A proud showcase of planning and government, Islamabad is laid out in a grid pattern marked by broad avenues, green open spaces, amazing restaurants, splendid museums and a friendly energy. The 20th-century capital has an almost suburban feel, and most visitors find the subdued vibe welcoming and refreshing.
Islamabad is home to a number of interesting museums and galleries. One of the most notable is the recently renovated Lok Virsa Museum. A true delight, the museum features over 25 sprawling galleries dedicated to cultural themes like architecture, textiles, music, Sufi shrines and more. The collection features many stunning artifacts, including metalwork’s, ivory and bone works, jewelry, embroidered costumes, woodwork and block prints. The museum’s Heritage Reference Library is also an excellent resource for visitors hoping to gain a better understanding of the country and its culture.
Modern, light-filled and just five years old, the National Art Gallery is another museum well worth visiting. More than 450 art pieces are on display, including sculptures, photography, contemporary paintings and classical textiles. For free admission, visit during the morning. To escape the crowds that take advantage of the free admission, come during the afternoon and pay the small fee. It is worth it to have nearly the whole museum to yourself.
A lesser-known gem that is still worth a visit is the Golra Pakistan Railways Heritage Museum. Walking through the museum is like going back in time to the North West Railway’s glory days. The nicely renovated station house contains a small museum, and there are many old locomotives to explore.
There are many mosques and shrines in the city, and the most recognizable and impressive is the Faisal Masjid. Gifted to the city by Saudi Arabia’s King Faisal, the mosque is open to visitors outside of prayer times. The Sufi Imam Bari Shrine and Golra Sharif Shine are also major tourist draws for their architectural beauty and religious significance.
Many open green spaces can be found throughout the city. One of the most lovely is Daman-e-Koh, a lookout point that offers great views of the city from the hilltops. The site is surrounded by high-quality restaurants, live music venues, hiking trails, gardens and cafes that add even more to its appeal.
Fatima Jinnah Park is one of South East Asia’s largest parks. Locals there play tennis, cricket and jog through the sculpture garden. There is also an expansive children’s playground and an indoor section with a bowling alley.
The Margalla Hills are easy to reach from Islamabad. The foothills of the Himalayas, the hills are steep and suited for the most adventurous travelers. There are many numbered trails from which to choose, and the most popular offer stunning views of the city and the surrounding areas.
Other parks and open spaces popular with tourists include Rawal Lake, the Pir Sohawa overlook, the Rose and Jasmine Garden, the children’s Japanese Park and the Shakarparian, a hilly area crisscrossed with hiking trails.
Just outside of the city lies the Saidpur Village. Beloved for its breathtaking natural beauty and mystic past, the village is a great place to go when you need a break from the pace of Islamabad. The centuries-old village is surrounded with lush wilderness, and the wide range of restaurants, galleries and shops highlight the country’s rich cultural heritage.
Islamabad Geographical Location
Islamabad is located in the northeast of Pakistan at the foot of the Margalla Hills. It is Pakistan’s tenth largest city and has a population of approximately 1,330,000.
Urdu and English are the two official languages of Pakistan however Punjabi is spoken by the majority of the population.
Islamabad Predominant Religion
- 95% Muslim
- 5% Other
The majority of Muslim Pakistanis follow the Sunni branch of Islam.
The Pakistani Rupee is the official currency of Pakistan.
Islamabad experiences extremely hot summers while the winters are quite cool. There is a monsoon season in July and August in which half of the years’ rainfall occurs.
Islamabad Main Attractions
- Faisal Mosque
- Margalla Hills
- Lok Virsa Museum
Other Attraction in Islamabad
- Rawal Dam
- Pakistan Museum of Natural History
- National Art Gallery
- Golra Pakistan Railways Heritage Museum