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Flights to Islamabad
Founded in the 1960s, Islamabad was meticulously planned by architects and divided into defined ‘zones’. The city is laid out in a grid system, with each sector known by its grid position – G7, F8, and so on.
The capital city that embraces everything about modern Pakistan
The centre of the city, and home to most of the hotels and guesthouses, is what’s known as the Blue Area. This is the heart of Islamabad, stretching down Jinnah Avenue, the main street of the city, and ending at the main government buildings. It’s also home to the huge Centaurus Mall. Made up of three shining skyscrapers, it’s a monument to Pakistan’s modernity – and a great spot to go shopping. Don’t miss the food court, with an incredible mix of east and west food to discover.
For the absolute best views of the city, head to the Daman-E-Koh viewpoint at sunset. From here you can see just how green it is. It’s a popular spot with local families, and on Sundays there’s a small carnival and market. Plus, there are some very friendly monkeys to meet. Watch out for your belongings though – the monkeys can be light-fingered. This area is nestled in the Margala Hills – part of the foothills of the Himalayas, to the north of the city. There are some lovely hikes to be had here. For maps and routes, try some of the big bookstores in the Blue Area.
A little further up from Daman-E-Koh, Monal restaurant has stunning views, perfect for a special dinner. To experience some traditional Pakistani dishes, head for Rawalpindi food street. It’s one of the busiest in Pakistan, filled with lively restaurants to choose from.
The architecturally stunning Pakistan Monument absolutely must be on your list. The ideal time to visit is first thing in the morning, before it gets too busy.
Must see Islamabad
You simply can’t visit Islamabad without seeing the Faisal Mosque. It’s the largest mosque in the country – and one of the largest in the world – with space for up to 100,000 worshippers. Unlike the traditional domed roof, Faisal was designed to look like a Bedouin tent. Visitors are welcome, just be respectful of this place of worship. Arrive just in time for sunset to see it quite literally in its best light.