The Best Long Drives From Bangalore : Road Trip Ideas for 2024

Last Updated on May 9, 2024

Embarking on long drives from Bangalore offers an escape into diverse landscapes and captivating experiences. This guide delves into the most scenic routes for road trips from Bangalore, where the journey itself is as enchanting as the destinations. Drawing from six years of exploring these paths, I've handpicked routes that promise smooth drives and breathtaking views, steering clear of congested roads and mundane scenery.

In this post I have picked my top 5 favorite routes for a long drive from Bangalore on a one-day trip, weekend trip and longer road trips respectively. The criteria for choosing this is the beauty and ease of the journey, not specifically the destination.

A picture taken during a road trip in the monsoon with large green trees on both sides of the road
Driving in the Western Ghats is the Green Therapy you never knew you needed

So, while Hampi holds a special place in my heart, it's notably absent from this list as the route isn't very enjoyable. I remember coming across extremely high bumpers in the village nearby which would be very difficult for smaller cars to navigate. That's just one example, but I hope you get the idea. I have chosen the routes and journeys in this list and not the destinations.

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Check out the top 15 most scenic routes for road trips from Bangalore to plan your weekend getaways.

Best Short Road Trips From Bangalore (1-Day)

For a one-day road trip from Bangalore you can choose one of the 48 destinations listed in my post here. However, the top five routes for long drives within 300 km from Bangalore are here below. 

1. Horsley Hills via Kaigal Falls

Enjoying the shade of the huge trees in Horsley Hills ecological park

Horsley Hills comes gets the top spot among my most scenic long drive routes from Bangalore for a day trip. It is a lovely little hill British-era hill station in Andhra Pradesh that enjoys pleasant weather all year round. The road condition is great making it suitable for bike trips as well.

 It's only 157 km away from Bangalore however, with a detour via Kaigal falls it extends to 217 km. There is a short trek you can undertake at Kaigal Falls. Even then you can comfortably reach Horsley Hills by 6 hours from the time you had left Bangalore.

Just make sure you start in the early morning before the traffic pours in the city roads. The rocky hills you can see in front of you and tree-lined streets make the drive through Kolar very pleasant. Road conditions are also good. There's an unnamed lake that we stopped at which still doesn't appear on Google Maps. But it does on Bing Maps, it's the Nagalpura Lake, which is windy and mesmerizing.

At Horsley hills, you can stay at the Government resort, or simply return after an excursion through the ecological park, zoo and resplendent viewpoints.

Check out my Horsley Hills Road Trip guide to know what awaits you in this lovely British hill station in Andhra Pradesh.

The best time for this road trip is in the monsoon as the Kaigal Falls dry up in the summer. If you are travelling on any other part of the year, you can easily skip the trek to Kaigal Falls and spend more time in the Horsley Hills.

2. Gandikota and Belum Caves

Bountiful river cutting through the hills forming a giant gorge

Gandikota and Belum Caves are two of the most extraordinary places to visit in Andhra Pradesh. Nicknamed as the grand Canyon of India, Gandikota is a fortified town that gets its name from the giant gorge formed by the Pennar river as it cuts through the Erramala hills.

Belum Caves is a natural cave that's considered to be a million years old. The place is well maintained and it's an absolutely thrilling experience to explore inside.

The round trip journey from Bangalore to Gandikota via Belum caves and back involves a long drive of 650 km. Yet many people want to drive there and come back to Bangalore on the same day. We did so too, although, I'd prefer staying there overnight.

But if you want to do it in a day, leave at 4am so that you can make the most of the day. The route is scenic but different from the usual Western Ghats road trips. It's the dry rugged beauty and the granite hills on both sides that make this special.

You can read more about the Bangalore to Gandikota road trip here.

Drive through the Hoysala Heritage Trails

The majestic ancient temple with the white clouds of a sunny day in the backdrop

The road trip from Bangalore through the Hoysala Heritage Trails which is now an UNESCO heritage site is a journey back in time to the era of the Hoysala Empire. This route, rich in architectural and cultural heritage, offers a glimpse into the artistic grandeur of the 12th and 13th centuries. The trail comprises of Belur, Halebidu and Somnathpura.

Starting from Bangalore, the drive to Belur, approximately 220 kilometers away, takes you through Karnataka's picturesque countryside. Belur, known for the exquisite Chennakeshava Temple, is a testament to the intricate craftsmanship of Hoysala architecture. The temple's detailed carvings and sculptures depict scenes from Hindu mythology, making it a living canvas of ancient art and storytelling.

A short drive from Belur is Halebidu, another gem in the Hoysala legacy. The Hoysaleswara Temple here, though incomplete, stands as a magnificent example of Hoysala architecture with its elaborate carvings and sculptures. The temple complex, with its serene surroundings, offers a peaceful retreat and a chance to marvel at the artistic skills of the bygone era.

The final stop on this heritage trail is Somnathpura, located about 80 kilometers from Halebidu. The Keshava Temple in Somnathpura is a smaller yet equally impressive structure. This temple, encased within a walled courtyard, is adorned with intricate carvings and an array of sculptures that are remarkably well-preserved.

Driving through the Hoysala Heritage Trails is like leafing through the pages of a history book. Each destination on this route – Belur, Halebidu, and Somnathpura – offers a unique perspective on the Hoysala Empire's architectural and cultural achievements. This road trip is not just a journey through scenic landscapes but a voyage into the heart of Karnataka's historical legacy, making it a must-do for anyone interested in history, architecture, and the stories of India's rich past.

4. Bangalore to Nandi Hills

An old temple perched on a hill, enveloped in morning mist, evoking a serene and mystical atmosphere

Located just 60 km from Bangalore, Nandi Hills is a heritage site at 1480 meters above the sea level in Chikballapur, Karantaka. It is the easiest and most popular hill station near Bangalore. The best time to go for this trip is in the early morning to see the majestic sunrise from the top of Nandi Hills. Besides driving by car, it is also a favorite destination for bikers.

Adventurers can also hire a bicycle in Nandi hills to explore the hill station. Besides the absolutely lovely hill station, there are many other unmissable sites in Chikballapur. The Bhoga Nandishwara temple is one of them. Drive to the Bhoga Nandishwara temple to see the ancient temple standing tall against the test of time and tide.

While returning people love to stop at the Indian Paratha House. The sumptuous stuffed paratha is worth the hype. But there are some other great places for breakfast as well like Tribal Cafe and NH7 Refuel. You can also stop at Devnagara Fort for more fun and adventure after breakfast.

5. Manchinbele Dam and Shivasamudram

A huge sparkling lake reflecting the clear blue sky, with lofty hills at the backdrop

A lovely route for a quick long drive from Bangalore is a road trip to Manchinbele Dam followed by a longer drive to the Shivasamudram Waterfalls. Only 42km from the city , Manchinbele Dam is quite an underrated place to visit from Bangalore. Every time I go there the gate to the adventure camp is closed for some reason. So, I just end up enjoying the forest overlooking the sparkling Manchinbele Lake. It's a perfect picnic spot around Bangalore.

After this drive to the Shivasamudram to see the majestic Barachukki Falls. While it is at its fullest during the monsoon season, I enjoyed visiting the falls even in the summer and in the autumn. The picture below is from Barachukki Falls in the autumn of 2020.

These are my top 5 one day road trips that have the most scenic routes. I left out many of my favorite places like Talakadu, or Sangam because I just picked the ones with the most exciting routes. But for a longer list of one day outing from Bangalore check this.

Best Long Drives for Weekends

I love multi-day road trips. Drive to a destination by one route, rest for the day and return via another exciting place. While there is no dearth of amazing weekend getaways from Bangalore, here are my top 5 road trip destinations, once again in my order of preference, the first one being my most favorite.

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6. Bangalore to Madikeri via Kushalnagar (Coorg Road Trip)

Coorg road trip

Often referred to as the “Scotland of India”, Coorg is a fantastic weekend getaway from Karnataka. River rafting adventures in the monsoon, exciting treks in the winter and pleasant weather in the summer, Coorg is a all-year-round destination.

A long drive through the Western Ghats, exploring the historic Tibetan settlements in Bylakuppe is truly fascinating. You can reach Coorg through the NH275 route after making a stop at the Namdroling Monastery in Bylakuppe.

After that you can stop at Nisargadhama riverine island and then drive to Madikeri – the heart of Coorg district. Spend the evening exploring Rajas' Seat, Madikeri Fort and Omkareshwara temple. 

On your way back the next day, take a different route. Head to the green and sublime Somwarpet. You can stop at Mallali waterfalls and then drive through SH 27 via Holenarasapur and Chinnarayapatna. The route is dotted with sparkling lakes and lots of greenery.

You can also plan a longer road trip to Coorg using this travel guide.

7. Bangalore to Chikmagalur

Personal moment with a car parked in Chikmagalur during monsoon, capturing the essence of a road trip in lush surroundings

The drive from Bangalore to Chikmagalur is a treat for the senses, a perfect blend of adventure and tranquility. Spanning approximately 240 kilometers, this journey can take about 4 to 5 hours, depending on traffic and stops. As you leave the bustling city of Bangalore, the landscape gradually transforms, offering a visual feast of lush greenery and serene countryside.

The route via NH75 is the most preferred, known for its smooth roads and picturesque scenery. You'll pass through towns like Hassan, which offer ideal spots for a quick break and a taste of local cuisine. The drive is particularly delightful during the monsoon and post-monsoon months, where the rain-washed surroundings come alive with vibrant colors and fresh aromas. 

Upon reaching Chikmagalur, you're greeted by the sight of rolling hills and the aroma of coffee plantations. These tranquil foothills, nestled in the Western Ghats, is a haven for coffee lovers. The town's coffee estates are a must-visit, offering insights into the journey of coffee from bean to cup.

A trip to Baba Budangiri and a jeep ride Jhari Falls deep inside a private coffee estate is the highlight of Chikmagaluru trip for me. For those who seek a bit more adventure, the nearby Mullayanagiri, the highest peak in Karnataka, provides trekking opportunities with breathtaking views.

The history and natural beauty make Chikmagalur one of the best places to visit near Bangalore.

8. Bangalore to Shimoga

A sparkling lake reflecting thje white clouds and bright sky on a sunny morning with hills in the backdrop
Gajanur Dam on a road trip from Bangalore to Shimoga

The road trip from Bangalore to Shimoga is a captivating experience, showcasing the diverse beauty of Karnataka. Covering a distance of about 300 kilometers, this journey typically takes around 6 hours. The route is a mix of well-maintained highways and stretches of rural roads, offering a glimpse into the varied facets of the state.

You should ideally take the NH48, passing through towns like Tumkur and Tiptur. These places are perfect for quick stops, where one can enjoy local snacks and refreshments. The drive is especially enjoyable during the cooler months, as the weather complements the scenic beauty of the route.

Arriving in Shimoga, visitors are welcomed by a landscape dotted with lush paddy fields, dense forests, and the Tunga River's gentle flow. Known as the ‘Gateway to the Western Ghats', Shimoga is a treasure trove of natural wonders and historical sites.

One of the must-visit attractions near Shimoga is the Jog Falls, India's second-highest plunge waterfall. The sight of the Sharavathi River cascading down the rocky cliffs is truly mesmerizing. For wildlife enthusiasts, a trip to the Sharavati valley national park offers an opportunity to witness these majestic creatures in a semi-natural habitat.

On your way back you can drive through the forests near Sakrebyle elephant camp to the Kabbalegdurga fort. This route is full of pristine lakes that are surprisingly offbeat and unexplored. You can make a quick stop at Gajanur dam and other lakes here. After a short trek at Kabbaledurga you will drive back to Bangalore. Yes, it will be a long drive of over 9 hours , but worth it.

9. Bangalore to Yercaud via Hogenekkal Falls

Highlights of Yercaud, Tamil Nadu, featuring the Emerald Lake, a symbol of the region's natural allure
Emerald Lake at Yercaud

A road trip from Bangalore to Yercaud, with a detour through Hogenekkal Falls, presents an opportunity to experience the diversity of Tamil Nadu. This is the best route from Bangalore to the Eastern Ghats.

The drive to Hogenekkal Falls, approximately 180 kilometers from Bangalore, takes you through rural landscapes and quaint villages. Hogenekkal, often referred to as the ‘Niagara Falls of India', is where the Kaveri River cascades down rocky terrain, creating a spectacular sight. The falls are a great spot for a refreshing break, where you can enjoy coracle rides and witness the powerful force of nature.

From Hogenekkal, the road to Yercaud winds its way up the Eastern Ghats. Yercaud, a charming hill station in Tamil Nadu located around 150 kilometers from the falls, is known for its serene environment and lush greenery.

Nestled in the Shevaroy Hills, this quaint town is dotted with coffee plantations and spice gardens. The drive up the hill, with 20 hairpin bends, offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. This 32km loop road is the highlight of Yercaud.

Yercaud itself is a treasure trove of natural beauty. The Yercaud Lake, surrounded by gardens and woods, and the Lady's Seat viewpoint, which offers stunning views of the ghats and the town below, are must-visit spots. 

10. Bangalore to Mysore via Chamundi Hills

Illuminated Mysore Palace in the evening, a magnificent display of historical architecture and cultural heritage
Mysore Palace illumination CC. Pixabay

Mysore is the most popular places to visit on a road trip from Bangalore. It's a historically important city and the cultural capital of Karnataka. The route from Bangalore to Mysore is just 142 km but it is dotted with some significant tourist spots.  You can stop at Ranganathittu bird sanctuary, then drive to Chamundi Hills before heading to Mysore Palace. 

During your journey you will pass through Ramanagaram and see the lofty hill on the roadside. The roads are beautifully maintained with flowering trees on both sides of the road as well as on the divider.

If you don't want to return on the same day, there are so many hotels and resorts where you can put up. Among these are old palaces that have been converted into boutique hotels like the Lalitha Mahal Palace.

On the next day you can walk in the markets in the morning, visit Philomenaa cathedral, Jaganmohan art gallery and head to the famous Vrindavan Gardens. From there you can leave for Bangalore in the late evening.

Check out the detailed itinerary and travel guide for Mysore here.

Best Road Trips from Bangalore for Longer Trips

While there are so many destinations for long drives near Bangalore, these last five are my absolute favorites. However, they are ideal for short vacations longer than usual weekends. Mark the holidays in your calendar and plan a couple of casual leaves to extend your weekend and embark on this exciting road trips near Bangalore.

11. Bangalore to Munnar and Chinnakanal

Lush green tea gardens in the rolling hills of Munnar with an overcast sky above - dreamy scenes on a long drive from Bangalore
Just another Tea-scape in Munnar

Embarking on a road trip from Bangalore to Munnar and Chinnakanal is an experience that blends the thrill of long drives with the allure of nature's finest displays. Covering a distance of approximately 475 kilometers, this journey takes around 10 hours, but every moment on the road is a testament to the diverse beauty of South India. 

As you set off from Bangalore, the urban landscape gradually gives way to rural serenity and then to the captivating Western Ghats. Once you have entered the hill station you will feel like stopping your car every five minutes if not more. In the winter the clear sky offers spectacular panoramic views of the valley. While in the monsoon you are greeted with innumerable seasonal waterfalls as you drive by the hills.

While most famous tourist spots are in Munnar I recommend you to drive further and stay in Chinnakanal. This is away from the crowd of Munnar town and allows you to soak in the unmatchable natural beauty of the hills here. You can roam around in the tea gardens and discover the floral and faunal diversity of the valleys.

Some of the unmissable attractions in Munnar and Chinnakanal are the tea gardens everywhere, the Anairangal Dam, Matupetty Lake and Eravikulam National Park. My perfect Munnar itinerary would be incomplete without a trip to Kolukkumalai – the highest tea garden in the world, that is very easily accessible from Chinnakanal.

12. Bangalore to Goa via Karwar (Konkan coast drive)

Me in my favorite blue dress donning a sun-hat at the Tagore Beach in Karwar
Me at Tagore Beach in Karwar

The drive from Bangalore to Goa via Karwar is an exhilarating journey that takes you through some of Karnataka's most picturesque landscapes before reaching the sun-kissed shores of Goa. Spanning approximately 560 kilometers, this road trip can take around 10 to 12 hours, depending on the stops you make along the way. 

As you leave the bustling city of Bangalore, the urban scenery gradually fades, making way for the lush greenery of the Western Ghats. The route the the Konkan coastline is particularly scenic, offering a blend of coastal beauty and the charm of the Ghats. Karwar itself is a hidden gem along the Karnataka coast, known for its pristine beaches and tranquil environment. The Tagore beach in Karwar is a perfect pitstop to stretch your legs and breathe in the fresh sea air. 

Stay overnight at Karwar to explore the forests, the Kali river views, and some unique beaches. There's a black sand beach as well at Karwar. 

Continuing from Karwar, the drive to Goa becomes even more scenic. As you approach the most famous beach destination of India, the familiar sights of palm trees and the azure Arabian Sea welcome you. 

This road trip is ideal for those who love to combine the thrill of a long drive with the joy of exploring new places. The route offers a unique experience, where each part of the journey has its own charm, from the serene beauty of Karwar to the lively atmosphere of Goa. 

You need 3 days for this road trip but the more the better. You can easily extend this trip to 5 days with trips to Dudhsagar falls and a day for Gokarna on your way back. Gokarna is a little more crowded than Karwar and each beach requires you to trek downwards from hills. Om beach and Gokarna beach are my favorites here.

13. Bangalore to Udupi via Agumbe

Me enjoying a moment of solitude at the rocks of Udupi beach on a cloudy day
Me at Udupi on a monsoon day

The drive from Bangalore to Udupi via Agumbe is a road less traveled, offering an extraordinary experience for those seeking offbeat adventures. The fastest route from Bangalore to Udupi is 440 km long through NH 75. While this route via Agumbe  and Kundadri hill extends the drive a bit, the extra miles promise unparalleled scenic beauty, especially during the monsoons. 

We booked a hotel at Manipal and undertook this road trip on a weekend. However, I am convinced that you need atleast three days to explore this route and anything less than that will leave you unsatisfied. This exciting road trip adventure takes you through dense rainforests, charming western ghats, tea plantations, windy hill tops and culminates in the beaches of the Arabian sea.

As you approach Agumbe, known as the ‘Cherrapunji of the South', the scenery transforms dramatically from the wide highways to the dense rainforests. This is an offbeat place in the Western Ghats region that's home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. The drive through Agumbe during the rainy season unveils a world of misty hills, roaring waterfalls, and verdant valleys.

Since Agumbe offers limited options for an overnight stay, a road trip is the perfect way to explore this hidden gem. Post the enchanting Agumbe experience, the journey continues towards Manipal, a quaint town in the Udupi district. This educational hub, nestled in the coastal region, presents a blend of modernity and tradition.

The drive to Udupi beach from Manipal is short and sweet, offering a serene coastal experience. The highlight of this Udupi is St.Mary's island which you can reach only by ferry. However, the ferries are closed during the monsoon season. You can explore many other offbeat places in Udupi.

For the return journey to Bangalore, taking the route via Sakleshpur is a splendid choice. This path is equally mesmerizing, characterized by hairpin bends winding through the hills of Sakleshpur, surrounded by coffee plantations and dense forests. The drive is a visual treat, with each turn offering a new perspective of Karnataka's diverse landscapes.

14. Bangalore to Wayanad, Ooty and Coonoor

Me in a navy blue jacket at the roadside overlooking one of the most beautiful lakes in India with green mountains in the backdrop
Me at the Bansura Sagara Lake Road in Wayanad

The journey from Bangalore to Wayanad, Ooty, and Coonoor is a road tripper's delight, weaving through some of South India's most finest landscapes. This route, covering approximately 300 kilometers to Wayanad and an additional 110 kilometers to Ooty and Coonoor, takes you through a diverse array of scenic vistas, from lush forests to rolling hills.

Starting from Bangalore, the best route to take is via Mysore, leading to Wayanad. The drive to Wayanad is a visual treat, with the Bandipur and Nagarhole National Parks along the way. These wildlife sanctuaries offer a chance to spot elephants, deer, and a variety of birds, making the drive an exciting start to your journey.

Upon reaching Wayanad, you're greeted by a landscape dotted with spice plantations, waterfalls, and dense forests. The Edakkal Caves and the soothing Soochipara Falls are just a couple of the many attractions in Wayanad that shouldn't be missed.

The next leg of your journey takes you to Ooty, the Queen of Hill Stations. The drive from Wayanad to Ooty, via the winding roads of the Nilgiri Hills, is breathtaking. Ooty's charm lies in its tea gardens, colonial-era buildings, and the famous Ooty Lake. A visit to the Botanical Gardens, with its exotic plants and lush green lawns, is a must.

A short drive from Ooty is Coonoor, known for its quieter, more laid-back atmosphere compared to its bustling neighbor. Coonoor offers stunning views of the Nilgiris, sprawling tea estates, and the famous Nilgiri Mountain Railway. The Sim's Park and Dolphin's Nose viewpoint are popular spots, offering panoramic views of the surrounding hills and valleys.

I recommend saving atleast 4 days for this trip. Roads through the hills are slower and require more time than the routes through the lowlands. Hence, even though the distance seems shorter than the Goa trip, it takes more time to explore.

15. Bangalore to Alleppey via Kochi

Backwaters of Alleppey - the best of alleppey in one or two days

Spanning around 600 kilometers, this route from Bangalore to Alleppey by car takes approximately 10 to 12 hours, leading you through a diverse tapestry of landscapes and cultural experiences. Alleppey is unarguably the most famous tourist destination in Kerala, famous for the backwaters and beaches. 

Setting off from Bangalore early in the morning, the journey southwards towards Kerala is filled with changing sceneries, from urban cityscapes to lush countryside. The biggest surprise on the trip was a peacock farm that we encountered while still in Karnataka.

As you enter Kerala, the road takes you through the bustling city of Kochi, a melting pot of history, culture, and modernity. Kochi, with its ancient synagogues, Portuguese houses, and the iconic Chinese fishing nets, offers a glimpse into the rich tapestry of Kerala's colonial past. A brief stop in Kochi to explore its heritage sites and savor the local cuisine can be a delightful addition to your trip.

Continuing from Kochi, the drive to Alleppey unveils the serene backwaters and paddy fields of Kerala. Known as the ‘Venice of the East', Alleppey is famous for its network of canals, lagoons, and houseboats. The final stretch of the drive, leading into Alleppey, is particularly scenic, with coconut groves and water bodies lining the route.

Upon reaching Alleppey, the pace of life seems to slow down. The tranquil backwaters invite you to experience a unique stay in a houseboat, where you can glide through the waters and observe the daily life of the local communities. The beaches of Alleppey, like Marari Beach, offer a peaceful retreat away from the hustle and bustle.

I actually drove to Alleppey and back over a weekend enjoying a lovely shikara ride in the afternoon and sunrise in the morning. However, I didn't get enough time to explore Kochi or even the temples and churches of Alleppey. I loved the journey though; the route is lovely and smooth except in Kochi.

Read my complete guide to plan your itinerary for Alleppey.

I wanted to confine this to a shortlist of 15 but I feel its unfair to end the article without mentioning a few other routes that gave me some precious memories to cherish.

Bangalore to Bekal road trip over the weekend is perfect for those craving both the sea and the mountains.

A road trip to Pondicherry via Ginjee fort is one of my personal favorites. Although the traffic can be bad at ORR Bangalore, once you leave the city, the highway is superfast. I love the French colony of Pondicherry and the several excursions you can take from here.

So are you ready for embarking on your road trip adventure? Which of these is your favorite? Or is there something you wanted to see on the list? Please let me know in the comments.

If you like the post, please consider sharing this. You may also like to join my Facebook community to discuss travel plans in India. Lastly, check out the best travel sites to plan your vacations in India.

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Plan your next long drive from Bangalore with our curated itineraries. Experience the rich culture and stunning natural beauty of destinations within driving distance. Perfect for those seeking a blend of cultural exploration and outdoor adventures.

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One Comment

  1. I had not heard of Gandikota and Belum Caves before. They look absolutely beautiful, and a must add to my travel list. Thank you.

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