Karnataka Tourism and Travel Guide

The tagline used by the Government of Karnataka for Karnataka tourism aptly describes this marvellous state: "One State. Many worlds." Karnataka is not just a state, but a region with diverse landscapes that offer an unparalleled experience. The topography of Karnataka is marked by lush green forests, gurgling waterfalls and astonishing skyscrapers - reflecting the urban development taking place alongside nature. Take a stroll across the coastline of Karnataka with sand under your feet and the cool breezes nipping your cheeks. Offer your prayers at the splendid temples of Karnataka, and indulge in the free-spiritedness of its villages. Experience the contemporary metamorphosis in Bangalore, the thriving capital of Karnataka. Escape to Hampi, which is home to ancient ruins and temples or witness the splendour of Mysore Palace. You can also include various natural destinations in your Karnataka tourism itinerary such as the sandy beaches of Gokarn and the cloud-shaped hills of Madikeri. You can also acquaint yourself with the ever-expanding wildlife of Karnataka at Nagarhole National Park and Mudumalai National Park. The lush green vistas of Kodagu, Chikmagalur and Nandi Hills also mesmerise travellers and are among the top tourist places in Karnataka. Karnataka tourism is all about travelling back in time. You can explore the ancient caves of Badami, intricate architecture of Belur and the age-old temples of Aihole. Besides sightseeing options, there are a plethora of activities that have boosted Karnataka tourism. You can enjoy rafting on the gushing waters of Dandeli, an activity that offers the perfect balance of nature and adventure. Tourists can also trek to the lush green hills of Coorg and paraglide from the magnificent Nandi Hills. You can also include other outdoor activities in your Karnataka tourism trip such as sky diving in Mysore and camping at Sakleshpur. Karnataka offers a wide variety of activities, ranging from extreme sports to relaxing activities. Karnataka will definitely offer a rollercoaster ride to you while gratifying your senses and fulfilling your wanderlust soul. Check out Tripoto’s Karnataka travel guide for more information on Karnataka tourism.
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Best Luxury Hotels In Karnataka

Sample the lifestyle of the rich and the famous while sipping on champagne and savouring coastal food at some of the most luxurious hotels in Karnataka. Here are Tripoto's top picks.

Best Mid-Range Hotels In Karnataka

If you're looking to witness the magic of Karnataka without burning a hole in your pocket, Tripoto's list of the best mid-range hotels will come in handy while booking your next stay

Best Budget Hotels In Karnataka

If you believe Karnataka is an expensive place for a vacation, Tripoto's list of the best budget hotels will definitely change your mind.

Best Hostels In Karnataka

Backpacking through Karnataka's varied terrain just got easier. From Murudeshwar to Coorg, here's Tripoto's guide of the most interesting hostels with characterful dorms, great crowd and delicious food in the state. 

Best Homestays in Karnataka

Homestays are the perfect way to gain insight into the local culture of a place. It is lodging with a personal touch that makes your holiday all the more special. Feel at home in Karnataka with our top homestay picks.

Best Time to Visit Karnataka

Although you can embark on a Karnataka tourism trip at any time of the year, the best time to visit Karnataka as per our Karnataka travel guide is during the winter season from October to March. During this time of the year, the temperature ranges from 20 to 33 degrees Celsius, making it the perfect time to explore the state and visit its popular destinations. This is the ideal time to visit the beach towns due to less humidity. Karnataka tourism is also boosted by the colourful festivals of Karnataka such as the Hampi Festival, Mysuru Dasara, Pongal and Makar Sankranti, making it the apt time for visiting the state and witnessing its culture.

Summers can also be a good time for Karnataka tourism, as that's when you can explore its wonderful hill stations such as Coorg, Chikmagalur and Sakleshpur. At these destinations, the temperature never goes beyond 30 degrees Celsius during summers, making it the ideal time for outdoor activities such as trekking and camping. From July to September, the state experiences heavy rainfall and humidity. But monsoon is the ideal season to witness the glory of the Western Ghats, as the hills get covered under the fog. But it is suggested that you should not visit the waterfalls of Karnataka during monsoon.

Top Attractions Of Karnataka Tourism

From cities and hill stations to villages and beaches, Karnataka tourism offers diverse landscapes. Here are some of the top attractions in Karnataka included in our Karnataka travel guide:

 

Bangalore

The IT hub of the country, Bangalore offers plenty of architectural wonders and scenic destinations to tourists. You can include Cubbon Park in your Karnataka tourism itinerary, which is home to a wide variety of flora and is located at the centre of Bangalore. Take a stroll across the park enjoying the chirpings of different species of birds and witness the verdant canopies decorating this landmark. Travellers can also explore Vidhana Soudha on their Karnataka tourism trip, as the monument is known for its Mysore Neo-Dravidian architectural style. 

 

A monument that puts every spectator in awe is the magnificent Bangalore Palace reminiscent of London's Windsor Castle. Drawing its inspiration from the Scottish Gothic architecture, the Bangalore Palace would certainly captivate your senses and make you feel like royalty, making it one of the most popular tourist places in Karnataka. This multifaceted palace is known for being a popular space for marriages and cultural events. Many outdoor concerts also take place here. And Fun World Amusement Park is just a stone's throw away from the palace. You should definitely visit the grand Mysore Palace on your Karnataka tourism trip.

 

You can include the Lalbagh Botanical Garden in your Karnataka tourism itinerary. Here, flower shows take place on Independence Day and Republic Day. The glasshouse inside the garden gets illuminated in the evening, offering a captivating spectacle to the visitors. Your trip to Bangalore is incomplete without visiting the breathtakingly beautiful Nandi Hills which is among the most popular top tourist places in Karnataka. It is situated at a distance of around 62 km from Bangalore. It is suggested that you should visit the hills early in the morning when the hills are surrounded by a thick blanket of clouds, offering a mesmerising view.

 

Mysore

Another city that has boosted Karnataka tourism is Mysore, which is also considered to be the city of palaces. One of the major attractions of this city is the impressive Mysore Palace, belonging to the Wadiyar Dynasty. The temple is known for its intricate Indo-Saracenic architectural style and houses two darbar halls, expansive courtyards, and lush green gardens. The palace turns into a golden wonderland during festivals, especially Dussehra when a Parade March takes place, and even the royal family becomes a part of the celebrations at the Mysore Palace. Another popular activity at Mysore Palace is its sound and light show that takes place every day except on Sundays. You can include a visit to Mysore Palace in your Karnataka tourism itinerary to acquaint yourself with the royal lifestyle of Mysore.

 

Another famous tourist attraction in Mysore that should be included in your Karnataka tourism itinerary is the stunning Sri Chamundeshwari Devi Temple. Counted among the 18 Maha Shakti Peethas, the temple holds enormous significance among Hindu devotees. The original temple dates back to the 12th century, with murals and paintings adorning its walls. You can also explore Mysore Zoo, which is home to a wide variety of animals. Here, you can spot Indian elephants, leopards, lions, and even white tigers. Other popular tourist spots in Mysore include Brindavan Gardens and Karanji Lake.

Hampi

Your Karnataka tourism trip is incomplete without visiting Hampi, which is a Unesco World Heritage Site considered to be a small paradise for free-spirited travellers. It is home to ancient ruins, impressive architecture and craggy hills. Hampi is also home to some ancient temples belonging to the  Vijayanagar Empire. One of the most popular temples of Hampi is the 7th-century Virupaksha Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. It drew its inspiration from Nagra style and Dravidian Vimana Shaili style of architecture. There are plenty of other temples in Hampi that can be included in your Karnataka tourism itinerary such as Hemakuta Hill Temple, Achyutaraya Temple, Vijaya Vitthala Temple and Sri Krishna Temple, which are all known for their intricate structures and historical significance. 

 

Explore other tourist attractions on your Karnataka tourism trip such as Hampi Archeological Ruins, a museum that houses ancient relics and the remains of the 14th-century city. You can also visit the bustling Hampi Bazaar Street from where you can shop for souvenirs. The jagged Matanga Hill is also a famous spot in Hampi, as visitors can enjoy some heavenly sunrise and sunset views from here. In fact, you can enjoy the best views of Hampi from the top of Matanga Hill.  

 

Murudeshwar

Murudeshwar is among the most popular tourist places in Karnataka, and it should be included in your Karnataka tourism itinerary. It is home to a 123-feet high statue of Shiva which is also considered to be the world's second-tallest Shiva statue. Located atop Kanduka Hill, you can enjoy the views of the serene Arabian Sea surrounding the statue. Besides such scenic views and tranquil atmosphere, the place will definitely evoke a sense of spirituality within visitors. Also, pay a visit to the splendid Murudeshwar Temple on your Karnataka tourism trip. The 20-storeyed gopura or tower reflects its Dravidian style of architecture. You can also find various intricate statues on the premises depicting some significant scenes from the Hindu mythology. 

 

Karnataka tourism is not just about monuments and temples. If you enjoy escaping to a nature-based destination, then visiting Netrani Island near Murudeshwar will satisfy your senses. The island offers the views of the vast Arabian Sea that makes up the perfect backdrop as you take a stroll across the shore or enjoy a picnic with your loved ones. The explosion of colours during the sunset also mesmerises the spectators, as the consistent rise and fall of the waves offers serenity to the visitors. You can also enjoy an exhilarating boat ride in the sea. Adventure sports have given a major boost to Karnataka tourism, and you can try out scuba diving in the azure waters of Netrani Island. 

 

Coorg

Nestled in the lap of the Western Ghats, Coorg is rightly called the ‘Scotland of India’. Also known as Kodagu, Coorg is dotted with lush green hills, splendid temples, gushing waterfalls and vast valleys. Include Coorg in your Karnataka tourism itinerary to explore meandering trails and rejuvenate yourself at its coffee plantations. You can include a visit to Raja’s Seat in your Karnataka tourism itinerary. It is a seasonal garden that offers picturesque views of the beautiful Madikeri Valley. Raja's Seat offers the views of the high- and low-rise hills of Madikeri, and tourists can also enjoy stunning sunset views. 

 

You can also visit Omkareshwara Temple on your Karnataka tourism trip. It offers the perfect blend of Gothic and Islamic styles of architecture. Another sacred spot to visit in Coorg is Namdroling Monastery, which is known for its Tibetan architecture and ancient murals. You can also include Coorg's natural destinations in your Karnataka tourism itinerary. Explore the winding trails and thick forests of Kopatty Hills on your Karnataka tourism trip and enjoy the vast stream of fresh river water at Abbey Falls. Travellers can also enjoy river rafting in the Barapole River and hike to Tadiandamol. Iruppu Falls also offers the perfect picnic spot, as you can enjoy the views of verdant hills and thick forests surrounding the falls.

Activities And Things to Do In Karnataka

Karnataka tourism offers a plethora of breathtaking adventure activities, allowing you to fulfil your desire of embarking on a daring escapade and living your life to the fullest. Here are some of the activities included in our Karnataka travel guide:

 

Paragliding from Nandi Hills

No other activity is as capable of pumping up your blood and offering an adrenaline rush than paragliding. But imagine flying over a thick blanket of clouds – that’s what paragliding from Nandi Hills feels like. You can try out tandem paragliding on your Karnataka tourism trip, and enjoy the experience of floating in the air while the cool wind nip your cheeks. You can catch the views of the lush green Nandi Hills while flying in  the air, and witness the vast fields and little houses huddled together like little toys. Nandi Hills is elevated at a height of 1500 m above sea level, and you have to cover around 1200 steps before reaching the takeoff field. The activity can cost you anywhere between ₹3,000 to ₹15,000, depending on the type and duration of your flight.

 

Trekking in Coorg

Coorg offers the perfect blend of adventure and nature. You can include treks to various destinations such as Kopatty Hills and Tadiandamol on your Karnataka tourism itinerary and find lush green meadows covered under thick blankets of mist. You can also embark on a trek to the splendid Brahmagiri Hills that offer magnificent views of gurgling waterfalls, emerald hills and valleys.

 

Wildlife Safari at Bandipur National Park
Karnataka is packed with a wide variety of activities that can make your Karnataka tourism trip more enthralling. An outdoor activity that can be both insightful and exciting is a wildlife safari. Karnataka serves as one of the best states to behold a wide variety of species such as elephants, leopards and wild boars. Include Bandipur National Park in your Karnataka tourism itinerary. The destination never disappoints its visitors in terms of facilities and safety provided while offering an insightful experience in close proximity to wildlife. It is also known to be the shelter for Asiatic wild elephants. Spread across a vast area of 874 square km, you can find a diverse range of species such as tigers, four-horned antelopes and sloth bears roaming freely in the well-maintained deciduous forest. Visitors can also enjoy the hypnotizing views of the Western Ghats and Deccan Plateau here.  Services of both a bus safari and a jeep safari are available at Bandipur National Park that will cost you around ₹75 per head and ₹300 per head respectively. The entry fee to Bandipur National Park for Indian citizens is ₹300.

 

River rafting in Bheemeshwari

While Rishikesh is the perfect destination for river rafting in North India, Bheemeshwari holds the crown for offering the best river rafting experience in South India. Include Bheemeshwari in your Karnataka tourism itinerary and experience unparalleled thrill while river rafting in the gushing waters of the Cauvery River. This 8km-long route is challenging, and offers the right amount of adrenaline rush to adventure seekers. The river rafting adventure lasts for about 3 hours, and can cost you around ₹600 to ₹1,000. The best time to river raft in Bheemeshwari is between November and February.

Cafe hopping in Bangalore

Banglore, also called the Silicon Valley of India, has rightfully earned its name. But this IT hub not only offers unparalleled living conditions and ample of job opportunities but is also known for its happening nightlife and a hip cafe culture. These cafes’ have extensive menus that not only include the most trendy dishes but also offers authentic South Indian cuisine that will definitely tickle your taste buds. Depending on your mood and purpose, you can either put on a fancy dress and head to an affluent cafe or wear loose pyjamas and chill at a laidback cafe. Include a visit to cafes such as Dyu Art Cafe, Om Made Cafe and The Hole In The Wall Cafe in your Karnataka tourism itinerary.

 

Sky diving in Mysore
You don’t have to splurge and travel to an exotic location such as Costa Brava in Spain to relive the skydiving scene from ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ with your friends. You can enjoy an exhilarating skydiving experience in Mysore on your Karnataka tourism trip. Skydiving Tandem Jump allows you to enjoy the thrill of skydiving with the proper guidance of an instructor, but solo jumps are also allowed after acquiring 8 AFFs. Proper training is given to the participant for making the 10,000 feet high jump. The clear skies of Mysore make the experience of sailing through the wind an unforgettable one. It can cost you anywhere from ₹30,000 to ₹40,000. You are required to meet certain health criteria before undertaking this adventure of a lifetime.


Camping in Dandeli
Instead of staying inside a hotel room, if you are seeking to step out of your comfort zone, then camping at Dandeli on your Karnataka tourism trip would offer the right amount of challenge for you. Camp amidst the thick jungle of Dandeli and enjoy a close proximity to nature. The experience not only offers immense serenity, but you can also witness a visual spectacle as a thick blanket of stars expand in the sky during the night. You can camp at Dandeli with your friends and enjoy a bonfire, accompanied by live music and interesting stories. You can also try out other outdoor activities such as ziplining, zorbing, archery and kayaking while camping at Dandeli. This experience will cost you around ₹2000.



Where to Stay In Karnataka

Luxury hotels in Karnataka
On you Karnataka tourism trip, you can choose to stay at the luxurious hotels of the state where you can enjoy a unique blend of affluent lifestyle and traditional experience. Some of the best luxury hotels included in our Karnataka travel guide are:

  • Taj MG Road, Bangalore
  • Taj Madikeri Resort and Spa, Coorg
  • Evolve Back Hotel, Coorg
  • The Leela Palace, Bangalore
  • The Oterra Hotel, Bangalore


Mid-budget hotels in Karnataka
You can choose accommodation options on your Karnataka tourism trip which are not only easy on pockets but also offer all the amenities required for a comfortable experience. Some of the best mid-budget hotels included in our Karnataka travel guide are:

  • Shanthi Guest House, Hampi
  • Holiday Inn Express, Bangalore
  • Ibis, Bangalore
  • Hotel Ruchi The Prince, Mysore

 

Budget hotels in Karnataka
If you want to keep the cost low and travel on a shoestring budget, you can find plenty of accommodation options in our Karnataka travel guide. Here are some of the best budget hotels for your Karnataka tourism trip:

  • Hotel Surya Residency, Bangalore
  • Hotel Sringeri Residency, Sringeri
  • Karavali Paradise, Bangalore
  • Hotel Satkar, Belgaum
  • Hotel Grand Suites, Bangalore

Cuisine And Best Places To Eat

A wide variety of dishes has given a boost to the Karnataka tourism. While the dishes prepared in Northern Karnataka mostly include seafood, the meals prepared in South Karnataka include rice and ragi. You can try out different kinds of Karnataka-style dosas such as neer dosa, Mysore masala dosa and sorekai dosa. Vegetarians can enjoy dishes such as allugedda, bisi bele bath and Udupi sambar. On the other hand, non-vegetarians can enjoy korri gassi, kundapura koli saaru and  Coorg pandi curry. Other popular dishes that you can try on your Karnataka tourism trip are huli, tovve and sopinna saru.

How To Travel In Karnataka

You can either plan a Karnataka tourism trip on your own or choose a tour operator package considering your budget and duration. You can find cab services within the state, but it is suggested that you should know the rates of taxis beforehand. For a hassle-free and safe Karnataka tourism trip, you can also choose to travel in KSRTC buses.

Typical Costs In Karnataka

As per our Karnataka travel guide, Karnataka tour can cost you anywhere from ₹8,000 to ₹17,000 for 3 to 5 days. Luxury travel can cost you at least ₹2,000 per day while if you want to travel on a limited budget, you can manage in ₹500 per day. Means of transport and accommodation options in Karnataka play a major role in determining the cost of your trip.

FAQs

Which are the best tourist spots in Karnataka that should be included in your Karnataka tourism itinerary?

You can have a contemporary vacation in Bangalore, which is packed with hip cafes and cool restaurants, offering a happening nightlife and a wide variety of cuisine to enjoy. If you'd like to explore the splendid temples in the state on your Karnataka tourism trip, you can visit places like Murdeshwar, which is home to the world's second-tallest statue of Lord Shiva or explore the Chennakeshava Temple in Belur, which is among the most popular tourist spots in Karnataka. If you'd like to explore some natural landscapes on your Karnataka tourism trip, head to  the serene beaches of Gokarn, the verdant vistas of Dandeli and the hilly terrain of Kudurekuha Jamly. You can also get acquainted with the wildlife of Karnataka at Bandipur Tiger Reserve and Nagarhole National Park. 

 

Which is the best month to plan for Karnataka tourism? 

The best time for a Karnataka tourism trip is from October to March. The summers can be hot from between April and June, as the temperature can go as high as 40 degrees Celsius. Although, it is a good time to explore the hill stations of Karnataka as the weather is moderate in the hills and the cool breezes make the weather pleasurable. Karnataka turns into a wonderland during the monsoon, as the region is covered under thick fog and frequent showers rejuvenate the ambience. The weather starts turning cold from October and remains enjoyable till March. 

 

What are the accommodation options in Karnataka?

Depending on your budget, you can find a wide variety of hotels on your Karnataka tourism trip. If you would like to splurge, you can stay at 5-star hotels such as Akshaya Aura Hotel in Bangalore, Evolve Back in Hampi and Taj Madikeri Resort & Spa in Coorg. If you would like to stay at budget hotels and keep the cost of your Karnataka tourism trip low, you can choose RNS Residency in Murdeshwar or Adyar Ananda Bhavan Hotel in Bangalore. You can also enjoy hostel vibes in Karnataka at hostels such as Zostel and The Journey Hotels in Bangalore and Trippr in Gokarna.

 

What kind of activities can be enjoyed on a Karnataka tourism trip?

Besides sightseeing, you can enjoy a wide variety of activities on your Karnataka tourism trip such as white-water rafting in Dandeli and parasailing over the blue waters of Murdweshwar. You can also enjoy outdoor activities such as trekking in Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary and camping amidst the lush green hills of Coorg. You can also try out extreme sports such as bungee jumping in Bangalore. You can also include a wildlife safari at Nagarhole National Park in your Karnataka tourism itinerary. You can also enjoy other activities such as kayaking in Bheemeshwari and rock climbing in Ramanagara.

 

Name some of the must-try dishes in Karnataka.
Karnataka is known for its lip-smacking south Indian cuisine. Vegetarians can enjoy the wide variety of dosas such as neer dosa and Mysore masala dosa. You can also try out other vegetarian options such as bisi bele bhath, maddur vada and tatte idli. Non-vegetarians can also enjoy a huge range of dishes such as korri gassi, which is a type of chicken curry and other items such as kundapura koli saaru and jolada rotti. In sweet dishes, you can try out Mysore pak and dharwad peda.

 

What is the approximate budget for Karnataka tourism?

Depending on your budget and duration, your Karnataka tourism trip can cost you anywhere from ₹1000 to ₹3,000 per day. 

 

What should be the duration of an ideal Karnataka tourism itinerary?

For a Karnataka tourism trip, you will need at least 7 to 10 days in order to explore all the major cities and villages of Karnataka. 

 

How to reach Karnataka?

Karnataka is well connected to the major cities of India via roadways, giving a major boost to Karnataka tourism. You can also travel to Karnataka via airways and railways. You can take a flight to Karnataka to Mangalore International Airport and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited Airport. You can also reach Karnataka via railways, and travel within the state through the extensive rail network. And you can also reach Karnataka via cabs. KSRTC bus services are also available for travelling from one city to another.

Suggest three tips for planning a Karnataka trip.

While making a Karnataka tourism itinerary, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. While travelling to Karnataka in summers, pack cotton clothes and carry plenty of water to avoid dehydration. 
  2. Book your hotels beforehand, especially during the peak season.
  3. Get some idea about the transportation charges from the internet and other resources to save money.

Are their ATMs all across Karnataka? Do digital payments work? 

Yes, ATMs are available in all the major cities of Karnataka. Bangalore is the most digitised state, topping the list of the cities where digital payments are the norm.