Historically Swat is the most interesting valley in
Pakistan. It is also one of the most beautiful, as it lies in the moonsoon
belt and is greener and more fertile than the valleys further north. In
lower swat the valley is wide and the fields on either side of the river
are full of wheat and Lucerne; the villages here are prosperous and
surrounded by fruit orchards.
In upper Swat the narrow river tumbles through pine forests hemmed in by snowcapped mountains. Swat offers some of the best walking in Pakistan, as well as excellent fishing and climbing. The excavated archaeological sites here range from prehistoric caves through Aryan graveyards to Buddhist monasteries, of which here were once 1,400 in the valley.
Swat Valley is blocked by snow above Bahrain in winter, but in summer you can drive up beyond Kalam and from their trek north to either the Chitral or Gilgit Valley. Swat becomes more and more beautiful the higher you go. From Khwazakhela the road across the Shangla Pass to the Karakoram Highway and Gilgit is open from May to November only.