Planning a Visit to Chikmagalur? Here's Everything you Need to Know

Winding mountain roads, lush greenery, and coffee; that’s Karnataka’s Chikmagalur in a nutshell. If you plan on heading to the beautiful town nestled in the Western Ghats, here’s the what, when, how, and more of it all.

Srushti Pathak
New Update

Known as ‘Coffee Land of Karnataka’, Chikmagalur is an enchanting town in Karnataka that’s a traveller favourite. Though coffee plantations make for the majority of tourist attractions here, there’s a lot more explored in and around Chikamagaluru. Whether you wish to experience tranquillity or adventure, Chikmagalur offers it all. Having visited the town of Chikmagalur, Local Samosa brings you first-hand information on spending your holidays here. So, pack your bags and head on over to this picturesque holiday destination.

How to Reach

Kadur is the nearest railway station to Chikmagalur. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to reach the town from Kadur via road. Mangalore Airport, 113 km away, is the closest airport to Chikmagalur. You can plan a 4-hour road trip from Mangalore to Chikmagalur. Bangalore is 233 km away and this trip will take you about 5 hours.

Chikmagalur, Karnataka
Image Courtesy: Karnataka Tourism

Day 1

  • Morning: After checking into your accommodation in Chikmagalur, head out for breakfast at New Town Canteen. 
  • Mid-Morning: Time to head over to Jhari Falls for a dip in the water.
  • Afternoon: Head on over to Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary for an afternoon of wildlife viewing.
  • Evening: Sit for an early picnic dinner on the banks of Hirekolale Lake.

Day 2

  • Morning and Mid-Morning: Embark on the Mullayanagiri Trek and don’t forget to carry your brunch picnic.
  • Afternoon: Visit Hebbe Waterfall to take in the scenic view and enjoy the water.
  • Evening: End the day at Baba Budangiri as you enjoy the sunset at the summit.

Day 3

  • Morning: Coffee plantation and estate visits can be best enjoyed post breakfast.
  • Mid-Morning and Afternoon: Travel to Belur and Halebidu to take in the architectural marvel of the temples.
  • Evening: Time to go shopping on MG Road before you end the trip.

Top Attractions

Jhari Falls

  • Jhari Falls: Also known as Buttermilk Falls, Jhari Falls is a breathtaking waterfall about 22 km away from Chikmagalur. You travel on Bababudan Giri Road or Thippanahalli Estate Road and reach the point of the path that goes off the road. Here on, you can take a shared or private jeep ride down the winding, kachha road to the actual waterfall. The sight of the cascading waterfall, the feel of the cold water and being surrounded by the forest on all sides is an experience worth having. Remember to carry extra clothes if you plan on taking a dip in the water. There is no entry fee to visit Jhari Waterfalls and it is usually open from 8:00 AM in the morning to 5:00 PM in the evening on all days.
Hebbe Waterfall
Image Courtesy: Karnataka Tourism
  • Hebbe Waterfall: Located inside the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, this 551-feet waterfall has two stages; Dodda Hebbe (Big Falls) and Chikka Hebbe (Small Falls). It is 10 km away from the hill station, Kemmangundi. It forms a natural jacuzzi which locals say is filled with medicinal herbs, considered to offer healing qualities. The trek to Hebbe waterfall passes through some of the magnificent views of the forests and coffee estates. The distance between Chikmagalur Town and Hebbe Falls is 70 km. You can take the bus or private car to visit this place. The bumpy roads surrounded by dense forests are all worth the view of Hebbe waterfall.
Hirekolale Lake
Image Courtesy: Chikmagalur Tourism
  • Hirekolale Lake: Hirekolale Lake is a picturesque man-made lake surrounded by the Western Ghats and lush coffee plantations. It’s regarded as a tranquil spot, a good place to visit for nature lovers and photographers. You can plan a picnic at this lake or simply enjoy a walk around it. There is no entry fee for visiting Hirekolale Lake and it is open throughout the day. The time to visit would be late afternoon to capture the scenic beauty during the golden hour. Hirekolale Lake is merely 10 km from Chikmagalur town.
Baba Budangiri
Image Courtesy: Chikmagalur Tourism
  • Baba Budangiri: This place is a shrine to the Sufi saint, Baba Budan. Known for its scenic beauty, this is also a great spot for trekking enthusiasts. The drive to Baba Budangiri or Baba Budan Hill is as beautiful as the destination itself with panoramic views of the surrounding hills and valleys. A visit to Baba Budangiri can take around 2 to 3 hours, especially if you plan to do a trek. Located 35 km from Chikmagalur, this spot is accessible throughout the day, but daylight hours are recommended for the best experience. 

Things To Do

Coffee Plantation Tours

  • Coffee Plantation Tours: To spend the day in a coffee plantation is such a unique experience. You can enjoy the serene views while you walk through the plantation and get to know about the coffee cultivation process, from planting to harvesting. Most plantations have their own tours and guides that vary in price depending on several factors. The Serai has its own coffee plantation tour with different add-on services and so do several resorts, hotels and estate owners. The coffee plantation by the Nirvanaswamy Temple isn’t too crowded and is owned by a famous architect. A coffee estate tour in Chikmagalur can cost you anywhere from Rs. 20 to Rs. 2,000 per person. If you visit between November to January, you can even go coffee picking!
Mullayanagiri Trek
Image Courtesy: Chikmagalur Tourism
  • Mullayanagiri Trek: Mullayanagiri is the highest peak in Karnataka. It’s also a moderately challenging trek and a must for adventure seekers. Take the rugged paths and arrive at breathtaking views of the Western Ghats. The best way to enjoy this trek is to pack a picnic and enjoy it at the summit. You can hire a local guide for assistance. The Mullayanagiri trek can be undertaken throughout the day, but it’s advisable to start early in the morning to avoid the heat and ensure you have enough time to complete the trek comfortably. Most trekkers begin their ascent between 6:00 AM and 8:00 AM. On average, it takes around 3 to 4 hours to reach the summit and return to the base. Don’t forget to account for stops, rests, and the picnic. Located 20 km from Chikmagalur town, it takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour to reach the base of the trekking trail by road.
Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary
Image Courtesy: Karnataka Tourism
  • Visit Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary: This biodiversity hotspot is 38 km from Chikmagalur and takes up to 1.5 hours to reach by road. Here, you can take a safari to spot wildlife such as tigers, leopards, and various bird species. The entry fee for the sanctuary is Rs. 400 per adult and Rs. 200 for kids. Also, there are additional charges for safari and camera permits. Ideally, you should spend around 3 to 4 hours exploring Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary. It is open for visitors from sunrise to sunset. The best time to visit for wildlife sightings is during the early morning or late afternoon hours when animals are most active.
Belur Temple
Image Courtesy: Karnataka Tourism
  • Pop into Belur and Halebidu Temples: Located in Hassan district are the towns of Belur and Halebedu. Renowned for their Hoysala architecture, the places hold much historical value. The intricate carvings and detailed sculptures at these temples are a testament to the craftsmanship of the 12th century. The Chennakesava Temple in Belur is dedicated to Lord Vishnu while the Hoysaleswara Temple in Halebidu is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The entry fee for Belur and Halebidu temples is Rs. 10 to Rs. 25. Belur and Halebidu temples are open for visitors from early morning until sunset. Belur is located approximately 25 km from Chikmagalur, while Halebidu is around 35 km away.

Where To Stay

The Serai
Image Courtesy: The Serai
  • The Serai: If you want to experience ultra-luxury in Chikmagalur, then plan your stay at The Serai. You can book one from the 29 villas on the property. This place is known for its unparalleled venue, nestled in lush green coffee plantations and warm hospitality. There are multiple restaurants along with amenities like a spa, fitness centre and more. They conduct coffee plantation tours and have a restaurant that seats you under the stars. The average tariff is Rs. 20,000 per night.
Global Village Luxury Resort
Image Courtesy: Global Village Luxury Resort
  • Global Village Luxury Resort: Located just on the outskirts of Chikmagalur on the highway is the Global Village Luxury Resort. It offers a garden, fine dining, spa, a shared lounge, a swimming pool and more. You can pick and choose from multiple suites and rooms available. Reviews say that it is a good option for families and the average tariff is around Rs. 12,000 per night. There’s a water park at this resort for your kids to enjoy.
Hotel Aadrika
Image Courtesy: Hotel Aadrika
  • Hotel Aadrika: If you want to keep this trip budget-friendly, then Hotel Aadrika is for you. It’s right in the heart of the city and within walking distance of the shopping hub, MG Road. The restaurants at Hotel Aadrika serve delicious food that’s worth the money. They offer suites as well as rooms with good amenities. The average tariff is about Rs. 6,000 per night.

Where To Eat

Zesto, Hotel Aadrika
Image Courtesy: Hotel Aadrika
  • Swadishta by Crystal Inn: This is among the top restaurants in Chikmagalur that serve vegetarian dishes. Inspired by the authentic home taste, the chef here prepares food with full devotion and the finest ingredients. Get Anna-Saaru and Pallya here.
  • Zesto by Hotel Aadrika: It is a multi-cuisine bar and restaurant. The place has tucked-in interiors, with chic lighting, and comfortable seating. The cocktails are made well with enough variety for everyone. Do try the Kai Kadubu (mutton curry) and Chicken Kebabs here.
  • New Town Canteen: If breakfast is on your mind, then do try New Town Canteen. They serve a variety of dosas and their specialty is Pineapple Kesari Bhath (pineapple saffron rice).
  • Maharaja Restaurant: From Andhra to Afghan, you get an array of cuisines here. Reviews recommend all of their mutton dishes, Egg Chilli and Chicken Biryani.

What To Shop For

Coffee Shopping

  • Coffee: Shopping for coffee at Chikmagalur is almost like a rite of passage. Panduranga Coffee on MG Road offers several varieties of coffee beans (roasted and otherwise), coffee grounds and instant coffee. If you ask politely, they might even give you a tour of their factory that's right behind the store. Filter coffee is something that’s a must-buy in Chikmagalur and the town is full of shops selling everything coffee.
  • Souvenirs: You can grab beautiful fridge magnets and souvenirs at different stores on MG Road. Tiny magnets with coffee beans, cups and Karnataka special food is something we would highly recommend.
The Serai Coffee Plantation Tour Hebbe Waterfall Jhari Falls Coffee Plantation karnataka Chikmagalur