Tourism

Best Hill Stations In South India To Visit In 2021

Are you planning a trip this summer to one of the best hill stations in South India? Here’s good news! There is a good range of scenic hill stations spread over the southern states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana.

While some of the hill stations in southern India are ideal for weekend getaways and honeymoons, others make for ideal locations for short trips with family and friends. All these places boast pleasant weather, so you could plan a trip any time of the year.

Many of these places, such as Ooty, Kodaikanal, Coorg, Munnar, Yercaud, etc., are popular tourist destinations thronged by thousands of travelers.

Do you prefer a calm and peaceful destination? You can opt for some of the off-beat hill stations in South India, including Gavi, Vagamon, Kotagiri, and Ponmudi, among others.

Top 10 Best Hill Stations In South India

Given below is a list of some of the most-visited and best hill stations of South India. We have also given other useful information about each destination, such as attractions, activities, distance from major cities, nearest transportation hubs, and more.  

1. Coorg, Karnataka

Coorg
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Topping the list of South Indian hill stations is Coorg aka Kodagu, which is aptly nicknamed the Scotland of India. The place, located in the Western Ghats, offers a gamut of attractions and activities.

Coorg is best known for its coffee plantations, evergreen forests, waterfalls, tourist attractions, homestays, spices and honey, homemade wine and chocolates, and the mouthwatering Kodava cuisine, among others.

  • Location: Kodagu District, Karnataka
  • Places to see: Abbey Falls, Iruppu Falls, Raja’s Seat, Cauvery Nisargadhama, Dubare Elephant Camp, Madikeri Fort, Raja’s Tomb, Namdroling Monastery, Omkareshwara Temple, and Talakaveri Temple
  • Things to do: Plantation walks, trekking, whitewater rafting, camping, shopping, staycation, sightseeing, staying at a plantation homestay, rock climbing, rappelling, hiking, and jeep safaris
  • Nearest airports (from Madikeri): Kannur International Airport (90 km), Mysore Airport (130 km), Mangalore International Airport (145 km), Kempegowda International Airport in Bangalore (290 km)
  • Nearest railway stations (from Madikeri): Hassan Junction (105 km), Thalassery Railway Station (110 km), Kannur Railway Station (110 km), Mysore Junction (120 km), Mangalore Junction (130 km), and Bangalore City (265 km)
  • Nearest city (from Madikeri): Mysore (120 km)
  • Recommended trip duration: 2 to 3 days
  • Official website: kodagu.nic.in/en

Read: 12 Hill Stations In Karnataka For A Scenic Vacation

2. Munnar, Kerala

Munnar
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Munnar, another must-visit South Indian hill station, is located in God’s Own Country. It was a summer resort of the British during the colonial period, thanks to its pleasant climatic conditions. Famous for its tea estates, the region is often called the Tea Capital of Kerala.

Munnar also has a good range of natural attractions, including waterfalls, lakes, dams, and wildlife, making it one of the best for nature lovers and honeymooners.

  • Location: Idukki District, Kerala
  • Places to see: Eravikulam National Park, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Mattupetty Dam, Top Station, Echo Point, Pothamedu Viewpoint, Tata Tea Museum, Lakkam Waterfalls, Attukad Waterfalls, and Kundala Lake
  • Things to do: Camping, tea estate tours, sightseeing, picnics, trekking, photography, Shikara ride, wildlife spotting, mountain biking, staycation, spas and rejuvenation, and elephant safaris
  • Nearest airports: Cochin International Airport (105 km), Coimbatore Airport (160 km), Madurai Airport (185 km)
  • Nearest railway stations: Aluva Railway Station (105 km), Ernakulam Junction (120 km), and Coimbatore Junction (155 km)
  • Nearest city: Mysore (125 km)
  • Recommended trip duration: 2 to 3 days

3. Ooty, Tamil Nadu

Ooty
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Of all the hill stations in South India, Ooty is an all-time and old-time favorite of travelers. Blessed with viewpoints, lakes, gardens, tea estates, waterfalls, wildlife, flora and fauna, picnic spots, and historical places, it is rightly called the Queen of Hill Stations.

A major attraction here is the Nilgiri Mountain Railways, which is popularly called the ‘toy train’. It runs from Mettupalayam to Ooty and is one of the top UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.

Ooty enjoys easy accessibility from many cities including Coimbatore (85 km), Mysore (125 km), Calicut (160 km), Bangalore (270 km), and Chennai (555 km). It is around 20 km away from Coonoor and 30 km away from Kotagiri, two other major hill stations in South India.

  • Location: Nilgiris District, Tamil Nadu
  • Places to see: Ooty Lake, Doddabetta Peak, Botanical Gardens, Emerald Lake, Rose Garden, Pykara Waterfalls, Tea Factory and Tea Museum, Elk Hill Lord Murugan Temple, St. Stephen’s Church, Thread Garden, Kalhatti Falls, Avalanche Lake, Deer Park, and Needle View Hill Point
  • Things to do: Toy train rides, tea estate tours, camping, shopping for spices and chocolates, trekking through pine forests, boating, sightseeing, photography, and attending the Summer Festival
  • Nearest airports: Coimbatore International Airport (90 km), Mysore Airport (120 km), and Calicut International Airport (140 km)
  • Nearest railway stations: Mettupalayam Railway Station (50 km) and Coimbatore Junction (90 km)
  • Nearest city: Coimbatore (90 km)
  • Recommended trip duration: 2 to 3 days

Read: Top 17 Hill Stations In Tamil Nadu For A Soothing Getaway

4. Coonoor, Tamil Nadu

Coonoor
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Located about 20 km away from Ooty is another one of the top hill stations of South India – Coonoor. If you are visiting Ooty, make it a point to include Coonoor in your itinerary.

The small and scenic town is best known for its tea estates and dotted with several attractions, including waterfalls, parks, and viewpoints. Coonoor enjoys great weather all through the year and is a great summer retreat.

  • Places to see: Sim’s Park, Lamb’s Rock, Dolphin’s Nose, Ketti Valley, Droog Fort, St. George’s Church, Catherine Falls, Law’s Falls, Lady Canning’s Seat, and Highfield Tea Factory
  • Things to do: Trekking, hiking, plantation tours, nature walks, photography, and take a ride in Nilgiri Mountain Railways from Coonoor to Ooty
  • Nearest airports: Coimbatore International Airport (70 km) and Calicut International Airport (160 km)
  • Nearest railway stations: Mettupalayam Railway Station (35 km) and Coimbatore Junction (70 km)
  • Nearest city: Coimbatore (70 km)
  • Recommended trip duration: 1 day

Read: Top 22 Hill Stations Near Chennai

5. Yercaud, Tamil Nadu

Yercaud
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Yercaud, situated in the Shevaroy Hills on the Eastern Ghats, is one of the most affordable hill stations in South India. The place, which was developed in the 19th century by the British, is around 30 km away from Salem.

From coffee plantations, spice gardens, and orange groves to parks, lakes, viewpoints, waterfalls, temples, and colonial-style buildings, Yercaud has a refreshing mix of attractions and activities.

  • Location: Salem District, Tamil Nadu
  • Places to see: Emerald Lake, Pagoda Point, Rose Garden, Silk Farm, Anna Park, Lady’s Seat, Bear’s Cave, Kottachedu Teak Forest, Kiliyur Waterfall, Sri Raja Rajeshwari Temple, Montfort School, Tipperary View Point, and Shevaroy Temple  
  • Things to do: Camping, staycation, walk through the teak forests, heritage building tours, sightseeing, drive through the 32-km Loop Road, boating, trekking, plantation walks, and plantation stays
  • Nearest airports: Coimbatore International Airport (190 km) and Kempegowda International Airport in Bangalore (260 km)
  • Nearest railway stations: Salem Junction (30 km)
  • Nearest city: Salem (30 km)
  • Recommended trip duration: 1 to 2 days  

6. Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu

Kodaikanal
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Kodaikanal is called the Princess of Hill Stations and for the right reasons. Situated on Palani Hills and surrounded by thick forests, it counts among the most scenic and best hill stations in South India.

The major attractions in Kodaikanal range from lakes and parks to waterfalls and viewpoints. It is home to a wide range of romantic destinations as well, making it a preferred choice for honeymooning couples.

  • Location: Dindigul District, Tamil Nadu
  • Places to see: Kodaikanal Lake, Green Valley View, Pillar Rocks, Coakers Walk, Bear Shola Falls, Thalaiyar Falls, Berijam Lake, Bryant Park, Silver Cascade Falls, Guna Caves, Moir Point, Dolphin’s Nose, Kodaikanal Solar Observatory, Devil’s Kitchen, and Kurinji Andavar Temple
  • Things to do: Boating, sightseeing, wandering through pine forests, biking, photography, night safaris, trekking and rock climbing, hiking, birdwatching, picnics, yoga and rejuvenation, and camping in the forests
  • Nearest airports: Madurai Airport (130 km) and Coimbatore International Airport (170 km)
  • Nearest railway stations: Palani Railway Station (65 km), Kodaikanal Road Railway Station (80 km), Dindigul Junction (95 km), and Madurai Junction (115 km)
  • Nearest city: Kottayam (110 km) and Cochin (155 km)
  • Recommended trip duration: 1 to 2 days  

7. Thekkady, Kerala

Thekkady
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Thekkady is another jewel in the crown of Kerala, God’s Own Country. Located in the protected area of Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, this small and scenic town is one of the best hill stations in South India for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.

The attractions and activities in the hill station run the gamut from trekking, boating, and nature walks to viewpoints, tiger trails, jungle stays, and bamboo rafting.

The proximity of Thekkady to other South Indian hill stations such as Peermade (30 km), Gavi (40 km), Vagamon (45 km), Munnar (90 km), and Devikulam (100 km), adds to its popularity.

  • Location: Idukki District, Kerala  
  • Places to see: Periyar National Park,Murikkady, Kadathanadan Kalari Center,Vandanmedu, Periyar Tiger Trail, Periyar Lake, Pandikuzhi, Abraham’s Spice Garden, Chellarkovil Viewpoint, Mangla Devi Temple, Kumily, Mullaperiyar Dam, Spring Valley Mountain, and Green Park Ayurvedic & Spices Plantation
  • Things to do: Boat cruises, elephant rides, bamboo rafting, nature walks, trekking, jungle safaris, tiger trails, spice plantation tours, hiking, sightseeing tours, and jungle night patrolling
  • Nearest airports: Madurai Airport (150 km) and Cochin International Airport (150 km)
  • Nearest railway stations: Kottayam Railway Station (110 km), Alappuzha Railway Station (140 km), and Ernakulam Junction (155 km)
  • Nearest city: Madurai (115 km)
  • Recommended trip duration: 1 to 2 days  

8. Yelagiri, Tamil Nadu

Yelagiri
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Fancy taking a trip to one of the quaint little hill stations in South India? You can consider Yelagiri. Though not as popular or frequented as Ooty or Kodaikanal, this hill station surrounded by orchards and valleys has a charm of its own.

From lakes, nature parks, and waterfalls, temples to a good range of resorts and hotels – this small and budget-friendly South Indian hill station has everything you need for a peaceful holiday.

Yelagiri is only a few hours journey from major cities like Bangalore and Chennai, making it an ideal weekend getaway option for the city crowd. In addition to being one of the emerging hill stations in South India, Yelagiri is also a top destination for paragliding and other adventure activities.  

  • Location: Tirupattur District, Tamil Nadu
  • Places to see: Punganoor Lake, Nature Park, Jalagamparai Waterfalls, Telescope Observatory, Jalagandeeswarar Temple, Swamimalai Hills, Government Herbal Farm, Government Silk Farm, Nilavoor Lake, and Velavan Temple
  • Things to do: Paragliding, nature walks, boating, rock climbing, trekking, and farm tours
  • Nearest airports: Kempegowda International Airport in Bangalore (180 km) and Chennai International Airport (215 km)
  • Nearest railway stations: Jolarpettai Railway Station (20 km)
  • Nearest city: Bangalore (160 km) and Chennai (225 km)
  • Recommended trip duration: 1 to 2 days  

9. Chikmagalur, Karnataka

chikmagalur
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Chikmagalur, also called Chikkamagaluru, has earned a spot in the list of best hill stations in South India due to its picturesque landscape, exciting wildlife, great weather, and of course, sprawling coffee plantations.

The hill station is located in the foothills of the Mullayanagiri Peak and attracts travelers, family holidaymakers, adventure enthusiasts, and coffee lovers alike. Thanks to its proximity to Bangalore, it also serves as a weekend getaway destination.

Chikmagalur is also home to a wide range of attractions, from peaks and viewpoints to museums, temples, and wildlife sanctuaries.

  • Location: Chikmagalur District, Karnataka
  • Places to see: Kudremukh National Park, Mullayanagiri, Hebbe Falls, Baba Budangiri, Kallathigiri Falls, Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhadra Dam, Coffee Museum, Jhari Waterfalls, Kemmangundi, Ballalarayana Durga Fort, Sringeri Sharada Peetha, and Z Point
  • Things to do: Trekking, camping, plantation walks, coffee estate tours, river rafting, kayaking, jeep safaris, jet skiing, plantation homestays, local sightseeing, and photography
  • Nearest airports: Mangalore International Airport (160 km), Mysore Airport (185 km), and Kempegowda International Airport in Bangalore (265 km)
  • Nearest railway stations: Kadur Junction (40 km)
  • Nearest city: Mangalore (150 km) and Mysore (170 km)
  • Recommended trip duration: 1 to 2 days  

Read: Top Hill Stations Near Hyderabad For An Unforgettable Holiday

10. Ananthagiri Hills, Telangana

Ananthagiri
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Ananthagiri Hills is not only one of the most-visited hill stations in South India but also a place dotted with spiritual and religious landmarks, including caves, forts, and temples. Located on the Eastern Ghats, it is the birthplace of River Musi.

What makes Ananthagiri Hills one of the top South Indian hill stations is its proximity to Hyderabad (80 km). With a good range of trekking trails, plantations, viewpoints, and lakes, it caters to adventure seekers and nature lovers in equal degrees.

  • Location: Vikarabad District, Telangana
  • Places to see: Godamguda Viewpoint, Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Bhavanasi Lake, Musi River, and Nagasamudram Lake
  • Things to do: Trekking, camping, boating, photography, nature walks, and kayaking
  • Nearest airports: Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (85 km)
  • Nearest railway stations: Vikarabad Junction (8 km)
  • Nearest city: Hyderabad (85 km)
  • Recommended trip duration: 1 day   

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