There’s something about the chill in the air every December – it’s exciting, fun filled and electrifying. Voila, the countdown to the New Year has begun! So, where’s the party tonight? Is it going to be the masque ball or a quirky-themed one or is it a bonfire out in the open for the New Year celebrations? These are the questions every party animal in the town is obsessed with. And the occasional socialites are happy they get to spend some quality time in the company of their near and dear ones.
New Year celebration in Bangalore is in fact one of the most happening of the partying scenes in the country! So, what’s up with you folks?! What are your plans to welcome 2019? At iTraveller, we think there’s no better way of doing so than heading to a lovely destination to unwind oneself from the tiring moments of 2018 and begin the New Year on a refreshing note. Here’s the best part for all those of you who are already sulking on not being granted leaves at workplaces for the vacation. Take a chill travel pill to any one of these weekend destinations from Bangalore this New Year.
Weekend Getaways Near Bangalore
Bangalore is not only blessed with beautiful weather but also with lots of options for beautiful weekend getaways. You have a lots of choice be it heading to a hill station or to relax on a beach. The amazing forest reserves are a real treat for nature and wildlife lovers while the rich history of the area also provides great options for history buffs.
Wildlife places near Bangalore
Bandipur National Park is a wildlife reserve which is part of the Niligiris Biosphere Reserve. It is one of the premier tiger reserves in the country. Bandipur is on the border of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The reserve on the Tamil Nadu side is called the Madhumalai National park. You have options to stay around Bandipur or in Masinagudi which is at the edge of the Madhumalai National Park and also makes for a great weekend getaway near Bangalore.
Star Attraction: The tiger, of course, is the star attraction of Bandipur. You will also be able to spot elephants quite easily. Other animals you are likely to see here are sambhar and four-horned antelope, wild boars, wild dogs and gaurs.
Getting here: Bandipur is roughly a 5-hour drive from Bangalore at a distance of around 230 kilometres. You will have to head in the direction of Mysuru and then towards Ooty from there on.
Best time to visit: October to May is the best time to visit Bandipur. You could spot migratory birds during the winter months and it is easier to spot the bigger animals in the summer months.
Kabini sits at the edge of the Nagarhole National Park and is one of the best wildlife reserves in the country to spot big cats.
Star Attraction: Again, the tiger is the star attraction here, though it is easier to spot a tiger or a leopard here than at Bandipur. The major attraction at Kabini is the Indian bison. You could also go on safari by boat on the Kabini river.
Getting here: Kabini is a 4-and-a-half-hour drive from Bangalore.
Best time to visit: October to May is the best time to visit Kabini.
Also See: Offbeat places in Karnataka
Dandeli is a town in North West Karnataka nestled among the Western Ghats. It boasts of the Kali river and the an up and coming tiger reserve called the Anshi National park.
Star Attraction: The star attractions of Dandeli are the Anshi National Park. You could spot a variety of wild animals here from the wild buffalo to the majestic tiger.
Dandeli is also a great place for adventure junkies ranging from rock climbing, trekking to river rafting on the Kali river which boasts of grade 3 rapids.
Getting here: Dandeli is an 8-hour drive from Bangalore. You could take a bus or a train to Hubballi and then take a cab to Dandeli.
Best time to visit: The summer months to spot wildlife. For rafting, you might have to visit post the monsoons.
B R Hills
BR Hills or Biligiriranga Hills is the lesser known of the forest reserves and weekend getaway near Bangalore. It is a 4-hour drive from Bangalore. The only good option to stay here is at the government hotel. It is a great place to spot the bison, elephants and leopards.
Top hill stations near Bangalore
Ooty is easily one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Nilgiris and weekend getaways near Bangalore. With its beautiful weather, abundant natural beauty and rolling hills, it was also one of the favourite destinations of the British, who developed in to a beautiful town.
Star Attraction: Well, the star attraction of Ooty is its weather. It stays at 15 – 20 degrees even in the summer. You should visit the botanical garden and Ooty lake. The Doddabeta peak offers lovely views of the town.
Bakasura Malai, is slightly off the path and will need you to walk quite a bit, but is well worth it as it offers views of all three states (Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala) from its peak.
Off late, Ooty has become a victim of its own popularity and has become too crowded. This has meant places like Conoor and Kotagiri which are smaller towns near Ooty are also developing as destinations for tourists.
Getting here: From Bangalore, there are 2 routes one is via Mysore and then Kalhatti. This route is closed at night due to the forest restrictions and it being a steep route.
The route via Coimbatore-Mettupalyam is the popular route nowadays since it is well maintained and is also quite scenic.
Best time to visit: The best time to visit Ooty is during the summer months.
Also See: Top hill station in South India
Coorg is as popular for its amazing scenery as it is for its people and their hospitality making it one of the best weekend getaways from Bangalore.
Star Attraction: The coffee estates! The never ending coffee estates of Coorg are a must visit. Be sure to walk around them. Lot of coffee estates also provide lodging and take you on a tour of the estate and the coffee making process.
Abbey Falls and Raja’s Seat are other must visits around Coorg.
If you have a car at your disposal, you should do the Dubare Elephant Camp and Bylanakuppe. The Dubare Elephant camp is by the banks of Cauvery and if you time your arrival right, you will watch the locals bathing the elephants which is a lot of fun. Bylanakuppe is a Tibetan settlement and has some good Buddhist temples to see. All this fun packed in to a tin little place makes it a great weekend getaway from Bangalore for family.
Getting here: Coorg is approximately a 6-hour drive. You could also take an overnight bus from Bangalore.
Best time to visit: The best time to visit is the summer. Though, Coorg gets lots of rains during the monsoon and the locals suggest that though there is not much you can do there during the rains, it is still worth seeing the majesty of the downpour here.
Nestled in the Western Ghats, Wayanad is a great place to unwind and refresh. It is a beautiful hill station which has an abundance of natural beauty. It also has some beautifully manicured tea plantations around it and the jungles around Wayanad also make for a good place to spot elephants.
Star Attraction: Some of the highlights in Wayanad are the Pookote Lake and the Banasura Sagar Dam. You could also visit the Edakkal caves which is a rock cave which is a prehistoric site.
You could also head for a trek on the Chembra peak which is of moderate difficulty. The first two phases are quite easy to do but the last phase might be a little hard. You could also visit one of the many waterfalls around Wayanad like Meenmutty or Soochipara.
Getting here: Wayanad is a five-hour drive from Bangalore. There are lots of routes to get to Wayanad from Bangalore but the most popular one is via Mysore, Gundlpet, Bandipur and Sulthan Bathery.
Best time to visit: The best time to visit Wayanad is in the summer between March to May.
Also See: Kerala street food
Kodaikanal or Kodai for short is one of the finest hill stations in South India.
Star Attractions: The lakes of Kodaikanal are definitely one of the best things of Kodaikanal. The Kodai lake is at the centre of the town and is one of the best lakes. You could boat in the lake or cycle around it.
The trek to Dolphin’s Nose and then further to Echo Point is also highly recommended although it is a tough climb.
Getting Here: Kodaikanal is long drive from Bangalore (close to 9 hours), we would suggest taking the overnight bus.
This up and coming hill station is a sweet 150 kilometres from Bangalore making it a great tourist place near Bangalore within 300 kms. There are some sights around Yelagiri like waterfalls, the Punganur Lake and some treks but the main attraction of this place is the peace and quiet so close to Bangalore.
Basically known for its coffee estates and the Baba Budan Hills. It attracts tourists, pilgrims and trekkers alike. The Baba Budan hills is the source of important rivers in Karnataka like the Tunga, the Bhadra and Hemavathi. It has some lovely waterfalls around it and some nice spots for light to medium treks.
Chikamagalur is at a distance of 250 kilometers from Bangalore which makes it a tourist place near Bangalore within 300 kms.
Historical and heritage places near Bangalore
Also See: Top places to visit in India in January
The cultural capital of Karnataka and the capital city under the Wodeyar dynasty. Mysore has a lot to offer for the history and culture buff. It is one of the cleanest cities in India and its people are easy going and friendly. Mysore has been the original weekend getaways near Bangalore for many a year.
Star Attraction: The star attraction of Mysore is definitely the Mysore Palace. If you are in Mysore on a Sunday or a national holiday, make sure you are there when the Palace is illuminated with over 100,000 bulbs. You could also plan your trip to Mysore on Dasara, where there is a procession around the city and the palace is the centre stage of the celebrations.
Other attractions include the Brindavan gardens which has a lovely garden and tons of fountains. You could catch the musical fountain show in the evenings. Chamundi Hills which is a beautiful temple atop a hill overlooking the city. The Mysore Zoo is a world class zoo and you should not miss it especially if you are going there with kids making it an essential weekend getaway from bangalore for family.
If you are driving down from Bangalore, make sure you stop at Srirangapatna, which was the capital of Tipu Sultan. The attractions here are the Srirangapatna fort which includes the Sri Ranganathaswamy temple and the place where Tipu’s body was found. There is also Tipu’s summer palace and Tipu’s and his father, Haider Ali’s tomb, by the Sangam.
An underrated stop on the way from Mysore to Bangalore is the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary. It is a great place to spot a variety of birds. The boat ride through the river will take you up close to crocodiles which is both scary and exhilarating.
Getting there: Bangalore to Mysore is around 150 kilometres by road but has heavy traffic and so the drive time is not entirely predictable. You could also head to Mysore by train or bus.
Hampi was the capital of one of the most illustrious dynasties of South India – the Vijayanagar empire. The ruins are now UNESCO World Hertiage site.
Star Attraction: This one is a tough one to pick out. All the ruins are a visual delight. Some of the most important sights are the Virupaksha temple, the monolithic Nandi, the Vithala Temple (with its famous stone chariot and the musical pillars), the staue of Lakshmi Narasimha, the Lotus Mahal and the Elephant stables.
You can take an auto to move around Hampi or you could cycle around. Another highly recommended to do, is having your lunch by the river. Incidentally, Hampi is supposedly the capital of the monkey army in the Ramayana, it was called Kishkinda then.
Detours: The lesser known wonders around Hampi are the caves of Badami, the ruins at Aihole and Pattadakal. All these can be covered in a day and are absolutely beautiful monuments with varying architectures.
Getting Here: Hampi is a 7-hour drive from Bangalore. You could alternatively take a bus or a train too.
Belur, Halebid and Shravanabelagola
The Belur-Halebid-Shravanabelgola triangle is roughly a 500 kilometre drive. Belur and Halebid have some of the most beautiful temples in all of India with intricate stone carvings dating back to the 12th century. Shravanabelagola is an important Jain temple having a giant Mahaveer statue atop a hill.
You could make this a nice 2-day weekend by staying overnight at Hassan or among the coffee estates in Sakleshpur.
Also See: Karnataka temple tour
Exciting beaches near Bangalore
Gokarna was originally a temple town with mythological importance. Ganesha supposedly had tryst with Ravana on its beaches and tricked Ravana in to losing his Shivling, which was to ensure his immortality. The Ganesha temple in Gokarna was its original claim to fame but its beautiful beaches could not keep the roving tourist away from it for too long.
Star Attraction: The most popular beach here is the Om Beach, which gets its name because it is shaped like the holy Hindu symbol Om. It is very popular among the foreign tourists.
Other popular beaches around Gokarna are Paradise beach and Kudle beach.
Getting Here: Gokarna is a long drive from Bangalore, it takes close to 9 hours. You could take the overnight buses to Gokarna.
Puducherry was the largest French colony in India and thus has a large French influence on it. It is a quaint little town on the east coast of India with a beautiful amalgamation of East and the West.
Star Attraction: The star attractions of Puducherry are the French quarter and Auroville. The French quarter is the French influenced part of town and has beautifully coloured houses and is a great place to walk around soaking in the history of the place.
Auroville is an ashram for the disciples of Shri Aurobindo. The construction was led by a French woman who is fondly called Mother. It is a beautiful place to get some peace and quiet and enjoy some modern architecture.
There is also a lovely beach opposite Auroville. Some spots on the beach also have spots for surfing or learning surfing.
The Promenade is also a great place to walk and explore in the mornings and the evenings.
Puducherry is also one of the best New year destinations in India.
Detours: It would worth your while to drive up to Mahabalipuram along the picturesque East Coast Raod. It has some beautiful stone carvings which date back to the 7th to 9th century including the famous Arjuna’s penance and the shore temple.
Getting here: The drive to Puducherry has 2 routes – one through the temple town of Thiruvanamalai or you could head to Chennai and then to Puducherry on the East Coast Road. You could also take the overnight bus from Bangalore.
Also See: Goa or Pondicherry
Also, originally famous for being a temple town, Udupi has some lovely beaches like the Malpe beach and the Kapu beach whose white sands and relative calm are sure to please the tourist in you.
Udupi is nearly a 9-hour drive from Bangalore. Alternatively, you could get to Mangalore by bus, train or flight and head to Udupi by cab from there.
So whatever mood you find yourself in, you know everything to plan a perfect weekend getaway from Bangalore!
Also See: Places to visit in February in India