Every time someone mentions a vacation, everyone always thinks of cities, beaches, and islands but a hill station is a place that can take your vacation experience to a whole new level.
Up there, at high altitudes from sea level, soaring amongst the clouds and breathing the fresh air is an elevating experience that would make anyone feel physically and mentally rejuvenated. Hill stations are often surrounded by lush, green forests which are brimming with so many varieties of flora and fauna.
The best part about all hill stations, in general, is the pleasant climate that comes with it. The weather at hill stations is never too hot and is always cool or chilly. This makes hill stations the ideal destination for a vacation any time of the year.
Whenever anyone talks of hill stations, the first place that comes to mind is always Karnataka. The Nilgiris, or the Blue Mountains, which form a part of the Western Ghats in the South Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and a part of Kerala are a sight to behold. Due to this, there are many hills and hillocks spread across these states. This provides us with a plethora of Hill Stations in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, in particular.
Although Tamil Nadu boasts of some beautiful hill stations like Ooty and Coonoor, these fade away in comparison with the hill stations in Karnataka. These hill stations in Karnataka are more popular because they have better and cooler weather than the ones in Tamil Nadu.
Some of the best hill stations in Karnataka are:
Coorg, which is locally known as Kodagu, is one of the most commercial hill stations in Karnataka and is popularly called “The Scotland of India”. This is because the weather of Coorg is very similar to that of the European Country, Scotland.
Coorg, which was originally an administrative state near Mysore has now become one of the topmost hill stations in Karnataka, which attracts tourists from all over the world. The beauty of Coorg is best witnessed during the monsoons, which occur between the months of June and September. The rainfall is the heaviest during the month of June and it is during this time that tourists flock to this place.
The town of Kodagu is filled with acres and acres of lush green, tea and coffee plantations on one side, and dense forests on another. Also, it has so many places to visit and things to do that you can plan a trip to Coorg for a day, a week or a month but you’ll never get bored.
This place is something of a heaven for adventure and nature enthusiasts as Coorg provides scope for a plethora of adventure activities like Paragliding, white-water river rafting, Kayaking, Rappelling, Canoeing and Waterfall rappelling. Coorg also has endless possibilities when it comes to trekking and camping.
All these attributes make Coorg one of the best hill stations in Karnataka and in India. The place can get very crowded during the peak seasons and it may be very difficult to get hotel bookings and flights, but it would be well worth your time to make reservations in advance.
Undoubtedly, despite the commercialization, Coorg is the first choice for most tourists and travellers when hill stations in Karnataka are being considered.
Located in the deeper regions of Karnataka, Chikmagalur rests in the foothills of the Mullayanagiri range. This is one of the most beautiful hill stations in Karnataka owing to its favourable climate, which stays pleasant throughout the year, and its acres and acres of Coffee Plantations.
While this place may not be the most popular of hill stations in Karnataka, it is very commonly known to and sought-after by the people who travel a lot. Chikmagalur offers many of the best activities to do, places to visit and hotels to stay in. The place is also famous for some of its beautiful homestays and resorts.
Chikmagalur is often referred to as a trekker’s backyard owing to the many trekking trails available here, the most popular of which is the Mullayanagiri.
The Mullayanagiri is the highest peak in Chikmagalur and gives stunning, picturesque views of the valleys nearby. This trail is best covered during the spring season as it may get too hot during summer and may get too slippery and hazardous during the monsoons. Some of the other better trekking trails in Chikmagalur are the Kudremukh National Park trail and Datta Peeta.
They are all easily accessible from the city centre of Chikmagalur and have a tendency to bring out the adventurer in you, invoking your curiosity and making you want to explore more and more. This is one of the hill stations in Karnataka which can boast of its own Wildlife Sanctuary, the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary.
Chikmagalur also has a few waterfalls where you can enjoy a picnic with your family and take some time to relax, breathing the clean air and enjoying the roar of water falling from the cliffs. Some of the other popular attractions around are the Bhadra Dam, Shringeri Sharada Peetha and the Sharadamba temple amongst many others.
To top it, there are many Nature-stay types of homestays and resorts, most of which are located in the middle of coffee plantations. All these aspects make Chikmagalur one of the top hill stations in Karnataka.
This is one of the top hill stations in Karnataka and it is renowned for its picturesque views of the nearby hillocks covered in mist and a heavenly sunrise. This place is located at a short driving distance of 60 kilometres from Bangalore and is usually used as a weekend or a one-day getaway by the citizens of Bangalore.
This place is somewhat a paradise for trekkers and adventure enthusiasts but it also provides a calm and peaceful atmosphere for the religious ones. The place gets its name from a Nandi temple and a statue of the Bull Lord Nandi, who is the most ardent devotee of Lord Shiva, which is located and the entrance of the hills.
The best feature of this place, which sets it apart from the other hill stations in Karnataka, is the scope of adventure activities like paragliding. The tourist department employs people experienced in paragliding and trainers to teach the tourists how to paraglide.
After a training session and getting accustomed to the environment, you will be able to just jump off the cliff, and emerge out soaring above the skies at 5000 feet above sea level. Having a bird’s eye view of the beautiful hillocks nearby is an ethereal experience and is a must-not-miss opportunity.
Other places of attraction are Tipu’s drop, Tipu’s summer residence, and the Nandi Temple. Nandi Hills has many resorts, homestays, and hilltop hotels to provide accommodation and a lot of restaurants and dhabas, which will keep your appetite satiated throughout your trip.
It is undoubtedly one of the best hill stations in Karnataka where you can feel your veins pumping from the adrenaline rush.
Gangamoola is located in the Chikkamagaluru district of Karnataka and is unique in terms of serene beauty when compared to other hill stations in Karnataka. This place is located in one of the hilly ranges of the Western Ghats and is unrivalled in terms of its natural scenic beauty.
This is one of the must-visit hill stations in Karnataka for all nature lovers and trekkers. The place is special and holds a divine connection as it is the origination point of the three rivers Tunga, Bhadra, and Nethravathi, which are associated with the River Ganga.
A visit here in itself is a trek that will take you through the forest so it will be compulsory to get permission from the local Forest Department, prior to embarking on the trek.
The trails are beautiful and will take you through dense forests, across rivers and streams, and past the cascading mighty waterfalls. It is one of the most scenic trekking trails amongst all other hill stations in Karnataka.
A part of the trek involves going through caves, wherein one might have to crawl through, to make it to the other side, which makes for a great adventure.
The place is best visited during the monsoons as the forests look ethereally beautiful in the rains. There is always a chance of spotting wild animals and one should also be wary of snakes in the vicinity.
Covered with dense forests throughout, it is one of the hill stations in Karnataka that are located in the ranges of the Western Ghats. This place is an amazing weekend getaway as it is one of the few hill stations in Karnataka which are not at all commercialized.
It makes for a beautiful drive from the nearby Agumbe region. While the place does not have many places to visit and things to do, it offers a beautiful view of the sunset.
The peak can be scaled even by small cars but as it is a one lane road, it may be a bit tricky to give way to oncoming vehicles. The drive should be completed within the sunrise as the view of sunrise is not to be missed. There is a small Jain temple on the way, which is also very beautifully constructed and offers a calm and peaceful atmosphere.
This is one of the hill stations in Karnataka which should not be missed if you’re anywhere near the Udupi area.
This is another one of the hill stations in Karnataka that are located in the Western Ghats and it’s covered in dense forests. What makes it unique from the other hill stations of Karnataka is that it has been declared as a natural heritage site by the Karnataka government.
It is the 10th highest peak in Karnataka and offers a lot of scope for trekking in the dense forests. There are many temples like the Mookambika Temple and Shankaracharya Temple on this trail.
One of the best features of this place is the jeep ride which is offered at 2800 rupees for 8 people. Being one of the most scenic hill stations in Karnataka, the view from the summit is one not to be missed.
Accommodation may be availed at the IB stop, about 1 hour away from the peak.
This place, popularly known as BR Hills, is located in south eastern Karnataka and shares the border with Tamil Nadu. This is one of the hill stations in Karnataka which provide the right mix of natural beauty and tourist locations.
While there are adventure activities like karting, fishing and river rafting to quench your thirst for adventure, it also provides scope for leisurely sight-seeing with some of the most popular tourist attractions being BRT Wildlife Sanctuary, Biligirirangaswamy Temple, and the Dodda Sampige Mara.
This beautiful hill station is perfect for visiting irrespective of how you are travelling, solo or with family or friends. Another thing that sets it apart from the other hill stations in Karnataka is the forest shops that are here. It allows tourists to take back great souvenirs in the form of Tribal artefacts and handicrafts.
Agumbe is located in a small district called Shimoga in Karnataka. If the rain dampens your spirit, this is not the place for you because, in this place, it always rains. Commonly known as the “Cherrapunji of the South”, this place is one of the best hill stations in Karnataka for all those who love living in forests in all their beauty.
The place is best visited between November and February and has a plethora of places to stay in and many restaurants serving the delicious local cuisine.
There are many places to visit in Agumbe like the Gopala Krishna Temple, Sunset point and Jogigundi falls among many others. This is one of the hidden gems in Karnataka which not many people have heard of and is not very crowded when compared to the other hill stations in Karnataka.
So now that you know which are the best hill stations in Karnataka, when are you visiting?