Pakistan’s second city (and Punjabi capital)
Offers the visitor a stunning visual treat, with perfectly preserved Mughal and colonial architecture in abundance, jostling with the chaotic trappings of the modern South Asian city. Known as the City of Gardens, it owes much of its greenery and order to its former rulers; a legacy that offers some respite from the extremes of climate.
Lahore is a fantastic place to sample Pakistani bazaar (marketplace) shopping. This is where you can sniff out a great selection of traditional textiles, leather goods, brassware and mother-of-pearl inlay work. For a unique souvenir of your travels, head to Millat Music Palace (Langay Bazaar) in the Old Town where you'll find a beautiful selection of dhols and dholkis (Punjabi drums) as well as traditional sitars. Also in the Old Town, Moti Bazaar (off Data Darbar Road) is a bustling, vibrant place where you can pick up good quality chappals (traditional Pakistani sandals). Lahore is also a bargain-hunter paradise for electronic goods. Head to Hall Road for the best deals.
Food & Drink
To dive into the full bodied flavours of Pakistan, The Village (MM Alam Road) should be high on your list of restaurants to visit in Lahore. The traditional dishes here, on the buffet-style menu, are some of the best in town. For supreme city views and an eclectic ambience, you can't beat the famed Cuckoo's Den (off Maulana Abdul Qadir Azad Road), which is a destination in itself with its rickety staircase climb to the upper dining room. Nearby, Andaaz Restaurant (Maulana Abdul Qadir Azad Road) is another good choice to experience Pakistan's cuisine.
This traditional Punjabi festival heralds in spring. In Lahore, Basant is enthusiastically celebrated with kite-flying competitions held across the city. Lahore's youth take to the rooftops and fight it out in dazzling aerial displays. The best place to head to view the sky action is the walled city area downtown.
Festival of Lights
Also known as the Mela Chiraghan, this three-day festival commemorates the death of the Sufi poet Shah Hussein. It takes place at his tomb, near the city's Shalimar Gardens.
This Sikh festival celebrates the annual harvest. Thousands of Sikhs visit Lahore and the surrounding region during this time to pay their respects at the temples.
World Performing Arts Festival
This 10-day event brings a wealth of theatre productions and concerts to the city, all staged at the Alhambra Cultural Complex. The programme varies from child-friendly puppet shows to musical shows, drama and dance, and attracts a whole host of big-name international theatre companies.
National Horse and Cattle Show
It might not sound promising but this agriculture show has plenty of cultural activities, with cattle races, traditional horse and cattle dances, polo games, vaudeville performances, folk games and live Punjabi music. It's held over five days at Fortress Stadium.
The cultural capital of Pakistan has plenty of historic architectural riches to offer travellers. The downtown area is the best place to begin an accommodation hunt whatever your budget. Top-end Pearl Continental Hotel (Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azam) provides five-star stays in a central city location. With pleasant, neutral-toned rooms, Hotel One Gulberg (40A Gulberg III, Hussain Chowk) is an excellent mid-range option. But if you want the Old Town’s sights on your doorstep, Hotel One Downtown (6 Chatterjee Road) is another solid choice.