Tranquillity, the thrill of cold, the prospect of adventure, and the prospect of doing nothing but accomplishing a lot draws travellers to the best places to visit in Himachal Pradesh. If you are looking for respite from life in the cities and summers, head to Himachal Pradesh. This is the ultimate destination for nature-lovers and thrill seekers. But there is more to Himachal than all this for hidden away in the mountains lies the centuries-old Tibetan and Hindu cultures and their fascinating modern-day amalgamations. Villages, monasteries, and temples perched on ancient mountain tops and people far removed from civilization as you know it. Fairy tales do come to life. Just visit Himachal Pradesh once and you will believe us.
Top 14 Places to Visit in Himachal Pradesh.
- Kullu Manali
- Bir Billing
- Spiti Valley
- Kaza and Spiti
1. Kullu Manali – The Enduring Favourite
The place where most romantic Bollywood movies have their best sceneries from, Kulu Manali is a place where people of all ages can visit for witnessing the fresh air of the mountains and the snow covered peaks.
Best time to visit: Landslides are common during the months of July-August, so it is advisable that one prepares himself for a trip after the monsoons retreat, preferably during September and October, when temperatures are around 10 to 20 degrees. The temperatures drop to 7-15 degrees in March – April and rise up to 25 degrees in June, so remember to plan your trip accordingly.
How to reach: Bhuntar airport, 50 kms from Manali allows you to reach by a flight. A train to Pathankot station and then a 285 km drive will take you to Kulu. Else, cabs from Delhi would have to cover a distance of 522 kms to Kulu.
Things to do: Do visit the Manali bird sanctuary, the famous Rohtang pass, and trek to Bhrigu Lake or raft at Beas.
Nearby places to explore: Visit Solang, Malana or Rohtang when in Kulu Manali.
2. Shimla – the capital of Himachal Pradesh
This destination is known for the historical imprints of the colonial period. Did you know that this place was named after Shyamala Devi, a Goddess?
Best time to visit: If witnessing the snowfall is on your bucket list, then December to February is the ideal time, but if you like engaging in trekking or camping with your companions, then the months between March to June are ideal. Visiting Shimla between July to September would be cheaper as the hotel prices drop.
How to reach: A train journey to Kalka (89 kms from Shimla) or a flight to Chandigarh (the nearest airport, 60kms away) and then a cab will take you to Shimla.
Things to do: Visit the Jakhu hills, Christ Church, ski at Kufri or shop at the Mall road.
Nearby places to explore: Visit the Shimla State museum or the Himalayan bird park here.
3. Dharamshala – Home of the Dalai Lama
This is one place in the Kangra Valley has the vibrant mix of the cultural communities of India, mostly Buddhists.
Best time to visit: Dharamshala can be really warm with temperatures within 22-35 degrees in the months of April to July. The time between July – September can help you witness the essence of mountain monsoons and the winters can leave you awestruck by the beauty and the dropping temperatures of 4-0 degrees!
How to reach: A train to Pathankot, the nearest railway station (85kms), or a flight to Gaggal airport (15 kms from Dharamshala) and a drive next will take you to Dharamshala.
Things to do: Fall in love with the Kareri Lake or meditate in the Buddhist monasteries, or the Dalai Lama’s home or visit the Tibet Museum.
Nearby places to explore: Visit the Dalai Lama temple Complex or the tea plantations near the Kangra Valley, or proceed to Bir Biling.
4. Kasauli – The Gateway to Himachal
Bordering Punjab and Haryana, this is a favourite destination for people who want a quick weekend getaway from city life. An ideal destination for a trip with family and friends, Kasauli is the best destination if you want to just do nothing and relax for a while in the midst of nature. It is not about particular locations or activities. It is simply about being at a place to relax. Watch the rising and setting sun from sunrise and sunset point here. Walk to your heart’s content as you explore nature on the Gilbert Trail or simply stroll through the town while admiring the colonial architecture in the town. There is a long list of places to visit in Kasauli that will soothe your frayed nerves and bid goodbye to the 9 to 5 routine for a while here. The best time to visit Kasauli is from November to March.
5. Bir Billing – Adventure and more Adventure
Simply put, Bir Billing is the mecca of adventure sports in India and no adventure seeker worth their salt would miss this place. Bir is a small village in Western Himachal, which is a popular haunt of backpackers and adventure seekers. In the summers, pump up your adrenaline levels get a different view of the Himalayas and the beautiful towns from the skies with paragliding. As a side note, Bir hosts the World Paragliding Championship every year. This is also one of the most picturesque routes for trekking in the Himalayas. Apart from adventure sports, Bir is also an important centre for spiritual studies and meditation. Tibetans are the majority population here and thus the culture of Bir is highly influenced by Tibetan culture.
6. Dalhousie – Time travel to the British era
This will be the best place for the couples in love and willing to visit a place with pleasant weather conditions and some peace. Known as the ‘mini Switzerland of India’, Dalhousie presents the picture of a picturesque landscape, like a dream destination.
Best time to visit: Summers (months of March – May) are pleasant, permitting sightseeing and outdoor activities. The Monsoons (June – September) are ideal for the love birds. The winters (October – February) have temperatures dropping to 4 degrees. Snowfalls can be witnessed at this time too.
How to reach: The flights to Dharamshala Airport will help you reach this place faster, as you can take a ride of around to Dalhousie from there. If you plan to take a train, then it would take a ride of 10 hours from the Pathankot station, the closest to Dalhousie.
Things to do: Make a trip to St John’s Church, Daikund Peak, Chamera Dam or Khajjar Lake. Also, trek in the Bakrota hills for a great view.
Nearby places to explore: Dharamshala and Kalatop are closest to Dalhousie.
7. Spiti Valley – Trekking and more
If you visit Spiti and feel that a fairytale just came to life, don’t say we didn’t tell you about it. Curvaceous roads, undulating valleys, cold deserts at high altitudes, and snowcapped mountains with patches of greenery and tiny villages peeping out occasionally, Spiti has all this and more. Spiti Valley is 12500 above sea level and it gets around 250 days of sunshine in a year and the rest of the year is spent in snow and cold when it has no contact with the outside world. Spiti is accessible mainly via two roads, one of which is only accessible during the summer months of the year. Spiti is best visited by one fit of the mind and body as these demanding altitudes will take a toll on your body. There are many trekking trails here that start from Kaza (Spiti’s capital). One of the easiest treks is the 1.5 kilometres long trek along the Spiti River to the Dhankar Monastery to the Dhankar Lake where you can get stunning views of the villages below and take in the cold beauty around you. Another tourist attraction is the mountain ropeway from Kibber to Chichum, which is a manual ropeway connecting two villages. It offers scary and beautiful views of the chasm below and a well-rounded view of the surrounding peaks. The best time to visit this place is from May to July.
8. Khajjair – The Mini Switzerland of India
Khajjair deserves a special mention simply because it is too sumptuous a place to be not mentioned. If a place could ever be sumptuous and mouth-watering, this would be the place, which is aptly called the ‘mini-Switzerland’ of India. Spend your time with your beloved here whispering sweet nothings or the sights here might entice you to even break out into a Bollywood song and dance routine. Apart from these things, you can visit the Khajjair Lake and ground, worship at the Khajji Nag Temple, which is more than 1000-year old and take in the views of the Mount Kailash, mythical home of Lord Shiva. The best time to visit is from May to June.
9. Kasol – Laid Back and Adventurous
Another trekking destination popular with trekkers and adventurers, Kasol is not to be confused with Kasauli. Kasol is a tiny village that is famed for its natural beauty where the hands of commercialization are yet to reach. Curiously, Kasol is home to many Israeli people and the streets signboards are in Hebrew and even authentic Israeli food served here is a testimony of that.
Kasol will be around 3 hours from the airport at Kullu and is an ideal place for jungle hiking by following the trail of the Parvati River. The trek to Kheerganga is a scenic trek where you can experience hot water springs along the way and the same goes for the trek to Parvati Valley, which is known as the “Stoner’s Paradise”.
However, even if you’re not into trekking, just the experience of sitting in the forest and enjoying a meal or watching the fast waters of the Parvati River from the banks is time well spent. Summer months are the best time to go here and the best time to visit is in the months of May and June.
10. Palampur – Offbeat in the true sense
Not one of the frequented places by tourists, but slowly beginning to get on the travellers map, Palampur is famous for its tea gardens and the pine and deodar forests surrounding it. Another discovery of the English, Palampur is full of Victorian architecture. The Tashi Jong Monastery and the tea gardens should be on your must-see list. An ideal destination for family or couples seeking a quiet retreat Palampur can be visited anytime throughout the year.
11. Kinnaur – Of Apples and Gods
Kinnaur is famous for apples and is known as the ‘Land of the Gods’ and it is easy to see why. Everything you can imagine about a mountain town when you close your eyes and visualize can be found here. Another landscape that has fortunately not been completely touched by commercialization as yet, Kinnaur is situated at distance of 235 kilometres in Northeast Himachal. A fusion of Hinduism and Buddhism can be seen in the culture here and apart from the religious importance here, there are nine trekking routes, which start from here. Apart from the apples, Chilgoza and handicrafts are other things that are famous here. You can go on a heritage trail where you can explore the Kamru Fort, Nako Gompa or monastery, and the hamlets around. The arresting views of the Nako Lake should compel you to spend some time on its shores and finally round off everything by having Tibetan delicacies at a Tibetan cafeteria.
12. Kufri – Snow and more Snow
If one of your main goals of coming to Himachal Pradesh had been to see snow, your trip would be incomplete without visiting Kufri. Thanks to its high altitude, Kufri is snow-laden throughout the year and is the perfect destination for couples and honeymooners. This is another destination like Kasauli, which does not have a lot to see and do in terms of things but it is more than compensated by the panaromic views around. Nature hiking and trekking tours start from here and in winters it understandably becomes a hotspot for skiing. The best time to visit Kufri is between November and March.
13. Chail – Get away from it all
An ideal location for hikers, family, and solo trips Chail is another offbeat gem that doesn’t witness the hullabaloo of crowds. Chail is most famous for being home to the world’s highest cricket ground and the Chail Palace, which is now a heritage hotel nestled among pine and deodar trees. But these are not the only reasons why you should visit. If you are tired of the snow or simply don’t feel the magic of nature around you, you should visit Chail simply to be one with nature and forget the hustle and bustle of the city life. See Himalayan wildlife in all its splendour at the Chail Wildlife Sanctuary and visit the world’s highest cricket ground or simply go hiking in the pine or deodar forests. Chail can be visited throughout the year.
The above listed 13 tourist best places to visit in Himachal Pradesh should be a must for anyone who is looking for mountains, nature, serenity, adventure, and more. Every destination has something unique to offer to its visitors. Come and visit the tourist places in Himachal and immerse yourself in the rich nature and culture of the state.
14. Kaza and Spiti
For the trekking lovers, Spiti and Kaza are the best places to rush to.
Best time to visit: If you love cold deserts, a visit from October to March will leave a mark on you. The temperatures remain around －5 degrees at this time. Spiti experiences her monsoons from July to September and the summers from May to June, when the temperatures are around 10-15 degrees.
How to reach: A flight to Kulu airport at Bhuntar or a train to Joginder Nagar station will help you to reach Spiti.
Things to do: Visit the Rangrik Rewa Cave, the Dhankar Monastery, the Key Monastery, the Chandratal Lake or the Snow point in Kunzom for incredible sightseeing.
Nearby places to explore: The Pin Valley National Park, Tabo, and Kibber are closest to Spiti and Kaza.
So, what are you waiting for? Plan your trip to Himachal Pradesh right away and do not forget to visit these places!