This list showcases India’s most beloved hill station destinations that TripAdvisor travellers love and want to travel to.
From the mighty Himalayan peaks to the breath-taking Nilgiris, hill stations in India make perfect holiday destinations all year round. TripAdvisor, recently unveiled the 2018 Top Hill Stations list based on the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for hotels, restaurants and experiences in the hill destinations across India, gathered over a 12-month period. This first ever destination ranking is based on reviews from millions of travellers in the last one year.
Said Nikhil Ganju, country manager, TripAdvisor India, “This list showcases India’s most beloved hill station destinations that TripAdvisor travellers love and want to travel to. These hill stations are great options for a getaway all throughout the year, whether to enjoy the rains during monsoon season, the snow during winters, to escape the heat in summers or to savour the spring. I am personally pleased to see Srinagar taking the top spot which only goes to show the appeal it holds for travellers as well as the immense potential for tourism that remains to be tapped. And aside from taking in all the beauty these places have to offer, there are also a number of experiences bookable on TripAdvisor that travellers consider to truly enjoy their trip.”
Key data trends
* Accommodation options at the hill stations range from luxury resorts to boutique hotels. Here’s a look at how the destinations fare on various star accommodations1 to aid travel planning for all types of travellers – luxury, mid-range and budget.
* Overall, Srinagar offers the most options for luxury and mid-range getaways. Manali offers the most options for budget.
* 5-star: Darjeeling is the most ‘expensive’ when it comes to luxury accommodations, followed by Gulmarg and Manali is the most ‘affordable’.
* 4-star: Chikmagalur is the most ‘expensive’ followed by Leh and Darjeeling. Manali is the ‘cheapest’ followed by Srinagar.
* 3-star: Mussoorie is the most ‘expensive’ followed by Leh. Srinagar is the most ‘affordable’ followed by Manali.
* 2-star: Leh is the most ‘expensive’ followed by Mussoorie and Manali is the ‘cheapest’ followed by Srinagar.
* Restaurants: When it comes to eating out, the findings show that Rishikesh offers the ‘maximum’ number of options for travellers followed by Manali. Srinagar and Gulmarg offer the ‘lowest’ number of options.
* Experiences: The adventure destination of India, Rishikesh, offers the ‘most’ options for travellers to indulge themselves in exciting experiences. Srinagar offers the ‘least’.
TOP FIVE HILL STATIONS
1. Srinagar, Kashmir
Do not miss the experience of staying at one of the magnificent houseboats as well as visiting the stunning mosques, the beautiful Mughal gardens and relishing the flavourful Wazwan – authentic Kashmiri cuisine which is a point of pride in the Kashmiri culture.
Popular restaurant: One can visit Shamyana Restaurant for some lip smacking Kashmiri cuisine or 14th Avenue Cafe Grill & Bakeshop for Italian and Indian dishes.
Popular experience: Dal Lake is hands down the most popular attraction in Srinagar where one can enjoy Shikara rides and visit the floating bazaar. Nishat Garden is another attraction one cannot miss.
2. Manali, Himachal Pradesh
With a predominantly cold weather throughout the year, it offers a range of activities from fishing, camping, heli-skiing to rock climbing, trekking and rafting for the travellers to indulge their adventurous side. One must not miss going to the ‘hippy’ Old Manali which is famous for its street-side cafes and restaurants.
Popular restaurant: Wood fired hand toasted pizza at Casa Bella Vista is a must try and when one is craving Chinese Chopsticks comes highly recommended.
Popular experience: Besides the various treks and adventure activities, one must definitely visit Manali’s most sacred religious site – the Hidimba Devi Temple while the hot springs at Manikaran is another popular attraction.
3. Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
Today, it is only the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’, with ashrams, yoga centres, wellness resorts and meditation classes but also a favourite destination for lovers of adventure sports. The city is also famously known to host ‘The Beatles’ back in 1968, where John Lennon recorded “The Happy Rishikesh Song”.
Popular restaurant – One can enjoy delicious Indian and Mexican cuisines with great ambience at Bistro Nirvana or relish some mouth-watering snacks at Little Buddha Cafe.
Popular experience – A visit to Rishikesh has to include river rafting but some of the other must visit places include: Ram Jhula to enjoy the beautiful views of river Ganga and The Beatles Ashram to admire the beautiful murals on the walls and of course to know the place where the music icons came in search for solace.
4. Leh, Jammu and Kashmir
Dotted with stupas and mudbrick houses, the Old Town is dominated by steep rocky ridge topped by an imposing Tibetan-style palace and fort. Beneath, the bustling bazaar area is draped with souvenir shops and a host of restaurants. The humbling monasteries of Shey, Hemis, Alchi, Thikse and Lamayuru nurtures one’s spiritual needs, and the landscape provides for a number of adventure activities including mountaineering, white-water rafting and trekking along the Markha Valley.
Popular restaurant: Soak in the views, lovely woodwork and dig into delicious food at Bon Appetit or visit The Tibetan Kitchen to savor some lip-smacking local cuisine.
Popular experience: Pangong Tso has to be on every traveller’s itinerary to experience serenity. Another must visit is the Thiksey Monastery that overlooks the Indus Valley providing stunning views.
5. Munnar, Kerala
Situated at 1,600 metres above sea level at the confluence of three mountain valleys – Mudrapuzha, Nallathani and Kundala, Munnar is known for its cascading mountain streams, cardamom hills, expansive tea plants, charming valleys, wooded and grass hills. Munnar is also known as the “Kashmir of South India” and served as the summer capital of the British in southern India.
Popular restaurant: Definitely visit Saravana Bhavan to savour local south Indian cuisine and Rapsy Restaurant for fresh juices and snacks.
Popular experience: Rajamalai (Eravikulam) National Park is a must visit attraction in Munnar with splendid views of tea gardens and waterfalls while Attukal Waterfalls is widely popular for trekking.