A Travel Guide of Peshawar: An Old Historical City & My Hometown


A Brief History of Peshawar

‘As far as the eye reached, flowers were in bloom. In spring near Parashawar the fields of flowers are very beautiful indeed’ -Babar

One of the oldest cities of the world, Peshawar has been the dominion of many empires—from Central Asia, Persia, and the Mediterranean to a trading centre along the Silk Road, and the meeting place of divergent cultures and peoples in its markets such as the Qissa Khwami Bazaar. Established around 2000 years ago, it was the capital of the Kushan Empire during the 2nd century CE and one of its rulers, Kanishka, built an enormous Buddhist stupa here, which drew pilgrims such as Fa Hsien and made the city a prominent centre of Buddhism until the 7th century.

Islam arrived in the region around 1000 CE and remains the dominant faith through today. The city came under Mughal rule when Babur conquered India in 1526 and founded the Mughal Empire. He built a fort here in 1530, and his grandson, Akbar, gave the city its current name. In the mid-16th century, Sher Shah constructed the highway that linked Delhi to Kabul via Peshawar and the Khyber Pass. In 1818, Peshawar was captured by the Indian Sikh ruler Ranjit Singh and then fell to the British. Following independence in 1947, Peshawar became part of Pakistan. Today, it is the capital of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

Things to Know

Country: Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Province: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Lat/Long: 34°00′52″N / 71°34′03″E
Elevation: 331 m (1,086 ft)
Time Zone: UTC+05:00 (PKT)
Currency: Pakistani rupee (₨) (PKR)
Languages: Pashto/Urdu
Country Code: +92

Best Time to Visit Peshawar

The best time to visit Peshawar depends on your preferences for weather. Here’s a breakdown of the different seasons:

Spring (February to April): This is a pleasant time to visit with mild temperatures, ranging from 15°C to 25°C. There’s little to no rain, and the skies are clear. It’s a great time for outdoor activities like exploring the city’s historical sites or hiking in the nearby hills.

Summer (May to September): Summers in Peshawar are hot and humid, with temperatures reaching up to 45°C. The monsoon season starts in July and lasts until September, bringing occasional showers. This time is probably the most unwanted time to visit Peshawar because of high temperatures, humidity and power outages or load-shedding.

Autumn (October to November): This is another shoulder season with comfortable temperatures, ranging from 20°C to 30°C. There’s little rain, and the days are still long. This is a good time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds and heat of summer.

Winter (December to January): Winters in Peshawar are cool, with temperatures averaging around 10°C. There can be occasional fog and frost, with NO snowfall. This is a good time but as the days are short, you can’t do much in the city.

Other factors to consider:

  • Ramadan: If you’re planning to visit during Ramadan, be aware that many restaurants and shops will be closed during the day.
  • Security: Peshawar is not a safe city, So it’s always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions, especially if you’re travelling alone.

How to Get To Peshawar & How to Get Around Peshawar

By Plane: You can get to and from Peshawar through Bacha Khan International Airport (PEW IATA). It is served by all Domestic Airlines; Airblue, Serene Air, AirSial, Fly Jinnah including the National Flag carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

By Road: Peshawar is connected by three main roads to the rest of the country; Indus Highway, Grand Trunk Road and Islamabad-Peshawar Motorway. You will probably be coming through Islamabad-Peshawar Motorway from Islamabad/Lahore as most of the travellers usually come by Islamabad, Lahore or Karachi Airport. It’s almost 2 hours drive from Islamabad (186 kilometres (116 mi)) via M-1 Motorway and via national highway N-5.

By Bus: Peshawar being the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is accessible directly from almost all major cities of Pakistan. Many Buses and Mini-buses run to and from here to and from all parts of the country. Some notable companies with good services included Faisal Movers, Daewoo Express, Bilal Travels, Niazi Express, Q Connect, Kohistan Express, Skyways, Waraich Express, Kainat Travels.

Peshawar to/from Islamabad Costs from Rs 1000 – 1500.
Peshawar to/from Islamabad Costs from Rs 2000 – 3000.

By Train: You can also reach Peshawar Cantonment railway station (Main station) by train with Pakistan Railways from Karachi (36 hr) via Lahore and Rawalpindi. But it not the recommended options

Neighbourhoods to Know & Best Places to Stay in Peshawar

For Travellers, I divide Peshawar into two regions. The Central Region, Peshawar City/Central Peshawar/City Side and the Western Region, Cantonment Area & the Univeristy Road Area. Peshawar is huge with more than 4.7 million people living in it, making it the 6th most populous city in Pakistan.

The Central Region, also known as the Old City of Peshawar, has all the historical places that a traveller would want to visit. And so are you! Right?

The Western Region, roughly from Peshawar Cantonment to Karkhano Market, is more of a modern Peshawar. This region has residential suburbs such as Hayatabad, Regi Model Town, DHA Peshawar and the shopping plazas along the University Road, where most of the brands and food chains are gathered.

The travelling distance between them is not much, so I would suggest having a stay in the Western Region for safety and better staying options.

Here is a list of some of the best hotels in Peshawar for stay

  • Peshawar Serena Hotel – 5 Star Hotel
  • Shelton’s Rezidor – 3 Star Hotel
  • Hotel Grand
  • Crown Castle Peshawar
  • Shelton Guest House Peshawar
  • VIP House Peshawar

Things to See and Do

Typical Costs, Money-Saving Tips & Suggested Budget

How to Stay Safe

Peshawar is a fascinating city with a rich history and culture, but it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and take some precautions to stay safe as a traveller. Here are some tips:

  • Use reputable taxis: First and foremost, always try to use the ride-hailing services companies for your local commute. I have mentioned them in the apps section below. If you still wanna walk and see places around, always ask a trusted local to guide you about where you can go by foot and explore those places.
  • Register with your embassy or consulate: Let them know your travel plans and itinerary so they can assist you in case of an emergency.
  • Mind your belongings: Petty theft can be an issue, so keep an eye on your bags and wallets in crowded places.
  • Dress modestly: Peshawar is a conservative city, so it’s best to dress modestly, especially if you’re a woman. This means covering your shoulders and knees. Dressing up like the locals could save you from unnecessary stalking and stares. It will also help avoid getting unnecessary attention.
  • Avoid going out at night: Peshawar can be quite deserted after dark, so it’s best to avoid walking around alone at night. If you must go, it’s better to use ride-hailing service companies such as inDrive or Careem which operates in Peshawar.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: Pay attention to what’s going on around you and trust your gut instinct. If you feel unsafe in a situation, leave immediately.

Apps to Download

For Commute: Careem iOS / Careem Android or inDrive iOS / inDrive Android

Do you have any other questions or specific interests related to your Peshawar trip? I’m happy to provide further suggestions/recommendations!


About Me!

Hi! I’m Waleed. Here, I share my musings on how to live your bestest, plus bits and pieces of my personal life and the things that delight me every day. Thank you for being here.