Situated in the southwestern area, Karnataka is famous for its unexploited yet extremely stunning beaches and diverse culture. Karnataka has witnessed many rulers and empires including Maurya, Hoysala, Vijaynagar, Chola, Chera, and more.
The tourist places in this southern state are known for alluring the locals and all kinds of travelers. However, the state also features some marvelous attractions, which aren’t been explored by the tourists. With coffee and spice plantations, pristine rivers & lakes, exclusive waterfalls, dense forests covered with natural vegetation, lush greenery, Western Ghats, and caves beaches, Karnataka is counted in the top tourist destinations in India.
The quiet and tranquil beaches make Karnataka a perfect alternative to crowded beaches in Goa. If you want to spend some serene time observing the natural attraction than Karnataka is your pick. The state is specifically known for housing some of the nation’s popular and largest wildlife sanctuaries and heritage sites. But, that’s not all! The land is filled with coffee estates, majestic monuments, royal palaces, wonderful waterfalls, ruins of the ancient era, and some charming hill stations that make perfect weekend getaway destinations for peace seekers.
So, are you planning a trip to Karnataka this vacation? In this post, we’ll walk you through the best tourist places in Karnataka you must not miss out on. Let’s get started.
1. Coorg – The Scotland of India
Popularly known as the Scotland of India, Coorg falls into the category of the picturesque yet not-so-famous hill stations. The natural vegetation surrounding the majestic mountains, coffee plantations producing a pleasant and fresh aroma, and the crystal-clear water cascading down from a great altitude describe the charm of this hill station.
Coorg is the ultimate destination for nature and peace lovers. Surrounded by mountains and cloudy landscape, Coorg looks extremely gorgeous in all seasons. The hill station is especially recognized for its natural attractions, stunning waterfalls, and coffee estates. Coorg has a lot to offer to its tourists. The hill station is home to the welcoming people and cultural places.
Also known as Kodagu, Coorg happens to be one of the most wealthy and fascinating hill stations in the state. The experience of trekking through the thick forests while enjoying the perfect picturesque views is on the adventure junkie’s bucket list. Trekking and sightseeing are two of the most exciting activities for tourists here. From shopping at the Madikeri Market to taking a stroll around the vast coffee plantations, Coorg offers lots of fun and interesting activities to its tourists. Indulge in boat riding or explore the rare wildlife in the Coorg Wildlife Sanctuary.
If you are looking for adventure, Coorg has quite a few trekking trails, such as Chettali and Brahmagiri Peak.
Popular Tourist Attractions
Do not miss out on the must-visit locations while in Coorg. Some of the popular tourist destinations in Coorg are Dubare Elephant Camp, Bylakuppe, Abbey Falls, Nagarhole National park, Golden Temple, Iruppu Falls, Raja’s Seat, and more.
2. Bangalore- the Commercial Hub of Karnataka
Bangalore has witnessed some major evolutions over the past few years. From being recognized as the Garden City to transforming into the Silicon Valley of India, Bangalore is the heart of Karnataka. Being the third-largest towns in the nation, Bangalore is especially famous for its commercial centers, educational institutions, stunning parks, coffee and spice plantations, and cool weather (which remain quite pleasant throughout the year).
So, are you planning a trip to the commercial hub of Karnataka? Luckily, there’s a lot to do in Bangalore other than admiring its natural beauty and commercial centers. With several quirky cafes and local street shops located in almost all corners of the town, Bangalore is a foodie’s paradise. Sample the South-Indian cuisine at a local café and sip the South-special tea in cool weather.
As much as exciting it sounds, the development of the IT sectors has led to pollution and contaminants in the city. Bangalore isn’t the same as it was during the colonial period. The roads are pretty congested and the atmosphere, as well as lakes, looks polluted. But, worry not! The city has some charming and serene neighborhoods that make a perfect weekend getaway for locals. Escape the city’s traffic and indulge in some fun and adventurous activities at the nearest hill station.
While in Bangalore, do not miss out on the Butterfly Park, Cubbon Park, and the fascinating Botanical Gardens of Lalbagh. These charming parks of the city justify Bangalore’s nickname ‘The Garden City’.
Things to Do in Bangalore
- Go trekking at Skandagiri and Uttari Betta.
- Take a calm and long walk through Cubbon Park, a 300-acre park packed with lush greenery and a wonderful collection of flowers.
- Go shopping at the MG Road and explore some cultural yet branded items
- Plan a visit to Coorg, Kabini, Shimoga, and other peaceful locations to get a break from your hectic office routine.
- Go on a jog or morning walk at the well-decorated and serene parks
- Go camping with your friends at Nandi Hills
Popular Tourist Attractions
Lal Bagh, Cubbon Park, UB City Mall, Bangalore Palace, Wonder LA Amusement Park, Butterfly Park, Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace, MG Road, Bannerghatta National Park, and ISKCON temple are a few exciting locations in Bangalore.
3. Bandipur National Park – Explore the Rare Animal Species
Covering approx 874 sq kilometers, Bandipur National park is a must-visit location for wildlife buffs. It is the habitat for over 70 tigers and 3000+ Asian elephants and a wide range of endangered animal species. Some of the popular species you’ll come across at the park are leopard, sloth bears, dhole, gaur, python, deers, hornbills, panthers, and wonderful birdlife.
Make sure that Safari timing and the ticket price change every now and then. Before you plan a visit to Bandipur, check out the opening and closing status of the National Park so that you don’t miss out on the major attraction of the site. This park had been a hunting place for the kings who ruled Mysore. In 1974, the park was declared a reserve. Since then, it has been attracting a large number of tourists from all over the world. Located in the proximity to Bandipur National Park is The Mudumalai National park, housing some endangered and rare animal species. In addition to the fauna, tourists love the lush greenery and the bunch of sandalwood and teak trees here. You could reach Bandipur National park by train. The nearest railway station to Bandipur is Mysore Junction, located at 80 kilometers distance from the National Park.
Things to Do in Bandipur National Park
- Join the Jeep or Bus Safari in Bandipur to explore different animal and bird species.
- Get an elephant ride and explore the beauty of the park while enjoying a 20-mins elephant ride.
- Visit Gopalaswamy Betta Temple, a 19 kilometers drive from Bandipur.
- Discover the rich wildlife of India at Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, which is only at 12 kilometers distance from Bandipur National Park.
4. Udupi – Discover Serene Beaches and Visit Crowded Temples
The coastal city of Karnataka, Udupi, is especially famous for its vegetarian cuisines that taste delicious with the spicy South Indian flavors. The laidback beaches, unexploited forests, and intricately decorated temples make Udupi a popular Karnataka’s tourist destination.
Being a pilgrimage site in South India, Udupi receives tourists in large numbers throughout the year. It has quite a pleasant weather and friendly people. Delicious food, some centuries-old and incredibly carved temples, and the natural attractions make Udupi a must-visit destination for Karnataka travelers.
Also famous as Rajata Peetha, the major attraction of this coastal town is the Krishna Temple (dedicated to Lord Krishna). Udupi, a 60 kilometers drive from Mangalore, mainly receives pilgrims from the local regions and beach-lovers. Lying amidst the Arabian Sea and the majestic mountains of the Western Ghats, Udupi is home to the 1000-years-old Lord Shiva temple. The best time to visit Udupi is when the Paryaya festival is organized. You will get to witness the cultural shows, amazing performances, and religious hymns during this time.
The festival is usually organized every alternate year. Meanwhile, you could plan a trip to Udupi between November and April. Organize a trip to Udupi and make the most of your Karnataka trip.
Popular Tourist Attractions
Some of the must-visit destinations in Udupi are Kudlu Falls, Krishna Temple, Malpe Beach, Mookambika Temple, Kapu Beach, St. Mary’s Island, Kaup Beach, Corporation Bank Heritage Museum, Anantheshwara, and Sri Indrani Panchadurga Parameshwari Temple.
Gokarna – The Five Splendid Beaches
The pristine beaches and magnificent landscape makes Gokarna a hub for nature lovers, spiritual tourists, and hippies. Gokarna is a small, rustic town nestled in the Uttar Kannada district. The city is specifically known for its calm and neat beaches as well as ancient temples.
The town receives plenty of tourists every year. Most people join the Hindu devotees in some of the popular temples in Gokarna, while others search for tranquility and a pleasant atmosphere in the laidback beaches here. The beaches located outside the city make a complete contrast to the city’s busy and hectic life. In fact, these beaches welcome international tourists in large numbers. Surrounded by palm and coconut trees, the beaches give a calm and soothing vibe to all the Karnataka travelers. The crystal-clear water, golden and shining sand, a pleasant climate, and an exotic atmosphere make Gokarna heaven for beach lovers. The major attraction of this Uttar Kannada-based town is Mahabaleshwar Temple, which is home to Amtalinga (a powerful weapon that Hindu’s Lord Shiva Kept from Ravana). The city has been ruled by many popular kingdoms including Kadambas and Vijayanagara. Later on, the Portuguese conquered this holy land and ruled the town for years.
Things to Do in Gokarna
- Schedule a visit to Gokarna during Mahashivratri and Kartik Purnima occasions to witness the grand procession.
- Participate in some exciting water sports such as Parasailing, banana boat ride, surfing, swimming, and river rafting at Om beach, Paradise Beach, Gokarna beach, and Half Moon Beach.
- Visit Mahabaleshwar temple to pay homage to Lord Shiva
- Capture the sunset view at the Gokarna Beach.
Popular Tourist Attractions
Gokarna isn’t a major tourist attraction, but it receives lots of visitors for its serene beaches and sacred temples. The popular tourist attractions in this town are Om Beach, Gokarna Beach, Paradise Beach, Kudle Beach, Yana Caves, Mahabaleshwar Temple, Mirjan Fort, Basavaraja Durga Fort, and more.
6. Chikmagalur – The Coffee Land
Situated at a height of 3,400 feet above the sea level, Chikmagalur is popularly known as the Coffee Land of Karnataka. The fresh scent of brewed coffee smells extremely pleasant. Coffee addicts love Chikmagalur for its vast coffee plantations and a wonderful aroma of fresh coffee. With coffee estates, tranquil atmosphere, majestic mountains, and natural vegetation covering this wonderful land, nature lovers couldn’t find a better weekend getaway destination in Karnataka.
If sources are to be believed, then Chikmagalur was gifted as a dowry to a lovely daughter of Rukmangada King. The name of the town translates to the Younger daughter’s town. Though there is a lot to explore in and around Chikmagalur, the city is especially famous for its coffee plantation. In fact, Chikmagalur happens to be the largest coffee-producing city in India.
Imagine waking up to the aroma of the freshly brewed coffee. Well, the town allows tourists to stay near the coffee estates and make the most of their Chikmagalur trip. Other than that, there are quite a few exciting trekking trails for adventure junkies.
Things to do in Chikmagalur
- Plan Baba Budangiri, Mullayangiri, and Kemmanagundi trek.
- Enjoy your stay near the coffee estates and click some candid shots of the vast coffee plantations
- Walk up to Mullayangiri and enjoy a perfect sunrise view in the morning
- Discover some rare South Indian animal species at Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary
- Participate in river rafting at Bhadra River
- Spend some tranquil time in Kudremukh National Park
- Pay a visit to Sharadamba Temple
- Take a walk around the coffee estates and enjoy the calmest and most memorable journey of your life.
Popular Tourist Attractions
In addition to coffee plantations, Chikmagalur has plenty of exciting tourist destinations for all kinds of travelers. Remember to visit the popular Chikmagalur attractions, such as Baba Budangiri, Mullayangiri, Jhari Waterfalls, Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, Kudremukh National Park, Belavadi, Hirekolale Lake, Sharadamba Temple, and more.
7. Mysore – The Cultural Capital
The historical significance and diverse culture make Mysore one of the best places to visit in Karnataka. The city greets its tourists with warm and welcoming people and a colorful environment. From the intricate historical architecture of the royal palaces to modern institutions, every corner of Mysore screams beauty and flamboyance. The prime tourist destination in the city is Mysore Palace. The royal palace looks extremely gorgeous. It features intricate designs and wonderful architecture.
Tourists love to collect the South Indian cultural outfit i.e. the farmed silk sarees from the local Mysore street shops and branded stores. Moreover, the tranquil environment of the city makes it a perfect location for fitness and nature lovers. You could spend hours admiring the beauty of the Brindavan Gardens and Mysore Palace here. People love to practice Yoga and meditation in Mysore’s calm and pleasant environment.
Despite being the third most populated town in the state, Mysore boasts of serenity. The popular tourist destinations in Mysore attract thousands of tourists throughout the year. Being the third-largest state during the colonial period, Mysore is still considered one of the magnificent cities in India. Located at a short distance from Mysore is Bandipur National park, which is famous for accommodating exclusive wildlife animals and birds. Schedule a visit to Bandipur to spot a leopard, tiger, Gaur, deer, and other rare species.
Things to Do in Mysore
- Admire the splendor of Mysore palace and capture the fine architecture of the building
- Take a walk around the Brindavan Gardens to spend a peaceful evening
- Spot some rare and wonderful wildlife creatures at Mysore Zoo
- Have some fun time with your family and kids at GRS Fantasy Park
- Rejuvenate yourself with a walk around Bonsai Garden
Popular Tourist Attractions
Mysore has a lot to offer to all kinds of travelers. Some of the exotic and spiritual sites in the town are Mysore Palace, Talakadu, Bonsai Garden, Shuka Vana, Balmuri Waterfalls, Chamundi Hills, Bandipur National Park, Somanathapura Temple, Lalitha Mahal Palace, Nanjangud, Jaganmohan Palace, St. Philomena’s cathedral, silk weaving factor of Government, Mysore Zoo, Chamundeshwari Temple, Brindavan Gardens, and Trineswaraswamy Temple.
8. Murudeshwar – The Coastal and Spiritual Town of Karnataka
A visit to this spiritual city in Karnataka will help you explore the world’s second-largest idol of Lord Shiva. Sitting at a height of 123 feet, the Shiva Temple is the city’s major tourist attraction. Murudeshwar is surrounded by the Arabian Sea on its three sides, which adds to the beauty of this spiritual tourist spot. Murudeshwar is also a picnic spot for the locals based in Kerala and Karnataka. They consider it an ultimate weekend getaway destination for some tranquil time and family vacation. Not only does the town attract tourists for its spiritual sites, but Murudeshwar is home to Karnataka’s popular and pristine beaches. Tourists in large numbers are spotted practicing their favorite water sports at Netrani Island. As much as Murudeshwar Beach is famous, it has turned pretty dirty and polluted. Other than that, everything about this small, rustic town is pleasant and wonderful.
Things to Do in Murudeshwar
- Indulge in Scuba Diving, boating, snorkeling, and other water-based sports at Netrani Island and Murudeshwar Beach
- Pay home to Lord Shiva by visiting the second tallest statue of the deity, located at 2 kilometers distance from Murudeshwar Railway station
- Click some splendid shots of the Apsara Konda Falls and lush greenery around the area
- Go shopping at Murudeshwar market and grab some cultural items as souvenirs
- Escape from the overpopulated and extremely busy city’s atmosphere by visiting the Netrani Island
- Admire the intricate and breathtaking architecture of Murudeshwar Fort
Popular Tourist Attractions
Home to some of the best beaches and popular temples, Murudeshwar is one of the must-visit Karnataka destinations for adventure fans and spiritual tourists. To name a few, Apsara Konda Falls, Murudeshwar Temple, Murudeshwar Beach, Netrani Island, Basavaraja Durga Fort, Mirjan Fort, Maravanthe Beach, Jali Beach, Chatkilal Waterfalls, Murudeshwar Fort, Murudeshwar Market, and Kollur Mookambika Temple are the popular tourist attractions here.
9. Hampi – The City of Ruins
Also known as the City of Ruins, Hampi is declared as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The city is an ultimate destination for history lovers. With plenty of ruins and some exclusive heritage monuments, a visit to Hampi is a must for all the Karnataka tourists. The city is covered with more than 500 centuries-old monuments and royal palaces that feature the ruins of the Vijayanagar Empire.
Attracting thousands of history buffs from all over the world, Hampi has 100+ tourist destinations including bastions, local markets, ancient monuments, revered temples, and whatnot. In the 15th century, Hampi was considered the Vijayanagar Empire’s capital city. It was also the second biggest towns across the world during that era. A few decades later, the city lost its importance and turned into ruins. Today, it serves as a major historical destination for all the architecture and history lovers out there. You could spot the remnants of the Vijayanagar kingdom and ancient temples, the history of which dates back to as many as 1500 years ago. Not only the ruins, but the terrain of the city is quite interesting and mysterious. It is covered with different-size rocks, which allow you to get a clear picture of the entire city. In order to preserve the authenticity of the remnants, the Government has prohibited the modern establishments and construction projects in Hampi.
Top Tourist Attractions
Hampi is all about history and temples. The major tourist locations you can find here are Lotus Palace, Vithala Temple, Virupaksha Temple, Hippie Island, Hampi Bazar, Yantrodharaka Hanuman Temple, and more.