One of the most under-rated tourist destinations of India, Karnataka boasts of long, pristine beaches, cloud-enveloped hills, dense and deep forests, breathtaking palaces, history-steeped heritage sites, sacred temples and churches, as well as urban metropolitan humdrum. It is indeed a difficult, almost impossible task, to come up with a Karnataka itinerary to tour the myriad sites of the state in seven days and not go away feeling like you still have so much left to explore.
Each site is remarkably different from the other and at the end of it all, you are left wondering if it was seriously just one single state that you had covered. Such, of course, is the charm and allure of a Karnataka trip!
Keeping in mind the hustle-bustle of our regular routines, we have curated just for you an ideal 7-Day Karnataka tour that will take you to the key sites of the state.
Karnataka Itinerary Snapshot:
Day 1– Arrival and sightseeing in Bengaluru
Day 2– Mysuru
Day 3– Hassan
Day 4– Coorg – Kushalnagar
Day 5– Mangalore- Udupi
Day 6– Gokarna
Day 7– Hampi
Planning your Karnataka tour
How to reach Bangalore?
Kempegowda International Airport or the city railway station would be your arrival points in the city depending on your mode of travel. If you are travelling from any of the surrounding states, ample number of daily buses are available to reach Bangalore.
What are the most popular tourist destinations in Karnataka?
The geographical diversity of Karnataka is perhaps unparalleled. Some most-visited places are:
Bangalore- Not just the silicon valley of India, it has a rich history to boast of.
Mysuru- One of the cleanest cities in India, Mysore has much more than its famous Palace.
Hampi- The history buff’s paradise, the ruins of Hampi are a marvel to behold.
Gokarna- Swimming in the sea, seafood in the shack, strolling on the shores. Need we say more?
Coorg- Kushalnagar- Drench yourself in the heady aroma of the coffee plantations and cascading waterfalls of the Western Ghats.
Chikmagalur- Another hill station to soothe your tired soul.
Mangalore- For pristine beaches and mouth-watering cuisine.
Udupi- Vasco da Gama set his foot here to enter India.
Bandipur and Nagarhole National Park- For the thrill of a jungle safari.
Badami Caves– Fascinating rock-cut cave temples
Hassan and Shravanabelagola– Temples, ruins and a massive monolithic statue of Baahubali.
Also Read: 7-Day Meghalaya Itinerary
Is Karnataka safe for solo travelling?
Karnataka is undoubtedly safe for solo travel with all tourist destinations being well-connected by roads and having multiple options of public transport.
What is the best season to go on a Karnataka trip?
Bangalore is blessed with moderate climate throughout the year and the hill stations are definitely a joy in the summer months. The other towns, beaches and forests, however, can get rather hot and humid in summer and hence, October- March would be the ideal time to travel across the state. There are plenty of hotels and homestays available in all the tourist spots and cater to travellers of all budgets.
Is the trip to Karnataka affordable for budget and backpacking travels?
Karnataka offers a wide range of facilities to suit every pocket. From luxury suites to humble homestays, you can opt for what fits your need.
Is Karnataka a suitable choice for young travellers and senior citizens?
Absolutely! You will be travelling to and from sites in cars or buses and you can skip the treks. Carrying enough water on your visits to heritage sites should be enough to comfort your family.
Details of your 7-day Karnataka Itinerary
Arrival and Sightseeing in Bangalore
Bangalore is the largest and capital city of Karnataka. Well-connected by flights and trains from most cities of India, Bangalore boasts of an amalgamation of palaces, national parks, museums and pubs to kick start your Karnataka Vacation.
Try reaching Bangalore the night before or early in the morning so that you can make the most of your day. Head straight to the Bangalore Palace and let your eyes soak in the multiple hues of this European-style architecture. With intricate carvings and splendid decor, the palace will give you a glimpse into the past of this busy, urban technological hub.
Visit the Iskcon temple in Rajajinagar next and the Tipu Sultan Summer Palace thereafter. Both of these architectural marvels adorn the skyline of the city and draw many tourists to their doorsteps.
Your next stop should be Lalbagh Botanical Garden to see its lush and luxurious gardens.
The highlight of your day will be the Banerghatta National Park, but don’t forget to take a small detour to the Bull Temple on your way. The animal safari at Banerghatta will be a memorable experience as you wander in a caged vehicle through the carefully constructed sanctuary and see tiger, lions, elephants, bears and other species in their almost-natural habitat. Take some time to go to the butterfly museum next door.
Drive down from Banerghatta to the Pyramid Valley in Kanakapura on the outskirts of the city. Catch the sunset here- the view is breathtaking! It is a meditation centre built amidst a sprawling landscape and will end your trip to Bangalore on a calming note. The centre closes at 6 p.m., so check if you have enough time on your hand.
Spend the last part of your evening shopping in the M.G. Road- Commercial Street area or chilling in one of the pubs in Koramangala or Indiranagar before resting for the night. Also, try to visit the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath and the Big Banyan Tree in Uttarahalli, Hobli.
In case you miss out on any of these on Day 1, you could always visit them on the day you depart from Bangalore.
Mysuru is a 3-hour drive away from Bangalore. Outstation cabs, buses as well as trains are available. It’s advised to leave early to make the most of your second day of Karnataka tour. Your first stop must be the Mysore Palace, which is the former abode of the Royal family of the Wadiyars and is an exquisite blend of Indian, Islamic and European architectural traditions. The beauty of the palace gardens and the elegance and splendour of the palace itself will leave you quite dumbfounded.
The Tipu Sultan fort and Ranganathaswamy Temple in the town of Srirangapatna are outside the city borders but the drive is worth it. The Somanathapura Temple, St. Philomena’s Church, Lalitha Mahal Palace, and Karanji Lake are a few of the suggested spots to visit.
Also, the Folklore Museum, Railway Museum, Bonsai Garden, and Balmuri Falls are some of the most-visited places in the city of Mysore.
You can also visit the Chamundi Hills for an elevated view of the surroundings. Enter the Vrindavan gardens in the evening and see the light and sound show which happens around 7 p.m. It will be a relaxing end to an otherwise fulfilling day in the marvellous city of Mysore.
Also Read: 4-Day Goa Itinerary
The historical town of Hassan is a 3-hour drive from Mysore. The seat of the Hoysala Empire in the 10th to 12th century is noted for the Lakshmidevi Temple, Bucesvara temple and the Someshwara temple.
Located 51 kms from Hassan, the Shravanabelagola region is famed for its 27-metre high statue of Lord Baahubali and is the tallest monolithic statue in the world. Don’t miss the Chennakeshava Temple in Belur nearby.
Head next to the star-shaped Manjarabad Fort built by Tipu Sultan. An interesting addition to your trip would be the site known as Drowning Church, just 13 kms from Hassan. The area remains completely submerged during the monsoon and can only be seen after the water recedes.
The Hoysaleshwara Temple at Halebid is well known for the various artistic carvings on its walls and draws tourists from far and wide. With so many fascinating structures to visit in Hassan, you will not regret your stay here ever.
A 3-hour ride from Hassan will transport you from the magical ruins of history to the majestic hills of the Kodagu district, also known as Coorg.
The must-visit places list is quite dense here: the coffee estates, the Abbey Falls, Talacauvery (a sacred site believed to be the source of river Cauvery), Nagarhole National Park (chances of actual animal sightings are rare though), Honnamana Kere Lake and the Raja’s seat (a garden with splendid sunset views).
The adventurous can get into White River Rafting in Barapole River. Give yourself a mesmerising treat by visiting the Buddhist Namdroling Monastery in the nearby town of Kushalnagar. Since it’s a Tibetan settlement, missing out on the momos would surely be a mistake!
Visit the Dubare Elephant Camp here for an offbeat experience of bathing the gentle tuskers.
If you seek some outdoors activity, trek to Tadiandamol Peak, the third highest mountain in Karnataka and be enamoured by the stupendous views around; but you will need at least 5 hours to complete this journey.
Coorg is sprinkled with many quaint homestays and you should try one of them instead of the regular hotels. Don’t forget to sip into the various flavoured teas outside the plantations. Carry home the freshly plucked spices. The homemade wines and chocolates available at the many shops are a must-have too!
From the soaring hills of the Western Ghats, plummet straight down to the Arabian Sea to the port town of Mangalore. The Panambur, Someshwara and Tannirbhavi beaches are the most popular.
Temples to see: Kudroli Gokarnath temple, Kadri Manjunatha Temple, Kateel Durgaparameshwari Temple, Shri Sharavu Mahaganapathi Temple, Polali Rajarajeshwari Temple, Saavira Kambada Basadi (a Jain Temple). Of course, you can plan to visit as many of them based on your convenience.
Churches to see: St. Aloysius, Rosario Cathedral, Milagres Church.
Udupi is about 1 hour 30 minutes drive away from Mangalore and is the origin of the famed Udupi cuisine. Visit the St. Mary’s island where Vasco Da Gama is believed to have entered India.
Also on your list should be the Kaup Beach, Malpe Beach, Kudlu falls, the Anejhari Butterfly camp and Pajaka Kshetra, the birthplace of Sri Madhavacharya. There are several temples to see in this town as well, specially the Sri Krishna Matha.
While in Mangalore, try the special dishes of Mangalorean cuisine- Neer dosa and ghee roast mutton (or chicken).
Continuing on the trail of the Arabian Sea, reach the calm and tranquil waters of Gokarna.
The beaches are clean, mostly populated by foreigners and the beachside shacks have some to-die-for seafood. Pomfret Prawn Masala, Kingfish along with some other delicacies are a must-try.
Namaste Cafe on Om beach is the most famous one. Trek to Kudle beach from Om beach and enjoy some water sports as well. You could also trek to Yaana, known for its unique rock formations.
No matter which place of this Karnataka itinerary you might be allured to give a miss, Hampi is an absolute must-visit whether you loved your history lessons or not.
If you are ready to give your 4-star accommodation a miss, our suggestion would be to stay in what is known as the hippie side of Hampi. Reach the ghats of the Tungabhadra river and cross over on a ferry to suddenly find yourself in a quaint little village dotted with restaurants and hotels filled with foreign backpackers.
Visit the Virupaksha temple, Vittala temple, Zenana enclosure, Queen’s bath, Lakshmi- Narasimha temple and the Archaeological museum. You can hire an auto to all the sites, and learn the fascinating history of the places.
Depending on your vacation length, you could stay the night at Hampi or take an overnight bus back to Bangalore.
Concluding your Karnataka Trip
A complete understanding of the culture and heritage of the state is perhaps impossible in a week of Karnataka tour, but you will definitely go back a more enlightened person. We want to reiterate that to enjoy the full splendour that the place has to offer, you may have to stay beyond the prescribed time and stretch it to 10 or even a 12-Day Karnataka itinerary.