Lahore is Pakistan’s cultural hub, with a mixture of architectural delights, delicious food and musical treats.
Located in southern Pakistan on the river Indus, Lahore is the center of the Punjab region and is home to almost ten million people. Despite its huge population, the city has retained an unspoilt and dramatically beautiful Old City, which fully deserves its historical identity as the “city of gardens.”
History has left a legacy of varied and gorgeous architecture, with treasures from the Mughal Empire and British Raj to explore. This includes palaces and fortresses, walls, mosques, gardens and even one of the world’s oldest zoos.
Lahore is a thoroughly modern city as well, and in many ways, its people are the main attraction. Visit bustling markets, sample Punjabi cuisine, listen to Sufis sing devotional music and their wild drumming sessions or head to the city’s Gaddafi Stadium to watch some cricket, the national obsession of Pakistan.
There are plenty of things to do in the city, so you’ll have to choose wisely. Visit the stunning fortress that was built in 1566 or see the enormous Badshahi Mosque – one of the masterpieces of the Mughal era. Shopping fans will adore time spent exploring the vibrant Langay Bazaar, while there is no better place to sample Punjabi delicacies like fried fish, spicy porridge or chicken tikka than on Gawalmandi Food Street.
You could even take a tour of Lahore’s famous film studios or enjoy a unique round of golf at the city’s exclusive Gymkhana Golf Club. It’s the kind of city that will always unfold new experiences.
Expect warm weather and blistering heat during the summer months between May and July. Few visitors favor these months, as they also tend to see the rainy season arrive. Head over between December and February for much milder weather and hardly any chance of rain. However, bargain hunters might want to explore summer options, as the price of accommodations and flights decreases significantly.
In town, getting around is simple. The city has a network of air conditioned buses that are thought to be safe and provide a good level of comfort. In the Old City, auto-rickshaws will be in evidence, and can get you around cheaply and quickly (but a little Urdu can go a long way and be prepared to haggle).
Because of the heat, traffic and dust, walking is not recommended. However, the city authorities do provide a walking tour of the walls of the Old City that is very worthwhile.