Karnataka has a coastline which stretches more than 320kms and so is a home to numerous coastal towns with beautiful beaches and shores making coastal Karnataka a beach paradise. It has numerous port cities, inland waterways and of course, the Western Ghats located just 70 km from the shoreline.

This state has the dream location of letting you live by the mountains and also be able to visit the beach in a short time making coastal Karnataka a must visit place. 

Coastal Karnataka Travel Guide

The long coastline of Karnataka also part of the Konkan Coast is home to many beautiful towns and cities forming an important part of the state. The major cities include Mangalore, Udupi, Manipal, Karwar, Murdeshwar, and Honavar. 

One of the numerous hanging bridges in the coast

Places to Visit in Coastal Karnataka

Many pristine rivers join the sea forming beautiful deltas where you can go and experience the force of the mighty sea and the river when they flow in opposite directions and push each other. 

Or walk across numerous hanging bridges built on such rivers, making for picturesque photo settings and catch fishermen on their catamarans fishing or casting their nets against the sunset backdrop.

Mangalore

This is a major port city in the state of Karnataka. It has various attractions apart from the beautiful beaches forming one part of the city. Places you should visit include

  • Pilikula Nisargadhama-  A scenic tourist locale offering an artisan’s village, a lake, zoo, water park & botanical gardens
  • Gokarnatheswara Temple – Consecrated in 1912, this Hindu temple features several idols & hosts frequent festivals which are worth attending.
  • Sultan Battery – Remains of an 18th-century watchtower, where you get a beautiful sunset or catch a ferry to TannirBhavi Beach from here.
  • Tannirbhavi Beach – This sizable sandy beach can be accessed by bridge or ferry and offers a tranquil environment with lifeguards.
  • Saint Aloysius Chapel – Completed in 1878, this grand Christian chapel features many notable frescos by an Italian artist.

The ferry from Sultan Battery to Tannirbhavi Beach

Shopping

Mangalore may not be a known place for shopping but that doesn’t mean that you can’t explore the market, there is lot more you can get to make your holidays special.

Central Market

Ayurvedic medicines, species, cashew and much more, which are of good quality and available at a very reasonable price. Other than this, visitors can also find it a good place to purchase apparel and other related products. 

You will find a lot of buzzes here in this part of the city where you can have a great taste of tradition and culture of Mangalore

City Center Mall

Having the 8,50000 square feet of space, City Center Mall is comparatively known as the best shopping attraction of Mangalore. At City Center mall, you can also find known stores like Westside, Lifestyle, Max, Big Bazaar, and Reliance

Hampankatta

If you are going out shopping in the streets of Mangalore, then you can’t miss the chance to visit this oldest shopping attraction in the city. For locals and for tourists, this is a place from where they can get almost anything under the one roof.

The most notable thing about this place is that it is still running there with same energy despite the opening of different modern shopping centers in the city.

Panambur Beach

Tourists who want to shop for the traditional handicrafts item can move towards the Emye’s Seashell Crafts which is located on Panambur Beach, at this place visitors can purchase different colourful decorative items to give an impressive look to their interior designs

Udupi

This tiny coastal town is famous for its Krishna Matta (temple). Tourists from near and far make it a must visit when they come towards this coastal town.  The university town Manipal is also located 5km from Udupi and is very famous for its institutions. Places you should visit include

Railway Bridge

Located around 5km from Manipal, this bridge where the Konkan railway trains ply is built on the Suvarna river. You get to see the sunset through the river and the town of Manipal on the other end. When the trains go by and you cling on to your life holding the handrails, it is an experience to remember.

Krishna Matta

This temple is located in the heart of the city. The main shrine is surrounded by 8 mattas which houses the priest who performs the prayers. Once in two years, the priest changes and the celebrations go late into the night. The priest keeps rotating within these 8 mattas.

The temple celebrations called Ratha Utsava (Pulling on the temple Chariot)

Kundadri Hills

 Located around 75 km away from the Udupi, this small hill is ideal for an early morning ride to watch the sunrise behind the hills. There is a small temple located here and many rocky edges to sit and watch the view from above. Not ideal during monsoons though.

The way to Kundadri, through Agumbe

Varanga Basadi

This quaint little temple is located about an hour away from Udupi. You can take a bus till Hebri and then change and take another to Varanga. During monsoon when the lake gets filled up you have to use the boat to reach the main temple. They charge around 20-30 Rp for it. It hardly lasts for 3 minutes. You can even get a good pedicure from the fishes at the steps of the temple.

Manipal

This university town is a complete opposite of the traditional Udupi. Apart from some delicious cafes and restaurants located here amidst beautiful infrastructure this town also has a beautiful lake and few waterfalls which are a must visit for a quaint evening. It is beautiful during the monsoons with green trees and blue skies

View from Manipal End point

Saint Marys Island

A must visit when in Udupi this island which is accessed by boat rides, has a shoreline of shells. Ther rock formations are magnificent and it is worth visiting. Avoid going during summer noons as it might just get too hot to bear. 

The rocky formation at Saint Marys Island

Honnavar

This town is famous for its island along with its beaches and hanging bridges. The worth visiting places are

Basavarj Durga

Basavaraja Durga or Basavaraj Island is an island fortress situated in the Arabian sea and can be reached by boat and it is 3.5 km from Honnavar port. The landing place is at the southeastern part of the island at the old entrance of the fort. The island has a total area of 19 hectares. The top of the island is a plateau covered with dry grass and trees that can be seen only at the sloping part of the island. There are a number of freshwater wells. The fort was constructed during Vijayanagar rule in 1690.

The island with the fort in it

Gersoppa

This is a collection of Jain temples maintained by ASI. Located within the forest area, you require permission to access these temples. It is ideal for an noon spent in the midst of nature.

The ruins at Gersoppa

Apsarkonda Beach

Located next to a small waterfall and a beautifully developed garden,  this beach is ideal for a beautiful sunset view without much hindrance from others. Not many people visit the beach so it can be just yours. 

Karwar

This town is known for INS Kadamba (Sea Bird project), the naval base of Indian navy. It’s also a good getaway for a weekend or a great introduction to the state of Karnataka if coming from the north. Must visit places are

  • Warship Museum -Is quite a unique visit, which houses war memorabilia. There’s a small entry fee, and they will show you a documentary on the Indian Navy
  • The Aquarium –  Very nicely maintained. Around 30 species of fish in clean aquariums, including piranhas. There’s a large partial skeleton of a blue whale.
  • Tagore Beach – The Rabindranath Tagore beach is right next to the highway, yet secluded. While it has nothing special, it’s an ideal place to ‘chill’ for a few hours. Clean.
  • Devbagh Beach – is an auto ride away and is beautiful, clean and partially private in nature. Some of these beaches have water sports activities.
  • Yana Rocks – a trip to nearby Yana rocks from the beaches can be scintillating.
  • Anshi National Park – also called Anshi Tiger Reserve is at distance of 51 km. The Sadashivgad Fort is a small while away.

The Karwar Warship Museum

Nature- Beaches

Here is a list of must-visit beaches along the coast

1. Ottinene Beach

Located at a distance of 73km from Udupi, this beach is located along the edge of a hill. We parked our car on top of this hill and walked down the forest to reach the beach. And we turned out to be the only ones at this edge of the beach. 

There were people on the other end near the town side but if you walk down the hill and reach the rocky beach, you can witness a pleasant sunset sitting by the rocks or the shore in this beach. Maybe even spot a dolphin or two if lucky.

2. Delta/ Kodi Bengre

Located at just 18km from Udupi, the specialty of this beach is that it is where the river meets the sea. Hence you are at the edge and you get to witness the currents blowing in all directions. It is risky to venture into the waters as you cannot be sure which side the waves are flowing and during high tide, the entire shore gets eaten up by the sea. 

Though the shore is limited at the edge it does give you an amazing sunset along with the views of numerous fishermen and catamarans on the way to the beach.

The shore with the river on one side and the sea on the other

3. Sasihitlu

Located towards Mangalore side of the coast, this beach is not totally off the grid and though you see a lot of visitors to the beach it has a beautiful coast, where again you see the river flow to the sea. It is bigger than Kodi bengre and has a nice green groove of coconut palm trees located along the shore where people can sit for a nice evening picnic watching the sunset.

4. Padukere

Everyone knows the Maple beach near Udupi. Thus it has gotten commercialized with parking fee, WiFi facility, lifeguards and what not. But right next to Malpe is the Padukere beach, which is now connected thanks to the construction of a bridge and people don’t have to rely on a ferry.

You have to pass through the backwaters where you find numerous boats tethered at the Malpe port, which make for a picturesque setting of the sunset. You can see few islands from this beach, watch the sunset behind them and thanks to less footfall even spot a starfish or two.

5. Marvanthe

This beach located near Kundapur is one of the most beautiful beaches you will come across. It has a long shoreline with the beach on one side, a road in between and a river flowing on the other. It is definitely worth a stop.

The central road with the beach on one side and river on the other

Temples and Churches

The coastal region is home to many famous temples, churches and Jain temples. 

1. Karkala

There are 18 Jain Basadis located in this town. It also has the statue of Bahubali erected in 1453 which is a major attraction in this town. Every twelve years, hundreds of thousands of Jain devotees congregate to perform the Mahamastakabhiseka, a ceremony where the statue is bathed and anointed with milk, water, and saffron paste and sprinkled with sandalwood powder, turmeric, and vermilion. An annual Rathotsava is held in February.

2. Moodbidri

Moddbidri or Moodabidri has 18 Jain temples. The most famous among them is the Thousand Pillars temple. Situated in the center of the town, this temple is also called Saavira Kamabada Basadi and Tribhuvana Tilaka Chudamani Basadi. This temple is dedicated to the 8th Theerthankara Chandranatha. 

3. Kateel

This temple town is considered one of the holiest places in the state.  The temple is situated on an islet in the middle of the sacred river Nandini amidst panoramic scenes and fascinating greenery. Thousands of devotees visit Kateel every day to seek blessings from goddess Durga Parameshwari.

4. Saint Lawrence Church

This church constructed in 1759 is located in Karkala and is an epitome of beauty. Placed amidst placid greenery, the Attur-Karkala parish has a rich history. The church oversees a school and an orphanage.

Nightlife Hot Spots

Mangalore and Manipal are the places to be at to enjoy nightlife this coastal area has to offer. Since Manipal is a university town you will find all the places filled with students whereas Mangalore has a working-class crowd so they have a different vibe.

Few of the famous places are:

  • Deetee
  • Blues
  • Remix lounge
  • The Liquid Lounge
  • Froth on top
  • G6 Music Cafe

Best Time to Visit Coastal Karnataka

Since the coast experiences hot and humid summers, it is best you avoid it unless you can tolerate heat. Monsoons which happen from June to September are usually in full force with it raining continuously for 4-5 days at a stretch some days. So the best time would be winter,post-monsoon and before summer. 

Getting Around

The entire coastline is well connected by a national highway which goes from Kerala in the south to Goa in the north. Within the cities, you have various means including taxis and local buses which connect all parts of the town. Buses are frequently used by the locals so you can ask around for help.

KSRTC buses which are the state government buses run connecting the towns with other major cities in the state.

Where to stay

It has places to suit all budgets, from 5-star hotels to budget hostels. It would be advisable to get homestays where ever you can to experience the authentic household activities and their cuisine. Thier traditional houses usually have a sloping tiled roof with a courtyard in between making it an experience you must have, especially during monsoon.

Depending on your budget you can check in on online sights like Make my trip or Yatra or Trivago to get the best deal.

How safe is Coastal Karnataka

This part of the state is safe when compared to many parts of India. People are very helpful and can communicate in Kannada and English.

The local city buses usually stop running at 8.30 in the night so it is best to return by then from the tourist spots. Towns like Manipal and Mangalore are good to move in the night too, but the other cities and towns might not be advisable. 

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June 21, 2018 2:05 am Published by

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