Istalif is a village in northern Kabul province, Afghanistan. The village itself makes for a nice wander, with good views and plenty of shade under the trees. However the valley offers some excellent hiking, both in summer and winter.
Get in[edit source]
About an hours drive north of Kabul. There are two roads into the village from the main Kabul highway - the southernmost winds through the hills whilst the second is more direct and goes straight to the pottery shop street.
Get around[edit source]
The ruins of the hotel makes for an interesting wander - with superb views over the Shomali Plain.
Hike up the river valley.
Istalif is famed for its pottery - supply far outweighs demand so prices are more than reasonable - and who wouldn't want a glazed dish with 'Made in Afghanistan' stamped on the bottom?
Tea and kebabs under the trees.
The oddly named HydroLight Lodge [dead link] offers western comforts such as electricity and hot showers. The place was built with the expat in mind.