Bangalore is the capital of Karnataka state in South India. Karnataka is a rich and green region full of natural resources.
It has jungles, national parks, rivers, waterfalls, backwaters, long coast and coastal villages, scuba diving spots, traditional food, thousands of years old temples, rocks to climb, coffee and tea gardens, spice farms, butterfly parks, and add to the list whatever may come to your mind.
The natural diversity within Karnataka makes it a must-visit state on your India travel. And Bangalore is that green but crowded city of Karnataka from which all of the above places can be visited.
The caveat here is that the plethora of lists on the internet that talk about the many places near Bangalore also list down the destinations that may lie at 500 km away from Bengaluru and never mention that at least two days would be needed for the round trip.
In this article, we will talk about the best places to visit near Bangalore distance-wise.
Places to visit near Bangalore within 300 km
BR Hills or Biligiri Rangana Betta Hills
BR Hills lies about 180 km south of Bengaluru. At least 20 percent of Karnataka’s total area is covered by forest. BR Hills Wildlife Sanctuary is a quintessential national park of the state that makes for one of the best weekend getaways from Bangalore as it only takes about 4-5 hours to drive there.
At an altitude of 3500 feet above sea level, BR hills are located at the junction of the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats. Either you can stay there in the BR Hills Jungle Lodges(the official Karnataka Government-run accommodation) or in any other hotel in the area that is close to the sanctuary.
If you book a place in the BR Hills Jungle Lodges you will get a package that will include accommodation, meals, and jeep safaris. Daily morning and evening safaris are conducted by the Jungle Lodges.
Even on a bad day, you can easily see sloth bears, deers, bison, mongooses, and eagles there. I also saw a leopard resting behind a bush. Hope you get lucky, too. (Another must-visit place to see wildlife is the Kali Tiger Reserve about which I will talk in the latter section of places to visit near Bangalore beyond 300 km.)
Chikmagalur hill station of Karnataka is located 240 km away from Bangalore. Chikmagalur lies on the Western Ghats mountains that are known for their rich vegetation, dense wildlife, and cool weather. It is also popular for its large coffee estates as the weather there is perfect for growing coffee.
You can either take up a stay in a coffee estate of Chikmagalur or book one of the many hotels in the surrounding hills. Chikmagalur is circumscribed by various mountains that can be reached via road up to a point and then can be hiked to arrive at the summit.
Some of the hills to see near Chikamagalur are Baba Budangiri, Mullayanagiri, Kudremukh, Kemmangundi, and Seethalanayagiri — some of these peaks are visible from the town of Chikmagalur and the surrounding area.
Then there are multiple waterfalls such as Hebbe Falls, Kallathigiri falls, Hanuman Gandi falls, Manikyadhara Falls, and Jhari falls to be seen. Lakes such as Hirekolale lake and Ayyanakere lake are also extremely serene and almost empty most of the time. Hirekolale lies near the town but Ayyanakere is a bit further from it.
To travel around Chikmagalur, you would either need your own car or will have to hire a taxi as most places are quite far from each other.
If you love watching wildlife, Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary also lies about 80 km away from Chikmagalur and makes for a perfect one-day trip. Apart from the wildlife safaris, the glimpse of the beautiful Bhadra river around which the sanctuary is located is unforgettable.
Located from Bangalore at a distance of only about 60 km, Nandi Hills is a perfect one day trip near Bangalore.
When tourists visit Nandi Hills, they mostly go to one of the peaks of the Nandi Hills, which gets its name from the 1300-year-old Dravidian-style Nandi temple and statue situated on the top of the hill.
But the four main peaks that constitute the Nandi Hills range are Nandi Giri, Skandagiri, Channagiri, and Brahmagiri. All these hills can be visited by hiking in the area from one mountain to another.
The temples in the region are known to be as old as 1000 years at least. And one of the main temples to be visited is the Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple. This ancient temple has extremely intricate carvings on the temple walls and the pillars.
Hindu families usually have weddings at this temple for its beautiful backdrop. There is a stepped-stone pool on the premises for perfect photography.
You can visit the Nandi Hills area with a guide or on your own. But if you are coming by yourself do make sure you carry the right maps and wear good hiking shoes.
Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
Ranganathittu bird sanctuary is located 130 km from Bangalore and the journey would take 3-4 hours.
Declared a sanctuary in 1940, the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is a must-visit for bird watchers. The sanctuary is spread over the river Kaveri and its small islets over a total area of only 0.67 square kilometers.
Ranganathittu is a regular nesting ground for local and migratory birds from Europe, the Americas, and Siberia who come here every year at the same time.
The best season to visit the Ranganathittu bird sanctuary is from December to June. Migratory birds come in December and nesting begins in February. So if you visit in the months of March and later, the sanctuary is quite a scene with the birds frolicking around feeding their young ones while the little chicks chatter from their nests on the trees or directly on the soil of the islands.
The various birds that can be seen in the Ranganathittu Sanctuary are the painted storks, blue and pied kingfishers, cormorants, herons, river terns, black and white egrets, Indian roller birds, ibis, bee-eaters, and pelicans.
The sanctuary has many restaurants so you don’t have to carry your own food. Or you can always get out of the sanctuary and eat at the many places in the town of Mysore that is very close by. Take a good camera and a pair of binoculars.
The sanctuary has many boat ride options to get onto the river. You can either take a special or a shared boat ride. The special boat ride is 40 minutes long, takes in about seven people, and goes further than the regular boat ride. The special ride costs about 1500 Indian rupees or about $21.
A walk through the garden in the sanctuary is a must to see beautiful trees and watch the crocodiles in a distance.
Bonus Tip: If you have some time, do see the city of Mysore.
Located 250 km from Bangalore, Coorg is another district on the Western Ghats of South Karnataka.
Coorg is famous for its rolling hills, the local Kodava community that has occupied the region for hundreds of years, the coffee estates, and the rich wildlife and open mountains that can be visited year-round.
You can also see the Namdroling Monastery on your way to Coorg from Bangalore. Some of the peaks to visit in Coorg are Brahmagiri and Tadiandamol hills. Abbey falls are the largest waterfall in the area. Though they are crowded all the time, it is a good idea to see the giant falls at least once.
Then there is the Dubare Reserve Forest and Elephant Camp near Coorg. When I went there while coming back from Coorg to Bangalore, the camp was closed because of a really high level of water in the river. But if you visit the camp in the dry months, you will be able to bathe the elephants. There is a small entry fee to get inside the reserve.
The origin of the Cauvery river called Tala Kaveri also lies near Coorg(50 km away). The place is called the Talakaveri Wildlife sanctuary and you can walk around in nature there and visit the different temples. Padi Igguthappa temple, Omkareshwara Temple, and Cherala Bhagavathy Temple are the important temples of the region.
Coorg is one of the best hill stations near Bangalore. The places attract a lot of people, especially in the summer months, so pre-booking would be a good idea.
Places around Bangalore outside the 300 km radius.
Kali Tiger Reserve
Kali Tiger Reserve or the Kali Wildlife Sanctuary is located at a distance of about 473 kilometers and is one of the farthest places to visit around Bengaluru. But Kali sanctuary deserves a trip because it is a gorgeous and wildlife-rich place.
The sanctuary sits on the Kali river and crocodiles can be seen sunbathing right from the banks of the river. The Kali Jungle Lodges is located on the banks, so if you stay there, you can watch the crocodiles from the balcony of your hut. You can also take a coracle ride in the Kali river to look at the crocodiles from up close.
The jungle safaris to the forest(again conducted by the Karnataka forest department and the Jungle Lodges) are a must here. You have the chance to see at least some of the fifteen tigers, twenty-three panthers, and twenty-seven leopards that fill the 1200 square km Dandeli jungle— the larger forest to which the Kali reserve belongs to.
Visit the sanctuary in the dry season. In the summers, animals travel long distances to drink water and there are greater chances to see them.
Locals here say that if you have seen Hampi, you have seen the richer and royal days of Karnataka.
Located at a distance of 340 km, Bangalore to Hampi travel takes about 6 hours by road. Hampi is located on the banks of the Tungabhadra river and is a ruined capital of the Vijayanagara empire — one of the richest empires of South India.
The empire was defeated and all that remains now is the 1600 ruins, sculptures, and relics that have been discovered in the Hampi area over centuries.
You can visit the various green villages near Hampi, climb the boulder hills of Hampi, spend time in the thousands of years old temples, eat unlimited crispy dosas, and take the coracle over the Sanapur lake outside the main Hampi.
Oh, don’t forget to visit the Daroji Bear Sanctuary near Hampi to see some bear action from up close.
Hampi is one of the best places near Bangalore and is worth the long journey.
Language in Karnataka
The state primarily speaks Kannada but some people in bigger cities and touristy destinations speak English, too. The tourism industry will be able to talk in English but rural areas only understand Kannada.
It might come in handy to have a Google Translate app installed on your phone.
Best Time to Visit the places around Bangalore
Karnataka lies in the South of India and the best time to visit the region is from October to March. Outside these months, many of the places listed above would be hot. But you would still be able to go to Chikmagalur and Coorg for these have a moderate(or colder) temperature year-round due to their location and altitude.
But in summer months, even the main towns of Chikmagalur and Coorg would be pretty warm so restrict yourself to the greener parts of the destination.
How to travel in Karnataka
Karnataka is well connected by buses, trains, and cars. Most of the above places to see near Bangalore can’t be accessed by flights because of their mountainous location.
So either rent a self-drive car or hire a taxi. Overnight buses also run frequently between places so you don’t always need a private vehicle but it is good to have one.
Author’s Bio: Priyanka Gupta is an itinerant writer from India who left her investment banking career to travel the world and write. She focuses on culturally immersive travel while relishing local delicacies and never misses a chance to see wildlife. Priyanka always looks out for sustainable and local-community-driven offbeat experiences.
Priyanka reads, writes, and blogs full-time. In her free time, she can be found running around Bangalore parks, planning yet another trip to Hampi or cooking the Burmese Mohinga.
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