If Pakistan is next up on your travel list, then there is no way your trip will be complete without exploring the best places to visit in Islamabad,the capital city.
Islamabad attracts tourists all along the year with its captivating beauty and peaceful ambiance which clearly indicates why the city ranks as the second most beautiful capital in the world.
5 Best Places To Visit In Islamabad
Even though there are many places to visit in Islamabad, but there are some spots that are recognized as “best places to visit in Islamabad for tourists”. To save you from hours of research, in this article we have listed down the best places to visit in Islamabad for exploring the city.
#1 – Shakarparian National Park
If you are among those who love to capture the scenic beauty of their travel destination in the eyes of the camera then the Shakarparian National Park is among the best places to visit in Islamabad for you.
Situated near the Zero Point, Shakarparian Hills gives you the perfect view of the twin cities, Islamabad and Rawalpindi. The name “Shakar Parian” also symbolizes how it makes a great tourist spot. The word Shakarparian is derived from Potohari language where Shakar means “sweet” and Parian means a place to stop by during long journeys.
Shakarparian offers a panoramic view of the beautiful Islamabad with blooming flowers and weather that stays pleasant in all seasons. The hills are centrally located in the capital city hence giving you the perfect view. So, it can be said that for nature-lovers, Shakarparian is undoubtedly among the best places to visit in Islamabad.
It is located 609 meters above the seal level and besides the city view, you can also enjoy the view of Margalla Hills. For photographers, Shakarparian National Park ranks among the peaceful places to visit in Islamabad to capture the beauty of the city where you can see the scattered views of both Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
When visiting this point in summer, you can spend a memorable day walking around the hills as the sun is shining bright. Among the many attractions of this point are the beautiful gardens of Shakarparian. You will leave the place with the fragrance of flowers embedded in your mind.
Shakarparian has a garden dedicated to trees that were planted by famous personalities from different countries during their visit to Pakistan. On the West from Shakarparian, you can view the Pakistan Monument.
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#2 – Pakistan Monument
For people in Islamabad spending weekends while shopping at Centaurus or having dinner with family at Monal Restaurant is like a ritual. However, many citizens miss out on a wonderful spot, the Pakistan Monument, that is nestled away in Shakarparian Hills.
The Pakistan Monument, with its dome-shaped structure symbolizes a great part of our heritage. For a tourist, it is a ranked as one of the best places to visit in Islamabad as you can watch the bustling city below through this quiet spot.
A major advantage of visiting the Pakistan Monument as a tourist is that you can view all the wonders of Pakistan in one place without having to spend a hefty amount. While paying close attention to the petals, you will see MInar-e-Pakistan shown next to the grave of Quaid-e-Azam.
Above Baab-e-Khyber, on the monument, the house of Quaid-e-Azam in Ziarat stands tall and along with Tarbela Dam, the Faisal Masjid is carved. The wax figures standing right next to the monument reflect on the profound history of Pakistan.
If you are planning to dive deeper into the cultural history, then the Lok Virsa museum is just a drive away. Pakistan Monument is one of the places to visit in Islamabad if you want to explore the cultural history of this nation.
The glorious Pakistan Monument was inaugurated in 2007 and was built as a symbol of patriotism and unity of Pakistanis. Not only this but it also pays tribute to the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for their beloved country.
Due to its unique architecture and scenic location, the monument remains one of the most visited attractions by tourists in Islamabad.
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#3 – Pakistan Monument Museum
Just as the Pakistan Monument symbolizes the advancing future of the country, the museum preserves the rich and diverse cultural past.
While walking through the well built yet sleek museum, you will get to explore the pre-partition of the country. The vivid mannequins are set on the display in such a manner that you can learn more accomplishments, traditions and struggles in a chronological order.
You will also find the relics of Quaid e Azam and Allama Iqbal, the two great leaders of the country. Not only this, but some rare manuscripts and books are also present in the museum’s library.
The museum occupies fifty percent of the picturesque Pakistan Monument. The Monument museum gives a more profound insight of Islam dating back to the beginning of the religion.
While exploring the surroundings of the museum, you will find comprehension of the Mughal Period, pre-segment history that led to Pakistan development and the occasions that eventually led to the partition of the sub-continent.
The museum is a perfect depiction of the ancient civilization, representing struggles and achievements of Pakistan as a nation to-date. It is equipped with multiple facilities like audio-visual archive, a reference library and a Panorama Hall, a conference hall that has capacity for seating of up to 62 people.
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#4 – Faisal Mosque
Your trip to Islamabad will be incomplete if you do not visit the iconic Faisal Mosque which is among the most remarkable architecture structures currently present in the world. Being one of the largest architectural designs of Asia, the mosque carries the perfect blend of both tradition and ultra-modern state of art.
The mosque is nestled at the foot of Margalla Hills on an elevated area of land. The location of the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad reflects upon the importance that it has. You can see the mosque from miles away whether it is day or night. Due to its prime location, the mosque has secured its position in the list of best places to visit in Islamabad.
The main courtyard and prayer area of the Faisal Mosque has the capacity of up to 100,000 people which made it the largest mosque in the world at the time of building. Currently it ranks as the fifth largest globally and the largest mosque in Pakistan.
The Faisal mosque was designed by Vedat Dalokay, a Turkish architect in the late 1900s. The mosque carries such a geometric design with clean lines that is hard to discern from a distance.
If you are wondering about the eight-sided concrete shell, Vedat took inspiration from the cubic shape of Ka’ba in Makkah and the desert Bedouin’s tent to design the shape of the mosque. The Turkish architecture was infused in the design with the four minarets of the mosque.
In contrast to other mosques that you will see in other parts of the world, the Faisal Mosque has a strikingly unique design without having the traditional arches or domes.
When inside, you will find the ceiling of the mosque soaring up to 40 m and the environment is enlightened with the recitation of Holy Quran. Even though the mosque is a sacred place, visitors are always welcome.
One can’t help but appreciate the interior of the mosque that is covered with white marble and the mosaics, calligraphy by Sadeqain and Turkish chandelier add to the overall beauty of the mosque.
However, visitors are expected to dress modestly, and women should bring a headscarf. You will have to leave your shoes at the counter before entering the mosque. The mausoleum of General Zia-ul-Haq is adjacent to the mosque, whose funeral held at this site was the largest ever witnessed in the history of Pakistan.
The International Islamic University was previously housed in the main courtyard of the Faisal Mosque but has now been shifted. The mosque still has a lecture hall, library, café and museum.
#5 – Pakistan Museum of Natural History
While looking for places to visit in Islamabad, a tour of the Pakistan Museum of Natural History will definitely make your trip memorable and also more enjoyable. It is located at garden avenue Shakarparian beside Lok Virsa.
Considering how Pakistan has around only 50 museums that mainly focus on heritage, a historical and natural museum was need of the time. The PMNH fulfills this purpose quite well. PMNH is not only one of the best places to visit in Islamabad but also in Pakistan due to its importance in regard to preserving the natural resources of Pakistan.
Being rich in minerals and biodiversity, Pakistan is home to multiple natural resources and reserves. The PMNH was built with the idea to preserve these valuable resources.
In general, the museum has six galleries and four main divisions. The Pakistan Museum of Natural History is home to around 1.4 million specimens of multiple categories like animals, plants, minerals, etc.
If you want to explore the entire museum, then it will take you no less than 2 hours to do so as the displays inside are detailed.