You’ll feel a unique and intriguing charm when your flight to Peshawar lands. This is due in no small part to the city’s rich heritage as a trading port, and its exotic location in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province) at the foot of the Khyber Pass. For anyone interested in the region’s history, there are few destinations quite as fascinating as this frontier town.
Peshawar is also one of the oldest cities in Pakistan. For centuries it’s been a hub of trade between India, Central Asia and Europe, and its close proximity to the borders of Afghanistan has created a diverse and exotic population.
Evidence of this colourful past is everywhere, from the Mosque of Mohabbat Khan, a unique 17th century Mughal mosque well worth a visit, to the 16th century Mughal fortress Bala Hissar Fort.
Modern Peshawar itself is a sight to behold, with a buzzing city centre where old colonial buildings sit alongside more contemporary offerings. It’s a cool mix of hotels, shopping malls, restaurants and cafes.
Yet one of the best things to do in Peshawar is to set aside a day to explore the old city – admiring the architecture, getting lost in the labyrinth of markets and bargaining over goods. Khyber Bazaar and the Qissa Khawani Bazaar are two of the best places to test your haggling skills, and be sure to add flavour to your trip by chatting to the ever-friendly locals.
But when you need a break from the frenetic pace of life, it’s easy enough to escape into the outdoors. Hiking in the surrounding mountains is a popular pastime and most hotels will be able to organise a guided tour to take you out of the city.