15 Top Cities of Afghanistan - Best travel and holiday destinations
Updated 8 Apr, 2020
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Afghanistan is an enchanting country in South Asia that is a must visit destination for your next unconventional holidays. The country has been home to many religions and many empires have made this freakish country their home.
The country is famous all across Asia for its pomegranates and the country’s tea is an important part of their culture.
Afghanistan has some of the world's best travel destinations and cities; read along to find the inspiration for your next trip.
Kabul - most developed city in Afghanistan
Kabul is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan located in the eastern part of the country that is home to 22 districts.
Top things to do in Kabul is to experience the
- Gardens of Babur – a historic resting place of Babur where you can stroll and discover 15 terraces and the burying site of Emperor Babur.
- Shah Do Shamshira Mosque – a grand blue white mosque in the city. Know about the history and admire its architecture .
- Climb up to the Qale'H Ye Balahissar, a historic fortress in the city that is believed to be constructed in the 5th century.
- View many surprising artifacts dating back millennia in the National Museum of Afghanistan.
- Head to the Darul Aman Palace, an elegant palace in Kabul with neoclassical architecture.
- Enjoy with family at Kabul zoo. You can see animals from Afghanistan and South Asia in the zoo.
Popular food to try in Kabul consists of Ashak, Bolani, Afghan lamb kebab, Afghan Jalebi, Afghan green sauce and Sheer Khorma.
Best time to visit Kabul is from April to May or from September to November.
How to reach Kabul? Book a flight to Hamid Karzai International Airport located 5 km away from the city centre.
Kandahar - top shopping destination in Afghanistan
Kandahar is one of the largest cities of Afghanistan located at the southern part of the country in the Arghandab river. The city is a major cultural hub of south Afghanistan.
Top things to do in Kandahar –
- Hop the vibrant shops of Kandahar like millennium shopping mall, Arghond Plaza, Sameemi Supermarket, Al Jadeed Market and business market.
- Buy local goods like felt, wool, cotton, milk, dried fruits, food grains, pomegranates and grapes in the city's small markets.
- Feel holy at the Mosque of the Cloak of Prophet Muhammad that is said to contain the cloak worn out by Prophet Muhammad.
- View paintings of one of the most famous painters of Kandahar in Kandahar Museum.
Popular food to try in Kandahar includes roasted chicken, lamb and beef, fresh fruits, Afghan rice dishes and many Afghan delicacies.
Best time to visit Kandahar is between March and May and between September and November.
How to reach Kandahar? Kandahar can be accessed easily by booking a flight to Kandahar International Airport.
Mazari Sharif - holiest place in Afghanistan
Mazari Sharif is the fourth largest city of Afghanistan that is the capital of Balkh province in northern Afghanistan.
Top things to do in Mazari Shariff –
- Tour a number of Islamic and helnetic sites that are spread over this historic city.
- Feel holy inside the Shrine of Blue Mosque being one of the most iconic places of worship in Afghanistan.
- Get mesmerized to see the rich carved walls and blue mosque with a royal architecture of the Blue Mosque that needs to be captured.
- Locate the burial site of Ali Bin Taleb inside the Blue Mosque.
- Be part of the annual Persian new year celebration near the site of the Shrine of Blue Mosque.
- Complete the trip by visiting the Qaila Jangi, a fortress near the town .
Popular food to try in Mazari Sharif comprises tea, bagel with green vegetables, French fries, fruit shakes and soft drinks.
Best time to visit Mazari Sharif is during the months of February, March, April, September, October and November.
How to reach Mazari Sharif? Book a flight to Mazari Sharif International Airport to get access to the city.
Bamyan - site of Buddhism remains in Afghanistan
Bamyan or Bamiyan is the capital city of Bamyan province of Afghanistan that is well known for its mysterious past.
Top things to do in Bamyan –
- Get amazed to see the remnants of a large Buddha statue that is the highest Buddha statue west of China.
- Take wide angle photos of the two Buddha statues namely the Shakyamuni Buddha and the Vairocana Buddha.
- Learn about the deep history of this archaeological site that is believed to be created in the 6th century.
- Wander across the landscape with rocks filled with a number of niches to make your tour more interesting.
- Locate a number of caves where monks used to live.
Popular food to try in Bamyan consists of kebab, palov, Afghan rice, naan, lamb, chicken and green tea.
Best time to visit Bamyan is from April till October.
How to reach Bamyan? Bamyan can be reached easily by booking a flight to Bamyan Airport.
Ghazni - top solo travel destination in Afghanistan
Ghazni is a large city in central Afghanistan located along highway 1 connecting Kabul and southern country.
Top things to do in Ghazni –
- Citadel of Ghazni – a historic 13th century fortress in the city that skylines the city with a height of 45 meters.
- View the greatest artifacts of the rich Islamic art in the Museum of Islamic Art of Ghazni.
- Round over the Ghazni Minarets, the thousand years old minarets in Ghazni that are remains of a past mosque.
- Live local with a picnic at the village of Qalai Pasar near the city.
- Taste the traditional dishes of the Mulla khail tribe.
Popular food to try in Ghazni comprises of Namkin, Khadi kabab, Sajji, Palov, Landhi and many local dishes.
Best time to visit Ghazni is from March to May or from August to October.
How to reach Ghazni? You can book a flight to Ghazni Airport to get access to the city.
Noshaq - top mountain destination in Afghanistan
Noshaq is the highest mountain peak in Afghanistan located in the Hindu Kush Mountains having a height of 7492 meters.
Top things to do in Noshaq –
- Get adventurous while climbing this fourth highest peak of Hindu Kush Mountains that is sure to make an adrenaline rush.
- Get mesmerized with the outlandish views of the vast valleys and mountains of the range.
- Take a road trip over the Lowari Pass where you get to live the pristine Kalash valleys.
- Do camping amidst the natural wilderness of this lonely region.
Best time to visit Noshaq is during the months of June, July and August.
How to reach Noshaq? You should drive the car from Dashunbe to reach the mountain in the best way.
Wakhan National Park - top place to explore wildlife in Afghanistan
Wakhan National Park is a young national park in Afghanistan established in 2014 near the border of Pakistan and China in Wakhan district.
Top things to do in Wakhan National Park –
- Get lost in the park's beautiful alpine grasslands and craggy mountains.
- Find out some vulnerable and rare animals like snow leopard, lynx, stone marten, ibex and brown bear.
- Go for trekking along the nearly Hindu Kush mountains near the national park.
- Explore the rivers of the Wakhan corridor that are crossed by a number of passes to make your journey epic.
- Know about the history of the region considered as a common point between western and eastern part of Central Asia.
Best time to visit Wakhan National Park is from March to September.
How to reach Wakhan National Park? You’ll need a double entry Visa for Tajikistan for reaching the Wakhan from the border of Tajikistan.
Pamir Mountains - roof of the world
Pamir Mountains is an unexplored natural wonder located in Afghanistan bordering India, Pakistan, China, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Top things to do in Pamir –
- Fall in love with the mountainous landscape characterized by vast green valleys and snowy mountains.
- Trek in the high mountains to make your expedition a lifetime experience.
- Jump to the Hindu Kush mountains and Wakhan corridor located quite near the Pamir.
- Learn about the history of Buddhists who travelled Pamir for crossing China.
- Feel fresh on the bank of the Panj river flowing over the valleys.
You will need a special permit to get to the region of Pamir mountains.
Best time to visit the Pamir Mountains is during May, June, July and August.
How to reach Pamir Mountains? You can get here easily from the Wakhan corridor.
Herat - top family travel destination in Afghanistan
Herat is the third largest city in Afghanistan located at the western part of the country in the valley of the Hari river.
Top things to do in Herat –
- Visit the Grand Mosque of Herat, an architectural rich landmark with Islamic work built from 1200 AD to 1400 AD. The mosque is the central attraction of Herat.
- Roam with your family across the significant Herat Citadel, built during 300 BC when Alexander the Great is said to arrive in Afghanistan.
- Increase your history knowledge at the National Museum of Herat.
- Relax and enjoy with your family while adoring the city views in its many parks.
- Feel holy by visiting the religious shrine of Khawaja Ghaltan Shrine.
Popular food to try in Herat consists of Kichiri Goshti, Chainaki, Shipira Zafarani, Halwa Sohan Herat and Dashlama Herati.
Best time to visit Herat is during the months of April, May, September and October.
How to reach Herat? Book a flight to Herat International Airport located around 15 km away from the city centre.
Paghman - garden capital of Afghanistan
Paghman is a small hilly town in Afghanistan located near the capital city of Kabul. The town is well known in the country for its many gardens.
Top things to do in Paghman –
- Hop the numerous hilly gardens and parks of the town, no doubt the town is also called the ‘garden capital of Afghanistan ‘.
- Relish the royal beauty of Paghman Hill Castle in town.
- Locate the remains of the historic mosque and memorandum that were destroyed during war.
- Interact with the locals and buy Afghan bread in town’s markets.
- Pass the cozy Arc de Triumph of the town located in a garden.
You can try the traditional Afghan food in the town.
Best time to visit Paghman is between April and June and August and October.
How to reach Paghman? The town can be reached easily from the city of Kabul.
Band E Amir National Park - top nature’s lover destination in Afghanistan
Band E Amir national park is a protected area in Afghanistan located in Bamyan province that is surrounded by six blue lakes.
Top things to do in Band E Amir National Park –
- Uncover the natural dams of the mineral deposits that separate the blue lakes of national park.
- Learn about the phenomenon behind creation of these carbon dioxide rich lakes making it the grand canyon of Afghanistan.
- Walk or take a donkey ride to explore the region.
- Take a bath in the beautiful lake, which is said to cure many diseases.
- Take photographs of the sunrise that looks stunning with reflection on the lakes.
- End your trip by visiting the cozy Mosque of Amir.
Best time to visit Band E Amir National Park is during the months of September and October.
How to reach Band E Amir National Park? Take a minivan from Bamyan to Yakawlang from where you have to walk to the lake.
Minaret of Jam - most offbeat destination in Afghanistan
Minaret of Jam is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Afghanistan located at the province of Ghor in Shahrak district in Koh Baba Mountains.
Top things to do in Minaret of Jam –
- Get familiar with the history of this 65 meter tall soaring structure formed in the 12th century.
- Marvel the wall of the minaret that is a perfect example of Islamic architecture and ornamentation.
- Discover the landscape with river flowing along the monument and backed by the rocky mountains.
Best time to visit Minaret of Jam is from May to September.
How to reach Minaret of Jam? The site is quite difficult to access and it needs to pass many valleys to reach the place.
Aybak - city with Buddhist monastery in Afghanistan
Aybak is the headquarters of the Samangan province of Afghanistan located in the northern part of the country.
Top things to do in Aybak –
- Do shopping for local goods at Bazar E Danbora Foroshi market.
- Find the ancient Buddhist ruins of the 4th and 5th century being the most prominent landmark in Aybak.
- Live the culture that is influenced by Buddhist, Islamic and Turkic peoples.
- Roam the cave of Takht E Rostam, a historic stone cave with five chambers that is a delight to explore.
Best time to visit Aybak is from April to May or from September to October.
How to reach Aybak? You can reach the town by taking minivans from the city of Kabul.
Eshkashem - top place to explore locals in Afghanistan
Eshkashem or Ishkashim is a small town in Afghanistan located in the province of Badakhshan in the northeastern part of the country.
Top things to do in Eshkashem –
- Meander the vast fertile valleys of the town that are dotted with chinar and poplar trees.
- Go local with the traditional lifestyle of the Ishkashimi people who speak the local Ishkashemi language.
- Locate a number of hot springs, Panj river and turquoise lakes near the town.
- Interact with the locals in Ishkashim market, a border market where you can buy many Afghan and Tajik souvenirs every Saturday.
You will need to have your passport ready for getting to the no man’s land of Ishkashim market.
Best time to visit Eshkashem is during April, May, September and October.
How to reach Eshkashem? Book a flight to Eshkashem Airport to get access to the city.
Balkh - historical capital of Afghanistan
Balkh is one of the 20 oldest cities in the world located in the province of Balkh around 20 km away from the city of Mazar E Sharif.
Top things to do in Balkh –
- Head to the walls fortifying the town and climb it to take a panoramic view of the countryside and town.
- Come across the shrine of Khoja Abu Nasar Parsa, a 15th century historic landmark in the center of the city.
- Travel over the Dargah of Rabia Balkhi, the burial site of a famous Persian poet who wrote her most famous poem with her blood.
- Relax and stroll along the central park of Balkh.
Best time to visit Balkh is from March till May or from September until November.
How to reach Balkh? Take a minivan from the city of Mazar E Sharif to get to Balkh.