Shimla to Manali by Road – Distance, Time and Useful Travel Information

No matter who you are, whether a quiet solo traveler, a group of thrill-seekers, a romantic couple, or a fun-loving family, Manali has something for everyone. You can explore Manali as an exclusive destination or also combine it as a part of your mountain vacation across Shimla-Kullu-Manali. The closest city being Shimla, it becomes easier to travel from the state capital and also makes it an interesting journey.

Table of Contents

Why travel from Shimla to Manali?

Shimla to Manali by Road

Traveling from Shimla to Manali is certainly one of the most popular routes for a road trip in the country. The Himalayan town of Manali is not only a popular travel destination in the hills, but a melting pot of cultures. Add the picturesque mountain views to it, and you have the perfect place to spend a few days unwinding in the lap of nature.

When you book a cab with Savaari, you can customize your trip as per your time availability, tour itinerary, and preference of route. After all, a road trip should be experiential and with us, you can turn a simple ride into an exciting experience. 

Traveling from Shimla to Manali by car

From mountain locale to another, a Manali trip from Shimla by car is the best way to travel and makes the experience wonderful. It is also a popular route in the state for road trips.

When you book Shimla to Manali trip packages from Savaari, you can certainly have a great time driving down the serpentine highways, flanked by pine forests, hilly hamlets, and picture-perfect views of the great Himalayas. And thus your Manali trip from Shimla will become a delightful experience.


Now let us help you discover some of the best routes so as to make your Shimla to Manali trip by road the most memorable one.

Thus, experience the joy of being on the road by booking a cab from Savaari.

Quick Facts about Shimla to Manali

Road Distance from Shimla to Manali237 kms
Aerial Distance from Shimla to Manali125 kms
Travel Time for Shimla to Manali by Road7 hours and 20 minutes
Travel Time for Shimla to Manali by Flight1 hours
Best RoutesShimla to Manali Via NH205 and NH3
Best time to visitApril- June (Summers) and December-February (Winters)

Best time to take a road trip by car

Like any other Himalayan region in India, Manali also enjoys alpine weather, making it cold and frosty in the winter and pleasant in the summer. The rainy season, however, is not recommended to travel around this region.

Therefore, depending upon your season preference, you can choose to visit in the colder months and experience its snow views (if it snows) and New Year festivities.

But if you want to experience the place in full bloom and greener cover, the summer months are the best time to visit Shimla to Manali by car. It is during this time the landscape is at its cheery best. The warmer months are also great for driving down from Shimla and enjoy the ride without the windchill. 

Route 1: Distance and Time taken via NH205 & NH3

Shimla to Manali Distance via NH205 & NH3

The distance between Shimla and Manali is around 250 KM and ideally takes about eight hours to cover this distance. This is the shortest, fastest, and the only designated route to travel from Shimla to Manali by road.

Shimla to Manali Road conditions via NH205 & NH3

Regular travelers also take this route, since the Shimla to Manali road traffic here is also light, but you can expect high traffic during peak tourist season (March to May or December).

So, before you travel, you should always check for live traffic updates or use real-time maps to get an actual assessment of the Shimla to Manali road conditions.

Shimla to Manali via NH205 & NH3

Popular places along the way:

The route between Shimla and Manali is as scenic as it can get. Therefore, you can stop at any of these places and experience what each pit stop has to offer. 

  • Gobind Sagar Lake, Bilaspur – You will have to take a detour from Bilaspur junction to reach the water body. The lake is also the catchment area of the Bhakra-Nangal dam, which can be best seen from the other side at Nangal. You can spend some time at the tranquil lakeside and enjoy the natural beauty along with some cool air. 
  • Aut – A lesser-known village on the banks of the Beas River, Aut is a cozy little hamlet. Enjoy your time here driving through the long, tunneled roads, grab a cup of tea along the way, or just admire the views.
  • Prashar Lake, Mandi – A few miles off the highway at Mandi, you will land at the crystal clear lake atop 9000 feet. This is also a popular base for long treks to the upper ranges of Himalayas. Do not forget to capture stunning views of Dhauladhar, Pir Pinjal, and Kinnaur mountain ranges from the lakeside.
  • Great Himalayan National Park, Tirthan Valley – Known for its rich biodiversity with exotic Himalayan flora and fauna, this is one of the most popular wildlife sanctuaries of Himachal. To reach there, one has to take the road towards Shoja from Mandi. You can also stop overnight and camp in the forests or try a day trek, for which you can plan your itinerary ahead. 
  • Pandoh Dam, Mandi – A little outside Mandi town, you will find this beautiful dam. However, it requires a short trek up a small hill to get a complete view of the dam and the surrounding landscape.
  • Chandrakhani Pass, Kullu – One of the best highlights of Kullu district has to be a lush enclave of alpine forests and gurgling streams. 
  • Naggar Castle, Naggar – This ancient castle is a must-see on the Shimla-Manali route. Made with stones and solid timber, the 15th-century castle boasts ethnic architecture. Although now it’s a heritage hotel, the main castle is kept intact for visitors to explore.; 
Naggar Castle
Naggar Castle

Places to eat on this route:

  • Musician Dhaba, Shalaghat –local eatery serving authentic Himachali food, and a good place to stop for breakfast, tea, and in-between snacking.
  • Café Madana, Sundernagar – casual local eatery serving all meals, all day, and good for big groups and kid-friendly.
  • Bahadur/Bhadure Ka Dhaba, Bilaspur – popular local eatery, offering traditional meals and quick bites. 
  • Chawla’s, Mandi – one of the oldest eateries on this highway offering Punjabi delicacies and is certainly popular among travelers.

Book a cab from Shimla to Manali

Other means of traveling from Shimla to Manali 

How to Reach Manali by Train 

There is no direct train from Shimla to Manali. There is only one train route to and from Shimla, which is Kalka. You can take a train to reach Kalka, but from there, you will have to take a car or a bus to reach Manali.

However, these trains ply less frequently and take longer than the highway. Therefore, you should always check with Indian Railways for updated train timings from Shimla to Manali via Kalka. 

How to Reach Manali by Flight

Manali, unfortunately, does not have an airport. As a result, the nearest airport is Kullu – Manali Aiport (KUU), in Kullu. However, these flights are not very regular and you should check travel portals or airline websites for updated timings.

The average Shimla to Manali flight duration can range from one hour to 5 hours depending upon the airline and air route. The average cost of an air ticket from Shimla to Manali cost you INR 2000 to INR 10000, depending on the season, airline, etc. To get the best deals on your Shimla to Manali flight booking, visit online travel portals. 

Explore Manali Like a Local: A Handy Guide

The erstwhile quiet little hamlet tucked within the Himalayas, Manali has now evolved into a hub of outdoor adventures, parties, and all things that define fun, thrill, or excitement even more. From the mystical mountain vibe to vibrant touristy trappings, you will find it all here in the busiest tourist town of Himachal.

Similarly, with its natural beauty, unique night-life, non-stop parties, artistic jaunts, religious heritage, and the most eclectic community in the state, Manali is a treasure trove of incredible experiences. With our tips and suggestion, you can make your Manali trip a memorable one.

Attractions for Sightseeing

  1. Manali is home to some of the most noteworthy nature hotspots and man-made wonders of Himachal Pradesh. Visit the prominent Buddhist monasteries of India such as the Manali Gompa, Gadhan Thekchoking Gompa, and the Himalayan Nyingamapa Gompa.
  2. You can also take a walk or a boat ride through the Van Vihar national park, boasting pine forests and a deer park, and occasional migratory birds.
  3. Spend a day at the sacred and therapeutic hot springs of Vashisht Temple, which is right outside the old town and explore its surrounding nature trails. You can also visit the Hadimba Temple, hidden deep inside forests of pine and cedar.
  4. For outdoor activities in the lap of nature, head to the Solang Valley which is only a few kilometers from the main town. The grassy meadows and rolling valleys offer endless opportunities for paragliding, zorbing, ziplining, or skiing.
  5. And finally, end the day with a walk down the busy streets of Mall Road, browse the Tibetan bazaars. 

As a result of being a multi-cultural town, there is no distinctive cuisine that Manali can offer. The community offers every kind of cuisine to cater to the high population of international travelers and every food is influenced by the international settlers of the town.

However, if one had to pick, Tibetan cuisine is the most common and widely available across the town, as well as various recipes of river trout, which is also a seasonal specialty. 

Explore Manali’s flavors at these popular eateries-

  • Chopsticks, Mall Road.
  • Lazy Dog, Manu Temple Road, Old Manali
  • Café Nirvana, Old Manali.
  • Drifter’s Café, Manu Temple Road, Old Manali.
  • People Art Café &Lounge, Manu Temple Road, Old Manali.
  • Johnson’s Café, Circuit House Road.
  • Café 1947, Near Nehru Kund, Bahang.

Hotels and resorts – Accommodation in Manali

Hotel Name Address
Fog Hills Prini, Manali, Himachal Pradesh 175103 PH: 094182 34297
Apple Country Resort Log Huts Area Rd, Log Huts Area, District Kullu, Manali, Himachal Pradesh 175131 PH: 098166 00188
The Blue Magpie Jhadang Village, Chichoga Rd, Manali, Himachal Pradesh 175131 PH: 099155 43910
The Manali Inn NH 21, Rangree, Near Indian Petrol Pump, Manali, Himachal Pradesh 175131 PH: 1800 11 3939
The Orchard Greens Log Huts Area Road, Old Manali, Manali, Himachal Pradesh 175131 PH: 093501 71709

Download our Savaari car rental app for a smooth and pleasant journey.