This Karnataka Travel Guide with tips on how to travel there, best time to travel and top places to see in Karnataka is all you need to know.
Karnataka is one of those rare Indian states where you will find something for everyone – from historical palaces to wildlife centuries to ancient ruins.
At its nerve centre, lies the city of Bangalore that is India’s IT hub, and my favorite metro town in India. In its south, lies the much beautiful coastal line and hill districts. In its east, lies the gorgeous Western Ghats – home to world’s finest coffee and spices.
Karnataka Travel Guide
Throughout all my south India travels, I have travelled to two destinations the most: Kerala (read my Kerala Travel Guide) and Karnataka. Though to many visitors, the two places may seem similar, in reality, they are very different. From natural beauty to local culture, differences are prominent.
If you will ask me, I will suggest a minimum one week trip to cover some of the top tourist places in Karnataka. Yet, you cannot see it all in a single trip as the state is quite big.
We will talk about the top places to see in Karnataka down below but let’s first start with a few useful tips:
Karnataka is one of the safest states in India people are very liberal in nature. It is very safe for domestic & foreign tourists as well as single women to visit the state.
- Train journeys in Karnataka are mesmerizing. Don’t miss a chance if you get to try one.
- There are many temples to explore in Karnataka For general practice, never visit a temple without having your shoulders or knees covered.
- People in Karnataka are quite religious. Be a little watchful while visiting local families or religious institutions.
- Karnataka is one of the safest Indian places for Solo Female travellers.
- The three major mobile networks: Airtel, BSNL and Jio.
- Bangalore is the capital town of Karnataka. It is also the hub of all transport.
These were a few travel tips. Now let’s discuss in this Karnataka travel guide some of my favorite tourist destinations.
Top Places To See In Karnataka
Located in the Kodagu District itself, Bylakuppe is popular for its Tibetan population. You can call it the Dharamshala of the south, without the Himalayas. The town has south India’s biggest monastery and accommodates the highest number of Tibetan refugees in India, after Dharamshala.
Read more about it in this blog here: Namdroling Monastery, Bylakuppe.
Bylakuppe may not be one of the popular places to see in Karnataka but in my experience, it is one of the best.
About 7-hour journey from Bangalore takes you to the city of Hampi – a fantasy world of rocks and ruins.
Hampi is all about an uncountable number of impressive long lost ruins (most of which are a UNESCO world heritage sites of Karnataka) banana plantations and paddy fields, surrounded by big/small size boulders, all perched on top of each other as far as the eye can see.
Other than some, expect a lively atmosphere with a chilled out and a relaxing vibe – thanks to the many western hippies who end up staying in Hampi for weeks and months. See this blog about Hampi photos to get a better idea about what to expect from Hampi.
Read any Karnataka travel guide and you will find repeated mentions of Hampi in it. Naturally, in this blog too it gets a feature as one of the top places to see in Karnataka.
If money is no problem for you, and you want to travel Karnataka on a fast track while feeling like a royal personality, then there’s no better way of doing it than in a luxury train.
The Golden Chariot luxury train (one of the five luxury Maharaja trains operating in India) takes you through an epic journey across all the major highlights in Karnataka, including the towns like Mysore, Hampi, Bandipur, Chikmagalur, Hassan and popular highlights like Mysore Palace, Badami Caves and more.
Out of all the experiences I am suggesting in this Karnataka travel guide, this is my favorite. I have even mentioned this experience in my top holiday destinations in India blog.
Bangalore is the biggest cosmopolitan in south India and my favourite metro-city in India. It may not be one of the favorite places to see in Karnataka for many, but I love it.
Unlike other metro-towns, Bangalore has perfect weather, a laid back vibe, and a great cafe/pub culture. It may not necessarily be a place for you to experience a world-class city, but if you want to experience modern India, look no further.
Around 150 km south of Goa, lies the beautiful beaches of Gokarna. You can picture it as a more laid-back and less-commercialized version of Goa where people come for a relaxing holiday, over full-scale parties. And that makes Gokarna many traveller’s preferred choice.
Also known as Coorg, Kodagu is situated on the eastern slope of Karnataka’s the Western Ghats, surrounded by coffee and Pepper plantations. Visit Kodagu to spend a weekend at one of the many hillside resorts or a homestay, or perhaps for some adventure river rafting, quad biking and trekking. One of my favourite places in Kodagu is Kabbinakad.
Chikmagalur’s favourable climate and coffee estates attract tourists from around the country. Here you will find Karnataka’s highest peak, Mullayanagiri, which stands at 2000 metres above the sea level; the mesmerizing Kalhatti falls; and Bhadra wildlife century – for those who are into wildlife, particularly tigers.
Just like Hampi, you will find mentioned if Chikmagalur in every Karnataka travel guide.
A prominent pilgrim site, Udupi is home to the atmospheric 13th-century Krishna Temple. It’s a hive of ritual activity, with temple musicians playing at the entrance, elephants on hand for puja (prayers), and pilgrims constantly passing through. If you’re into culture and want to see the real south Indian religious culture, look no further.
That’s all from me on top places to see in Karnataka in this travel guide. If you want to know more about it, check the Karnataka tourism website for more suggestions.
What Is The Cost of Travelling In Karnataka
Food in Karnataka is cheap. You can eat full-diet at someplace local and basic for under 50 Rupees almost across the state. An average meal in restaurants can cost between 100 to 200 Rupees. I remember spending an average of 100 Rupees per meal in most of the cities, except for Hampi – where most of the restaurants (serving to a prominent hippie crowd) had everything strangely overpriced.
Accommodation in Karnataka can be cheap to moderately expensive. If you’re visiting the Western Ghats then expect to pay a little more, given a scarcity of cheap lodges in the area. Around the Western Ghats, you might have to pay around 1000 Rupees per night for a basic room. Beaches (especially the ones mentioned above in places to see in Karnataka section) and historical cities like Hampi can be slightly cheaper, costing 500 Rupees or less for a budget guesthouse.
Next up, in this Karnataka travel guide is the best time travel.
What Is The Best Time To Travel Karnataka
Given the tropic and hot weather of Karnataka, the ideal time to travel is only between October and March, when the climate is pleasant and temperatures remain the lowest (still no cold).
The monsoon season between June and August is also sometimes favoured by those who love to hang out in rain, but exploring the rainforests in the Western Ghats, which lies on its eastern border can be tough.
The best weather across Karnataka is found in Bangalore.
That’s all in this Karnataka travel guide. If you have any questions or more destinations to add in the list of top places to see in Karnataka, please leave a comment below.