Kashmir, the crown jewel of India, is a land of mesmerizing beauty that beckons travelers with its snow-capped peaks, verdant valleys, and serene lakes. This land of unbridled natural beauty is a paradise on earth, with something to offer for every type of traveler. Whether you are an adventure enthusiast or a nature lover, a history buff, or a spiritual seeker, there is no dearth of places to visit in Kashmir. From the charming town of Srinagar to the scenic hill station of Gulmarg, from the breathtakingly beautiful Sonamarg to the idyllic Aru Valley, Kashmir has something for everyone. In this guide, we will take you through the best places to visit in Kashmir, their top attractions, and how to reach them, so that you can plan a memorable trip to this heavenly land.
List of 15 Best Places to Visit in Kashmir
Srinagar, the soul of Kashmir Valley, is a popular holiday destination with breathtaking natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.
The best time to visit Srinagar: from March to October when the weather is pleasant and the flowers are in full bloom.
Things to do in Srinagar: such as taking a Shikara ride on the serene Dal Lake, visit the Mughal Gardens like Nishat Bagh and Shalimar Bagh, explore the old city and its markets, and experience the local cuisine. You can also take a trek to nearby places like Gulmarg, Pahalgam, and Sonamarg.
To reach Srinagar: by air, as the city has its international airport, Sheikh-ul-Alam International Airport. You can also reach Srinagar by road, as the city is well-connected to major cities in North India.
Places to stay in Srinagar: ranging from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxury hotels. Some popular options include The Lalit Grand Palace, Vivanta Dal View, and The Four Points by Sheraton. It is recommended to book your stay in advance, especially during peak season.
Overall, Srinagar is a must-visit destination in India for nature lovers and those seeking tranquility in the lap of the Himalayas.
Gulmarg is a small paradise in Kashmir that offers breathtaking views of the snow-capped mountains and lush green meadows. It is a winter wonderland that provides a perfect destination for skiing, snowboarding, and other snow activities. However, in summer, the place transforms into a dreamy world with lush green meadows, rolling hills, and tranquil streams. The Gondola ride to reach Gulmarg is an experience in itself as it passes through the misty hills and valleys, providing stunning views. Gulmarg is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kashmir that attracts from all around the world.
Best Time To Visit: The best time to visit Gulmarg is during the summer season from April to June and in winter from November to February for snow sports.
Things To Do: Some of the activities, you can enjoy in Gulmarg are skiing, snowboarding, a Gondola ride, trekking, golfing, and visiting the famous Alpather Lake.
How To Reach: The nearest airport is Srinagar Airport, and from there, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Gulmarg. The nearest railway station is Jammu Tawi, and it is well connected to all the major cities of India. You can also take a bus or taxi from Srinagar or Jammu to reach Gulmarg.
Places To Stay: Gulmarg has a range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to budget guesthouses. Some of the popular places to stay in Gulmarg are The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa, Hotel Highlands Park, Heevan Retreat Gulmarg, and Hotel Hilltop.
Pahalgam, a picturesque town located in the Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir, is a perfect place to escape the hustle-bustle of city life and rejuvenate yourself.
Things to do in Pahalgam: trekking, horse riding, and fishing. The town is also known for its scenic beauty and offers some of the best views of the Himalayas. You can take a stroll through the pine forests or have a picnic by the riverbank.
To reach Pahalgam: The nearest airport is Srinagar International Airport, which is around 90 km away. You can also reach Pahalgam by road from Srinagar, which takes around 2 to 3 hours.
Places to stay in Pahalgam: ranging from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxurious resorts. Some popular options include Pahalgam Hotel, Hotel Heevan, and Woodstock Hotel. Make sure to book in advance, especially during peak tourist season.
Sonamarg, also known as the “meadow of gold,” is a picturesque hill station in Kashmir that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding Himalayan peaks. Here are some details about visiting Sonamarg:
Best Time To Visit: The best time to visit Sonamarg is from May to September when the weather is pleasant and ideal for outdoor activities.
Things To Do: There are several activities to enjoy in Sonamarg, including trekking, camping, horse riding, and fishing. One of the most popular attractions is the Thajiwas Glacier, which can be reached by a short trek from the town. The Sindh River is also a great place to go for a stroll or picnic.
How To Reach:
By Air: The nearest airport to Sonamarg is the Srinagar International Airport, which is about 70 km away. From there, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to Sonamarg.
By Bus: Sonamarg is well-connected by road to Srinagar, which is about 80 km away. Buses and taxis are available from Srinagar to Sonamarg.
Places To Stay: There are several hotels, resorts, and guesthouses in Sonamarg that cater to different budgets and preferences. Some of the popular options include Hotel Glacier Heights, Hotel Snowland, and Hotel Rah Villas. It is advisable to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak tourist season.
Pulwama is a panoramic village in Jammu and Kashmir popularly known as the “Rice Bowl of Kashmir”. Located around 40 km from Srinagar, it is a must-visit place for nature lovers and first-time travelers to the region. The village is surrounded by verdant forests, snow-capped mountains, and vast stretches of saffron fields that lend it a unique charm.
Visitors to Pulwama can enjoy a pleasant climate and explore many tourist attractions in and around the village. The locals are warm and friendly, and the aroma of saffron fields adds to the overall appeal of the place. Pulwama is an excellent destination for those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and experience the simple pleasures of nature.
Some popular tourist attractions in Pulwama include the Avantishwar Temple, Tral, and the Tarsar and Marsar Lakes. Visitors can also go on nature walks, trekking expeditions, and bird-watching tours to explore the region’s natural beauty. The village also hosts several fairs and festivals throughout the year that provide a glimpse into the local culture and traditions.
Best Time To Visit: Pulwama can be visited throughout the year, but the best time to visit is from April to October when the weather is pleasant.
Things To Do: Pulwama is known for its scenic beauty and offers various outdoor activities like trekking, hiking, and camping. Some of the popular tourist sites to visit are the Aharbal Waterfall, Shikargarh Wildlife Sanctuary, Tarsar Lake, and the saffron fields.
How To Reach: The nearest airport is Srinagar International Airport, which is about 36 km away from Pulwama. The nearest railway station is Jammu Tawi Railway Station, which is about 254 km away. One can also reach Pulwama by road as it is well-connected to major cities in Jammu and Kashmir.
By Air: The nearest airport is Srinagar International Airport, which is about 36 km away from Pulwama.
By Bus: Pulwama is well-connected by road to major cities in Jammu and Kashmir. Regular bus services are available from Srinagar and other nearby towns.
Places To Stay: Pulwama offers a variety of accommodation options like budget hotels, guesthouses, and homestays. Some of the popular places to stay in Pulwama are Hotel Pine Spring, Hotel Zahgeer Continental, and Hotel Poshwan.
Overall, Pulwama is a great place to visit in Kashmir for those seeking a relaxing and rejuvenating vacation amidst pristine natural beauty.
6. Wular Lake – For Nature Photography Enthusiast
Wular Lake is a gem of a tourist spot located in the beautiful state of Jammu and Kashmir. Situated at a distance of 65 km from Srinagar, the lake is fed by the river Sutlej and is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia. The serene beauty of this lake is simply breathtaking, and it is no wonder that it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the region.
Nature lovers and photography enthusiasts alike will find Wular Lake to be a perfect place to visit. The lake offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape, which is simply awe-inspiring. Visitors can sail across the lake on a shikara or a boat, and take in the beautiful scenery as they do so. The lake is also one of the 26 wetlands of India, making it an important ecological site and a great place to observe a variety of birds and other wildlife.
While the lake is not suitable for swimming, visitors can still enjoy a relaxing retreat by its shores. The nearby attractions of Jamia Masjid, Manasbal, and Kheer Bhawani Temple are also popular among tourists, and a visit to Wular Lake can be easily combined with a visit to these places.
Best time to visit: The best time to visit Wular Lake is during the summer months from April to September when the weather is pleasant and the lake is calm.
Things to do: Apart from boating and relaxing, visitors can enjoy birdwatching, nature photography, and fishing in the lake. The lake is home to various species of birds such as herons, cormorants, and ducks. Visitors can also take a tour of the nearby Manasbal Lake, which is another popular attraction in the area.
How to reach: Wular Lake is located at a distance of 65 km from Srinagar and can be reached by road. Visitors can hire a taxi or take a bus from Srinagar to reach the lake.
By air: The nearest airport is Srinagar International Airport, which is located 48 km away from the lake. From the airport, visitors can hire a taxi to reach the lake.
By bus: Buses and taxis are available from Srinagar to Bandipora, which is the nearest town to Wular Lake. From there, visitors can hire a taxi to reach the lake.
Places to stay: There are several accommodation options available near Wular Lake, including hotels, guesthouses, and resorts. Visitors can choose from budget to luxury accommodations based on their preferences and budget. Some popular options include The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa, WelcomHotel Pine-n-Peak, and Wangnoo Sheraton Houseboats.
In summary, Wular Lake is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the natural beauty of Jammu and Kashmir. With its stunning views, serene atmosphere, and abundance of wildlife, it is truly a photographer’s paradise and a nature lover’s dream come true.
7. Doda – Mini Kashmir
Doda, situated in the Indian Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, is a land of breathtaking natural beauty and thrilling adventure activities. The town is surrounded by towering mountains, verdant valleys, cascading waterfalls, and pristine lakes that make it a perfect getaway for nature lovers. Doda is a hidden gem that offers tourists a unique experience away from the hustle and bustle of popular tourist destinations.
In addition to its natural beauty, Doda is known for its two popular Hindu shrines, Athra Devi Temple and Chandi Mata Temple. These ancient temples attract thousands of devotees every year who come to seek blessings and offer prayers.
Doda is a lesser-known destination that promises a memorable experience to all those who visit. The town offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, adventure activities, and spiritual tourism, making it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking unique experiences.
Best Time To Visit: In Summer
Things To Do: For adventure enthusiasts, Doda offers an array of activities such as trekking, mountaineering, rock climbing, and river rafting. The challenging terrain of Doda provides a perfect setting for adventure activities that cater to both beginners and experts.
How To Reach:
By Air: Take a flight to Srinagar airport and then hire a cab to Doda.
By Train: Udhampur is the nearest railway station.
Places To Stay: Sarain Darbar Lodge, Hotel Doda Darbar, MK HOLIDAY INN BHADERWAH
8. Kathua – Lesser-Known Gem
Kathua, also known as the “city of Sufis”, is a place that represents the rich cultural heritage of Jammu and Kashmir. The city is located on the banks of the river Ravi and shares its southern borders with Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. The city has a plethora of Sufi shrines that add to its spiritual charm.
For history buffs, Kathua is a must-visit place in Kashmir as it has a rich history dating back to ancient times. The city has witnessed the reign of several rulers including the Mughals and the Dogras, and has many historical sites that provide a glimpse of Kashmir’s past.
Apart from its historical significance, Kathua is also known for its scenic beauty and serene atmosphere. The river Ravi flowing through the city offers picturesque views that are sure to leave travelers spellbound. Kathua also serves as a gateway to Jammu and Kashmir and has a significant army presence.
Overall, Kathua is a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty that makes it one of the top places to visit in Kashmir.
Best Time To Visit: The best time to visit Kathua is during the summer season. Jasrota Fort is a popular tourist attraction in Kathua and is a must-visit for history lovers.
Things To Do: Picnicking at the Ujh Barrage is another enjoyable activity to do in Kathua. To reach Kathua, one can take a flight to Jammu Airport and hire a cab or take a bus or train to the Kathua Railway Station.
Places To Stay: There are various accommodation options in Kathua as Coral River Resort, Hotel Orchard Green, Hotel Unite, Sai Guest House, and Hotel Jewel Premium.
9. Betab Valley
Betaab Valley is a hidden gem in Kashmir that offers a tranquil environment for visitors to enjoy. Surrounded by lush green pastures, snow-capped mountains, and soothing streams, this valley is a must-visit destination for those seeking a connection with nature. Couples can cherish some romantic moments in the secluded and serene atmosphere of the valley. Besides, it is also a popular base for trekking and camping activities, making it an ideal destination for adventure enthusiasts. The valley also serves as a starting point for the holy Amarnath Yatra pilgrimage. The best time to visit Betaab Valley is during the summer months when the weather is pleasant and favorable for outdoor activities. Visitors can stay at nearby hotels or camping sites to fully experience the valley’s natural beauty.
Best Time To Visit: The best time to visit Betaab Valley is from May to September.
Things To Do: Visitors can enjoy nature walks, horse riding, trekking, camping, and photography in Betaab Valley. It is also a popular spot for romantic getaways, with scenic picnic spots and breathtaking views.
How To Reach: The nearest airport is in Srinagar, about 84 km away from Betaab Valley. Visitors can also take a bus or hire a taxi from Srinagar to reach the valley. The closest railway station is in Jammu, which is about 300 km away.
By Air: Visitors can take a flight to Srinagar Airport and then hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Betaab Valley.
By Bus: Buses are available from Srinagar, Pahalgam, and other nearby cities to reach Betaab Valley.
Places To Stay: Visitors can choose from a variety of accommodations in and around Betaab Valley, including hotels, resorts, and guesthouses. Some popular options include Pahalgam Hotel and Retreat, Hotel Pine Spring Pahalgam, and Hotel Heevan Pahalgam.
10. Hemis – The Famous Snow Leopard Capital
Hemis, a small village located in the southeastern region of Leh in Jammu and Kashmir, is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. This offbeat destination is known for its natural beauty, magnificent monasteries, and national park. Hemis Monastery, the largest and wealthiest monastery in Ladakh, is a popular attraction that draws tourists from all over the world. The monastery is home to a vast collection of ancient relics, thangkas, and other valuable artifacts. Hemis National Park, another popular attraction in the region, is a must-visit for wildlife enthusiasts. The park is home to rare and endangered species like the snow leopard, Asiatic ibex, and Bharal. Summer is the best time to visit Hemis if you want to explore the park’s wildlife and natural beauty. So if you’re looking for an unexplored destination in Kashmir, Hemis should be on your list.
The best time to visit Hemis: is from May to July when the weather is pleasant, and the national park is open for visitors. During this time, you can spot rare species like the snow leopard and Bharals, which find shelter in the Hemis National Park.
One of the top things to do in Hemis: is to visit the Hemis Monastery, which is one of the largest and wealthiest monasteries in Ladakh. The monastery houses a stunning collection of Buddhist art and is home to an impressive statue of Guru Rinpoche.
Another must-visit attraction in Hemis is the Hemis National Park, which is the largest national park in South Asia. It is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including the snow leopard, Tibetan wolf, Himalayan brown bear, and many bird species.
To reach Hemis: you can take a flight to Leh Airport, which is the nearest airport. From there, you can hire a cab to Hemis. Alternatively, you can take a bus to Leh and then hire a taxi to Hemis. The nearest railway station is Jammu, which is well-connected to major cities in India. From Jammu, you can take a taxi or bus to Hemis.
When visiting Hemis, it is recommended to carry warm clothes as the temperature can drop at night, even during the summer months.
Doodhpathri, also known as the Valley of Milk, is a unique and beautiful holiday destination in Kashmir Valley. Legend has it that the famous Kashmiri saint Sheikh Noor din Noorani prayed here and found milk instead of water, which gave the valley its name. Doodhpathri is surrounded by pine, fir, and deodar forests, natural meadows, and flowery landscapes that attract many tourists every year.
Best Time To Visit: The best time to visit Doodhpathri is from May to September when the weather is pleasant and the flowers are in full bloom.
Things To Do: Visitors can take a leisurely walk through the meadows, have a picnic with family and friends, or trek to the nearby hills. The beauty of this place is sure to mesmerize everyone.
How To Reach:
By Air: The nearest airport is the Srinagar International Airport, which is about 50 km away from Doodhpathri. From there, you can hire a cab or take a bus to reach the valley.
By Bus: Regular bus services are available from Srinagar to Doodhpathri.
Places To Stay: There are a few guesthouses and budget hotels in Doodhpathri, such as Alpine Huts and Doodhpathri Resorts. Alternatively, visitors can stay in Srinagar and take a day trip to Doodhpathri.
Yusmarg is a charming destination located in the heart of Kashmir Valley. Surrounded by lush green meadows, serene waterfalls, and snow-capped mountains, Yusmarg is an ideal place for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. The Doodh Ganga River flows through the meadows, making it an even more scenic spot.
Best Time To Visit: April to October
Things To Do: Take a nature walk through the meadows, go trekking to Kuti Tata and Sang-e-Safed Peaks, enjoy skiing in winter, have a picnic at Nilang Lake, and visit the local Sufi shrines.
How To Reach:
By Air: The nearest airport is Srinagar Airport, which is about 47 km away. You can hire a taxi or take a bus from the airport to reach Yusmarg.
By Bus: There are regular buses that run from Srinagar to Yusmarg.
By Car: You can also hire a taxi from Srinagar to reach Yusmarg.
Places To Stay: There are several accommodation options available in Yusmarg, including hotels, guest houses, and campsites. Some popular options include Hotel Pine Spring, Nedous Hotel Yusmarg, and Yusmarg Eco Camp.
13. Nigeen Lake – Enjoy A Shikara Ride
Nigeen Lake is a popular tourist destination in Srinagar, Kashmir. It is located at a distance of 7 kilometers from the city center and is easily accessible by road. The lake is surrounded by lush greenery and offers a serene ambiance for tourists to relax and rejuvenate.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Nigeen Lake is during the summer months from April to September when the weather is pleasant.
Things to Do: The most popular activity to enjoy at Nigeen Lake is a shikara ride, which is a traditional boat ride that takes you around the lake. You can also enjoy a stay at the houseboats available here, which offer a unique experience. Additionally, you can visit nearby attractions like Hazratbal Mosque, Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden, Jama Masjid, and Pari Mahal.
How to Reach: The nearest airport is Srinagar International Airport, which is located approximately 20 kilometers away from Nigeen Lake. You can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach the lake. The Srinagar bus stand is located at a distance of 6 kilometers from the lake.
Places to Stay: There are many options for accommodation near Nigeen Lake. Some of the popular options include Trump Houseboats, Fantasia Houseboats, Hotel Der-Es-Salam, Royal Badyari Houseboats, and Shabrose Houseboats. These houseboats offer a comfortable and unique stay experience on the lake.
14. Kishtwar – Animal Lover's Paradise
Kishtwar is a scenic destination located in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, known for its natural beauty and abundant wildlife. Often referred to as the ‘Animal Lover’s Paradise,’ Kishtwar is home to several rare and endangered species, including the Kashmir stag, Himalayan black bear, and snow leopard.
Kishtwar is a must-visit destination for animal lovers, nature enthusiasts, and anyone looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of city life. Its natural beauty, rich wildlife, and cultural heritage make it a unique and unforgettable destination.
Apart from its natural beauty and wildlife, Kishtwar is also known for its rich cultural heritage. The town has a long and fascinating history, and its culture and traditions are still preserved by its people.
15. Sinthan Top
Sinthan Top, located in South Kashmir, is a mesmerizing destination to explore during your holiday in Kashmir. It is a mountain top that lies between Breng Valley and Kishtwar and offers breathtaking panoramic views of the entire Jammu and Kashmir. Sinthan Top is covered in snow throughout the year, providing an opportunity to experience snow even in the summer months.
The Sinthan Maidan in Sinthan Top is a great place to visit with your family for a vacation in Kashmir as it offers various activities like paragliding and horse riding. Adventure enthusiasts can indulge in trekking, skiing, and mountaineering for an adrenaline rush.
Best Time To Visit: The best time to visit Sinthan Top is during the summer months from May to September.
Things To Do: Paragliding, horse-riding, trekking, skiing, and mountaineering are some of the activities you can enjoy at Sinthan Top.
How To Reach: The nearest airport to Sinthan Top is Srinagar Airport, and the nearest railway station is Udhampur Railway Station. You can hire a taxi from either of these places to reach Sinthan Top. It is also well-connected by road, and you can take a bus or taxi from Srinagar, Jammu, or Kishtwar.
Places To Stay: Some of the popular places to stay near Sinthan Top include the Royal Hilton, Hotel Alps, Hotel Alpine Resort, Hotel Snowland, and Hotel Pine Spring.
Kashmir is a paradise on earth, and its picturesque beauty is unmatchable. The serene lakes, lush green meadows, snow-capped mountains, and diverse flora and fauna make it a perfect destination for nature lovers. From Srinagar to Pahalgam, Gulmarg to Sonamarg, there are many breathtakingly beautiful places to visit in Kashmir.
In Srinagar, the Dal Lake and Mughal Gardens are must-visit attractions. Pahalgam is famous for its scenic beauty, trekking trails, and the famous Amarnath Yatra. Gulmarg is a paradise for adventure enthusiasts with its skiing, snowboarding, and golfing activities. Sonamarg is known for its alpine meadows, trekking, and river rafting.
Offbeat destinations like Yusmarg, Nigeen Lake, Kishtwar, and Sinthan Top offer a peaceful getaway for nature and adventure enthusiasts.
Overall, Kashmir is a destination that should be on everyone’s travel bucket list, and one should plan to visit it at least once in their lifetime.
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