Flights to Islamabad (ISB)

Flights to Islamabad suit history buffs, foodies and adventurers. There's a wide range of accommodation options for all budgets.

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Flights to Islamabad

Built in the 1960s, this city is a fitting tribute to modern urban planning, right down to the Islamabad International Airport, where flights to Islamabad land.

It was originally built to replace Karachi as Pakistan’s capital. Laid out in a triangle, the city is split into different sectors, and every sector has its own parkland and green space.

It’s a wonderful travel destination for anyone with an interest in history. You can discover Islamabad’s cultural and social heritage at the Lok Virsa Museum, which is full of domestic objects and musical instruments, or travel a short distance to visit the fascinating Greek and Buddhist archaeological digs around Taxila.

The capital also has a ‘twin city’: just 14km down the road sits Rawalpindi (locally nicknamed Pindi) and the two have merged somewhat in recent years. Where Islamabad was planned, Rawalpindi has grown organically into an urban sprawl from a tiny village on a main transport road.

Islamabad itself is cosmopolitan, with a slower pace of life compared to Karachi. While other cities in Pakistan tend to be huge and chaotic, Islamabad is green, spacious and easy to navigate. The various hills that ring the city are perfect for hiking. These hills also ensure that the city has four distinct seasons, with the monsoons taking place in July and August.

Fancy a touch of retail therapy? Head to the commercial Blue Area near Jinnah Avenue. Also nearby is Jinnah Market, packed with local boutiques and one of the hippest spots in the city. If it’s an old-fashioned haggle you’re after, visit the Sunday market near the Red Mosque for everything from spices to trinkets.

Shop at L’Atelier

Pakistan’s vibrant and playful haute couture scene has made waves at fashion weeks across the world. Check out the latest emerging designers at L’Atelier, a multi-brand department store. If anything, you’ll get a real sense of excitement around the growing market.

1A Main Kohistan Road
Corner of Street 2
F-8/3
+92 333 577 5033
latelier-pk.com

Visit Gallery 6

Drop into Gallery 6, which houses the largest private art collection in the city, with more than 1200m of wall space. The works are a mixture of Pakistan’s contemporary and emerging artists, and offer a real insight into the attitude of the city.

House 19, Street 10
F-8/3
+92 51 226 2733
gallery6islamabad.com

Trek Shakarparian

While there is no shortage of viewpoints across hilly Islamabad from which to take in the green cityscape, avoid the crowds at Pir Sohawa in the Margalla Hills and head to Shakarparian. This pretty spot offers a closer view of the city and is home to the Pakistan Monument Museum.

Shakarparian National Park
Shakarparian Road

Visit Saidpur

A pretty Mughal-era village, Saidpur is a lovely place to spend an evening. This ancient settlement with ties to Greek, Buddhist and Mughal civilisations has been turned into a tourist attraction, with cafes and restaurants, temples and an art gallery.

Andaaz Restaurant
Saidpur Village
+92 300 456 0707

Hike Daman-e-Koh

The best place to see the sun rise over Islamabad is the mountainside park of Daman-e-Koh. Buy a breakfast picnic from one of the local bakeries and go for a walk, but keep your eyes peeled for the monkeys.

Margalla Hills National Park
Daman-e-Koh Road

Explore Mr Books

If you’re interested in Pakistan’s history and literature, then Mr Books is a treasure trove with shelves of books stacked from floor to ceiling. It’s one of the oldest bookshops in town and has a history all of its own.

Super Market
Agha Khan Road
F-6 Markaz
+92 51 227 8843
mrbooks.com.pk

The Monal (Mediterranean)

Fancy a view with your food? The Monal is a three-storey, fine-dining ‘treehouse’ just out of town, with open-air terraces that afford views of the city. The Monal also has live music and a cosmopolitan menu featuring everything from Thai to Italian food.

Margalla Hills National Park
Pir Sohawa Road
+92 30 0843 3359
treehouse.themonal.com/

Siena Ristorante (Italian)

For a kitsch night out head to Siena Ristorante, where each room is themed on a different Italian city. Book a table in the Venice-inspired room, where you’ll find a pool, complete with a gondola that can seat two.

9 Street 48

F-8/4
Opposite IMCB College
+92 51 285 0948
facebook.com/SienaRistorante

Mocca Coffee (Scandinavian)

For a slice of Scandinavia in Pakistan, head to Mocca Coffee, a minimalist space with a menu of organic healthy ingredients. Order a fresh smoothie, pick from a range of expertly roasted coffees and grab a slice of delicious homemade cake.

Koshar Market
Street 3
F-6/3
Capital Territory
+92 51 282 3723
tossdown.com/moccacoffee

Melody Food Street (Street Food)

A designated pedestrian lane for food stalls, restaurants and shops, Melody Food Street is a must-do for any foodie. From Pakistani curries to Middle Eastern grills, there’s something for everyone here. Go after dark, order a chai and enjoy the lively atmosphere.

Municipal Road
G-6 Markaz

Khaas Gallery Cafe (International)

Art lovers and foodies in Islamabad love the Khaas Gallery Cafe, inside the leading gallery Kuch Khaas. With an international menu to tempt you while you check out the city’s emerging artists and 19th century masterpieces, Khaas is a good lunchtime stop.

House 1 Street 2
F-6/3
44220
+92 51 282 4391 
khaasgallery.com

Al Majlis (Arabic)

An Arab restaurant in a private villa, the rich carpets and decorative murals at Al Majlis will certainly impress the moment you arrive. Lebanese favourites dominate the menu while an outdoor shisha terrace can be found at the back of the property.

4 Hill Road
F-6/3
44000
+92 51 282 7044
facebook.com/AlMajlisRestaurant

Marriott Islamabad

The most famous hotel in town is also the most secure. Its central location means it’s always a popular choice with high-profile visitors, both international and domestic. With a number of restaurants and an extensive spa menu, the Marriott can’t be beaten.

Aga Khan Road
F 5/2
+92 51 282 6121
marriott.co.uk/islamabad-marriott-hotel

Hill View Hotel

If shopping is a must-do while in town, check in at Hill View Hotel. It sits in the heart of the city, minutes from the bustling markets. It has a range of suites and rooms and is suitable for families, with friendly staff and a welcoming atmosphere.

Off College Road
F-7 Markaz
+92 51 831 9000
hotelhillview.net

Number Three - Lush

For a boutique hotel break, you can’t go wrong at the stylish villa hotel Number Three - Lush. Colonial architecture, sweeping staircases and breakfast in the courtyard will relax even the most stressed traveller. There’s a small number of rooms or suites and a helpful concierge.

House 27-A, Street 18
F-7/2
+92 51 265 1070
numberthree.com.pk

Islamabad Serena Hotel

In town for business? The Serena is handily located next to the diplomatic enclave and is within viewing distance of Margalla Hills. The hotel itself is set on six acres and provides a five-star experience, complete with pools, gyms and a spa. If you have time take a sailing trip on nearby Rawal Lake.

Khayaban-e-Suhraward
G-5/1
+254 732 123 333
serenahotels.com/serenaislamabad

Prestige Residence

For a more individual but mid-range stay, check in to the Prestige Residence, a 52-room boutique property with single, double and family rooms. Enjoy a barbeque on the roof or relax in the garden. The helpful staff will make sure you get the most out of your stay.

House 2, Street 31
F 8/1
9th Avenue
Service Road
+92 51 844 7444
prestigeresidence.com.pk

Avari Xpress

If you really want to feel at home in Islamabad, a private experience can be found by booking a villa with Avari Xpress. Their serviced residences come with bespoke food and drink services, and plenty of mod cons, as well as your very own rooftop view over the city.

House 20, Street 26
F-6/2
+92 51 282 6101
avari.com/property/avari-xpress

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