Navya posted on 7th November

Kerala, Gokarna, Karaikudi: The Best Destinations For A Winter Getaway

There’s something about the approaching year end that makes us itch for a holiday and a break from the daily routine. If you are planning a holiday, around this time of the year, you’ll be delighted to find that tourist hotspots around Bangalore are ready to welcome you with open arms. From beach towns to historical sites and hilly retreats, there’s plenty to choose from. Here’s where you can go!

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Karaikudi

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Goa

Kerala

Dropping temperatures mean that most of Kerala will make for a pleasant holiday. While Munnar, Vagamon, and Wayanad offer mist-covered hills and a romantic backdrop, the seaside retreats make for breezy havens. We, however, encourage you to choose the latter since places like Varkala, Kochi, Kannur, and Kovalam can get quite hot in the coming months. The backwaters too {Alleppey and Kumarakom} make for gorgeous getaways. However, resorts and hotels in these places tend to be on the expensive side and tend to fill up quickly, so do plan a trip early as possible.

Goa

No place in the country has a buzz about it like good old Goa does in the winter. While you can expect to bump into large crowds wherever you go, you can also share in the festivities and revelry that unfolds here. It’s during this season that all the hottest parties unfold in North Goa and you can also check out night markets near Anjuna, Baga, and Arpora. The best restaurants too open shop now after being shut through the monsoon. Thalassa, Sublime, and La Plage are just some of the restaurants that you can swing by for a spectacular meal. Plus, the weather’s also excellent. For everything that you can do, see, and eat in Goa, click here

Andamans

Are serene, emerald waters and white sand beaches calling you? Then, book your ticket to the Andamans. Winter is the best time to visit these gorgeous islands. However, ensure that you skip early December since cyclones are common at this time. You can spend your time here chilling by the beach and exploring the beauty of these largely untouched group of islands. Havelock is a great place to go scuba diving as well.

Gokarna

Want to feel like you are in Goa minus the unending crowds and the whopping cost? Swing by Gokarna. A lovely beach retreat, right here in Karnataka, Gokarna offers plentiful to the beach lover. We recommend that you skip the main beach in the bustling town and head for the quieter Om Beach and the adjoining Kudle. Here, you can sit around in beach shacks while sipping a cold one or enjoy a dip in the waters. If you’d like to get away from the small crowds on this sandy stretch, you can always drop by the secluded Paradise and Half Moon Beaches.

Hampi

History lovers can’t get enough of this town that’s an overnight drive from Bengaluru. You can even book a seat on a train that will get you there in the wee hours of the morning {although you will have to hitch a one-hour ride from the station to get to the historical town}. Once there, you can park yourself at the many homestays here and get exploring. Do remember that you can only get vegetarian food in the main town. So, if you can’t do without your meat and booze, cross the Tungabhadra River {a boat ride will take you there} and find a place to stay there. If you don’t want to spend too much getting around by autos, then, hire out a bicycle and explore the many ruins here. The Virupaksha Temple with its intricate gopuram, the stone chariot at the Vijaya Vittala Temple, and the desolate bazaars all await you.

Ooty

For those of you who want to end the year on a romantic note, Ooty is ideal. To pack in the beauty of the Nilgiri Hills, skip staying at the messy town centre and instead book a place up in the hills that offer a panoramic view of the hilly retreat. In main Ooty, you can drop by the lake and the vast botanical gardens {that’s home to a fossil tree trunk that’s over 20 million years old}. You can also take a ride on the heritage train {here’s how}. The thrill of chugging through the rugged hills in those quaint, blue and yellow carriages is something else. You can also explore the sights and sounds at nearby Coonoor and Pykara.

Mahabalipuram

Around 6 hours away from Bangalore, Mahabalipuram makes for a breathtaking sight with its snow-white sands and light-blue waters. The town itself is crowded with small homestays, restaurants, and shops. And it’s main beach {that includes the famed temples} is less than impressive. So, if you want a quiet holiday, you can book a resort or a hotel just outside the town. Here, you can soak your feet and sit around to spot dolphins. For food and shopping, we recommend that you skip into town to feast on fresh catch, delicious pancakes and waffles, and desserts. For more, log on here.  

Pondicherry

Add a french twist to your getaway with a trip to historical Pondicherry. While beach shacks are missing here and you can’t really celebrate the beach bum in you, Pondicherry more than makes up for it. A languid walk through the French Quarters will bring you face to face with history. And the bright-yellow buildings, often adorned with bougainvillea, make for Instagram-worthy pictures. Pondicherry is also known for its food – do try the French cafes that offer delicate treats. Of course, you also get in touch with your spiritual side with trips to Auroville and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Here are more reasons to stop by Pondicherry.

Hyderabad

Hyderabad can be excruciatingly hot through most of the year but it tends to cool down during the winters. If you love history and love food, this city is a treat for you. The main city is a technological hub and districts like Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hills are home to popular night out spots and restaurants. However, for historical Hyderabad, you will have to travel to the Old city that’s home to monuments {like the Charminar}, bustling markets and biryani joints where you can feast on traditional preparations. The Salar Jung Museum, Chowmallah Palace, Qutub Shahi Tombs and Makkah Masjid are some of the other sights you can explore. 

Karaikudi

The heart of the Chettinad region, Karaikudi is a town steeped in history and tradition. Largely shaped by the affluent Chettiar community, Karaikudi’s lanes are studded by gorgeous mansions that are worth gawking at. Some of them, like the Chettinad Raja Palace, are open to the public. And you can spend hours marvelling at the marble floors, the exquisite chandeliers and the intricate woodwork. If you love food, then, do try the local Chettiar cuisine. Restaurants like Narayana Inn serve up spicy regional treats that are lip-smackingly good. For more, click here