Snuggled between Murree and Abbottabad District, Pakistan, there is a cluster of hill stations collectively known as Galiyat. This treasure trove is situated around 2,410 meters (7,907 feet) above sea level. Before embarking on a trip to Galiyat, it’s important to abreast the readers about a short history of this dreamland. The Galiyat tracts were first ‘discovered’ by early British colonial officials, such as James Abbott, who ventured into these areas around 1846–47. Finding it climatically conducive, the Britishers began to develop some of the sites in this range as hill resorts to escape the summer heat of the lowlands.

Nathiagali

Situated at 7900 ft above sea level, Nathiagali is the heart of Galiyat. It is 35 km northeast of Abbottabad and 270 km from Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan. These distances may vary slightly depending on the specific route taken.

A trip to Galiyat is never accomplished without exploring Nathiagali; the first hill station tourist to come into contact upon entry in Galiyat. Nuzzled amid the fluctuating and meandering peaks, Natyagali serves as a picturesque resort with its rugged terrain and cooler cliffs. This fairyland beckons with its stunning vistas, alluring rutted paths, and a serenity penetrating the soul. Being at a high altitude, it is much cooler than other parts of the Galyat. In addition to scenic hill stations, Pakistan is also home to fascinating valleys like Swat Valley, Kalash Valley, Kalam Valley, Chitral Valley, Kumrat Valley, Hunza Valley, Naran Valley and many more.

A Trip to Galiyat -Harnoi Lake Abbottabad, Pakistan

Harnoi Lake

At a distance of around 11 km on the road heading from Abottabad to Nathiagali, the visitors come across the Harnoi Lake, the first scenic destination that welcomes visitors. Surrounded by steep, densely forested mountains, and boasting an idyllic setting, Harnoi is the stunning landmark of Abbottabad. In the proximity of this lake flows Nadi Dhorr, a chilly stream that adds further to the allure of this picturesque land where the weather remains cordial throughout the year.

Both children and adults equally enjoy the moments of leisure around Harnoi Lake. Many small tea stalls, restaurants, and resorts dot the vicinity. Kids usually indulge in playful activities ranging from adrenaline-pumping roller coasters and gentle spins on Ferris wheels to simpler delights like swings. Meanwhile, adults can embark on scenic hikes through beautiful landscapes amidst the lush green mountains. The lovely weather draws large crowds during the summer months; however, winter offers its exceptional allure.

The Harnoi is heaven brimming with scenic views, towering hills covered by tall pine, and streams with transparent water flowing and dancing gracefully throughout the landscape. What makes Harnoi Lake special one must also consider the larger context of its surroundings in the Galiyat region.

Imagine a place where tranquillity is the air you breathe and beauty surrounds you from every angle. That’s Harnoi Lake is a cherished picnic spot among locals and tourists alike. Known for its calm waters set against the backdrop of lush greenery, it’s no wonder this location tops the list when seeking peace amidst nature.

Trekking to Mushkpuri Top

A trip to Galiyat unfolds several hidden corners and adventures for trekkers of all ages and seminars. A similar trekking adventure is the journey to Mushkpuri Top which starts by following a well-trodden path enshrouded by tall pine trees. Strolling amidst the dappled light filtering through pine trees with a cool breeze touching you at an elevation of 9,200 feet above sea level creates a visually interesting and dynamic scene. This hike is not just about reaching the top; it’s an opportunity to be engrossed in lush green forests abounding with life. Moreover, stunning views that stretch far into northern Pakistan, possibly catch glimpses of Nanga Parbat on a clear day.

For those looking for more than just scenic vistas, the area around Mushkpuri offers plentiful opportunities for bird watching or simply enjoying moments of isolation amidst the serenity of nature. Make sure your rucksack includes a water container and snacks because this trek will have you craving both energy and hydration.

Miranjani Trek

If you are an adventure lover and mountain enthusiast, then Miranjani Peak at 9,816 feet is the destination to satiate your spirit. It is the highest ascend through hiking trails in this rugged region between Murree and Abbottabad. Besides, there are more tracks for beginners – one starts from Nathiagali known for its moderate clamber while another more challenging and physically demanding trek begins from Dunga Gali. This trek, however, rewards hikers with breathtaking panoramic views of Ayubia National Park’s rolling hills.

Dugri Trek

Locally known as the “Home of Leopards”, Dugri is a secluded mountain located at a considerable distance from the road. The trek passes among the thickest pine woods in scenic Galiyat. A non-stop brisk walk of 9-10 hours from panoramic Nathiagali will take you to this enchanting point. It can also be reached through two more treks. One longer walk takes you to Dugri through Namlimera village around the Meranjani hill, while the other shorter one leads to Meranjani hilltop trekking through the forest.

Prominent Tourist Resorts

Dungagali

A trip to Galiyat opens a window to a lot of excursions and hitherto undiscovered jewels. Dungali, a small Hill Station, situated on the slopes of Mushkpuri Hills, is one of the hidden gems in Galiyat. The hills are thickly wooded and present an exquisite view. Mushkpuri at an elevation of 3100 meters, is the second-highest peak in the area. The track to Lalazar Zoo and Mushkpuri is the most sought-after tourist spot. Hundreds and thousands of tourists trek here during the summer season. The Wildlife Department KPK has developed a mini Zoo at Lalazar hosting Pheasants, Monkeys, Black Bear, and Common Leopards as well as the Snow Leopards.

Thandiani

Thandiani is another gem within this treasure trove boasting mild summer weather. Those in quest of seeking refuge from the sizzling heat of summer find solace here. Its pristine and soothing landscapes provide a vital retreat from the panics of rural life. Thandiani stands out with its untouched landscapes and serenity making you feel like in a fairyland. It offers relief and solitude along with dazzling views—a stark contrast to other more crowded hill stations.

Changla Gali

At a distance of 16 km from Murree, Changla Gali is another tourist resort in the Galiyat area frequented by tourists both from within the country and abroad. It is relatively a secluded hill resort at an elevation of 2559 m. During British rule, it was the headquarters of the Northern Command School of Musketry. The tourist discovers all the comforts of life within this quaint hilly retreat.

Kharagali

Kharagali is a glorious heaven renowned for its natural magnificence and tranquillity. Surrounded by verdant hills and lush forests, Kharagali offers breathtaking vistas and a serene atmosphere for nature lovers and adventurers alike, making it a cherished destination in the heart of KPK. At an altitude of 2347 meters, it is also a very popular mountain resort in the Galiyat region. The visitors sometimes have a casual look at wild animals such as monkeys, bears, Foxes, “Flying squirrels” and even leopards.

Never miss Ayubia during a trip to Galiyat

A constellation of four small hill stations of Khanaspur, Khairagali, Changlagali and Ghoragali Dhaka is called Ayubia. It was named after the late President of Pakistan Ayub Khan who belonged to the Haripur district of Hazara. Ghora Dhaka, with its vibrant mosaic of flora and fauna, beckons to those yearning for an encounter with the pristine beauty of nature. Offering a peaceful refuge from the relentless rhythm of urban life, it attracts travellers seeking tranquillity from both near and far. The central place of Ghora Dhaka has a chairlift, which gives a panoramic and mesmerizing view of the surroundings.

Ayubia National Park Abbottabad, KpK Pakistan - A Trip to Galiyat

Ayubia National Park’s Natural Splendor

Imagine a place where green woods stretch as far as the eye can see, where wildlife roams freely in their natural habitat. That’s Ayubia National Park for you, nestled in the heart of Galiyat and covering an impressive area of 3,312 hectares. It’s not just any park; it’s a haven for unique wildlife and nature enthusiasts alike.

This national treasure is famous for its high peaks that beckon adventurers and its lush trails that are perfect for those looking to connect with nature on foot. In 1930, a pipeline was established to facilitate water supply to Murree, Pakistan’s most frequented hill station. This route traces the pipeline from Donga Gali to Ayubia, covering a span of 4 kilometres. Renowned for its simplicity, the walk along this track typically ranges between 40 to 50 minutes in one direction. It is an easy yet scenic route winding through dense forests offering beautiful views at every turn. Whether you’re here to catch a glimpse of rare birds or soak up the serenity of towering pine trees, Ayubia has something special waiting around each bend.

For families or groups seeking a day out in nature without venturing too deep into wilderness territory, there are well-appointed picnic spots throughout the park. These areas allow visitors to enjoy al fresco meals surrounded by panoramic vistas – think rolling hills meeting clear blue skies. And let’s not forget about photographers who will find countless opportunities to capture stunning landscapes or maybe even wildlife if they’re lucky.

If exploring includes learning more about local flora and fauna, consider taking one of several guided tours available within Ayubia National Park here. With knowledgeable guides leading the way, guests gain insights into conservation efforts underway ensuring this gem remains pristine for generations to come.

A Trip to Galiyat – Accessibility & Transportation

Galiyat, an assemblage of several hill stations in the heart of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is more than just a picnic spot for nature lovers; it’s a testament to the wonders of Northern Pakistan. With its rolling hills and lush landscapes easily accessible from major cities, planning your journey here might seem like decoding an ancient map. Luckily, the route to this paradise is paved with no bumps at all.

For those embarking from Islamabad or Rawalpindi, known as the twin cities due to their proximity, public transport offers a seamless experience. Coaches and buses regularly ply the main road leading up to Galiyat’s enchanting realms such as Nathia Gali and Dunga Gali. This mode of travel not only lets you soak in scenic views but also ensures that reaching these highlands does not become an odyssey.

If adventure calls louder and driving through winding roads thrills you more than sitting back in comfort, then hitting the road by car will give you control over your voyage timeline. Driving allows spontaneous detours through picturesque villages or stops at roadside eateries offering traditional Pakistani cuisine —transforming your trip into an immersive cultural journey.

Preparing For a Trip To Galiyat: Safety Tips & Essentials

Gearing up for a trek through the lush landscapes of Galiyat demands more than just enthusiasm. Whether you’re aiming to conquer Miranjani Peak or a meander along the serene Harnoi Lake, certain preparations can make your adventure both safe and enjoyable.

Essentials Kit For A Trip To Galiyat

Your backpack is more than storage; it’s your survival kit. Essential items include:

Hiking boots: Ensure they are well-broken-in to avoid blisters during long treks such as Mushkpuri Top or Thandiani.

Walking stick: Not only does it provide stability on uneven trails but also helps conserve energy over long distances.

Aid kit: From band-aids for minor scrapes to medications for unexpected health issues, be prepared for anything nature throws at you.

Beyond gear, consider packing light snacks and plenty of water. Dehydration is sneaky and can hit hardest when enjoying scenic views from high mountain peaks or exploring dense pine forests near Ayubia National Park.

Dressing Appropriately For Weather Variability

The weather in northern Pakistan is notorious for its unpredictability. Layering allows quick adjustments based on changing weather conditions—a necessity whether witnessing Nanga Parbat from Changla Gali’s vantage point or engaging in water sports at artificial lakes within Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s green expanse. So, to smoothly adapt your travel itinerary to the ever-changing climate of these regions, it’s crucial to stay informed about the seasonal shifts and plan accordingly.

Shopping & Savouring Cuisine during a Trip To Galiyat

If you’re keen on diving into the heart of Pakistani culture, Galiyat’s vibrant bazaar areas and main bazaars are where it’s at. These spots aren’t just about shopping; they’re a feast for the senses.

The quality hotels around these bustling markets ensure that after a day filled with adventures, you have a cosy spot to reminisce about your finds and the flavours you’ve savoured. From intricately designed handicrafts that tell tales of local craftsmanship, to traditional culinary delights that promise an explosion of flavour with every bite, there’s something here for everyone.

Savouring Traditional Pakistani Cuisine

A trip to Galiyat is unfinished without savouring the local cuisine. Roaming tirelessly through lanes adorned with vibrant goods awakens a hunger within. What better method to satisfy this craving than by delving into the rich tapestry of Pakistan’s culinary tradition? Here, food transcends mere sustenance; it embodies an adventure in every fiery burst and nuanced fragrance.

If you are a foodie then never miss the traditional dishes like chapli kebab or biryani served in local eateries. These centuries-old recipes keep passing from one generation to another. Desserts such as gulab jamun or jalebi are also there to provide a sweet course after dinner.

Strolling through the main bazaar makes you feel like stepping into a kaleidoscope of colours and activities. Each shop offers a constantly changing set of colours- from hand-woven shawls to beautifully crafted pottery. For enthusiasts who enjoy collecting souvenirs imbued with stories, this location resembles Aladdin’s treasure trove.

Historic Places in Galiyat

A panaromic view of Governor's House Nathiagali (1923) - A Trip to Galiyat

Governor’s House Nathiagali (1923)

The Governor’s House in Nathiagali, Pakistan, bears a rich historical legacy. Originally built during the British colonial era, it served as a summer retreat for the governors of undivided Punjab. Over time, it has retained its architectural charm and significance, embodying the region’s colonial past governance amidst Nathiagali’s scenic beauty.

I have dedicated a decade of service to the Governor’s House in Peshawar. The tradition, deeply rooted and meticulously followed by the Governors of KPK, sees them relocating annually during the summer to this historic residence as a respite from the bustling city life. This period marks a unique administrative phase where governance is conducted from this serene summer retreat. Nestled in Nathiagali, the Governor’s House stands as a symbolic piece of history amidst natural splendour. Its internal walls are adorned with photographs of past governors, each telling tales of the splendid British era. 

A Strange Incident during a Trip to Galiyat

It was a practice that every Sunday, the officials of the Governor’s House were free to roam and enjoy nature. The road leading to the Governor’s House spans about 2 kilometres away from the main bazaar of Nathiagali. Towering hills grace one side of this path, while dense forests blanket the other side. As we navigated the final bend towards Governor House in a pitch dark, a lioness suddenly appeared on the road. She kept glancing at Hill repeatedly as if awaiting someone to arrive. Her demeanour wasn’t threatening; however, her reason for halting our passage remained unclear. The driver flashed the headlights in an attempt to catch her attention, yet she remained unbudged.

Suddenly, to our surprise, three cubs made their way down from the hillside to join their mother. Under her lead, this family unit then vanished into the deep forest cover beyond view. The following morning revealed a semi-consumed carcass of a wild boar on an adjacent hillside. It shed light on why these animals ventured near populated regions initially. The next day, the authorities displayed a notice among the employees to ensure their presence within the premises before dusk. This was a memorable incident we faced during a trip to Galiyat.

St. Matthew’s Church Nathiagali

A trip to Galiyat can be more productive if you pay homage to the historical legacy of Britishers. The historic St.Mathews Church Nathiagali stands as a testament to the area’s colonial history and architectural grace. Built during the British Raj, its quaint charm and picturesque setting draw visitors seeking solace and reflection. With its rustic stone façade and serene surroundings, the church offers a tranquil retreat for worshipers and tourists alike. Amidst the verdant forests and cool mountain air, the church serves as a reminder of the region’s diverse cultural heritage. It continues to be a cherished landmark, resonating with the echoes of a bygone era.

FAQs about A Trip to Galiyat Kpk Pakistan

How far is Galyat from Islamabad?

Galyat sits roughly 85 km away from Islamabad. A drive takes about 2 to 3 hours, depending on traffic.

How does Galiyat of Murree attract sightseers?

Murree’s Galiyat lures visitors with its cool climate, lush greenery, and tall mountains. Perfect for nature lovers.

What is special about Nathia Gali?

Nathia Gali boasts wildlife, dense forests, and hiking trails. It’s a peaceful retreat in the heart of nature.

How far is Galiyat from Abbottabad?

Galiyat lies around 35 km from Abbottabad. The journey by car usually takes an hour through scenic routes.

Can We Cover a Trip to Galiyat in 3 days?

A trip to Galiyat can be covered within 3 days provided you have a 4×4 heavy vehicle.

Can we carry out a trip to Galiyat without a guide?

To carry a trip to Galiyat without a guide is possible. It is more productive if you have a personal car.

By Munir Jan

With over two decades of writing experience, I am a seasoned male blogger who delves into deep insights and shares vast knowledge through engaging content. My journey has seen me enriching my blog with valuable perspectives, and establishing myself as a credible authority in my field. Presently, I contribute to my website (mjadil.com), where I have published several blogs, with numerous similar contents on various topics soon to follow. Focusing primarily on Local and International Tourism for the time being, I hold a Master's degree in English Literature. This background empowers me to craft articles, content, and blogs across multiple topics. My tenure includes teaching English Literature at Oxford College in Pakistan and participating in seminars and workshops sponsored by international donors. My blogs have garnered wide appreciation from optimistic readers worldwide. Eager to collaborate with renowned clients, I aim to share my extensive experience and acumen as a passionate freelancer.

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