Whether you are an adventure seeker who wants to travel off the beaten path or someone who just wants to enjoy a spectacular view of mountains and lakes from their lavish hotel room while sipping on a cup of hot chocolate, the beautiful hilly areas in Pakistan offer something for everyone. So, if you’re planning to take a break from your hectic schedule by taking a small budget-friendly vacation, you need to check out our pick of the most popular hill stations in Pakistan and choose your next travel destination.
Most Popular Hill Stations in Pakistan
Here are the top 10 hill stations in Pakistan that everyone must visit at least once in their lifetime.
- Fort Munroe
- Gorakh Hill
- Malam Jabba
Let’s take a further look at these beautiful hill stations in Pakistan, discuss their location and why exactly are they so famous.
Skardu is one of the most popular hill stations in Pakistan. Even if you have never been to this picturesque valley situated at the confluence of River Indus and River Shigar and Indus some 8,200 feet above sea level, you must have at least a photo of this lush green tourist destination on a postcard or a calendar.
Located in the stunning region of Gilgit-Baltistan, Skardu serves as the capital of Skardu District. It is also home to some of the most beautiful lakes in the country, including Upper Kachura Lake, Lower Kachura Lake and Satpara Lake. Popular tourist destinations in Pakistan, such as Skardu Fort, Shigar Fort, Deosai National Park and Manthokha Waterfall are also situated at a short distance from this stunning hill station.
However, before you leave for your trip, make sure to take a look at some of the best hotels in Skardu that are known for their hospitality, food, facilities and comfortable accommodation options.
Best time to visit Skardu: The best time to visit this beautiful hill station is between June and October. However, the area gets a little crowded during July and August, owing to the influx of tourists enjoying their summer vacations.
Gilgit is not only the capital of Gilgit District in the breathtakingly beautiful Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan, but it is also one of the most popular hill stations in Pakistan. Surrounded by majestic snow-covered mountains, ethereal lakes and enchanting green meadows, Gilgit is considered a veritable piece of heaven on earth.
Owing to its status as one of the most developed areas in the entire region, this hill station welcomes a large number of domestic and foreign tourists each year. The top hotels in Gilgit offer all the facilities that you’d expect to find in bigger cities. It even has a small domestic airport, making it accessible for travellers from all over the country.
Situated at the confluence of the rivers Gilgit and Hunza, this stunning hill station is nearly 5000 feet above sea level.
Best time to visit Gilgit: If you’re planning to spend a few days here, the best time to visit it would be during the summer months. However, the area is easily accessible from May to November, though it tends to get particularly crowded during the months of July and August.
You simply can’t mention the strikingly beautiful tourist destination of Skardu and Gilgit without mentioned Hunza – another stunning hill station in the heart of Gilgit Baltistan that reminds you of awe-inspiring winter wonderlands depicted in children’s fairytales.
Located at an altitude of 8,000 feet, Hunza is surrounded by majestic snow-capped mountains, mesmerizing green plains, fruit-laden orchards and clear blue rivers. Attabad Lake, Altit Fort, Baltit Fort, Passu Cones, Eagle’s Nest, Rakaposhi View Point and Ultar Glacier, some of the top tourist attractions in Pakistan, are also located in or near Hunza.
Most tourists like to stay in Hunza for two to three days, depending on their itinerary, during their trip to Gilgit Baltistan. The hospitality of the locals, availability of all civic amenities and breathtaking natural beauty make it one of the top spots for a budget-friendly trip in the country.
Meanwhile, don’t forget to check out our list of the most popular hotels in Hunza as this will help you figure out where to stay during your trip to this famous hill station in Pakistan.
Best time to visit Hunza: The gorgeous cherry blossom season in Hunza starts from mid-March and lasts until the end of April. June and August are considered the peak tourist months. However, you can plan a trip to Hunza until October.
Murree, the queen of hill stations in Pakistan, is arguably the busiest and most popular tourist destination in the country. Home to century-old colonial buildings, thick forests of pine and oak as well orchards of apricots and apple, Murree is one of the first names that pop into one’s head when it comes to tourist destinations in the country.
Located near Islamabad at an elevation of 7,000 feet, this quaint hill station is a popular weekend getaway for those living in the Twin Cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, Lahore and other nearby areas. Given its popularity, Murree has become an ideal spot for tourism in Punjab. Not only that, a number of upscale restaurants, cafes, fast food joints and retail outlets have popped up in the area over the past few decades, adding to its vibrant lifestyle. The top hotels in Murree also offer all the facilities and amenities as the hotels in bigger cities.
Moreover, this popular hill station draws tourists all around the year. The pleasant weather and scenic mountainous views make it a favourite destination to spend summer vacations. However, as the weather gets cold, Murree transforms into a winter wonderland, with a thick layer of snow covering every inch of the surface. In fact, it won’t be wrong to call it one of the top places in Pakistan to visit during the winter holidays.
Best Time to Visit Murree: Murree is open to tourists all around the year.
Ayubia, also known as Ayubia National Park, is one of the most popular hill stations in Pakistan. Situated at a short drive from Murree at an altitude of 8,000 feet, this picturesque tourist destination is a part of Abbottabad District in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. This hilltop resort complex gained the status of a national park in 1984 and is currently managed by the Wildlife and Parks Department of Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Since it’s just 26 kilometres away from Murree, a large number of tourists visiting the area take a day trip to Ayubia. The charming hill station, surrounded by mountain peaks and dense green forest, features adventurous hiking trails, breathtaking picnic spots, stunning viewpoints, a PTDC motel and most importantly, the famous 4-kilometre long Pipeline Walking Track that runs between Ayubia and Nathiagali, another famous tourist destination in Pakistan.
However, the chairlift in Ayubia is perhaps its most significant feature. Considered the first-of-its-kind recreational facility in the country, it is one of the most popular chairlifts in Pakistan and takes tourists from Ayubia to Mukeshpuri, a nearby mountain summit.
Best Time to Visit Ayubia: The ideal time to visit Ayubia and Nathiagali is between March and October.
Patriata is yet another renowned hill station in Pakistan. Nestled amidst the mesmerizingly beautiful Murree hills, it is the highest point in Rawalpindi district, standing at an elevation of 7,500 feet. Patriata is also located 15.5 kilometer away from Murree, making it a popular day-trip destination among those visiting the area.
While the hill station offers scenic views of the magnificent hills, lush green fields and tall pine forests, the most exciting thing about Patriata is definitely its chairlift and cable car system. Whether you visit this hill station to beat the heat during summer months or enjoy the snowfall during winter, you simply cannot miss taking a ride on Patriata chairlift and cable car. The ride, in its entirety, is about 7-kilometer long, offering a bird’s eye view of the picturesque area.
Best Time to Visit Patriata: Patriata is accessible all throughout the year, but the best time to visit this charming hill station would be between March and November.
Located in the foothill of mighty Himalaya, Thandiani is one of the most beautiful hill stations in Pakistan. It is located approximately 9,000 feet above sea level and is a part of the stunning Galyat area in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. If you ever visit Abbottabad or live in the vicinity, you can easily plan a day trip to this quaint hill station as it is situated only 37 kilometres from the city.
As you might have noticed, the word Thandiani literally translates to ‘very cold,’ which is how one should go about describing this place. Although there aren’t many guest houses and hotels in the area, considering it is not as well-developed as other hill stations on this list, Thandiani is still a place worth visiting owing to its incredible landscape and serene environment. Surrounded by thick pine forests, this tourist destination in Pakistan is the perfect place to unwind after a long and hectic weekend. In fact, even if you are travelling towards Galyat region from Islamabad or Lahore, you can take the alternate route from Abbottabad and make a small stopover at Thandiani before continuing on your way.
Best Time to Visit Thandiani: It’s best to visit Thandiani between May and September.
If you can’t travel to the northern areas of Pakistan for vacations, you should consider checking out the stunning tourist destination of Fort Munro. Situated in Dera Ghazi Khan District of Punjab, Fort Munro has become one of the most popular hill stations in Pakistan. It is located about 6,470 feet above sea level and is easily accessible from cities in Southern Punjab, such as Multan.
Fort Munro is part of the Sulaiman Mountain range and is the only hill station in the area, making it a popular picnic spot among the residents of nearby towns and cities. Given its altitude, the weather at this tourist destination is always several degrees lower than Dera Ghazi Khan and Multan. The cool winds paired with an enchanting landscape have made Fort Munro an ideal weekend getaway.
Presently, the government is working on installing a cable car and chairlift system on this hill station along with constructing new roads and other basic facilities.
Best Time to Visit Fort Munro: You can visit Fort Munro anytime during the year.
Located in the northwest of Dadu, Gorakh Hill is one of the only hill stations in Sindh. It is situated at an altitude of approximately 5,689 feet, making it one of the highest and coldest plateaus in the region. Gorakh Hill is spread over 2,500 acres and is a part of the Kirthar Mountain range.
Unlike the lush green hill stations in the northern areas of Pakistan, this tourist destination in Sindh is not surrounded by tall trees or snow-capped mountain peaks. Nonetheless, it offers an amazing view of the region and is a perfect spot for stargazing.
Moreover, it only takes about 7 to 8 hours to reach Gorakh Hill Station from Karachi, which is why a large number of tourists have started visiting this place to beat the heat during the hot summer months. Not to mention, since it is the only spot in Sindh that has chances of receiving some snowfall during extreme winter months, a lot of people make their way to Gorakh Hill between December and February as well.
Best Time to Visit Gorakh Hill: The ideal time to visit Gorakh Hill is between February and April. However, you can visit this picturesque hill station in interior Sindh at any time of the year.
Home to one of the most famous ski resorts in Pakistan, the stunning hill station of Malam Jabba is located about 50 kilometers from Saidu Sharif in Swat District. For those travelling from the city of Mingora, the distance between the two spots can be covered within an hour, depending on the weather. Furthermore, the highest peak slope in Malam Jabba is at an elevation of about 9,199 feet.
Apart from boasting a breathtaking view of the valley and the magnificent Hindu Kush Mountain Range, Malam Jabba is also famous among adventure seekers and tourists for its chair lifts, skiing platforms, ice-skating rinks and hiking trails. It is also considered one of the best places to enjoy snowfall in Pakistan.
Given its popularity among domestic and foreign tourists alike, Malam Jabba sees a large number of travellers every year. Quite a few hotels and guest houses have also popped up in the area over the past couple of years, providing visitors with affordable yet comfortable accommodation options.
Best Time to Visit Malam Jabba: This popular hill station in Pakistan, parts of which are currently being reconstructed by the government, is accessible all around the year.
Since Pakistan is home to a number of captivating hill stations, here are a few notable mentions that might not have made it to our list of top ten locations but are definitely among the best places to visit in the country:
- Muzaffarabad in Azad Jammu and Kashmir
- Chitral in northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
- Abbottabad in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
- Bhurban in Punjab
- Bahrain in Swat Valley, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
- Kaghan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
- Naran in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
- Chikar in Azad Jammu and Kashmir
Meanwhile, if you’re interested in road trips, here’s a comprehensive guide on travelling from Islamabad to Khunjerab Pass – the highest paved international border crossing in the world. Moreover, if you love travelling off the beaten path, make sure to take a look at some of the hidden tourist destinations in Pakistan that should be one everyone’s travel bucket list.
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