A state rich in culture, traditions, architectural heritage, as well as natural beauty—that’s exactly how we would describe Karnataka. It has been home to some of the most powerful kingdoms in the past and today, has countless marvels for all travelers to explore. From one-of-its-kind statues and architectural marvels to bounties of nature and wild adventures, a visit to Karnataka always leaves you asking for more.
While you may be wondering how to make the most of your trip, here’s our pick for the top 9 things to do in Karnataka. Get your bags packing at the earliest and be ready to explore the best of all!
‘City of Palaces’, ‘Heritage City of Karnataka’, ‘Sandalwood City’, and the ‘Cultural Capital of Karnataka’, these are all titles bestowed upon this old world city. Yes, it is Mysore or Mysuru that we are talking about. From prehistoric sites and magnificent palaces to sprawling gardens and stunning water bodies, there’s nothing that the city misses out on. As one of the oldest, largest, as well as cleanest cities of Karnataka, Mysore is a popular tourist destination all year round.
One of the must-visit places in Mysore has to be the Mysore Palace. A fascinating example of the Indo-Saracenic architecture, the beauty of the palace is captured by its rich colors and stained glass windows. If you choose to visit this place during the festival of Dussehra, you can also witness the royal procession of the Mysore Dussehra Festival. But it isn’t just these heritage sites that the city offers. Brindavan Gardens, Chamundi Hills, Karanji Lake, and Mysore Zoo are all inviting places that need to be explored when visiting Mysore. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to shop around for some exquisite silk clothing and sandalwood items.
Also Read: Mysore Travel Guide
Dotted with a number of ruined temple complexes belonging to the medieval Hindu kingdom of Vijaynagar, Hampi has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Surrounded by around 500 ancient monuments and captivating temples and ruins, Hampi is truly a delight for all history lovers. The city maintains its authentic charm till date with only a very limited number of modern establishments. And adding to this charm is the city’s location on top of a rugged terrain on the banks of the Tungabhadra River.
The city experiences tropical hot summers and cool winters, making the months between October to March an ideal time to explore this architectural marvel. The main tourist spots in the city can be divided into two broad areas – the Hampi Bazaar area and the Royal Center near Kamalapuram. Hemakuta Hill, Virupaksha Temple, Vittal Temple, Lotus Mahal, and Anegundi are some of the places definitely worth visiting in Hampi. After exploring the secrets of these enchanting ruins, you can also enjoy the taxi boat ride across the river with glorious sunset views to keep you captivated.
Curious about everything you need to know before visiting Hampi? Find out in our Hampi Travel Guide!
For all the coffee lovers out there, Coorg has to be on your itinerary when planning to explore the state of Karnataka. Until a few years back, Coorg was a lesser-known offbeat destination in the state, but the serene landscapes and abundant coffee production of the place have attracted people from far and wide to explore this scenic beauty. Officially known as Kodagu, this quaint little hill station is an ideal destination for a weekend or a summer getaway.
A notable aspect about Coorg are the Kodavas. They are a local clan specializing in martial arts and offer warm hospitality to anyone who visits the place. Along with the breathtaking scenery, lush greenery, and aromatic coffee plantations, Coorg also has a number of tourist attractions including The Raja’s Seat, Madikeri Fort, Iruppu Falls, Nagarhole National Park, and the Tibetan Buddhist Golden Temple. If watching sunsets while sipping on some hot coffee is your idea of unwinding, Coorg is surely your place to be.
Considered to be the second-highest plunge waterfall in India, Jog Falls is definitely one of the best creations of nature in Southern India. Situated on the borders of Shimoga and North Kanara, Jog Falls plunges from a height of about 250 meters (over 800 feet) in a single fall. Also known as the Joga Falls or the Gersoppa Falls, monsoons and winters are the best time to visit this enchanting beauty of nature. The stunning view of rainbows every now and then against the voluminous falls leaves a spellbound impression on anyone who witnesses it.
Interestingly, the Sharvati River forming these falls flows down the Western Ghats in four different cascades – Raja, Rani, Roarer, and Rocket. While Raja is the unbroken column stream, it is encountered by Roarer with small and violent currents rushing down the stream. Rocket shoots downwards in a series of jets and Rani, the quietest of all, falls in a sheet of foam. Now that you know about these streams, try identifying each of them on your next visit to the magnificent Jog Falls!
Known as the ‘Land of Palm Trees, Blue Seas, and Golden Sands, Gokarna is a town in Karnataka that’s similar to Goa in a lot of aspects. Located on the coast of Karwar, Gokarna lures tourists from all over with its pristine beaches and pious temples. What’s interesting about the out-of-town beaches of Gokarna is that they are a unique contrast to the bustling life inside the town.
Om Beach, Kudle Beach, Gokarna Beach, Half-Moon Beach, and Paradise Beach are the five famed beaches of the town. You can enjoy the pristine vibes of the beaches or even engage yourself in some thrilling water sports activities. Don’t forget to enjoy the famous beach trek to get a one-of-its-kind experience. Being an important Hindu pilgrimage spot, Gokarna is also known for its vast number of temples. Mahabaleshwara Temple, Maha Ganapati Temple, and the Bhadrakali Temple are the famous ones to name a few.
With the Arabian Sea on one side and rocky mountains and the Western Ghats on the other, Gokarna is definitely your place to be if you’re searching for some sanctity and tranquillity to ponder on.
Also Read: Best Beachside Hotels And Resorts In Gokarna
Idli, dosa, medu vada, uttapam...is your mouth watering already? No matter where you’ve been living in India, there are very high chances of you coming across these famous South Indian dishes. But the origins of these dishes take us back to the state of Karnataka. You should definitely fill your heart and stomach with the delicious local cuisine when visiting this southern state. And what better place than Udupi to get the best of all? A small coastal town nestled between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, Udupi is known especially for its South Indian cuisine and beautifully carved ancient temples as well.
All food connoisseurs must lay their hands on the sumptuous masala dosa, kadubu, neer dosa, and Mangalore buns. If you’re curious about the names, just hop to any local restaurant or ask the localites there who’ll uniquely describe the name as well as the essence of these Udupi dishes. Along with enjoying the food, you should also explore the ancient temples, quaint beaches, as well as the unexplored forests hidden in this scenic little town. Malpe Beach, Maravanthe Beach, Sri Krishna Temple, and Anantheshwara Temple are some of the most prominent places to visit in Udupi.
Established in 1974, Bandipur National Park is one of the best tiger reserves as well as the biggest biosphere reserve in India. Considered to be amongst the best managed parks of India, Bandipur National Park is home to varied wildlife and different biomes of the deciduous forest. You can spot large species like sambhar, chital, gaur, elephant, tiger, and leopard as well as timber trees such as sandalwood, rosewood, Indian laurel, clumping bamboo, and much more.
Located close to the Bandipur National Park are the Nagarhole National Park, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Mudumalai National Park. All these parks together form the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The rich flora and fauna of the Bandipur National Park is a treat for all nature lovers and the best time to enjoy the unique natural beauty of the park is between the months of June to October.
If your adrenaline rush is at its peak, a visit to the ‘Adventure Capital of South India’ will surely help satiate your hunger. Located on the Western Ghats of the Uttara Kannada district, Dandeli is a hub for a number of adventure activities. From trekking and camping to white water rafting and kayaking, there’s plenty to explore in this small town. The unparalleled scenic beauty complimented by the tropical forest and exotic wildlife of this place only adds to the thrill and charm of exploring different activities in Dandeli.
A unique aspect of Dandeli is the fact that it offers peace and tranquillity as easily as it quenches your thirst for adventure. Syntheri Rocks, Natural Jacuzzi, Sykes Point, Kavala Caves, Molangi Falls, and Sri Mallikarjuna Temple are some of the popular destinations in the city to enjoy the peaceful and calm surroundings. The winter months of October through February are the best time to visit this city. You can soak in the pristine landscapes while also unleashing your adventurous self at Dandeli.
Home to the second tallest statue of Lord Shiva in the world, Murudeshwar is among the most popular pilgrimage places to visit in Karnataka. Nestled in between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats, the soothing ambience of Murudeshwar offers the calm you’ve been looking for. From tranquil temples and serene beaches to adventure activities and green forests, Murudeshwar has something to offer to every traveler.
Murudeshwar Temple, Netrani Island, Mirjan Fort, Jali Beach, and the Koosalli Waterfalls are some of the popular places to check out in and around the town. While the Murudeshwar Temple captivates you with its rustic charm of Vijaynagar architecture, you can visit Netrani island to enjoy the thrill of snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities. The scenic views of the cloud-capped hills in Murudeshwar are truly a sight worth beholding.
Which Is The Best Place To Visit Now In Karnataka?
Bangalore, Mysore, Coorg, Hampi, Gokarna, and Dandeli are some of the best places to visit in Karnataka. While Bangalore gives you an experience of the diverse city life in Karnataka, Mysore showcases the rich culture and heritage of the state. If you want to unwind and are looking for a cool destination, Coorg is definitely your place to be, and if thrilling adventure activities are on your mind, Dandeli has to be your go-to place in Karnataka. The state is vastly spread with something to offer to everyone who wants to explore its beauty and essence.
What Are The Things Karnataka Is Famous For?
Scenic nature, thrilling adventure, delicious food, and exquisite clothing, there’s nothing that Karnataka lacks in. While the Jog Falls are a treat to the eyes, Dandeli is surely an adventure seeker’s paradise. When it comes to food, Karnataka is known for its flavorful Mangalorean and Udupi cuisine and if you’re looking for some exquisites, the famous Mysore silk and sandalwood are definitely worth checking out.
What Are The Best Places To Visit On A 3 Day Trip In And Around Karnataka?
As the capital city of Karnataka, Bangalore is the central and the most convenient hub to move in and around the state. If you’re planning a short 3 day trip to Karnataka, these are some of the best places you could be visiting:
Mysore and Srirangapatna: Located at a distance of around 150 km from Bangalore, you can easily head to Mysore and Srirangapatna to explore the rich cultural and historical heritage of the city. Mysore Palace, Chamundi Hill Temple, Brindavan Gardens, Srirangapatna Fort, and the Balmuri and Edmuri Waterfalls are some popular attractions to look out for in these cities.
Mangalore – Udupi – Dharmasthala: Approximately a seven-hour journey from Bangalore, this is one of the most exciting 3-day trips you could plan around Karnataka. Head on to Mangalore first to soak in the beach waters and enjoy the scenic views. Next, move on to Udupi to enjoy the lip-smacking cuisine of Karnataka, and lastly, head on to Dharmasthala to explore the serene temples and monolithic statues.
Chikmagalur and Kemmangundi: Popularly known as the Coffee Land of Karnataka, Chikmagalur is famous for its calm surroundings, dense forests, and stunning mountains. Located at a distance of around 245 km from Bangalore, these places are a delight for trekking enthusiasts as well as nature lovers.
Which Is The Cleanest City In Karnataka?
As per the latest Swachh Survekshan League-2020 (cleanliness survey), Mysore is considered to be the cleanest city in Karnataka. Not only in the state, but Mysore also ranks among the top cleanest cities in India.
Which Is The Coldest Place In Karnataka?
With temperatures dropping close to 10.1°C, Chamarajanagar is considered to be the coldest place in Karnataka. The small town is located in the vicinity of Mysore and experiences a pleasant climate throughout the year. The average temperature of Karnataka ranges between 28°C to 32°C.
What Languages Do They Speak In Karnataka?
Kannada, English, and Hindi are the main languages spoken in Karntaka.
Which Is The Famous Sweet In Karnataka?
Mysore Pak is one of Karntaka's delicious sweets that you should try out.
What Is The Capital Of Karnataka?
Bangalore, now known as Bengaluru, is the current capital of Karnataka.