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The state of Himachal Pradesh covers a number of destinations and each city offers something unique to travellers. Depending on the time of your visit and your interests, we suggest keeping aside at least five to seven days to explore these beautiful cities which are a huge part of Himachal tourism.
Shimla, fondly known as the ‘Queen of the Hills’ is typically the number one destination in a Himachal Pradesh tourism itinerary. Thronged by tourists every year, it is most popular for the bustling mall road which is home to decade-old shops, new cafes and quaint bakeries selling classic favourites. Shimla is also known for its proximity to a number of lovely picnic spots close to the city. And if you are looking for a quiet holiday, we’d recommend including Kasauli, Sangla Valley, Naldehra and Chail in your Himachal Pradesh trip. Situated on the same highway, these small towns offer relief from the noise of cities and give you an opportunity to spend time amidst nature. Among the best spots to visit in Shimla are Summer Hill, Jakhoo Temple, Christ Church and the Himalayan Bird Park.
A charming hill station located a few hours from Shimla, Chail is best known for the world’s highest cricket ground. Enveloped in untouched beauty, it is the ideal weekend getaway if you are looking for a quiet holiday. Home to the luxurious Chail Palace (which is now a hotel), Chail was once a summer retreat for the kings of Patiala. This peaceful hamlet is a great option if you are looking for a luxurious vacation amidst the beauty of nature.
Dharamshala is a thriving city surrounded by the mighty Dhauladhar ranges, and is another destination which has gained immense popularity in the last couple of decades. A significant contributor to Himachal tourism, it is known primarily as the seat of the Dalai Lama. Located a few kilometres away from Dharamshala is the small town of Mcleodganj. Home to the stunning Namgyal Monastery, Mcleodganj is a small Tibetan colony with homely cafes serving the best momos, vibrant shopping streets selling silver jewellery and an air of excitement one can’t resist. Typically travellers combine the main town of Dharamshala and Mcleodganj in one trip with a majority of activities centred in Mcleodganj. Among the best places to visit in Mcleodganj, you must definitely include Dharamkot, Naddi Village and Triund.
Another favourite among the best places to visit in Himachal Pradesh is the beautiful hill station of Manali. Perhaps the most popular destination in all Himachal Pradesh travel guides, Manali is well-known for its charming landscapes, warm culture and adventure activities. It is also the gateway to the gorgeous Spiti Valley. Among the best places to visit in Manali, you must include Old Manali, Hadimba Temple, Solang Valley and Rohtang Pass. Manali can also be combined with the lesser-known villages of Kasol, Khirganga and Jibhi which have become a retreat for trekkers and nature lovers. A huge part of offbeat Himachal Pradesh tourism, these destinations give travellers an opportunity to explore the beauty of the mountains as well as enjoy local Himachal culture.
The quaint, hilly hamlet of Dalhousie is another must-visit in Himachal Pradesh. Old-world charm, rows of pine trees and verdant fields welcome travellers to this poetic town and if you are a nature lover, you are in for a mesmerising experience. Besides the stunning views, Dalhousie is known for its marvellous Scottish and Victorian architecture and is a delight for history buffs. You must book your Himachal tourism packages for the months of October if you’d like to see this beautiful hamlet in all its glory. We recommend including Satdhara Falls, Dainkund Peak and Panch Pulla in your local sightseeing tour.
Rustic, snow-clad mountains and emerald green lakes – no one can resist the untouched beauty of Spiti. Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh is one of the most attractive and least-explored destinations in the country. Spiti is located at an approximate altitude of 12,500 feet above sea level and this cold-desert is accessible for about six months, as heavy snow cuts it off for the rest of the year. The sparsely populated valley is an adventurer's paradise with umpteen camping sites and treks for one to explore. Spiti is also home to a number of magnificent monasteries such as Dhankar and Tabo which are a treat for spiritual seekers. The best time to visit Spiti is during summer – from March to July. However, it is always advised to check weather and road conditions from the Himachal tourism website before booking your Himachal Pradesh trip.
Fondly known as the Switzerland of India, Khajjiar is located close to Dalhousie. Most popular for its nine-hole golf course and untouched beauty, the small hilly hamlet is slowly gaining popularity among travellers. A huge attraction for nature lovers, Khajjiar is not for you if you enjoy action-packed vacations. Described as a small plateau, the town is home to a few sightseeing spots but its real attraction is the surrounding natural beauty. An ideal spot for a relaxed, family holiday, there are tons of activities to keep children busy including horse-riding, paragliding, boating, trekking and nature walks.
Himachal tourism has slowly gained popularity owing to the increasing number of adventure enthusiasts who visit the state. Well-known for a plethora of trekking trails, Himachal Pradesh tourism has something in store for all adventure buffs. Whether you are just starting out or are a pro – there are numerous trekking trails that you can explore. Some of the best trekking trails which are a part of Himachal tourism are Triund in Mcleodganj, Hampta Pass trek, Chandratal trek, Beas Kund trek and Deo Dibba trek.
River rafting in Himachal Pradesh has gained popularity in the last couple of decades. While it has always been a big part of Himachal tourism, it’s only now that adventure enthusiasts are exploring more avenues for rafting in Himachal Pradesh besides the popular Beas-Aut route. Manali undoubtedly is the best place to experience a tryst with river rafting and if it’s your first time, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the memorable experience. Among other popular places which are slowly becoming favourites for river rafting, River Sutlej in Shimla, Chamera Lake in Dalhousie and River Chandrabhaga in Lahaul stand out for the thrilling experiences they offer.
Himachal tourism has consistently promoted eco-tourism and the efforts are visible at small camping sites in Shimla, Sangla and Kasol. Himachal tourism operators now offer adventure enthusiasts an opportunity to set up camp independently or camp as part of a group – depending on their budget and interests. The most popular spots for camping in Himachal Pradesh are Mashobra, Sangla Valley, Dainkund Peak, Triund and Raison.
The best way to bring back a piece of your travels is through souvenirs and Himachal Pradesh doesn’t disappoint. With a vibrant pahadi culture, the state is known for intriguing crafts, exceptional woodwork and of course handmade woollens. For those who enjoy exploring local markets during their vacation, the cities in Himachal will surprise you. Selling everything from jewellery, apparel, home decor, traditional crafts to jams, juices and pickles – the markets in Mcleodganj, Shimla, Old Manali and Kasauli are a must visit. For authentic Himachali crafts, you must visit the Himachal tourism emporiums in Shimla.
Himachal Pradesh is one of the most visited destinations in India and offers visitors everything they need for a memorable vacation including great accommodation options. Depending on your budget and interests, Himachal tourism offers five-star resorts, traditional homestays, backpacker hostels and camping sites.
Luxury hotels in Himachal Pradesh
Situated amidst surreal beauty, luxury resorts in Himachal Pradesh will add a zing to your vacation. With multi-cuisine restaurants, swimming pools, spas and warm hospitality, resorts in Himachal are everything travellers can wish for. Some of the best luxury resorts in Himachal Pradesh are:
Mid-budget hotels in Himachal Pradesh
Promising stunning views of mountains, efficient service and gorgeous rooms, mid-budget hotels in Himachal Pradesh are the most popular accommodation option for travellers. Some of the most recommended are:
Budget hotels in Himachal Pradesh
If a warm place to stay, delicious food and picturesque landscapes are what you look for in a vacation, Himachal Pradesh doesn't disappoint. Himachal Pradesh tourism has ensured that budget travellers have a comfortable stay during their time in the state. Some of our favourites are:
If you are travelling on a budget, hostels are the best accommodation option! Giving you a chance to interact with fellow travellers and exploring hidden gems, hostels are becoming a huge part of offbeat Himachal tourism. Some of the best hostels in Himachal Pradesh are:
It’s said that food binds people and cultures together and we couldn’t agree more. While Himachal tourism has given rise to a wide variety of restaurants and in turn has brought world-cuisines to the state, the authentic cuisine of Himachal Pradesh is a delight for food lovers.
Owing to the climatic conditions of the state, most of the food is grown through stepfarming and you’ll only be treated to the freshest produce. Here is a list of our favourite local delicacies in Himachal Pradesh:
Dham is a local delicacy prepared using red beans or rajma and it is a big favourite with tourists visiting Himachal Pradesh. Best enjoyed with steamed rice and fried potatoes, you can ask your hotel restaurant to prepare this for you.
Sidu is another delicacy which is prepared using bread with wheat flour and is typically had as a snack with morning and evening tea.
Madra which is a local dish from Chamba has slowly garnered popularity as a roadside snack and you’ll see vendors on Shimla and Manali highways selling this delicious chickpea dish.
For non-vegetarians, we suggest chha gosht, which is a spicy, aromatic local favourite.
Best Places to Eat in Himachal Pradesh
Owing to the popularity of Himachal tourism, there are tons of restaurants in Himachal Pradesh which are a must visit for food lovers. From family-run cafes in Mcleodganj to a decade-old ice-cream parlour on the Ridge in Shimla, the towns of Himachal Pradesh offer a memorable culinary journey. And of course, nothing beats steaming tea at a local dhaba with piping hot aloo paranthas and a stunning view of the mountains – so stop as often as you can during your journey. Among the best restaurants in Himachal, you must try:
The best time to visit any place in Himachal Pradesh is during the summer season. With comfortable day temperatures of 24 degree Celsius and evening temperatures of 15 degree Celsius, you can easily explore the best of Himachal tourism. The months from March to June are ideal if you'd like to try adventure activities such as trekking, camping and river rafting.
July to August usually marks the monsoon season in Himachal and it's best avoided. With frequent landslides and roadblocks, most of the places are inaccessible.
If you’d like to enjoy views of snow-covered mountains, you can visit during winter which typically begins from the month of October. October to March is the ideal time to explore Himachal tourism, especially the cities of Manali, Shimla and Kufri.
Himachal Pradesh welcomes all types of travellers. Whether you are looking for a cost-effective vacation or a luxurious one, the state has it all. With typical day costs ranging between Rs.2,000 to Rs.500, travellers can plan a trip according to their interests and budget.
Luxury travellers can spend up to Rs.15,000 per day in Himachal Pradesh including accommodation, sightseeing, adventure activities and eating out.
For mid-budget travellers, costs can be anywhere between Rs.2500 to Rs.5000 depending on the accommodation, time of visit and activities.
Himachal tourism has made it extremely convenient for budget travellers to enjoy a hassle-free trip to Himachal Pradesh. With per day costs as low as Rs.300 to Rs 1000, travellers can explore the beauty of the mountains without making a dent in their budget.
In an effort to conserve the environment and minimise noise pollution, Himachal tourism has a strict ‘no-vehicle’ rule in most areas. This rule is quite strict in Shimla and Manali and you will hardly see any vehicles in market areas.
In Dharamshala, the traffic police are stern about parking spaces and commercial vehicles have a separate spot reserved for parking. So the best way to travel within the city is on foot! If you have always wondered why locals in the mountains are so fit, this is their secret. They walk to most places and for long distances; public transport is also easily available.
If you’d like to explore local markets and your hotel isn’t too far, we suggest walking. However, if you are staying a little further from the main areas, you can request your hotel to arrange for a private taxi to drop you near the market.
For interstate travel, Himachal tourism buses ply frequently and follow a strict schedule.