12 Most Beautiful Places in South India to Visit

by Saad Backup
Most Beautiful Places in South India
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Are you thinking about visiting South India this year? Here are some of the most beautiful places to visit in South India. These beautiful spots and places will leave you speechless.

South India is a tapestry of ancient temples, lush landscapes, and a coastline that stretches as far as the eye can see. If you’re yearning for a journey that’s as soul-stirring as it is Instagram-worthy, look no further. From the backwaters of Kerala to the misty hills of Ooty, this region is a treasure trove of experiences that promise to leave you spellbound.

Imagine waking up to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee in Coorg, only to spend your afternoon exploring the intricate carvings of Hampi’s ruins. As the sun sets, you could be cruising through the tranquil waters of Alleppey, a book in one hand and a cup of chai in the other. It’s not just a vacation; it’s a mosaic of moments that you’ll cherish forever.

But wait, there’s more! India isn’t just about the picture-perfect landscapes; it’s a culinary journey that will tantalize your taste buds. From the spicy Andhra biryanis to the subtle flavors of Chettinad cuisine, every meal is a celebration of spices and textures. And let’s not forget the art—the classical dances, the intricate handicrafts, and the timeless traditions that add a splash of color to this already vibrant canvas.

So, buckle up, my fellow travel enthusiasts! We’re about to embark on an unforgettable journey through the most beautiful places in South India. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a foodie, there’s something here for everyone. Ready to get started?

The most beautiful places in South India right now

The Most Beautiful Places to Visit in South India  

Eager to explore the most captivating spots in South India? Situated in the southern part of the Indian subcontinent, the region offers limitless possibilities. Dive deeper into this article to feast your eyes on South India’s visual treasures.

Whether you’re drawn to bustling cities and cultural marvels or you’re in the mood for a serene retreat in nature, South India has something for everyone. These are the essential destinations in South India that you’ll want to add to your travel bucket list.

1. Abbey Falls

A trip to Coorg is incomplete without witnessing the grandeur of Abbey Falls. Cascading from a height of 70 feet, the waterfall is a spectacle to behold. Surrounded by coffee plantations and spice estates, the aroma in the air adds a unique touch to the experience.

Most beautiful places in South India often boast natural wonders, and Abbey Falls is no exception. The roar of the falls can be heard from the main road, drawing you in like a siren’s call. A hanging bridge constructed just opposite the falls offers a panoramic view that’s nothing short of breathtaking.

Don’t forget to pack your camera; the misty veil of the falls against the backdrop of lush greenery offers a perfect shot. South India beauty is epitomized here, making it a must-visit for nature photographers and peace seekers alike.

Where to go in South India for an awe-inspiring natural spectacle? Abbey Falls should be at the top of your list. The best time to visit is during the monsoon season when the falls are at their most majestic. However, the site is captivating year-round, making it a versatile addition to any South India itinerary.

Serene landscape featuring Abbey Falls, one of the most beautiful places in South India
Serene landscape featuring Abbey Falls, one of the most beautiful places in South India

2. Andaman

Crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and a sense of tranquility that’s hard to match—welcome to Andaman. This archipelago is a slice of paradise, offering a blend of India’s rich history and nature’s grandeur.

Most beautiful places to visit in South India often include beaches, but Andaman takes it up a notch. The Radhanagar Beach, often touted as Asia’s best, is a spectacle of golden sands and azure waters. Snorkeling here reveals a world of colorful corals and exotic marine life.

South India destinations like Andaman also offer a rich history. The Cellular Jail, a colonial prison, serves as a grim reminder of India’s struggle for freedom. It’s a place that evokes both awe and reflection, making your trip multi-dimensional.

Adventure enthusiasts, listen up! Must see in South India includes the water sports in Andaman. From scuba diving to parasailing, the options are endless. Each activity offers a unique way to explore the stunning underwater world or get an adrenaline rush.

Serene beach in Andaman, offering a peaceful escape
Serene Beach in Andaman, offers a peaceful escape

3. Belum Caves

Step into a subterranean wonderland at Belum Caves, one of the largest and longest cave systems open to the public on the Indian subcontinent. The moment you descend into this underground marvel, you’ll realize why it’s among the most beautiful places of South India.

The caves are a labyrinth of intricate passages, chambers, and freshwater galleries. Stalactite and stalagmite formations adorn the interiors, creating a surreal, otherworldly environment. South India scenery doesn’t get more unique than this.

While the caves themselves are awe-inspiring, the journey to reach them is equally captivating. The surrounding landscape is dotted with ancient Buddhist settlements and remnants of prehistoric civilizations. Places to see in South India often offer a blend of nature and history, and Belum Caves is a shining example.

The caves also hold spiritual significance, with an underground chamber used for meditation by Buddhist monks centuries ago. It’s a place that invites you to pause and reflect, making it a best part of South India for those seeking both adventure and inner peace.

A captivating view of intricate rock formations inside the depths of Belum Caves, showcasing the beauty of nature's artwork
A captivating view of intricate rock formations inside the depths of Belum Caves, showcasing the beauty of nature’s artwork

4. GandiKota

GandiKota, often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of India,” is a spectacle of rocky terrain and wild beauty. The Pennar River cuts through the gorge, offering a dramatic landscape that’s a photographer’s dream. This is South India beauty at its rawest and most untamed.

Elevate your adventure with a trek to the ancient Gandikota Fort. The ruins tell tales of bygone eras, adding a layer of mystique to your visit. Most beautiful spots in South India often have historical landmarks, yet GandiKota offers a unique blend of natural and man-made wonders.

For the thrill-seekers among us, the area offers opportunities for kayaking and rock climbing. Each activity provides a new perspective on the stunning landscapes that make this one of the most scenic places in South India.

As the sun dips below the horizon, the gorge takes on a magical hue. The sky, painted in shades of orange and pink, reflects off the river, creating a scene that’s nothing short of poetic. If you’re pondering where to go in South India, GandiKota should be high on your list for its sheer visual drama and range of activities.

Discover the hidden wonders of Gandikota, where ancient history meets breathtaking landscapes
Discover the hidden wonders of Gandikota, where ancient history meets breathtaking landscapes

5. Hampi

Welcome to Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s a living museum of art, architecture, and history. The city’s ruins are a sprawling canvas of boulders, temples, and ancient market streets. It’s no wonder Hampi is considered among the most beautiful places in South India.

Start your exploration with the iconic Virupaksha Temple, a marvel of Dravidian architecture. The intricate carvings and towering gopurams are a sight to behold. Beautiful places in South India often come with a dash of spirituality, and Hampi is a prime example.

Next, head to the Lotus Mahal and the Elephant Stables, architectural wonders that showcase the ingenuity of the Vijayanagara Empire. These landmarks add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your Hampi experience. If you’re compiling a list of places to visit in South India, these spots are unmissable.

End your day with a Coracle ride on the Tungabhadra River. The circular boats offer a unique vantage point to appreciate the city’s rocky terrain and historic charm. South India destinations like Hampi provide a rich tapestry of experiences that cater to history buffs, adventure seekers, and spiritual travelers alike.

Historical ruins of Hampi, India, showcasing the intricate architecture and rich heritage
Historical ruins of Hampi, India, showcasing the intricate architecture and rich heritage

6. Kodaikanal

Affectionately dubbed the “Princess of Hill Stations,” Kodaikanal offers a sanctuary amid mist-covered peaks and verdant woodlands. At the heart of the town lies Kodaikanal Lake, a star-shaped aquatic gem ideal for both boating and tranquil strolls. In South India, this is a destination where serenity and natural beauty seamlessly blend, making it one of those pretty places you won’t want to miss.

The Pillar Rocks, three granite boulders standing shoulder to shoulder, offer panoramic views of the surrounding valleys. It’s a popular spot for both tourists and locals, making it a must see in South India. The viewpoint is especially magical during sunrise and sunset when the sky puts on a colorful display.

South India’s beautiful places often include markets and local bazaars, and Kodaikanal is no exception. The local markets are a treasure trove of homemade chocolates, organic produce, and handicrafts. Don’t leave without trying some locally sourced honey or picking up a handwoven shawl.

For those who love the great outdoors, Kodaikanal offers a range of trekking trails that take you through dense forests, cascading waterfalls, and meadows bursting with wildflowers. If you’re wondering where to go in South India for an all-encompassing experience, Kodaikanal ticks all the boxes.

A scenic view of Kodaikanal with mist-covered hills and vibrant greenery
A scenic view of Kodaikanal with mist-covered hills and vibrant greenery

7. Munnar

In Kerala’s hill station of Munnar, you’ll find a harmonious blend of undulating hills, misty mornings, and sprawling tea plantations. Each inhalation is invigorated by the scent of freshly plucked tea leaves. It epitomizes the essence of visiting South India, where you’re enveloped by the best that nature has to offer.

The Attukal Waterfalls are a sight to behold, especially during the monsoon season. The water cascades down rocky terrains, creating a mesmerizing spectacle. It’s one of the stunning locations in South India, offering a perfect backdrop for those memorable vacation photos.

The Eravikulam National Park is another highlight. Home to the endangered Nilgiri Tahr, the park is a biodiversity hotspot. The Neelakurinji flowers, which bloom once in 12 years, carpet the hills in a sea of blue. This is undoubtedly one of the prettiest places in South India, especially when the flowers are in full bloom.

Tea tasting is a must-do activity in Munnar. The local tea estates offer guided tours where you can learn about the tea-making process and sample different varieties. It’s a unique experience that adds a cultural layer to your trip, making Munnar a multifaceted destination that caters to a range of interests.

Scenic view of mist-covered hills and tea plantations in Munnar, a serene destination in South India
Scenic view of mist-covered hills and tea plantations in Munnar, a serene destination in South India

8. Om Beach

Om Beach, named for its unique shape that resembles the spiritual Om symbol, is a tranquil escape in the town of Gokarna. The beach is less crowded compared to other popular spots, offering a peaceful retreat for those looking to unwind. This is the essence of South India scenery, where the golden sands meet the azure waters in a harmonious blend.

Water sports enthusiasts will find plenty to do here. From jet skiing to banana boat rides, the options are abundant. Places to visit in South India often offer a mix of relaxation and adventure, and Om Beach is no exception.

As the sun sets, the beach transforms into a vibrant social hub. Beach shacks come alive with the sound of music, and the aroma of freshly grilled seafood fills the air. It’s one of those places to see in South India where you can experience the local culture in its most authentic form.

Yoga and meditation sessions are common on Om Beach, attracting those in search of spiritual rejuvenation. The beach serves as a natural sanctuary, making it a best part of South India for travelers seeking both physical and mental well-being.

A scenic view of Om Beach with calm waves gently kissing the sandy shore under a clear blue sky
A scenic view of Om Beach with calm waves gently kissing the sandy shore under a clear blue sky

9. Periyar National Park

A haven for aficionados of nature and wildlife, Periyar National Park sits in Kerala and is celebrated for its abundant elephants and the rare Bengal tiger. Navigating its sprawling grasslands and thick forests gives you a firsthand experience of the stunning locations that South India has to offer.

Boat rides on Periyar Lake offer a unique perspective of the park’s diverse ecosystems. As you glide through the water, keep an eye out for herds of elephants bathing by the shore and exotic birds flying overhead. This is one of those prettiest places in South India where every moment feels like a scene from a nature documentary.

Guided jungle treks are another highlight. These walks take you deep into the forest, offering a chance to spot various species of flora and fauna. It’s an adventure that makes visiting South India a thrilling experience, especially for those keen on wildlife photography.

The park also offers opportunities for bamboo rafting, providing a blend of adventure and serenity. As you float down the river, the sounds of the forest envelop you, creating an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in experiencing the natural wonders of South India.

 jungle path at Periyar National Park, surrounded by vibrant greenery
jungle path at Periyar National Park, surrounded by vibrant greenery

10. Pookode Lake

Pookode Lake, nestled in the hills of Wayanad, Kerala, is a freshwater lake with stunning natural beauty. The lake is surrounded by lush forests and rolling hills, making it a perfect spot for nature lovers and photographers. This is one of those must-visit places in South India where you can truly connect with nature.

Boating is a popular activity here, and it’s easy to see why. As you paddle through the calm waters, you’ll be treated to views of the surrounding hills and exotic birds that frequent the area. It’s a serene experience that showcases the South India beauty that this region is famous for.

The lake also has its unique shape, resembling the map of India. It’s a geographical marvel that adds an extra layer of intrigue to your visit. If you’re compiling a list of best places to visit in South India, Pookode Lake deserves a spot for its natural charm and unique features.

For those interested in local culture, the area around the lake is dotted with small shops selling handicrafts and spices. It’s a great place to pick up some souvenirs and sample local flavors, making your trip to Pookode Lake a well-rounded experience.

A serene view of Pookode Lake with trees reflecting in the calm waters
A serene view of Pookode Lake with trees reflecting in the calm waters

11. Skandagiri Hills

For those seeking an adrenaline-pumping trek, Skandagiri Hills near Bangalore are not to be overlooked. Particularly renowned for their moonlit and starry night treks, these hills are a must-visit South India destination for adventure seekers.

The trek leads you to an ancient temple at the summit. The panoramic views from the top are breathtaking, showcasing a sea of clouds below and a sky full of stars above. It’s in the list of the most scenic places in South India, particularly at dawn when the first rays of the sun light up the sky.

What sets Skandagiri Hills apart is its historical significance. The ruins of a fort at the summit tell tales of yesteryears, adding a layer of depth to your adventure. South India’s beautiful places often combine natural beauty with historical intrigue, and Skandagiri is no exception.

The hills are also a hotspot for birdwatching. The rich biodiversity attracts a variety of bird species, making it a rewarding experience for nature enthusiasts. If you’re wondering where to go in South India for a mix of adventure, history, and natural beauty, Skandagiri Hills ticks all the boxes.

Majestic cliffs and panoramic vistas at Skandagiri Hills, a retreat for those seeking tranquility
Majestic cliffs and panoramic vistas at Skandagiri Hills, a retreat for those seeking tranquility

12. St. Mary Island

St. Mary Island, off the coast of Udupi in Karnataka, is a geological marvel. The island is famous for its unique columnar basaltic rock formations, created by volcanic activity millions of years ago. It’s a must-see in South India for anyone interested in geology or natural wonders.

The island is accessible only by boat, making it an exclusive destination. As you approach, the crystal-clear waters and the unique rock formations come into view, promising an experience unlike any other. This is one of those stunning locations in South India that feels like a well-kept secret.

Once you set foot on the island, you’ll notice the absence of commercial establishments. It’s just you, the ocean, and the intriguing rock formations. This makes it one of the prettiest places in South India, perfect for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of mainland life.

The island also offers excellent opportunities for shell collection and bird-watching. The surrounding waters are rich in marine life, and you might even spot a dolphin if you’re lucky. St. Mary Island is a blend of natural beauty, tranquility, and scientific intrigue, making it a must-visit destination.

A scenic view of St. Mary Island with crystal-clear waters and golden sandy beaches under a clear blue sky
A scenic view of St. Mary Island with crystal-clear waters and golden sandy beaches under a clear blue sky

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Visiting the Beautiful Places in South India 

Curious about the scenic highlights of South India? I often receive these questions about the must-see attractions in the area.

Which is the most beautiful state in South India?

It’s challenging to pinpoint a single state as the “most beautiful” in South India, as each state offers its own unique attractions and experiences. Kerala, often referred to as “God’s Own Country,” is renowned for its backwaters and lush landscapes. Tamil Nadu boasts incredible temples and hill stations like Ooty. Karnataka offers a mix of beaches, hills, and historical sites, while Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are rich in natural and cultural heritage. Each state contributes to the South India beauty that captivates travelers.

Where can I enjoy in South India?

South India offers a plethora of options for enjoyment, depending on your interests. Beach lovers can head to places like Varkala in Kerala or Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu. For those interested in history and architecture, Hampi in Karnataka is a must-see in South India. Nature enthusiasts will find solace in the hill stations of Munnar or Coorg. Adventure seekers can explore the caves of Belum in Andhra Pradesh or go trekking in the Western Ghats.

What are the must-visit temples in South India?

South India is renowned for its rich temple architecture and spiritual heritage. Here are some must-visit temples in the region:

Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai: Known for its intricate carvings and grand architecture, this temple is a masterpiece of Dravidian style.

Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameswaram: Famous for its long corridors and elaborate pillars, this temple is one of the Char Dhams in Hinduism.

Sri Venkateswara Temple, Tirupati: One of the richest temples in the world, it draws millions of devotees annually.

Vitthala Temple, Hampi: Known for its musical pillars and the iconic stone chariot, this temple is a marvel of Vijayanagar architecture.

Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram: Famous for its wealth and the Anantha Padmanabha reclining idol, it’s one of the 108 Divya Desams.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam: One of the most important Vishnu temples. It’s known for its tower (gopuram) which is among the tallest in Asia.

Chennakesava Temple, Belur: A prime example of Hoysala architecture, this temple is known for its intricate sculptures and detailed carvings.

Virupaksha Temple, Hampi: One of the oldest functioning temples, it’s famous for its tall gopuram and the annual chariot festival.

Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur: A UNESCO World Heritage site, this temple is a marvel of Chola architecture and is famous for its massive Shiva Lingam.

Guruvayur Temple, Kerala: Dedicated to Lord Krishna, it’s one of the most important places of worship in Kerala and a center for elephant lovers.

Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple, Kanchipuram: Known for its pyramidal structure and intricate carvings, it’s one of the oldest temples in Tamil Nadu.

Jagannath Temple, Puri: Though not in South India, it’s worth mentioning for its annual Rath Yatra, which attracts millions of devotees.

Embracing the monsoon magic in South India, where dark clouds paint the sky, rivers weave through mountains, and nature whispers its timeless tales
Embracing the monsoon magic in South India, where dark clouds paint the sky, rivers weave through mountains, and nature whispers its timeless tales

Where are the best beaches located?

The best beaches in South India are scattered across various states, each offering a unique experience:

  • Goa: Known for its vibrant nightlife and water sports, beaches like Palolem, Anjuna, and Baga are must-visits.
  • Kerala: Varkala and Kovalam beaches are famous for their scenic beauty and are ideal for relaxation and Ayurvedic treatments.
  • Karnataka: Gokarna and Karwar offer pristine landscapes and are less crowded, making them perfect for those looking for solitude.
  • Tamil Nadu: Marina Beach in Chennai is one of the longest urban beaches, while Mahabalipuram is known for its rock-cut sculptures beside the sea.
  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands: Radhanagar and Elephant beaches are renowned for their crystal-clear waters and are perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving.
  • Pondicherry: The beaches here, like Promenade and Auroville, offer a blend of French culture and Indian traditions.
  • Lakshadweep: Known for its coral reefs, the beaches here are less commercialized and offer a peaceful retreat.
  • Odisha: Though not in South India, Puri Beach is worth mentioning for its religious significance and the annual Puri Beach Festival.
  • Maharashtra: Again, not in the South but worth mentioning, beaches like Juhu and Chowpatty in Mumbai are famous for their food stalls and buzzing atmosphere.
  • Andhra Pradesh: The Ramakrishna Beach in Visakhapatnam is known for its submarine museum and the Kailasagiri hilltop park.

What activities can I do in South India?

In South India, the range of activities you can indulge in is incredibly diverse, catering to all kinds of interests:

  • Water Sports: Places like Andaman and Goa offer a plethora of water activities like scuba diving, snorkeling, and jet-skiing.
  • Trekking: Destinations like Skandagiri Hills and Munnar provide excellent trekking opportunities, ranging from easy to challenging trails.
  • Wildlife Safari: Explore the rich biodiversity of regions like Periyar National Park and Bandipur National Park through jeep or elephant safaris.
  • Temple Tours: South India is known for its intricate temples. Visit places like Hampi, Madurai, and Mahabalipuram for a spiritual journey.
  • Backwater Cruises: Kerala’s backwaters are perfect for houseboat cruises, offering a unique way to explore the region’s natural beauty.
  • Tea Plantation Visits: Munnar and Ooty offer you the chance to walk through sprawling tea gardens and even participate in tea-making processes.
  • Beach Hopping: With a vast coastline, South India has numerous beautiful beaches. Relax, sunbathe, or even try your hand at fishing.
  • Cultural Experiences: Participate in traditional dance forms like Kathakali in Kerala or watch a classical Carnatic music performance in Chennai.
  • Culinary Tours: South Indian cuisine is more than just dosas and idlis. Take a culinary tour to explore the diverse food culture, especially in cities like Hyderabad and Bangalore.
  • Shopping: From high-end malls in Bangalore to local markets in Goa, shopping in South India is a treat. Look for silk sarees, spices, and handicrafts as souvenirs.
  • Historical Exploration: Places like Hampi and Mahabalipuram offer a deep dive into South India’s rich history through their ruins and ancient structures.
  • Spa and Wellness: Ayurvedic treatments in Kerala or yoga retreats in Auroville can provide a rejuvenating experience.

How safe is it to travel in South India?

South India is generally safe for travelers, including solo women travelers. However, it’s always advisable to take standard precautions, such as avoiding poorly lit areas at night and being cautious while using public transport. Safety contributes to the overall appeal of South India destinations.

Final Thoughts on Visiting Beautiful Places in South India     

South India is a region that defies simple descriptions. It’s a blend of natural wonders, ancient history, and vibrant cultures that come together to create an experience that’s as diverse as it is unforgettable. From the misty hills of Munnar to the sun-kissed beaches of Andaman, each destination offers its own unique allure. These aren’t just the most beautiful places in South India; they are gateways to experiences that enrich your soul and broaden your horizons.

The region beckons with opportunities for every type of traveler. Are you an adventure enthusiast? The trekking trails of Skandagiri Hills await you. Do you seek spiritual solace? The ancient temples in Tamil Nadu offer a peaceful retreat. Perhaps you’re a wildlife lover? The biodiversity of Periyar National Park is a dream come true. Each state in South India contributes to the region’s overall appeal, making it a must-see in South India for anyone who loves to explore.

But what truly sets South India apart is its people. Warm, welcoming, and rich in tradition, the local communities add an extra layer of charm to your journey. Whether it’s the fisherman in Kerala who shares tales of the sea or the tea seller in Munnar who serves you the perfect cup, these interactions turn your trip into a story worth sharing.

So, if you’re planning a trip to India, let this guide serve as your comprehensive roadmap. Each destination covered here offers a unique slice of what makes South India special. Your journey through this enchanting region won’t just fill your camera roll with stunning pictures; it will fill your heart with stories and experiences that last a lifetime.

The most beautiful places in South India for all types of travelers
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