Considered to be the cultural capital of Pakistan, Lahore is a walled city known for cultural and historic sites, in the province of Punjab (in fact it’s the capital).
This is a metropolitan city rich in culture, where you’ll find plenty of traditional shopping, architecture, and Pakistani cuisine, and an energetic local spirit, where locals often flash mob dance in the rain!
Pakistan might be considered an off the beaten path destination, but much of Lahore is incredibly accessible; Urdu might be the national languague, however most signs are bilingual, and locals are typically fluent in English.
Getting to Lahore is easy too, with direct international flights, and can be quite affordable with deals frequently sold on dxb to lahore flights when you’re traveling from Dubai.
So, from history, to culture, and Pakistani food, what are some of the specific things to do in Lahore? Plan for 3-4 days so you can fit in everything there is to do!
Things to Do in Lahore, Pakistan
Border Closing Ceremony at Wagah Gate
Visiting Pakistan is incomplete without a visit to the world-famous Wagah Border, which is a border between Pakistan and India.
It separates the cities of Amritsar and Lahore, and is one of the main entry points for travelers entering either country overland.
So why would you want to visit a border?
There’s an impressive Beating the Retreat ceremony held here every day where soldiers stand at attention on both sides of the gate for a display of military camaraderie and showmanship before the border closes for the day (the crossing is an army outpost).
The gates are opened, and the Indian and Pakistani soldiers approach each other. They put on a show where they exchange fierce looks to signify their rivalry, before shaking hands to signify their brotherhood, and lowing the flags on each side of the gate.
Lights are then switched off, the border is closed, and hundreds of people watching the spectacle start singing their national anthems and cheering from their side of the border.
It’s a great display of pride and nationality. Head here just before sunset, it’s a 30-minute display which has been happening since 1959.
Worship at Badshahi Mosque
Badshahi mosque is the most famous, and arguably most beautiful, mosque in Pakistan. It’s a 17th century Mughal-era landmark that can house 100,000 worshippers at a time.
This was the largest mosque in the world for at least 300 years, and is grandeur is worth making the visit alone, to appreciate the arhicture of the buidlings.
Despite its size, it surprisngly only took two years to construct (1971 – 1673), and you can see heavy influences of Persian architectural style with its red sandstone and white marble inlay.
There are many chambers which aren’t available to the public, though you can walk through the entrance and explore the massive courtyard, being sensitive to those who may be worshipping.
In the same area you can also take in the Alamgiri Gate of Lahore Fort, Hazuri Bagh Baradar, Samadhi of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, and Mughal era original Roshnai Gate, Tomb of Allama Iqbal, British era Roshnai Gate and tomb of Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan.
Learn About Pakistan at Lahore Museum
Lahore museum is in the heart of Lahore at The Mall, and is a great way to deepen your understanding of Pakistan’s cultural heritage, present circumstances and future directions.
Learn about the history of many eras including the Sikh, British and Mughal through its numerous collections; there are historic relics, artefacts, and over 40,000 coins, which makes for one of the largest coin collections on the subcontinent.
The museum consists of a Pre and Protohistoric Gallery, Coin collection, Hindu, Buddhist and Jaina Gallery, Islamic Gallery, Gandhara collection, manuscripts, miniature paintings gallery, arms gallery, ethnological gallery, postage stamps gallery, contemporary paintings gallery and Pakistan Movement Gallery.
Explore Lahore Fort
A Mughal-era fortress which is home to stunning palaces, gardens, and museums, Lahore Fort is one of the most famous fortresses in the country.
The fort might be all splendour and magnificence today, but it actually started out as a mud fort. It was destroyed and modified many times throughout the centuries as new dynasties rose, so you can see many different architectural styles.
It’s said that you haven’t eaten until you’ve been to Lahore, and there are a wide range of restaurants where you can find traditional Pakistani food.
Lahore is the food capital of the country, and you can dine in restaurants, or hit up carts on the side of every street for traditional corn on the cob.
They serve everything here in extra large portions, whether you’ve ordered flatbread, or dessert, so do be prepared with a large appetite!
You won’t find liquor here, as an Islamic country the nightlife is more about dining out than it is drinking.