There is certainly no lack of picnic spots and day trip destinations near Lahore. In fact, the city itself is known as the ‘City of Gardens’ because of its many parks, some of which even date back to the Mughal era.
From spectacular forts and mosques constructed hundreds of years ago to remarkable libraries and monuments of national importance, Lahore has a lot to offer to tourists who visit the historic city in hopes to learn more about its culture and heritage.
However, if you’re done exploring all the famous sites and tourist attractions in Lahore, here are a few sites, other than the famous Lahore Zoo Safari, which would make for a perfect weekend getaway.
All you need to do is gather your friends and family, pack some snacks, get in the car and be on your way.
Distance from Lahore: 40 kilometres
Mughal Emperor Jahangir built Hiran Minar, which translates to ‘Deer Tower,’ in 1606. It was a hunting retreat in Sheikhupura near the majestic city of Lahore. The emperor constructed the iconic 30-meter high tower in the memory of his favourite pet antelope named Mansraj. According to historians, the 214 holes on the outer surface of the tower once supported Jahangir’s hunting trophies.
To add to the beauty of the royal retreat, a hunting pavilion called ‘baradari’ was constructed for the king and his noblemen at the centre of an enormous water tank right in front of the tower. This structure is accessible through a bridge and is an ideal place for a photo shoot near Lahore.
The royal family and their guests used the belt of the forest surrounding the game-reserve as a hunting ground. Meanwhile, the emperor used the baradari to rest and converse with his guests.
Fortunately, Hiran Minar has changed a little since its inception, making it a peaceful and serene place to spend a day or two away from the bustling city.
The beautiful landscape and thinly populated surroundings make it an ideal place for a one-day trip from Lahore.
Distance from Lahore: 170 kilometres
The archaeological site of Harappa in Sahiwal is approximately a 4-hour drive away from Lahore. One of the two most iconic cities of the Indus Valley Civilization, the ruins of Harappa were discovered in 1826.
However, the area wasn’t excavated until the early 1920s. Since then, the ancient city on the bank of Ravi River has drawn archaeologists and students in droves from all across the world. This day trip destination near Lahore is one of the most visited historical sites in Pakistan.
Even if you aren’t interested in history or ancient architecture, you should still visit this tourist attraction near Lahore at least once.
The modern city of Harappa has now occupied over one-third of the entire area. However, you can still visit the preserved ruins and take a tour of the Harappa Museum to witness how technologically advanced and intelligent its residents were.
Distance from Lahore: 80 kilometres
Changa Manga is one of the most popular picnic spots near Lahore. It is also one of the oldest and largest hand-planted forests in the world. Located in Kasur District, this lush green man-made forest was planted during the British rule in 1866. Their objective was to obtain fuel for the engines in the North-Western railway network.
Today, the forest has become a notable recreational spot in Punjab, attracting thousands of visitors, both domestic and foreign, each year.
Changa Manga also has a beautiful lake with boating facilities. Moreover, the tourist attraction near Lahore also houses swimming pools, a waterfall, a water turbine, suspension bridges, a children’s play area, mini zoo and spectacular wildlife park covering about 40 acres of land. To make things easier for the visitors, a tram also runs through all major spots inside the park.
If you plan on spending more than one day exploring the forest, you can even book accommodation at Changa Manga Tourist Resort and explore nature at its very best.
Distance from Lahore: 7 kilometres
Jallo Park is one of the closest day trip destinations near Lahore. This popular picnic spot was established in 1978 and covers an area of over 461 acres.
The picturesque park houses a Wildlife Breeding Center, Forest Research Center, a sports complex for tennis and basketball, and a theme park. Moreover, a public swimming pool, a botanical garden, Zen Garden, Japanese Rock Garden, coffee shops, restaurants and a lake with boating and fishing facilities are also present on the premises.
However, Jallo Butterfly House is the highlight of the scenic park. The first-of-its-kind-facility in Pakistan is home to over a thousand butterflies. There is also a large aquarium inside the botanical garden.
If you are looking for a picnic spot near Lahore where you can spend a day with your children, Jallo Park is the perfect location.
Khewra Salt Mine
Distance from Lahore: 245 kilometres
The oldest and second largest salt mine in the world, Khewra Mine is yet another popular tourist attraction near Lahore. It draws about 250,000 visitors each year, making it one of the most visited tourist spots in Pakistan.
Khewra Mine is situated in the city of Khewra, Jhelum District, at an altitude of 945 feet. The troops of Alexander the Great discovered it in 320 B.C.
Illuminated by colourful lights, the shimmering salt mine is particularly popular for its various saltwater ponds. The mine also has salt stone carvings of important monuments. The replicas include a model of the Great Wall of China, Sheesh Mahal, Badshahi Mosque and Minar-e-Pakistan.
The salt range is also famous for its production of pink Himalayan salt.
Other facilities at this picnic spot near Lahore include an electric train at the entrance, local male and female guides and a cafeteria.
Rana Safari and Luxury Resort
Distance from Lahore: 70 kilometres
Rana Safari Park and Luxury Resort, more commonly known as Rana Resorts, is perhaps one of the best locations for one-day trips from Lahore. The wildlife park in Head Baloki covers 14 acres of beautiful green lawns along with over 200 acres of man-made bamboo forest. It was established in 2007.
The popular day trip destination near Lahore has a wildlife sanctuary that allows visitors to see ostriches, deer, peacocks and a number of other animals in their natural habitat.
The resort also offers all sorts of recreational and entertainment facilities to its visitors, including boat rides, swimming pools, bonfire and a designated BBQ area, to name a few. Moreover, children can also enjoy camel and horse rides inside the park.
If you want to spend the night at this beautiful location, you can rent a Deluxe room for as low as PKR 5,000. The rates apparently include breakfast as well. The entry fee for Rana Resort is PKR 200 per person. However, there are separate charges for the swimming pool and the train ride.
The resort also allows people to hold birthday parties and other private events on their premises.
Meanwhile, if you live in Islamabad or one of the nearby areas, you can easily plan a weekend getaway to a number of beautiful hill stations.