Karnataka has all the things for it to boast of being one of the best tourist destinations in India. It has the best of beaches and dense green forests with rich bio-diversity. Beautiful hills with cascading fall alluring trekkers from all over, gushing rivers and sprawling lakes, Karnataka is the place for nature lovers. But did you know it is also known to be a home for marvellous architecture with historic and cultural significance in shaping what India today is. And what else is missing for it to become a wholesome destination? Food!! Karnataka is the paradise for you to experience foodgasm. From Udupi breakfast to vegetarian Oota, Konkan cuisine best seafood to millet based food such as raagi mudde and Bhakri, it will hit the spot in your taste bud.

To discover these places, we have come up with Top places for you to visit and experience the charm it has on us.

Places to visit in Karnataka:

1. Coorg

Imagine waking up to the aroma coming from the coffee estate. Yes, it can be as refreshing as it can get. This quaint little hill town is a popular weekend destination in the mountains. These lush green hills and stunning waterfalls can be overwhelmingly beautiful with your loved ones. For you to stay, there are luxury properties and exotic homestays for you to wake up to the view that can be breathtakingly beautiful. These are some fascinating treks with inspiring nature and thrilling ride on a coracle in the river; walk along the trails of coffee and spice plantation, visit monasteries and elephant camps, look out for rich bio-diversity in the wildlife sanctuaries.

Nearest station: Mysore is the closest railway station. From here, you can hire a taxi to Coorg. It is 106 km from Mysore.

2. Mysore

Known to be the cultural hub of Karnataka, Mysore was a princely state ruled by Mysore Maharajas till 1947. Located at 140 km from Bangalore, Mysore still retains the royalty by presenting its cultural heritage through its Palace, heritage building and temples. Being the 2nd biggest city in Karnataka, it has time and again proved to be a vibrant city with its capturing monuments such as City palace, food, silk sarees and sandalwood.

Nearest station: Mysore has its own railway station. 

3. Gokarna

Are you looking for a beach destination in Karnataka? Gokarna offers some of the best beaches in Karnataka. Known for clear waters and beautiful shacks, Gokarna emerged as a hippie hub in recent times. Surrounded by beautiful hills on one side and the beach on the others, you will come across a stunning landscape. Apart from that, it is also known as Temple town. Home to the famous temple of Mahabaleshwara dedicated to Lord Shiva, Gokarna is one of the important pilgrim centres.

Nearest station: Gokarna road is the nearest station. It can be reached by Konkan railway that goes through this station on Mumbai – Mangalore line or Goa to Mangalore line. However, the best mode of travelling from Bangalore would be by Bus.

4. Murudeshwar

Murudeshwar is another beach destination closer to Gokarna that is popular for water-based activities. If you are a person looking for adventure undersea, then Murudeshwar is a great place to start. It has one of the best beaches and expert training schools for snorkelling and scuba diving. Experience clear waters while scuba diving or snorkelling to release all the stress and become rejuvenated. Before it had become a popular adventure destination, Murudeshwar is a home of the world’s second-largest Shiva statue. It is also pretty popular for its temple complex.

Nearest station: Murudeshwar has its own railway station. It is connected by Konkan railway in Mumbai – Mangalore line.

Udupi is also the closest railway station. It is 100 km from here to Murudeshwar

5. Mangalore

Known as a port city, this beautiful coastal city offers beautiful beaches with clear waters, marvels of temple architecture and coconut palms. It is one of the serene places to be relaxed on sun-kissed beaches and try out the famous Mangalorean seafood. Tannirbhavi Beach and Panambur Beach are popular beaches that are great to relax on. Some of the beautiful attractions that should not be missed here are Someshwara Temple, St. Aloysius Chapel, Mangaladevi Temple, Kadri Manjunath Temple, and Sammilan Shetty’s Butterfly Park.

Nearest station: Mangalore has its own Railway station within the city.

6. Udupi

Known to be the temple city, this popular tourist destination is also famed for its beautiful beaches. It is also one of the fastest-growing cities in Karnataka due to its emergence as an educational hub in recent years. This ethereal city is most popular for its cuisine other than temple architecture and beautiful beaches. Sri Krishna temple is one of the notable places that see major tourist inflow. Apart from that, Malpe Beach, St. Mary’s Islands and Ambalpady, are popular attractions.

Nearest station: Udupi has its own railway station within the city.

7. Chikmagalur

This land of coffee is a tiny town in Karnataka with the highest peaks and perpetual forest. Don’t be surprised if you find a beautiful homestay near a coffee estate. Walking through coffee estate and spice plantation can be exhilarating. Located in the foothills of Mullayangiri ranges, this quaint town is the place to be one with nature. Popular for picturesque landscapes, cascading falls, dense green forest covering the rolling hills and valleys, Chikmagalur is an ideal destination for nature lovers. It is also a fascinating place for adventure seekers with exciting treks to conquer.

Nearest station: Hassan is the nearest railway station to reach Chikmagalur. It is 60 km from Hassan.

8. Bangalore

Bangalore is both cosmopolitan and metropolitan city in India. This capital city is known as the IT hub, it has seen people from all over flocking to this beautiful city of the garden. To cater to the multi-cultural crowd from all over, Bangalore emerged as a happening city with many breweries and clubbing scenes. It is one of the few cities in India that is blessed with greenery all around. And with so many hills around, the weather is almost perfect though out the year. Within Bangalore and around it, there are so many hang-out spots and weekend destinations that are available within a couple of hours. Popular places like Nandi hills and Mysore are just at a spitting distance. Bangalore is definitely the most favourite destination in Karnataka.

Nearest station: Bangalore railway station

9. Bijapur

Officially known as Vijayapura, Bijapur has a world-famous monument Gol Gumbaj. It is the largest dome in the world. Bijapur is one of the oldest cities that can be traced back to 10- 11 century during the time of Kalyani Chalukya. It was during this time that it was called Vijayapura. However, in the 1300s, Bijapur was conquered by Bahamani sultanates. It is during their time that heritage monuments like Golgumbaz, Bijapur Fort, Bara Kaman and Jama masjid were constructed. Bijapur is one such destination that reminds you of heritage and its historical significance.

Nearest station: Vijayapura railway station.

10. Badami

Tucked away in a valley of red sandstone, this quaint town of Badami is a beautiful place to find your lost fascination towards archaeological heritage. This ancient town was known as Vatapi that can be traced back to 500 – 700 AD during the times of Badami Chalukyas. This quaint place is popular for cave temples that are cut out from red sandstone. Three among the four cave temples are dedicated to Hinduism and one is dedicated to Jainism. These caves are one of the few caves in India that are still intact with intricate sculptures and natural paint in the temples. These beautiful cave temples are surrounded by the pristine waters of Lake Agastya. You will also come across a small fort that had been used mostly for defence purpose during the period of Bijapur Sultanate.

Nearest station: Bagalkot is the closest railway station.

11. Aihole & Pattadakal

Aihole and Pattadakal is one such place that will take you back to the times where art and architecture played a great role. These two places are complexes where temples and mandapas have been constructed with intricate details. Traced back to 4th century to 8th century AD, these monuments and complexes belonged to the period of Chalukyas. These ancient sites and historical monuments belonged to medieval era dedicating to Hinduism, Buddism and Jainism. These monuments will leave you speechless with its intricate, stone-cut and monolithic architecture. Aihole and Pattadakal are definitely one of the best monuments in Karnataka that has to be visited ones in a life-time.

Nearest station: Bagalkot is the closest railway station

12. Hampi

This ancient city was a capital for the glorious Vijayanagara Empire in the 14th century. It was considered to be one of the flourishing cities with trade and commerce on one end and on the other art and architecture was taking leaps and bound during their period. It was said it was a golden period where the pillars and Gopura of the temples and its complexes were decorated with gold and precious stones.

The city which flourished for a long time now lies in its ruins. These ruins still take you back to the bygone era; as you walk through the ruined complex you will come across a group of monuments spread across this small city. You will be surprised to still witness some of the intricate designs and sculpture present in these complexes. No wonder UNESCO has recognised Hampi as a world heritage site.

Some of the popular monuments are Virupaksha temple, Vittala temple, Lotus palace, Elephants stable, etc. Emerged as a popular hippie hub, you will come across many foreigners staying month together in this little town, learning the art and researching on the architecture. Be sure to visit Hampi at least once to witness the fascinating little town.

Nearest station: Hospet is the nearest railway station.

13. Hassan

Hassan is one of the prime regions where the architectural marvel of the Hoysala Empire. Deriving its name from the local deity ‘Haasanamba’ has been under Hoysala for a long time and then went into the hands of Vijayanagara. After the decline of Vijayanagara dynasty, it was ruled by Adil shah and Mughals for a brief period and then finally merged as the independent Mysore Kingdom.

It was during the period of Hoysalas, did architecture emerge as great importance. Some of the important places in this region were Belur and Halebidu. The temples and complexes that were constructed during this time remains one of the protected monuments in Karnataka. Shravanabelogola is another priced monument belonging to Jainism also comes in this region.

Nearest station: Hassan is the nearest railway station.

14. Belur

Located on the banks of River Yagachi in Hassan district of Karnataka, Belur is home of the best of Hoysala monument. This beautiful little town was then an alternative capital for Hoysala after Halebidu.

Hoysala’s genuine interest and love for art and architecture can be traced back to several temple and monuments that were constructed during their 300 years of reign. However, it was in Belur and Halebidu that their best architecture flourished. Chennakeshava temple in Belur is one of the notable examples of Hoysala architecture. Belur is one of the best places in Karnataka where one can get inspired by the art

Nearest station: Hassan is the closest railway station.

15. Halebidu

Halebidu, previously known as Dwarasamudra, was capital of Hoysala for the longest time in the 12th century. Temple architecture and complexes in Halebidu were one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture. Their love for architecture inspired the sculptures and artisans to experiment with some of the finest methods and intricate designs. It is also believed that the then Queen Shantala Devi was a very beautiful woman and a beautiful dancer. It inspired the artisans in sculpturing dancing figures with intricate detailing. In the 14th century, this flourishing city fell into the invasion of the Mughals.

It is these monuments in Halebidu that are not to be missed- Hoysaleswara Temple and Shantaleswara Temple. These are some of the most inspiring temple monuments and the best of Hoysala architecture. Halebidu is definitely a top place that should be visited in Karnataka.

Nearest station: Hassan railway station is the closest option.

16. Kabini wildlife sanctuary

Kabini wildlife sanctuary is considered to be one of the best sanctuaries in India. It was once considered to be a private ground for hunting purpose for the Mysore Maharaja. It is now one of the best sanctuaries blessed with richest bio-diversities with rare flora and fauna. Kabini comes under Nagarhole national park. Surrounded by thick vegetation and Kabini river and reservoir, where boating can be possible. Best time to enjoy safari is from November to March.

Nearest station: Mysore railway station is the closest.

17. Jog falls

Jog falls is the highest waterfall in the state. It falls from a height of 253 m in a single fall. This unique fall is untiered waterfall as it takes a plunge without touching the rocks that will appear to be a tiered waterfall. Jog fall is truly a majestic waterfall leaves you spellbound. It is also the second-highest waterfalls in India, and the first being Nohkalikai falls in Meghalaya. It truly leaves an everlasting impression.

Nearest station: Shimoga is the closest railway station

18. Bandipur National Park

Situated in Nilgiri mountain ranges, Bandipur national park is one of the most popular places to spot tigers and elephants. Blessed with natural surroundings, it is one such park where one can witness rarest species of flora and endangers fauna. Popular animals that can be spotted here are Panthers, tigers, elephants and pythons. Bandipur national park along with three other national parks forms into Nilgiri biosphere reserve. This reserve is considered a UNESCO world heritage site.

Nearest station: Mysore is the closest railway station.

19. Shravanabelagola

One of the holiest places for Jains, Sharavanabelagola is a beautiful little town situated near Hassan. It is also in this region you will find famous temple towns such as Belur and Halebidu. Shravanabelagola has the tallest statue of lord Gomateeshwar dedicated to Jainism. This beautiful statue is elevated to a height of 871 m above sea level. Every 12 years, Jains from all over come here for Mahabhisheka offering milk, ghee and curds.

Nearest station: Hassan is the closest railway station

20. Dandeli

Located on the banks of River Kali, Dandeli is a quaint little town nestled in thick forest and rich bio-diversity. It is also considered as one of the wildlife sanctuaries in Karnataka. This beautiful place is a perfect combination of enchanting forest and adventure. Dandeli is considered to be one of the best places to experience Trekking through thick vegetation, White water rafting, kayaking and canoeing in river Kali.

Nearest station: Hubli is the closest possible railway.

21. Bheemeshwari

Bheemeshwari is a quaint little town of Karnataka on the banks of the majestic River Cauvery. Filled with exciting adventure opportunities such as trekking, river rafting and kayaking, Bheemeshwari is known to the eco-tourist spot where one can experience the finest fishing camps on River Cauvery. Break your routine and travel to this wonderful place for a laid back holiday.

Nearest station: Bangalore railways station is the closest

22. Nagarhole national park

Being one of India’s premier Tiger reserves along with Bandipur national park, Nagarhole is one of the popular places to find rich flora and fauna and is blessed with astonishing beauty of nature. One can find beautiful valleys, hills, cascading falls, in the dense forest of this park. Did you know Kabini reservoir and wildlife sanctuary is a part of this national park? The highest density of herbivores in Asia is found in this national park. Don’t be surprised if you spot elephants, tigers and bears. Best time to visit the park is from October to February.

Nearest station: Mysore railway station is the closest station.

23. Shimoga

Located on the banks of River Tunga, this beautiful town is surrounded by lush green fields, mighty hills with enticing waterfalls leave you to catch a breath. Shimoga officially called as Shivmogga derives its name from Lord Shiva Mukha, literally translated as Face of Shiva. This serene town can be traced back to 2000 years. With rich history and significance in culture, Shimoga is a great place for a retreat into the nature. Beautiful peaks like Kodachadri, humbling waterfalls like Jog falls and fascinating elephants camp are some of the major attractions here.

Nearest station: Shimoga railways station is the closest station.

24. Srirangapatna

This beautiful river island is surrounded by the mighty Cauvery. Located at 15 km from Mysore, Srirangapatna is a great place to witness the architectural marvels of Hoysala and Vijayanagara dynasty. There are so many heritage and religious important monuments within this holy city. Some of them are one of the most important Vaishnavite pilgrim spots – Ranganathaswamy temple, Ranganathittu bird sanctuary, Srirangapatna fort and Daria Daulat Bagh- a beautiful garden build during Tipu Sultan. This beautiful river island is an interesting destination to visit with family.

Nearest station: Srirangapatna railway station is the closest station

25. Nandi Hills

There are some places near Bangalore that provide excitement, yet it is filled with serenity. Nandi Hills is one such place located at a spitting distance from Bangalore, which plays an important role in keeping the sanity of people in Bangalore. Bangalore which is infamous for its traffic, Nandi hills comes as a pleasant surprise for a weekend day out with friends and family at this hill, Witness the cloud covering the hills and beneath all the clouds lies the beautiful view of the valleys. You ask cyclist or a biker what is their favourite ride near Bangalore. The answer will be common. The roads leading to the hills can be a magical experience for the rider. Paragliding is also one of the popular activities here at Nandi Hills. Best time to visit this beautiful place would be from September to March.

Nearest station: Bangalore railways station is the closest station

26. Kudremukh

Kudremukh is a popular mountain range located in Chikmagalur region. The name of this peak is also the name of the small town – Kudremukh. The name is derived from ‘horse face’ referring to the shape of the mountain. It is the second-highest peak after Mullayangiri. This beautiful hill range is surrounded by healthy flora and fauna in the rolling green meadows, lush green forest that is covered on the mountain range. It is declared as reserved forest to protect this forest to be not demolished. This paradise is home for trekkers and nature lovers from all over. Kudremukh is definitely one of the best places to visit in Karnataka.

Nearest station: Mangalore station is the closest

27. Sakleshpur

This quaint hill town is located in Hassan district of Karnataka. Sakleshpur is a beautiful o=town surrounded by awestricken nature, with a spectacular view of coffee estates and spice plantation on the lofty hills. This beautiful town lying in the Malnad region is a hotspot for biodiversity. One of the popular treks here is Green route trek – is usually done on the railway tracks leading from Sakleshpur to Kukke Subramanya. A walk on this route passes through dense forest, tunnels and waterfalls making it one of the scenic beauties in Karnataka. Apart from that, other attractions here are Manjarabad Fort, Bisle viewpoint, Jenukal Gudda and Manjehalli falls.

Nearest station: Hassan is the closest railway station

28. Shivanasamudra

Shivanasamudra is ethereal town sited on the banks of river Kaveri. This island town divides the river into twin falls, called Gaganachukki and Bharachukki together called Shivanasamudra; the literal meaning of the name is Shiva’s sea. This is a beautiful place with the gushing cascade plunging from a humbling height will leave you spellbound. September to January makes an ideal time to visit this popular destination near Bangalore.

Nearest station: Mysore station is the closest station

29. Agumbe

This tiny village situated on a high altitude of 2110 feet above sea level, is known as Cherrapunji of the south. Located in Malnad region of Karnataka, Agumbe receives the highest rainfall in south India. Surrounded by umpteen numbers of rivers, narrow streams and mighty hills with cascading waterfalls, Agumbe is a picturesque destination for adventure lovers. There are wonderful hikes and treks leading through dense forest.

Nearest station: Shimoga is the closest railway station

30. Sringeri

This Hilltown is also a popular temple town in Karnataka is considered to be a holy place. It places a significant role as the first Peeta of four mathas was established by Sri Adi Shankaracharya here. Situated in the midst of rolling hills of Western Ghats, Sringeri is located on the banks of river Tunga. Ancient temple Sringeri Sharda Peetha that is as old as 1200 years is situated here. Apart from that, famous temples like Vidhyashankara temple and Parshwanath Jain temple are important temples that are must-visit.

Nearest station: Udupi is the closest railway station

31. Mullayanagiri

Mullayanagiri located in Chikmagalur of Karnataka is the prided to the highest peak in Karnataka. It is considered to be one of the finest treks in Karnataka, offers enthralling experiences one could ever have. This popular trek takes 3 hours to complete.

Nearest station: Mangalore is the closest railway station