Karnataka is a vast state ripe for travellers who want to enjoy pristine scenery and long distance driving. Its mountains form a north-to-south spine and are home to diverse ecosystems and unique terrains, while in the east, there are many nice historical and cultural attractions. With a self drive car rental, one can easily embark on a memorable road trip with friends. Here are three of the most beautiful journeys to pep up the winter months.

Destination: Chikmagalur


The route from Bangalore to Chikmagalur is around 245 kms west into the cool Western Ghats. Chikmagalur is known for its coffee estates and it is located in the midst of a vast wilderness area. The drive there is a trip across diverse geologies. An early start from Bangalore is recommended and stops on the way (NH275) include Yediyur town, a famous pilgrimage place for the Lingayat community. As one gets closer to the destination, the landscape gets more verdant. This Hassan district is famous for its ancient temples. One of the most prominent amongst them is the Hoysaleswara Temple in Halebidu, a 12th century structure that features hundreds of sculptures, friezes, and intricate architectural designs. So, this is a nice place for road trip.

Chikmagalur itself is a quaint and idyllic town, perfect for a winter retreat. It is the base for further exploration into the surrounding mountains, the highest in Karnataka. Treks to the summits of Mullayanagiri and the extremely scenic Kudremukh are recommended.

The Coorg Drive


There is always something new to discover about Coorg in every season. The district remains Karnataka’s most idiosyncratic – a proud culture known for its martial prowess and distinct cuisine. Madikeri and Virajpet are the two main towns of the district and most of the Coorg activities are based from these stations.

The journey from Bangalore is always going to be an eventful one, with stops like the grand royal city of Mysore to contend with. A short detour to admire the Mysore Palace is always recommended, maybe a few extra minutes to sneak in one of the city’s specialty dosas. Coorg rises out of the plateau and one can see it draw closer on the horizon after crossing Mysore –lush green mountains that hide many wild secrets within. This is a very nice place for road trip. A safari in one of the ranges in Nagarhole National Park is recommended – this is tiger country that one treads into. Winter temperatures are mild to chilly – ideal for a shot of Old Monk rum and some spicy pandi curry – the signature combination of the brave Kodavas.

The Forts of Bidar

This next entry on the list is a long drive into Karnataka’s border with Maharashtra, home to a unique cultural mosaic where Maratha and Central Indian heritage blends with the images and traditions of the south. The city of Bidar is close to 700 kms away from Bangalore on a monumental route that could also include a stop at the grand old city of Hyderabad.


Travellers who undertake this expedition will be treated to a lot of history and its remnants in the forms of forts, palaces, temples, and more. Kurnool which is about halfway on the route is home to the famous Konda Reddy Fort and one can also visit the Archaeological Museum. The latter has an extensive collection of locally collected artifacts, a perfect teaser for what lies ahead.

A stop at the Golconda Fort outside Hyderabad is a good idea – one can explore the ramparts and enjoy views of the surrounding area. You can enjoy road trip on these roads. This fort used to be one of the richest in the world and the mines here produced the famous Kohinoor diamond and the Noor-ul-Ain, one of the largest pink diamonds ever discovered. Today, these magnificent stones are part of the British and Persian crown jewels respectively.

At Bidar, one should first head over to the Bidar Fort, a complex that includes the Rangeen Mahal, known for its coloured tiles and intricate wall patterns and calligraphic texts. Gagan Mahal, Takht Mahal, and the 600-year-old Solah Khamba Mosque, known for its resplendent arches and pillars, are other major attractions at the fort.

Bidar is also where the craft of Bidriware originated, characterized by detailed patterns on a distinctive alloy of zinc and copper, inlaid with silver sheets. The black luster of Bidriware gives it a unique finish along with the impeccable workmanship.

Nearby Locations

For those with time constraints, there are several destinations which are closer to the city of Bangalore but yet can be counted as a valid escapade from the city life. Lepakshi is about a two-hour drive north from the city and is known for its exquisite temples, built during the glorious heights of the Vijayanagar Empire in the fourteenth century. The highlight here is the Veerabhadra Temple, abundant with rock-carved sculptures and paintings along with the famous Nandi Bull statue.

Another nearby destination that discerning travellers will not get tired of is Mysore. It offers a perfect blend of modern activities and heritage sites – the grand Mysore Palace remains the centrepiece of the city (and the state too). One can head over to the adventure parks in the city outskirts and enjoy a round of go-Karting and the drive to the summit of Chamundi Hills is a very scenic one. This is good for road trip.

chamunda hils

The route from Bangalore crosses through the countryside of Karnataka, punctuated with interesting stops like the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary and the historic town of Singaporean. Channapatna, one of the midway stops, is famous for its wooden toys. You can make memorable your road trip.  

Self Drive – Travel with Freedom

These trips through the heartland have many surprises in store, surprises which will be missed when the journey is not on one’s own terms. This is why intrepid travellers choose car rentals in Bangalore that provide self drive options. App-based Zoomcar is the most popular – it offers the widest range of hatchbacks, sedans, and SUVs at affordable rates. 24/7 on-road support is a good feature to have when the journey is long.you can enjoy your road trip with freedom with rental cars.  

Trumpeting elephants, roaring tigers, fog-shrouded mountain tops and winding hill roads – these are some of the things that Karnataka is famous for. Get behind the wheel and experience it all.