Abbottabad is a great place to travel for a short visit as it offers a pleasant relief from hustle and bustle of big cities. Originally called Wadi Orash for low lying water marshes, it has been a popular tourist resort since colonial times.
Through last century Abbottabad has been home to the number of army regiments. PMA is located in Kakul area of Abbottabad. Historically Abbottabad has been a popular tourist resort attracting a large number of people in summers. There are a number of quality hotels in the city within all price ranges. Abbottabad is the biggest valley in terms of covered areas in northern Pakistan. With a good road network in place, you can explore a number of adjoining areas offering untouched beauty and easy access.
Explore Harnoi River and Picnic Area
If you are planning a one day trip, Nathiagali can be easily reached from Abbottabad in less than an hour. The winding road takes you down to Harnoi river where some touristy attractions are developed along the river bed. Harno offers some relief from summer heat where you can take a dip in a man-made reservoir or wander off along the water trail to some scenic areas in the valley. There are some interesting locations for trekking if you want to explore the mountain trails. Be sure to have a local guide with you as some areas are quite isolated and you can wander off to unknown places.
Harnoi water Park located at outskirts of Abbottabad City
An alternative tourist route connects Abbottabad with Islamabad through Galiyat Area. This mountainous region is located between Muree and Abbottabad and is gorged with deep gullies, hence named as Dunga Gali, Nathia Gali and Khera Gali etc. The region has been a major hill resort during the colonial era and is home of some prestigious convents and schools like Donga Gali Cadet College.
Hotel Mukshpuri near Dunga Gali is beginning of Mukshpuri Trail
Major attractions in this area are popular hill stations including Nathiagali, Dunga Gali and Ayubia. Some of the buildings from the colonial era are very well preserved and gives an insight into the interesting history of the area. With controlled development and expansion in last a few decades these areas have retained their natural beauty and are surround by dense pine forest and home to a number of wild animals and birds.
Ayubia Chairlift is a major attraction in Ayubia
View from PTDC guesthouse in Ayubia
Manshera and surrounding areas
There are a number of interesting visiting spots for tourist at a less than one hour drive from Abbottabad. These areas include Gari Habibullah, Daddar, Shankiari, Chattar Plain and Batrasi. Each of these locations has very nice picnic points and are great for a day trip from Abbottabad.
There are a number of hidden gems and beautiful spots that can be explored with the help of a local driver or a guide. Most people tend to drive along the Silk Route to Naran and Kaghan not realizing a number of beautiful location on the way. Even two weeks are not enough to explore the surrounding valleys and mountains around Abbottabad as this valley is surrounded by scenic spots on all four sides. Towards the west of Abbottabad lies Shimla Hill. A road behind Shimla Hill takes you to Sherwan which is a beautiful town. Some remnants of the dilapidated house of Sir James Abbott, the founder of Abbottabad can be seen along the way.
Serban Mountains lies to the east of Abbottabad. The lower slopes of the mountains have plenty of houses made in a terraced fashion. At night time the lights from these houses offer a beautiful sight especially from Shimla Hill which is located exactly opposite to Serban Mountain. For hikers and trekkers, Serban is a great spot for a day climb. There are beautiful views of Abbottabad city from the top of the mountain.