1. Dehradun (March to June is the best time to visit)
With Missouri’s mountains as the backdrop, Uttarakhand’s capital city Dehradun is known for its charming attractions and vivaciousness that keeps the number of tourists to this state steady.
Must visit places: For wildlife lovers, the Rajaji National Park is the ideal place for some animal or bird watching, and is a treasure trove when it comes to photography ops. However, you can get the same experience (to some extent) on a smaller level at Malsi deer park. Robber’s cave and Tapkeshwar Temple are also highly recommended besides the beautiful Forest Research Institute.
Things to do: The Garhwali food is a must; there are a couple of restaurants in the local market that you can try. The local markets also offer a shopping haven where you can buy anything from handlooms to jams, woolens, and clothes.
2. Mussoorie (April to June is the best time to visit this marvel)
Located 35 kilometers from the city of Dehradun, Mussoorie hill station is popular as the ‘Queen of the hills’ in India. The drive from Dehradun to Mussoorie is spell bounding, no wonder almost every traveler chooses to drive between the two destinations instead of using public transport!
Must visit the places: Mussoorie lake, Kempty Falls, Lal Tibba, and Camel’s back road are some of the best attractions in Mussoorie. If you would like to take a few road trips, the trip to Auli and Dhanaulti come highly recommended.
Things to do: If a walk through the local markets is not enough and you would like to try some hiking, Jabarkhet Wildlife Reserve is a great place for that. For adventures like zip lining, you can visit Ikya adventure park and places like Snow adventure zone.
3. Nainital (Best time to visit: March to June)
Part of Uttarakhand’s top attractions, Nainital sits amidst the mountains and the stupefying Naini Lake from which it gets its name. This sweet hill-station has everything to charm you (from the tip of your hair to your toes!!).
Must visit places: Boating in Naini Lake is a must, and the view of the Lake from some height is the ultimate must-cash photo op. You can catch some more panoramic views at Tfin top – the place also offers horse trekking!
Things to do: Nainital’ Tibetan market, Mall road, and Bara Bazaar are some of the best shopping destinations, where you can buy anything from woolens to fresh fruits like peaches and Mulberries.
4. Rishikesh (Best time to visit August to October)
Rishikesh, the city of Spirituality, has a serene aura, and on every turn it makes you believe that if there is a place where you can experience the great power of almighty at play, it is definitely Rishikesh! Seated on the banks of River Ganga, this city is famous for an area known as Swarg ashram, which is alcohol-free, non-veg-free & traffic free enclave.
Must visit places: Beatles’ Ashram is definitely one of the lesser known gems of Rishikesh – a really interesting place, something that will allow you to have a closer look at the life of the icons who spend a great deal of time in this beautiful city. Other must-visits are the Ram and Lakshman Jhula – which are more or less the face of Rishikesh.
Things to do: White water rafting, diving, Bungee Jumping, Zip lining, Rappelling, cliff jumping and waterfall trekking are some of the activities that you can pursue in Rishikesh.
5. Haridwar (Best time to visit: August to October)
A place of great importance, Haridwar is the center of spirituality in India, a place which is known as the abode of Hari – God Vishnu. Seated on Himalayan foothills, the place has plenty of ghats and temples filled with worshippers & home to festivals like Kanwar Mela.
Must visit places: Sprinkled with divinity, the land of Haridwar is famous for its temples. Har Ki Pauri, Haridwar, Mata Mansa Devi Temple, Rajaji National Park & Chandi Devi Temple are some of its must-visit attractions.
Things to do: A dip in the Ganges’ holy water, photography & bird watching tours or shopping at some of its most popular local markets, like Amar market, Haridwar surprises you with the things it has on offer.
6. Jim Corbett National Park (Best time to visit: Summers)
Famous for Bengal Tigers, Jim Corbett National Park is a wildlife sanctuary. It has more than 400 different kinds of trees and is home to more than 500 species of birds. Besides Bengali tigers, other animals also roam this place, like leopards and wild elephants.
Must visit places: Jhirna, Garjiya Devi Temple, Sitabani Wildlife Reserve & Bijrani Zone Corbett National Park are some of the highlights that majority of travelers recommend.
Things to do: Safari is a must! Fishing, river rafting, rock climbing, mountain biking and trekking are some of the other activities that you can enjoy at Jim Corbett National Park.
7. Ranikhet (Best time to visit: September to November)
Uttarakhand’s another top hill station, Ranikhet is most popular for its mesmerizing views and temples. Though it is a small village, it has a lot to offer, especially the stone buildings from the British era that add a certain charm to it – and keeps you asking for more.
Must visit places: As already stated, the building from the Era of the British rule are a must- visit. Besides that Mankameshwar Temple, Jhula Devi Temple, Bhalu Dam, Haidakhan Babaji Temple and Golf Ground Ranikhet are some of its other noted attractions.
Things to do: Trekking is a popular ‘activity’ here – it will definitely refresh you to the core. If you are visiting with family, you can have some great time at Ashiana Park.
Known as the residing place of Gods, Chamoli district is Uttarakhand’ second-largest district. Famous for its temples and captivating Garhwali traditions, Chamoli is also remembered as the epicenter of ‘Chipko’ movement.
Must visit places: Valley of Flowers National Park, Badrinath, Joshimath, and Nanda Devi National Park are some the places that you must add to your itinerary for a memorable trip.
Things to do: Cable car ride and Winter ski resort are the popular activity destinations in Chamoli. Trekking is also another thing that many people enjoy.
9. Lansdowne (July to September is the best time to visit)
Founded by British viceroy, the cantonment town of Lansdowne is not only beautiful, but is also counted among the best places to experience nature at its best!
Must visit places: Gharwali Museum is a great place to know more about the Indian army – it houses the collection of uniforms, rifles, rare photographs & other things that speak of our army’s history. Other notable must-visits are Bhulla Tal, Garhwali Mess & St. Mary’s Church.
Things to do: Lake Bhulla offers great boat rides and since Lansdowne is close to Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary, there are many Bird Watching opportunities that you can cash here. Jungle Safari from Lans Castle, trekking and camping are also popular.