The Best Tours in Karnataka, India
Pattadakal Group of Temples | © Jmadhu / WikiCommons
Karnataka is well-known for its historical and cultural treasures, stunning landscapes, tropical forests, misty mountains, rich biodiversity, alluring beaches, religious sites, rich gastronomy, and a multitude of nature and adventure activities… (we could go on). With so many things to see and do, the southern Indian state could be overwhelming. To help you make sense of all that Karnataka has to offer, we bring you the best tours in the state.
The Golden Chariot is a train journey, but not a typical one. It’s ideal for those who want to explore Karnataka in luxury. The journey lasts for 8 days and 7 nights, and you can look forward to exploring the historical treasures, cultural sites, adventure and wildlife of Karnataka.
The journey begins in Bangalore. After spending a day exploring the historical and cultural sights and bustling markets of the city, the next stop is Mysore. Here, admire the stunning royal palaces. Then comes Kabini, where you can enjoy a safari ride and get up-close with diverse flora and fauna at the Kabini Jungles. On the fourth day, you reach Halebedu and Belur, with their 12th century Hoysala dynasty Hindu temples. On the fifth day, the train reaches the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hampi that is full of 500 year odl Vijayanagar dynasty ruins. On the sixth day, you’ll reach the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Pattadakal and Badami, with their 6th-12th century temples, forts and caves. The epic journey ends in Old Goa, with its old churches. There’s a good mix of organised and free time on this journey.
For a detailed tour itinerary, stay options at each place and prices, visit the official website.
Golden Chariot Dining | © Simon Pielow / Flickr
goMowgli is arguably one of the best backpacker bus tours in Karnataka. It strives to provide a unique local experience, covering off-the-beaten path destinations in addition to the more popular ones. It offers single day city tours in Mysore, Bangalore, Hampi, Somanathapura and Talakad, Chikmagalur, Gokarna, and the trio of Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal. Several free activities are available on these tours. For a more private and intimate experience, bespoke guided tours are available for groups of up to twenty people.
It’s necessary to make bookings in advance. Prices vary. Buses are fully air-conditioned, and at each spot you’ll be given a map with all necessary details marked, like supermarkets, cafes, ATMs, etc.
To contact goMowgli, click here.
Stone chariot at Vittala temple, Hampi Tour | © Hawinprinto / WikiCommons
Art of Bicycle Trips
Art of Bicycle Trips has some of the best itineraries. Collaborating with the finest local experts in every region, ABT offers tours on local culture and cuisine, history and adventure, such as kayaking, biking, hiking, horseback riding, bird watching and white-water rafting. Single day cycling tours, tours of 2-6 days and long bike trips of more than 7 days are on offer. All are guided. A support vehicle follows riders throughout the journey.
The ATB has its guests covered on every aspect of the trip, from the airport welcome to the accommodation and transfers. For most South India trips, Bangalore is the meeting point. Some tours include the Bangalore to Goa Bike tour via Hampi, the Southern India Sojourn, the Bangalore bike tour, and the Nandi Challenge bike tour. Prepare for a journey filled with fun and interesting activities along the way.
Art of Bicycle Trips, 522, 4th Cross Rd, 2nd Block, Ganganagar, Ex Servicemen Colony, RT Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka. +91 078294 86953
Blue Foot Tours
Blue Foot Tours offer an immersive and informative local experience far away from the tried-and-trodden tourist tracks. They offer Bangalore countryside tours that include walks through rural villages, paddies, wine tasting and meals in vineyards, ancient temples, and high tea in a farmhouse. They also offer a Mysore City Tour from Bangalore. Bangalore City private tours are also available, but these are a bit more luxurious, with a customised itinerary, a chauffeured car and cultural ambassador. All the tours are led by a local specialist who is proficient in English, Hindi and Kannada.
Blue Foot Tours, ONE WORLD, No 1/1 1st Floor, 21 St cross CMH ROAD, LAKSHMIPURAM, HALASURU, Bengaluru, Karnataka. +91 098451 00026
Unventured Expeditions offer cycling tours, walking tours and tuk tuk tours. While most of the cycling and walking tours are to obvious tourist spots, they also go to unconventional areas and sights. Whether you’re looking for a foodie, nature or history and culture cycling/walking tour, this company offers it all. Some of the tours include a half-day walking tour of Bangalore; a tuk tuk tour of Bangalore that involves riding the by-lanes of the Garden City in the iconic vehicle; a walking tour of Bangalore’s oldest markets; a cycling tour of Mysore; an 8-day cycling tour through the Western Ghats during monsoon; and tracing the Garden City’s past during a half-day cycle tour along the Temple and Thindi (food) trail in Bangalore. Those feeling a bit more ambitious can explore the countryside, cycling through the small villages and stopping at wineries along the way.
Unventured Expeditions, #52 Lakshmi, 4th Ma, 1st Cross Rd, MLA Layout, Krishnappa Block, RT Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka. +91 080 2333 5558
Mystic Wild guides you around the amazing wildlife, nature and jungles of Karnataka, focusing on ecotourism treks and tours. There’s an eco club for kids and adventure tours for adults, including nature walks, bird watching, and wildlife safaris. The company also offers macro and nature photography tours in the Western Ghats of Karnataka, which help visitors capture the natural beauty of the place and teach them about photography. Guests can join set itineraries or can even customise the tour to their needs. They offer tours all over India, but some of their Karnataka tours include the Bandipur Wildlife Tour, Kabini Wildlife Photography Tour and Ranganathittu day out. If wildlife and jungles don’t tickle your fancy, they also offer a heritage tour, the Hampi Heritage Photography Tour.
Mystic Wild, #15, 2nd Floor, 15, 72nd Cross Rd, 5 Block, Rajaji Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka. +91 082773 92112