17 Best Places To Visit In Summer In North India

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Overview

Ah, summer! With the sun shining brightly and the holidays knocking on the door, it’s the perfect time to set out on an adventure. But if scorching temperatures are not your cup of chai, you’re probably on the hunt for those perfect retreats to cool off. Worry not, my fellow wanderers, because I’ve curated a list of the 17 best places to visit in summer in North India

So pack your bags, grab your sunglasses and get ready to embark on a journey through the marvellous hills and ethereal beauty of North India. Engage with the different cultures, enjoy the diverse cuisines, and surrender to the tranquillity that these highlands promise.

Stay tuned as I take you through lush landscapes, azure lakes, and retro hill stations.

Here’s to experiencing the best of summer in these cool havens! 🌄👒🎒

1. Srinagar

Srinagar, often hailed as “Paradise on Earth,” is a city in the heart of the beautiful Kashmir Valley. Framed by the majestic Himalayan ranges, it is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, serene Dal Lake with its iconic houseboats and Shikaras, and vibrant Mughal gardens that bloom with myriad flowers.

Breath Taking View of Srinagar
Breath Taking View of Srinagar

The city’s rich cultural heritage is a tapestry woven with influences from Buddhists, Mughals, and Sikhs reflected in its historical monuments, local cuisine, and warm hospitality. Srinagar is not just a destination; it’s an experience that blends the tranquillity of nature with a rich historical canvas.

Whether it’s a leisurely boat ride on the lake, a stroll through fragrant gardens, or shopping for exquisite handicrafts in its bustling bazaars, Srinagar offers a myriad of experiences that are as enchanting as the city itself.

Ideal for

  • Family vacations
  • Honeymoon adventures
  • Nature lovers
  • History and culture enthusiasts

Best Clothing Items

  • In summers: Light woolen clothing, windcheaters for evenings.
  • In winters: Heavy woolens, insulated jackets, gloves, and warm boots.

Top Things to Do

  • Enjoy a Shikara ride on Dal Lake.
  • Explore the vibrant Mughal Gardens.
  • Shop for Kashmiri handicrafts and Pashmina shawls in Lal Chowk.
  • Visit the old city’s historic mosques and shrines.
  • Savour traditional Kashmiri cuisine, including Wazwan and Kahwa.

Best Time to Visit

  • April to October for blooming gardens and pleasant weather.
  • December to February for snowfall and winter sports.
  • Ahdoos for traditional Kashmiri cuisine.
  • Rayees Hotel for Wazwan specialities.
  • Stream Restaurant for a meal by the river.
  • Shamyana Food Point for local street food snacks.

Things to Remember

  • Respect local customs and traditions.
  • Always carry your identity proof as it might be required at certain places.
  • If planning a winter visit, check for weather conditions in advance, as heavy snowfall can lead to blockage of roads.
  • Only venturing out late at night with proper transport arrangements.

2. Ladakh

Ladakh, often referred to as the ‘Land of High Passes’, is a mesmerizing region in the northernmost part of India. It is known for its stark beauty and rugged landscapes. Nestled between the Kunlun mountain range in the north and the mighty Himalayas to the south, it is a place where the earth seems to meet the sky.

Mesmerising confluence of two rivers in Ladakh
Source: Adventure Nation

Ladakh is a haven for adventurers and culture enthusiasts, offering breathtaking trekking routes, serene monasteries like Hemis and Thiksey, and the incredible magnetic hill. The stark moonscapes, pristine blue lakes such as Pangong Tso, and the unique culture that resonates with Tibetan Buddhism make Ladakh a truly remarkable destination. Its capital, Leh, serves as a base for exploring the region’s myriad attractions, including the Nubra Valley, known for its sand dunes and Bactrian camels.

Visiting Ladakh, one can’t help but be enchanted by its simplicity and natural beauty, which is as humbling as it is awe-inspiring. Ladakh’s profound spiritual atmosphere and its exotic locales make it a once-in-a-lifetime journey into the heart of the Indian Himalayas.

Ideal for

  • Adventure seekers
  • Photography enthusiasts
  • Nature and wildlife lovers
  • Culture and spirituality explorers

Best Clothing Items

  • Summer: Light woolens during the day and warm jackets for chilly evenings.
  • Winter: Heavy down jackets, thermal wear, woolen socks, gloves, and a beanie.

Top Things to Do

  • Trekking on famous trails like Markha Valley and Chadar Trek.
  • Pangong Tso Lake visit for its breathtaking beauty.
  • Nubra Valley exploration, including Diskit Monastery and sand dunes.
  • Attend vibrant local festivals like Hemis and Losar.
  • Visit ancient monasteries such as Thiksey and Hemis for spiritual insights.

Best Time to Visit

  • Summer (June to September) for most activities and festivals.
  • Winter (November to March) for snow and unique experiences like the Chadar Trek.
  • Gesmo Restaurant in Leh for its bakery and local dishes.
  • Tibetan Kitchen for authentic Tibetan cuisine.
  • Chokhang Vihara for a serene dining experience.
  • The Himalaya CafĂ© in Nubra Valley for a cosy atmosphere.

Things to Remember

  • Acclimatize properly to avoid altitude sickness.
  • Carry sufficient cash as ATMs are sparse outside Leh.
  • Mobile connectivity might be limited in remote areas.
  • Respect local customs and the sensitive ecology of the region.
  • Inner Line Permits are required for specific areas; plan ahead.

3. Manali

Manali, nestled in the serene valleys of Himachal Pradesh, is a picturesque hill station that captivates visitors with its snow-clad mountains, lush forests, and meandering rivers. Often referred to as a haven for backpackers, adventure enthusiasts, and honeymooners alike, Manali offers an enchanting blend of scenic beauty and thrilling activities.

Manali A Real Charm of North India
Source: Kullu Manali Tourism

From the awe-inspiring views of the Rohtang Pass to the soothing hot springs of Vashisht, this town provides a retreat into nature’s marvels. The Hidimba Devi Temple, steeped in mythology, adds a spiritual layer to the destination. At the same time, the Old Manali area delights with its quaint, rustic charm and hip cafes. Manali serves as a gateway to the rugged trails of the Himalayas, attracting trekkers and mountaineers from across the globe.

Whether paragliding in the Solang Valley, rafting in the Beas River, or simply enjoying the snow in winter, Manali promises an unforgettable experience for every visitor. It blends adventure, spirituality, and tranquillity in perfect harmony.

Ideal for

  • Adventure sports enthusiasts
  • Honeymooners and couples
  • Families seeking a fun vacation
  • Trekking and nature aficionados

Best Clothing Items

  • Summer: Light woolens for evenings; cotton clothes for daytime.
  • Winter: Heavy jackets, thermal wear, gloves, woolen caps, and waterproof boots.

Top Things to Do

  • Paragliding and adventure sports in Solang Valley.
  • Trekking to Jogini Falls and exploring old Manali.
  • Visiting Hadimba Temple and Manu Temple.
  • Relaxing in the hot water springs of Vashisht.
  • Exploring the local bazaars for handicrafts and woollen clothes.

Best Time to Visit

  • March to June for pleasant weather and outdoor activities.
  • December to February for snowfall and winter sports.
  • The Johnson’s Cafe for a cosy ambience and continental food.
  • Cafe 1947 for riverside Italian cuisine.
  • Il Forno for authentic Italian wood-fired pizzas.
  • Drifters’ Inn & CafĂ© for great coffee and live music.

Things to Remember

  • Carry identity proof for hotel check-ins and adventure activities.
  • Plan and book your stay and adventures in advance during peak seasons.
  • Be cautious of monkeys, especially around temples.
  • Follow local guidelines for safety when trekking and adventure sports.
  • Be mindful of the ecological balance and avoid littering.

4. Kasol

Kasol is a retro village nestled in the serene Parvati Valley of Himachal Pradesh, India. Often referred to as the ‘Amsterdam of India‘, Kasol is a sanctuary for backpackers, trekkers, and nature enthusiasts. It is located on the banks of the Parvati River. It is surrounded by towering conifers, offering picturesque landscapes and a tranquil ambience.

beautiful mountain ranges in kasol
Source: Kayak

This small village has gained immense popularity for its vibrant hippie culture, Israeli cuisine, and charming cafes that line the streets. Kasol serves as a starting point for many breathtaking treks, such as the ones to Kheerganga, Tosh, and the scenic village of Malana, which is famous for its distinct culture and cannabis plantations.

The place provides a unique blend of peaceful retreat and adventure, with river rafting, rock climbing, and angling opportunities. Kasol’s dynamic mix of natural beauty and cultural uniqueness makes it a compelling destination for travellers seeking comfort and exploration in the heart of the Himalayas.

Ideal for

  • Backpackers and solo travellers
  • Nature lovers and trek enthusiasts
  • Foodies exploring Israeli cuisine
  • Those seeking a peaceful retreat

Best Clothing Items

  • Summer: Comfortable casuals with light woollens for evenings.
  • Winter: Heavy jackets, thermals, gloves, and woolen caps.

Top Things to Do

  • Trek to Kheerganga for scenic views and hot springs.
  • Explore the Parvati River and take leisure walks in the valley.
  • Visit Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara for its hot springs and serene surroundings.
  • Camping by the river and stargazing at night.
  • Visit Malana village for a peek into ancient customs and lifestyle.

Best Time to Visit

  • March to May for pleasant weather and outdoor exploration.
  • October to February for a chilly climate and fewer crowds.
  • Evergreen CafĂ© for Israeli and international cuisine.
  • Moon Dance Cafe for breakfast and bakery items.
  • Jim Morrison Cafe for a unique ambience.
  • The Himalayan Village for traditional Himachali food.

Things to Remember

  • Respect local culture, especially in Malana, where tourists are advised to follow specific guidelines.
  • Cash is essential as ATMs can be unreliable.
  • Network connectivity can be limited; prepare accordingly.
  • Drugs are illegal; avoid any involvement.
  • The pathways can be tricky; tread carefully and always inform someone about your trekking plans.

5. Dharamshala

Dharamshala, nestled in the Kangra Valley of Himachal Pradesh, India, is a picturesque town renowned for its natural beauty and cultural richness. It serves as the residence of the Dalai Lama and the headquarters of the Central Tibetan Administration, making it a significant centre for Tibetan Buddhism and culture.

beautiful valley behind radisson hotel dharamshala
Source: Radisson Hotels

Surrounded by cedar forests on the edge of the Himalayas, Dharamshala is divided into two distinct sections – the bustling lower division, Kotwali Bazaar, and the upper division, McLeod Ganj. McLeod Ganj, often referred to as ‘Little Lhasa’, is adorned with Tibetan monasteries, traditional eateries, and shops selling Tibetan crafts, creating a vibrant, multicultural ambience.

The town is a spiritual and cultural hub and a starting point for various treks, including the famous trek to Triund Hill, offering stunning views of the Dhauladhar ranges. With its serene environment, rich culture, and opportunities for adventure, Dharamshala attracts a diverse group of visitors, from spiritual seekers to nature enthusiasts and adventure lovers, making it a unique and captivating destination.

Ideal for

  • Spiritual seekers and meditation enthusiasts
  • Trekkers and adventure lovers
  • History and culture explorers
  • Nature photographers

Best Clothing Items

  • Summer: Summer casuals with light woollens for the evening.
  • Winter: Heavy woollens, thermal wear, gloves, and warm caps.

Top Things to Do

  • Pay a visit to the Dalai Lama Temple.
  • Explore the Tibetan Museum and Library.
  • Trek to the picturesque Triund Hill.
  • Visit St. John In The Wilderness Church.
  • Explore the local markets, particularly Mcleod Ganj’s main square for Tibetan crafts.

Best Time to Visit

  • March to June for a pleasant climate and outdoor activities.
  • October and November for clear skies and fantastic trekking experiences.
  • Illiterati Books & Coffee for a unique dining experience.
  • Tibet Kitchen for authentic Tibetan cuisine.
  • Nick’s Italian Kitchen for Italian cooking and great coffee.
  • Cafe RI for American breakfast and pancakes.

Things to Remember

  • Carry important documents, particularly if planning to visit the Indo-Tibet Border.
  • Follow the local social and cultural norms.
  • Respect the peace and tranquillity of the monastic spaces.
  • Conserve the local environment; avoid littering or any damaging activities.
  • Carry cash, as card machines at local markets may not always work.

6. Mussoorie

Mussoorie, often hailed as the “Queen of the Hills”, is a captivating hill station located in the Dehradun District of the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand. Perched at an altitude of about 2000 meters above sea level, it offers breathtaking views of the snow-clad Himalayan peaks and a serene, lush environment. This picturesque town is famous for its colonial heritage, evident in its architecture and winding lanes meandering through enchanting landscapes.

Enchanting Mussorie town
Source: World Atlas

The Mall Road, Mussoorie’s bustling promenade, is lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants, making it a vibrant activity centre. Key attractions include Gun Hill, offering panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, and Kempty Falls, a stunning waterfall that is a popular picnic spot among visitors.

Mussoorie is also a gateway to the ‘Queen of the Mountains’, offering numerous trekking and adventure sports opportunities. With its misty hills, varied flora and fauna, and beautiful climate year-round, Mussoorie remains a favourite retreat for tourists seeking tranquillity and natural beauty, making it a memorable part of India’s hill station charm.

Ideal for

  • Families looking for a hill station retreat
  • Honeymoon couples seeking romantic landscapes
  • Trekkers and nature enthusiasts
  • Writers and artists in search of inspiration

Best Clothing Items

  • Summer: Light woolens for evenings; comfortable casuals for daytime.
  • Winter: Heavy jackets, thermal wear, woolen socks, gloves, and caps.

Top Things to Do

  • Take a walk in The Mall for shopping and a colonial feel.
  • Visit Kempty Falls and enjoy a picnic.
  • Trek to Gun Hill or Lal Tibba for panoramic views.
  • Explore the charm of Landour, the quieter side of Mussoorie.
  • Adventure activities like zip-lining and skywalking.

Best Time to Visit

  • April to June for pleasant weather and clear skies.
  • December to February for snowfall and winter charm.
  • Little Llama Cafe for great views and an eclectic menu.
  • Kalsang for authentic Tibetan and Chinese flavours.
  • Lovely Omelette Centre for a traditional Mussoorie breakfast.
  • Char Dukan area in Landour for street food.

Things to Remember

  • Be prepared for unpredictable weather; carry an umbrella or raincoat.
  • Parking can be difficult in peak season; consider using public transport or taxis.
  • Book your accommodation in advance during the peak tourist season.
  • Respect local customs and dress modestly when visiting religious sites.
  • Carry cash, as not all places accept cards.

7. Kanatal

Kanatal, a serene and picturesque hamlet located in the Tehri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand, India, is steadily emerging as a popular retreat for peace seekers and nature enthusiasts. Nestled at approximately 2,590 meters above sea level, Kanatal offers a tranquil escape with its breathtaking views of the snow-capped Himalayas and lush green forests.

Unlike more commercialized hill stations, Kanatal retains its untouched beauty, making it an ideal spot for those looking to enjoy the serenity of nature.

awesome view from the top in kanatal
Source: BWT Experiences

This retro town is surrounded by an array of scenic attractions, including the ancient Surkanda Devi Temple, which is a short trek away and offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

The nearby Tehri Lake offers opportunities for water sports and adventure activities, adding to the allure of this hidden gem. Kanatal’s combination of pristine natural beauty, peaceful atmosphere, and adventure opportunities make it a must-visit destination for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

Ideal for

  • Couples seeking a quiet getaway
  • Families looking for a peaceful hill vacation
  • Adventure enthusiasts and campers
  • Nature admirers and birdwatchers

Best Clothing Items

  • Summer: Comfortable casuals, along with light jackets or sweaters.
  • Winter: Heavy woollens, insulated jackets, thermal wear, gloves, and warm caps.

Top Things to Do

  • Camping amidst the serene natural backdrops.
  • Trekking to Chamba or New Tehri.
  • Exploring the Kodia Jungle with a chance to see wildlife.
  • Visit Surkanda Devi Temple for spirituality and views.
  • Trying adventure sports like rappelling and rock climbing.

Best Time to Visit

  • April to June, the pleasant weather is ideal for sightseeing.
  • October to March for snow-clad landscapes and chilly climates.
  • The Terrace at The Terraces Resort for multi-cuisine dishes.
  • Cafe Hara Hara for a cosy dining experience.
  • The Apple Orchard Resort for a taste of local flavours.
  • Local roadside stalls for fresh and hot snacks.

Things to Remember

  • Carry cash, as ATM services are limited.
  • Have a camera ready for picturesque views and photography.
  • Keep the environment clean; dispose of waste properly.
  • Plan your stay and book accommodations in advance.
  • Check local weather predictions before trekking or camping activities.

8. Auli

Auli, located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, is a mesmerizing hill station often described as a ‘paradise’ for skiing enthusiasts. Positioned at an astounding altitude of 2,500 to 3,050 meters above sea level, Auli offers breathtaking 360-degree views of the lofty Himalayan peaks such as Nanda Devi, Trishul, and Hathi Parvat.

Blanketed in a dense cover of Oak and Deodar forest, the slopes of this ski destination provide a refreshing and scenic atmosphere, also helping to reduce the velocity of the chilling winds, thereby facilitating a more enjoyable skiing experience.

auli summer destination
Source: Nesw18

Beyond skiing, Auli is famed for its beautiful meadows, serene environment, and untouched natural beauty, attracting adventure seekers and tranquillity lovers. The town also houses the world’s highest artificial lake and the Auli Ropeway, one of Asia’s longest and highest ropeways.

In summer, Auli becomes a haven for trekkers, with trails leading to various Himalayan mountain peaks and pilgrim locations. Regardless of the season, the spectacular beauty and ambience of Auli continue to mesmerize and charm its visitors.

Ideal for

  • Skiing enthusiasts and snow lovers
  • Mountain and nature photographers
  • Adventure-seeking backpackers
  • Quiet getaway seekers

Best Clothing Items

  • Summer: Light woollens for chilly evenings and casuals for daytime.
  • Winter: Insulated jackets, thermal wear, gloves, snow boots, and warm caps.

Top Things to Do

  • Skiing in the snow-laden slopes of Auli.
  • Ride on the Auli Ropeway for breathtaking views.
  • Trek to Gurso Bugyal and Kuari Pass.
  • Visit Nanda Devi National Park for pristine biodiversity.
  • Saket Surya Mountaineering and Skiing Institute to learn skiing.

Best Time to Visit

  • December to March for skiing and experiencing snowfall.
  • May to November for clear skies, lush greenery, and pleasant weather.
  • Auli D’s Food Plaza for a variety of cuisines.
  • Cliff Top Club for a romantic dinner with a view.
  • Joshimath town for more options with local cuisine.
  • Pack lunch from your hotel for comfortable day-outs.

Things to Remember

  • Carry necessary skiing gear if planning to ski.
  • Book your stay well in advance during the peak tourist season.
  • Keep the environment clean; avoid littering.
  • Carry heavy woollens if visiting in winter, as temperatures can drop severely.
  • Carry cash as card facilities might be limited.

9. Shimla

Shimla, the capital city of Himachal Pradesh, India, is a picturesque hill station with a rich history, stunning landscape, and vibrant culture. Nestled at an altitude of 2,205 meters above sea level, Shimla holds the distinction of being the summer capital of British India. Its colonial legacy is real in the grand old buildings, retro railways, and the historic Mall Road. The city stretches along a crescent-shaped ridge surrounded by lush hills and snow-capped peaks, offering breathtaking views and a refreshing climate throughout the year.

amazing Shimla city
Source: Veena World

One of Shimla’s prominent landmarks is the colonial-era Viceregal Lodge. This architectural marvel now serves as an institute for advanced studies. The bustling Mall Road is the heart of Shimla, lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants where visitors can savour the local cuisine and enjoy shopping. Jakhu Temple, situated on the highest peak of Shimla, provides panoramic views of the town and the surrounding mountains.

Over the years, Shimla has effectively blended its historical charm with modern developments, making it a popular destination for tourists seeking solace, adventure, and a touch of history.

Ideal for

  • Families looking for a comfortable hill-station holiday.
  • Honeymooners seeking romantic sceneries.
  • Adventure sports enthusiasts, especially trekking and camping.
  • Solo travellers and backpackers exploring colonial history and culture.

Best Clothing Items

  • Summer: Light woolens for evenings, comfortable casual clothes for daytime.
  • Winter: Heavy woolen garments, thermal innerwear, gloves, hats, and snow boots.

Top Things to Do

  • Take a walk on the Mall Road for shopping and eateries.
  • Visit the Jakhoo Temple and enjoy the cable car ride.
  • Explore the British-era buildings like the Vice Regal Lodge.
  • Engage in adventure activities at Kufri or Narkanda.
  • Enjoy the views from the Shimla Ridge and Christ Church.

Best Time to Visit

  • March to June for pleasant weather suited for sightseeing.
  • December to February for snow lovers and winter sports enthusiasts.
  • Wake & Bake CafĂ© for cosy vibes and continental cuisine.
  • CafĂ© Sol for Mexican and Italian dishes.
  • Indian Coffee House for an old-school coffee experience.
  • Baljees & Fascination for traditional sweets and bakery items.

Things to Remember

  • Plan and book your accommodation early during peak seasons.
  • Be mindful of monkeys, especially around tourist spots like Jakhoo Hill.
  • Carry cash for local markets, as not all vendors accept digital payments.
  • Respect local customs and dress modestly when visiting religious sites.
  • Keep Shimla clean by disposing of waste in specified bins.

10. Kinnaur

Kinnaur, nestled in the northeastern part of Himachal Pradesh, India, is an exquisite district known for its majestic mountains, lush green valleys, and rich cultural heritage. Bordered by Tibet to the east, it provides a splendid mix of Hindu and Buddhist cultures set against a backdrop of breathtaking natural beauty. Elevated approximately 2,320 meters above sea level, Kinnaur is decorated with lush orchards, ancient monasteries, and stunning landscapes, making it a paradise for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.

beautiful and breath-taking kinnaur
Source: Nature Canvas Travel

The region is renowned for its picturesque hamlets, snow-laden peaks, and vibrant orchards of apples, apricots, and almonds, contributing to Kinnaur’s reputation as the “Land of Gods”. Key attractions include the Kinnaur Kailash, considered sacred in Hindu and Buddhist mythologies, offering challenging treks and spiritual solace. The centuries-old monasteries, such as the Tabo Monastery and the Nako Monastery, are a testament to Kinnaur’s rich cultural tapestry. The Sangla Valley and the Baspa River running through it offer mesmerizing views and opportunities for outdoor activities like trekking, camping, and river rafting.

With its unique blend of natural splendour and cultural depth, Kinnaur invites travellers to explore its untouched landscapes, making it an unforgettable destination on the map of Himachal Pradesh.

Ideal for

  • Travelers seeking to explore less crowded and untouched natural landscapes.
  • Adventure enthusiasts, particularly trekkers and mountaineers.
  • Lovers of culture and heritage.
  • People interested in flora, fauna, and bird-watching.

Best Clothing Items

  • Summer: Light woollen and comfortable casual outfits.
  • Winter: Heavy woollens, thermal innerwear, insulated gloves, and snow boots.

Top Things to Do

  • Trekking on the Kinnaur-Kailash range.
  • Visit the Suicide Point in Kalpa for spectacular views.
  • Explore the apple orchards and taste Kinnaur apples.
  • Visit the ancient monasteries and temples.
  • Experience the local culture in Sangla and Chitkul villages.

Best Time to Visit

  • April to October for clear weather suitable for trekking and sightseeing.
  • November to February for snow lovers, but some areas might be inaccessible due to heavy snowfall.
  • Sol Cafe in Reckong Peo for quick meals.
  • Glacier’s Restaurant in Kalpa for local cuisines.
  • Rohtang Brown Cafe for coffee and light meals.
  • Local dhabas or eateries for traditional Kinnauri dishes.

Things to Remember

  • Be respectful towards the local culture and traditions.
  • Carry cash as ATM services might be limited.
  • High altitudes may lead to Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), so acclimatize properly.
  • Plan your visit and local travel in advance, as the terrain is quite challenging.
  • Always carry essential medications and a first-aid kit, as medical facilities can be sparse.

11. Pahalgam

Located in the western part of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, Pahalgam is a charming town widely known for its scenic beauty and tranquil ambience. Positioned on the banks of the Lidder River and at an altitude of 2,740 meters above sea level, this picturesque town is a popular destination for nature enthusiasts, adventure seekers, and peace lovers.

blue coloured river flowing in pahalgam
Source: WanderOn

Pahalgam is not just about natural beauty; it holds great cultural and religious significance, being the starting point of the annual holy Amarnath Yatra. The Sheshnag Lake, en route to the Amarnath cave, is another must-visit spot due to its mesmerizing beauty and mythological importance. The town is also a haven for adventure sports enthusiasts, offering trekking, horse riding, golfing, and white-water rafting opportunities.

In addition, Pahalgam’s charm has made it the preferred choice for numerous Bollywood film shoots, adding to its popularity. With its serene environment, scenic landscapes and array of activities, Pahalgam promises every visitor a unique and unforgettable experience.

Ideal for

  • Nature photographers and enthusiasts.
  • Adventure sports lovers for trekking, horse riding, and river rafting.
  • Families and couples seeking a peaceful getaway.
  • Amarnath Yatra pilgrims.

Best Clothing Items

  • Summer: Light woollens and comfortable casual wear.
  • Winter: Heavy woollens, insulated gloves, caps, and snow boots.

Top Things to Do

  • Pony ride to the scenic Baisaran Valley.
  • River rafting in Lidder River.
  • Visit Betaab Valley, known for its Bollywood film shoots.
  • Angling and fishing (with a permit) in Lidder river.
  • Trekking in the Aru Valley.

Best Time to Visit

  • March to June for greenery and pleasant weather.
  • November to February for snowfall and winter sports.
  • Dana Pani for Kashmiri and North Indian cuisine.
  • Troutbeat for fresh trout fish dishes.
  • Nathu Rasoi for quick and budget-friendly meals.
  • Baisaran Cafe for panoramic views with food.

Things to Remember

  • Always carry cash, as ATM and card swipe facilities may be limited.
  • Carry identity proofs as checking is expected due to security reasons.
  • Respect the local culture and traditions, and maintain the cleanliness of the places you visit.
  • Keep warm clothes if travelling in winter or planning to visit higher altitudes.
  • Inform your family or friends about your whereabouts if you’re trekking or engaging in adventure sports.

12. Gulmarg

Situated in the Baramulla district of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, Gulmarg is a spectacular hill station that stands as an epitome of natural beauty and tranquillity. Nestled at an impressive altitude of 2,690 meters, this popular tourist destination is synonymous with picturesque landscapes, blooming gardens, and snow-laden mountains. Gulmarg, meaning ‘Meadow of Flowers’, rightfully lives up to its name, offering vibrant panoramic vistas in spring, when covered in a blanket of flowers, and in winter, when it transforms into a snowy paradise.

beautiful temple in the gulmarg valley
Source: Thread Reader

Renowned for having one of the world’s highest and Asia’s longest cable car projects, the Gulmarg Gondola, the town provides an unparalleled experience of rising through the foggy mists and floating over the meadows and forests to reach the snow-packed mountain peaks. It is also globally recognized as a hotspot for winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, and heli-skiing, attracting adventure enthusiasts from across the globe.

Gulmarg is also home to the world’s highest green golf course and the charming St Mary’s Church, contributing to its versatile appeal. Overall, Gulmarg captivates its visitors with its exceptional beauty, breathtaking views, and thrilling adventure activities, promising an unforgettable experience amid the grandeur of nature.

Ideal for

  • Winter sports enthusiasts, especially skiers and snowboarders.
  • Honeymooners and couples seeking romantic snowy landscapes.
  • Nature lovers and photographers.
  • Trekking aficionados during summer.

Best Clothing Items

  • Winter: Heavy woollens, thermal wear, insulated gloves, and waterproof boots.
  • Summer: Light woollens for evenings; breathable, comfortable attire for daytime.

Top Things to Do

  • Ride the Gulmarg Gondola, the highest cable car in the world.
  • Skiing and snowboarding in the winter months.
  • Visit the outer circle walk for panoramic views of the Himalayas.
  • Trek to Alpather Lake amidst picturesque settings.
  • Play golf at one of the highest golf courses in the world.

Best Time to Visit

  • December to February for winter sports and snowfall.
  • March to June for green meadows and comfortable weather.
  • Bakshi for local Kashmiri cuisine and Indian dishes.
  • Highland Park Restaurant offers a variety of cuisines with views.
  • Gulmarg Gondola Base Station for quick bites and snacks.
  • Cloves Restaurant for a fine dining experience.

Things to Remember

  • Pre-book your skiing or snowboarding gear and instructor if you’re a beginner.
  • Carry enough cash, as ATMs can be scarce, and connectivity issues may arise.
  • Be mindful of the complexities of Kashmir and adhere to any advisories issued.
  • Respect local customs and be eco-friendly.
  • If visiting in winter, ensure your accommodation has adequate heating facilities.

13. Spiti

Tucked away in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, India, lies the enchanting Spiti Valley – a cold desert mountain valley famed for its stark natural beauty, unique cultural heritage, and serene magic. Often referred to as the ‘Little Tibet’, Spiti, meaning ‘The Middle Land’, is nestled between India and Tibet and offers a beautiful blend of Indian and Tibetan cultures.

Located at an altitude of about 4,270 meters above sea level, Spiti is characterized by high-altitude barren landscapes, crystal clear rivers, deep ravines, and vast stretches of snow-clad mountains.

Spiti valley in lush green landscape
Source: Club Mahindra

Along with its stunning natural beauty, Spiti is noted for age-old monasteries such as Key and Tabo, which are significant centres of Buddhist culture and learning. This valley is among the least populated regions in India and is known for its homestays and warm local hospitality.

Overall, Spiti Valley offers an unspoilt and serene retreat unlike any other, wrapped in ancient culture, compelling spirituality, and the undulating beauty of raw nature.

Ideal for

  • Adventure seekers and trekkers.
  • Culture and history enthusiasts exploring monasteries.
  • Photographers looking for breathtaking landscapes.
  • Solo travellers and backpackers.

Best Clothing Items

  • Summer: Warm clothes (temperatures can drop anytime), comfortable trekking attire.
  • Winter: Heavy woollens, thermals, insulated gloves, and good quality snow boots.

Top Things to Do

  • Visit the Key Monastery and witness Monastic life.
  • Explore Tabo Monastery, one of the oldest monasteries in the world.
  • Trek to Dhankar Lake for astonishing views.
  • Enjoy the serene beauty of Chandratal Lake.
  • Spot wildlife at Pin Valley National Park.

Best Time to Visit

  • May to October, when the roads are clear and the weather is pleasant.
  • Sol CafĂ© in Kaza for a cosy environment and good coffee.
  • The Himalayan CafĂ© for local and multi-cuisine dishes.
  • Taste of Spiti at Kaza for authentic Spiti flavours.
  • Sakya Abode’s restaurant for Tibetan cuisine.

Things to Remember

  • Acclimatize to the high altitudes to avoid altitude sickness.
  • Carry cash as ATMs and card transactions can be unreliable.
  • Fuel stations are scarce; always refill whenever possible.
  • Respect the local culture and environment; Spiti is a sensitive ecological zone.
  • Road conditions can be tough; hiring a local driver experienced in navigating them is advisable.

14. Almora

Almora, nestled in the Kumaon region of India’s Uttarakhand state, is a captivating hill station praised for its rich cultural heritage, picturesque scenery, and serene ambience. Perched at an elevation of 1,638 meters above sea level, the town offers panoramic views of the Himalayas and a delightful abundance of flora and fauna. With cascading rivers, green valleys, terraced fields, and winding mountain roads adorned with pine, oak, and deodar trees, Almora promises a visual treat for nature enthusiasts.

This ancient town, shaped like a horseshoe, has a rich historical and cultural significance, evident in its beautifully crafted temples, such as Katarmal Sun Temple, Chitai Golu Devta Temple, Kasar Devi Temple, and the Nanda Devi Temple.

beautiful houses in the valley of almora, uttarakhand
Source: Holidify

Moreover, Almora serves as a gateway to several trekking and hiking routes, drawing adventure enthusiasts from all corners. Not just that, the Zero Point in the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, located at a close distance, offers magnificent views of the Himalayan peaks, making it a delightful destination for bird watchers and wildlife explorers.

In a nutshell, Almora offers a beautiful blend of panoramic views, rich heritage, and delightful experiences, making it a perfect escape for those seeking a peaceful retreat amidst the magnificence of nature.

Ideal for

  • Nature lovers and peace seekers.
  • Culture and history enthusiasts exploring temples.
  • Photographers looking for picturesque landscapes.
  • Families looking for a serene getaway.

Best Clothing Items

  • Summer: Light cotton clothes for the day, a light jacket for the cool evenings.
  • Winter: Warm clothing, thermal inners, jackets, caps, and gloves.

Top Things to Do

  • Visit the ancient Jageshwar Temple complex.
  • Explore the Chitai Golu Devta Temple known for its unique way of wish fulfilment.
  • Enjoy views of the sunset from Bright End Corner.
  • Shop for local handicrafts at the Lala Bazaar.
  • Take a walk through the Pine forest for a tranquil experience.

Best Time to Visit

  • March to November when the weather is pleasant and enjoyable.
  • Bansal Cafe for clean vegetarian food.
  • Cafe Kuku Chaiwala for cafe-style quick bites.
  • Gurunanak Bhojanalya for North Indian cuisine.
  • Simla Restaurant for Indian, Chinese, and Continental food options.

Things to Remember

  • Keep yourself hydrated; altitude sickness can be an issue.
  • Carry cash as ATMs and card transactions can be unreliable in remote areas.
  • Wear sturdy footwear suitable for hilly terrains.
  • Always respect the local culture and traditions.
  • Do not litter; help maintain the clean and green environment of Almora.

15. Nainital

Nestled among the Kumaon foothills of the outer Himalayas, Nainital is a charming hill station in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Known for its beautiful lakes, ancient temples, and mesmerizing surroundings, this town, situated at an altitude of 2,084 meters above sea level, offers a refreshing mix of nature’s wonder and architectural marvels.

The heart of Nainital’s appeal is undoubtedly the Naini Lake, a sparkling water body set against the backdrop of lush hills. It adds a unique charm to the town, with boating being the most popular activity for visitors. Naina Devi Temple, located near the Naini Lake, is a famous pilgrimage site dedicated to Goddess Sati.

Naini lake view from the mountain top
Source: Conde Nast Traveller India

The town’s stunning viewpoints, like Snow View Point and Tiffin Top, provide panoramic vistas of the snow-capped Himalayas. For those adventurous at heart, Nainital offers opportunities for trekking, horse riding and rock climbing. The bustling Mall Road, with its array of shops and eateries, is perfect for leisurely strolls and shopping. Nainital Zoo, another major attraction, houses several endangered species, intriguing wildlife enthusiasts and children alike.

Overall, with its natural charm, cultural significance, vibrant markets, and wide range of activities, Nainital is a perfect getaway destination where mountains, myth, and history confluence.

Ideal for

  • Couples and honeymooners seeking romantic backdrops.
  • Families looking for a fun and relaxing vacation.
  • Adventure enthusiasts interested in trekking and boating.
  • Bird watchers and nature lovers.

Best Clothing Items

  • Summer: Light cottons during the day, with a light jacket for cool evenings.
  • Winter: Heavy woollens, thermal wear, gloves, and caps to stay warm.

Top Things to Do

  • Enjoy a boat ride on Naini Lake.
  • Take the cable car to Snow View Point for panoramic views of the Himalayas.
  • Explore the Naina Devi Temple.
  • Visit the Nainital Zoo to see high-altitude animals.
  • Stroll along Mall Road for shopping and dining.

Best Time to Visit

  • March to June for pleasant weather and outdoor activities.
  • September to October for a less crowded experience with mild weather.
  • Sakley’s Restaurant & Pastry Shop for a variety of cuisines and desserts.
  • Sonam Fast Food for authentic Tibetan dishes.
  • Zooby’s Kitchen for delicious all-day breakfast.
  • CafĂ© Lakeside for its view and wide range of food items.

Things to Remember

  • Try to pre-book your accommodation and activities during peak season to avoid high prices and sold-out slots.
  • Carry ID proofs; some spots might require them for entry.
  • Be cautious when boating; always wear a life jacket.
  • Respect nature and local norms; avoid littering.
  • During monsoons, be prepared for occasional disruptions due to heavy rains.

16. Mukteshwar

Mukteshwar, a serene hill station situated in the Nainital district of the Indian state of Uttarakhand, is a place where tranquillity finds its essence amidst nature’s lap. Located at an altitude of about 2,285 meters above sea level, it offers breathtaking views of the imposing Himalayan range, including India’s second-highest peak, Nanda Devi. Derived from the name of the 350-year-old temple—Mukteshwar Dham, dedicated to Lord Shiva, this quaint town embodies spiritual calmness and natural splendour.

Renowned for its unspoiled beauty, charming orchards, and coniferous forests, Mukteshwar has become a repository of peace and rejuvenation for visitors. The town is also a favourite among adventure enthusiasts for offering activities such as rock climbing, rappelling, and trekking through its rugged terrains and forested paths.

Lush Green Valley in Mukteshwar
Source: Times of India

Furthermore, the Chauli ki Jali, located behind the Mukteshwar temple, is famed for its magnificent sunsets and panoramic views of the valleys and mountains, making it an ideal spot for photographers and nature lovers alike.

Mukteshwar thus emerges as a perfect retreat for those seeking spiritual comfort, adventure, or simply a quiet corner in the mountains to unwind and enjoy the beauty of the Himalayas.

Ideal for

  • Nature lovers and solitude seekers.
  • Hikers and adventure sports enthusiasts.
  • Spiritual travellers and temple visitors.
  • Families and couples seeking tranquillity.

Best Clothing Items

  • Summer: Comfortable casuals during the day; light woollens for cooler evenings.
  • Winter: Heavy woollens, jackets, thermal wear, and cold-weather accessories.

Top Things to Do

  • Visit Mukteshwar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva.
  • Take part in adventure activities like rock climbing and rappelling.
  • Witness the enchanting sunrise and sunset at various points.
  • Explore the dense forests and nature trails for bird watching.
  • Enjoy panoramic views of Himalayan ranges from the top of the mountain.

Best Time to Visit

  • March to June for clear skies and comfortable temperatures.
  • October to November for post-monsoon freshness and clear views of Himalayan peaks.
  • Chandi Mati CafĂ© for organic food and mountain views.
  • Nirvana Organic Kitchen for local Kumaoni cuisine.
  • CafĂ© Chandi Mati for its all-vegetarian fare and cozy ambiance.
  • Mukteshwar Dham Cafeteria for tea and snacks with a view.

Things to Remember

  • Pack sturdy shoes suited for hiking and uneven terrain.
  • Be prepared with a good sunscreen, as UV levels can be high.
  • Expect limited cellular connectivity; plan communications accordingly.
  • Always carry water and a first aid kit when trekking.
  • Respect local customs and the tranquil environment of the area.

17. Rishikesh

Rishikesh, set in the picturesque state of Uttarakhand, India, is a vibrant and spiritual town with a breathtaking backdrop of the Himalayas. Renowned as the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’, this ancient town draws spiritual seekers and yoga enthusiasts from across the globe to its serene ashrams and yoga institutes nestled along the banks of the sacred Ganges River. Rishikesh holds a profound spiritual significance, with its numerous temples, historic sites, and the famed evening Ganga Aarti at Triveni Ghat, creating an atmosphere of divine tranquillity.

Ganges river in Rishikeh, UttaraKhand
Source: Himalayan OutBack

Besides its spiritual allure, Rishikesh is a magnet for adventure lovers. It offers thrilling activities such as white-water rafting, camping, bungee jumping, and trekking in the surrounding Himalayan terrain. The iconic Lakshman Jhula and Ram Jhula suspension bridges span the Ganges, connecting various parts of the town and providing picturesque views of the river and surrounding hills.

Ideal for

  • Those seeking spirituality and peace.
  • Yoga enthusiasts and health-conscious travellers.
  • Adventure seekers interested in river rafting and camping.
  • Nature lovers and photographers.

Best Clothing Items

  • Summer: Light cotton clothes, hats, and sunglasses for sun protection.
  • Winter: Woolens, jackets, and caps for chilly temperatures.

Top Things to Do

  • Attend the evening Ganga Aarti on the banks of the river.
  • Experience peace and serenity at ashrams like Parmarth Niketan.
  • Try adventure sports like white-water rafting and bungee jumping.
  • Enroll in a Yoga course or retreat.
  • Explore Rajaji National Park or visit Neer Garh waterfall.

Best Time to Visit

  • September to November and February to June for pleasant weather, river rafting, and camping.
  • Avoid July and August due to heavy monsoons and risks during river rafting.
  • Little Buddha Cafe for panoramic views and varied cuisines.
  • Pure Soul – Organic CafĂ© and Kitchen for a farm-to-table experience.
  • Bistro Nirvana for its relaxed vibe and live music.
  • Ganga Beach Restaurant for Indian, Chinese, and Continental dishes.

Things to Remember

  • Dress properly, and avoid too revealing clothes as it is a spiritual place.
  • Consuming alcohol and non-vegetarian food is strictly prohibited in Rishikesh.
  • Respect religious customs and rituals.
  • Opt for insured and government-approved operators for adventure sports.
  • Keep the place clean, and do not litter.

Conclusion

And there you have it – my vibrant and varied list of the 17 best places to visit in summer in North India. Each place boasts unique charm and attractions- serene hill stations, lush valleys, magnificent temples, thrilling adventures, or rich cultural heritage – there is something for everyone!

As you’ve seen in this article, North India stands out with its cornucopia of travel destinations. So, whether you are a thrill-seeker, nature lover, peace-seeker, or culture enthusiast, these destinations surely cater to all your holiday moods.

So, the next time you plan a summer retreat, consider these ‘best places to visit in summer in North India’. Pack your bags and embark on the journey to create unforgettable memories. Travel, explore, enjoy, and share your unique experiences with us.

Safe travels, friends!

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FAQs

What makes Srinagar an excellent summer destination?

Srinagar, known for its stunning Dal Lake and Mughal gardens, offers a cool climate and scenic beauty that perfectly escapes the summer heat. Houseboat stays and Shikara rides are unique experiences that attract visitors.

Why is Ladakh a top choice for summer travellers?

Ladakh is a paradise for adventure enthusiasts and culture vultures. Its moon-like landscapes, high mountain passes, ancient monasteries, and the turquoise Pangong Tso Lake make it an otherworldly experience during the summer months.

What makes Kasol a must-visit in the summer?

Known as the Amsterdam of India, Kasol offers a picturesque setting on the banks of the Parvati River, with a mix of serene nature, trekking trails, and a vibrant cafe culture.

Why should I visit Mussoorie in the summer?

Mussoorie, the ‘Queen of Hill Stations’, boasts pleasant weather, enchanting waterfalls, and panoramic views of the Doon Valley, making it a popular summer retreat.

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