I will be the first person to admit that Bangalore can get to you over a long period of time. While there are a number of things to do in Bangalore, it isn’t exactly the once beautiful garden city that it was. That being said, most people (me included) can’t help but look for places outside the city to head to. There are a couple of places to visit near Bangalore that definitely caught my eye. I’m going to focus on the ones that I have visited for now and update the list as and when we chance to travel to newer locations. I’m going to arrange them in order of distance just so it can help you plan.
Nandi Hills is one of the places to visit near Bangalore.
DISTANCE FROM BANGALORE: 61 Kilometres
WHERE TO STAY: Most people who visit Nandi hills stay in Bangalore since it just a short distance away. If you do want to make a weekend of it and stay closer by then the Signature Club Resort is one of the highest rated properties on Booking.com
I think that Nandi hills is probably one of the most visited places near Bangalore and it is largely due to its proximity with the city. We visited Nandi hills a couple of years ago with a friend. It was more of an outing than anything else and we were headed off to a small town on the border of Andhra Pradesh called Lepakshi (Which I will talk about in a bit). One of the top things to do is to leave early morning and watch the sunrise. Depending on which time of the year you plan on visiting, it could get cold or rainy or both so carry the gear you need to keep warm. Be forewarned that a lot of people head out to the hill on weekends so there is always traffic on the road going up. It also means that you are likely to be waiting in a traffic jam till the hill is open to public in the morning.
There are quite a few things that you can see on the hill which include temple, Tipu Summer Palace and Fort, Tipu drop (a gory story) and so much more. It is an interesting place to explore. One great thing to do after/before going to Nandi hills is to catch breakfast at the Paratha company. That’s what we did, and we enjoyed ourselves.
Ramanagara is one of the places to visit near Bangalore.
DISTANCE FROM BANGALORE: 75 Kilometres
WHERE TO STAY: There are a couple of places to stay in Ramanagara but none that I can recommend based on experience or my research based on reviews. When we visited a couple of years ago, we camped at the top of the hill.
When I think of Ramanagara, I think of the moonlit trek that Shawn and I did together. This trek took place up the Ramadevara Beta hill. It involved a bit of rock climbing (in the dark!) and since I was absolutely petrified of heights. It is safe to say that I spent most of the night wondering how I was going to get down. That being said, it really was beautiful (and a tad bit cold!) to get up in the morning with the sun barely over the horizon. Ramanagara is a quiet town that isn’t too far away, and it provides a great escape from the city’s chaos. If trekking isn’t your cup of tea you may want to check out some of the homestays or resorts in the area.
One of the places to visit near Bangalore is Lepakshi.
DISTANCE FROM BANGALORE: 123 Kilometres
WHERE TO STAY: Most people head to Lepakshi as part of a day trip. If you want to cut the distance down a bit, I would suggest staying closer to Nandi hills.
Lepakshi is a small town located in Andhra Pradesh. Don’t worry, it is just 123 kilometres away and barely lies on the border of Karnataka. We visited Lepakshi as part of a day trip. We started off with Nandi hills in the morning and just headed on. What makes Lepakshi so special is the fact that it houses and archaeological site. This is none other than the Veerabhadra Temple. A huge statue of a bull or Nandi is another attraction. Other than this there isn’t much to see. It does however make a great drive into the countryside. My recommendation is to take a picnic lunch with you. Stop and indulge in nature on the way. Or better still, head to a local restaurant when you see one and enjoy the local cuisine.
RANGANATHITTU BIRD SANCTURY
Looking for a place to watch the birds near Bangalore? May be this is the place for you.
DISTANCE FROM BANGALORE: 135 Kilometres
WHERE TO STAY: The Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is very close to Mysore and that’s why I would suggest staying in Mysore city. Sonder and the Grand Mercure Mysore are two accommodations that are highly recommended by Booking.com. We stayed at Sonder and we absolutely loved it!
If you are a person who loves nature and loves to sit still watching birds, then the Ranganathittu bird sanctuary may just be the place that you want to visit. At 135 kilometres away from Bangalore, this is place that is usually great as a weekend visit though if you are adventurous and don’t mind the long drive you can do it as a day trip too. We headed to Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary on our bikes as part of a day trip and that’s how I know. It was fun, but we were exhausted by the time we reached home.
One of the reasons why I feel that Rangathittu Bird Sanctuary is a great place to visit from Bangalore is because it is quiet and peaceful. You can find a nice comfortable spot to sit still and let nature lull you into a trance while you watch different species of birds in their natural setting. It is also a great place to practice your photography skills.
Mysore is one of the places near Bangalore that you should think of visiting.
DISTANCE FROM BANGALORE: 184 Kilometres
WHERE TO STAY: It has been a while since I stayed in Mysore but my research on Booking.com shows that Sonder and the Grand Mercure Mysore are two accommodations that are highly recommended. Sonder is more of a backpacker’s residence. We stayed there and loved it!
I’m not a fan of big cities especially after living in Bangalore for so long but Mysore is different. Despite being a city, Mysore has a quite peaceful throb to it. Since it is such a short distance away from Bangalore, it is a popular spot for weekend getaways. I’ve lost track of how many times I have visited this city. The first being when I was a child. Somehow, I have always found a warm feeling whenever I visited, and I am not surprised that it is a popular place to visit near Bangalore.
Mysore is also a popular place when it comes to tourism. This is because it has a number of things to do in the city with the Mysore palace being a mega highlight. Aside from the all popular palace there are a number of other attractions which includes the colourful temples of South India, a zoo and the Brindavan gardens. If you are a bird lover, you may also want to head to the Rangathittu Bird sanctuary that is close to Mysore.
One of the places to visit near Bangalore is Gingee fort.
DISTANCE FROM BANGALORE: 241 Kilometres
WHERE TO STAY: We visited Gingee fort when we were heading back from Pondicherry to Bangalore hence we did not stay in the area.
We kind off stumbled across Gingee fort by accident. We were planning our route for a road trip to Pondicherry and were looking for all the pitstops that we could cover on the way. To be honest, we weren’t expecting much from Gingee fort, but it wasn’t long before we fell in love with it. While the fort is situated across three different hills, we explored just one part of it. If you are headed to Gingee fort be ready for a lot of climbing. The steps make it easy for people of all ages and endurance capacities to get to the top. Plus, there are a couple of nice shady spots to sit in and relax.
The best part about these pit stops is that at every spot you get a chance to take in the scenery around you. When you look down, you can almost imagine how it was when the fort was active. When you look up, you get transported to a different world where the grey stones, steps and walls tell you about the life within the fortified walls. If you love to pose, there are some really cool places to click photographs.
Looking for culture? Kanchipuram is one of the places to visit near Bangalore.
DISTANCE FROM BANGALORE: 280 Kilometres
WHERE TO STAY: Kanchipuram is a small city and has a number of options available when it comes to accommodation. While we passed through the city, I wish we had a chance to stay because the city has a lot to explore. Booking.com’s highest rated accommodation is Hotel SSK Grand and Vasanth Villa.
When you talk about Kanchipuram, one of the first things that pops into a person’s mind is the Kanchipuram silk and the Kanchipuram sarees. Since we were passing through the city on our way to Mahabalipuram we decided to stop and explore the city. We were surprised to find the numerous temples that dot the landscape. Many of these temples date back a couple of centuries. The city happens to be a religious hub for Hindus in the country and many of them head to Kanchipuram as part of a pilgrimage. This is one of the reasons why you will find that the food in the area is largely vegetarian. Don’t let that stop you from indulging in the local delicacies.
Like I said before, the Kanchipuram silk is popular across the country. Even if you do not intend on buying a saree, think about visiting the local silk weavers. Watching and learning about how the loom works is a very interesting experience.
Auroville is formed on a cool hypothesis and is one of the places to visit near Bangalore.
DISTANCE FROM BANGALORE: 305 Kilometres
WHERE TO STAY: Auroville is a short drive away from Pondicherry but it does have a couple of guest houses that people use to stay at. We stayed at the Aadhaar guest house in Pondicherry.
Auroville is a popular day trip from Pondicherry but if you are searching for places to visit near Bangalore then you need to think of adding this spot to your list. It is definitely not something that you drive see and get back in a day. I would suggest combining it with either Mahabalipuram or Pondicherry. Auroville is a unique complex which offers a different insight into the world we live in. The whole idea of living in Auroville is that people can live together in harmony irrespective of where in the world they come from. The complex is almost completely self-sustaining with the inhabitants taking up various tasks for the benefit of the community at large.
While you can volunteer in Auroville, a number of people choose to visit it as a day trip. The complex has a nice mess hall which serves a really tasty food. So, if you happen to be passing through close to lunch time then think about your meal here.
Pondicherry is one of the places to visit near Bangalore.
DISTANCE FROM BANGALORE: 308 Kilometres
WHERE TO STAY: Aadhaar Guesthouse
Pondicherry also known as Puducherry or just Pondy (to the locals) is a Union territory of India. It lies on the eastern coast of the country and shares a border with Tamil Nadu. Pondicherry is a great place to visit near Bangalore largely because of how different it is to the rest of South India. During the colonial times Pondicherry was ruled by the French and they left their mark on this tiny piece of land that can be seen till today not only in its architecture but also in its food.
The quiet peaceful city is quite different from Bangalore and is a welcome respite from the chaos that plagues us. The coast is another welcome difference. If you do manage to finish up seeing everything in Pondicherry, Auroville is a short drive away. Another great thing to do is to explore all the beaches nearby.
Want to be near the sea? Mahabalipuram is one of the places near Bangalore that you should think of visiting.
DISTANCE FROM BANGALORE: 347 Kilometres
WHERE TO STAY: Rajalakshmi Guest House
Located on the East coast of India, Mahabalipuram is a small town in Tamil Nadu. This little town however is a UNESCO heritage site and has so much for you to explore. One of the attractions is the beach and that really goes without saying. The Shore Temple on the beach however is both old and is a great place to take photographs of the sunrise. The only downside is that you have to get up really early in the morning.
An entire park is dedicated to a number of different ancient structures which range from the descent of the Ganges to an old lighthouse. The best time to visit this place is in the mid to late evening when the sun isn’t at full mast. You will find a number of locals chilling around the vicinity.