Nainital, nestled around a pear-shaped lake in the Kumaon Hills, offers a picturesque retreat into nature’s lap. This guide is crafted to guide you through the things to do in Nainital. It is a town that harmoniously blends natural beauty with quaint colonial charm. Sail on the tranquil Naini Lake, gaze at the snow-capped Himalayas from Tiffin Top, and stroll along the bustling Mall Road. Nainital’s blend of serenity and vibrancy makes it a beloved destination for all seasons. Tourists typically book a taxi from Delhi to Nainital during the summer months to escape the extreme heat in the capital city.
Table of Contents
- Things to do in Nainital
- About Nainital
- How to Plan a trip to Nainital
- Places to stay in Nainital
Things to do in Nainital
Apart from the famous places, you can also engage in these interesting activities to make your holiday more exciting –
- Discover the hidden places in Nainital by taking a heritage walk around the town, seeing the old bungalows, colonial buildings, ancient temples, etc. You can also do a bicycle tour, but not around the steep slopes and explore the Himalayan town like a local.
- Take the cable car ride from Mallital to Snow View Point and get a bird’s eye view of the town, the Naini Lake, and the surrounding valleys.
- Walk along the lake promenade and the Mall Road, shop for souvenirs, trinkets, and local art and crafts. You can also plan a romantic evening by the lake, with a boat ride and a dinner with a view.
Best places to visit in Nainital
A land of lakes and forests, Nainital offers endless sightseeing options. From places to visit in 2 days to those you can cover in a day tour, there are a host of tourist places to explore. Here are the best tourist places you can add to your tourist places list –
- Nainital Lake – the most popular tourist spot, Nainital Lake is the highlight of the town and an adventure hub. It is best known for sunset views, boating, picnics, or dining by the lake.
- Snow View – one of the most famous tourist attractions, this local viewing point offers stunning views of the Himalayas at sunrise and sunset.
- Tiffin Top – a local hotspot for picnics and day hikes, Tiffin Top offers 360-degree views of Nainital and the surrounding mountain ranges. You have to do a short trek to reach the top.
- Eco-cave Gardens – a recreation park, this public spot houses a series of ancient rock-cut caves, landscaped gardens, and a musical fountain. This is the best place to spend a day with kids and family. Don’t miss the musical fountain show, held every evening.
- Nainital Zoo – Also known as the High Altitude Zoo, this local zoo houses several endangered Himalayan wildlife species like Himalayan Bear, Himalayan Civet, Hill Patridge, Tibetan Wolf and other animals.
- Land’s End – this mountain ridge is set across the Khurpa Tal and is known for uninterrupted, panoramic views of mountains and valleys. You need to trek for about 4KM to reach the Land’s End. There are also local taxis and pony rides available to reach the top.
- Governer’s House – a 16th-century Victorian mansion, this colonial building resembles the Castle of Scotland. You can take a guided tour and explore the interiors and the gardens.
Popular places to visit nearby
Apart from the popular attractions, you can also visit many other tourist places near Nainital. There are some scenic hill stations nearby that you can add to your trip package. These Nainital tourism packages are easily available online on any travel portals or check with your local travel agent for the best trip package.
A couple of tourist places near Nainital within 50 km –
- Pangot, 18 KM – A paradise for bird lovers and bird watchers. You can stay at the cosy hill retreats and go birdwatching at the Snow View Point and Kilbury Road or head out for a wildlife safari. Pangot is home to endemic and migratory species of avifauna like woodpeckers, the famous Khalij pheasant, all types of thrushes, kingfishers, forktails, and more. You can also spot wild animals like Himalayan Goral, Wild Boar, Yellow-bellied Himalayan weasel, red fox, civets, and even jungle cats.
- Mukhteshwar, 46 KM – The idyllic town is surrounded by an expansive deodar forest spanning 15 square miles, with 22 snow-capped mountain peaks Mukteshwar is famous for pilgrimage to Mukteshwar Dham and outdoor sports like trekking, hiking, and rock climbing.
You can also visit these interesting places near Nainital –
- Ranikhet, 58KM – This quaint hamlet in the Almora district, is a picture-perfect settlement with lush meadows, cosy cottages and terraced grasslands. Ranikhet is known for its colonial past, boasting vintage bungalows. For an insight into the good ole days, you can stay at one of the bungalow-turned resorts and experience the classic charm.
- Jim Corbett National Park, 69 KM – The oldest national park in the country, Jim Corbett spreads across 520 sq. km. of hills, rivers, marshes, grasslands, natural reservoir and dense forests, housing about 110 different species of trees, 50 species of animals, 580 species of birds and 25 species of reptiles. You can do day safaris or camp at the forest lodges overnight.
Places to Eat in Nainital
Here are a few must-visit places to sample the local flavours –
- Machaan Restaurant
- Papa’s Grill Restaurant
- Sakley’s Restaurant & Pastry Shop
- Zooby’s Kitchen
- Simz Café
- Boat House Club
- Café Lakeside
- Giannis Pure Veg Restaurant
- Cafe Chica, Abbotsford Heritage Hotel
One of the oldest and most popular tourist locales of Uttarakhand, Nainital is a town steeped in local traditions and abundant natural beauty. The town serves as the district headquarters as well as the judicial capital of Uttarakhand. Nainital is located at the foothills of the Kumaon Range, at a distance of 285KM from Dehradun and 345KM from the country capital of Delhi.
With uninterrupted views of the Garhwal Himalayas, ample greenery, and sparkling glacial lakes, the town provides the perfect recipe for an ultimate mountain vacation. Here’s a handy travel guide for a wholesome trip.
Nainital is set within a valley, sitting at an altitude of 6358 feet, flanked by the Kumaon Range of the Himalayas. The town’s highlight is the eye-shaped Naini-Tal or Naini Lake (Tal is Kumaoni for waterbody). The highest point of the town is at Naina Peak, rising to 8579 feet, followed by Deopatha at 7999 feet and Ayarpatha at 7474 feet. The town is known for being home to sparkling, naturally-formed glacial lakes and is often called the City of Lakes. Khurpa Tal, Saat Tal, Naukuchiya Tal, and Bhim Tal are some of the famous lakes in the Nainital district that attracts tourism here.
Nainital has been historically associated with the Kumaon region and its people. But the hill station of Nainital was founded in 1841 when the Kumaon Hills was occupied by the British after the Anglo-Nepalese war between 1814-1816. The colonial influence on the town is still visible in its old edifices. The name of the town is derived from local folk mythology and translates to an eye-shaped lake, owing to the massive lake around which the town developed.
How to Plan a Trip to Nainital
How to reach Nainital
Nainital is best connected to the nearest metro city and the country capital at Delhi and other places in northern India. Here’s how to reach the scenic town.
There is no railway station in Nainital. The nearest railway station is in Kathgodam, about 34KM away. There are regular trains from Delhi to Kathgodam, among other major cities and towns in the neighbouring states. It takes about 5.5 hours to travel from Delhi to Kathgodam by train. You can also reach the town by train from Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Hyderabad, etc. From Kathgodam, you can take the local bus or book a cab to reach here.
Nainital is well-networked with the rest of Uttarakhand, and other neighbouring states by national and state highways. The best and nearest junction for road travel is in Delhi, about 350KM away and you can take NH 9 to reach Nainital from Delhi. There are regular state-run and private bus services to Nainital from Delhi and NCR, Agra, Allahabad, Bareily, Dehradun, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Meerut, Faridabad, etc. The best way to travel is to book a private cab or rent a car to drive from any of these cities to Nainital.
The nearest airport to Nainital is at Pantnagar Airport, about 65KM away. There are frequent flights to Nainital from Delhi, Agra, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chandigarh etc. From Pantnagar, you can book an airport taxi to reach Nainital. If you are travelling from any other city, you can fly to Delhi or Chandigarh and drive to Nainital.
Best Time to Visit Nainital
Like all hill towns in Uttarakhand, Nainital also experiences classic mountain weather. The summers are cool and pleasant. The winters, on the other hand, are cold and chilly with the temperature dropping below zero. The most popular travel season is between March to June when the weather is comfortable for both indoor and outdoor activities.
Hotels & Resorts in Nainital
To make your vacation truly comfortable and memorable, here are some of the best places to stay in Nainital –
- Season’s Hotel by Xperience
- Hotel Chevron Fairhavens
- The Naini Retreat
- The Earl’s Court
- Alka The Lake Side Hotel
- Hotel Shivraj
- Ayar Jungle Resort
- Emily Heritage Villa
- Lakeside Inn
Last Updated on January 31, 2024 by Swati Deol