Tourism

12 Hill Stations In Karnataka For A Scenic Vacation

The hill stations in Karnataka are ideal destinations for enjoying a relaxing time away from your daily grind. Whether you are looking for a short one-day trip or a luxurious weekend getaway, the state has plenty of options to explore. Know all about best scenic hill stations in Karnataka

The mountain ranges of the Western Ghats traverse through several districts of the state, including Kodagu, Chikmagalur, Shivamogga, and others. As a result, many of the best and scenic hill stations in Karnataka are in these districts.

Karnataka hill stations are an eclectic mix of popular and off-beat destinations. On the one hand, the state has many renowned holiday locations like Coorg and Chikmagalur, while on the other, it is home to several small hills and hill towns such as Agumbe, BR Hills, Sirsi, and Sakleshpur.

Read: Mesmerizing Hills And Hill Stations Near Bangalore

Top 12 Hill Stations In Karnataka

Given below is a list of top hill stations in Karnataka where you can enjoy some peaceful moments in the company of nature.

In addition to the most-visited destinations, we have also included some of the famous hill stations in Karnataka known for trekking and adventure activities.

1. Coorg

Coorg
12 Hill Stations In Karnataka For A Scenic Vacation 13

One of the best and most popular hill stations in Karnataka, Coorg or Kodagu is a district located in the Western Ghats. It is a paradise for all kinds of travelers and caters to nature lovers, trekkers, adventure buffs, and families.

Expansive coffee plantations, pleasant climatic conditions, gurgling waterfalls, misty mountains, and a wide range of tourist attractions dotted across the district make Coorg one of the best hill stations in Karnataka. It also counts among the top hill stations in South India.

Other notable attractions here are plantation homestays, homemade wines, homemade chocolates, honey, delicious Kodava cuisines, aromatic coffee, and trekking trails. Coorg is also home to Namdroling Monastery, one of the largest Tibetan settlements in India.

The major center in the Coorg region is Madikeri town, which can be easily accessed from many South Indian cities and towns.

  • Where: Kodagu District
  • Ideal trip duration: 2- 3 days
  • Nearest airport: Kannur International Airport in Kerala (90 km)
  • Nearest railway station: Kannur (110 km), Thalassery (110 km), Mysore (120 km), and Mangalore (130 km)

Nearest cities and towns to Coorg

  • Hassan (105 km)
  • Kannur in Kerala (110 km)
  • Thalassery in Kerala (110 km)
  • Mysore (120 km),
  • Mangalore (130 km)
  • Calicut in Kerala (175 km)
  • Bangalore (270 km)

Top attractions in Coorg

  • Namdroling Monastery
  • Abbey Falls
  • Raja’s Seat
  • Raja’s Tomb
  • Nagarhole National Park
  • Cauvery Nisargadhama
  • Dubare Elephant Camp
  • Madikeri Fort
  • Talakaveri Temple
  • Iruppu Falls
  • Omkareshwara Temple
  • Mallalli Waterfalls
  • Talakaveri
  • Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Mandalpatti Peak

Top activities to do in Coorg

  • Camping
  • Plantation homestays
  • Plantation tours
  • Whitewater rafting in the Barapole river
  • Trekking and hiking
  • Rock climbing and rappelling
  • Jeep safaris in Nagarhole National Park
  • Food trips and shopping
  • Shop for honey, spices, chocolates, and other local items

2. Chikmagalur

chikmagalur
12 Hill Stations In Karnataka For A Scenic Vacation 14

Blessed with favorable climate, tropical rainforests, and coffee plantations, Chikmagalur (Chikkamagaluru) is one of the most scenic hill stations in Karnataka.

It is located in the Chikkamagaluru district, in the foothills of the highest peak in Karnataka – the Mullayanagiri Peak. Did you know that the very first coffee plantation in the country was established in Chikmagalur?

This scenic Karnataka hill station also has an abundance of natural attractions, trekking trails, wildlife, and sightseeing options. The nature camps and adventure activities at the Bhadra river are also major crowd pullers.

  • Where: Chikkamagaluru District
  • Ideal trip duration: 1 -2 days
  • Nearest airport: Mangalore International Airport (160 km)
  • Nearest railway station: Kadur (40 km)

Nearest cities and towns to Chikmagalur

  • Belur (35 km)
  • Hassan (70 km)
  • Mangalore (150 km)
  • Bangalore (245 km)
  • Mysore (171 km)

Top attractions in Chikmagalur

  • Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Bhadra Dam
  • Kemmangundi (a hill station in Chikkamagaluru district)
  • Kudremukh National Park
  • Hebbe Falls
  • Mullayanagiri
  • Hornadu Annapoorneshwari Temple
  • Baba Budangiri
  • Coffee Museum
  • Sringeri Sharada Peetham
  • Kallathigiri Falls
  • Jhari Waterfalls
  • Ballalarayana Durga Fort
  • Z point
  • Sri Veeranarayana Swamy Temple, Belavadi

Top activities to do in Chikmagalur

  • Bhadra river camps and nature camps
  • Rafting and other water sports in the Bhadra river
  • Trekking to Mullayanagiri and Kudremukh
  • Tea plantation walks and tours
  • Coffee estate tours
  • Kayaking, boating, jet skiing, and other water sports at Yagachi Dam
  • Jeep safaris
  • Plantation homestays
  • Local sightseeing
  • Photography
  • Birdwatching

3. BR Hills

BR Hills
BR Hills. Image Source Kalyan Varma

Located in the southernmost district of Chamarajanagar, BR Hills or the Biligiri Rangana Hills is another popular name in the list of must-visit Karnataka hill stations. It is a protected reserve and shares its borders with the Erode district of Tamil Nadu.

As a region located at the confluence of the Eastern and Western Ghats, BR Hills, one of the best hill stations in Karnataka, is home to an exciting range of wildlife, flora, and fauna. Since the Cauvery River flows through the region, it is also an ideal destination for fishing, angling, and river rafting.

As the hill station is located close to Mysore (85 km) and Bangalore (175 km), it is also one of the preferred weekend getaways of nature lovers, photographers, and wildlife enthusiasts living in these cities.

Besides being one of the top hill stations in Karnataka, BR Hills is known for another interesting factor – it was once the home of Veerappan, the notorious Indian bandit, poacher, and smuggler.  

  • Where: Chamarajanagar District
  • Ideal trip duration: 1 -2 days
  • Nearest airports: Mysore Airport (80 km) and Coimbatore International Airport (150 km)
  • Nearest railway station: Chamarajanagar Railway Station (45 km)

Nearest cities and towns to BR Hills

  • Mysore (85 km)
  • Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu (155 km)
  • Erode in Tamil Nadu (160 km)
  • Bangalore (175 km)

Top attractions in BR Hills

  • BRT Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple
  • Dodda Sampige Mara

Top activities to do in BR Hills

  • Trekking
  • Camping
  • Jungle safaris and wildlife spotting
  • River rafting
  • Fishing and angling

4. Agumbe

Agumbe
Augumbe

A small village settlement located in the Shimoga (also called Shivamogga) district, Agumbe is best known for its waterfalls, rainforests, rich biodiversity, and trekking trails. As the region receives high rainfalls, it is also called the Cherrapunji of South India.

The village of Agumbe has a research station dedicated to the study of King Cobras – the reason why it is known as the Cobra Capital. The Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary is also located about 20 km from here.

The village has an interesting mix of attractions for travelers, including temples, sunset viewpoints, waterfalls, and more. If you are looking to visit one of the most unique and serene hill stations in Karnataka, make sure to add Agumbe to your bucket list.

Did you, as a child, love watching Malgudi Days, the 1985 television series? Here’s one more reason to visit Agumbe – many episodes of the series were shot here.

  • Where: Shivamogga District
  • Ideal trip duration: 1 -2 days
  • Nearest airports: Mangalore International Airport (100 km)
  • Nearest railway station: Udupi Railway Station (50 km) and Mangalore Junction (100 km)

Nearest cities and towns to Agumbe

  • Udupi (60 km)
  • Shivamogga/Shimoga (95 km)
  • Mangalore (110 km)
  • Mysore (275 km)
  • Bangalore (350 km)

Top attractions in Agumbe

  • Sunset Viewpoint
  • Kunchikal Falls
  • Barkana Falls
  • Koodlu Theertha Falls
  • Jogigundi Falls
  • Onake Abbi Falls
  • Gopala Krishna Temple
  • Agumbe Rainforest Research Station (ARRS)
  • Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary

Top activities to do in Agumbe

  • Trekking
  • Photography
  • Wildlife exploration and spotting
  • River rafting at the Sitanadi river
  • Sunset watching

5. Kemmanagundi

kemmangundi
Kemmanagundi. Image Source Yathin S Krishnappa

Kemmanagundi (also called Kemmannugundi and Kemmangundi) is one of the hill stations in Karnataka where you can experience nature at its best. This small hill station in the Chikkamagaluru district once served as the summer retreat of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV.

Dotted with many scenic attractions, waterfalls, viewpoints, and lush green peaks, the region offers a wonderful experience to travelers. Another reason why Kemmanagundi is counted among the best Karnataka hill stations is the trekking and adventure opportunities it offers.

  • Where: Chikkamagaluru District
  • Ideal trip duration: 1 -2 days
  • Nearest airport: Mangalore International Airport (220 km) and Mysore Airport (220 km)
  • Nearest railway station: Birur Junction (35 km), Kadur Junction (40 km), and Shimoga Railway Station (70 km)

Nearest cities and towns to Kemmanagundi

  • Chikmagalur town (60 km)
  • Shimoga/ Shivamogga (70 km)
  • Hassan (120 km)
  • Mangalore (210 km)
  • Mysore (215 km)
  • Bangalore (275 km)

Top attractions in Kemmanagundi

  • Z Point
  • Rock Garden
  • Hebbe Falls
  • Kallathigiri Falls (Kalhatti Falls)
  • Shanti Falls

Top activities to do in Kemmanagundi

  • Trekking
  • Local sightseeing
  • Photography

6. Kodachadri 

Kodachadri
Kodachadri. Image Source Adityaprasad42

A mountain peak situated in the Western Ghats, Kodachadri (also called Kutachadri) is a natural heritage site in Karnataka. It is located in Shimoga/Shivamogga district, right at the heart of Mookambika National Park.

Kodachadri, one of the best hill stations in Karnataka, draws travelers due to two reasons. Firstly, it houses one of the best and most-visited trekking trails in the state. Secondly, the famous Mookambika Temple in Kollur is located here. The rolling green hills of Kodachadri form the backdrop of the temple, making it a sight to behold.

Known for its rich biodiversity, dense Shola forests, and unmistakable spiritual vibes, Kodachadri is indeed one of the most unique hill stations in Karnataka for trekking enthusiasts and devotees. What’s more, the region is also dotted with several places of interest.

  • Where: Shivamogga District
  • Ideal trip duration: 1 -2 days
  • Nearest airport: Mangalore International Airport (170 km)
  • Nearest railway station: Kundapura Railway Station (75 km)

Nearest cities and towns to Kodachadri

  • Kollur (40 km)
  • Udupi (110 km)
  • Shimoga/ Shivamogga (110 km)
  • Mangalore (165 km)
  • Mysore (360 km)
  • Bangalore (415 km)

Top attractions in Kodachadri

  • Kollur Mookambika Temple
  • Hidlumane Falls
  • Sarvajna Peeth
  • Ganapati Cave
  • Arasinagundi Falls
  • Nagara Fort
  • Chitramoola Cave
  • Belakallu Theertha

Top activities to do in Kodachadri

  • Trekking
  • Local sightseeing  

7. Kudremukh

Kudremukh
Kudremukh. Image Source Bhanurising

Kudremukh, one of the small hill stations in Karnataka, is located in the Chikmagalur district. It is home to Kudremukh mountain peak, the second-highest mountain peak in the state. The place boasts rich biodiversity and great natural beauty and is a paradise for trekkers.  

Nestled on the Western Ghats, it is part of the Kudremukh National Park. The mountainside resembles the face of a horse and hence the place is called Kudremukh, which means ‘the face of a horse’ in Kannada.

Located a short trip away from Mangalore, Bangalore, and Mysore, this unexplored hill serves as an ideal destination for short trips. Other Karnataka hill stations such as Agumbe (80 km), Kundadri (80 km), and Chikmagalur (105 km) are also located near Kudremukh.

  • Where: Chikkamagaluru District
  • Ideal trip duration: 1 -2 days
  • Nearest airport: Mangalore International Airport (95 km)
  • Nearest railway station: Mangalore Junction (100 km)

Nearest cities and towns to Kudremukh

  • Udupi (95 km)
  • Chikmagalur town (105 km)
  • Mangalore (110 km)
  • Shimoga town (145 km)
  • Mysore (260 km)
  • Bangalore (330 km)

Top attractions in Kudremukh

  • Kudremukh National Park
  • Kudremukh Peak
  • Lakya Dam
  • Gangamoola
  • Hanuman Gundi Falls
  • Horanadu
  • Kalasa
  • Kadambi Waterfalls

Top activities to do in Kudremukh

  • Trekking
  • Local sightseeing

8. Sakleshpur

sakleshpur
View from Agani Peak, Sakleshpur. Image Source Shanmugamp7

Tucked away in the lap of the Western Ghats, Sakleshpur is a small and picturesque hill station in the Hassan district. Famous for its pristine landscapes, the town is enveloped by large expanses of green hills covered with coffee, spice, and areca plantations.

For avid travelers, there are several places to visit in Sakleshpur, including forts, waterfalls, temples, and viewpoints. With a good range of adventure activities and sightseeing options, this scenic hill station promises you an enjoyable holiday.

What’s more, Sakleshpur is located around 100 km away from one of the most popular hill stations in Karnataka – Coorg. So, if you are planning a trip to Coorg, you can easily add this small hill town to your itinerary.

  • Where: Hassan District
  • Ideal trip duration: 1 to 2 days
  • Nearest airport: Mangalore International Airport (140 km)
  • Nearest railway station: Sakleshpur Railway Station (2 km) and Hassan Junction (40 km)

Nearest cities and towns to Sakleshpur

  • Hassan (40 km)
  • Madikeri (100 km)
  • Mangalore (130 km)
  • Mysore (150 km)
  • Shimoga (155 km)
  • Bangalore (220 km)

Top attractions in Sakleshpur

  • Manjarabad Fort
  • Sri Sakleshwara Swamy Temple
  • Bisle Reserve Forest
  • Agni Gudda Hill
  • Manjehalli Waterfalls
  • Kukke Subramanya Temple
  • Pandavar Gudda
  • Jenukal Gudda
  • Ombattu Gudda
  • Murkannu Gudda and Hadlu Waterfall
  • Belur And Halebid Temples
  • Bisle View Point
  • Betta Byraveshwara Temple
  • Hemavathi Backwaters
  • Hadlu waterfalls
  • Shettihalli Rosary Church

Top activities to do in Sakleshpur

  • Camping
  • Plantation tours
  • Trekking to the waterfalls and peaks in Sakleshpur
  • Local sightseeing
  • Temple tours
  • Water-sports and activities at Hemavathi River

9. Sirsi

Sirsi
12 Hill Stations In Karnataka For A Scenic Vacation 15

Sirsi, a hill town in Uttara Kannada, offers a refreshing mix of experiences – from cascading waterfalls, towering hills, scenic viewpoints, and spiritual landmarks to tropical evergreen forests, tasty cuisines, and aromatic spices.

Nestled right at the heart of the Western Ghats, Sirsi is among the most scenic hill stations in Karnataka. With plenty of attractions to explore and experience, the town is favored by nature lovers, trekkers, and temple devotees alike.

  • Where: Uttara Kannada District
  • Ideal trip duration: 1 to 2 days
  • Nearest airport: Hubli Airport (105 km)
  • Nearest railway station: Talguppa (55 km), Kumta (60 km), Haveri (75 km), and Hubli Junction (120 km)

Nearest cities and towns to Sirsi

  • Gokarna (85 km)
  • Hubli (105 km)
  • Shimoga (140 km)
  • Belgaum (200 km)
  • Mangalore (260)
  • Mysore (380 km)
  • Bangalore (405 km)

Top attractions in Sirsi

  • Sri Marikamba Temple
  • Sahashralinga
  • Unchalli Falls
  • Shivaganga Falls
  • Muregar Falls
  • Burude Falls
  • Mattighatta Falls
  • Benne Hole Falls
  • Sodhe
  • Banavasi
  • Kailasa Gudda
  • Gudavi Bird Sanctuary
  • Yana Rocks

Top activities to do in Sirsi

  • Temple tours
  • Local sightseeing
  • Photography
  • Trekking

10. Nandi Hills

Nandi Hills
12 Hill Stations In Karnataka For A Scenic Vacation 16

The name Nandi Hills needs no introduction, especially if you are living in Bangalore. Located about 60 km away from the city, it is the perfect destination to watch beautiful sunrises, unwind, explore, and engage in adventure activities.

Unlike many other hill stations in Karnataka, Nandi Hills best serves as a destination for one-day trips. Do you have some extra time on hand? Make sure to go for a wine tour at the Grover Zampa Vineyard located near Nandi Hills.

With several trek routes and trails, Nandi Hills is also a favorite trekking destination near Bangalore. The place, which once served as the summer retreat of Tipu Sultan, is dotted with a few historic monuments and attractions.

  • Where: Chikkaballapur District
  • Ideal trip duration: 1 day
  • Nearest airport: Kempegowda International Airport (40 km)
  • Nearest railway station: Chikkaballapu Railway Station (25 km) and Bangalore City (60 km)

Nearest cities and towns to Nandi Hills

  • Chikkaballapur town (30 km)
  • Bangalore (60 km)
  • Mysore (220 km)

Top attractions in Nandi Hills

  • Tipu Sultan’s Fort
  • Tipu’s Drop
  • Tipu’s Summer Residence
  • Amrita Sarovar
  • Brahmashram
  • Bhoga Nandeeswara Temple
  • Yoga Nandeeshwara Temple
  • Grover’s Zampa Vineyard
  • Muddena Halli Museum
  • Nehru Nilaya
  • Channapura Falls

Top activities to do in Nandi Hills

  • Sunrise watching
  • Cycling
  • Trekking
  • Paragliding
  • Local sightseeing
  • Picnics

11. Kundadri Hill

Kundadri Jain Temple
Kundadri Jain Temple. Image Source Manjeshpv

A scenic hillock in the Western Ghats with a Jain Temple that dates back to the 17th century, Kundadri is a hidden gem in Karnataka. Located in the Shivamogga district, it is covered by dense forests.

The place is ideal for one-day trips and promises you surreal views of the surrounding regions. Agumbe, one of the must-visit hill stations in Karnataka, is a short distance (less than 20 km) away from Kundadri.

You can also club your trip to Kundadri with two other nearby attractions – the temple town of Sringeri and Kuppalli, both located about 30 km away.

  • Where: Shivamogga District
  • Ideal trip duration: 1 day
  • Nearest airport: Mangalore International Airport (115 km)
  • Nearest railway station: Udupi Railway Station (70 km) and Shimoga Railway Station (100 km)

Nearest cities and towns to Kundadri

  • Thirthahalli (33 km)
  • Udupi (80 km)
  • Shimoga town (90 km)
  • Mangalore (125 km)
  • Bangalore (350 Km)

Top attractions in Kundadri

  • Jain Temple

Top activities to do in Kundadri

  • Watching sunrises and sunsets
  • Trekking

12. Antara Gange

Antara Gange
Antara Gange. Image Source Manjeshpv

Antara Gange (Anthargange) is a rocky hill range tucked away in the Shathashrunga Mountain Ranges. Located in the Kolar district, about 70 km from Bangalore, it is a great location for short trips and adventure escapades.

Sri Kashi Vishweshwara Temple and its underground natural spring are the main attractions in Antara Gange. The place is also ideal for adventure activities such as trekking and rock climbing.

As the rocky hill is dotted with many small caves, cave exploration is also a popular activity here.

  • Where: Kolar District
  • Ideal trip duration: 1 day
  • Nearest airport: Kempegowda International Airport (75 km)
  • Nearest railway station: Kolar Railway Station (5 km)

Nearest cities and towns to Antara Gange

  • Kolar town (3.5 km)
  • Bangalore (70 km)

Top attractions in Antara Gange

  • Sri Kashi Vishweshwara Temple (Anthargange Temple)
  • Caves
  • Natural springs

Top activities to do in Antara Gange

  • Cave exploration
  • Night trekking
  • Rock climbing

Now that you have a list of some of the most alluring and best hill stations in Karnataka, why wait? Plan a trip and spend some quality time in the company of nature.

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