In recent years, Pakistan has become more attractive and well-liked as a travel destination. Pakistan has lately been named the world’s top tourist destination for 2020 by an international travel publication, Conde Nast, and is now being sought after by many foreigners and travelers.
Pakistan has also been named one of the top 10 off-the-radar tourism destinations for 2020 by Forbes. So much for a nation that was seen as scary only a few years ago. Now that we’ve discussed some of the tourist spots in Sindh, Punjab, and Balochistan, it’s time to discover the magnificent and historical province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
In addition to sharing a border with Afghanistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also heavily incorporates Afghan culture into its language, attire, cuisine, and cultural activities. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is bestowed with stunning natural beauty, including mesmerizing crystal clear blue lakes, clean valleys, natural forests, and historical sites, some of which trace their origins to the Gandhara culture.
In actuality, KP served as the administrative center of the ancient Gandharan dynasty, and it still contains some of its monuments. The government is working to transform five dams in Haripur, Kohat, Swabi, Nowshera, and Abbottabad into picnic areas for domestic and international travelers. KP also has a good reservoir of water dams.
KPK seems to have it all, so you’ll never run out of ways to sate your inner sense of adventure. So let’s look at the most beautiful places in KPK.
Let’s have a look at the 20 best places to visit in KPK.
Pakistan’s Swat is a stunning area. The waves of the rushing Swat River sliced across it. Around the Swat River, several resorts provide breathtaking dawn and sunset views. You may travel to Swat at any time of year. However, the majority of tourists travel there in the summer to enjoy the cold river streams and tranquil waterfalls.
International visitors will delight in East Switzerland’s free-flowing rivers, natural waterfalls, dashing river streams, and lofty pine trees set against the snow-capped alps. From the Buddhist stupas, White Palace, and Takht-i-Bahi that represent a rich history to the mesmerizing blue waters of the Mahodand Lake, a snowy ski resort at Malam Jabba, and the beautiful green meadows and pine woods of Kalam, everything seems right out of a storybook.
At the foot of the Hindu Kush mountain ranges, west of the River Kunhar is where you’ll find this real piece of heaven on earth. Chitral is renowned for its lovely, lush meadows, fruit-laden trees, snow-capped mountains, and breathtaking views. Going in the summer, when the valley is covered in cherry, apricot, and pomegranate trees, can help you make the most of your stay in Chitral.
The stunning Kalash Valley is a draw to Chitral. The males in the Kalash Valley region wear feathered hats, while the ladies dress in customary embroidered garments. Chitral is also worth visiting if you want to view the beautiful valleys of Broghil, Barmoghlast, Goleen, and Ayun Valley.
The tranquil Garam Chashma river freely runs across the valley. The Shahi Qila, also known as Chitral Fort, should not be missed by history aficionados. It was built before the partition when Chitral was a kingdom of princes. It served as a home for the monarchs’ guards, referred to locally as Mehtars.
The valley is best visited between April and October. In the winter, a thick layer of snow covers the valley. Chitral is reachable by plane (a flight from Islamabad to Chitral). Moreover, by road (from Islamabad to Chitral). Keep in mind that the N-45 highway will take you to the valley in roughly 10 hours if you’re driving there.
3.Kaghan and Naran
Tourists frequently travel to Naran, Shogran, and Kaghan Valley. From Islamabad, they are around 240 kilometers away. Its most stunning tourist destination is Siri Paye, a mesmerizing location with lovely green meadows set against a mountainous backdrop.
In Siri Paye, the floating clouds are special in that they crouch down to a low level, letting you travel through them like a ghost. The picture of Malika Parbat is also visible in the clear waters of Lake Saif-ul-Malook, which is situated in the Mansehra District 9 kilometers from Naran. Another well-liked tourist attraction in Naran is Babusar Top, a mountain pass that links Thak Nala and Chilas and is located 70 kilometers from Naran.
This one has undoubtedly been discussed a lot. Simply said, this location is a labyrinth of amazing beauty. Due to its wonderful height, it provides a range of trekking options as well as lovely weather that is substantially colder. It takes an hour to go from Abbottabad to Murree’s midway point, Nathiagali; if traveling from Islamabad, it will take two hours.
It is advised to travel during May, June, July, and August since these are the months when temperatures in KPK are most tolerable for tourists. But when you hear about fog here, back off because it’s only a few feet away.
The magnificent valley of Malam Jabba doubles as a ski resort in the winter. It is located in Swat Valley’s Hindu Kush mountains, more than 9,000 feet above sea level. Skiers of all skill levels will appreciate the greatest terrain in the area at this spot. In the winter, when the snow is deep and hard, skiers enjoy snow tubing, skiing, and skating on the snow-covered summit.
For both novices and experts, there are a few 800-meter ski lines and well-kept pistes with varying degrees of difficulty. The skiing season at Malam Jabba lasts from January to March, and it is a well-liked vacation spot for travelers to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A vehicle trip from Islamabad to the resort takes around 6 hours.
One of the nicest locations to visit in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is Kumrat Valley since it is undiscovered and well-hidden from the outside world. It is surrounded by towering pine trees, roaring waterfalls, and cool river streams.
You can find it on the Dir-Chitral route, and it will take you around four hours to go to Thall Town from Timergara. While there, you should pause to enjoy the exquisite carvings and rich artwork at the 19th-century wooden mosque. From Thall Town, it will take you 30 to 60 minutes to get where you’re going. From Kumrat Valley, visitors may hike to the meadows and waterfalls of Jahaz Banda, Katora Lake, and Kaala Chashma.
Tourists utilize Abbottabad as a transit hub while traveling to northern destinations like Nathiagali and Naran. Abbottabad is a great tourist destination with several attractions in addition to being a stopover, such as Harnoi, which is around 11 kilometers from the city center.
It is traversed by calm water streams and is surrounded by majestic, green mountains. Thandiani, which is 31 kilometers away and 2,700 meters above sea level, should be seen by anyone who spends even a day or two in Abbottabad. Thandiani got its name since it is surrounded by beautiful green pine forests, and it is quite chilly there.
You will like visiting St. Luke’s Church if you like history. The building was constructed during the colonial era in the 1860s. The Lady Garden Public Park predates the time of the partition, and upper-class British women used to use there to unwind in the evenings. As a result of the park’s historical significance, numerous KPK visitors explore it.
8.National Park of Ayubia
This area of KPK is distinctive since it is home to migratory birds and endangered species of animals. It has a space of approximately 3128 hectares. Black bears and leopards dangle in the open. The Koklass Pheasant and the Kalij Pheasant are the two pheasant species that may be found here. Extinction is a threat to both of them. One’s inner kid and spirit of adventure come into play since it is shocking to see such animals here.
If you like trekking, go along the pipeline that leads to Dunga Gali after passing through Ayubia National Park. One must exercise caution, though, since the 45-minute trip might be overpowering due to the River Jhelum’s picturesque majesty and the hills covered with pine trees.
There is a narrow strip of land located between Abbottabad and Murree. In essence, the Galiyat region is a steep terrain with verdant meadows, chilly weather, and tall pine trees. Ghora Gali, Nathia Gali, Changla Gali, and Dunga Gali are all parts of the Galiyat area in KPK. In Pakistan, several fast-food eateries and 3-star resorts are being constructed as part of a new tourist campaign. Galiyat saw a 139 percent increase in travelers in the year 2019.
Thandiani, a hill station in the foothills of the Himalayas, is situated 31 kilometers from the city of Abbottabad in the southern portion of the Abbottabad District. Thandiani means “extremely chilly location” in the native Urdu language.
The Kashmiri Pir Panjal mountain ranges are located to the east of this hill town. Mountains in Kohistan and Kaghan are to the north and northeast, while Chitral and Swat, which are covered with snow, are to the northwest. Being a gorgeous and lushly green hill station, it receives a lot of visitors year-round. The dense forest that covers the region is home to a variety of species, including pine martins, flying squirrels, pheasants, and leopards.
11. Mushkpuri Top
Only 40 kilometers separate the Abbottabad district’s Mushkpuri from the city of Abbottabad and 30 kilometers from Murree. Mashlpuri, a dreamland in KPK, is tucked between one of Pakistan’s most picturesque summer resorts and hills, and tourists are drawn there throughout the year by its breathtaking beauty.
You may do a lot of things at Mushkpuri, but the most popular and fun activities are hiking and tracking. Mashkpuri Top is renowned for offering a stunning and breathtaking perspective of the surroundings, and you may get there by traveling a short 2.5 km path beginning from Dunga Gali.
The route from the Dunga Gali to the Mashkpuri Top winds through heavily wooded mountains, and especially in the summer, the lush vegetation and wildflower smell provide an unforgettable and one-of-a-kind experience. The area is encircled by a dense forest of several conifer species, which offers a great view and an excellent experience.
If you’re interested in history, some of the historical places will be your top attractions. There are listed below.
Peshawar, the capital of the province, is one of Pakistan’s oldest cities, having been inhabited since 539 BC. The people of Peshawar are friendly by nature, and the city’s streets are frequently busy with people lazily walking and shopping from roadside stalls. To learn more, see our article on Pakistan’s Most Beautiful City.
Due to the city’s age, several historic buildings, artifacts, and archaeological sites serve as reminders of the Mughal era and its fascinating history. The city’s top tourist destinations are the Qissa Khwani Bazaar, Bala Hisar Fort, Mahabat Khan Mosque, Sethi Houses, and Peshawar Museum. Clock House, also known as Ghanta Ghar, was constructed in 1990 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The tower also goes by the name Cunningham Clock Tower after Sir George Cunningham, a former British governor and political figure in the province.
The Peshawar Museum has Buddhist sculptures from the Gandhara era on exhibit. The 1907 red brick building has a huge hall, two side galleries on the first floor, and two side galleries on the second floor. A stunning life-size sculpture of Buddha can be found in the main hall and is a well-liked tourist destination.
13.Mahabbat Khan Mosque
A mosque from the Mughal era is Mahabbat Khan Mosque. It is still available in the Andar Shehr Bazaar in the historic city. It was built during the reign of Emperor Shahjahan around 1670 AD. Some historians assert that the Mahabat Khan Mosque’s lofty minarets were occasionally utilized in place of gallows to hang offenders. Tribal leaders would meet in the mosque during Soviet invasions of Afghanistan to mobilize the population against the Soviets. A large prayer area may be reached from the mosque’s entrance.
An ancient Buddhist monastery complex called Takht-e-Bai. Due to its historical significance, it is a well-liked tourist site. It was founded around the beginning of the first century CE, and in 1980, UNESCO named it a World Heritage Site. This monastery has some of the most significant artifacts from the Gandhara civilization.
Visitors will enjoy the structure’s calm location, which allows them to fully appreciate its fascinating history and lovely surroundings. The place got its name from the two wells atop the hills. Since Takht and Bahi denote tops, the idea of a spring emerging from the top is indicated.
On the west side of the River Chitral, a stunning structure known as the Chitral Fort rises tall. The former rulers of the area previously resided there. The fort was constructed similarly to the Lahore Fort and reflected the Mughal design.
The fort is split into three portions of mud bricks and a lot of deodar wood. There are barracks for the army, the secretariat, and a neighborhood with access to the riverfront garden. The former rulers liked to have open Kutcher in the secretariat, and under the towering chinar trees, an unique seating arrangement was built up in one area.
You might learn some amazing tales about Chitral Fort from a guide you hire. A 400-man British Army unit was said to have been stranded within the fort, according to one tale. This occurred as a result of their assistance in one prince’s 1892 struggle for the throne with another prince’s son, Prince Aman-ul-Mulk.
Within a caravanserai from the Mughal era, a public park was created in Peshawar. It used to be where the traders and soldiers would relax. Two gates, one to the east and one to the west, separate the walled compound. Under a well-maintained banyan tree that belongs to Peshawar’s Hindu neighborhood, the Gorakhnath Temple is situated in the middle of the caravanserai.
In one of the structures, the government built a museum that contains intriguing items and antiques. Additionally, there are small stores on the property where artisans offer handicrafts and handmade Peshawari shawls.
Gor Khatri excavations in 2007 brought Peshawar’s history back a few centuries. This makes it one of the oldest settlements in Southeast Asia. 13 strata from several civilizations were found by archaeologists excavating the site, ranging in date from the colonial period to the Indo-Greek period around 200 BCE.
17.Sethi House Complex
You will be at Bazaar Kalan when you leave Gor Khatri’s western gate. One of Peshawar’s oldest neighborhoods is this one. The Sethi Mohalla, which has 6-7 homes and a large haveli built by Karim Bakhsh Sethi, is just next door. The main haveli features a courtyard in the middle with a traditional fountain that has stood the test of time, as well as vibrant windows in the sitting area that let the light shine in from all sides. The architectural design of the structure appeals to tourists, and many find its past to be fascinating.
The Khyber Pass, which connects Afghanistan and Pakistan, is the farthest north and one of the most significant. Through this pass, Peshawar and Kabul are connected. Historically, the pass has served as a conduit for invasions into the Indian subcontinent from the northwest.
The dry, fractured hills that go through the pass are also referred to by the moniker Khyber. The Spin Ghar (Safd Kh) Range’s last spurs are formed by them. The Khyber gorge’s beds are two little streams’ origins, one on either side of the connecting hill.
A few miles outside of Jamrud, Pakistan, in the Shadi Bagir gap, the Khyber Pass is a tiny gorge that runs between 600-1,000 feet (180-300 m) high shale and limestone cliffs. It then travels northwest for about 33 miles (53 km). It opens into the barren Lowyah Dakkah plain, which extends barely past the former Afghan fort of Haft Chh and ends at the Kabul River.
The ancient Gandhara region, currently in northwest Pakistan, is comparable to Peshawar’s Vale and extends into the lower valleys of the Kabul and Swt rivers. Gandhara served as a crossroads for commerce and a hub for cultural exchange between India, Central Asia, and the Middle East in antiquity.
Its main sites were Takshashila, Varmayana, and Purushapura, were collectively referred to as “The City of Man,” or Peshawar in contemporary parlance (modern Taxila). There is a lot of historical material available at this spot.
20.Bala Hisar Fort
It served as a royal residence for several local lords in the past and is now a revered fort in Peshawar. Until the early eighteenth century, the Afghan monarchs’ royal residence was the Bala Hisar Fort. The fort is now occupied by the Pakistan Army’s Frontier Corps. The provincial government has let guests on the property increase tourism. Families are welcome on Saturdays, but everyone is welcome on Sundays. If you are a foreign tourist, you must also bring your passports for a security check. It is advised that you carry your CNIC.