Pakistan’s capital is surrounded by greenery, and surprisingly tranquil for a South Asian metropolis. But there is plenty of action underneath its laid-back surface. So book a flight to Islamabad with Qatar Airways to soak up the culture, history and verdant serenity.
Start your trip to Islamabad by visiting the city’s museums and art galleries. Lok Virsa Museum is considered the city’s finest, with more than 25 galleries dedicated to textiles, architecture and traditional music. Alternatively, you can check out the National Art Gallery, home to over 450 pieces, from sculptures to classical and contemporary paintings.
Faisal Masjid is Islamabad’s most famous landmark. A gift from King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, this imposing mosque is one of Asia’s largest, and its blend of traditional and modern architecture will live long in the memory. Remember to dress respectfully when visiting religious sites in the city.
A taxi ride to nearby Taxila is an opportunity to visit some exquisite excavation sites. It’s easy to spend a whole day here, browsing the museum and the surrounding archaeological digs. This ancient city is one of Pakistan’s most important historic locations and was once a centre of Buddhist and Hindu learning.
The city is filled with greenery. Rawal Lake and the adjacent Lake View Park are popular spots for picnics, and the lake offers opportunities for boating and fishing. The lake area also serves as a great source of panoramic views over the city.
Families will enjoy a day out at Islamabad Zoo, where more than 300 animals await, including lions, tigers and a wide variety of birds.
When you travel to Islamabad, taking a day trip to Saidpur Village, is the ideal way to catch a change of scenery. This ancient village was the subject of a two-year remodelling project that concluded in 2008, and is filled with cafés and restaurants. There are also regularly updated exhibitions showcasing Pakistan’s rich cultural heritage.
The Margalla Hills, on the city’s outskirts, are part of the Himalayan foothills and offer some excellent opportunities for rock-climbing. Cycling is also a popular pastime here, and renting a bike in the city is a great way to take in some of the area’s scenic trails.