Once a retirement village for the wealthy, known for its year-round spring weather and peaceful ambience, Bangalore (Bengaluru) today has transformed into the Silicon Valley of India. If you live in Bangalore or are visiting Bangalore for work, the best way to rewind after a hectic work-week is to travel away from the bustle of the city.

Good news is that there’s no dearth of weekend getaways from Bangalore. History, UNESCO heritage sites, mountains, wildlife and beaches – name it and you can have it all within a 350 km radius of the city. It’s easy to be spoilt for choices. So based on my personal experience I have selected the top 11 places to visit with kids and family during the weekends.

1. Mysore (145 km from Bangalore)Mysore

Just a scenic drive away from Bangalore lies the majestic city of Mysore. Renowned for its grand palaces, vibrant markets, and rich cultural heritage, Mysore offers a delightful blend of history and charm. 

You can visit Mysore even on an exhaustive day trip from Bangalore, but I highly recommend slowing down with your family in this lovely city.

Explore the opulent Mysore Palace, followed by the art gallery, Mysore wax museum and a trip to the cinematic Vrindavan gardens in the evening. 

On the next day stroll through the bustling Devaraja Market, and visit Chamundi Hills to seek blessings at the Chamundi temple or simply enjoy the views. 

If you are visiting with kids, don’t miss out on the Mysore Zoo – one of the best zoological parks in India.

2. Yercaud (215 km from Bangalore)

Yercaud in the local language Tamil means a land round the lake. And that’s what it is – a charming hill station in the Eastern ghats around the sparkling Emerald Lake. 

Reach Yercaud by driving through the 32-km loop road famous for its scenic viewpoints and hairpin belts. Embark on leisurely nature walks through fragrant spice plantations, take a boat ride on the serene Emeral Lake, also known as the Yercaud lake and spend time with your kids in Anna Park and rose garden.

With its cool climate and pristine landscapes, Yercaud is the perfect weekend getaway from Bangalore for all seasons.

3. Sakleshpur (220 km from Bangalore)fort sakleshpur

Tucked away in the verdant Western Ghats, Sakleshpur is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. Known for its lush coffee plantations, mist-covered hills, and gushing waterfalls, Sakleshpur offers a picturesque backdrop for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.

Trek to the historic star-shaped castle – Manjarabad Fort. Unwind amidst the tranquil ambiance of Bisle Ghat, and soak in the beauty of Magajahalli Falls.

With its pristine beauty and tranquil atmosphere, Sakleshpur is the perfect destination for a peaceful weekend escape.

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4. Coorg (240 km from Bangalore)coorg-abbeyfalls

Venture a bit farther from Bangalore, and you’ll discover the enchanting hill station of Coorg, also known as the “Scotland of India.” Famous for its verdant coffee plantations, mist-covered hills, and cascading waterfalls, Coorg offers a serene retreat amidst nature’s bounty.

There are two main towns in Coorg where you can plan your stay – Madikeri and Virajpet. Madikeri is the central point for exploring the historic Madikeri Fort, the majestic Abbey Falls and the Omkareshwar Temple. Kids will enjoy spending time in the landscaped park of Raja’s Seat in the evening.

From Virajpet you can visit the more offbeat places like Talacauvery and Iruppu Falls.A road trip to Coorg from Bangalore will take you through the most scenic roads of Western Ghats. You can also reach Madikeri by overnight bus from Bangalore.

5. Chikmagalur (250 km from Bangalore)

Visit the land of coffee, the place that claims to have introduced coffee to India – Chikmagalur. Whether you are visiting with kids or elderly parents, or just with a group of young adventurous people, Chikmagalur has something for everyone.

Chikmagalur is best experienced in a homestay hosted by the owners of small coffee estates in the region. They will take you on a tour of their coffee estate and blow you away with their hospitality. 

You can book a jeep for your sightseeing adventure visiting the Jhari Falls, Baba Budan giri hills, lakes, and trekking spots.

Kids will enjoy visiting Mahatma Gandhi Park with a short toy train joyride in the hills.

You can reach Chikmagalur from Bangalore by overnight buses that ply daily from Bangalore.

6. Ooty (270 km from Bangalore)Ooty

Fondly referred to as the “Queen of Hills,” Ooty captivates visitors with its rolling tea estates, picturesque gardens, and cool climate.

Ooty is famous for its scenic tea gardens, the floral and faunal diversity and the Nilgiri Mountain railways – a UNESCO world heritage site. 

Take a scenic ride on Nilgiri Toy train, stroll through the vibrant flower gardens of Government Botanical Garden, or embark on a boat ride across the serene Ooty Lake. 

You can reach Ooty by overnight bus, train or by driving.

7. Shimoga (280 km from Bangalore)shimoga fort walk

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Shimoga, also known as the “Gateway to the Western Ghats.” 

Drive straight to the majestic Jog Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in India and admire the poetic beauty of nature. The trek through the dense forests of Sharavathi Valley Wildlife Sanctuary or book a safari with kids.

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Then you can visit the 1000-year-old Kelladi temple and watch sunset at the Mattur Lake. Next day drive to the Agumbe rain forest or trek to the Kabbaledurga fort.

The main highlight of Shimoga however, are the hidden lakes that are not commercialized for any tourist activity. That’s why the best way to reach Shimoga is by a road trip so that you can stop at these obscure lakes and do nothing but just stand and stare.

8. Wayanad (280 km from Bangalore)wayanad India

Venture into the pristine wilderness of Wayanad, a picturesque district nestled amidst the Western Ghats in Kerala. Explore the lush tea estates of Vythiri, trek to the stunning viewpoints of Chembra Peak, or immerse yourself in the serene ambiance of Pookode Lake. 

If you love wildlife safaris, then plan your stay in Sultan Bathery. Take a safari through Wayanad Tiger reserve – one of the best places in India to spot tigers and wild elephants. Then you can visit the prehistoric Edakkal caves for a unique experience.

There are regular buses to Wayanad by which you can reach Wayanad in the early morning on Saturday. You can prebook a car from hotel for pickup and early check-in.

9. Pondicherry (315 km from Bangalore)Pondicherry

Experience a blend of French colonial charm and Indian culture in the coastal town of Pondicherry. This erstwhile French colony of India still retains some of the French vibes that have perfectly blended with the cosmopolitan new India.

Stroll on the beautiful Pondicherry promenade, explore the historic Bharthi Park, the opulent Botanical Garden and the several French-era churches of Pondicherry. A walking or cycling tour of the white town of Pondicherry will transport you to France.

While in Pondicherry don’t miss a trip to Auroville – an experimental global city across the beautiful Auroville beach. Then sail to Paradise Island for the most spectacular views and beach activities.

The best way to reach Pondicherry is by an overnight train to the Puducherry station. It’s also a very smooth ride from Bangalore to Pondicherry if you manage to leave early morning before the infamous Bangalore traffic kicks in.

10. Hampi (340 km from Bangalore)hampi monument

Step back in time and immerse yourself in the rich history of Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Watch the ruins of Vijayanagara empire come back to life infront of your eyes in this open-air museum.

Marvel at the architectural wonders of Hampi Bazaar, climb the iconic Matanga Hill for panoramic views, or witness the breathtaking sunset during a coracle ride in the Tungabhadra River.

On the next day drive to North Hampi to see the iconic stone chariot of Vittala Temple. It is one of the most famous monuments of India that often feature on the currency notes. Climb the Monkey Temple and engage in live music and merriment in the Hippie island.

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If you are visiting with kids, skip Hippie island since the environment may not be particularly kid-friendly. Instead travel to Daroji wildlife sanctuary to spot the Indian sloth bear and for bird-watching.

11. Mahabalipuram (350 km from Bangalore)mahabalipuram, India

This is another UNESCO heritage site that records the artistic and engineering genius of the 7th-century Pallava dynasty of India. Embark on a journey to the historic town of Mahabalipuram, renowned for its magnificent rock-cut temples and sculptures. What’s more, it’s on the shore of the Bay of Bengal!

The magnificent Shore Temple, the intricately carved five monolithic structures called Pancha Rathas, or the bas-relief architectural marvel called Arjuna’s penance – each monument is steeped in glorious history.  

With its rich cultural heritage and stunning coastal landscapes, Mahabalipuram offers a perfect blend of history, spirituality, and natural beauty for a memorable weekend getaway.

To reach Mahabalipuram, take a train or flight to Chennai and then book a short ride to Mahabalipuram. You can also drive all the way to Mahabalipuram from Bangalore.

A Few Tips on Choosing Your Destination

If you are looking for a peaceful retreat to just relax in the lap of nature, book a luxury resort in Coorg or Chikmagalur. Surprisingly these are also the best places for adventure with friends offering trekking trails and whitewater rafting.

If you are looking for an exhaustive sightseeing tour of historic gems go for Hampi or Mahabalipuram. If you are visiting with kids, I highly recommend Yercaud, Ooty, and Pondicherry because your itinerary can be packed with kid-friendly activities.

If you love shopping, then Mysore is a paradise for you, while if you want to go off-the-beaten-track, choose Shimoga. 

Opt for the high-altitude hill stations in summer for respite from the rising mercury levels. I recommend Yercaud, Kodaikanal and Ooty. 

Monsoon is the best time for the Western Ghats, also known as the monsoon ghats. This is the time to visit places like Chikmagalur, Coorg and Wayanad. The mountains come alive with waterfalls in full force and lush greenery all around. 

I recommend planning trips to the beaches like Pondicherry, Mahabalipuram, and Bekal in the winter in India.

That’s a wrap to the post. I am sure you will enjoy these places for your weekend trips from Bangalore. 

Guest Author: Sinjana Ghosh from Backpack & Explore.

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