Travel in Afghanistan is an adventure from beginning to end. In this war-torn country, tourism has almost disappeared – but that’s exactly what makes it amazing to visit. You might not have electricity every day, but you’ll have the high-energy buzz of Kabul, the incongruously beautiful Minaret of Jam, and delicious plates of lamb and rice everywhere you go. Plus, you get to feel as you’re the first outsider to discover it all.
Kabul, the capital, is still in the process of rebuilding but it’s happening at a surprisingly fast pace. There are also new hotels and restaurants and a definite sense of optimism. The recently restored Babur’s Gardens are a prime example of this redevelopment. Mughal rulers used the terraced gardens for relaxation, and you can too by strolling around the elegant mosque, fruit trees and waterways. Also make sure to go for a walk along the old city walls of Kabul for expansive views of the city and a good dose of historical context to boot.
Outside Kabul, Afghanistan has plenty of historic, important and beautiful sights. On the way to Herat, you can visit the Minaret of Jam, a Unesco World Heritage Site in the Sharak District. It dates back to the 12th century and rises 65m into the sky, and it looks like something out of this world. In Herat, the stunning 800-year-old Friday Mosque is one of the great Islamic edifices, and the Old City is a gorgeous, self-contained medieval city with small lanes, souks and mosques.