green belts, offers visitors a pristine environment that feels far removed from the typical tourist hustle. This relatively low influx of tourists also means that visitors can enjoy unique attractions like the Rawal Lake, Daman-e-Koh, and the Shakarparian National Park in a more intimate setting, often without the long lines and congestion found in more popular locales.

Additionally, the unspoiled and serene atmosphere fosters a deeper connection with the local culture and heritage, allowing travellers to engage more genuinely with Islamabad’s rich history and traditions – and you will probably have a lot of people come and ask for photos of you (I felt like a celebrity!). Whether it’s exploring ancient sites nearby, enjoying a peaceful hike, or savouring local cuisine without the rush, the untouched charm of Islamabad offers an unparalleled and refreshing travel experience, which makes it another one of the best reasons to visit Islamabad.

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Islamabad FAQ

What was Islamabad called before?

Before becoming Islamabad, the region was locally known as Potohar or Potwar Plateau, which is part of the larger Punjab province and has a rich historical background dating back centuries.

Is Islamabad a clean city?

Yes, Islamabad is renowned for its cleanliness and well-maintained environment, with systematic urban planning, extensive green spaces, and regular sanitation efforts contributing to its reputation as one of the cleanest cities in Pakistan.

Is Islamabad safe for women?

Islamabad is generally considered one of the safer cities in Pakistan for women, with a relatively low crime rate, a visible police presence, and increasing initiatives to improve safety and security, although, like any city, caution and awareness of one’s surroundings are always advisable.

Reasons To Visit Islamabad Pakistan – Conclusion

After reading this post all about the 7 amazing reasons to visit Islamabad, Pakistan – you’ve hopefully been convinced to give the city a visit. If you’ve ever visited Islamabad, what reasons to visit Islamabad would you recommend to others? Which reasons to visit Islamabad intrigued you the most? If you enjoyed this post, and would like to read some other similar posts, then these are the ones I’d suggest:

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