Places to visit in Gokarna – Once known only for the pilgrimage spots and being a sacred city, is now a very famous holiday destination. A small town in the state of Karnataka hosts a lot of tourist during the weekends making a hot weekend getaway destination. The reasons for it being so popular lately are the serene beaches that attract the city people to visit and have some calm days away from the city life.
Other important factor as to why Gokarna is an accessible place for the youngsters is that one can have an affordable holiday here. The town is not so expensive that automatically cuts down the vacation budget and makes it an ideal spot for even the people on a small budget to have a lavish holiday.
And finally, Gokarna is one of the ideal places in the country for beach trekking and trying some fun adventure activities. So, the people who are into adventure games and stuff can trust in Gokarna. Also, trekking and other adventure sports in Gokarna are totally suitable for the beginners and everyone who wants to try their hands on adventure sports.
Weren’t these reasons more than enough to make this place a favorite already for the people living nearby and even far away? Mostly the crowd from Bangalore, Mysore, and other nearby places hover over to Gokarna and occupy the place during the weekends mostly. It is totally a great idea to visit Gokarna to have two kinds of holidays on a budget.
One is a leisure holiday where people could book resorts, villas, apartments, or hotels and spend some relaxing days in a quaint atmosphere. One can go to the beaches, sight-seeing, and the famous places to eat. And the other kind of holiday has to be the adventure trip where one gets to do hiking, trekking, live in the tents and enjoy camping, get up to view the sunrise, and explore the popular places.
If you are confused as what sort of trip you got to do at this place, let us solve your problem. Do both! Yes, after all, life is too short to see only one side of the story. Go ahead and explore the same place in different ways with different people and create memorable moments.
About the Place
If you love beaches and have either done Goa too much or your travel budget is not Goa friendly then the best alternative for you has to be Gokarna. Gokarna is the most preferred weekend destination for the people of Bangalore, Mysore, Mangalore, and other places in the Karnataka state. The distance of Gokarna from Bangalore is 485 km and it would take around 9 to 10 hours to reach.
The distance of the place from Mysore is 457 km and it would take the same time of about 9 to 10 hours to reach. The other nearby cities from Gokarna are Hampi, Dandeli, Chikmagalur, Yellapur, Sirsi, Udupi, Kudremukh, and Horanadu. Gokarna is situated at a distance of an hour at the South of the Goa harbour. So, Gokarna from Goa is nearby too.
It is basically a temple town that has now been turned into a tourist place as a lot of people visit the town. The popularity and love of Gokarna is going beyond the state and people from all over the world are taking this place seriously to visit. There are various reasons for the over growing love for Gokarna. One reason is that it is the topmost pilgrimage destination in India having some famous lingas.
Other reason is that it has some options for amazing adventure sports to try and it is turning to be a new adventure hub in the state of Karnataka. Trekking in Gokarna is really fun and not at all strenuous or tiring. It is because the treks are small with not so tough terrain and trail.
The trail of the trek is even favorable for the beginners. A lot of new trekkers and adventure enthusiasts are liking Gokarna as they can fulfill their adventure fantasies to the fullest here. And after having a wild little trek, you can always get back to the beaches and enjoy sunbathing.
Major popularity of the place is because it being near to the major cities like Bangalore, Mangalore, and Mysore. The city people are always looking for some spots for a weekend getaway to get refreshed and rejuvenated. The place being affordable and beautiful at the same time attracts a lot of people to visit it during the weekends and make the most of their holidays.
Along with some beautiful temples, there are few touristy places that you can check out in Gokarna. If you are not a touristy person, you can simply enjoy trekking near the beach or you can book a resort and chill for few days without any kind of hustle. And finally, the local market of the place is totally ideal for a delightful evening walk along with some shopping. So, it is safe enough to say that the place is a total package when it comes to holidaying and vacationing.
The town is also considered by the corporate ventures for team outings. Since the town is small, less crowded, affordable, and extremely fun, a lot of big companies are considering to take their employees for a team outing in Gokarna. The work members can have the best time with each other in this small place. The golden beaches of the place are not at all crowded even in the busiest seasons. Also, the team members get to unwind themselves at this peaceful place and leave the worries of their cubicle behind.
The nearest airport to Gokarna is the Dabolim airport of Goa. From Dabolim, there is a 4 hour drive from the spot towards the South. Gokarna from Goa is quite near. The trains to Gokarna stop at Konkan railway station, Kumta railway station, and the Ankola railway station. Also, Gokarna is very well connected with bus and road transport. A lot of people prefer going on the bus journeys to Gokarna because that is the most suitable, convenient, and affordable.
Don’t think of this place as a replacement for Goa because no place could be replaced with other as every place has its own charm. Just think about this place as an alternate beach destination where you could feel the sand beneath your legs and salt in your hair without the excess crowd. The amalgamation of magnificence and tranquility are the two words that would sum up your peaceful holiday in Gokarna.
Let us check other more details about the things to do there. Places to visit in Gokarna –
Places to visit in Gokarna
Let us get onto the most awaited topic of this blog which is the best places to visit in Gokarna. And let us tell you that all these places are worthy to spend your time.
Places to visit in Gokarna – Let us start with the beaches.
#1 Gokarna Beach
Okay, so honestly this beach is always crowded because the pilgrims who visit the Murudeshwar temple come to this beach to take a dip in the holy ocean. But, this should not refrain you from absorbing the beauty of this beach. Swimming and bathing in this beach is fun with other travellers all around and the sight of the beach during the Shivratri festival is just mind blowing.
Visit Now – Gokarna Beach
#2 Om Beach
The next most popular beach of this town is the Om beach. This one is a pristine beach having a stunning backdrop for your pictures. This is a beach to relax at and also to enjoy the boat rides. You can also do camping by this beach side and stay in the tents near the beach which is just fantastic. Some adventure activities like kayaking and jet skiing are done here.
#3 Paradise Beach
This is an actual paradise in form of a beach and it is breathtakingly beautiful. It was a commercial activity hub before but now it is one of the top beaches for the tourists to enjoy at. One can enjoy the laid back life just like the one you would imagine in your fantasies. The landscape here is purely gorgeous but there aren’t adventure sports to try out here. So, this is perfect for calming, relaxing, and enjoying the views of the nature.
#4 Half Moon Beach
The reason this beach is called as the half moon beach because of its shape that resembles to a half moon. There are a lot of beach shacks lined on this beach that is famous for lip smacking food. The white sandy shores of the beach make it an ideal place for photography and for chilling. One can also try out some adventure sports here as it is allowed. It is from a walking distance from the Om beach.
#5 Kudle Beach
Just like the half moon beach is of the shape of the half moon, the Kudle beach is also famous for its unique shape. It has a typical and unique C shaped layout. This heavenly beach is again great for relaxing, sun bathing, swimming, walking around the beach, and also for trying out adventure activities. Apart from the major activities, people do visit this beach to try out yoga and meditation as well. Be there to watch the sunset without a miss.
#6 Nirvana Beach
This beach has the vibe completely opposite to that of the Gokarna beach. This one is a stunning beach and is the most calming and relaxed one that is ever ready to give your mind its utmost relaxation that it has been searching for. A lot of people visit this beach to enjoy some day time picnics which is dying these days. The best part about this beach is that you need to get on a ferry ride to reach this beach.
#7 Small Hell beach
If you are someone who likes to explore the underrated places or the places which not a lot of people visit then you should definitely head out to the small hell beach. This is a quaint beach that teleports you to a world that is away from the daily chaos and let you enjoy the moment which surely most of us are missing out on. You can actually enjoy a peaceful evening over here and not complain about anything in your life. Additionally, if you would want to enjoy some fun time then you can enjoy some fun water sports.
Religious Spots in the city
#8 Shiva Cave
Talking about the fascinating places to visit in Gokarna, one of them has to be the Shiva cave. The cave consists Shiva lingam and attracts devotees throughout the year. No doubt about the beauty of the place but it is super dark from inside and you have to be careful while you are in.
#9 Murudeshwara Temple
The most famous temple of the place is obviously the Murudeshwara temple. The popularity of the temple attracts the devotees from every corner of the world. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and has a huge statue of the God which is unbelievably beautiful. A lot of nirvana seekers also visit the temple and the devotees who visit the temple also takes a dip at the Gokarna beach nearby. This is a very positive place to be at.
Another very important place to visit in Gokarna that also happens to be one of the important religious spots is the Koti Tirtha. People believe according to the Hindu mythology that this spot is the starting point of the thousand springs. Here is a man made tank that is used for immersing the idols and also for used for the ritual bathing. There are many temples in the surrounding area.
#11 Mahabaleshwar Temple
Since Gokarna is a pilgrimage spot and there are lots of temples and religious spots in the city, the most important of them along with the Murudeshwara temple is the Mahabaleshwar temple. In this temple too there is a Shiva Linga called as the Atmalinga. The story behind this linga is that it was forcibly placed by Ravana while he was returning from Mount Kailash with this linga. This temple is also one of the 7 holiest Muktishetras in India. Here, many Hindus do perform death rituals for the dead relatives.
#12 Yaaa Caves
If you thought only Shiva cave is a fancy and a fascinating place in Gokarna, you are probably wrong. This small town has so many spots to explore just like the curious Yana caves. There are two huge rock formations in the evergreen forest of Shayadri mountains and the waterfalls. The two rock formations known Bhairaveshwara Shikhara and Mohini Shikhara are made of black, crystalline limestone.
Other Spots of Interest
#13 Satodhi Falls
This one is a great place to visit on your holiday in Gokarna. The best time to visit these falls is during the monsoons. This is the time when the water flows in more speed and makes the whole view even more scenic.
#14 Mirjan Fort
If you go a little ahead of Gokarna, there is a quaint fort at around 22 km from the town on the banks of Afghanishani river. This fort is known for the beauty and the grandeur architecture. The fort is spread in an area of 10 acres and makes for a splendid spot for the tourists to explore. The history of the fort is something worthy to spend time knowing.
#15 Jog Falls
Another beautiful waterfalls that is recommended to visit in Gokarna has to be the Jog falls. The fall is obviously natural and extremely good looking. It is a treat to the eyes. If you are done with the beaches, then waterfalls are the best alternative to go out for.
Adventures to explore in Gokarna
Here is the detailed version of the adventures to explore in Gokarna.
#1 Beach Camping in Gokarna
Starting with the best adventure that everyone can do in Gokarna has to be the beach camping. Ditch staying at the resorts and the shacks for once and stay at the camps over night at the beaches of Gokarna. Staying at the tents around the beach at the night while enjoying the bonfire and the star gazing, is a surreal experience that we must have to look back at. This is such a blissful way of living the life.
#2 Trekking along the beach
The most famous activity to do in Gokarna is going on a beach trek. A lot of people prefer going to Gokarna to try out the beach treks because that does not happen at every place. Beach trekking alongside the beaches of Gokarna is so much fun. The thrill of covering the trails, the splash of the water during the high tides, the view of the beach, and the cold breeze makes everything super fun here. Go for the trek at the Paradise beach for the best experience.
Just like beach trekking, hiking is another great option to do here. Somehow hike and treks are similar but in Gokarna, you can go ahead and do hiking in other areas far from the beaches.
One of the offbeat activities to do in Gokarna is bouldering. Bouldering is climbing the rocks that are called as the boulders. Not a lot of people go for this because you need some strength and knowledge, but if you are beginner too then you can go for the bouldering activity taking the help of a professional. This activity is included in the adventure packages mostly.
One of the most adventurous activities to try out at the beach has to be parasailing. And the best parasailing in Gokarna happens at the Om beach. You can have the perfect bird’s eye view of the coastal area from the top from here. Flying freely in the sky like a bird in this pleasant and a peaceful town is an out of the world experience to have.
#6 Scuba Diving
Talking about the water sports, scuba diving is another fun water sport to try out in Gokarna. Om beach and the Gokarna beach are the best beaches to try out in scuba diving in Gokarna town.
For the people who love surfing and are a water baby you got to try doing surfing at the main Gokarna beach. The tides of the water here are the most suited for such thrilling sports. But, only if you know how to do it the correct way, you should go ahead then only. This sport is for the professionals.
#8 Banana Boat Rides
Banana boat rides are very fun and is great to do with your friends and family. Om beach is again a great place to go for the fun rides like the banana boat rides.
For whom is Gokarna Ideal
Gokarna is a package holiday destination for almost everyone. Let us just check in detail who all can enjoy here to the fullest and how.
#1 Solo Travellers
This small town is totally ideal and safe for the solo travellers. If you would want to backpack and head out to this beach destination all alone, you can do that as it is quite easy to figure out a trip alone in Gokarna. Make sure to do all your bookings before hand and have some self help like Google maps etc. If you would like to go on a group trip with strangers that is solo trip too and is quite popular for Gokarna.
#2 Budget Travellers
We have enough stressed on the fact that Gokarna is a budget travel destination. You can visit Gokarna via road trip from Bangalore or any other nearby place. You can hire a private cab or go for the bus journey which wouldn’t cost you much. There are plenty of budget staying options over there and your per day expenditure in Gokarna will definitely come under your budget. So, any time you feel low and want to head out for a vacation in a low budget, you know Gokarna can help you.
#3 Female travellers
Now, being honest about this topic, women do have to think a lot about going for solo trips in India or anywhere for that matter. Or even girls wanting to head out for a girls trip is also something that requires precaution and the world needs to change for this. But, coming to the point, Gokarna is one safe place to either head out alone or with your girl gang without feeling insecure about anything.
#4 Leisure Travelers
Matching luxury with budget is not a myth but a smart move. You can have a luxury vacation and still manage your budget somehow somewhere. And if you would want to have an utmost luxury vacation where you spend your days in luxury and not spend a bomb, visit Gokarna. There are fantastic resorts there that would help you rejuvenate in luxury and still not get you into debts. The best place to stay can be the tree houses and the beach shacks as well. They are purely bliss.
#5 Adventurers and Trekkers
As we said that Gokarna is getting really popular lately because of the adventure activities being carried out there, the place has become heaven for the adventurers. There are lots of adventure activities being carried out there like the beach trekking, hiking, bouldering, water sports, etc. The best part is that even the beginners in the field of adventure can try adventure activities in Gokarna.
#6 Corporate Team Outings
Corporate team outings are a major thing these days and they are definitely the need of the hour. The organisations, big or small, these days believe that taking the teams out for get togethers really help in building the efficiency in their work. These outings mainly consists outdoor activities and for that Gokarna is a great place that comes handy in budget as well. A lot of big and small organisations are mostly seen organising trips there.
#7 Weekend Getaways
Last but not the least, Gokarna is the most ideal spot for the weekend getaway lovers. You can visit this place quite often during the weekends and stay in a different way and return with the experiences as you have stayed in a new place. Gokarna is filled during the weekends with the city people who love to leave behind the chaos and relax in peace.
Why you should visit Gokarna
Well, the simplest reason for this could be because you want to or because you want to make your stories. Or it could be because you want a break from the life. And let us tell you all these reasons are valid and worthy. But, some technical reasons as why you should consider this place for a vacation is because of the following reasons.
#1 For relaxing at the solitude beaches
If you scroll down below, you will see that we have comprised a list of few beaches of Gokarna that are supremely gorgeous to give you a blissful experience. A lot of the beaches over here are the gems that the tourists do not prefer going because there is always the need to go to the overrated places. You could visit those beaches to enjoy serenity and peacefulness on your vacations. The beaches here are beautiful, clean, serene, and have the best sunset views.
#2 For Sight-seeing the famous places
Gokarna is a typical tourist destination where you get to do sight-seeing of some incredibly beautiful places. Since, it is a pilgrim town there are a lot of temples and religious spots to explore. And along with this, waterfalls, beaches, and local markets are there to pass your time while you enjoy doing some fun things.
#3 To do some Adventure activities
Sight-seeing and chilling are not the only things that you could do in Gokarna. You can do some OTT activities like indulge in some cool Gokarna water sports like the banana boat rides, boat rides, rafting, etc. You can also try other adventure activities like trekking, hiking, and bouldering too. This is a great option to make your stays more fabulous in Gokarna.
#4 Try Gokarna water sports
Just as we said, there are a plenty of options of doing Gokarna water sports. So, if you are someone who does not want to try out the adventure activities but would want to do some water sports then also this place does not disappoint you. You can enjoy at the beaches doing nothing and chilling and also you can try some water sports.
#5 Some peaceful local shopping
Any holiday is totally incomplete without some peaceful local shopping. No matter how short or long your trip is, shopping makes everything a lot better. If you are fond of collecting souvenirs, home décor stuff, random knick knacks, and other similar things then you can go for some local shopping in Gokarna too.
#6 To pay a visit to the famous Shiva Lingas
Last but not the least, what is most famous about Gokarna is an experience you must definitely indulge in too. As we all know that Gokarna is a holy city having some Shiva temples and also some of the very famous Shiva lingas. People come to this place to have a glimpse and to pray at these lingas. And when you are there you must visit these famous temples and pay some respect to the shiva lingas.
#7 To go on scenic long drives
Going on long drives from Gokarna to other neighbouring towns like Dandeli, Kudremukh etc is a purely bliss because the roads and the sights are picturesque. Driving the cars or bikes on these roads is so self satisfying for the road trip and long drive lovers.
#8 To try the local cuisines
To those who don’t know that Gokarna is a place of delight for the foodies then let us break the news for you. Any holiday is made or broken by the food of the place and Gokarna has a variety of delicacies to make your vacation worth it. The shacks on the beaches serve continental, Desi Chinese, and local delicacies that are lip smacking.
#9 For spending the night out at the beaches
Viewing the sunset and the sunrise at the beaches is a great feeling of course, but have you been there at the late hours at a beach? This is a surreal experience because you get to sit under the stars, enjoy the calm breeze, and just get lost in the vibe of the place.
#10 Enjoy beach camping in Gokarna
From the many adventure activities that happen in Gokarna, one of the common adventure activities to try out there is beach camping. The best part about beach camping in Gokarna is that the beaches are quaint and not every crowded that makes everything a lot more peaceful.
#11 Soak in some candle light dinners
Eating at the restaurants and the shacks can be a common thing but having a candle light peaceful dinner at the beaches of Gokarna is utmost bliss and comfort. This is an experience you must indulge in and enjoy to your heart’s content. Having an exclusive seaside dim lighted romantic dinner with your partner is the best thing to do on this trip. Do not take it lightly.
#12 Get an ayurvedic massage
Finally, a trip always demands a relaxation therapy that is getting a massage. Gokarna is famous for the ayurvedic massages that are capable enough to give you relaxation and free you from stress. Nirvana ayurveda therapy center, Palm touch ayurvedic centre, and moonshine trend unisex spa are some of the best places to get a spa.
Best Time to visit in Gokarna
Gokarna has the vibe of being pleasant but yet a bit warm during the monsoons and the place experiences Southwest monsoons from July to August and it makes these months quite dry and sunny. Hence, this is not the best time to visit Gokarna during the monsoons.
During the summers, the Gokarna weather is quite rough, humid, and sunny and you would definitely don’t want to visit the beaches during this time. Hence, the best time to visit the town is during the late monsoons from the months of late October to March. Even the foreigners visit the place during this time. The temperature during this time is somewhere between 21 degree centigrade and 34 degree centigrade.
You must not visit the place during the summer because you can’t really relax at the beaches as it would be so hot during that time. Also, you cannot go and try the water activities because of the Gokarna weather and most of the water sports are also closed at that time. And during the monsoons, one cannot try the adventure activities as rain can ruin hiking, trekking, and camping.
You cannot really stay at the tree houses as well during monsoons in Gokarna so it is a No No to visit at that time. The best time because of these is the winter season. The humidity of the coastal time at this season is very less making the weather pleasant. The rainy and the summer season is kind of offbeat but still you should not consider to going this place at this time because there is no experience to get at this time.
The next thing to keep in mind for a trip to Gokarna is that pilgrims visit the place most during the festivals of Shivratri, saavan, and Ganesh Chaturthi. So, if you would want to explore the major festivities at the temples then you can plan a trip during this time. And if you would want to skip the crowd, then do not visit during these peak festive seasons.
The average temperature of the city ranges from somewhere between 19 degree centigrade to 32 degree centigrade and is the ideal Gokarna weather.
How to Reach
Gokarna is a small coastal town and has no railway station or airport of its own. The nearest airport to Gokarna is the Dabolim airport which is also the Goa airport. From the Dabolim airport, there is a 4 hour drive towards the South of Goa to reach Gokarna. The nearest railway stations to Gokarna are the Ankola railway station and the Kumta railway station. The trains from these railway stations have a stop at Gokarna.
The best way to reach Gokarna is by the road journey by taking a private cab or by bus. This is the most convenient and the affordable way to reach Gokarna from the major cities. People from Bangalore, Mangalore, and Mysore visit the coastal town by bus. Gokarna is very well connected via roadways to these big cities. Gokarna from Bangalore and other major places, it is an overnight road journey to reach Gokarna.
Will it be difficult for you to go on a trip to Gokarna after this detailed one on discussion about the place? We don’t think so because as we always say no matter how much someone would say about travel, you will always encounter new things and your experience will always be different from what you have heard from a million places. Also, we listed about all the beautiful places to visit in Gokarna and all the best things that you could do there to have the best holiday there. Still, you can always count on us to know more about the place and get details on it.
And we also host and conduct weekly Gokarna trips from Bangalore every Friday. So, you know the drill. If you would like to gain an adventure experience from Gokarna, come on board with like-minded trekkers and travellers. Of course, you can bring your friends along but if you would like a solo trip with strangers, we would like to tell you that we make even that happen in our trips. Another thing would be cut off from your bucket list, so what is still holding you back?