Karnataka

20 Best Places to Visit in Karnataka & Travel Guide

Karnataka is the southwest state of India along the coast of the Arabian sea. The amazing geography and landscapes of Karnataka are ideal tourist destinations. There are some of the best places to visit in Karnataka to fulfill your wanderlust. The state is rich in culture, rich biodiversity, ancient cities, and much more.

The beautiful ancient city of Hampi is one of the most famous tourist places in Karnataka. You can also visit Badami, Mysore, Belur for fantastic ancient temples and their architecture which are some of the best things to do in Karnataka. Karnataka also has some of the most intriguing wildlife sanctuaries of India, some of them are Bandipur Tiger Reserve and National Park, Nagarhole National Park, Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary, and others.

The state of Karnataka is also famous for ancient palaces and forts. With more than 60 forts scattered across the state, it surely adds up to amazing things to do in Karnataka. The Badami Fort, Chitradurga Fort, Bellary Fort are some of the famous places to visit in Karnataka. You can also visit some of the famous waterfalls in Karnataka such as Jog falls, Shivanasamudra falls, Vibhooti falls, Hebbe falls, Abbey falls, Iruppu falls, Gokak falls, and more.

A trip would be incomplete without visiting the beaches of Karnataka. The state hosts some of the most beautiful beaches in India. If you love beaches then you surely are at the right destination.  Gokarna, Mangalore, Udupi, Karwar, Kumta, are some of the best beach destinations in this state. These are some of the must-visit places in Karnataka.

Karnataka shares its borders with Goa, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala.

Here is my list of the best places to visit in Karnataka and a travel guide.


20 Best Places to Visit in Karnataka

  1. Hampi
  2. Gokarna
  3. Coorg
  4. Mysore
  5. Chikmagalur
  6. Udupi
  7. Mangalore
  8. Bangalore
  9. Murudeshwar
  10. Sakleshpur
  11. Dandeli
  12. Pattadakal
  13. Belur
  14. Badami
  15. Yana Caves
  16. Sirsi
  17. Bijapur
  18. Chitradurga
  19. Shivanasamudra Falls
  20. Skandagiri

1 – Hampi

Photo By – Gary Sequeira

Hampi is Karnataka’s most treasured gem. Over the years, there were many rulers in the Vijayanagar empire. Hampi is a marvel to humankind. There are temples and other ruins with unique features of their own. The archaeological ruins have many stories to tell which have a huge significance in Indian history.

Hampi was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has been established as one of the most famous tourist destinations in Karnataka. Tourists visit Hampi from all over the world. Hampi is a paradise for backpackers. You can do various activities in Hampi such as Camping, rock climbing, cliff diving, coracle boat rides, trekking, explore rice paddy fields in Sanapur, and more. Hiking for sunrise or sunset is one of the most amazing things to do in Hampi.

Hampi will definitely be a wonderful experience and is surely a must-visit place in Karnataka. If you are looking for tourist places in Karnataka for 3 days, then this would be a perfect short vacation.

Ideal Duration – 3 to 4 Days

Best time to visit Hampi – October to March (Winter Season)

Read Full Blog : 10 Amazing Things to do in Hampi

2 – Gokarna

Gokarna

Gokarna lies in the north-most region of Karnataka. It’s a Beach Paradise. For those who love beaches, Gokarna should definitely be on your bucket list.  It is one of the best places to visit in Karnataka. You can find one of the oldest temples in the town. Gokarna is about 480km from Bangalore, 240km from Mangalore, and 60km from Karwar.

Many backpackers/travelers around the world have turned their attention to Gokarna from Goa due to fewer crowds and beautiful beaches. There are amazing waterfalls, pilgrimage sights, yana caves, and several beaches in Gokarna. You can do the famous “Gokarna Beach trek” which is quite famous within the trekking communities.

The serene beaches of Gokarna are a perfect site for surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, parasailing, and other water sport activities. Summers are usually hot and humid in Gokarna.

Ideal Duration – 3  Days

Best time to visit Gokarna – October to March (Winter Season)


3 – Coorg

Coorg is referred to as the ‘ Scotland of India’ because of the scenic views of most hills and streams. Coorg is a beautiful place to visit in Karnataka due to its cold weather and breathtaking scenery. The hill station is a famous coffee-producing region with ravishing views of the surroundings. There are many waterfalls around the region.

Coorg is a perfect place for an explorer, foodie, adventure seeker, or just to relax. The hill station can be visited all throughout the year. It’s a great escape from your monotonous 8 hours work life. Abbey Falls, Dubare Elephant Camp, Bylakuppe Monastery, are some of the best places to visit in Coorg.

Make sure you don’t miss out on local festivals to add a rewarding experience to your itinerary.

Ideal Duration –  5-6 Days

Best time to visit Coorg – All throughout the year


4 – Mysore

The most famous tourist destination of Karnataka, Mysore was originally known as Mysuru. The Kingdom of Mysuru has vast historic importance. The city is surrounded by historic monuments, forts, heritage buildings, and much more. The historic and majestic forts and palaces of Mysore are the things that bring tourists from all around the world to this city.

The city of Mysore is famous for quality silk, incense, and sandalwood. The Amba Vilas Palaces are one of the prime attractions in the city. Dussehra is celebrated with solemnity as the state festival here in Mysuru. The Karanji lake and park, Chamundi hills, Rail Museum, Brindavan Garden are some Mysore tourist places you should visit.

Ideal Duration –  2-3 Days

Best time to visit Mysore – July to February


5 – Chikmagalur

A perfect destination to escape from your monotonous corporate work-life. The coffee-land of Karnataka is a serene city that will surely have your heart pleased. Lush green nature along with views of majestic Mullayanagiri ranges in the backdrop is a view worth visiting Chikmagalur.

The little hill station stands at an elevation of 1090 meters. surrounded by tea and coffee plantations. Chikmagalur is also a major commercial hub for tea and coffee in Karnataka. Kudremukh Peak, Hebbe Falls, Jhari falls, Hirekolale Lake, Baba Budangiri are some of the best places to visit in Chikmagalur.

You can also visit some of the famous waterfalls around the region such as Jhari falls, Kadambi falls, Hanuman Gundi falls, Shankar falls, and more. Chikmagalur is easily amongst the top places to visit in Karnataka.

Ideal Duration –  2-3 Days

Best time to visit Chikmagalur – September to March


6 – Udupi

Udupi is a beautiful and peaceful place to visit in Karnataka, it is located around 60 km from Mangalore.  This wonderful city is surrounded by western ghats on one side and the Arabian Sea on the other side.

The city is famous for beautiful clear water beaches, untouched forests, cuisines, and more. Udupi is a city rich in cultural heritage and with a history of more than 700 years.

You can also visit St. Mary’s island, Barkur, Malpe beach, Kudlu falls, Bramhvar, Anantheshwar Temple, and many other spots. These are some of the best places to visit in Udupi.

Ideal Duration –  3-4 Days

Best time to visit Udupi – October to March


7 – Mangalore

Mangalore is a touristy place throughout the year. The city is known for beaches, Temples, islands, beautiful hills for sunset and sunrise, etc. the city is situated approx. 250 km away from Bangalore.

If you are a foodie, you will have an amazing time munching all the seafood delicacies in Mangalore. The city is well connected via Air, Rail, and roadways to other major metro cities of India. 

Ideal Duration –  3-4 Days

Best time to visit Mangalore – October to March


8 – Bangalore

Bangalore is now known as Bengaluru and is the capital state of Karnataka. Often regarded as the IT Hub or the ‘Silicon Valley’ of India. The outskirts of the city are equipped with lush green regions with wildlife, waterfalls, brooks, rivers, and much more to explore.

Nandi Hills, Ulsoor Lake, Cubbon Park, Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain Park are some of the top places to visit in Bangalore. You can also trek at Ramanagara hills, Savandurga, and Narayanagiri for beautiful scenic views at the top.

You can also find many music enthusiasts in the city. The city has awesome nightlife, elite pubs, and musical festivals await all music lovers. In Bangalore, there are 2 distinct seasons – wet and dry. July to September is the monsoon season in the city. The best time to visit Bangalore is from November to March. 

Ideal Duration –  3-4 Days

Best time to visit Bangalore – November to March


9 – Murudeshwar

The city of Murudeshwara is a Holy city dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is situated in the southern state of Karnataka. The city is famous for hosting the second tallest statue of Lord Shiva in the whole world. This makes it one of the most touristy places in Karnataka. Many people visit this Temple from various parts of India.

Murudeshwar is easily accessible via Rail, Air, or Road. you can visit Murudeshwar Beach and Aligadda beach which allows water sports for people.

You should try to visit Murudeshwar during the months between October and May. the city comes alive during these times due to festivals, fairs, events, and much more. 

Ideal Duration –  2 Days

Best time to visit Murudeshwar – October – May


10 – Sakleshpur

Sakleshpur is a small town situated in the heights of the Westen Ghats of India. The hill station is famous for Coffee, Tea, and Spice Plantations. Sakleshpur is easily connected with other major cities such as Bangalore, Mangalore, etc. there are many beautiful places to visit in Sakleshpur.

The old Sakleshwar Temple, Manjarabad Fort, Bisle View Point are some of the best places to visit in Sakleshpur. The hill station has an adventurous side to it too. For people who love to trek, Sakleshpur would not disappoint. One of the most famous treks is the Railway Bridge trek, the rail route is closed and is around 52km long stretch. The trek experience is unforgettable as it takes you through views of at least 20 waterfalls. 

Ideal Duration –  3-4 Days

Best time to visit Sakleshpur – October – May


11 – Dandeli

Dandeli is known as the adventure capital of Karnataka. The city is splendid and is surrounded by western ghats. The surrounding greenery and flora & fauna make it a place to visit in Karnataka for vacations.

There are several places such as the Ancient caves of Kavla, Ulavi Temple, and others that hold significant historical importance. Dandeli is home to fascinating wildlife and mountains. This makes it an ideal destination for tourism. 

You can also try adventurous hikes, whitewater rafting, kayaking, or boat rides. There are a lot of activities to do in Dandeli. 

Ideal Duration –  3-4 Days

Best time to visit Dandeli – October – February


12 – Pattadakal

Pattadakal is one of the top tourist destinations in Karnataka. UNESCO has declared Pattadakal as a World Heritage Site for its magnificent Temples and Historical Structures. The architecture of the monuments represents both south and north Indian style.

You can find many beautiful temples in the region, some of mentionable are a Jain Temple called Rashtrakuta, Mallikarjuna Temple, Sangameshwar Temple, Papanatha Temple, and Galagantha Temple.

The summer temperature in Pattadakal reaches around 40 degrees celsius, thus it’s not recommended to visit in the summer seasons. 

Ideal Duration –  3 Days

Best time to visit Pattadakal – October – March


13 – Belur

Situated near the river Yagachi, Belur is one of the oldest tourist attractions in Karnataka. Belus was the capital of the Hoysala Empire. The town is on the route to Chikmagalur from Bangalore at a distance of 220Km.

You will find beautiful Temples in Belur such as the famous Chennakeseva Temple. The Temple was nominated for UNESCO World Heritage Site. People from all over the world have visited the town and have had positive reviews every time. 

Summers can be a little too hot to handle as the temperatures are often around 38 degrees celsius and make it difficult to explore.

Ideal Duration –  3 Days

Best time to visit Belur – October – March


14 – Badami Caves and Fort

Badami was known as the capital of the Chalukya Empire. It is located near the Agastya River and approx 450 km away from Bangalore. Badami is famous for its caves and forts. The city is brimming with red sandstone formations, forts, caves, temples, and many magnificent structures along the banks of the Agastya river.

One of the best places to visit in Badami is Agastya Lake. many locals believe the lake has healing powers. You can also visit many other famous places around Badami such as Aihole, Pattadakal, Archaeological Museum, and Shivalaya.

You can also try out some rock climbing, or go on nearby treks and enjoy some cultural performance. Badami is surely an amazing place to visit in Karnataka.

Ideal Duration –  2 Days

Best time to visit Badami – October – April


15 – Yana Caves

The place is absolutely magical. Yana caves are located inside the deep forests of Karnataka. The village is one of the cleanest villages in south India. Yana is located in the northern region of Karnataka. Yana caves are a natural wonder. It is recommended as one of the top places to visit in Karnataka by most visitors.

The rock towers above the caves stretch around 300-400 feet above the ground. There is a small temple located at the foothill of the caves called as Bhairaveshwar temple. 

The surrounding flora and fauna complement very well for such a prestigious location. Yana caves are one of the hidden and unexplored places in Karnataka.

Ideal Duration –  1 Day

Best time to visit Yana caves – October – June


16 – Sirsi

If you are looking for a lush green and naturally rich environment then you should definitely visit Sirsi. The village of Sirsi is covered with forests and rivers all over. There are some of the best waterfalls of Karnataka in Sirsi. Sirsi is an alluring hill station with spectacular views all around.

Many Travel photographers and wildlife enthusiasts visit Sirsi. There are few churches and temples in the villages too that can be visited. Sirsi is also visited by many foreign travelers in recent years.

Sirsi has many outdoor activities too such as paragliding, boat rides, treks, and much more. Visit Sirsi for a truly beautiful vacation.

Ideal Duration –  2-3 Days

Best time to visit Sirsi – October – March


17 – Bijapur

Bijapur is a commercially important city of Karnataka. It is also a very famous tourist destination in Karnataka. The city has an ancient history which would interest many history buffs around the world. 

The Gol Gumbaj is a very famous tourist attraction of Karnataka. The city is often referred to as ‘The city with Gol Gumbaj’. Some of the other places to visit in Bijapur are Bara Kaman, Citadel, Jumma Masjid, Bijapur Fort, Gagan Mahal, and much more.

The city is brimming with history and monuments. Monsoons and summers are not an ideal time to visit Bijapur as the weather might dampen your tour. 

Ideal Duration –  2-3 Days

Best time to visit Bijapur – October – March


18 – Chitradurga

This beautiful place in Karnataka is also known as Chitrakaladurga. The city is surrounded by rocky boulders and is about 200km from Bangalore. Chitradurga offers some beautiful sceneries for Photographers. The place has a lot of history stored and waiting to be explored.

You should visit the Chitradurga fort which is surely the most famous tourist attraction in Chitradurga. Many people from all over the world visit this fort. The fort has an important role in Indian history. Apart from the Chitradurga Fort, you can also visit Ankali Mutt, Vani Vilas Sagar Dam, Adumalleshwara Temple, Himavat Kedaya, and more.

This makes it one of the must-visit places in Karnataka.

Ideal Duration –  2 Days

Best time to visit Chitradurga – October – March


19 – Shivanasamudra Falls

Out of the many amazing waterfalls in Karnataka, the Shivanasamudra is one of the most famous waterfalls. It is located near the Kaveri river. The Shivanasamudra island divides the Kaveri river into 2 parts namely Bharachukki and Gaganachukki. These together form the Shivanasamudra Falls.

You can also visit Temples, a wildlife sanctuary, or even trek in the region. You can enjoy the waterfall at its best during the monsoon season where the falls are in full flow. 

Ideal Duration –  1 Day

Best time to visit Shivanasamudra Falls – June – December


20 – Skandagiri

Skandagiri is a lovely hill town nearby Bangalore. The Town is famous for its trekking and amazing views that you get after the summit. Skandagiri lies at around 1450 meters above sea level.

The trek to the hilltop is a thrilling route and should be trekked with proper guidance and care. Although it is achievable to the summit, the views at the hilltop are definitely worth the effort.  You can also take the trail up the hill on a night of the full moon, this is considered as one of the most adventurous things to do in Skandagiri. 

Things to see on the trek – Papagni Mutt, Tipu Sultan Fort, Shiva Temple, and others more.

Ideal Duration –  1-2 Days

Best time to visit Skandagiri – October – March


How to Reach Karnataka?

Karnataka is well connected by Air, Road, and Rail to all the major metro cities in India. The most effective and cheaper option to reach Karnataka is by railways.

Cities with Airports in Karnataka: Bangalore, Mangalore, Belgaum, Hubli-Dharwad, Mysore, and Toranagallu. 

Major Railway Stations in Karnataka: Bangalore city Jn, Mangalore Jn, Yesvantpur Jn. Bangalore Cantonment, Mandya.


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WanderlustGary

Travel Blogger & Photographer

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