When the monotony of the routine life gets daunting and the daily grind seems to drag you down, pack your bags and take that much-deserved break to some place new. Travel isn't a mere escape from reality, as it is most commonly perceived, rather a time-out to rest your mind, body and soul and come back all charged up to take up the new challenges life throws at you. Which is why, even the spiritual guru, Dalai Lama also says "Once a year go some place you've never been before".
Travelling is powerful, especially if you are setting out on your own for a solo sojourn. Challenging yourself to step out of your comfort zone, is no tiny feat. The boost of happiness and satisfaction you'll get and the self-confidence solo travelling will instil in you is unexplainable. So if you are game for a solo journey, here are the top destinations in Karnataka for the solo traveller in you. Go explore!
Apart from popular destinations like Bangalore and Mangalore, Mysore or Mysuru is one of the safest and interesting cities to travel solo to in Karnataka. With a rich historical past, the city will fill you up with a strange sense of walking in the erstwhile capital kingdom of Mysore of the 1300s.
Visit the majestic Mysore Palace, indulge in the delicious local cuisine, cycle the lanes and bylanes of the heritage city, shop for the famous silk, sandalwood and spices at the centuries-old Devaraja market and call it a day with the tranquil view of the sunset from atop the Chamundi Hills.
While on your way from Bangalore to Madikeri, hop off at Kushalnagar and head to the beautiful Buddhist settlement of Bylakuppe. Home to the beautiful Namdroling Monastery, also known as Golden Temple, Bylakuppe is set in a serene location. With pleasant weather throughout the year, the place can be visited conveniently by solo travellers. Kushalnagar Deer Park, Dubare Elephant Camp, and Nisargadhama are some of the places you can visit when in Bylakuppe.
Nestled on the coast of the expansive Arabian Sea, Gokarna is a perfect beach destination for all those beach lovers who want to enjoy the sun and sand, groove at the beach parties and yet have some peaceful time. Unlike Goa, the beaches of Gokarna are less-crowded. With a number of stunning beaches, beach huts and shacks with good food and music, you'd never get bored travelling solo to Gokarna.
Hampi is a paradise for solo travellers and backpackers and if you travel there solo, you'd know why I say this. The historical riches of this ancient village attracts travellers from all over the globe.
It is also the ultimate destination for adventure enthusiasts with the numerous rocky cliffs and boulders that are strewn across the entire village and its surroundings, making it a favoured destination for rock climbing, bouldering, rappelling, etc.
Visit the ruins of the Vijayanagara empire that are now part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, go on a coracle ride in the Tungabhadra river or explore for more riches in the historical ruins.
Despite its beautiful and secluded beaches, Karwar - the port city in Uttar Kannada district of Karnataka has managed to stay less frequented. Which also means, as a solo traveller, you will have numerous opportunities at exploring the place and finding your own paradise.
The long stretches of soft sand at the Rabindranath Tagore Beach and the Tilmati Beach with its black-sand attract the tourists, yet, there's plenty for an explorer to uncover. Karwar coast is also known to have some of the most stunning dive spots, so if you are into scuba diving, you know where to go.
PC: Ravi Mundkur
Nestled between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, Udupi is an ideal destination for a laidback solo trip to a beach destination. Famous for its charming beaches, islands, cuisine, and more, Udupi will make for a relaxed vacation destination.
While Malpe Beach is the most popular spot flocked by a number of beach lovers every season, St. Mary Island makes for a beautiful destination to soak in the beauty of nature. Apart from the famous beaches and islands, there are a few, relatively unexplored islands and beaches that you can visit.
PC: L Shyamal
Surrounded by hilly slopes of coffee, tea and spice plantations, Sakleshpur is a charming hill station town huddled in the Western Ghats of Karnataka. With cool weather, it makes for a popular summer destination.
The place is ideal for nature enthusiasts and wildlife photographers due to the presence of Bisle Reserve Forest - which is a treasure trove of rich wildlife. The star-shaped Manjaraba Fort is another interesting place for the history and architecture enthusiasts to visit.
The tiny hill town of Madikeri is an ideal destination for solo travel with its charming vistas, scenic beauty, pleasant weather and ease of accessibility. The availability of a number of backpacker hostels and homestays makes it a popular destination amongst the community of solo travellers.
Go for shorter hikes among the forests or to the longer ones at the Pushpagiri Reserve Forest at Manadalpatti. Try the local fruit wine and homemade chocolates, or simply lie in the hammock reading a book or listening to the sound of nature.
Located at the foothills of Mullayanagiri - Karnataka's highest peak, Chikmagalur is the most favoured hill station of the state. With pleasant weather, scenic vistas, beautiful trails through thickets & grasslands, hidden waterfalls, rich wildlife, coffee estates - Chikmagalur has everything to steal your heart away.
Visit Hebbe Falls and Jhari Falls, or trek to Baba Budangiri and Mullayangiri, or explore the wilderness of Muthodi forests and Kudremukh National Park - there's so much to do!
Historically known as Vatapi, Badami was the regal capital of the Badami Chalukyas. Travel to see the impressive rock cut caves and temples, cut out from the red sandstones that are found in abundance in the region.
Every nook and corner of this town is filled with traces of the rich history the place has witnessed for centuries. Now majorly an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) site, one can see numerous excavation sites in and around the region, revealing riches from the bygone eras.
PC: Manu Gangadhar
Fondly called the ‘Cherrapunji of the south', the tiny village of Agumbe is home to the exotic rainforests and a rich wilderness. If you are up for a thrilling adventure, head to Agumbe for a memorable experience. The rainforest is also home to the King Cobra and several other species of snakes.
Explore the secret trails, hike to the hidden waterfalls cascading in the deep of the jungles. And if you are really passionate about wildlife, you could also volunteer at the Agumbe Rainforest Research Station (ARRS).
PC: Pratheep P S
The toy town of Channapatna is a refreshing destination to visit. Located just about 60 km from Karnataka's capital city Bangalore, Channapatna is easily accessible, even if you are travelling solo. The traditional craft of toy making is passed from older generations to the newer, and the wooden toys manufactured here are now exported to many parts of the world.
Let your inner child be amused by the sight of thousands of toys at this toy town, pamper yourself by buying a few which will additionally support the skilled artisans of this happy place.
Bound by the sprawling Western Ghats and the expansive Arabian Sea, the coastal town of Murudeshwar in the Uttar Kannada district is a tranquil place, especially for those seeking a quiet break. The beautiful Murudeshwar Temple and a Shiva statue - famed to be the second tallest in the world are something you mustn't miss visiting when in town.
The view of the statue with the backdrop of the azure sea is a sight to behold. For the beach babies, there are numerous activities including scuba diving at the nearby Netrani Island and more.
Flanked by the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea on either side, this tucked-away town is not quite on the list of the tourist hotspots. Which also means, there's a lot to explore and experience. Given its proximity to the Western Ghats, the region experiences pleasant weather throughout the year making it a year-round destination to visit. You just cannot miss the tall monolithic Bahubali Gomateshwara statue that is the prime attraction here.
Another hidden gem in the Uttar Kannada district of Karnataka, is the quaint hill station of Sirsi. Surrounded by thick verdant forests, hidden waterfalls and rich wildlife, Sirsi is blessed with abundant scenic beauty. These forests are home to numerous elephants and big cats like leopards, tigers and even the gorgeous black panther. One of the very unique attractions of the place is the karst structures of the limestone rocks called the Yana Caves or Yana Rocks. A hike through the green foliage and a walk in the caves will surely transport you to another world.