Natural beauty, spirituality, adventure and peace – Uttarakhand has all the ingredients of a perfect holiday. Whether you are a solo traveller exploring the Himalayas, an adventure enthusiast looking for your next journey or a spiritual seeker on the hunt for alpine bliss – the state welcomes everyone with open arms.
There are a number of places to visit in Uttarakhand so it's best to carefully plan your itinerary lest you miss out on some gorgeous spots. The most important thing to remember when planning your places to visit in Uttarakhand itinerary is the time of your visit. Monsoons are best avoided unless you are visiting the Valley of Flowers while summer is the best season for family vacations.
Nainital is centred around the gorgeous Naini Lake. Promising the classic hill station vibe, Nainital is a permanent feature in most places to visit in Uttarakhand itineraries. Complete with shopping options, welcoming cafes, adventure activities, trekking sites and religious spots, the hilly hamlet is counted among the top places to visit in Uttarakhand.
Depending on your travel interests and budget, we recommend spending anywhere between two and five days here. If you intend to cover destinations nearby in your places to visit in Uttarakhand itinerary, you can also extend your trip.
The most popular activity here is boating in Naini Lake. Promising mesmerising views and enthralling conversations, a boat ride in Nainital is a must. To make the most of the ride, we recommend scheduling your boat ride in the evening. The views of the setting sun against the backdrop of craggy mountains are awe-inspiring.
Besides boating in Naini Lake, Mall Road, the Tibetan Market and nearby attractions will keep you occupied. Among the top attractions in Nainital, we recommend visiting the Naina Devi Temple, the Eco Garden Caves, and the Tiffin Top and Snow View Point. There are numerous hiking trails around the city which you can consider adding to your Nainital itinerary.
On the other hand, if you are interested in adding nearby towns in your places to visit in Uttarakhand itinerary, our top suggestions are Mukteshwar, Bhimtal, Naukuchiatal and Sattal.
Cost: Including a trip to Nainital in your places to visit in Uttarakhand itinerary will cost you between Rs.5000 and Rs.20,000 depending on the duration of your trip.
Promising an enviable mix of spirituality, adventure, yoga and natural beauty – Rishikesh is among the most beautiful places to visit in Uttarakhand. Home to many health and meditation resorts, the town sees visitors from across the world. Dubbed the yoga capital of India, Rishikesh is home to numerous ashrams which offer yoga and meditation retreats as well as professional courses for yoga enthusiasts.
Over the years, Rishikesh has undergone a massive transformation which can be seen through its bustling markets, quirky cafes, small boutiques and luxury resorts. Home to ancient temples, it is the ideal place to head to if you are looking for a spiritual retreat amidst natural beauty.
If you are looking for a break from the monotony of everyday life, you can head to Rishikesh for surreal views and an action-packed itinerary. Counted among the most popular places in India for whitewater river rafting, Rishikesh offers adventure enthusiasts a surreal experience. Depending on your skills and interests, you can choose river rafting excursions on the Ganga River. You can either opt for a short 6-kilometre excursion or take the plunge with a 24-kilometre excursion. Taking you through grade 2 and grade-4 rapids, a rafting excursion in Rishikesh is an experience worth bookmarking!
Bungee jumping, ziplining, trekking and rappelling are other adventure activities that Rishikesh offers enthusiasts. Since Rishikesh is popular with adventure enthusiasts, we recommend booking in advance if you want to include these activities in your itinerary.
The spiritual town is also the starting point for many popular treks in the region. It’s a preferred stop before long excursions owing to its warm culture, delicious food and peaceful vibe. The chants of mantras, the fragrance of incense sticks and the melodious sound of the River Ganga come together to give you a memorable experience. The International Yoga Festival which is held every year in March is another attraction that shouldn’t be missed. Witnessing participation from across the world, the festival celebrates the ancient practice and recognises its importance in modern life.
If you have sufficient time, you can also include a one-day visit to Haridwar in your places to visit in Uttarakhand itinerary.
Cost: A trip to Rishikesh in your places to visit in Uttarakhand itinerary will cost you between Rs.7000 and Rs.20,000 depending on the number of days and the inclusions.
Located at the foothills of the Himalayas, Dehradun makes it to the list of places to visit in Uttarakhand owing to its warm culture, pleasant climate and array of tourist attractions. Over the years, Dehradun has witnessed tremendous growth and development that has given rise to numerous luxury properties, cafes and restaurants.
Dehradun also draws tourists owing to its proximity to the hilly hamlet of Mussoorie. If you have sufficient time in your places to visit in Uttarakhand itinerary, you can include a one-day visit to the gorgeous hill station of Mussoorie. If you intend to spend time only in Dehradun, you can expect an action-packed itinerary with natural tourist attractions including Robber’s Cave, Mindrolling Monastery, Sahastradhara and Har ki Dun.
The capital city is counted among the top places to visit in Uttarakhand, especially if you are travelling with family. Promising serenity and natural beauty along with the comforts that the city offers, Dehradun is an ideal destination for a fun-filled family vacation. Besides nearby tourist attractions, we also recommend a visit to the local Paltan Bazaar. Situated close to the Clock Tower, the market offers an array of things including handicrafts, souvenirs, apparel, food items and Tibetan handicrafts.
If you are travelling with little ones, you can also include a visit to Malsi Deer Park and the Rajaji Tiger Reserve in your places to visit in Uttarakhand itinerary. The park is a wildlife reserve where you can witness numerous species of deer including nilgai and two-horned deer. The Rajaji Tiger Reserve is popular for its population of elephants. With as many as 600 elephants, the reserve is also home to 250 leopards. Covering districts Haridwar, Pauri Garhwal and Dehradun, the national reserve is the second largest national park in Uttarakhand after Jim Corbett.
Cost: Including Dehradun in your places to visit in Uttarakhand itinerary will cost you anywhere between Rs.10,000 and Rs.25,000 depending on the duration of your trip and the number of people.
Lush, verdant meadows, snow-covered peaks and an absence of busy markets and restaurants make Kausani one of the most peaceful tourist attractions in Uttarakhand. Among the lesser-known places to visit in Uttarakhand, Kausani is gradually gaining importance amongst trekkers and couples.
Kausani is away from the hustle and bustle of hill stations and is located 51 kilometres from Almora. Promising mesmerising views of Trishul, Panchuli and Nanda Devi peaks, Kausani is known for its picture-perfect sunsets and sunrises. If you are expecting a busy, action-packed itinerary, we would recommend discounting Kausani from your places to visit in Uttarakhand itinerary.
Earlier known as Valna, Kausani has often been referred to as the ‘Scotland of the East’ and is a getaway to many Himalayan treks including the Bageshwar-Sunderdhunga trek, the Pinnath trek and the Adi Kailash trek. It’s important to remember that most of the treks which begin from Kausani are expert level and are not recommended for beginners. For your Kausani itinerary, we recommend including a trip to Kausani Tea Estate, Rudradhari Falls and Caves, Gwaldham and Baijnath Temple.
There aren’t too many hotels and resorts in Kausani but the guesthouses here offer an authentic pahadi experience complete with local dishes and warm smiles.
Cost: Kausani is an ideal destination to include in your places to visit in Uttarakhand itinerary and will cost you between Rs.15,000 and Rs.30,000.
Located 30 kilometres from Nainital, Naukuchiatal should feature in your places to visit in Uttarakhand itinerary if you are looking for adventure and natural beauty. Naukuchiatal is a peaceful town and sees fewer tourists than its counterpart, Nainital.
Home to boutique resorts, quaint homestays and luxury hotels, it's the perfect getaway for those seeking opulent comfort. Paragliding, camping and trekking in Naukuchiatal are crowd pullers and should be a part of your itinerary if you are looking for adventure. There are many tour operators in the main bazaar who organise adventure tours depending on your interests. Paragliding is a seasonal sport and doesn't take place during winter.
If you plan to include Naukuchiatal in your places to visit in Uttarakhand itinerary, we recommend planning ahead and booking your accommodation in advance. Bhimtal and Sattal are nearby attractions which can also feature in your places to visit in Uttarakhand itinerary if you so wish.
Cost: Including a trip to Naukuchiatal in your places to visit in Uttarakhand itinerary will cost you between Rs.15,000 and Rs.25,000.
The quaint little town of Mukteshwar is a picture-perfect hill station. The approach to the town is through narrow winding lanes with rows of majestic orchards on all sides. Dotted with numerous trekking trails and historical temples – Mukteshwar is gradually becoming one of the most popular places to visit in Uttarakhand.
Mukteshwar is located around 50 kilometres from Nainital and is fast becoming an alternate destination to Nainital. The most popular attraction in Mukteshwar is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Dating back three centuries, the temple known as Mukteshwar Dham lent its name to this beautiful hill town. According to legend, Lord Shiva slew a demon here and granted him salvation or mukti.
Apart from the numerous orchards and trekking trails, the town has a number of old colonial-style cottages. For adventure lovers, there are activities such as rock climbing and rappelling that make this town a joy to explore.
Travellers can enjoy views of rolling meadows and snow-covered peaks like Nanda Devi, Trishul and Panchauli. Apart from enjoying the peace and tranquillity in Mukteshwar, you can also include a tour of nearby towns in your places to visit in Uttarakhand itinerary. Some popular places to visit are Sitla, Chauli Ki Jali and Bhalu Ghad Falls.
The best time to visit Mukteshwar is between October and June when one can enjoy both the winter and spring seasons in this picturesque hill station. There are a number of good hotels and resorts in the area, offering comfortable accommodation to travellers. The nearest railway station from Mukteshwar is Kathgodam that is 60 kilometres away from Mukteshwar and Pantnagar is the closest airport, located around 98 kilometres away. From both the railway station and the airport, cabs can be hired to reach Mukteshwar.
Cost: Including Mukteshwar in your places to visit in Uttarakhand itinerary will cost you between Rs.20,000 and Rs.35,000.
If your idea of a perfect vacation is untouched natural beauty then Auli should certainly feature in your places to visit in Uttarakhand itinerary. Among the few places in India where you can enjoy a memorable skiing trip, Auli is a haven for skiing enthusiasts and nature lovers.
An escape from the crowded hill stations, Auli serves as a getaway to many popular treks and you’ll see a number of trekkers taking a break here. In fact, the famous Valley of Flowers trek begins here and most travellers combine the two experiences on one trip. A lesser-known destination in Uttarakhand, Auli promises gorgeous views of Mana Parvat, Nanda Devi and Kamat Kamet.
The small town sees maximum tourists during winter owing to exciting skiing opportunities. However, if you want to experience the joys of mountain life, we recommend heading here during summer. The orchards are in full bloom and there is greenery as far as the eyes can see. Depending on your budget, you can plan nature walks, short trekking tours and tours of apple orchards.
Another attraction that draws tourists to Auli is the highest and longest cable car in Asia. Covering a distance of 4 kilometres, the ride offers mesmerising views of the mountains. The ride is slightly expensive and can set you back by Rs.1000 so it’s best to plan your trip accordingly if you want to include Auli in your places to visit in Uttarakhand itinerary.
Cost: If you want to include Auli in your places to visit in Uttarakhand itinerary, be prepared to keep aside between Rs.20,000 and Rs.50,000 depending on the duration of your trip.
If you are looking for a lesser-known spot to include in your places to visit in Uttarakhand itinerary, we recommend the picturesque town of Binsar. Enveloped by thick forests and offering views of snow-peak mountains, Binsar is best known for the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary.
Visited by wildlife enthusiasts, trekkers and photographers, the hilly hamlet is unlike most hill stations in India. Home to lush meadows, vibrant gardens and the ancient Kasar Devi and Bineshwar Mahadev temples, Binsar is a must include in your places to visit in Uttarakhand itinerary if you are a nature lover.
The Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary is a well-known tourist destination in Uttarakhand and will take up most of your daylight hours. If you truly want to explore the sanctuary, we suggest keeping aside two days in your places to visit in Uttarakhand itinerary.
Binsar is also well-known for Zero Point. The highest point in the sanctuary, it offers uninterrupted views of Nanda Devi, Shivling, Trishul and Kedarnath. The 360-degree panoramic views are unlike any other that you'll spot in the region and shouldn't be missed. You will need to tackle a 2-kilometre trek to reach Zero Point so be sure to carry your trekking shoes. Zero Point is also a popular spot if you want to admire the sunset.
While you can explore the sanctuary on your own, we recommend booking a guided tour to make the most of your trip. You can also book the guesthouse located within the sanctuary for an authentic experience. The guesthouse is located close to Zero Point and offers breathtaking views of the valley. At the same time, if you are looking for luxurious properties, you can book your stay at the Binsar Retreat, Mary Budden Estate or Grand Oak Manor.
Cost: Including Binsar in your places to visit in Uttarakhand itinerary will set you back by approximately Rs.25,000.
Written by Kirat Sodhi. She is a proud mom of three cats and lives for lemon tea, a good book and spontaneous travel plans.
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