Tourist places in Karnataka spell allure and sedation. Some of these are well-renowned, while the others are left unappreciated. The state’s geographical location ensures diverse tourist places in Karnataka that are captivating enough to knock you out.
The historical and quintessential state of Karnataka occupies a focal place in the tourism map of India. Locked between Kannad Coast, Western Ghats, and Deccan Plateau, the state boasts of forests, hills, temples, caves beaches, riversides, lakes, coffee estates, waterfalls, ruins, and so much more interesting tourist spots.
To discover the state’s real charm, acquaint yourself with these drop-dead gorgeous, best of the best places to visit in Karnataka.
1. Bangalore – The ultimate tourist place in Karnataka
Bangalore, a colorful city of culture and people, is one of the popular tourist destinations to visit in Karnataka. The IT hub of the country offers a cosmopolitan ambience and people from different parts come and settle here for work.
Bangalore has pleasant and comfortable weather round the year and so it is one of the best places to visit in Karnataka in summer. Full of wildlife, nature, ruins, museums, architectural wonders, and gardens, Bangalore is a treat for tourists and travelers.
Popular tourist destinations: Bangalore also offers many fascinating tourist destinations within the city to chill out a weekend or a mid-week holiday. Key attractions are Butterfly Park of Bannerghatta Biological Park, Bangalore Palace, Lalbagh Glass Place, Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace, Wonder La Amusement Park, ISKCON temple, and Aerospace Museum.
For more information on places to visit in Bangalore, please go through 10 Fun Places In Bangalore For An Ultimate Whoopee.
Nearest Railway Station: The capital city has its own junction named, Bangalore City Railway Station.
Nearest Airport: Bangalore has its own international airport with the name Bengaluru International Airport.
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2. Coorg – Get hypnotised with the aroma of Arabica coffee beans
A quaint and not so popular hill station, Coorg is aptly called ‘Scotland of India’. Its surreal beauty makes it one of the most fascinating places to visit in Karnataka in summer. Endowed with coffee estates full of aroma, luxuriant greenery dotting the mountains, and stunning waterfalls plunging down the misty mountains, Coorg charms each and every one of its visitors.
Thrilling treks along the winding trails of the coffee & spice plantations, visit to elephant camp, coracle rides in the river, wildlife sanctuaries, monasteries and local Madikeri market – all together contribute to make the holiday fascinating and exhilarating.
Popular tourist destination: Abbey Falls, Iruppu Falls, and Bylakuppe are the most loved ones. Monastery, the second biggest Tibetan settlement in India, Dubare Elephant Camp, and Nagarhole National Park come in close seconds.
For adventure freaks and nature lovers, trek up to Brahmagiri Peak, Chettalli, and a thrilling coracle ride in the nearby river are the draws.
PS: Do not miss to pick some the best coffees, spices and vanilla stick from Madikeri Bazaar.
Nearest Railway Station: Mysore Railway Station is 106 km from Coorg. Mangalore Station and Hassan Station are also in close proximity.
Nearest Airport: Bangalore Airport is 260 km from Coorg. You can also access the glorious hill-station from Mangalore Airport which is 135 km away.
3. Kabini – Relax and rejuvenate by the riverside
Kabini is one of the most picturesque and tranquil tourist spots in Karnataka, located along the bank of a river with the same name. River Kabini is a tributary of Cauvery. The place is located on the periphery of Rajiv Gandhi National Park, Bandipur Forest, and Nagarhole National Park; hence, offers ample scope of wildlife experience.
Also, you can be lucky enough to spot tiger, leopards, wild elephants, various species of deers, and plenty of residential and nomadic birds, while boating in the river or on a wildlife safari in the nearby jungles.
Popular tourist destination: Wildlife safari at Nagarhole National park, boating at Kabini River, exploring Kabini dam, and the hilly area of Kutta covered with coffee and spice plantations.
Nearest Railway Station: Mysore Railway Station is just about 10 km from the place.
Nearest Airport: 250 km from Kabini, Bangalore Airport is the closest airport.
4. Jog Falls – Where a heartfelt ‘wow’ is the first reaction
Jog Falls locally known as Gerusoppa falls, Gersoppa Falls, and Jogada Gundi are the second highest waterfalls in the country. Formed by Sharavathi River cascading from an altitude of 253 m (830 ft), the waterfalls are divided into four segments namely Raja, Rocket, Rani, and Roarer. They offer one of the most charming and breathtakingly beautiful places to see in Karnataka.
The State Tourism Department has constructed steps – around 1,500 in number – from the viewpoint till the hill bottom. It is here at the bottom that the alluring beauty of the waterfalls can be seen closely. For their beauty and enchanting sound of gushing water, Jog Falls are one of the best places to visit in Karnataka in summer.
Popular tourist destinations: Linganamakki Dam across Sharavathi River, Tunga Anicut Dam, and Thavare Koppa
Lion & Tiger Reserve are the tourist destinations nearby.
Nearest Railway Station: To reach Jog Falls via train, you need to get down at Sagar Station which is 28 km away.
Nearest Airport: Hubli Airport is the closest airport at a distance of 133 km.
5. Shimoga – The luxuriant foliage describes it all
Shimoga, the cultural capital of Karnataka, is a colourful place enriched with fertile land, beautiful waterfalls, and lush green forests. Its verdant greenery and tranquil ambience make it one of the best places to visit in Karnataka. River Tungabhadra, River Sharavathi, River Varada, and River Kumadvathi have carved out picturesque river valleys here. The place is historically famous as Kadambas, Gangas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, and Vijayanagar Kings reigned this region.
Popular tourist destinations: Shivappa Nayaka Summer Palace, Kote Seeta-Rama Temple, Sacred Heart Cathedral, and Tyavarekoppa Lion Safari are the major attractions. Sakrebyle Elephant Camp is also very famous here where you can experience bathing and attend professional training sessions of elephants.
Nearest Railway Station: The city has its own railway station named Shimoga Nagar Railway Station
Nearest Airport: Shimoga Domestic Airport is 1o minutes’ drive from the city and is fairly connected with Mumbai and Delhi. The nearest international airport is at Mangalore International Airport which is 195 km from the city.
6. Mangalore – The sun-kissed serenity amidst city hustle
Mangalore is one of the serene tourist spots in Karnataka, impeccable for short weekend trip to break the monotony of urban chores. The town is located at the estuarine junction formed by River Netravati and River Gurupura on the Arabian Sea Coast.
Once in Mangalore, strolling and sunbathing at the beaches, trying spicy, scrumptious seafood, viewing sunrises & sunsets, and visiting the shipyard just cannot be missed. Mangalore is one of the ideal places to visit in Karnataka for 2 days break.
Popular tourist destinations: Tannirbhavi Beach, Panambur Beach, Someshwara Temple, St. Aloysius Chapel, Mangaladevi Temple, Kadri Manjunath Temple, and Sammilan Shetty’s Butterfly Park are the major attractions. Don’t miss the unlittered and serene beaches to add the complete effect to your trip.
Nearest Railway Station: Mangalore Railway Station is within the city.
Nearest Airport: Mangalore International Airport is a mere 15 minutes from the main city.
7. Karwar – Offbeat and 0ff-the-wall
Karwar is an offbeat beach destination located near Karnataka-Goa border. The town is one of the upcoming, not-so-popular yet, places to visit in coastal Karnataka. It is ideal for those who desire to have a secluded holiday away from any bustling cat-race of the city. Sun-kissed beaches, charming temples, and majestic forts are the major tourist pullers.
The town is locally popular as ‘Kone’ by the southern villagers, which refers to the corner of the region around the River Kali. Karwar has an exhilarating splendor to it. The surrounding green hills, which are a part of the Western Ghats, enhance the beauty quotient of the place.
Popular tourist destinations: Stroll at the Majali Beach, take a boat ride up to Kurumgad Island, and explore the historical remnants of Sadashivgad Fort. Do not miss the famous Durga Devi and Nagnath Temple.
Nearest Railway Station: Karwar has its own railway station by the name of Karwar Railway Station.
Nearest Airport: Dabolim Airport Goa is around 2 hours’ drive from Karwar.
8. Gokarna – Serene shoreline, interesting nightlife, yummy seafood sum it up
Travelers looking for complete solace and solemn pleasure should surely visit Gokarna at least once. This low-key, laid-back, and less-commercialised beach destination has won over millions of travelers and backpackers, and is one of the best places to visit in Karnataka.
Gokarna is also an important Hindu pilgrim hub with many age-old temples in its confines. Chilling out on the pristine beaches, enjoying the exciting water sports, riding on the thrilling catamaran ride has made it a fascinating tourist retreat.
Popular tourist destinations: Mahabaleshwar Temple, Maha Ganapati Temple, and Om Beach are the major crowd-pullers. Relax and enjoy the thrilling water sports like banana boat ride, snorkelling, and parasailing in the shimmering blue water of Gokarna.
Nearest Railway Station: Gokarna Railway Station is nearest to the town and is well-connected with Marmagao Rail Link.
Nearest Airport: Dabolim Airport in Goa is 140 km away from the town.
9. Bandipur National Park – Holidaying in the lap of nature
When holidaying means greenery and winding trails, when birds chirping and calls of the wild animals are melodies to the ears, when the beauty and charm of Bandipur National Park leave you awestruck, it means you have had a successful day in your vacation.
The famous tiger reserve and bird sanctuary is an idyllic retreat for the nature lovers and bird watchers. The number of ardent nature lovers flocking to Bandipur National Park has made it one of the ideal places to visit in Karnataka for a day-picnic. Once a private hunting ground for Maharajas of Mysore, the national park is a habitat to rich varieties of flora and fauna like wild elephants, spotted deer, gaurs, and antelopes.
Popular tourist destinations: Himavad Gopalaswamy Temple, Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple, Anjaneyar Temple, and Biligirirangan Hills are the major tourist attractions along with wildlife safari at Bandipur National Park are the hits here.
Nearest Railway Station: Mysore City Railway Station is the closest rail link, located 80 km from the National Park.
Nearest Airport: Bengaluru International Airport is 220 km from the forest region.
10. Dandeli – The adventurous nirvana
Dandeli is an incredible getaway amidst nature and adventure which has gained it its spot on the list of serene tourist spots in Karnataka. This scenic hilly terrain surrounded by deciduous forests and wildlife habitat is an ideal vacation destination of Karnataka.
Along with thick and lush green forests, Dandeli is also famous for adventure sports, night camps, nature walks, boating, and angling in Kali River. In a way, a wholesome package for adventure enthusiasts, it is a place you must visit if you are an adrenaline junkie.
Popular tourist destinations: Explore Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary, Shiroli Park, and Kavala caves for interesting experience. Entice your adventure spree and try out kayaking and whitewater rafting in River Kali.
Nearest Railway Station: Alnavar Junction is the closest railway link, just 23 km away from Dandeli.
Nearest Airport: Hubli Airport is at a distance of 56 km.
11. Hampi: Aptly said, ‘If dreams were made out of stone, it would be Hampi’
Hampi – a small Kannad village located at the bank of Tungabhadra River is now recognised as World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The village showcases ruins and historical remnants of Vijayanagara Kingdom. The stony landscape and barren beauty of the town is one of the perfect places to visit in Karnataka.
History buffs and architecture scholars flock in thousands of number here annually. Other curious travelers often feel spell-bound and awestruck of the craftsmanship of the skilled artisans of the era. Hampi has almost 500 architectural structure in its ruins, all of which are worth visiting.
Popular tourist destinations: Monkey Temple, Archeological Museum, Vijaya Vittala Temple, Royal Enclosure, Virupaksha Temple, Queen’s Bath, and Riverside Ruins are the crowd-pullers.
Nearest Railway Station: Hospet Junction is the nearest railway station to Hampi, at about 13 km from the place.
Nearest Airport: The nearest airport is at Hubli Airport at about 74 km from Hampi. Bellary Airport and Belgaum Airport are also nearby.
12. Bijapur – Vacationing the royal way
As a serene and famous historical town, Bijapur boasts of Deccan’s Islamic Era and its glories inherited. Bijapur, renamed as Vijapura in 2014, is a cultural hub and has plenty of mosques, mausoleums, palaces, and forts as offerings to travelers.
Bijapur is one of the popular tourist spots in Karnataka and a heart for the Lingayat brand of Shaivism. The Lingayat Siddeshwara Festival is celebrated with full splendor for eight days in January and February here.
Popular tourist destinations: Gol Gumbaz, Ibrahim Rauza, Malik-e-Maidan displaying Bara Kaman, Bijapur Fort, Jami Masjid, Gagan Mahal, and Upli Buruj are a must visit.
Nearest Railway Station: Bijapur has its own railway link by the name of Bijapur Railway Station.
Nearest Airport: Sambre Airport in Belgaum is the closest one and located at about 164 km from the city.
13. Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal – They are rustic, yet gorgeous
Dusty roads, barren topography, red stone architecture, and rocky cliffs iconize the surroundings of Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal – the best places to visit in north Karnataka. These Heritage Sites as declared by UNESCO, are the must visit places to see in Karnataka.
You can discover Chalukyan wrecks and ruins while strolling along the century old temples, caves, and forts in Badami. Aihole has historical connotation and is known as cradle of Hindu rock architecture. Moreover Pattadakal houses uniquely designed temples. It’s a set of places which you must explore to understand the marvel of the place.
Popular tourist destinations: Badami is famous for Badami Fort, Buddha rock-cut Caves, and Bhootnath Temple. Aihole is known for Durga Temple, Lad Khan Temple, Archeological Temple, and Huchimalli Temple. Virupaksha & Papanatha Temple and Galaganatha Shrine are major attractions in Pattadakal.
Nearest Railway Station: All the three places are close by and can be reached from Hubli Railway Station, just 100 km away.
Nearest Airport: Belgaum Airport is the nearest airport at a distance of 190 km.
14. Udupi – The divine holiday in Karnataka
Udupi is ethereal, verdant, and blissful. Locked between misty Western Ghats and pristine Arabian Sea, Udupi is also known as Odipu in local language. It is popular for its temples, architecture, wood artefacts, beaches, stone carving, Yakshagana – the theatre art genre, and special type of local cuisine, which includes Saaru, Koddelu, Huli, Tambuli, Kosambari, Bajji, and such.
Popular tourist destinations: Sri Krishna Temple, Malpe Beach, St. Mary’s Islands, Ambalpady, and Shiriyara are the major attractions
Nearest Railway Station: Udupi has its own railway station with the name of Udupi Railway Station.
Nearest Airport: Bajpe Airport of Mangalore is the nearest airport to Udupi at just 48 km.
15. Chitradurga Fort – The picturesque fort that talks about the epics
Truly one of the best places to visit in Karnataka, the monument located in Chitradurga town has immense archaeological and historical significance. The fort has witnessed history from the time period of Chalukyas Empire and the renowned legend of Onake Obavva. The fort even has a mention in the epic of Mahabharata.
Chitradurga Fort or Chitaldoorg Fort, as it is locally known, is a fortified structure that connects several hills and a peak overlooking the nearly flat valley.
Popular tourist destinations: Besides the eminent fort, the Ankali Mutt, Vani Vilas Sagar Dam, Hidimbeshwar Temple, Kugo Bande, and Shouting Rock are worth visiting.
Nearest Railway Station: Chitradurga Railway Station is the nearest.
Nearest Airport: Bengaluru International Airport, which is 197 km away from the fort area is the nearest.
16. Nandi Hills – The picture-perfect health resort
The list of places to visit in and around Karnataka is not complete if we do not include this along with the popular health resort of same name. Nandi Hills are located east of Bangalore and offer delightful beauty to the travelers. Serene lake, majestic forts, ancient temples, and jaw-dropping backdrops make it a picture-perfect weekend retreat and one of the ultimate places to visit in Karnataka in summer.
Viewing sunrise from hilltop amidst of cloud, fog and misty weather is probably a lavish treat to the soul. The place also has a historical significance. Tipu Sultan and his royalty retired here at Nandi Hills, when they sought to escape the commotion of battles and the heat of the plain land.
Popular tourist destinations: Nandi Temple, century-old Lord Shiva Temple, and Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple are the primary attractions.
Nearest Railway Station: Chikkaballapur Railway Station is 19 Kms from Nandi Hills and is the closest one.
Nearest Airport: Bengaluru International Airport is an hour’s drive from here.
The list of fascinating places to see in Karnataka is up and ready. Mark an upcoming long weekend, pack your bags and set out to chill.
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