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Top 10 best places to visit in South India, ranked

Made up of six districts, South India is a place of vibrant culture with plenty to see and do.

The distinct and vibrant culture of South India makes a visit to it an enriching and memorable experience. With that in mind, we will fill you in on the best places to visit in South India.

From decadent temples to white sand beaches, sleepy canals to historic ruins, there is plenty to see in Southern India’s six districts.

10. Varkala, Kerala – for a breathtaking beach

Varkala

One of the best places to visit in South India is, without a doubt, the small town of Varkala in Kerala.

Not only is Varkala home to one of the best beaches in South India, backed by a winding stretch of cliffs overlooking the Arabian Sea. It also boasts an abundance of flea markets, beach shacks, and hotels.

9. Gokarna, Karnataka – a Hindu pilgrimage site

Gokarna is one of the best places to visit in South India.

A quieter rival to the popular tourist destination of Goa, Gokarna is home to four of India’s most secluded and pristine beaches.

Aside from the stunning beaches, Gokarna is also a Hindu pilgrimage site that is home to several old and new temples.

8. Araku Valley, Andhra Pradesh – an adventure seekers dream

Araku Valley is an adventure lovers dream.

Araku Valley is a popular weekend destination in South India that boasts an abundance of breathtaking natural beauty. The train ride here alone is sure to take your breath away.

This mountainous region is surrounded by thick forest and is home to isolated tribes and organic coffee plantations. Adventure seekers will enjoy the trekking routes that wind their way through the hills.

7. Mysore, Karnataka – a royal legacy

Mysore is definitely one of the best places to visit in South India.

The city of Mysore in Karnataka was the seat of the Kingdom of Mysore that ran from 1399 to 1947. The royal charm still permeates the city to this day.

While in Mysore, you must visit the enchanting Mysore Palace. Many regard it to be the second most popular tourist attraction in India.

6. Kochi, Kerala – the Gateway to Kerala

Kochi is the Gateway to Kerala.

A visit to Kochi in Kerala truly offers a once in a lifetime experience. Kochi is a melting pot of culture and history. It is often known as the ‘Gateway to Kerala’.

With a vibrant culture influenced by the Arabs, British, Dutch, Chinese, and Portuguese, some of the best things to see in Kochi are Fort Kochi, Cherai Beach, Mattancherry Palace, Paradesi Synagogue, and Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica.

5. Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu – full of French charm

Pondicherry is one of the best places to visit in South India.

As a former French colony, French charm and influence permeate the city of Pondicherry to this day. This is only one of the things that make it one of the best places to visit in South India.

Full of charming villas and columned courtyards that contrast the stunning promenade, Pondicherry will leave a lasting impression on any visitor to the city.

4. Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu – a must-visit World Heritage Site

Mahabalipuram is a UNESCO World Heritage SIte.

Mahabalipuram in the Tamil Nadu district is a former seaport turned World Heritage Site. The incredible history of this place is not to be understated.

Situated on the Bay of Bengal, the amazing stone carvings and old cave temples mean you’ll always have something new to discover here. Located on the beachside, this town also has a thriving surfing scene, and sunsets here are something to be treasured.

3. Hyderabad, Telangana – the City of Nizams

Hyderabad is one of the best places to visit in South India.

Hyderabad is the capital of Telangana, and it is well worth a visit. With an incredible Islamic heritage, Hyderabad is known as the City of Nizams due to the Nizam dynasty that ruled the area.

To truly immerse yourself in the city’s heritage, we recommend exploring the historic architecture around the Charminar.

2. Kerala Backwaters – India’s famous canals

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The Kerala Backwaters are, without a doubt, a must-visit while in South India. A popular honeymoon destination in India, there is a truly romantic feel in this area.

Floating along the palm tree-lined canals in a traditional houseboat is sure to be an experience you won’t soon forget.

1. Chennai, Tamil Nadu – a blend of modern and traditional

Chennai tops our list of the best places to visit in South India.

Topping our list of the best places to visit in South India is definitely the cultural hub of Chennai, the capital of the district of Tamil Nadu.

Chennai is home to incredible architecture that tells a story of India’s past, and a modern and thriving city feel with boutiques and quirky cafes.

Must-visits include Marina Beach, Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Guindy National Park, and Parthasarathi Temple.

Siân McQuillan is a writer and travel lover from County Down, Northern Ireland. With a BA in English and History and an MA in Media and Broadcast Production from Queen’s University Belfast, Siân has gained extensive knowledge and experience writing across various forms of media. A travel lover, Siân can be found either out exploring new places around Ireland and the world or writing about her experiences of travelling and visiting new places. She recently wrote her first travel guide, The Ultimate Guide to Dublin, to share her love for Ireland’s capital city and offer some insight into all the things you need to see and do, places to eat and stay, hidden gems, and more.

15 Top Tourist Places to Visit in South India

Sharell Cook lives in Mumbai full-time and has been writing about India travel for TripSavvy since 2008.

Jillian Dara is a freelance journalist and fact-checker. Her work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, USA Today, Michelin Guides, Hemispheres, DuJour, and Forbes.

Badami, Karnataka.

South India (comprised of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu) really has a distinct culture that sets it apart from the rest of the country. Not only that, each state has managed to retain its own distinct identity. Intricate temple architecture, historical ruins, palm-fringed canals, spirituality, and beach will provide you with a varied and interesting trip. This article highlights the top tourist places to visit in South India. There are so many great destinations that it’s difficult to select only a few!

Hampi, Karnataka

Hampi Ruins

TripSavvy / Faye Strassle

One of India’s top historical destinations, the laid-back village of Hampi was once the last capital of Vijayanagar, one of the greatest Hindu empires in India’s history. It has some extremely captivating ruins, intriguingly intermingled with large boulders that rear up all over the landscape. The ruins, which date back to the 14th century, stretch for just over 4187 hectares (16 square miles) and comprise more than 1600 monumental remains. An incredible energy can be felt at this ancient place. Hampi is commonly visited from Goa, as there are a number of transport options from there.

Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal, Karnataka

Mallikarjuna Temple

The heritage sites of Badami (formerly Vatapi), Aihole and Pattadakal are a worthwhile side trip from Hampi. They’re rich in monuments, temples and ruins from the Chalukya empire, which ruled there between the 6th to 12th centuries. The renowned Chalukya style of architecture originated in Aihole and the village is filled with around 125 stone temples, which unfortunately don’t get the attention they deserve. Badami is one of the top places to see caves in India, with four sets of magnificent ancient rock-cut cave temples. Pattadakal is smaller but has one impressive temple complex that’s also a UNESCO Heritage Site.

Kerala Backwaters

A houseboat in Kottayam, Kerala's backwaters

Cruising along the palm-fringed canals, known as the backwaters, is one of the best things to do in Kerala. Time truly seems to stand still. Indian food cooked by a chef and chilled beer on-board the boat make it even more enjoyable. You can spend the night on the boat, out in the middle of the water, surrounded by serenity. Bliss! And while you’re in the area, why not stay a night or two at a resort or homestay on the backwaters? You’ll be able to feast on freshly caught and prepared seafood, according to traditional recipes. Plan your trip with this guide to the Kerala Backwaters and how to best visit them. Or check out these top homestays in and around Alleppey (Alappuzha) and top Kumarakom hotels and resorts for all budgets.

Varkala, Kerala

Varkala cliffs and the beach below

The fairy-tale setting of Varkala Beach is enough to take your breath away, with a long winding stretch of cliff and views that extend over the Arabian Sea. A paved footpath runs along the length of the cliff, bordered by coconut palms, quaint shops, beach shacks, hotels, and guest houses. Nestled at the bottom of the cliff is a sparkling beach, reached by steps leading down from the cliff top. It’s not surprising that Varkala is one of India’s best beaches. It sure is picturesque!

Fort Kochi, Kerala

Chinese fishing nets at Fort Kochi

Known as the “Gateway to Kerala”, Kochi is an enchanting city that’s had an eclectic influence. The Arabs, British, Dutch, Chinese, and Portuguese have all left their mark on the city. Most people recognize Kochi from pictures of the famous Chinese fishing nets that line the waterfront. Fort Kochi is full of architecture and historical sites, and is a marvelous place to stroll around and explore on foot.

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Madurai, Tamil Nadu

Sree Meenakshi Temple complex

Keren Su/Getty Images

Ancient Madurai is home to the most impressive and important temple in South India, the Meenakshi Temple. If you only see one south Indian temple, this temple should be it! The city of Madurai is more than 4,000 years old, and has remained a major center for Tamil culture and learning. The old traditional part of the city is fascinating to explore on foot. These days, Madurai attracts pilgrims and tourists in equal numbers. The two-week long Chithirai Festival, featuring a re-enacted celestial wedding of God and Goddess, is also held in Madurai during April and May each year. It’s worth visiting some of the magnificent temples in South India too.

Pondicherry

Pondicherry street scene.

Pondicherry (also known as Puducherry) was a former 18th century French colony and remains a separate union territory on the east cost of Tamil Nadu. It retains a distinctly French flavor and provides a delightful break. Wander around the atmospheric French Quarter and along the Promenade, soak up the peaceful atmosphere, dine in delicious restaurants, and browse the boutiques.

Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram), Tamil Nadu

Shore Temple

Mahabalipuram (also known as Mamallapuram) is a beach town with a thriving backpacker and surfing scene, an hour or so south of Chennai. It’s also renowned for its stone sculpture industry, so set some money aside to shop! Other attractions are the Shore Temple, Pancha Rathas (temples sculptured in the shape of chariots), and Arjuna’s Penance (a huge carving on the face of a rock depicting scenes from the Mahabharata). A classical dance festival happens there every year from late December to late January. The many beach resorts in the area make Mahabalipuram a popular getaway from Chennai.

Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi, Tamil Nadu

Church remains at Dhanushkodi

Rameshwaram is a peaceful little pilgrim town in southern Tamil Nadu, brought to life by the constant stream of pious devotees that come to bathe in its holy water, get a puja done to purify their karma, and visit Ramanathaswamy Temple. The town and temple are tied to the great Hindu epic The Ramayana. This is where Lord Ram got Lord Hanuman to build a bridge across the ocean to rescue Sita from her abductor, Ravana. Adam’s Bridge (also referred to as Ram Setu), a chain of reefs and sandbanks, is said to be the place where the bridge was located. In this area, not far from Rameshwaram, are the eerily crumbled and windswept remnants of Dhanuskodi, a town destroyed by cyclone in 1964. The approach to Rameshwaram is dramatic, with two long bridges (one for trains and one for other vehicles) linking it to the mainland.

Mysore, Karnataka

Mysore Palace at dusk.

Mysore has an impressive royal heritage, with the city’s main tourist attraction being the imposing Mysore Palace. There are many other interesting buildings, palaces, and temples to see. The zoo is notably one of the best in India. Mysore is also an excellent place to shop for sandalwood, and study Ashtanga yoga. The annual 10-day Mysore Dasara festival is another attraction.

Coorg, Karnataka

A man picking coffee beans

TripSavvy / Ivey Redding

For fresh aromatics of south Indian coffee and stunning scenic beauty, head to Karnataka’s Kodagu region (often referred to as Coorg, the English version of its name). This alluring mountainous area in southern Karnataka, not far from Bangalore and Mysore, is renowned for its plentiful coffee estates. And, yes, you can stay on one! There are accommodations for all budgets including some lovely homestays and luxury resorts in Coorg. The magnificent Golden Temple, one of the top Buddhist monasteries in India, is not to be missed as well.

Nilgiri Mountain Railway, Tamil Nadu

Nilgiri Mountain Railway toy train.

The Nilgiri Mountain Railway toy train chugs its way up to the popular hill station of Ooty in Tamil Nadu. The historic railway line was completed in 1899 and it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005. The 46 kilometer (28.5 mile) journey is an enthralling one. It passes through rocky terrain, ravings, forested hills, tea plantations, 16 tunnels, and over 250 bridges (including 32 major ones). Ooty is a great place to escape the heat, although it has become quite commercialized and crowded. Nearby Coonoor is quieter and is world famous for its tea. It’s one of the top destinations for tea tourism in India.

30 Best Places to Visit in South India

South India has a lot more to offer than mere beaches and spice plantations. It’s a melting pot of cultures, cuisines, traditions, and languages. From honeymooning couples to families, the southern states of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu welcome tourists with warmth and love. There’s something to do for everyone here – water sports for the adventurous, backwaters for the romantics, trekking trails for hikers, and panoramic vistas for nature lovers. Read ahead to know about the top places to visit in South India:

Places to Visit in South India

1. Coorg, Karnataka

Coorg | #1 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Coorg | #1 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Surrounded by imposing mountains and covered by mist, Coorg is a nature lover’s paradise. This small town in Karnataka is best known for its diverse flora and fauna and aromatic spices and coffee plantations. From waterfalls and trekking routes to forts and temples, there’s plenty to explore in Coorg. It is also home to one of the few Tibetan settlements in Southern India. Apart from sightseeing, there’s plenty of culture, retail therapy, and delicious food to be indulged in.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to March
  • Key Attractions: Abbey Falls, Iruppu Falls, Tadiandamol Peak, Raja’s Seat, Talacauvery, Namdroling Monastery, Nagarhole National Park, Barapole River, Madikeri Fort, Omkareshwara Temple, and Gaddige Raja’s Tomb. See more places to visit in Coorg
  • Nearest Airport: Mysore Airport, Mangalore Airport, and Kempegowda International Airport, Bangalore
  • Nearest Railway Station: Mysore

2. Wayanad, Kerala

Wayanad | #2 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Wayanad | #2 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Wayanad, one of the most visited hill stations in Kerala, beckons trekking enthusiasts and nature lovers. Its rolling hills and lush green forests are home to a number of animals and birds. After the monsoons, the waterfalls too come alive with a renewed spirit. The dams and lakes in Wayanad are ideal for an afternoon picnic. And then there are the temples and caves waiting to be explored.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to May
  • Key Attractions: Banasura Dam, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Edakkal Caves, Chembra Peak, Soochipara Waterfalls, Kuruvadweep, Thirunelli Temple, Kanthanpara Waterfalls, Wayanad Heritage Museum, and Neelimala Viewpoint
  • Nearest Airport: Calicut International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Kozhikode

3. Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu

Kodaikanal | #3 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Kodaikanal | #3 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

The cool breeze of Kodaikanal, a hill town in Tamil Nadu, is a welcome respite from the humidity typically associated with southern India. Nestled amidst the misty clouds, this hill station is rightly called the Princess of Hill Stations. There are rambling paths for trekkers, lakes to spend an afternoon by, waterfalls to bathe in and plenty more. Even the trees and plants here are unique. If you time your visit right, you may be able to see the Kurunji shrubs in bloom. At night, a trip to the observatory takes you to a whole new world.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to June
  • Key Attractions: Kodaikanal Lake, Bryant Park, Silver Cascade Falls, Pillar Rocks, Bear Shola Falls, Guna Cave or Devil’s Kitchen, Moir Point, Thalaiyar Falls, Kurinji Andavar Temple, and Kodaikanal Solar Observatory. Learn more about lakes in Kodaikanal
  • Nearest Airport: Madurai International Airport and Coimbatore International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Kodai Road

4. Ooty and Coonoor, Tamil Nadu

Ooty and Coonoor | #4 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Ooty and Coonoor | #4 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Ooty, the Queen of Hill Stations, balances the hustle and bustle of city life with expansive tea gardens. The charming bungalows from the British-Raj era add a romantic flavor to Ooty, making it one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in South India. Its famous miniature toy train is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a delight for people of all ages. One can take a toy train ride to Coonoor from Ooty another nearby hill station. Covering a distance of 19 km, the rail route offers a revitalizing travel experience. There are also museums, churches and a tea factory in Ooty that should find a place in your itinerary.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to June
  • Key Attractions: Government Botanical Garden, Government Rose Garden, The Tea Factory and Tea Museum, St. Stephen’s Church, Thread Garden, Nilgiri Mountain Railway Line, Government Museum, Doddabetta, Ooty Lake, Kamaraj Sagar Dam, Catherine Falls. Dolphin’s Nose, and Deer Park. Learn more about historical places in Ooty
  • Nearest Airport: Coimbatore International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Mettupalayam Railway Station

5. Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Chennai | #5 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Chennai | #5 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, is a blend of the old and the new. It is often described as the keeper of South Indian traditions. While on one hand, it flaunts spectacular architecture from the city’s past, on the other, it is known for its cosmopolitan lifestyle, quirky cafes and boutique stores. The city also boasts of the second-longest urban beach in the world. If you’re an adventure enthusiast, there’s plenty to do here. With something to offer to everyone, Chennai is one of the most visited family destinations in South India.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to February
  • Key Attractions: Marina Beach, Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Government Museum, Edward Elliot’s Beach, Santhome Cathedral, Fort St. George, Guindy National Park, Parthasarathi Temple, Valluvar Kottam, Arignar Anna Zoological Park, DakshinaChitra, and B.M. Birla Planetarium. Learn more about historical places in Chennai
  • Nearest Airport: Chennai International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Chennai Central

6. Gokarna, Karnataka

Gokarna | #6 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Gokarna | #6 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Gokarna, a Hindu pilgrimage site in Karnataka, is best known for its beautiful beaches with white sand and swaying coconut palms. Apart from the beaches, Gokarna has a number of old and new temples. It is considered one of the popular tourist places for solo travelers in South India. Since the town has religious significance, there are a number of vegetarian-only restaurants but seafood places and a bar to relax in are not very hard to find.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to March
  • Key Attractions: Om Beach, Mahabaleshwar Temple, Half Moon Beach, Kudle Beach, Paradise Beach, Maha Ganapathi Temple, Shiva Cave, Koti Teertha, and Sri Bhadrakali Temple
  • Nearest Airport: Dabolim Airport, Goa
  • Nearest Railway Station: Ankola and Gokarna Road
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7. Hampi, Karnataka

Hampi | #7 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Hampi | #7 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Hampi is one of the top places to visit in South India. The world heritage site takes visitors back in time to the 15 th and 16 th century with its magnificent ruins. It makes everyone’s imagination come alive with remnants of temples, monuments, and havelis. Quaint cafes set up on rooftops offer a variety of cuisines and are the ideal places to spend the evening.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to February
  • Key Attractions: Virupaksha Temple, Matanga Hill, Hemakuta Hill Temple, Vijaya Vitthala Temple, Hampi Architectural Ruins, Achyutaraya Temple, Kadalekalu Ganesha, Saasivekaalu Ganesha, Lotus Mahal, Hazara Rama Temple, and Stone Chariot
  • Nearest Airport: Kempegowda International Airport, Bangalore
  • Nearest Railway Station: Hospet Junction

8. Varkala, Kerala

Varkala | #8 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Varkala | #8 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Varkala, a small town in Kerala, also boasts of one of the top beaches in South India. The pristine white sandy Varkala beach is offset by majestic cliffs that make it a popular site with photographers. The town caters to backpackers as well as families. It’s an ideal place to escape city life. Apart from the beach, there are shacks with their fresh catch of the day and flea markets that make this place special. At its essence though, Varkala is a temple town with religious significance for Hindus.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to March
  • Key Attractions: Varkala Beach, Sivagiri Mutt, Varkala Cliff, Janardanaswamy Temple, Kappil Beach, Golden Island, Anchuthengu Fort, Varkala Cultural Center, and Sreenarayanapuram Temple
  • Nearest Airport: Trivandrum International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Varkala Sivagiri

9. Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu

Mahabalipuram | #9 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Mahabalipuram | #9 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Mahabalipuram, once a major seaport, is now a must-visit World Heritage Site on every history buff’s bucket list. From carved relief work on stone to cave temples, Mahabalipuram overflows with architectural wonders. Sunsets are extra special here as the soft glow of the setting sun adds to the allure of these monuments. And then there’s the mystery of Krishna’s Butterball. The city’s proximity to Chennai makes it one of the popular long weekend destinations in South India.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to March
  • Key Attractions: Shore Temple, Pancha Rathas, Descent of the Ganges, Group of Monuments, Krishna’s Butterball, Thirukadalmallai, Mahabalipuram Beach, Ganesha Ratha, India Seashell Museum, Arjuna’s Presence, Mahishasuramardini Mandapa, and Tiger Cave.
  • Nearest Airport: Chennai International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Chennai and Chengalpattu

10. Tanjore, Tamil Nadu

Tanjore | #10 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Tanjore | #10 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

The first thing to come to mind when you hear about Tanjore is the beautiful gold relief paintings that take their name from this town. Tanjore has a history that dates back to many centuries and it once served as the bedrock for art in South India. Today, its cosmopolitan vibes blend easily with the palaces and temples bearing witness to erstwhile kingdoms. Tanjore is also a great place to find antiques and reproduction pieces to take back home with you.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to March
  • Key Attractions: Brihadeeswara Temple, Great Living Chola Temples, Saraswathi Mahal Library, Thanjavur Maratha Palace, Sivaganga Park, Aiyarappar Temple, Thanjai Mamani Koil, Royal Palace Museum, and Manimandapam
  • Nearest Airport: Tiruchirappalli International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Thanjavur Junction and Trichy Junction

11. Madurai, Tamil Nadu

Madurai | #11 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Madurai | #11 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Madurai is often described as the soul of Tamil Nadu. As one of India’s oldest cities, Madurai is a celebration of Tamil culture and heritage. The temples here have religious significance as well as architectural beauty. However, this is not the only reason Madurai is listed amongst the top tourist attractions in South India. It is a vibrant city that offers a variety of South Indian foods as well. From roadside dhabas to fine dining restaurants, there’s a world of food waiting for you here.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to March
  • Key Attractions: Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal, Koodal Azhagar Temple, Gandhi Memorial Museum, Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam, Alagar Koyil, Thirupparamkunram Murugan Temple, Meenakshi Amman Temple, Samanar Hills, Kazimar Big Mosque, Thirumohoor Kalamegaperumal Temple, and Pandi Kovil Temple.
  • Nearest Airport: Madurai International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Madurai Junction

12. Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

Kanchipuram | #12 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Kanchipuram | #12 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Best known for the glamorous Kanchipuram sarees, Kanchipuram is also a magnificent temple town. These temples are equally beautiful in the day and at night owing to which Kanchipuram is a popular weekend destination in South India. Apart from the weather, many people also time their visit to coincide with festivals. What not many tourists know is that apart from the saree, the city also has idli named after it!

  • Best Time to Visit: March to October
  • Key Attractions: Kailasanathar Temple, Kamakshi Amman Temple, Varadharaja Perumal Temple, Ekambareswarar Temple, Ulagalantha Perumal Temple, Chitragupta Temple, Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham, Tiru Parameswara Vinnagaram, Thiru Ekambaranathar Temple, and Kanchi Kudil
  • Nearest Airport: Chennai International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Kanchipuram

13. Pondicherry, Puducherry

Pondicherry | #13 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Pondicherry | #13 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Pondicherry is one of the few places in India that reflects the contribution French culture made to our heritage. On one hand, Pondicherry boasts of villas with teak columned courtyards and vibrant yellow walls and on the other is the peaceful aura of Auroville. Its respectful and safe culture and bohemian vibe have made this city one of the top tourist places for solo travelers in South India. There are also a number of beaches here where you can easily watch the day go by.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to March
  • Key Attractions: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple, Promenade Beach, Rock Beach, Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, French War Memorial, Bharathi Park, Aayi Mandapam, and Varadharaja Perumal Temple. Learn more about temples in Pondicherry.
  • Nearest Airport: Pondicherry Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Pondicherry Railway Station

14. Munnar, Kerala

Munnar | #14 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Munnar | #14 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

With misty clouds and rolling green hills, Munnar has often been named one of the most picturesque hill stations of South India. It almost seems as though the place is carpeted with tea plantations. A visit here is all the encouragement one needs to sample the different aromas and flavors of tea. For nature lovers, there are elephants to watch, waterfalls to bathe in and trekking trails to walk along. This is also a popular weekend destination in South India.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to May
  • Key Attractions: Eravikulam National Park, Mattupetty Dam, Anamudi, Tea Museum, Pothamedu View Point, Attukal Waterfall, Nayamakad Waterfall, Kolukkumalai Tea Estate, Chokramudi Peak, and Carmelagiri Elephant Park. Learn more about things to do in Munnar
  • Nearest Airport: Cochin International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Aluva and Ernakulam

15. Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh

Tirupati | #15 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Tirupati | #15 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Tirupati is one of the most significant religious places in South India. This temple town is visited by thousands of pilgrims every day and yet manages to maintain an air of tranquility and serenity. Even the prasad served here is special as the Tirupati laddu has been awarded a Geographical Indication (GI) tag. Apart from the temples, there are forts, beautiful hillsides, and museums that welcome tourists. Tirupati is also a great place to sample flavors in a South Indian thali.

  • Best Time to Visit: September to February
  • Key Attractions: Sri Venkateswara Swamy Vaari Temple, Sri Venkateswara National Park, Chandragiri Fort, Kapila Theertham, Natural Arch- Tirumala Hills, Sri Padmavathi Ammavari Temple, Sri Venkateswara Zoological Park, Sri Venkateswara Museum, Srivari Mettu, and Varahaswamy Temple
  • Nearest Airport: Tirupati Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Tirupati

16. Alleppey, Kerala

Alleppey | #16 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Alleppey | #16 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

There’s nothing like the backwaters of Alleppey. This popular honeymoon destination in South India, also known as Alappuzha, offers an idyllic setting for couples to fall deeper in love with each other. Floating along the backwaters in a houseboat is the best way to experience this city. If you time your visit right, you could even catch a glimpse of the famous Kerala boat races. But, that’s not all; Alleppey also has a bustling industry of coir.

  • Best Time to Visit: November to February. August for boat races
  • Key Attractions: Alappuzha Beach, Vembanad, Marari Beach, Pathiramanal, Sree Krishna Swamy Temple, Punnamada Lake, Krishnapuram Palace, Basilica of St. Mary, Mullakkal Temple, International Coir Museum, and Revi Karunakaran Memorial Museum. Learn more about places to see Alleppey
  • Nearest Airport: Cochin International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Alappuzha Railway Station

17. Kumarakom, Kerala

Kumarakom | #17 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Kumarakom | #17 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

With its beautiful blue lake, picturesque villages and bird sanctuary, Kumarakom is a nature lover’s delight and one of the top weekend destinations in South India. Whether you’re here for the weekend or the whole week, there’s plenty to do here such as an overnight stay on a houseboat, night fishing, cruising down the backwaters in a shikara, and birdwatching. If you’re craving a simple life, Kumarakom the place you need to be.

  • Best Time to Visit: November to February
  • Key Attractions: Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, Pathiramanal, Bay Island Driftwood Museum, Thanneermukkom Bund, Village Life Experience, Backwaters, Karthyayani Devi Temple, St. Thomas Church, and Sree Kumaramangalam Subramanyaswamy Temple.
  • Nearest Airport: Cochin International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Kottayam

18. Kochi, Kerala

Kochi | #18 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Kochi | #18 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Kochi is an amalgam of centuries-old synagogues, palaces, Chinese fishing nets that dip in and out of the water, majestic bungalows dating back to the Dutch era and quirky cafes. The city is listed amongst tourist places for solo travelers in South India as well as a popular family destination in South India. Apart from historic places, Kochi also has a large antique and reproduction market where you can indulge in retail therapy. And then, there’s the lip-smacking appams and other Kerala delicacies waiting to be relished.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to February
  • Key Attractions: Fort Kochi, Cherai Beach, Mattancherry Palace, St. Francis CSI Church, Paradesi Synagogue, Hill Palace Museum, Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica, Willingdon Island, Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary, and Princess Street. Read more about churches in Kochi.
  • Nearest Airport: Cochin International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Ernakulam Junction and Ernakulam
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19. Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu

Kanyakumari | #19 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Kanyakumari | #19 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

The southernmost tip of the Indian mainland, Kanyakumari is famed for its spectacular sunrises and sunsets over the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea, and the Indian Ocean. Kanyakumari is a small town that makes a big impact. During the day between these glorious moments, there are forts, churches, and temples to be visited and paddy fields to be photographed. A few minutes at the Vivekananda Rock Memorial can transport you to a whole new world.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to February
  • Key Attractions: Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Thiruvalluvar Statue, Kanyakumari Beach, Sarvani Shaktipeeth Shri Bhagavathy Temple, Our Lady of Ransom Church, Trisea Sangamam, and Vattakottai Fort.
  • Nearest Airport: Trivandrum International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Kanyakumari

20. Thekkady, Kerala

Thekkady | #20 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Thekkady | #20 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

The rustic lifestyle of Thekkady is a great break from city life. This hill station in South India has everything from lush green rolling hills with elephants walking by to spice plantations, ashram and paddy fields. The Periyar National Park is home to tigers, wild bison, and many other wildlife species. When you’re done trekking through the hills and taking in the aromas of the spice plantations, you can attend cooking classes and tours of the bazaars.

  • Best Time to Visit: November to March
  • Key Attractions: Periyar National Park, Tiger Trail, Thekkady Lake, Green Park Ayurvedic & Spices Plantation, Anakkara, Kadathanadan Kalari Centre, Chellarkovil Viewpoint, and Pandikuzhi.
  • Nearest Airport: Cochin International Airport and Madurai International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Kottayam Railway Station

21. Trivandrum, Kerala

 Trivandrum | #21 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Trivandrum | #21 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Kerala’s capital city, Trivandrum is a small city with a glorious heritage. Spread across low hills, this is the gateway to the beaches of Kovalam and Varkala. The temples here are visited by pilgrims and tourists alike. Trivandrum also boasts of a number of palaces and museums that pay tribute to its history through beautifully preserved architecture. The Trivandrum Zoo is another popular tourist spot. And, while you’re here, don’t forget to taste the meal served on plantain leaves.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to February
  • Key Attractions: Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Napier Museum, Shankumugham Beach, Kuthira Malika, Trivandrum Zoo, Attukal Temple, Kanakakkunnu Palace, Kowdiar Palace, Koyikkal Palace, Kovalam, and Karikkakom Devi Temple
  • Nearest Airport: Trivandrum International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Thiruvananthapuram

22. Hyderabad, Telangana

Hyderabad | #22 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Hyderabad | #22 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Hyderabad, the capital city of Telangana, balances the rich history and regality of Nizams with a vibrant cityscape. On one hand, the city boasts of palaces, forts, and museums on the other it has a string of cafes by the beautiful Hussain Sagar Lake. Hyderabad is also home to the fascinating Ramoji Film City. It’s a city that’s simultaneously young and old, traditional and cosmopolitan.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to February
  • Key Attractions: Charminar, Golkonda Fort, Salar Jung Museum, Hussain Sagar Lake, Chowmahalla Palace, Ramoji Film City, Birla Mandir, Qutb Shahi Tombs, Lumbini Park, Shilparamam, NTR Gardens, Osman Sagar, Necklace Road, and Paigah Tombs. Read more about picnic spots in Hyderabad
  • Nearest Airport: Rajiv Gandhi Hyderabad International Airport, Hyderabad
  • Nearest Railway Station: Nampally and Hyderabad

23. Warangal, Telangana

Warangal | #23 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Warangal | #23 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

A city dotted with temples, forts and ancient monuments, Warangal is one of the most popular places to visit in South India. Its temples are not only visited by pilgrims but admired by tourists for their architectural magnificence. There are also a number of lakes and gardens ideal for an afternoon picnic and sparkling emerald fields that make a beautiful backdrop for photography enthusiasts.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to March
  • Key Attractions: Thousand Pillar Temple, Warangal Fort, Bhadrakali Temple, Padmakshi Temple, Waddepally Lake, Kakatiya Musical Garden, Kakatiya Zoological Park, Kush Mahal, and Bhadrakali Lake
  • Nearest Airport: Rajiv Gandhi Hyderabad International Airport, Hyderabad
  • Nearest Railway Station: Warangal

24. Araku Valley, Andhra Pradesh

Araku Valley | #24 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Araku Valley | #24 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

A few hours’ drive from Vishakhapatnam, Araku Valley is a popular weekend destination in South India. You could also take the Vistadome train for a panoramic view of the route. The valley is known for its spectacular natural beauty, isolated tribes, and organic coffee plantations. For adventure seekers, Araku Valley offers a number of trekking routes that wrap themselves around the hills.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to March
  • Key Attractions: Padmapuram Gardens, Borra Caves, Coffee Museum, Ananthagiri Water Falls, Rana Jilleda Water Falls, and Katika Water Falls
  • Nearest Airport: Visakhapatnam International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Araku Railway Station

25. Chikmagalur, Karnataka

Chikmagalur | #25 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Chikmagalur | #25 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Associated with adventure tales of smuggling from the olden days, Chikmagalur is now best known for its scenic beauty and historic places. There’s also the coffee to look forward to. Amidst the lush green plantations, are a number of picnic spots designed to make you forget the city you came from. The mountain circuits of Sheethalagiri-Baba Budan Giri-Mullayanagiri is something adventure seekers look forward to. The Hebbe and Kalhatti Falls are also close by.

  • Best Time to Visit: September to March
  • Key Attractions: Sharadamba Temple, Kemmangundi, Coffee Museum, Z Point, Hirekolale lake, Mullayanagiri, Kudurekuha, Hirekolale Lake, Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, Baba Budangiri, Kallathigiri Falls, and Hebbe Falls
  • Nearest Airport: Mangalore International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Chikkamagaluru Railway Station, Kadur and Hassan

26. Mysore, Karnataka

Mysore | #26 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Mysore | #26 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Known for its royal lifestyle, Mysore is an enchanting city. It is dotted with architecturally spectacular monuments and heritage buildings. The Mysore Palace, the seat of the erstwhile Wodeyar Maharajas, is believed to be the second most popular tourist site in India. Mysore’s rich traditions and spice bazaars attract tourists from across India and the world. Another popular reason to visit this city is to practice and learn the art of Ashtanga yoga. Mysore Dasara is a grand celebration and a great time to plan your trip.

  • Best Time to Visit: July to February
  • Key Attractions: Mysore Palace, Mysore Zoo, Kishkindha Moolika Bonsai Garden, Venugopala Swamy Temple, Jaganmohan Palace, Philomena’s Church, Somanathapura Temple, Brindavan Gardens, Chamundeshwari Temple, and Karanji Lake. Learn more about places to visit in Mysore
  • Nearest Airport: Mysore Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Mysore Junction

27. Bangalore, Karnataka

Bangalore | #27 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Bangalore | #27 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Bangalore, the city of lakes, gardens, IT giants, and startups offers plenty to explore and discover. During the day, there are palaces to visit, gardens to take a stroll, and street markets to shop at. Mansions from the Victorian era stand beside mega-malls with glass facades. By night, the city has craft-beer pubs and quirky cafes that call out to weary souls. Known for its safety, this is often featured in lists of tourist places for solo travelers in South India.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to February
  • Key Attractions: Bangalore Palace, Cubbon Park, Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, Bannerghatta Biological Park, Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace, Nandi Temple, Dodda Alada Mara, Lumbini Gardens, Bangalore Fort, and Vidhana Soudha. Learn more about places to visit in Bangalore
  • Nearest Airport: Kempegowda International Airport, Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Bengaluru City Junction, Krishnarajapuram, Bangalore Cantonment, and Yeshwanthpur

28. Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu

Rameswaram | #28 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Rameswaram | #28 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Rameswaram is one of the best-known religious places in South India. According to mythology, this is where Lord Rama led his army to Lanka and rescued Sita from the demon king Ravana. Apart from its religious significance, Rameswaram is a quiet fishing town with scenic beauty and beaches to enjoy water sports.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to April
  • Key Attractions: Ramanathaswamy Temple, Agni Tirtham, Sri Panchmukhi Hanuman Mandir & Floating Stones, Rameswaram TV Tower, Adam’s Bridge, Pamban Road Bridge or Annai Indira Gandhi Bridge, and Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Memorial
  • Nearest Airport: Madurai International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Rameswaram

29. Thrissur, Kerala

Thrissur | #29 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Thrissur | #29 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Thrissur is the cultural capital of Kerala. The city goes from celebrating one festival to another so much so that no matter when you visit, you’ll probably be able to see the city in full festive gear. It was once home to the Cochin royal family and today boasts of a number of buildings from that time. There’s also a Nestorian Christian community that dates back to the 3 rd century. While you’re here, don’t forget to enjoy a classic Kerala meal at one of the city’s many restaurants.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to March
  • Key Attractions: Vadakkunnathan Temple, Sakthan Thampuran Palace, Basilica of Our Lady of Dolours, Paramekkavu Bagavathi Temple, Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple, Archaeological Museum, Bible Tower, Vilangan Hills, St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Church and Arattupuzha Sree Sastha Temple. Find more places to visit in Thrissur
  • Nearest Airport: Cochin International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Thrissur

30. Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

Coimbatore | #30 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Coimbatore | #30 of 30 Places to Visit in South India

Fondly called the Manchester of South India, Coimbatore is best-known for its textile industry. This cool hill station in South India is also a pit stop on the way to Ooty and Kerala. Coimbatore is where people come to relax, put their feet up, and live the slow life. While you’re here, visit temples and museums that take you back in time and enjoy a picnic by the waterfalls.

  • Best Time to Visit: July to March
  • Key Attractions: Marudhamalai, Dhyanalinga, Siruvani Waterfalls, Black Thunder, Perur Pateeswarar Temple, Arulmigu Eachanari Vinayagar Temple, GD Naidu Museum, Anamalai Tiger Reserve, Monkey Falls, Koniamman Temple, and Gass Forest Museum. Find more places to visit in Coimbatore
  • Nearest Airport: Coimbatore International Airport
  • Nearest Railway Station: Coimbatore North, Podanur Junction, and Singanallur

I am obsessed with old edifices, museums and different cultures. When not writing and editing stories, I love to explore forgotten ruins or indulge in gardening and cooking – the other things I’m passionate about. My motto in life is “Love what you Do and Do what you Love”, and that is what is driving me all through.

Source https://www.theworldbucketlist.com/top-10-best-places-to-visit-in-south-india-ranked/#:~:text=One%20of%20the%20best%20places%20to%20visit%20in,abundance%20of%20flea%20markets,%20beach%20shacks,%20and%20hotels.

Source https://www.tripsavvy.com/top-places-to-visit-in-south-india-1539735

Source https://www.fabhotels.com/blog/places-to-visit-in-south-india/

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