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Although most know it for its giant capital, Karnataka encompasses many different land features, from sandy beaches in the coastal east to the wild mountains and thriving farmlands deep in the interior. Home to nearly 9 million people, the city of Bangalore makes a great starting point of a Karnataka tour, packed with temples, churches, shopping malls, and thousands of fast food eateries and restaurants. If you prefer to see the less hectic side of Karnataka, head to Hampi, where you can discover the remains of the once-powerful Vijayanagara Empire scattered across a sprawling World Heritage Site. Add Karnataka and other India destinations to your travel plans using our India tour itinerary planner.
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Top Karnataka tours
$2 BOOK WITH VIATOR Private Mercara Coorg Coffee and Spice Estate Tour Private Mercara Coorg Coffee and Spice Estate Tour
Duration: 2 hours
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$117 BOOK WITH VIATOR Bangalore Through the Ages - Full-Day Tour with Lunch Bangalore Through the Ages - Full-Day Tour with Lunch
Duration: 7 to 8 hours
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$183 BOOK WITH VIATOR Heritage Tour of Mysore,Srirangapatana & Somanathpur with Breakfast & Lunch Heritage Tour of Mysore,Srirangapatana & Somanathpur with Breakfast & Lunch
Duration: 13 hours
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$489 BOOK WITH VIATOR 1-Day Trip to Taj Mahal, Agra from Bangalore with Both Side Commercial Flights 1-Day Trip to Taj Mahal, Agra from Bangalore with Both Side Commercial Flights
Duration: 18 hours
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$59 BOOK WITH VIATOR Bengaluru Pete City Market Half-Day Walking Tour Bengaluru Pete City Market Half-Day Walking Tour
Duration: 5 hours
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$135 BOOK WITH VIATOR Royal Mysore tour from Bangalore in private car with guide and lunch Royal Mysore tour from Bangalore in private car with guide and lunch
Duration: 14 hours
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$95 BOOK WITH VIATOR Bangalore city tour with a guide in private car and lunch Bangalore city tour with a guide in private car and lunch
Duration: 8 hours
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$330 BOOK WITH VIATOR 2 days Private tour of Hampi world heritage site from Bangalore by car 2 days Private tour of Hampi world heritage site from Bangalore by car
Duration: 2 days
Tours from $330 ›
Places to visit in Karnataka
BengaluruTrip planner Best for: Religious Site, Garden, Theme Park Mysuru (Mysore)Trip planner Best for: Religious Site, Castle, Zoo HampiTrip planner Best for: Historic Site, Religious Site, Architectural Building ChikmagalurTrip planner Best for: Mountain, Religious Site, Waterfall MadikeriTrip planner Best for: Waterfall, Garden, Lookout
Regions of Karnataka
Kodagu (Coorg)Trip planner Uttara Kannada DistrictTrip planner Udupi DistrictTrip planner Mandya DistrictTrip planner Hassan DistrictTrip planner Dakshina Kannada DistrictTrip planner Bellary DistrictTrip planner Ramanagara DistrictTrip planner Chikkamagaluru DistrictTrip planner
Popular things to do in KarnatakaSee all ›
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Historic Sites in KarnatakaSee all ›
Hidden gems in Karnataka
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Where to stay in Karnataka
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Recently planned trips to Karnataka
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Karnataka Holiday Planning GuideAlthough most know it for its giant capital, Karnataka encompasses many different land features, from sandy beaches in the coastal east to the wild mountains and thriving farmlands deep in the interior. Home to nearly 9 million people, the city of Bangalore makes a great starting point of a Karnataka tour, packed with temples, churches, shopping malls, and thousands of fast food eateries and restaurants. If you prefer to see the less hectic side of Karnataka, head to Hampi, where you can discover the remains of the once-powerful Vijayanagara Empire scattered across a sprawling World Heritage Site.
Places to Visit in Karnataka
Destinations in KarnatakaBengaluru: A thriving technological metropolis, Bengaluru hosts a plethora of cultural and historical sites that rank as top Karnataka sightseeing options, along with restaurants, bars, and a bustling nightlife.
Mysuru (Mysore): Surrounded by natural parks and lush landscapes, the city of Mysore stands as a diamond in the crown of Karnataka tourism.
Kodagu (Coorg): Meet the Kodava culture and religion in various temples and shrine in the countryside of Kodagu.
Hampi: Set on the foundations of a fabled ancient capital of the Vijayanagar Empire, Hampi represents a cluster of temples, shrines, and monuments, neatly tucked in behind the remnants of fallen fortifications.
Mangalore: One of the fastest growing cities in India stands at a junction of great maritime trading routes.
Popular Karnataka Tourist AttractionsLalbagh Botanical Garden: The grand old gardens stand as one of the most popular Karnataka attractions with centuries-old tree and plant specimens.
Mysore Maharajah's Palace (Amba Vilas): Witness the balconies, towers, and spires of a royal residence and venture inside to see decor that includes stained glass, vivid colors, and vaulted ceilings.
Wonderla Amusement Park: Entertainment for both kids and adults abounds at this sizeable amusement park, which offers everything from gentle rides and water slides to thrilling roller coasters.
ISKCON Temple Bangalore: At this modern complex, you can pay your respect to the gods and treat yourself to local delicacies, or buy books and souvenirs for your friends or family.
Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens: Visit one of India's oldest and most prestigious zoological facilities to admire rare animal species like white tigers, African elephants, and hippos.
Bannerghatta National Park: A must-see attraction on every nature lover's Karnataka itinerary, this national park reveals dense forests filled with an abundance of the region's vast animal life.
Abbi Falls: A powerful gush during the wet season and a somewhat underwhelming flow during dry months, these falls are surrounded by a lush landscape and fertile plantations of pepper and coffee.
Brindavan Garden: This terraced garden adjoins a river dam, so it won't be easy to miss on your Karnataka trip.
Sri Chamundeshwari Temple: Observe the Dravidian architectural style of the temple or enjoy the views from the top of the hill--either way you'll see for yourself why this place is often listed among top Karnataka attractions.
UB City: Indulge your shopping desires at a gigantic complex with over 40 domestic and internationally acclaimed brands on 66 floors.
Planning a Karnataka Vacation with Kids
Places to Visit in Karnataka with KidsThe capital Bengaluru is a bustling modern metropolis that offers fun activities for kids, like amusement park rides, lush gardens and zoos, and impressive historical sites.
While the aristocratic vibe of Mysuru (Mysore) may seem like a bore to the youngest, the surrounding scenery with outdoor activities like camping and hiking will surely grab their attention.
Even wilder and less-spoiled nature lies around Kodagu (Coorg), while the relaxing coastal setting of secluded beaches at Mangalore makes a Karnataka holiday an enjoyable option for the whole family.
Things to Do in Karnataka with KidsYour kids should have a blast at Wonderla Amusement Park, where they'll enjoy roller coasters and water slides.
You family can relax at coastal spots like Kapu Beach or Om Beach.
A Karnataka trip can also reveal fascinating nature with diverse animal and plant life in many gardens and zoos that tourists of all ages can enjoy. Some options include Lalbagh Botanical Garden and Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens.
You can also have a picnic near Abbi Falls or some of the many other natural marvels of Karnataka.
Tips for a Family Vacation in KarnatakaPublic buses tend to be overcrowded and not very safe, at least by Western standards, so it might be wise to stick to auto-rickshaws or taxis if traveling with kids.
Most restaurants have seats and menus suited for kids, which makes them a good option for families looking to eat out.
You'll be able to find baby supplies and baby food in major shops scattered around Karnataka's big cities.
Dining and Shopping on Holiday in Karnataka
Cuisine of KarnatakaRice forms the staple ingredient in most Karnataka recipes, with popular meals including "bisi bele bhath" (cooked rice with lentils, vegetables, and spice), "mosarana" (fried rice with spices, lentils, and mustard seeds), and "avalakki" (baked rice stir-fried with spices, peanuts, and green chilies).
Your Karnataka holiday will likely be accented by "dosa," a dish which is mainly a pancake-crepe made of fermented rice butter. Karnataka dosas include "benne dosa" (butter dosa) and "set dosa" (with coriander leaves, grated carrot and coconut, in addition to chutney sauce).
For visitors with a sweet tooth, Karnataka offers a plethora of sweet treats, including "kajjaya" (a doughnut-like rice pastry) and "huggi" (a traditional dish that's basically a seasoned rice gruel).
Shopping in KarnatakaRenowned Mysore silk represents a traditional good widely considered the region's most popular craft--in its raw form or turned into products like silk sarees and other clothing.
Other trademark crafts of Karnataka include carved rosewood and sandalwood statues, sandals, and carved statues from ivory, stone, precious stones, and various metals.
Some of the best shopping destinations to consider for your Karnataka trip include Bengaluru and Mangalore, as they offer the biggest variety of shops and handicrafts.
Know Before You Go on a Trip to Karnataka
Interesting Facts About Karnataka* Karnataka encompasses areas once held by Vijayanagar, a major empire that united the local Hindu people under one rule
* Mysore Maharajah's Palace (Amba Vilas) represents the second most visited attraction in India
* 85 percent of raw silk produced in India comes from Karnataka
* As many as 13 languages are spoken in Karnataka, with Kannada the most dominant one
Holidays & Festivals in KarnatakaMost notable holidays celebrated in Karnataka revolve around religious traditions of the region's people. A prime example is Mysore Dasara (honored as a state festival), which lasts about 10 days and takes place in September or October.
Other events around which you could conceivably plan your Karnataka trip include Ugadi (Kannada New Year), Makara Sankranti (a harvest festival), Ganesh Chaturthi, and Ramadan (observed by Muslims).
Useful Karnataka Travel Tips
Climate of KarnatakaIf you're taking a trip to Karnataka to see tigers and elephants, plan to visit between March and May, the best time to explore the region's pristine national parks.
Arrive in December or January to take advantage of cooler weather, ideal for exploring Hampi and other historic forts, palaces, and temples.
Transportation in KarnatakaKarnataka's main gateway is Bengaluru, serviced by many domestic and several international airlines. This makes it an ideal starting point for your tour of Karnataka.
You can also base your trip in Mangalore, which boasts an international airport and is a decent transit point for visitors on their way south to Kerala, or north to Goa.
Hubli is a major railway junction in central Karnataka--it works well for anyone going to northern India or Maharashtra.