Spending just two days in any single state of the Indian subcontinent might, quite understandably so, seem inadequate. The bountiful cultural and spiritual heritage of this Asian country is so expansive that not even a whole month spent here would do it justice, and the same goes for the southwestern state of Karnataka. That is why you must find the most valuable tourist places in Karnataka for 2 days, avoiding the less relevant elements and making the most out of your time.
Suffice it to say that you won’t be able to see nearly the number of places that you’ll like, especially considering the distance between most of the famous destinations and the limited time frame. Regardless of which side of the country you’re coming from, you’ll find something here. But, do keep in mind that you’ll make the most of these two days you have at your disposal by renting a car. Every other form of transportation might be too slow or unpredictable and you’d end up disappointed.
Mangalore – Coorg – Mysore
Mangalore International Airport
If you’re visiting Karnataka from abroad by plane, you basically have two options since only the cities of Mangalore and Bangalore have international airports.
As anyone who’s ever visited the beautiful coastal city of Mangalore in the southwestern part of Karnataka will tell you, you could spend way more than just two days hanging around all the breathtaking landmarks. That’s why you’ll need to make every visit count, and we would gladly help you by sending you in the direction of Lighthouse Hill Garden and Kateel Temple. The former is pretty self-explanatory, while the latter houses the goddess Durga Parmeshwari and is the most important temple of its kind in India. Big history buffs should make their way to the Sultan’s Battery, remains of a fort that used to guard the river mouth.
If you’re hungry, try Gajalee, one of the best seafood restaurants in the country. It will be a great way to start your 2-day trip to Karnataka. Gauge how much time you’ve spent visiting these places because you have to count on spending 12 hours on the road if you need to make the return trip to Mangalore.
Mangalore to Coorg: Take Mangalore – Mysore Highway
3h 18m by car
For those not wanting to remove Coorg from the equation, your only two options are either renting a car or grabbing a taxi. If you want to skip Coorg, you can either go by train or by bus directly to Mysore, but you’d miss out on a lot of experience this way.
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Coorg, or Kodagu, is a district of Karnataka, with Madikeri as its capital, which is also where you’ll arrive first taking the highway. Unlike the other two Coorg is so huge that you might want to skip out on visiting Mysore at all. It’s best known for great coffee and plantations you can actually visit and see where all of their indigenous beans are coming from. But, it’s not the only drink they consume here, better hope you can stomach their pineapple wine because that’s what you’ll be having!
Hike up Thadiyandamol to unlock the awe-inspiring vistas of Coorg, which might also reveal several hidden waterfalls such as Iruppu (if you know where to look).
Finally, you’ll want to spend some time in Madikeri after all, so check out the forts and ancient temples that grace it, much like every other town in India. As this is probably where the dark will catch you, spend the night at one of the comfy guest houses before proceeding.
Coorg to Mysore: Take Mangalore – Mysore Highway
2h 41m by car
You’re at the end of this particular two days trip and in the city of Mysore. The first and foremost thing you’ll have to do is get to Mysore Palace. Such magnificence and grandeur will come as a crowning jewel of your journey from Mangalore.
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Since you’ve spent a lot of your time available already, we’d advise seeing either Mysore Zoo or St. Philomena’s Cathedral. Try local delicacies in Sapphire or Tiger Trail restaurants before heading back to Mangalore. For your return trip, take the car, bus or the train, but the highway might be the fastest way home.
Ooty – Bandipur – Nagarhole
Coimbatore International Airport
You’ll need about three hours from Coimbatore International Airport to Ooty, which is the best option as it’s closest. However, Bangalore is also an option as it flies to more cities, but it’s a 6-hour ride away.
There’s no doubt about it – Ooty is the perfect getaway for all those calling themselves nature lovers. And not just Ooty mind you, this entire route will be a lesson in biology, as both Bandipur and Nagarhole are national parks with tiger reserves in them. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, you’re in Ooty now, and you’ll probably want to eat something first! Your best option is the main bazaar where locals eat too, so you’ll learn about the local cuisine and also try their homemade chocolates and honey. Speaking of which, Wax Museum is an absolute must-see, so drop by.
The ‘Queen of the Hill Stations’ as Ooty is also called has beautiful botanic gardens and an amazing viewing point called Dolphin’s Nose. A great way to explore the Nilgiri Hills where Ooty is located is by taking a 28-mile toy train ride that will quite literally open up the secrets of Tamil Nadu for you. Yes, for the time being, you’re not in Karnataka, but you’re about to cross soon.
Ooty to Bandipur: Take Mysore – Ooty Road
1h 22m by car
You have no other options for this journey really but by car. However, it’s one stop that you really need to make as Bandipur National Park is just awesome and not something you see every day. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the best tourist places in Karnataka for 2 days as you can see it quite quickly and then get on with your journey.
There are plenty of things here you could do, from going on a Jeep Safari to Elephant Riding. You’ll be able to observe tigers in their natural habitat and also go on nature walks. There’s even a temple here if you care to visit it on this day outing, called Gopalaswamy Betta.
Bandipur to Nagarhole: Take NH766
2h 39m by car
Also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park, Nagarhole park offers yet another insight into the wildlife of India. You can find out all about the rich selection of animals and plants that call this region their home but also visit the shy Rameshwara Temple. Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary is also an absolute must if you happen to end up here.
Our recommendation is to spend an entire day in Ooty and visit the national parks in one go on the following day.
Kabini River 2-day Tour
Bangalore International Airport
If you’re arriving from abroad, you’ll land in Bangalore. However, for those already in India, you can skip this step and get on a flight to Mysore and remove Bangalore from your plans altogether. Whether you go from Bangalore to Mysore by car, bus or train doesn’t really matter – it’ll take you some 4 hours to get to Kabini River Lodge.
If you’re not that interested in adventure trekking the hillsides around Ooty or checking out the lavish palaces of Mysore, you’ll be happy to hear about a way more interesting and relaxing way to explore that nature and wildlife of Karnataka.
As it so happens, you can get in on a tour of the Kabini River, one of the estuaries of the mighty Kaveri. The lodge from which your boat safari begins is located about 56 miles from Mysore, so this is where you need to go. The most common way that tourists get from Mysore to the lodge is by cab, which happens to be both quick enough and cheap.
Check in at the lodge and make good use of their Nagarhole National Park tours (day 1) and try the local delicacies at the Gol Ghar restaurant. You’ll get to meet the staff and the area, before heading out on a boat tour the following morning.
On the next day, you’ll have a guaranteed time of your life. You’ll get to see the best natural features of Karnataka, but also the elephants, crocodiles, and tigers prowling along the shore of Kabini River. As you reach the end of the boat ride, you’ll be offered a lavish, nourishing meal and that will be the end of the tour.
Raichur – Hampi – Bangalore
Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad
The airport closest to Raichur is in fact 100 miles away, so you’ll definitely have some driving to do, but you’ll be rewarded with such an imposing collection of landmarks that will really make you forget about the long drive and make you feel as if you’ve seen all the world’s wonders in just 2 days.
The wonders we’re referring to are of course the Raichur Fort, with its two layers of high walls coercing any potential invaders, and temples of glorious past.
These religious buildings are the face of Raichur, and those on a more spiritually orientated journey will appreciate the many temples such as Ramagadde, Jami Masjid, Markandeshwara Temple and many others.
Raichur to Hampi: Take Raichur Road
3h 38m by car
The next step on your spiritual journey is, naturally, Hampi. This temple town has got some of the finest pieces of Hindu architecture that you could possibly want to see, confirmed by the fact that it is in its entirety protected by UNESCO. Among tourist places in Karnataka for 2 days, it’s Hampi that provides the highest cultural and historic value, especially when combined with Raichur. The most commonly visited temples are Sri Virupaksha Temple, Hemakuta Hill Temple Complex, Hanuman Temple, and Vijaya Vittala Temple.
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Besides the temples, enjoy the Archaeological Museum of Hampi, before you start making your way back your way back to Hyderabad, or onwards to Bangalore for your flight.
We realize that some of these places might be a stretch and quite difficult to experience in just two days. However, you can always modify this list by removing places you don’t care about and those that you feel are redundant. A lot of tourists, for example, like to spend so much time in Coorg that they would never think about adding Mysore to their itinerary. Plan a route that’s best for you and what you want to achieve!