Colonial charm in a hilly landscape is one of the reasons why Shimla remains the go-to spot for romantic getaways, even today. While it is a popular destination, if you wish to explore more of the mountains around, you have a choice of lesser-known destinations around Shimla. With stunning landscapes and activities that add to the experience, these are places that resonate with Shimla but are relatively offbeat and perfect for a getaway with your significant other. Here are our picks for the top romantic places to visit near Shimla.
Kasauli is a quiet little mountain settlement that finds mention in the Ramayana. It also served as the cantonment area during the British Raj. A short drive from Shimla, Kasauli is a beautiful hill town that offers stunning vistas of the snow-capped Himalayas. The colonial influences are visible in the architecture and infrastructure of Kasauli. The old world charm here makes it a great choice for a romantic getaway. From activities like hiking and trekking to sights that include churches and buildings of historical significance, Kasauli has much to offer. Adding to it, there are quaint little cafes, and a brewery that is about 200 years old, perfect for a laid-back holiday!
In the Shivalik region of the Himalayas is this hidden hill station. Chail, one of the most romantic places to visit near Shimla, is located 60 km from the place. With spellbinding views of snow-capped peaks, gorgeous orchards, and dense woods, Chail overlooks the Sutlej Valley. A conglomerate of three hillocks, Rajgarh, Pandewa and Sadh Tiba, the town is reminiscent of a typical foreign countryside. It was built by the erstwhile ruler of Patiala after he was banned from Shimla for eloping with the daughter of a senior British officer at the hill station. Like any other Himalayan hill town, this place too offers ample opportunities for trekking and hiking, along with fishing or angling in the Giri river. Another remarkable attraction for nature enthusiasts is the Chail Wildlife Sanctuary.
A short drive away from the main city of Shimla is this little paradise on earth. Naldehra is essentially an extension of Shimla. Blanketed by the thick green cover and Himalayan Deodars, the town looks like it has materialized right out of a Ruskin Bond novel. It is best known for the immaculate golf course which was initiated by Lord Curzon, the erstwhile Viceroy of British India. Initially planned as a nine-hole golf course, it has now grown into an 18-hole course, one that offers stunning views of the hilly landscape around. Apart from the usual activities, you can also try whitewater rafting and horse-riding in Naldehra.
Much like Shimla and Kasauli, Kufri gained prominence during the British Raj and was founded in 1819. Considerably smaller in size and not as extensive in infrastructure, Kufri is nevertheless among the best romantic places to visit near Shimla. Being 20 km away, it offers you and your partner a quiet getaway, far from the throng of Shimla’s touristy crowd. Apart from being known for skiing and horse rides, this mini hill station also has a zoo of its own. The Himalayan National Park too is a short distance from here and is home to over 180 varieties of fauna and 215 varieties of flora. Head here during winter, right in time for their winter sports festival in February. Apart from skiing, you can sign up for other activities like tobogganing and go-karting in the soft snow.
This picturesque location is often touted as the “Mushroom City” of India. Apart from mushrooms, Solan is also quite famous for plump red tomatoes, winning the moniker of ‘City of Red Gold’. It serves as the district headquarters, located between the Karol and the Maitul peaks. The caves of the latter are where the Pandavas are believed to have found a home in exile, according to Hindu mythology. Furthermore, the village of Dagshai in Solan has a historical significance. This was where the Irish mutiny of 1920 took place, during the British Raj. The city also has an industrial aspect to it and houses some of the oldest breweries that are worth a visit. Go and explore the quaint town with your partner!
And finally, a hill station that matches up to Shimla in popularity. Manali, among the most romantic places to visit near Shimla, has bakeries, cafes and outdoor activities to sort you out. For the adventurous couple on a holiday, Manali is the place to be. From trekking, rock climbing, and mountain biking, to paragliding, river rafting and skiing, the plethora of options will spoil you for choice. The undisturbed rural atmosphere of Old Manali almost makes it worth a visit.
The charm of a bygone era, the excitement of exploring the mountains, and breathtaking vistas of the magnificent Himalayas all around – these spots offer them all. Coupled with the colonial aura from the erstwhile British Raj, they make for perfect romantic places to visit near Shimla.