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Places to visit in Islamabad


Islamabad is a beautiful, clean and lush green capital of Pakistan. It is no wonder it is considered the 2nd most beautiful capital in the world. It is well developed, modern and attractive in so many ways.

Whenever I come back to Islamabad, whether that is for visiting relatives or getting my visa/passport done, there are some places I always have to visit and things I always have to do.

This time around, with Kanika by my side, obviously I had to show her those nostalgic destinations but also decided to hit new spots. Now I’m not sure if you’ve been following our Instagram series on #WhyVisitPakistan but if you ever get convinced or inspired enough to travel to Pakistan, here’s a list on 10 places to see or things to do when you visit Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan.

Since we don’t just focus on travel as it is a lifestyle blog, I’m going to separate the list into categories that will hopefully convince you take trip down here this year.

Faisal Mosque

The Faisal Mosque is definitely the most iconic structure and symbol of not just Islamabad, but all of Pakistan. It is the largest mosque in the country and can be seen from almost everywhere in Islamabad. It is so massive that it covers an area of 5,000 m2 and can accommodate over 250,000 worshippers in its inside and outside grounds.

It is certainly sight for sore eyes with its impressive and unique design. Usually Mosques are dome shaped but this one is shaped like a ‘desert Bedouin’s tent’.
Faisal Masjid Islamabad
Photo by: Abrar Sharif

Pakistan Monument

You can actually visit the Pakistan Monument on the same day as the Lok Virsa Museum as they are extremely close by. Just another 5 minutes drive up the road, you’ll witness the national monument, which is represented by its shape – the four main petals represents Pakistan’s four provinces (Punjab, sindh, Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa) while the three smaller petals represents it’s three territories (Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Kashmir and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas)
Pakistan Monument Islamabad

Pakistan Monument Islamabad
Photo by: Abrar Sharif

Margalla Hills

The Margalla hills or mountain range is part of the lesser Himalayas and is a perfect destination for adventurers, travelers and locals. There are plenty of restaurants, viewpoints and nature trails to tickle everyone’s fancy.
Margalla Hills Islamabad
Photo by: Abrar Sharif

Pir Sohawa

Pir Sohawa is a highland picturesque rural sight, at an altitude of 5000 feet (1524 meters), located near Islamabad (the capital of Pakistan). Many people think its part of Islamabad but geographically it is located in Haripur District, KPK. The scenic place is praised for trips and holiday picnics in Islamabad and is sighted near Monal Village, which exist on the incline against Islamabad city.The place is linked to Islamabad by a winding road on which Daman-e-Koh (a viewing point and hill top garden) is located and it takes 35 minutes drive to reach it from the city. It is about 13 kilometers from Marghzar. The sight presents a fantastic and picturesque view of Islamabad city during day and night.

The sight is an ideal place for enjoying picnics in forest while listening to singing birds and watching wildlife. After rains of monsoon forest in the hills of Pir Sohawa turns green. The sight is end point for hiking trips from the foot of Margla Hills, rising 3000 feet (914 meters) almost vertically upward from the Saidpur Village, Islamabad.

A restaurant called “Monal Resturant” is located at Pir Sohawa. Completed in 2006, the restaurant presents a breathtaking view of the city of Islamabad in day and amazingly beautiful show of the city lights during night. One can adore fragrance and breeze, especially in hot days of summer, with thick forest present all around. The place also attracts tourist during winter, as being a place sufficient for occasional snow fall due to an altitude of 5000 feet.
Pir Sohawa Islamabad
Photo by: Abrar Sharif


Daman-e-Koh is a viewing point and hill top garden north of Islamabad and located in the middle of the Margalla Hills. Its name is a conjunction of two Persian words, which together means foot hills. It is about 2400ft from sea level and almost 500ft from the city of Islamabad. It is a popular destination for the residents as well as the visitors to the capital.

Daman-e-Koh is a midpoint for tourists on their way to the higher view point Pir Sohawa which is located at the top of Margalla Hills at an elevation of about 3600ft. There is a plan to construct a chairlift from Daman-e-Koh to Pir Sohawa. Monkeys are a common sight during winter. Cheetahs are frequently reported to descend from higher hills of Murree during snowfall.
Daman-e-Koh Islamabad
Photo by: Abrar Sharif

Rawal Lake

If you want a nice time with family or your loved one, Rawal lake is the perfect place to visit. Although an artificial reservoir, the view is beautiful and you can even rent paddle boats or motor boats to explore the lake and nearby islands.

Other than boating and the view, the park next to the lake is perfect for picnics, bird watching and long walks with your loved ones.

The ideal time to go here would be an hour or so before sunset where you can enjoy a bit of the surrounding area and then be able to capture this!

Photo by: Abrar Sharif

Lake View Park

Lake View Park (also known as Rawal Lake View Point or Rawal Lake Promenade) is a recreational area and wildlife park located near Village Malpur Rawal Lake, on Murree Road in Islamabad, Capital Territory, Pakistan. It runs under the administration of Capital Development Authority.
Lake View Park Islamabad
Photo by: Abrar Sharif

Saidpur Village

This is surely a must visit place when you’re in Islamabad. Located on the foothills of the Maragalla mountain range, the village is from the Mughal-era and has remnants of various civilizations. Saidpur village is sort of like a heritage site but what is amazing about it is that it displays a perfect blend of traditional culture with modern lifestyle. Here you’ll find restaurants and cafes that have been well integrated around the village while keeping the authenticity and tradition.
Saidpur Village Islamabad

Lok Virsa Museum

Lok Virsa is a cultural and heritage museum in Islamabad that exhibits the different lifestyles of people in Pakistan. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take photos inside the museum so we can’t really show any to you.
Lok Virsa Museum Islamabad
Photo by: Abrar Sharif

Trail 3, 5, 6

Walking Trail Islamabad
Photo by: Abrar Sharif

Bird Aviary

Bird Aviary is the park where so many kinds of birds are available for the birds lovers and you can see lots of birds in this park it is located near Rawal Lake Islamabad. It is the very attractive place to visit when you are in Islamabad.
Bird Aviary Islamabad
Photo by: Muhammad Akmal

Shakarparian Hills

Shakar Parian Hills are situated near Zero Point, up above the Loke Virsa Museum & Rose & Jasmine Garden. From here you can view the twin cities of Islamabad & Rawalpindi very clearly
Shakarparian Hills Islamabad
Photo by: Muhammad Akmal

Pakistan Railways Heritage Museum

The station welcomes visitors with its panoramic view of old banyan trees, steam engines, a small Victorian-style building and serene environment.

Established in 1881 and upgraded to a junction in 1912, the Golra Sharif Railway Station has been used by the residents of the surrounding villages for over a century.

Today, the Golra Sharif Railway Station is known more for the Railway Heritage Museum it houses than for being a stop for travellers. Established in October 2003, the museum is truly one of its kind. Not limited to a closed hall, it includes old locomotive trains, steam engines, and lifters stationed at the platform.

According to Haq, between 20 and 30 people visit on weekdays while weekends are busier, with the number rising to a hundred people. Schools also bring students. The museum charges 10 rupees as entry fee, which is actually a platform ticket.
Pakistan Railways Heritage Museum Islamabad
Photo by: Muhammad Ahsan

Safa Gold Mall

We at Safa Gold Mall offer our exclusive services to our valued tenants and customers to facilitate in best way. We have investor friendly location and environment to maximize the mileage against their investments. We take care of each tenant without any kind of discrimination to the highest corporate levels of services. For the buyers at Safa Gold Mall we have more than 150 national and multinational brands ranging from kids stores,ladies gents shopping stores to high-end domestic and corporate furnishing solutions. We have multiplex cinema theater and classy roof top glass restaurant under construction and to be launched soon.
Safa Gold Mall Islamabad
Photo by: Muhammad Ahsan

Fatima Jinnah Park

Fatima Jinnah Park is the largest recreational park of Islamabad having an area of around 2000 sq meters. It is located in sector F-9 of the capital city. This park has many attractions for the visitors. As the park is named by the mother of the nation Mohtarrma Fatima Jinnah, the capital management authority gives special attention on the maintenance of this place.

Fatima Jinnah Park is consists of beautiful walking tracks surrounded by greenery. Some beautiful small structures can be seen around the park. In mega zone area of the park a fine-looking swimming pool is made. There are also some other facilities like bowling and other sports which are the part of this amazing place.

Some great views of Margallah Hills can be seen from this park. In winter season, you will see some beautiful migrated birds sailing over the park. Walking and jogging tracks are also very well planned and people love to come in this park for exercise.

This park is also the center for many social activities of Islamabad. Every year on 14 August, a beautiful firework is arranged and people of twin cities love to see that. In spring season, the beauty of this park reaches to its peak. A Basant festival is also arranged in Fatima Jinnah Park and the sky fills with colorful kites.

Fatima Jinnah Park is a great attraction for children. An area is dedicated only for children where different types of swings and cradles are arranged which are surly of international standard. This area of the park is reserved only for families where children can enjoy along-with their parents.

International food chain of Macdonald has also opened a restaurant in this park which remains open till late hours. So whenever you will come to Islamabad, Fatima Jinnah Park will be nice attraction for you.
Fatima Jinnah Park Islamabad
Photo by: Muhammad Ahsan

Simly Dam

Simly Dam is an 80m high earthen embankment dam on the Soan River, located 30 km east of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
Simly Dam is located around 30 kilometers (19 miles) east of Islamabad. It can be reached via Lehtrar Road or via Bhara Kahu Town.

You can also get to Simly dam from Convention Center Islamabad at about 10 to 15 minutes drive from a road towards Murree which branching off to the right and is marked Simly Dam Road.
Best views of simli lake can be captured from Ban Karor Road near Bassi. This lovely lake has boats for rent and great fishing opportunities. You can come out with you family and friends to have a tranquil and pleasant time here. Best times to see the beauty of the Simli Lake is from April to September. Angling and boating is also allowed in the lake. For fishing, you need to have license (permission)from CDA (Capital Development Authority), Islamabad.

Simly Dam Islamabad
Photo by: Muhammad Ahsan

Rose and Jasmine Garden

Rose and Jasmine Garden Islamabad is situated in Islamabad near Aabpara. It is one of the most famous gardens of Islamabad. There are other gardens in islamabad as well including botanic garden (in development), the CDA kachnar garden i.e. Bauhinia garden but not as famous. This garden is also famous for flower shows held in autumn and spring.

Rose and jasmine garden includes almost all types of roses including desi or local roses, climbing roses,tea rose, floribunda roses, miniature roses, fragrant roses etc. Despite all my efforts i could not find any jasmine blooms there. These shots are taken in last week of december. I hope you would enjoy:)
Rose and Jasmine Garden Islamabad
Photo by: Muhammad Ahsan

Islamabad Zoo

Islamabad Zoo was established in 1978. It’s a very popular public park located near Pir Sohawa Road, Islamabad, Pakistan. You often bring your children to enjoy the view of various animals. The Capital Development Authority has prepared a plan in August 2008 to update and expand the zoo as a wildlife sanctuary and recreation. Islamabad Zoo is also having great attractions for all family members including variety of rides and food shops.Address: Pir Sohawa Road, Islamabad, Pakistan
Islamabad Zoo

Golrah Shrine

The Shrine (Darbar) of Golra Sharif is situated in the centre of E-11 sector, Islamabad. It is in the front of Margalla hills and 11 miles away from the city of Rawalpindi. Till the last decade of 18th century the Afghans were ruling on this place but after the Ahmed Shah Abadali, Ranjit Singh took the charge of this area. Before the Capital Golra was a small village of Rawalpindi but it remained as an important area due to its geographic location. Texla and Hasan Abadal are situated in the neighbourhood.

The main cause of its popularity is the Tomb of Pir Mehr Ali Shah Sahib. He was a great Sufi Saint and spent his life for the Islam in the 1850s. Pir is an Urdu word and its meaning is Holy Man. Hazrat Pir Mehr Ali Shah Sahib born on the first of Ramadan 1275 A.H which was 14th of April 1859 A.D.

Beautiful white marble was used for the structure of this Shrine and the linked Mosque. Red carpets are laid on the floors. This one is a very big complex which includes the separate space for women, pools, galleries and the food corner as well. There are few more shrines near by it. This building increases the beauty of the Capital. It provides you a great visiting experience and was made in the Mughal’s style. You can ask from a local person if you have any query or question related to this area.
Pir Mehr Ali Shah (who is buried in the Golra Sharif) was also a famous Punjabi poet. He knew almost all the regional languages and did his poetry. The poetry of Pir Sahib is still very famous among the peoples. The peoples come here more often from near and far. His poetry could be finding on official website of “golarasharif.com”. It is an official website which provided you all the information and future events of this Shrine.
Golrah Shrine Islamabad
Photo by: Muhammad Ahsan

Bari Imam Shrine

The shrine was originally built on the orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. The death anniversary (Urs) of Bari Imam is observed in the first week of May beginning Monday through Thursday with lot of festivities representing the Potohar culture and attracts people from all over the country.Thousands of devotees of Bari Imam have already camped in and around his shrine situated at the foothills of Margalla near Prime Minister’s House to take part in the five-day festivity.
The Urs celebrations, which will continue till coming Friday, attract over a million people from around the country every year who come here to pay homage to great Sufi Saint.
The devotees of Bari Imam were already arriving here from almost all parts of the country through all kinds of modes and styles since last week. Many of them came here walking barefooted from miles’ distance while others are coming on buses, cars, horsebacks and by air.
To greet the guests of Imam, locals have renovated their houses and shops ahead of the great festivity amid tight security arrangements from law enforcement agencies, especially policies, besides food and lodging arrangements by civic authorities.
Peoples from all walks of life, including women and children, young and old, will keep on coming to Nurpur Shahan in five days of Urs for paying tribute to great services of Bari Imam for Islam, peace, Sufism and humanity beyond any religious boundary.
Syed Abdul Latif Shah Kazmi Mashhadi, more known as Bari Imam, was born in 1026 Hijri (1617 AD) in village Choli Karsal at District Chakwal. Bari’s father, Syed Mehmood Hussain Shah Kazmi was himself a religious scholor and a renowned Sufi.
Syed Mehmood Hussain Shah was also widely respected for being educated from prestigious institutions of Iraq in good old days.
In the later years of his life, Syed Abdul Latif Shah moved to village Bagh Kalan in Islamabad along with rest of his family, a place that presently holds Aabpara, the commercial heartland of modern Islamabad.
During the life at Bagh Kalan, the Syed family used to earn its bread and butter by farming and raising cattle. Shah Latif Shah used to help his father in those days by taking part in farming and looking after the cattle.
However, he left the family and moved to a nearing village Chorpur (City of Thieves) which later became Nurpur (city of Light) as a result of the mysticism and great services of Sufi Saint who spent most of his remaining life in this area.
Bari Imam Shrine Islamabad
Photo by: Muhammad Ahsan


Shahdara Velly is a Natural Picnic Point near Islamabad. It’s a place like heaven on earth. It situated 10 km from President House Pakistan, 7 km from Barakhao and 15 km from Faizabad Islamabad. Shahdara Velly is located in Margalla hill north east of the President House, Prime Minister House, Parliament house and Diplomatic Enclave and in the north of the Barakhao (a hub station between Murree Rawalpindi and Islamabad).
Shahdara is a small stream which passes right behind the Quaid-e-Azam University and has of lately become a very convenient picnic spot.
Shahdara is a Water Source / Fountain in the sub-rubs of Islamabad. It lies about 20 km from mainland Islamabad and situated in the foothills of Margalla, whiling moving towards Murree. The approach to this place is from Islamabad – Murree Highway. Short of Barakhao Town, a road takes a diversion towards Left that lead to the point. It takes about 20 – 30 minutes from Aabpara, Islamabad. This is a discreet, silent, Close-to-Nature Environ and relaxing place. If you are tired and looking for a place to unwind, then a day long trip to this place might help you. There a few street-food points that serves your needs. Recommended for tourists as well as families.
Shahdara Islamabad

Centaurus Mall

Centaurus Mall is one of Islamabad’s hottest attractions the one must visit. You should spare the half day to visit it.
Centaurus Mall Islamabad
Photo by: Abrar Sharif

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