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20 Top Places in Karnataka You Must Explore

Karnataka

To cumulate the wonderful charm of Karnataka in a few words, it would be a solo state with many worlds. Like other top state destinations, including Rajasthan, Kerala, Maharashtra, and Himachal Pradesh, with maximum tourist footfall, there are the best places in Karnataka worth visiting. 

This southern Indian state welcomes visitors to explore its stockpile of attractions, including the breathtaking natural beauty, rich historical culture, and holy places, during their stay in any of its top spots. Today, we bring you the checklist of those top 20 places in Karnataka that would drive you to pack your bags and embark on the journey to explore this southern state of India. 

Top 20 places in Karnataka you must visit

1. Murudeshwar

Murudeshwar is one of the best places in Karnataka to visit. It is famous for its Shiva statue in a sitting position, which is the second tallest statue in the world. For your information, the figure stands at 123 ft tall. This is an ideal place for all Shiva devotees. 

Top tourist attractions in Murdeshwar

  • Murudeshwar Temple
  • Murudeshwar Fort
  • Netrani Island
  • Murudeshwar Beach
  • Bhatkal Beach

Activities to explore

  • Scuba diving
  • Visiting pilgrimage sites
  • Tasting local food
  • Beach strolling
  • Shopping

2. Bangalore

The following top tourist destination to explore is Bangalore. To reach this place, there are the best hotel in Bangalore to plan for your luxury staycation. The capital of Karnataka is also called the Silicon Valley of India and the Garden City of India. The weather here is perfect, and you can enjoy watching the beautiful lakes and parks and spotting white tigers at Bannerghatta National Park.

Top tourist attractions in Bangalore

  • Church Street
  • Lal Bagh
  • Bangalore Palace
  • Bannerghatta National Park
  • Nandi Hills
  • Cubbon Park
  • Vidhana Soudha

Activities to explore

  • Taking part in Go-Karting
  • Shopping at UB City Mall and MG Road
  • Visiting Jawarharlal Nehru Planetarium
  • Boat ride at Ulsoor Lake
  • Enjoy drinks at numerous breweries

3. Chikmagalur

The next best place in Karnataka that is worth visiting is Chikmagalur. This place is famously called the ‘’Coffee Land of Karnataka’’ because of the coffee plantations you will see here. Nestled at the foothills of Mullayangiri Range, Chikmagalur is a beautiful retreat for wildlife lovers and those who love visiting hill stations.

Top tourist attractions in Chikmagalur

  • Baba Budangiri
  • Mullayanagiri
  • Kudremukh National Park
  • Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Hebbe Falls
  • Coffee plantations

Activities to explore

  • Touring Coffee Museum
  • Visiting National Coffee Research Centre
  • Touring Kudremukh National Park
  • River rafting at Bhadra River

4. Mysore

Like Rajasthan, famously called the Land of Kings, Mysore in Karnataka is also a place to hear the valour stories of Tipu Sultan, famously called the ‘Tiger of Mysore’ and of other rulers. There are many temples, historical sites, and majestic palaces in Karnataka. The other major attractions for which the city is famous include Mysore Pak, Silk, and Sandalwood.

Top tourist attractions in Mysore

  • Brindavan Gardens
  • Mysore Palace
  • Mysore Zoo
  • Somanathapuram Temple
  • Shuka Vana

Activities to explore

  • Shopping for Mysore silk sarees and sandalwood
  • Enjoying an open Jeep safari
  • Tasting the famous Mysore Pak sweet
  • Attending yoga classes
  • Spending a picnic at Karanji Lake

5. Belur

Belur in Karnataka is the best place to visit for its beautiful temples from the historical era of the Hoysala empire. This place is situated on the banks of river Yagachi in the Hassan district, Karnataka and is a must-visit for all history enthusiasts. 

Top tourist attractions in Belur

  • Chennakeshava Temple
  • Kappe Chennigaraya Temple
  • Madanikas
  • Veera Narayana Temple
  • Gravity Pillar

Activities to explore

  • Visiting holy temples
  • Enjoying a boating experience at Yagachi Dam
  • Shopping for souvenirs at local markets
  • Tasting the local food
  • Exploring spectacular engravings at Halebidu temple

6. Udupi

If you are looking for beach fun with your partner or friends, come to Udupi, the coastal town in Karnataka, popular with its amazing beaches, forests and beautiful ancient temples. Besides this, you must also attend dining at a local Udupi restaurant to enjoy eating vegetarian food. 

Top tourist attractions in Udupi

  • Malpe Beach
  • St. Mary’s Island
  • Krishna Temple
  • Kaup Beach
  • Manipal
  • Delta Beach

Activities to explore

  • Enjoying at Udupi beaches
  • Visiting the Coin Corp Museum
  • Exploring Anejari Butterfly Camp
  • Experiencing peace at temples
  • Tasting the famous Udupi cuisine

7. Srirangapatna

When coming to explore Karnataka tourism, Srirangapatna must also be on your travel checklist. This small town is located near River Cauvery in Karnataka. It is famous for being the historical capital of braveheart Mysore warrior commander Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan. 

Top tourist attractions in Srirangapatna

  • Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
  • Nimishaambha Temple
  • Dariya Daulat Bagh
  • Gumbaz
  • Balmuri Falls
  • Tipu Sultan Fort
  • Karighatta Temple

Activities to explore

  • Having an excellent picnic fun at Dodda Ghosai Ghat
  • Shopping at the local market
  • Exploring the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
  • Tasting the local cuisine

8. Shimoga

Shimoga in Karnataka is a famous tourist attraction for watching spectacular waterfalls and scenic landscapes. Since the weather here is mostly pleasant throughout the year, this gives you a reason to explore this so-called backpacker’s paradise. There are many historical places here that you must visit. 

Top tourist attractions in Shimoga

  • Kodachadri
  • Jog Falls
  • Keladi
  • Bhadra River Dam
  • Honnemaradu
  • Dabbe Falls

Activities to explore

  • Trekking at Kundadari
  • Touring at Tyavarekoppa Tiger and Lion Safari
  • Visiting Gudavi Bird Sanctuary
  • Watching elephants at Sakrebailu Elephant Camp

9. Shravanabelagola

Shravanabelagola is a famous sacred pilgrimage place for people who follow Jainism. You will see a 57-metre-tall Gomateshwara Bahubali statue nestled between Vindyagiri and Chandigiri hills. 

Top tourist attractions in Shravanbelagola

  • Gomateshwara Bahubali Temple
  • Chandragiri Hill Temple
  • Bhandari Basadi Temple
  • Akkana Basadi Temple
  • Vindhyagiri Temple
  • Jain Math
  • Belagola Pond

Activities to explore

  • Visiting the famous Gomateshwara Bahubali Statue
  • Experience peace at holy temples, including Chandigiri Hill Temple

10. Dandeli

Dandeli is one of the top tourist places in Karnataka to experience river rafting fun. Located north of Sahyadris, the place will amaze you with its lovely lush green forest view and watch the wild animals, including bison and black panthers. The site is a perfect retreat for adventure lovers and escaping from the city’s hustle and bustle. 

Top tourist attractions in Dandeli

  • Kali Tiger Reserve
  • Magod Falls
  • Ulavi Temple
  • Moulangi Falls
  • Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Kavala Caves
  • Sykes Point

Activities to explore

  • Enjoy river rafting
  • Trekking
  • Rock climbing
  • Kayaking
  • Enjoy the Coracle boat ride at River Kali
  • Visiting holy temples

11. Badami

Exploring Karnataka tourism without Badami is not possible. The site listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage Site is worth visiting to explore its sandstone monuments. If you find visiting the old monuments and discovering the archaeology fascinating, Badami must be on your travel bucket list. 

Top tourist attractions in Badami

  • Cave Temples
  • Agastya Lake
  • Badami Fort
  • Aihole
  • Pattadakal
  • Badami Museum

Activities to explore

  • Visiting the Archaeological Museum
  • Shopping at the local market
  • Sightseeing
  • Touring Bhutanatha Temple

12. Bijapur

The history of Bijapur traces back to the ancient era of the Kalyani Chalukyas empire when it was called Vijaypura. One of the major attractions here is the monument, Gol Gumbaj. It is even referred to as the Taj Mahal of Deccan. It is a historical place to take your kids for a picnic.

Top tourist attractions in Bijapur

  • Gol Gumbaz
  • Ibrahim Rauza
  • Jamia Masjid
  • The Citadel
  • Gagan Mahal
  • Mithari and Asar Mahals

Activities to explore

  • Touring Saath Kabar
  • Visiting Bara Kaman
  • Experiencing the bird’ eye view of the city from Upli Burj

13. St. Mary’s Island

The first island where Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama set foot in India was St. Mary’s Island in Karnataka. This island includes four islands: Coconut Island, North Island, Daryabahadurgarh, and South Island. You will be seeing consistent ferry rides on this island from Udupi. 

Top tourist attractions on St. Mary’s Island

  • Malpe Beach
  • Daryabahadurgarh Fort
  • Delta Beach Backwaters
  • Vadabhandeshwara Temple
  • Maris Church

Activities to explore

  • Experience beach fun
  • Collecting shells from the beach
  • Shopping at the local market
  • Tasting local food

14. Agumbe

The mention of Agumbe will bring back your nostalgic memories of the Malgudi Days television series. This small village in Karnataka attracts tourists for its rich biodiversity. But more than that, it is next to Cheerapunji in Meghalaya, with the highest rainfall. This is why it is also called Cheerapunji of South India. 

Top tourist attractions in Agumbe

  • Koodlu Theertha Falls
  • Sunset Point
  • Onake Abbi Falls
  • Gopala Krishna Temple
  • Kunchikal Falls

Activities to explore

  • River rafting at Sita River
  • Trekking
  • Doing photography from Sunset Point
  • Visiting lowland rainforests

15. Mangalore

How can Mangalore go unnoticed when listing down the top places in Karnataka? Besides Bengaluru, this city is a unique tourist place in the latter southern state. Encircled by the Arabian Sea on one side and Sahyadris on the other, Mangalore comes as an excellent haven for beach lovers. The sights of palm trees and the fresh, cool sea breeze will make you crave more enjoyment. 

Top tourist attractions in Mangalore

  • Panambur Beach
  • Kudroli Temple
  • St Aloysius Chapel
  • Kadri Manjunath Temple
  • Ullal Beach
  • Kadri Park

Activities to explore

  • Playing golf at Gold Course and Pilikula Park
  • Experience solitude and peace at multiple temples
  • Visiting Sultan Battery for a fantastic view

16. Hampi

Hampi, also called Hampe, is one of the best places to visit in Karnataka and comes under a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At this place, you will discover the ruins of the ancient Vijaynagar Empire. There are 500 ancient monuments and temples that you will find in this small village of Karnataka. The rich historical significance makes Hampi a worthwhile visit. 

Top tourist attractions in Hampi

  • Virupaksha Temple
  • Vithala Temple
  • Lotus Palace
  • Yantrodharaka Hanuman Temple
  • Elephant Stables
  • Lakshmi Narasimha Temple

Activities to explore

  • Rock climbing
  • Watching the Monolith Bull
  • Bike ride
  • Cliff jumping
  • Visiting the Archaeological Museum
  • Taking a Coracle ride

17. Coorg

If you are willing to take a long break from your restless work life, visit Coorg, one of the famous hill stations in Karnataka. Although it is officially known as Kodagu, you can also call it by its commonly spoken name. Nestled between the splendid mountains in Karnataka, it attracts tourists for its misty landscapes all year. 

Top tourist attractions in Coorg

  • Abbey Falls
  • Raja’s Seat
  • Coffee Plantations
  • Namdroling Monastery
  • Iruppu Falls

Activities to explore

  • Visiting coffee plantations
  • White river rafting at Barapole River
  • Tasty Coorgi Chicken
  • Trekking

18. Gokarna

Gokarna in Karnataka is a famous place that cannot go unnoticed. The site attracts tourist footfall with palm trees, golden sand, and clean blue seas. It was recognised as a Hindu shrine, but now it has become more popular with beaches. 

Top tourist attractions in Gokarna

  • Om Beach
  • Mahabaleshwara Temple
  • Kudle Beach
  • Paradise beach

Activities to explore

  • Enjoying water sports
  • Visiting holy pilgrimages
  • Explore Mirjan Fort
  • Beach trekking
  • Dining out at Namaste Cafe

19. Chitradurga

Surrounded by rocky boulders, Chitradurga is a famous tourist spot in Karnataka known for its forts, rivers, caves, and forests. Also known as Chitrakaladurga, it is 200 kilometres from Bengaluru. At Chitradurga, you can view the archaeological wonder of the Chalukya era. 

Top tourist attractions in Chitradurga

  • Gayatri Jalashaya
  • Chitradurga Fort
  • Himavat Kedaya
  • Ankali Mutt
  • Vani Vilas Sagar Dam

Activities to explore

  • Jet skiing
  • Canoeing in the river
  • Banana boat rides

20.  Sakleshpur

If you want to experience a memorable vacation at a hill station with your partner, Sakleshpur in Karnataka is the right choice. Encircled by Sahyadris, this beautiful hill town is a perfect destination for adventure activities like hiking and walking across the dense forests. 

Top tourist attractions in Sakleshpur

  • Agni Gudda Hill
  • Kukke Subramanya Temple
  • Bisle Reserve Forest
  • Manjehalli Waterfalls
  • Sakleshwara Temple

Activities to explore

  • Visiting Hemavathi Dam
  • Doing trekking to Jenukal Gudda and Pandavar Gudda
  • Exploring Raxidi estate
  • Spending a luxurious stay at Machaan Plantation Resort

Conclusion

So these are the top 20 places in Karnataka worth visiting when planning for a long-term break or short weekend from a rigorous work life. All the places in Karnataka have something to offer visitors: finding peace in temples, exploring historical monuments, forts, and palaces, or enjoying adventure sports like river rafting or trekking. 

With all the given brief facts about the places, our main intention was to give you a rough idea about the tourist spots that deserve your attention. Rest you will have to explore yourself. If you wish to visit Bangalore, you can book your stay at jüSTa Indiranagar, Bangalore, jüSTa MG Road, Bangalore, or jüSTa Off MG Road, Bangalore.

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