Home to the most awe-inspiring natural beauty on earth, Pakistan is absolutely chock full of sights that captivate the imagination in a way that no other place can. Martian-like desert landscapes, fields, and mountains covered in lush greenery, peaks in seemingly impossible geological formations – Pakistan has it all, in spades. On top of that, Pakistan possesses manmade cultural and historical sites that are as unique as they are visually stunning.
Anyone could spend a lifetime exploring all of Pakistan’s beauty, but like any other place, it has its highlights that simply can’t be missed! From putting in the work to uncover hidden gems to giving you the low-down on more well-known areas, this guide shows you Pakistan’s 27 most beautiful places that must be seen, and how (and when) to see them at their most magnificent.
When to Visit the Most Beautiful Places in Pakistan
Whether you’re trying to avoid huge crowds of tourists or stay away from extreme temperatures, it’s always important to know when the best time is to visit a place in order to see it at its finest. Summer is undoubtedly the height of the tourist season, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the ideal time of year to travel in. Pakistan’s large size lends itself to a lot of climates, so there isn’t just one season that is optimum for seeing all of the country’s sights.
The south of the country tends to be scorching hot in summer, so much so to the point that it becomes unbearable and potentially dangerous. That makes summer a great time to head north and explore the Himalayas, Karakoram, and Hindu Kush without having to endure searing temperatures, although you’ll find plenty of tourists in those regions during that season.
Personally, my favorite time to explore the mountains in the north is during Autumn. Lower prices, fewer tourists, and the Fall foliage is simply unreal.
The cherry blossom season is also truly a sight to behold, so while you might be a little chilly, seeing the trees erupt in color after winter makes the trip well worth the effort.
Winter is an excellent season to spend time traveling in the south of the country. You can enjoy the cultural and historical sights, great food, and legendary Pakistani hospitality all while doing so in cooler temperatures that won’t leave you wondering whether you’re literally melting or not.
Most Beautiful Places in Pakistan
Pakistan at its finest, in my opinion, is simply a cut above what most of the rest of the world has to offer. The scenery is as diverse as it is spellbinding, the food is delicious, the people are overwhelmingly kind, and the sheer uniqueness of this country is captivating as hell.
This guide aims to help you see Pakistan in the best way possible by showing you what I’ve found to be the country’s most beautiful, breathtaking locations, whether it’s a place that has earned its fame or a hidden gem unknown even to most Pakistanis. These sights showcase this incredible country at its greatest.
Concordia/K2 Base Camp
The planet’s second-highest mountain has inspired the trekking and mountaineering worlds for decades, and as a result, it’s an increasingly sought-after trekking destination. While it’s still not nearly as popular as the Everest Base Camp trek in Nepal, for example, the trek to K2 is becoming frequented by more and more hikers every year.
Trekking to K2 Base Camp and back is an endeavor that takes around two weeks to complete, so while this is not the sort of destination for the casual traveler, serious hikers will find the jagged, awesome scenery of the trek and adventure to the foot of The Savage Mountain beyond priceless.
One of Pakistan’s renowned tourist destinations, Swat earns its fame with mountainous landscapes, forests, and pristine rivers. Kalam Valley in particular is a common destination for visitors both Pakistani and foreign, and for good reason.
Being in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province (KPK for short), Kalam has a relatively warm climate for being so mountainous. While the summits aren’t quite as high on average as those you’ll find in Hunza or Skardu, the mountains here are vibrant with deep colors and forests like very few other places in the world are.
Because of its comparatively warm climate, Kalam is a destination that’s far more accessible in all seasons, and you can even explore during winter without having to face the frigid temperatures that more northern regions experience in the coldest months.
Neelum Valley, Kashmir
Kashmir is a place that has long captured my imagination, and Neelum Valley in particular is known for its lush, mountainous beauty that has inspired many a traveler. Far from the dry, desert mountain landscapes of Hunza and Skardu, Neelum glows with color, its mountains covered in deep green fields and brilliant wildflowers.
The political situation in Kashmir is delicate, as control of the region is divided between India and Pakistan. If you want to enter Pakistan-administered (Azad) Kashmir as a foreigner, you will need to obtain a Non-Objection Certificate from the Pakistani government, and there is no guarantee that getting one is achievable.
However, as a Pakistani, simply show your national ID card at a checkpoint and you will be granted entry. Regardless of your country of origin, Kashmir and Neelum Valley can’t be missed if you can find a way to visit.
High in the Hindu Kush, Yasin is known for enchanting, far-flung beauty and, like many other parts of Pakistan, boasts a unique and fascinating history. Although it’s relatively close to Gilgit city, Yasin Valley doesn’t have nearly as prominent of a tourism scene.
Travelers will find a stunning valley packed with awesome treks and hidden gems, as well as a myriad of rivers and mountains to explore. The valley is not heavily populated nor is it touristy, so there’s a good chance that you can have the place all to yourself if you want to.
Because of Yasin’s lack of a robust tourism scene, travelers can enjoy a visit in summer without having to endure an overwhelming swarm of tourists that crowd the roads and the sights while keeping warm, avoiding the temperatures of colder months. Autumn in Yasin, however, is simply breathtaking.
Phander Valley is spectacularly wild, and is the kind of place for those seeking to get off the grid without exerting too much effort to escape from civilization. This paradise is for getting away from a consistent cell signal, relaxing, and enjoying unspoiled natural wonders.
Phander has everything a traveler could want: day hikes and longer treks, fishing, camping, rich culture and history to uncover, and guesthouse and hotels of all price ranges to keep you warm and cozy in between adventures. Travelers can get to Phander from either Chitral (only in the warmer months) or Gilgit.
A place of vibrant culture and history, Kalash is a special part of Chitral, full of its own customs and a tribe of people that are absolutely distinct. Despite many attempts by outsiders over the years to impose the culture and religion of the outside world on Kalash, this special place has managed to preserve its traditions.
Visitors to Kalash are in for a special treat: the Kalasha people are a one-of-a-kind tribe within Pakistan, practicing a unique religion that is not found anywhere else. For travelers seeking a cultural experience that is unforgettable and truly different from anything else you’ll ever see, a visit to Kalash is not to be passed up on.
Kalash’s climate means that winters can be extremely harsh and summers are mild, so it’s best to plan a trip for the summer to avoid freezing temperatures and the difficulties of traveling when the roads become an icy, slippery mess.
The Fairy Meadows
A starting point for treks leading to the foot of the world’s ninth-highest mountain, the Fairy Meadows is one of the most strikingly beautiful places on Earth. After an exhilarating jeep ride from Raikot Bridge and a short two-hour hike uphill, you’ll find yourself amongst a bevy of hotels and campsites in a location that looks like it’s straight out of a mythical storybook.
The Fairy Meadows is one of the most well-known and popular places to visit in Pakistan, and as such, it has been subject to a spate of rapid development in recent years. New hotels spring up often, and the sound of construction is now a constant presence. This is no longer an off-the-grid destination, but it’s still possible to pay a visit without finding yourself swarmed by tourists.
If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, travel in late September or early October. It will be a little colder, but you’ll manage to avoid huge crowds without being exposed to freezing temperatures that might be too much to handle.
Balochi Coast (Hingol National Park)
Balochistan is renowned for its Martian-like landscapes and has the most spectacular coastal roads in Pakistan. Hingol National Park in particular feels like a mysterious alien world of deserts and towering rock formations, leaving the traveler awed and full of wonder.
Sadly, the Pakistani government considers Balochistan to be a particularly sensitive province, so the political situation here is fragile. This means that foreigners traveling to Balochistan need a Non-Objection Certificate (NOC) before entering the region, which can be difficult to obtain. Pakistanis who want to enter will have a much easier time – all you need to do is show your National ID Card.
Regardless of your nationality, it’s important to know that Balochistan is not a solo travel destination. It is highly encouraged to travel with a group, and with a guide that knows the region.
Gwadar Cricket Stadium
Quite possibly one of the most epic sports stadiums on the planet, Gwadar Cricket Stadium is a highlight of Balochistan and is set in an unbelievably dramatic backdrop.
Regardless of your feelings toward Cricket (I personally have no significant attachment or special love for the sport), this stadium provides spectators a with a striking, unique experience that is literally impossible to replicate anywhere else. If you manage to make your way to Balochistan, be sure to make the effort to give this place the visit it deserves.
A valley of spectacular natural beauty, Shimshal’s renown largely comes from being the setting of one of Pakistan’s most dangerous roads. The journey to Shimshal is a sensory overload, alive with raging rivers, titanic mountains, chasmic drops, and of course, no small amount of danger. And that’s before you even arrive at the village itself!
Shimshal Village is a home base for both short day hikes and lengthy treks (as well as climbs of nearby mountains), so it’s got a good number of guesthouses and lodges for travelers to stay at. This is a destination for those who love exploring rugged, mountainous areas on the edge of civilization.
Not particularly easy to reach, you can either take public transport from Hunza or attempt the road on a motorcycle. That being said, Shimshal road earns its dangerous reputation and you should stick with arranging a public jeep/van to get there unless you’re very experienced on a bike.
A particularly unique enclave within Pakistan, Hunza is a famed tourist destination that is undeniably special. This valley is known for being home to multiple 7000-meter peaks, some of the most bizarre geological formations there are to be seen anywhere, and of course, the legendary Karakoram Highway.
Hunza has something to offer for everyone, whether that’s popular, cozy hotels with incredible views, lesser-known hidden gems, smooth highways with unbeatable vistas, and the kindest, most hospitable people in the world. There’s always something new to do here, but the crush of tourists can be overwhelming at times, especially at the peak of the summer season.
Late August or early September is a great time to visit Hunza if you want smaller crowds with warm weather, but Autumn in Hunza is simply otherworldly.
The Shepherd’s Den, Karimabad
This tiny, secluded hut, high above Karimabad and even the famed Eagle’s Nest, is the perfect place to get away from the noise and bustle of Hunza’s most touristy city and provides the most jaw-dropping views of both the Hunza and Hoper valleys that I’ve seen.
The Shepherd’s Hut allows you to relax, have fun, hike, and explore in an area that as of now is known only to a few locals for the most part, and the stargazing here, high above any light pollution, is unmatched.
It’s possible to stay the night here, and if you’re looking to get in contact with the owner, you can contact him by messaging @shepherdsdenhunza on Instagram.
Steeped in history and the starting point for many treks, Chapursan Valley served as a gateway to the eastern portions of the Silk Road. Meaning “what else do you need” in Persian, Chapursan has an ancient tradition of providing hospitality to the traveler and is the destination for Muslim pilgrims throughout Central Asia.
Thanks to its history as a journey’s end for pilgrims making their way to the shrine of Baba Ghundi near Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor, Chapursan has plenty of guesthouses available for use in its various towns where you will be greeted with delicious food and as much hot chai as you could possibly want.
Chapursan is full of epic hikes, and visiting in summer is the best way to take advantage of those opportunities without getting too cold. That being said, this is yet another part of Pakistan that is unreasonably gorgeous in Autumn, so making the trip later in the year is absolutely worth enduring the colder temperatures.
This gem of Punjab province is overflowing with ancient history, stunning architecture, and for me personally, is a site that looks like it’s straight out of a storybook to the point that I find it hard to believe that this is a real place.
Uuch Sharif’s history stretches back thousands of years, probably having been founded by Alexander the Great and maintaining status as an important location well into the Islamic period and into modern times. Even today, visitors experience a well-preserved region that is beyond captivating to behold, so people looking for something truly special shouldn’t pass this up.
Despite neighboring Hunza and being very close and accessible to touristy Karimabad, Hoper Valley doesn’t see nearly as many visitors and is much quieter. That is a shame, but it’s huge boon for the travelers that do dare to make the trip!
A short, easy drive from Karimabad, Hoper has a lot to brag about: sweeping, epic vistas, historical locations, massive peaks, and a huge glacier that extends down from a 7000-meter mountain and stretches for miles. This is a place you can spend a lot of time adventuring in and sadly doesn’t get enough visitors.
Hoper is majestic in any season, but summer and autumn provide the best experience with great weather, clear views, and vibrant colors. The drive through the valley is one of my favorites in all of Pakistan.
Another remote region of Pakistan, Broghil Valley is defined by raw, achingly beautiful wilderness and vast, mountainous landscapes. As part of Chitral, Broghil borders Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor and is not an easy destination to reach.
Like Chapursan, Broghil is not frequented by many tourists – foreign or Pakistani – so the valley is almost completely unspoiled and visitors can explore entirely free from the worry of being overwhelmed by a crush of tourists, even though Broghil is home to a splendid national park.
This is unquestionably a place that you need to be 100% committed to seeing if you plan on visiting, as it’s one of Pakistan’s more hard-to-reach spots. But the pure, untamed beauty of the region will reward the more intrepid traveler with an unforgettable experience.
This bustling city of culture is packed with delicious food to eat, cultural and historical sites to see, and unbelievably chaotic traffic. Vibrant and alive, Lahore is an exciting city that can keep you busy for a long time.
The home of cultural sites like the Badshahi Mosque, the famous Wagah Border Ceremony with India, and many more, Lahore is rich with history. On top of that, the city is well-known for being a foodie’s paradise with a huge variety of fantastic dishes to enjoy on the cheap!
The most significant downsides of Lahore are that it is very crowded and in summer it is hot, so it’s better to spend time exploring this one-of-a-kind city in the cooler months.
Reminiscent of Switzerland, Naltar Valley is a must-see area in Gilgit-Baltistan. Pristine, lush pine forests, glacial lakes, fun hikes of all difficulty levels, and even snow skiing are all available for visitors to enjoy.
Naltar has what I swear have to be the bluest lakes in the world, fed entirely by glacial melt in a part of the valley that has virtually no civilization at all. On top of that, the valley has essentially everything a nature-lover could possibly want and it’s all relatively easy to access! Visitors can even see a Snow Leopard habitat that can be reached via jeep or by hiking.
A great summer destination, Naltar is reachable by either hiring a jeep or by motorcycle. As of this writing, though, a significant portion of the road is in nightmarish condition, so you shouldn’t attempt to ride this road unless you’re both very experienced as a rider and prepared to suffer all kinds of body aches.
Snow Lake is an epic high-altitude trekking destination that isn’t easy to reach and sees very few visitors each year. Sitting at roughly 4,800 meters above sea level, Snow Lake awaits hikers after a difficult but glorious multi-day trek.
This is another highlight on our list that not only requires serious commitment but endurance and skill to successfully reach. Steep ascents, massive (and very dangerous) glacial crevasses, and potentially extreme weather are just a few of the obstacles hikers need to overcome in order to enjoy Snow Lake.
Snow Lake isn’t a spot for the casual traveler, but for those seeking to answer the call to adventure at its most raw, this trek is hard to beat. This is, without a doubt, a journey that only experienced hikers should attempt.
Makli is one of Pakistan’s most spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the root of long spans of history, unique culture, and mind-blowing architecture, all dedicated to memorializing those who passed on centuries ago.
The styles of the tombs use various influences from all over South and West Asia, resulting in a myriad of diverse monuments to explore and discover. This is yet another of Pakistan’s sites that travelers seeking to learn more about the region’s history can’t miss.
Like the rest of southern Pakistan – especially Sindh, as it’s the country’s southernmost province – summer temperatures here can get scalding hot to the point of being very dangerous, so I recommend doing everything you can to make the trip in a colder season if possible.
A meadow hidden above Upper Hunza, Patundas is another lesser-known spot that has mind-blowing panoramic views of the most spectacular mountains and glaciers on Earth. This place is an absolute must-see for hikers!
Getting there requires crossing a majestic glacier, and then conquering a pretty steep uphill hike to arrive at a plateau sitting roughly at 4200 meters altitude. Captivating vistas of the Karakoram range and some of the world’s biggest glaciers outside the polar regions await you, and you can enjoy one of the most satisfying cups of chai (or beverage of your choice 😉) that you’ve ever had.
Inaccessible during Winter and the majority of Spring, Patundas is an unbeatable summer trek and is just as spectacular, if a little colder, when early Autumn sets in.
Naran and Kaghan
Home to truly stunning, lush natural beauty, Naran and Kaghan are destinations commonly frequented by Pakistani tourists from the south looking to get away from the city and experience mountainous landscapes without going too far north. Naran is surrounded by towering, green peaks and is full of awesome hiking spots including the famous Saif Al Malouk lake.
Unfortunately, Naran has become overrun by mass tourism, and huge amounts of trash piled by the roadside is a common sight. The twin epidemics of unreasonably expensive hotels and mass littering plague Naran and there’s no end in sight, which is all the more tragic because the region seriously is lovely.
If you want to experience staying amongst huge, green mountains without having to deal with overpricing and mass tourism, I highly recommend staying in Kaghan, just to the south of Naran. It’s far cheaper, less crowded, and you get the same verdant, mountainous beauty without the crowds.
A hidden gem of Northern Pakistan, Misgar valley is virtually untouched by tourism despite being only a short drive from the Karakoram Highway. One of the five Silk Road routes in Central Asia ran through Misgar, and as a result, this valley is utterly full of fascinating history as well as heart-stopping scenery.
The village itself is incredibly picturesque, and a few kilometers after the village you can see a fort at a fork in the river which guarded the Silk Road’s path to China before Khunjerab Pass came into use.
Best visited using your own transportation, Misgar is a great day trip from wherever you are based in in Upper Hunza. As of now, there is a guesthouse or two available for use in the village, but they are a challenge to find and there’s very little other infrastructure around to accommodate travelers. Despite that, this valley and its people are an absolute must-see in Northern Pakistan.
Located in Punjab province, Bahawalpur is a dream, with history stretching back centuries and ancient structures built in exquisite detail. This city is for lovers of history, flavorful food, and eye-popping architecture.
Not only is Bahawalpur an oasis of culture, it is also nearby Lal Suhunra National Park, one of the largest national parks in South Asia. That makes this town virtually the complete experience for anyone’s wants in a destination, whether it’s learning more about the region’s past, soaking in natural beauty, and more.
Bahawalpur can get suffocatingly hot in summer, especially for those not used to high temperatures (it can even be a struggle for locals, too), so it’s best to spend time in this city during the cooler months of the year.
Tomb of Jahangir
Not far from the ancient Walled City of Lahore, this tomb is a can’t-miss historical landmark and one of the most elegant examples of Mughal architecture there is to be found in all of Pakistan. Anyone fascinated by peculiar, unique history will find exploring this site a remarkable experience.
Although the history of the site itself is a bit hazy, with differing accounts attributing construction to different people, this Mughal emperor’s tomb is, to this day, unbelievably well-preserved for casual visitors and serious students of history alike to soak in.
Avgharch is an ancient and remote village of northern Pakistan that is home to myth, history, and raw, untamed beauty. Relatively difficult to find and moderately challenging to reach, Avgharch is one of my favorites among Pakistan’s unknown, secluded gems.
On top of possessing untouched natural beauty, Avgharch was also the first settlement of the Wakhi people – a tribe of northern Pakistan – when they first migrated here centuries ago, and as a result, it’s rich with incredible stories, both historical and mythological in nature.
The starting point for both day hikes and multi-day treks, Avgharch is not connected to any road and can only be reached either on foot or by horse. It is possible to hire a local guide to show you the way, and I recommend going on foot unless you are very experienced on horseback. If you’re a hiking enthusiast and you can spare the time, this spectacular place can’t be missed.
One of the most prominent archeological sites in the world, Mohenjo-Daro is also one of the world’s most ancient cities, founded by the mysterious Indus Valley civilization. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a highlight not only of Sindh province but in all of Pakistan.
For being so old, Mohenjo-Daro is well-preserved, but this jewel of the ancient world is under constant threat by erosion. Responsible visits to one of the world’s first examples of a major city are encouraged to be taken soon, as there is the constant risk of the character of this site being changed – or damaged – forever.
Final Thoughts on the Most Beautiful Places in Pakistan
Unparalleled natural beauty throughout diverse landscapes and climates, historical and cultural sites both ancient and modern, endless adventures both easy and difficult – Pakistan has it all.
At its best, Pakistan has natural and manmade wonders that simply rise above what most of the rest of the world has to offer as competition. The places in this guide constitute what I have found to be the country’s most beautiful, captivating destinations – each for different reasons.
Popular tourist destinations and hidden gems alike, the sites in this guide are Pakistan’s elite. You won’t find another place quite like any of these anywhere else on Earth.
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