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Top 15 Destinations and Places to Visit in Karnataka

The geography and landscape of Karnataka is such that it serves as an ideal destination for diverse and enthralling tourist locations and landmarks. Located in the midst of Western Ghats, Deccan Plateau and Kannad Coast, Karnataka is home to various forests, beaches, waterfalls, coffee plantations, lakes and all the bounties of nature.

The state also boasts of historically significant monuments and structures that attract visitors from far and beyond.

Also culturally diverse and ancient, Karnataka has a historic past and rich heritage for the travelers to explore.

Following is the list of 15 carefully chosen tourist spots that has something for every vacationer.

1. Bangalore –  The City of Diverse Existence

Topping the list for the right reasons in the capital city, Bangalore. Bangalore is the most cosmopolitan city in India. It is a melting pot that is home to people from different backgrounds, cultures and skills. It is the hub of Information Technology that houses a huge number of Software, Hardware and telecom companies that provide services to clients around the world.

Also called the garden city, the key attractions in Bangalore are Bannerghatta Park, Lalbag Garden, Tipu Sultan Palace, Wonder La Theme park, Aerospace Museum and VidhanaSoudha to name a few.

The pleasant weather throughout the year makes this city a prime summer vacation destination.

The best way to travel to this city is either by train to Bangalore Railway station or by air to Bengaluru International airport.

2. Bandipur National Park – In Harmony with Nature

Get as close as you can to natural wildlife in Bandipur National Park. Perfect haven for animal lovers who want to get engrossed in the sights and sounds of the forest.

Do not miss the Tiger Reserve and the Bird Sanctuary of the national park. The rich fauna and flora in the reserve will leave you asking for more. It is a perfect choice for a day picnic. Some of the wildlife you can spot here are elephants, the spotted deer, antelopes.

This attraction is about 80 km from the Mysore railway station and about 220 km from the airport.

3. Coorg – Queer but Captivating

Coorg is one of the pristine, less crowded hill stations. Its natural and lush greenery contributes to its scenic beauty. It is an ideal summer getaway.

Coorg is bestowed with aromatic coffee plantations, breathtaking waterfalls, green mountains, and stunning views. Another unique attraction of Coorg is the Tibetan Monastery.

Tourists have plenty of options for trekking along coffee estates, along river side and mountain scenic paths. There is a local market for any kind of shopping needs.

Coorg is about 106 km from Mangalore rail station and about 250 km from the airport.

4. Hampi – An Architectural Marvel

Hampi is one of the world’s heritage sites as declared by UNESCO. Situated on the banks of Tungabhadra, the place is home to historical ruins and remains of the Vijayanagar kingdom. Rocks and stone carvings are proof of the skill and mastery of the artisans of the old era. It is the perfect tourist place for the history enthusiast.

There are such 500 magnificent structures in Hampi, each of which has a story of its own.

The Hubli airport is the nearest to Hampi, about 74 km.

5. Mysore – City of Old World Charm

Mysore is one of the oldest cities and second biggest in Karnataka. It was the erstwhile city of the Mysore kings who ruled the state for 100’s of years up until the 20th century.

Mysore is one of the very few cities who has managed to maintain its old world charm. There are plenty of impressive palaces, museums, temples and imposing heritage structures to marvel in Mysore. The alluring Brindavan Gardens are also one of the major attractions of Mysore. The Bangalore airport is about 184 km from Mysore.

6. Shivanasamudra Falls – Nature’s Fury and Peace

Shivanasamudra water falls, located in the Mandya district of Karnataka is a splendid sight to see especially in the monsoon months. This is a segmented fall, with streams running parallel to each other called Gaganachukki and Bharachukki. The gorge is very deep and swimming is not permitted but tourists can enjoy bathing in the part where the force of water it lower.

Bangalore airport is about 175 km and Mysore station is about 80km from the Shivanasamudra falls

7. Gokarna – Tranquility at its Best

Gokarna, a small and less populated town is situated in the north Kannad district of Karnataka. This is normally on the “to-go” places list of tourists due to its peaceful ambience. Gokarna lures the tourists with its enthralling beaches and pious temples.

Your trip to Gokarna will be incomplete without a visit to the famous Mahabaleshwara temple and study its rich history.

Some of the popular but calm beaches in Gokarna are Kudle beach, Om Beach and Gokarna beach. You can enjoy the serene sands and thrilling water sports in any of these beaches.

Gokarna is about 150 km from the Vasco Da Gama airport and about 60 km from the Karwar rail station.

8. Belur and Halebidu – The Majestic Temple Towns

Belur, located on the banks of the Yagachi river is the erstwhile capital of Hoysala empire. Due to this rich history surrounding this town, it consists of various temples with marvelous architecture and perfectly crafted sculptures.

The most well-known temple here Chennakesava temple, which has huge pillars, intricate carvings, and sculptures that are life size.

Mangalore airport is 170 km from Belur and Hassan is about 25 kms.

Halebidu is situated in Hassan district of Karnataka. The main temple was built to honour king Vishnuvardhana and queen Shantala Devi. From the temple, the there is this astounding view of of two hills on the opposite sides appearing like two bulls and a Ganesh figure on the southern side.  The place was ruined by the Mughal dynasty and hence got the name, “Halebidu” which means city in ruins.

This place is about 6 km from Belur and 30 km from Hassan.

9. Jog Falls – Will leave you Spellbound!

Jog Falls, falling from about 850 feet from the ground, is the second tallest falls in India. The segmented falls is a sight to behold.

There are steps to go up to the view point to enjoy the stunning view of one of nature’s beautiful creation. The sight and sound of the Jog Falls leaves a soothing and relaxing effect on the visitors.

Sagar Station is about 28 km from Jog Falls and Hubli Airport is about 130 km away.

10. Dandeli – Get set for Adventure

During the last few years, Dandeli has grown to becoming a sought after tourist place. It is an adventures hot spot due to its hilly terrain perfect for trekking, its abundant green forests and interesting wildlife. Dandeli is the perfect package for the thrill seeker.  

River Kali in Dandeli offers boating and kayaking adventures.

Hubli airport is about 55 km from Dandeli.

11. Udupi –Taste of Authentic Karnataka

Udupi, a town near Mangalore sandwiched between the Arabian Sea and Western Ghats is famously known for 2 things- Temples and Food.  The beautiful and huge Sri Krishna temple in Udupi attracts devotees from all over the world. There is also a Shiva temple here which is believed to be over a 100 years old.

The “Udupi Cuisine” has become a household name among food connoisseurs for delicious south Indian food with the unique Udupi flavour.

Udupi is about 60 km from Mangalore airport and it has a railway station of its own, the Udupi rail station.

12. Nandi Hills –Reach the Zenith of Beauty

Nandi Hills located to the east of Bangalore, offers its visitors pristine lakes, timeless monuments, temples and postcard like views from hilltops.

The best attraction of this hill resort is the cool and foggy weather which takes the tourists to a whole new world away from monotony and noise of cities.

Bengaluru airport is about an hour from Nandi Hills.

13. Chitradurga Fort – A Fortified Marvel

This great monument situated in the town of Chitradurga is an archeological wonder. This fort has immense historical value as it has been in existence since the rule of Chalukyas.

The landscape around this fort is adorned by towering hill with the peak giving the view of a valley.

This place is accessible from Chitradurga Rail station and Benguluru airport which is about 200 km.

14. Bijapur – Bask in Royalty

If you want a taste of royalty in your vacation to Karnataka, Bijapur is the place to go. Bijapur showcases the culture and living of the Islamic dynasty that existed there. You can enjoy the mosques, palaces, mausoleums and so on.

Some of the famous structures here are Gol Gumbaz, Bijapur Fort and Gagan Mahal.

Bijapur has its own railway station and the Belgaum airport is about 160 km away.

You now have plenty of reasons to make Karnataka your next vacation destination. Set out on your memorable journey, crossing out the above destinations one by one. We promise, you won’t be disappointed.

15. Chikmagalur – Never ending Fun

Chikmagalur is a very serene and scenic hill station with plenty of exciting things to do and see. Trekking on one of the hills of the magnificent Western Ghats is the popular attraction here. The various places of attraction in Chikmagalur are Kudremukh wildlife sanctuary, green Mullayanagari tea farms, Hebbe falls, the picturesque Baba Budan Giri mountains, Bhadra wildlife park and many more attractions.

There is a wide choice of things to do in Chikmagalur. You can go kayaking in Chikmagalur lake or indulge in adventurous water sports. You can go for a safari ride to explore the Tiger reserve at Bhadra sanctuary or go trekking along the lush green tea estates.

Chikmagalur is about 4 hours by road from Bangalore