8 Offbeat places to visit in Karnataka for your next tourist-free holiday

Places to visit in Karnataka ideal for weekend trip and tourists

Will most people from Bangalore head to Kerala and Tamil Nadu for peaceful vacations, there a myriad offbeat and unknown places to visit in Karnataka that are free of annoying crowds of tourists. With serene atmospheres, no commercial tourism and wonderful scenic beauty, here are the best unknown travel destinations in Karnataka perfect for your next holiday away from people.

Wildlife Sanctuary, Hill Station, Beaches and Famous Rivers you must visit

Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary

source: Flickr | Nitin Vyas

Covering an area of 834 sq. kms on the banks of River Kali, Dandeli is one of Karnataka’s largest wildlife sanctuaries. The peaceful and forested environment of Dandeli makes it the best place for a relaxing vacation. The dense forests and the River Kali make the region the perfect home for wild animals, and you can spot leopards, elephants, antelopes, tigers, bears, reptiles (snakes and crocodiles) here. You can also partake in adventure activities such as trekking, river rafting and kayaking in Dandeli.



Agumbe, also known as the “Cherrapunji of the South”, is one of the wettest places in Karnataka and is home to some of the most pristine tropical rainforests in India. Trekking here is a heavenly experience as the extremely green terrain and multitude of waterfalls burst into life during the monsoons. Due to the tropical rainforests, a number of snakes can be found in the region and one of the more common species happens to be the King Cobra, so tread carefully!

St. Mary’s Islands

St. Mary's Island

A set of four islands off the coast of Malpe, Udupi, the St. Mary’s Islands are among the last few unexplored beaches in India. Known for their famous hexagonal basalt rocks which are formed due to volcanic lava drying up, these islands have been declared as an important site for Geo tourism in Karnataka. The beaches and surrounding waters are unbelievably pristine and taking those two boat rides from Malpe to reach here is definitely worth it.



Maravanthe is home to perhaps the best road in India; With the waters of the Arabian Sea lapping against one side and the Souparnika River flowing alongside the other, driving/riding on this road is a heavenly experience. Located on the Panvel-Eddapally highway at a distance of 105 kms from Mangalore, Maravanthe is home to untouched beaches including Trasi and Turtle Bay where you can relax or engage in water sports depending on your mood. Maravanthe lies on the way from Udupi/Mangalore/Manipal to Goa/Gokarna/Karwar.



The Kudremukh National Park is a huge wildlife sanctuary situated around 96 kilometres from Chikmagalur. It derives its name from the Kudremukh (Kudre – Horse, Mukha – Face ) hill which resembles the face of a horse and is the 3rd largest peak in Karnataka. This entire region is a trekkers paradise with numerous trails ranging over the grass-covered hills interspersed by thick evergreen forests. Due to the perfect environment, the National Park is home to tigers, leopards, gaurs, bears and deer. Three life-giving rivers of Karnataka – Tunga, Bhadra, and Nethravati, happen to originate in the Kudremukh National Park which is one of the best offbeat places to visit in Karnataka.



None can displace Hampi as the most important archaeological site in Karnataka but Halebid comes close. A city filled with dilapidated ruins from the Hoysala era, Halebid is home to temples, shrines and other exotic examples of old architecture. Halebid is steeped in spirituality with the Hoysaleswara temple, Belur, Shantaleswara temple, Kedareswara temple and a number of Jain temples residing in this quaint city. Unlike Hampi, which is always full of tourists, Halebid is a much more relaxed and crowd-free travel destination in Karnataka.



Gokarna is what Goa used to be in the 1970s; a laid-back and relaxed coastal town where all the youngsters and hippies came to escape from their hectic city lives. With pristine beaches and lack of commercial tourism, Gokarna is the best place to visit if you don’t want to deal with the crowds and high prices in Goa. Gokarna is also a temple town which kind of attributes to its atmosphere of being a place disconnected from the modern world.



Kollur is a small temple town located at the foot of the Western Ghats in the Udupi district of Karnataka. The Sri Kollur Mookambika Temple lies in this town which is one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in Karnataka. Even if you’re not too much of a theist, there are plenty of other things to do in Kollur. The Kashi Theertha is a beautiful river spot with a bridge and forest trekking opportunities about 1 km from the Mookambika temple. Also the Kodachadri mountain, a densely forested hill which is the 10th highest in Karnataka, forms a stunning background to the temple and is definitely worth visiting from Kollur.

Suggested Read: 10 most scenic hill stations near Bangalore for nature lovers

Which one of these offbeat places to visit in Karnataka are you most excited to visit? Let us know in the comments below.

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