After exploring Islamabad and its fascinating tourist destinations, it’s time to discover more about what’s around this capital city. There many places that you can visit within a radius of 200 kilometers. This is why most of the places are ideal for short or one-day plans.
From hilly areas to historic sites, from nature to archaeology, everything is worth seeing. Get to know about some of the amazing, adventurous, and fun places that are perfect for one day trips from Islamabad with Roaming Pakistan.
Murree Hills used to be liked by British troops since 1851. Even after independence, it has been one of the most visited tourist spots, mostly by the people living in the Islamabad-Rawalpindi region. This mountain resort is located in Galiyat of Pir Panjal Range. Hardly at a distance of 50 km away from Islamabad. Due to pleasant weather in summers, people enjoy coming here for even short, unplanned trips.
The road further leads to Azad Kashmir and Abottabad. Nathiya Gali, Bhurban, Aubiya, Mall road are some of the locations nearby. Aubiya Chairlift has been a center of attention for most of the visitors since it launched. One day trips from Islamabad to Murree and its nearby places can be the most memorable ones you will have.
Murree and its surrounding areas can be reached by Murree Expressway. On route to the Murree Hills from the expressway, you will find cafes, restaurants, and dhabas. You can always stop by to have tea with a view while enjoying the slow cool breeze. Some of the newly opened restaurants really caught my attention and I couldn’t resist mentioning them here!
Chai Cup and Gupshup
Chai Cup and Gupshup is a cafe located almost 35 kilometers away from Islamabad. While driving to Murree, this cafe will definitely urge you to stop as the vibrant colors are very attractive in daylight and are completely lit with lights at night too. So there is no chance you could miss out on this one. They are offering desi food, Chinese dishes, steaks, tea & snacks. The food is really good. They were very generous to offer a complimentary starter. Appreciate how the staff was catering to every customer with the same level of attention and care.
The cafe has its own secured parking area. So, leaving your car on a highway won’t be a problem. It’s a nice stop to chill with friends and family. It would give you a perfect frame for taking pictures. Do keep some warm clothes these days as at night it gets very chilly. However, the cafe is comfortably warm and has extra heaters if required. They serve till midnight.
The Countryside on Murree Expressway is a combination of amazing food choices with fascinating scenery. It’s a perfect getaway from busy routines to a peaceful environment away from crowds and pollution. The restaurant has ample outdoor space for you the enjoy the fresh air. The interior of The Countryside gives a very posh vibe. The place is perfect for couples, friends, and family.
Currently, they are offering a wide range of options on their menu. They are a little expensive but they have discounts and deals sometimes. With food being delicious, the presentation on point, and the prime location of the restaurant, they have been getting some amazing reviews. Keep yourself posted by visiting The Countryside Facebook Page.
Towards Haripur, 20 kilometers ahead of Taxila comes Khanpur Dam. The purpose of this dam was the provision of water for consumption and irrigation. The natural recreational spot offers a day off to people living nearby from their tough jobs. Khanpur Dam has Margalla Hills on one side and crystal clear blue, and sometimes emerald, water on the other side.
It is one of the very few places where water sports are available in Pakistan. There are other adventurous activities for you to try! Many companies have invested to make this location more unique, offer something fun for everyone. You will find cliff jumps, boating, fishing, etc. I don’t recommend visiting on sunny days because you will not be able to find any shade.
On the way, you will many farms of oranges as the area is known for its ‘Khanpur Malta’. Another interesting activity could be picking up oranges from these trees. So, are you ready to plan your one day trips from Islamabad to Khanpur dam? Continue reading to know what you can do more in Khanpur.
Mabali Island is a hidden paradise near Khanpur Dam. Therefore, not many people are aware of this tremendous adventure spot. In 2017, a family came up with this initiative with an aim to build a happy, healthy, and eco-friendly space for everyone to enjoy. We need more spots like Mabali Island where people can leave their technology dependant lives and be adventurous. In other words, we need more outdoor activities.
At Mabali Island, you can explore adventurous water sports like boating, wake tubing, skiing, kayaking, and much much more with their trained staff and crew. They started with just two huts, camps, and water sports. Now they have expanded their boundaries so much. You can plan a day trip or you can book huts for night stays. Not only this, they have arranged events, conducted educational trips, and can even plan a honeymoon trip.
Experience the luxury stay in their beautifully designed huts and caravans, that are closest to nature. They offer all kinds of packages to cater to your needs. Check for more updates on their social media as they might be arranging some music galas too that you don’t want to miss.
Khewra Salt Mines
It is the world’s second-largest salt mine, located at a distance of 200 kilometers from Islamabad. That’s not very near but because of the Islamabad-Lahore motorway, the distance can be covered in less than 2 hours. Pakistan Railways has also started a train service to Khewra Salt Mines., both from Rawalpindi and Lahore.
As soon you enter the salt mine, salt can be felt all around you. Khewra Salt is also called rock salt. It is one of the best quality salt that has been mostly used in cooking for generations. Mughals used to make lamps and other decoration items from this salt. People are fond of these items even today.
Inside the mines, you will see giant salt walls and salter water ponds. Some artists have also made popular statues of Minar-e-Pakistan, Badshahi Mosque, and Sheesh Mehal by carving salt. Their talent wows all the visitors. Khewra Salt mine produced Pink Salt, also called Himalayan Salt, is famous all over the world. The mines attract almost 250,000 visitors every year.
Katas Raj Temples
One day trips from Islamabad to Katas Raj can be an educational plus exciting trip for people of every age group. This religious place has a great significance in Hinduism as it is a complex of temples. It was built almost 900 years ago. There are seven temples grouped through a walkway with a pond nearby. Hindus believe that the pond came to exist because of Shiva’s tears thus taking a bath would wash away their sins.
This holy place is near the Kallar Kahar interchange on M2 Motorway in Chakri District. Due to negligence by the authorities, the temples are in a very bad state. The pond is littered and the Gods of Hindus are missing that were placed inside the temples. However, the place is a symbol of national heritage with a deep historic background.
The renovation of the Katas Raj Temples can invite thousands of tourists from all over the world. Even Pakistani Hindus would have the opportunity to visit this sacred place of worship. So, the government should plan to work here as Pakistan can earn a great source of value by developing this as a tourist destination.
Rohtas Fort is a defensive wall. Sher Shah Suri ordered to build this fort under his supervision to protect his empire from enemy attacks. It has massive upstanding walls that spread over 4 kilometers in a distance from all sides to guard the frontiers and has gateways for attacks used in wars.
It is located at a distance of 110 kilometers from Islamabad near Jehlum. The fort has archeological significance and is praised for its uniqueness and beauty. One can be amazed by the carvings, calligraphy, tilework, and plasterwork that was done on these walls. The inspiration of style was drawn from Turkish, South Asian, and Middle Eastern art. Although it is not in a good shape and well maintained but tourists are tempted to find out the historical background of the Rohtas Fort.
You will find some part of the fort that is very well preserved while some has fallen off. Within the fort, there is an entire village house inside these walls. From Islamabad, Rohtas Fort can be accessed by taking Grand Trunk Road to a small town called Dina bypassing Gujar Khan and Sohawa. Whereas, from Lahore, you can take GT Road to Jehlum and then to Dina.
How far is Bhurban from Islamabad?
The distance between Bhurban is 45 kilometers. So, it takes around one and a half hours to reach Bhurban. One day trips from Islamabad to Bhurban are fun and convenient as distance and traveling time not long. There are many other places to visit nearby including Nathiya Gali, Murree, Lower Topa, Aubiya.
How can we reach Murree?
Traveling to Murree through any mode of transportation is extremely convenient by using the 4-lane Murree Expressway. The traveling time has been reduced because of the well-connected road between Islamabad and Murree. There are many Chai stops on the way to relax at and enjoy the weather. Uber/taxi services are also available in Murree.
What is the best time to visit Murree Hills?
October to November is the most preferred time for visiting Murree hills because of the pleasant weather. It is quite obvious that you will face road blockages due to heavy traffic in peak season so plan the trip accordingly. To avoid congestions and have access to easily available hotel bookings, visit in less crowded months; either in summers or winters.