Lahore Travel Guide
Home to over eight million people, Lahore is Pakistan’s second-largest city. With significant mosques and museums, many Pakistanis consider it to be the nation’s cultural capital.
While it is a chaotic, busy place, it deserves a prominent position in your Pakistan travel itinerary.
Come check out our Lahore travel guide as we cover the best things to do in Lahore, Pakistan.
Begin your time in Lahore by visiting the Badshahi Mosque. Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb commissioned it in the 17th century – soon after, it became one of this empire’s most important holy sites. Even today, it is still Pakistan’s second-largest mosque, with for over 100,000 worshippers.
Despite its status as an iconic masjid, its construction almost toppled the Mughal state. Ironically, Aurangzeb commissioned it to celebrate victory over Chhatrapati Shivaji, an Indian warrior king. However, its expense emptied the empire’s treasury, putting the state in a precarious position.
As generations went by, it endured various indignities. After the Sikhs captured Badshahi, they used it as a stable for its horses and garrisoned their troops within its walls. The British did the same, only to convert it back to a mosque to placate anger among the populace.
As a result of this work, the mosque is in excellent condition today. This red sandstone structure boasts 176-foot tall minarets, abundant frescoes, and magnificent marble interiors. As with all masjids, dress respectfully – no exposed shoulders or knees, and women should wear a hijab.
Masjid Wazir Khan is another mosque of significance within the city limits of Lahore. Built earlier in the 17th century by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, this place is well-known for its intricate frescoes. As soon as you walk through its doors, the colourful artworks that decorate its ceilings will mesmerize you.
In the courtyard, you’ll find an ablution pool, which worshippers use to wash themselves of “uncleanliness” ritualistically. Don’t leave without paying your respects to Sufi saint Syed Muhammad Ishaq, as you’ll find his tomb here. On the way out, you may see stalls where people sell calligraphy and other goods. This practice has been a tradition for many years, as revenues raised help keep this mosque maintained.
After viewing both of this city’s major mosques, see how this place defended itself by exploring Lahore Fort. Sprawling over 20 hectares, it dates to the mid-16th century, when Mughal Emperor Akbar commissioned its construction.
It stood tall for almost two centuries, before falling to an Afghani faction called the Durranis. Later in the 18th century, the Sikhs took it. From there, it served as the seat of Ranjit Singh, the first emperor of the Sikh Empire.
Prominent sights include its massive Picture Wall, elephant-shaped column brackets, and the imposing Alamgiri Gate. Given its immense size, though, we recommend blocking off at least a half-day to see everything.
Learn more about this history of this city by spending time at the Lahore Museum. Founded during British colonial times, it has become one of Pakistan’s finest institutions on its artistic and human history.
The building itself is a treasure, as this structure was created using the Indo-Saracenic Revival style of architecture. Within, you’ll find artifacts from Lahore’s Buddhist era, as well as sculptures, artwork, and other pieces from other ages.
Back in the 1940s, Lahore played a prominent role in laying the groundwork for modern-day Pakistan. In the 1960s, locals erected a monument called Minar-e-Pakistan to commemorate this fact. Resembling a mini-concrete Eiffel Tower, it allows visitors to enjoy a panoramic view of Lahore.
Even if you aren’t fleet of foot, an elevator permits access to the observation deck. If you are a photographer, come back in the evening. The tower is brilliantly lit after dark, making it a fascinating night photography subject.
Learn about the exploits of the Pakistani Armed Forces by spending some time within the Lahore Army Museum. Within, you’ll see Pakistan’s view of conflicts between them, India, Afghanistan, and various insurgencies. With planes, tanks, and other hardware on display, war buffs will be in their element here.
Sample some of the best street food in Lahore on Fort Food Street. Here, a long line of stalls prepares everything from curries to kebabs. After you have gotten your fills of mains, try the kulfi (ice cream), or have a cup of Kashmiri tea.
If monsoon rains scuttle your sightseeing plans, salvage your day with a visit to the Emporium Mall. Standing 11 storeys and sprawling over 1.8 million square feet, it is among the biggest malls in the world.
Within, you’ll find over 200 shops, many of which represent major international brands. When you have finished your shopping, eat at its massive food court, with seating for over 3,000 shoppers. Finally, fill the rest of your day with entertainment at its multiplex. With nine screens, they are bound to be playing a movie you like.