Sitting at the estuary of the picturesque Netravathi and Gurupur Rivers on the Arabian Sea, Mangalore, officially known as Mangaluru, is the second-largest city and major port in Karnataka for international trade since the 6th century. Located at a distance of 352 km west of Bangalore, there are many places to visit in Mangalore. Named after the goddess Mangaladevi, Mangalore is Karnataka’s only city to have all four modes of transport—road, rail, air, and sea.
The administrative headquarters of the Dakshina Kannada district, Mangalore is also a commercial, industrial, educational, healthcare and start-up hub. It has virtually become a ‘melting pot’ of cultures with an increasing influx of students from various states of India and different parts of the world. The city’s landscape is characterised by coconut palms, rivers, hard laterite soil, and rolling hills. It has a tropical monsoon climate and is best visited from the months of September to April as summers can get very hot and humid and the monsoon season gets heavy rainfall.
It is best known for its laidback lifestyle, sun-kissed beaches, lush green gardens, age-old temples, and vast public parks. There are also many places to visit near Mangalore such as Udupi, Manipal, Dharmastala etc. Mangalore makes a perfect choice for those who wish to spend a relaxing and peaceful vacation.
18 Places To Visit In Mangalore, Handpicked Just For You
1. Mangaladevi Temple: Devoted To Goddess Durga
Established in the 19th century by the king of the Ahepa dynasty, the temple is dedicated to Mangaladevi who is considered to be a form of the goddess Durga, also known by the name Shakti. The grand temple is visited by devotees in large numbers and is one of the best places to visit in Mangalore. It is believed that the fierce goddess fulfils all your wishes and helps you overcome obstacles if you wish with an honest heart. The spacious temple complex allows devotees to offer prayers or sit and meditate to feel rejuvenated and at peace. The best time to visit the temple is during Dussehra when the festivities at the temple are at their peak. It is open from 6-10 AM, 12-1 PM, and 4-8 PM, and has no entry fee.
2. Panambur Beach: Famous For The International Kite Festival
Situated at a distance of 13 kms from Mangalore, to the south of Mangalore port, Panambur Beach has been awarded the cleanest and best-maintained beaches in India owing to its excellent maintenance. Best known for the stunning sunset view, photography and thrilling water sports, Panambur beach is one of the best places to visit in Mangalore. You can enjoy sunbathing and going for beach strolls, while those who are fond of adventure sports can indulge in water scooter rides, jet-skiing, horse and buggy rides, camel rides, and banana boat rides. Every year in January, Panambur beach hosts the International Kite Festival. Along with kite flying ceremonies, sand sculpture and boat race competitions are also a part of this festival. The beach is open from 10 AM to 5.30 PM and has no entry fee.
3. Kudroli Gokarnath Temple: Dedicated To Lord Shiva
The Kudroli Gokarnath temple or Gokarnanatheshwara Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, was built by Sri Narayana Guru, a spiritual guru and social reformer from Kerala. The temple is dedicated to ‘Gokarnanatha’, another name for the Hindu deity Shiva. The temple’s architecture, however, is more akin to a Dravidian style and features a 60 ft high golden Gopuram. This temple is one of the best places to visit in Mangalore during the major Hindu festivals and features some exquisite works of sculpting and rock carving. Visiting this temple during Dussehra and Navratri celebrations is particularly fascinating. Celebration of these festivals in the Gokarnath temple is popularly called ‘Mangalore Dasara’. Lifesize idols of ‘Nava Durga’ —the nine forms of goddess Durga—are on display at this time along with other life-size idols of Sharada Matha and Maha Ganapathi. If you’re into architecture, this temple can be one of the best tourist places in Mangalore for you to visit. The temple timings are from 6 AM to 9 PM and has no entry fee.
4. Surathkal Beach: Enjoy Golden Sunsets
Lighthouse at Surathkal beach, near Mangalore
Surathkal Beach is another pristine beach in Mangalore and is located further down the Konkan coast, south of the tourist trap of Goa, about 13 kms from the port city of Mangalore. The beach is one of the best places to visit in Mangalore, known for its unique powdery sand which is comforting to walk barefoot on. A charming lighthouse is present here which completes the scene of coastal beauty and provides a picturesque view of the countryside. The sunsets here are definitely worth the drive from Mangalore. This beach has few options for those wanting to engage in water sports. If you are a beach baby, then Surathkal Beach should definitely be one of the places to visit on your itinerary. The beach is open from 6 AM to 6 PM and has no entry fee.
5. Pilikula Nisargadhama: A Famous Infotainment Park
Located in the picturesque hamlet of Vamanjoor, Pilikula is one of the best tourist places in Mangalore with a famous Infotainment Park created amidst nature to provide a rejuvenating experience for nature and wildlife lovers. The name Pilikula means ‘a pool of Tigers’ in Tulu. One can find several wildlife species inside the park including tigers, bears, leopards, and a variety of reptiles. They also have a botanical garden, a zoo, a golf course, a science centre, a water park, and an artisan village within its premises. You can even spot a few migratory birds if you visit between October and February. It is open from 10.30 AM to 5.30 PM with an entry fee of INR 20 and INR 50 for Indian children and adults respectively whereas for foreigners it is INR 100. It is one of the popular places to visit in Mangalore for nature lovers.
6. St Aloysius Chapel: A Beautiful White Wonder
Known for astounding architecture and interior, St Aloysius Chapel or the Chapel of St Aloysius College was built in 1800 and offers unobstructed views of the Arabian Sea. It is located within the premises of one of most well known educational institutions, St Aloysius College in Mangalore. The St Aloysius chapel houses many beautiful sculptures, frescos, and paintings. These paintings were painted in 1899 by Antonio Moscheni, an Italian Jesuit when he visited Mangalore on a mission in 1878. Being Mangalore’s very own Sistine Chapel, the St Aloysius chapel a visual treat for art lovers and is a must-visit tourist place in Mangalore not only for its art but for the peaceful atmosphere it offers to calm a troubled mind. It is open from 7 AM to 7 PM and has no entry fee.
7. Sultan Battery: The Historical Watchtower Of Mangalore
Constructed in 1784, Sultan Battery is the last remnant of the fierce and majestic Tipu Sultan. It is among the most famous tourist places to visit in Mangalore for history buffs. The tower was made of black stone to keep a close watch on the invading ships around the Arabian Sea. The place has underground chambers where the sultan stored gunpowder and canyons. Subsequently, this place was taken over and used as the Naval Office by the British. Presently, this is a historic structure but if you climb up the stairs to the top of Sultan Battery you can enjoy the jaw-dropping vistas of the Arabian Sea, a real treat for nature lovers. From Sultan Battery you can also take a boat ride (local ferry service) across the Gurupura river to Tannirbavi beach. It is open from 9 AM to 9.15 PM, has no entry fee and is less than 5 km from the city centre. Visiting Sultan battery and taking a ferry to the beach is among the best things to do in Mangalore
Also read: 8 of the most stunning forts in India
8. Milagres Church: An Ancient Roman Catholic Church
Situated in the Hampankatta area and constructed in 1680 by Bishop Thomas de Castro, Milagres Church is one of the oldest churches of Mangalore and Dakshina Kannada. The former structure of this Roman Catholic Church was revamped in some years and the present-day church was built in 1784. Regarded as one of the tourist places in Mangalore, the major aspects that draw tourists are the century-old architecture, its historical importance and religious significance. This beautiful white marble structure hosts regular prayer services and mass, including special Sunday mass. Many choose to sit in silence for hours to calm their minds and observe the beautiful interiors. It is open from 6 AM to 7 PM and has no entry fee.
9. Tannirbhavi Beach: Offering A Sight To Behold
One of the most famous tourist places in Mangalore, the Tannirbhavi beach (about 12 km from the city centre) attracts visitors and tourists in huge numbers. Located on the outskirts of Mangalore it offers picturesque sunset views. The coastline with fresh air and golden sands is rejuvenating and draws people to the natural beauty of the location. The beach gained a lot of popularity lately with the installation of modern facilities like proper washrooms, parking spaces, lifeguards and several eatery stalls. It has become quite famous for water sports such as boating, surfing, jet skiing, and kayaking. You can enjoy walking bare feet along the golden coastline, chase the waves or gaze at the ocean in introspection. It is open from Monday to Sunday between 6 AM to 10 PM and has no entry fee.
10. Ullal Beach: Pristine Beach On The Outskirts
Located in Ullal, a small fishing village, is a perfect place to visit in Mangalore (just 12 km from the city), to sit, unwind, relax and watch the sunset. The coast is dotted with lush casuarina and palm plantations making it look like a scene from a beautiful painting. The waters of the beach invite you to take a dip and are clean. For adrenaline junkies, there are arrangements for some water sporting activities like jet skiing, sailing, and speed boating that will pump up your blood with energy and are sure to excite you. You can treat yourself to some delicious eats that are a local favourite here. A trip to the Ullal beach is an ideal getaway from the daily hassles and monotony of life. It is open 24 hours and has no entry fee.
11. Kadri Manjunatha Temple: One Of The Oldest Temples In South India
Situated at the base of the Kadri hills with the chief deity being Manjunatha, Kadri Manjunatha temple has a Vijayanagara architectural style dating back to the 12th century. In the early 10th century, Kadri was the centre of Buddhism. When Buddhism declined Natha Prantha, a new religion, came into being. The devotees, referred to as jogis, were believers of Manjunatha (a form of Shiva). Built-in 1608, the temple has many caves around it that go back to prehistoric times. At an elevated point, behind the temple, there is a spring called Kashi Bhageerathi Theerth. It is believed that the river Bhageerathi in Kashi is the source of the water here. As a tradition, devotees visit here to cleanse themselves before entering the temple. The overall location of the temple is extremely calm and spiritual. Renovated many times, the current structure of the temple was done in the 14th century. It belongs to the category of Tulunadu temples in the Dakshina Kannada region and is among the best religious places to visit in Mangalore. If you are an architecture lover, you shouldn’t miss out on this place; it’s open from 6.30 AM to 8.30 PM and has no entry fee.
12. Sakleshpur: A Popular Hillstation In Karnataka
Sakleshpur is a popular hill station town which is located in the foothills of the Western Ghats in the region of Malnad, it offers spellbinding views. It is one of the most beautiful places to visit near Mangalore. It has a temperate climate and is surrounded with lofty green hills full of coffee, cardamom, pepper and areca plantations. It offers something for everyone, from the dense rainforest, hiking trails, historical temples and an old fort, mountain peaks and waterfalls. Whether you are looking for agricultural products or the discovery of a jyotirlinga by the Hoysalas, the quaint town of Sakleshpur earned its name rightly as it is no less verdant than Ooty. Sakleshpur is 130 km from the city of Mangalore and easily accessible by road.
13. Kadri Hill Park: Highest And The Largest Park In Mangalore
Kadri Hill Park also known as simply Kadri Park is one of the most popular places to visit in Mangalore. This large park encompasses a garden, musical fountain and a nature park. It is visited by locals during weekends and vacations for leisure and is also a rather popular area for walks, jogs and other forms of exercise amidst the beautifully maintained foliage. You can experience the beauty of nature at this park along with your family and friends. Plan a picnic in the lap of nature or go on a toy train ride with your children around the park (operating at specific times in the evening). The park also hosts horticultural shows or other fun events like dog shows, flower shows, exhibits and more during specific times of the year. If you are planning a family vacation, do visit Kadri Hill Park, besides the toy train rides children can also enjoy other fun activities in the children play zone.
14. Kateel Sri Durgaparameshwari Temple: One Of The Most Sacred Sites In Mangalore
Situated on an islet in the middle of the holy river Nandini, Kateel Sri Durgaparameshwari Temple is one of most religious places in the region. The temple is located around 25 km from the city of Mangalore and attracts a lot of devotees every day, every year. This stunning Kerala-style temple’s presiding deity is goddess Durga Parameshwari, also known as Bhramari. Within the premises of the temple, you’ll find many other smaller temples dedicated to different gods and goddesses. As you enter the main temple, you will see a huge rock at the entrance, known as Raktheshwari, a form of goddess Durga who appeared as a bee and killed Arunasura (a demon). The temple is a must-visit during Durga Ashtami and Navratri. It is one of the best temples to visit near Mangalore.
15. Our Lady Of Rosary Cathedral: First Roman Catholic Church In The Canara Region
This 16th-century Roman Catholic church was originally the church of the old Portuguese factory. Built by the Portuguese in 1568, the church is a magnificent structure with a beautiful interior and one of the few places in Mangalore where you can find peace and tranquillity away from the chaotic city life. It is located at a distance of 1.5 km from Mangalore Railway Station, near Mangaladevi Temple and is open from 6 AM to 6 PM. Its architecture is designed in the pattern of St Peter’s Basilica of Rome. The magnificent cross and the dome of Rosary Cathedral are said to be the most prominent features which are easily visible to the ships approaching the Mangalore Harbour.
16. Bejai Museum: A Well Known Treasury Of Many Ancient Artifacts
Often referred to as Seemanthi Bai Government Museum, Bejai Museum is located at a distance of 3 km from Mangalore Railway Station. It is a two-storied building that resembles a ship and was built in 1955 by Col. V.R. MIrajkar. It houses impressive collections of ancient coins, artefacts, weapons, items of daily use, paintings and sculptures, which provides a detailed insight into Indian history, heritage and culture. This will be a visual treat for kids, history buffs and archaeologists.
17. Shri Sharavu Mahaganapathi Temple: One Of The Most Popular Temples Of Southern India
Dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesha, Shri Sharavu Mahaganapathi Temple is one of the best places to visit in Mangalore. It is within 1.5 km from the railway station. The temple was built by 12th century Tuvalu king Veerabahu and well-acclaimed as one of the most popular temples of the southern part of India. This well-known pilgrim centre has huge reverence among Hindu devotees. Shri Sharavu Mahaganapathi Temple is a must-visit on special occasions like Sri Ganesh Chaturthi, annual Car Festival or “Rathothsava”, Deepothsava or Festival of Lights and on Shankasti Chaturthi days.
18. Pilikula Regional Science Center: One Of A Kind Science Centre In Mangalore
Set up in an area of 10 acres, Pilikula Regional Science Center (about 12 km from the city centre) houses 3 exhibition galleries, an inflatable dome planetarium and also a 3D theatre facility, among other things. It was inaugurated in 2014 and was set up jointly by the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Govt. of Karnataka (GoK) and National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) Kolkata, Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India (GoI). It is among the worthwhile places to visit in Mangalore, the main appeal being that it’s a multi-purpose tourist attraction. It hosts school children on a regular basis and also has a Science Park in the lush green garden area outside the Science Centre building, which includes a Dinosaur Park.
How To Make The Most Of Your Trip To Mangalore
There are many popular places to visit in Mangalore when it comes to sightseeing. Each and every beach here is stupendous and worth visiting. Mangalore has a laid back, relaxed atmosphere and the locals are proud of their city. You’ll find Mangalore to be one of the cleaner cities in India and the locals take a lot of initiative to keep it so. You will find graffiti and beautiful murals on street walls and many of them depict the local culture and encourage cleanliness. As travellers, we must ensure we do our part as well.
Mangalore is considered to be a multicultural city. Despite the many differences in caste, religion, ethnicity, the people here are progressive and peacefully coexist with each other. The people here are very friendly and laid back. With Konkani and Tuluva culture playing a big role, the primary language is not Kannada, the official language of the state, but instead, Tulu and Konkani are more widely spoken. One may never face any language barrier in the South Karnataka region as most people here speak many languages such as Kannada, Hindi and English fluently; and with the advent of many IT companies languages like Telugu, Tamil, Gujarati, Marwari, etc., are also spoken. In recent years, Mangalore has also been working towards being a smart and green city to lessen their environmental impact on nature by encouraging the development of sustainable local businesses and better waste management schemes.
As Mangalore is known for its beaches, there has been an influx in the number of tourists here. To play your part as a responsible traveller you should avoid damaging the infrastructure. When at the beach, be mindful about plastic waste, as it’s quite harmful for underwater species. We should always remember that whenever we travel to a place we should leave the place the same way or even better than how you found it.
Mangalore has a lot of modern amenities but still retains its small-town charm and greenery. Being a quaint destination, Mangalore is a perfect getaway for those who want some me-time or quality time with their loved ones. Make sure to keep ample days aside for a wonderful time in the coastal city.
FAQs About Mangalore
Yes, Mangalore is one of the best destinations to visit in South India. It is a lesser-known tourist spot but is great for religious tourism (temple visits) and for beach lovers as Mangalore has a vast coastline with several beaches on offer. It’s a laidback place but at the same time has all the conveniences of a city with several huge malls, shopping centres, pubs and more.
Mangalore city is famous for its laidback lifestyle, sun-kissed beaches, lush green gardens, age-old temples, and vast public parks.
You can spend your day in Mangalore by visiting the above-mentioned places.
Chiroti (locally called phenori) is a popular sweet in Mangalore. You can also try dudh pak (a milk-based variety of payasam) and churmundo (konkani style ladoo made of flour).