Yes, the title says it all. The capital of Pakistan is one of the most beautiful and green cities you will find in the country. Surrounded on one side by the lush green Margalla Hills, it gives a perfect blend of sightseeing and an urban lifestyle. Being the capital, it is the most developed city in the country, and the most organized one. Areas are easy to access as the roads are well developed and mostly straight and at right angles to each other. The city is divided into square areas of 4 km2 each called sectors. The sectors are arranged and numbered such that it is really easy to identify which direction a particular sector lies in. Each sector has a market or a shopping area in the middle, called the Markaz.

Islamabad Aerial
Islamabad cityscape. Photograph taken by: TreksToDo via World66 and Wikimedia Commons.

The usual way to commute is via taxi or cabs. Though one can rent a car from the various rent-a-cars operating here, or commute via the radio cabs which are just a phone call away. Just adjacent to Islamabad lays the city of Rawalpindi, often simply called “Pindi”. Interestingly, the Islamabad International Airport lies in Rawalpindi. However, the boundaries between the cities aren’t discernible. However, you will know when you enter the city because of the old houses and the congested roads. Rawalpindi also offers its decent share of visiting sites and delicacies.

The capital houses some prominent attractions. A 1-2 hour hike, or a 45 minute drive, up the Margalla Hills takes you up Pir Sohawa, which offers a great view of the city, especially at night. The place houses some prominent restaurants which specialize in local cuisine. Another prominent attraction is the Lake View Park located along the Kashmir Highway towards the Muree Hills. The park is built alongside the city’s Rawal Dam. You can have a boating trip or jet ski in the reservoir. The Park also has the city’s only Go Karting track, a café, and a paintball arena.

In the foot of Margalla Hills lies the Islamabad Zoo, the Play Land (a children’s park), and the Saidpur Village. The Saidpur Village was made into a model village by the administration, and offers a decent exposure to Pakistani rural life. There are a few decent restaurants and cafés here which serve local cuisine.

The Lok Virsa Museum located to Shakar Parian Hills showcases cultures of different regions of the country, and is a decent place to shop for any souvenir items you may wish to take back. The road goes onto the Pakistan Monument which is a landmark worth seeing. The Pakistan Monument Museum also visually depicts the history of Pakistan through various times.

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