An ancient crossroads between the Middle East and Central Asia, Pakistan has been home to many peoples and cultures through the centuries. What remains is one of Asia’s most fascinating countries, which is vastly undiscovered as a destination – those looking to visit are readily rewarded with a welcoming culture and a tapestry of landscapes. In the rugged north, the Karakoram highway cuts through the Northwest Frontier all the way to China. Hire a car and follow this epic road northward, taking in the stunning views of the rarely seen Hunza Valley, backed by the snow-capped peak of Nanga Parbat. Keep going to discover even more dramatic scenery in Gilgit-Baltistan Province, home to wild rivers, gargantuan glaciers and soaring mountains. K2, the world’s second highest peak, may only be climbed by permitted mountaineers, but you can visit the K2 Museum located in the remote city of Skardu. Meanwhile, the much flatter Punjab Province of the south harbours well over half of Pakistan’s population, but don’t let that put you off. Islamabad, the federal capital, brims with ultramodern architecture and museums, while Lahore, seen as the nation’s cultural capital, abounds with forts, shrines, palaces and mosques. Among them is the enormous Badshahi Mosque, which you can visit for free providing you abide by the rules. There’s no shortage of luxury hotels and apartments to rent in Pakistan, but the majority is concentrated in Lahore and Islamabad. There are, however, lots of options near Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh, Pakistan’s coastal region.
The 12 best places to stay in Pakistan: Top hotels, B&Bs, inns, and vacation rentals — Based on real reviews from real guests