Karnataka, the fascinating state in South India is perfect for a memorable travel experiences. Blessed with natural beauty, heritage, adventure and more, there are a plethora of places to see, things to do and experiences. Encompassing scenic beaches, lush hill stations, ancient temples, massive forts, royal palaces, thriving wildlife sanctuaries and monuments listed among UNESCO World Heritage Sites, tourist destinations in Karnataka are matchless.

The centuries-rule of both Hindu and Muslim dynasties has gifted a vast and interesting heritage. While, the beauty of the land comes from the Western Ghats, the stretch of Arabian Sea, lush forests and more. Take a look at our list of tourist destinations in Karnataka that will make your holiday memorable.

Bangalore

The capital city of Karnataka, Bangalore is one of the most happening cities of the world. The fascinating merge of the modern world and the ancient era, makes its one of the must-visit tourist destinations in Karnataka.

Bangalore City, Karnataka

From sightseeing, city tours, trendy shopping, nightlife to other delight, you will never have a dull moment in the city. Nicknamed as ‘Garden City’, the metropolis has some of the oldest parks in the country. In addition, there are a number of remainders of the Hoysala Empire and the days of the British Raj.

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Highlights

  • Pay a visit to Lal Bagh, Cubbon Park, Bangalore Palace, Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple, Vidhana Soudha, Ragigudda Anjaneya Temple, Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace, Halasuru Someshwara Temple, Bangalore fort, St. Mary’s Basilica, Chowdiah Memorial Hall, etc.
  • “Nature walk at the impressive gardens of Bangalore
  • Go shopping at thriving markets
  • Have a taste of the local flavors
  • Try the nightlife

Best time to visit: October to May

Bandipur National Park

Moving on with the list of the best tourist destinations in Karnataka, the name of the Bandipur National Park is unmissable. Named as one of the top national parks in India, it is an excellent opportunity to see wildlife in their natural habitat. Once the hunting grounds of royals, now it is haven for nature. The wildlife sanctuary is one of the names under the Project Tiger Scheme.

Bandipur National Park, Karnataka

Settled amid the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, the park environs abounds with diverse flora and fauna. Rivers, streams and lakes nurture the land making it possible for species of mammals, avifauna, reptiles and more from the animal kingdom including endangered wildlife to survive. Step away from city life and breathe in the bliss of nature.

Highlights

  • Go wildlife safari-bus, elephant or jeep
  • Go bird watching with a guide
  • Nature walks to learn about the diverse flora
  • Stay at the lavish wildlife resorts

Best time to visit: October to June

Coorg

Named among the most beautiful hill stations in India, Coorg is one of the must-visit tourist destinations in Karnataka. Nestled in the lap of the lush Western Ghats, the beauty of the town is beyond words. The coffee plantations, in addition to orange orchards, tea gardens as well as lush forests add to the scenic appeal.

Coorg hill station in Karnataka

While the picturesque beauty is what tempts for a visit; adventures and charming experiences equally contribute to your wonderful vacation.

Highlights

  • Pay a visit to Bylakuppe, one of the top Buddhist monasteries in India
  • Enjoy the taste of coffee at the lush plantations
  • Go trekking, checking out popular trails
  • Try a hand at river rafting
  • Check out the attractive Abbey and Iruppu waterfalls
  • Bathe elephants at Dubare Elephant Camp
  • Sightseeing at ancient Madikeri

Best time to visit: Throughout the year

Hampi

Named among the best historical destinations in India, Hampi is one of the top tourist destinations in Karnataka. The glorious capital of the Vijayanagar Empire in the 14th century, it is one of the greatest Hindu empires in India, the town is favored by travelers interested in Indian heritage. The monuments and ruins of the town are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.

Hampi: UNESCO World Heritage Site

Set on the banks of River Tungabhadra, the vestiges of monuments mingle with large boulders adding to the charm. Though ravaged by time, the ruins still reveal the glory it held centuries-back, when Hampi was one of the most prosperous cities in the world.

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Highlights

  • Explore the ruins Virupaksha Temple, Vittala Temple, Hemakuta Hill Temples, Hazara Rama Temple, Archaeological Museum, Queen’s Bath, Elephant Stables, Lotus Mahal, Stepped Tank, etc.
  • Marvel at the mesmerizing idol of Lakshmi Narasimha
  • Attend a 3-Day Hampi Festival

Best time to visit: October to March

Mysore

The royal capital of the Kingdom of Mysore, Mysore is a beautiful city located right at the foot of Chamundi hills. Known as the ‘Cultural Capital of Karnataka’, the town is historic, charming and truly mesmerizing. Any plans of visiting Karnataka must include a visit to Mysore for the experience of royal grandeur and walk through the olden days.

Mysore Palace

Ruled till date by the royal Wodeyar family, the town still maintains decorum of the blue blood, in addition of being one of the most impressive tourist destinations in India. Be it the magnificent Mysore Dasara festival, the massive Mysore Palace or the famous Dosa which gets its name from, the delights do not have an end.

Highlights

  • Mysore Dasara Parade
  • Enjoy strolls through Brindavan Gardens
  • Shop for silk sarees from Government Silk Weaving Factory
  • Wildlife spotting at Mysore Zoo
  • Pay a visit to Jagmohan Palace
  • Take a tour of Folklore Museum

Best time to visit: October to March, especially during the festival of Dasara.     

Pattadakal

A historic tourist destination in Karnataka, Pattadakal is a testament to the architectural prowess of the Chalukya dynasty. Known for its impressive temples, listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India, Pattadakal is a treasure for cultural enthusiasts.

Pattadakal: Historic Destination of Karnataka

Walk among the ruins of the monuments that were built between the 4th to 8th centuries, the peak of the Chalukya Empire. Of note is the renowned Chalukya style of architecture containing elements of both South Indian (Dravidian) and North Indian (Nagara) styles of architecture. Sightseeing in Pattadakal is more of a journey back into the old days.

Highlights

  • Sightseeing Virupaksha Temple, Sangameshwara Temple, Mallikarjuna Temple, Kashivisvanatha Temple & Galganatha Temple.
  • Attend the Virupaksha Car Festival
  • Marvel at the engraved masterpieces of tales from Ramayana and Mahabharata

Best time to visit: October to March

Halebidu

Another remembrance of a glorious era of history of Karnataka, next we move on to Halebidu. The marvelous city of the former Hoysala Empire, the town is one of the mesmerizing tourist attractions in South India. The temple is famous for one of the Hoysala temples that have been named as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.

Halebidu, Karnataka

The architecture and designs are so impressive that one is left in sheer awe of the prowess of artisans of the earlier era. Also, if the muse behind the creation is ethereal then there is no doubt the masterpiece would be a beauty beyond words. The temples are unmissable, and for a better understanding so is the museum in the town.

Highlights

  • Walk through the beautiful Hoysala Temples of Hoysaleswara and Kedareswara
  • Marvel at the impressive Shantaleswara Temple
  • Learn about the Halebidu Archeological ruins, UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Best time to visit: October to March

Gokarna

A paradise for beach lovers, Gokarna is a must-visit tourist destination in Karnataka. Featuring stunning landscapes, the town is preferred by both the pilgrims as well the hippies. Lord Shiva is highly revered here and thus, Gokarna remains thronged with visitors seeking for salvation and sanctity.

Gokarna, Karnataka

Many legends are associated with Gokarna making its history quite interesting. Shivratri is the major festival celebrated with great zeal in the temple town.

Highlights

  • A number of sacred temples make the town rank amongst one of the seven sacred pilgrimages for Hindus. Pay homage at the shrines to seek the blessings.
  • Enjoy peaceful beach holidays.
  • Visit the very famous Mahabaleshwar Temple.
  • Excursion to Kumta and Ankola.
  • Partake in water sports
  • Trekking at Yaana

Best time to visit: November to February

Jog Falls

Nestled on the borders of North Kanara and Shimoga, the Jog Falls presents a sight to behold. With Sharavati River plunging into four cascades namely Raja, Rani, Roarer and Rocket, the charm of the Jog Falls doubles up. All four team up together to form a huge waterfall. A delight to the eyes, the falls offers an unforgettable experience.

Jog falls, Karnataka

If the formation of a rainbow is something that delights you, then you must plan a trip to Jog Falls in monsoons. The scenic backdrop of lush surroundings is an added plus. Reckoned as the second highest waterfall in India, the Jog Falls is the place where nature resides at its best.

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Highlights

  • Hike to the base of the waterfall.
  • Enjoy a plunge in the water.
  • Soak in the beauty of the surroundings.
  • Explore other nearby waterfalls
  • Trekking

Best time to visit: August to December

Udupi

Dotted with many beaches and temples, Udupi is one of the famous tourist destinations in Karnataka. Known for a popular Krishna temple named as Kanakanakhindhi, the city attracts numerous tourists. The scenic place to visit in Karnataka is tucked between the azure Arabian Sea and the lush mountains.

Udupi Beach, Karnataka

Udupi cuisines are world famous and thus is a haven for foodies. A number of festivals are celebrated here but the Paryaya festival stands out amongst the rest.

Highlights

  • Cherish the laid-back vibe.
  • Explore the unexplored forests.
  • Marvel at beautiful edifices that showcase striking architecture.
  • Temple hopping.
  • Visit St. Mary’s Island.
  • Enjoy at several beaches.
  • Savor the Udupi cuisine.
  • City Shopping.

Best time to visit: August to December

Nandi Hills

Nandi hills, Karnataka

Nandi Hills is the place to be to cherish an ideal escape from the city life. Counted as the best-kept secret of Karnataka, the place is slowly emerging as a tourist spot. Boasting off the rich historical legacy belonging to the era of Tipu Sultan, the destination is a must visit for the history buffs. Flaunting surreal beauty, the place is an ideal weekend getaway from Bangalore.

Highlights

  • Explore the Tipu Sultan Trail
  • Pay homage to various temples
  • Visit Tipu Sultan’s summer residence
  • Enjoy Paragliding
  • Go for cycling
  • Excursion to Tipu’s Drop

Best time to visit: Throughout the year

Kabini

Home to the Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary, Kabini offers perfect respite to the photographers and animal lovers. Once a private hunting lodge of the British, the place now grabs the attention of all the nature lovers. Imposing waterfalls and lush greenery presents a visual retreat to the eyes. The place where nature resides at its best can make you fall in love with it instantly.

Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary

A number of resorts account for a comfortable stay and amazing holidays in Kabini. You can completely relax your mind and soul at the Kabini resorts, one of the best attractions in Karnataka.

Highlights

  • Jungle Safari at Kabini Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Admire the endless charm of nature
  • Boating
  • Elephant Safari
  • A trip to Nagarhole National Park
  • Shopping
  • Visit Kabini Dam
  • Bird Watching
  • Campfire
  • Nature Walks

Best time to visit: October to May

Belur

Belur, the historic city was ruled by the Hoysalas for nearly 300 years. It was during their reign that the city was bestowed with numerous monuments and temples. Portraying stunning sculptures and innovative architecture, these architectural wonders make Belur a must-visit destination in Karnataka. Amongst the various charm, Chennakeshava Temple is truly remarkable and brings much of the fame for the place.

 

Belur, Karnataka

Considered as the twin city of Halebidu, Belur is nestled along the banks of Yagachi River. It is due to the cultural significance and peerless history that Belur enjoys the title of modern Vaikuntha on the Earth.

Highlights

  • Explore the Gravity Pillar
  • Visit the Kappe Chennigaraya Temple
  • Pay homage at the Veeranarayana Temple
  • Marvel at the Channakeshava temple
  • Excursion to the Yagachi Dam
  • Observe the Madanikas
  • Day trip to Halebidu
  • Visit Belavadi

Best time to visit: October to April

Shravanabelagola

Shravanabelagola: Jain Pilgrimage Center

Reckoned as an important Jain pilgrimage center, Shravanabelagola is also one of the major tourist destinations in Karnataka. Named after a pond located amidst the town, the place is well-known for a huge Bahubali Statue of Lord Gomateshwara. Moreover, an abundance of the Jain temples adds a spiritual vibe to the religious heritage. Perched at a height of 3350 feet above the sea level, the small town stands out for its scenic beauty.

Highlights

  • Attend the Mahamasthakabhisheka, performed once every 12 years
  • Trek to the Indragiri Hill
  • Visit Chandragiri Hill
  • Seek blessings of Lord Gomateshwara
  • Excursion to the Odegal Basti
  • Shopping at the Tuesday Market
  • Marvel at the Bhandara Basadi

Best time to visit: October to March

Bijapur

Bijapur, Karnataka

Replete with monuments of historical heritage, Bijapur takes you on a time travel to the yesteryears. Once known as the Vijaypura, the heritage city was founded by the Chalukyas. Minarets, mosques and forts of the city epitomize the glorious past. Bijapur or the ‘City of Victory’ is also known as the domain of different cultures.

Highlights

  • Explore the Gol Gumbaz
  • Pay homage at the Jumma Masjid
  • Visit the Ibrahim Rauza
  • Marvel at the Citadel
  • Take a trip to the Mithari and Asar Mahals
  • Spare some time for shopping
  • Excursion to the Malik-e-Maidan
  • Cherish amazing views from the Upli Buruj

Best time to visit: October to February

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