Looking for a quick vacation? Here are seven things to love about Islamabad

Published: May 8, 2015

While there are many places one can go to get relaxed and enjoy ones vacation, travelling to Islamabad is a good option to consider. PHOTO: MANAAL KHALID

If you are stressed or feel a strong need to get out of your city for some fresh air, there is nothing better than a weekend getaway – a break from work, the constant emails and the unending phone calls. Believe me, a vacation is all you need to reenergise yourself, even if it is just for two days.

While there are many places one can go to get relaxed and enjoy ones vacation, travelling to Islamabad is a good option to consider, especially if it is for a short period. And keeping the duration in mind, it would help if you know where to go and what to do to make the most of your oh-so-precious time.

Kohsar Market – Street 1 Café:

One of the best dining places in Islamabad, Street 1 Café, is the place to go if you’re looking for great food and an even better atmosphere. With the city being so small, you are bound to bump into someone you know.

Photo: Manaal Khalid

Margalla Road:

Margalla Road is the long road that makes Islamabad as peaceful as it is. With no ‘khaddas’ or speed breakers (unlike any road in Karachi), whether you are listening to pop, house or rock, Margalla Road is the place for long drives, lined with tall trees, and beautiful hills as a backdrop.

Photo: Manaal Khalid

Afghani Fries – Jinnah Market:

Anything you are looking for, be it books, food or clothes, Jinnah Market in F7 is the place. But more importantly, the yummy Afghani fries with that spicy green chutney will make your day. No matter how many times I visit Islamabad, I find myself getting a big fat plate every time. They are way too delicious to pass up.

Photo: Manaal Khalid

Trail 5:

No better way to enjoy the scenery than going for a hike at 6am to Trail 5.

A stream runs throughout the trek and there are great views of the hills and city after an hour’s walk. Wake up early, take a couple of friends, and enjoy some much-needed nature time with fresh air, green grass and a cool breeze.

Photo: Manaal Khalid

Chaaye Khana Breakfast:

Islamabad is a foodie’s heaven. With food galore, you can find the most exquisite of cuisines here. And if you are in a mood for some amazing breakfast, Chaaye Khana cafe is the place for you. French toasts, omelet, pancakes and waffles – yum!

Photo: Manaal Khalid

Photo: Manaal Khalid

View from Monal:

The view of the capital city from Monal is breathtakingly amazing. The winding road up to the restaurant is an enjoyable ride as well and the food itself is pretty good too. Monal should be a must-go place on your list.

Photo: Manaal Khalid

Photo: Manaal Khalid

Savour Pulao:

Head over to Savour Foods on Jinnah Avenue (Blue Area between F7 and G7) to enjoy a nice, economical lunch or dinner. For around Rs150, you can get a plate of the famous chicken pulao, two shami kababs, fresh salad and raita. You haven’t visited Islamabad if you haven’t eaten this delicacy.

Photo: Savour pulao page

I’m beginning to realise that my list has more to do with food, but that is what you get when foodies travel. Enjoy the peace and scenery of Islamabad but don’t miss out on the food; you can hit the gym once you get back home.

This post originally appeared here.

Manaal Khalid

Manaal Khalid

A recent graduate from Lahore University of Management Sciences, Manaal is a Marketing Associate at the fashion house, Tena Durrani and an assistant blogger at Karachista.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • BêSąblêş ŜãłMâň

    how can u forget lake view park & Faisal MosqueRecommend

  • Fareed Khan Afridi

    Wow ! Excellent blog. Easy on the eyes ! Have been to Islamabad. But not to the
    restaurants mentioned. Have made a note, ‘must definitely visit, next time there’.Recommend

  • Abdul Samad

    the writer has missed a lot of beautiful places in Islamabad. the rose and jasmine garden, Shah Allah Ditta, Bari Imam, Country club resort, the neela sandh etc. and as far as restaurants and coffee shops are concerned, chaye khana isnt giving the quality, as it gave in the year of its launch. there are other good restaurants like KHIVA and tuscany and cafe’s like atrio etc. which are far better than the one’s mentioned.

    the article lacks research. these are the places everybody knows about. I would recommend shah Allah ditta, which is located behind D12, in the margalla hills, with a serene environment, and perfect view.Recommend

  • The Unexpected Virtue Of……

    ”With food galore” lol, expected better grammar from a ET blogRecommend

  • The Unexpected Virtue Of……

    And btw, most of these places are nothing special, your article lacks research or any proper insight. I mean Margalla Road? who wants to visit a road?Recommend

  • Sane

    Far food; Lahore is the best city in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Saad

    Thanks for telling the whole world about Street One, now I wont even be able to have a quiet meal at my favourite place in my city!
    @disqus_Uq8JSqBetq:disqus – Calm down bhai, the writer heself is a tourist, originally from Karachi – think we can forgive her fo rnot knowing the ins and outs of our city.Recommend

  • anon0912

    Lets be honest,Islamabad is a pretty dead city and it has nothing to offer that you cant get somewhere else.Some overpriced food and an occasional concert worth going to.Its only fun if you belong to the right social circle like anywhere else in Pakistan.Recommend


    I will be definitely heading to some of these restaurants next time I am in Islamabad.

    Ali Khan
    Digital Engagement Team, USCENTCOMRecommend

  • Fighter Man

    Since the writer is from Lahore, She doesn’t know much about Islamabad. A local resident can give us the better overview of the city.Recommend

  • waleed

    well since afghani fries and savor food are more important so of course she couldnt find any space for faisal mosque and lake view park in her list, i mean where could you get any other fires like these in the rest of Pakistan and not to mention the pulao if only other cities could up with something like that…Recommend

  • Rama

    I did not know pakistan has nice clean places.Recommend

  • Waffa Usmaan Autentico

    no one mentions lok virsa ..to soothe your nerves yes ibd is a place.Recommend

  • Humayun Adeel

    You probably have not tasted it. My mother makes amazing pulao but savour pulao has its own distinction. It is not about what you can get, it is about what specialty it has on its own.Recommend

  • Humayun Adeel

    If you say peaceful & beautiful as “dead”Recommend

  • Humayun Adeel

    It is not a comparison.Recommend

  • Matloob Awan

    I would definitely add Joungle hut a unique place to have a coffee, I agree that it lacks research, there are plenty of beautiful gardens, some different food shops such as painda in G11, Thali restaurant, Pashtoon traditional hotels such as Kabli and Habibi, And malls.Recommend

  • adnan

    Good food but Savoir?Recommend

  • Sayyed Raheal TirmaZee

    You can get the best afghani fries from F6 super market or Aabpara
    For hiking go after fajr prayers to Trail 3,5 and 6 all are good but 5 and 6 are more better
    Go to Lake view for sports and games
    Go to lok virsa and said pur village
    Monal and savour are good
    Go to neela sandh (If u want to c crystal clear water )Recommend

  • qamar Ali

    truely a dead city …nowadays, markets are getting closed early so there is no place to go at night….Recommend

  • Humza

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I love the serenity, peaceful atmosphere and breezes in Islamabad, especially after a rainfall. The city may not have the culture, energy and fun of Lahore but it is transforming to have activities of its own, I enjoy the Lok Virsa and the concerts. So while Islamabad is as peaceful and safe for tourists as Lahore, it may not be as exciting but it still has its own charm.Recommend

  • Gul Zaman Ghorgasht

    This article is about a mini vacation. A weekend getaway. YOU cannot
    see ALL the places or visit ALL the restaurants in Islamabad in two days.
    Chill out.Recommend

  • RFD

    Obviously you don’t own a car. A nice pleasant drive in the country side
    has it’s charms. Away from the traffic, smoke, fumes, cacophony of
    the city. Nice, lush, green countryside. Enjoy the scenery. Hey, pack a
    picnic lunch. Stop at a nice restful spot. Simply enjoy nature. The outdoors.
    So, whats wrong with that?Recommend

  • anon0912

    I know,right? dead = no buzzing city life.Recommend

  • Humza

    I don’t understand what you are trying to say. For some including me, peaceful walks, scenery and good food is enough to satisfy my wanderlust some times. This is especially true when I just need a quick trip for rest and relaxation. I can think of now better way to find oneself than to stroll Trail Number 5 in Islamabad.Recommend

  • Ansar M

    Please don’t call savour pulao a ‘delicacy’ …Recommend

  • http://www.utmanzai.com Fawad Ali Khan Utmanzai

    I am shocked heard this….Where are you living? Must visit Pakistan and specially Islamabad and Northern areas you will see the beautiful places of Pakistan. ThanksRecommend