Places in Pakistan Every Traveler Must Experience

Welcome to the breathtaking world of Pakistan! Nestled between India and Afghanistan in South Asia, this diverse and enchanting country is a hidden gem for travelers seeking extraordinary experiences. From the majestic peaks of the Himalayas to the pristine beaches along the Arabian Sea, the top places Pakistan offer a plethora of mesmerizing destinations that cater to every wanderlust.

There, you can explore the rich cultural heritage of Lahore, where ancient Mughal architecture and bustling bazaars beckon. Traverse the serene valleys near the Khyber Pass, where traditional Pakistani and Afghan culture intersect. Marvel at the architectural marvels of Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, and explore the historic ruins of Takht-i-Bahi.

A Pakistani street food vendor in Lahore, Pakistan | David's Been Here

Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a history buff, or a food lover, Pakistan is a treasure trove of unique experiences. Get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey and discover the best places this captivating country has to offer.

What are the best places in Pakistan to visit?

Pakistan is a diverse country with a rich cultural heritage, and its cities reflect this diversity. Karachi, Peshawar, Lahore, Gujranwala, and Islamabad are some of the best places in Pakistan to explore because they offer a glimpse into the different aspects of Pakistani culture. Karachi, the country’s largest city, is a bustling metropolis with a vibrant nightlife and a rich history. It is also referred to as the City of Lights.

The top places in Pakistan to visit combine culture, history, and cuisine | David's Been Here

Peshawar, located in the northwest, is famous for its traditional bazaars and ornate mosques. Lahore, the cultural capital of Pakistan, is famous for its Mughal-era architecture and exquisite cuisine. Islamabad, the country’s capital, is a modern and well-planned city with plenty of green spaces and cultural attractions. Each of these cities has its own unique charm, and exploring them is a must for anyone interested in experiencing the top places in Pakistan.

Karachi: The City of Lights

Karachi, Pakistan, known as the City of Lights, is a diverse and cosmopolitan city that offers a wide range of experiences for visitors. With a rich history dating back over a thousand years, Karachi has grown into Pakistan’s top financial and industrial center. It’s also among the top places in Pakistan for tourists to explore!

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One of the highlights of visiting Karachi is exploring its culinary delights. The city offers a variety of street food options along Burns Road, including kebabs and rabri. One popular spot is Quetta Alamgir Hotel, known for its delicious lachha parathas. Try them with omelets and chana (chickpea curry). Another spot I recommend is Sialkot Milk Centre, where you can enjoy a refreshing lassi after a spicy meal.

Street food vendors in Karachi Pakistan | David's Been Here

For those interested in history and architecture, Frere Hall is a must-visit landmark. Built in 1865, this British colonial building blends Venetian-Gothic and local architectural styles. Originally serving as the town hall, it now operates as a library and exhibition space, housing the Liaquat National Library.

The Sindh biryani in Karachi, Pakistan is among the reasons why it's one of my favorite places in Pakistan | David's Been Here

Elsewhere, Clifton Beach is a fun spot for swimmers (and if you’d like to ride a camel). I also highly recommend the Sindh biryani at Biryani Wala. Don’t miss the mouthwateringly beefy nihari at Javed Nihari or the fantastic haleem at Karachi Haleem. Cool off with some creamy dahi baray and have a meal you’ll never forget at Kolachi Restaurant!

Peshawar: A Historic Cultural City

Peshawar is a historical city located in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. It has a rich history dating back to 539 BCE, making it one of the oldest cities in South Asia. Today, Peshawar is the largest Pashtun-majority city in Pakistan and is famous for its Afghan influences and hospitality.

One of the top things to do in Peshawar is to visit Qissa Kwani Bazaar, a bustling area of the city where you can find a variety of vendors selling clothing, food, pottery, and brass items. The street food at Qissa Kwani Bazaar is world-famous, with the beef pulao at Zaika Chawal Restaurant being a must!

The world-famous beef pulao in Peshawar makes it one of the top places in Pakistan | David's Been Here

Aside from Zaika Chawal Restaurant, there are many other food vendors in the bazaar offering delicious treats such as creamy fruit chaat, pomegranate juice, walnut juice, bean karahi, corn chapatis, dried fruit, and kulfi ice cream. The friendly vendors often invite visitors to sample their offerings.

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A sweet and vibrant fruit chaat in Peshawar, Pakistan | David's Been Here

Also, Peshawar’s location in the beautiful Valley of Peshawar gives travelers access to the historic Khyber Pass. So whether you’re interested in exploring ancient sites or indulging in delicious street food, Peshawar is one of the top places in Pakistan for travelers and foodies.

Mardan: A History Lover’s Dream

Mardan, a culturally rich city in Pakistan, is rich with historical and culinary experiences. It attracts history enthusiasts with its archaeological sites and the earliest evidence of written language in South Asia.

The Mardan Bazaar offers a vibrant market experience, where visitors can enjoy street food like samosas and karahi. The bazaar showcases the local culture and offers a variety of items for sale, including meat, electronics, and clothing.

Street food in Mardan, Pakistan | David's Been Here

Pista House Haleem offers a fantastic northern-style biryani, and the Mardan-style falooda at Mardan Faluda is a must. For street food, stop by Taru Jabba, while the chana curry and Haleem at Faysalabad Hotel are outstanding.

Takht-i-Bahi Monastery is one of the best places in Pakistan for history lovers to visit | David's Been Here

History lovers should check out Takht-i-Bahi Monastery nearby. The ancient site, over 3,000 years old, is home to some dazzling ruins, including stupas, meditation cells, and crumbled houses. If you’re looking for the top historical places in Pakistan, this site is one of them!

Islamabad: Pakistan’s Modern Capital

Islamabad, Pakistan is a city famous for its greenery, safety, and high standard of living. It was established in 1967 and is now the capital of Pakistan and one of the places in Pakistan everyone must visit.

One of the top things to do in Islamabad is to explore Aabpara Market, the oldest market in the city. This bustling commercial zone offers a wide range of items, from clothing to street food. It also offers a variety of street food options, including golgappa (pani puri), jalebi (syrupy fried dough), samosas, and chai.

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A street food vendor in Islamabad, Pakistan | David's Been Here

Melody Food Street is just a short drive away from Aabpara Market. Here, you can find a variety of delicious dishes to satisfy your taste buds. Another must-visit attraction is the Pakistan Monument. It’s dedicated to national unity and features four pointed minarets that resemble a lotus flower.

The giant pani puri at Margalla Hills helped make Islamabad one of my favorite places in Pakistan | David's Been Here

Overall, Islamabad offers a blend of history, culture, and culinary delights. Whether you’re exploring markets or trying out street food, there are plenty of incredible experiences to be had in this vibrant city.

Gujranwala: The City of Wrestlers

Gujranwala, Pakistan, is a city with a rich history. Known as the City of Wrestlers, it offers a vibrant food scene that is a must-visit for any food lover. The city has a modern feel and is known for its hospitality.

The Old Town of Gujranwala is a must-see, with its historical and cultural significance. Passing through the 18th-century Brandreth Gate, visitors can explore the streets filled with street vendors selling various items, including Pakistani food and drinks like kulfi, paan, naan, juices, paya, and lassi.

Street food vendors making camel kebabs in Gujranwala, Pakistan | David's Been Here

For an incredible dining experience, Javaid Iqbal Restaurant in Gujranwala’s Old Town is highly recommended. Known for its mouthwatering mutton chana, this restaurant offers a delicious combination of chickpeas and tender mutton. Served with freshly baked naan it’s a true delight for the taste buds!

Savory mutton chana in Gujranwala's Old Town | David's Been Here

Another food spot worth visiting in Gujranwala’s Old Town is Ayoon Chaska Point. I highly recommend the sensational camel kebabs, which are flavorful and fatty. They’re one of my favorite dishes I ate in Pakistan! This dish alone makes Gujranwala one of the best places in Pakistan for foodies!

Lahore: The best places in Pakistan for foodies

Lahore, Pakistan, is a city rich in history and culture. It has been ruled by various empires and played a significant role in the independence movements of both India and Pakistan. The city is also home to many attractions, including the Walled City, Lahore Fort, and Wazir Khan Mosque.

However, what truly sets Lahore apart is its cuisine. The street food in Lahore is considered some of the best in the world, with endless options to explore. From the rooster karahi at Butt Karahi, to the rice dishes at Waqas Biryani House, to the paya at Al-Sahat Corner, the possibilities are never-ending!

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An incredible spread of Pakistani cuisine in Lahore, Pakistan | David's Been Here

You also should not miss the city’s famous chana on Anarkali Food Street, the egg scrambles at Mama Kebab, and the tawa chicken at Taxali Gate Bazaar. At Tofel Bhai, you can even try unique and refreshing fruit golgappa!

Lahore's street food makes it one of the top places in Pakistan for foodies | David's Been Here

One of my favorite dishes was the taka-tak (a savory mix of organ meats) at Gurda Champ Shop. But you also should not miss the laddu peethi at Molvi Gol Gappa and the halwa puri at Sadiq Halwa Puri. Lahore is easily one of the best places in Pakistan for food lovers!

Enjoying some mouthwatering kebabs in Lahore, Pakistan | David's Been Here

The city also boasts historical sites like the Jahangir Tomb Complex. This complex includes the Tomb of Jahangir, Akbari Sarai, and the Tomb of Asif Khan. The tomb of Jahangir is a magnificent structure made of red sandstone with intricate pietra dura work. It houses a marble casket adorned with verses from the Koran.

Visit the top places in Pakistan now

Forget what you’ve heard about Pakistan. This South Asian nation is a vibrant, beautiful country with some of the friendliest locals I’ve ever met. Everywhere I went, people were kind, warm, and hospitable. They went out of their way to welcome me and share their culture with me, and I’ll always be grateful for it.

Karachi is one of the best places in Pakistan to have a pani puri eating challenge | David's Been Here

So whether you’re looking to explore the fusion of Pakistani and Afghan culture in the Khyber Pass, the markets of Karachi, or the vibrant food scene of Lahore, Pakistan is an adventure. Go with an open mind and open heart, and I promise, great things will happen. Book a trip now to experience the top places in Pakistan as soon as possible!

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