One of the most gorgeous places in India, Nainital has a huge fan base of travellers from within the country and abroad. Nainital has an intriguing story behind its discovery, with two Europeans given credit for making it accessible to the public; one was Mr G.W. Traill and the other Mr P. Barron. The village residents, however, wanted to keep Nainital a secret as they held this place in great reverence because of their belief that the Gods and holy spirits resided here. Many mythological stories are also attached to Nainital; something you will discover on your travels here. These include how Naini Lake got its name or why is Naina Devi Temple considered such a pious and important place of worship by the locals? The region’s spiritual and historical significance has ensured tourists have a number of places to visit in Nainital. But this is only a part of its attractions.
Nainital offers panoramic views and pristine surroundings that can soothe your soul into a sense of calmness; something you cannot find in a city. So, make the most of sightseeing in Nainital by soaking in all its glory of lush forested valleys, a deep-green emerald lake and a climate that is favourable all year round, making it a favourite hill station for many wanderlust souls. No matter which season you plan your travels for, there is something here that you can enjoy. Here are 20 places to visit in Nainital with family.
Places To Visit In Nainital
6 am to 6 pm
Naina Devi Temple
6 am to 8 pm
8 am to 5.30 pm
Eco Cave Gardens
9:30 am to 5:30 pm
Kids- INR 10, Adults- INR 20, Camera Fee- INR 25
11 am, noon, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm & 4 pm (except in the month of May)
Adult- INR 50, Child- INR 20
The Mall Road
9 am to 10 pm
All days of the week before the sunsets
Snow View Point
10.30 am to 5 pm (closed on Saturdays)
For a two-way cable car ride for Adults- INR 150, for kids- INR 75
Dorothy’s Seat (Tiffin Top)
8 am to 11 pm
St. John Wilderness Church
8 am to 6.30 pm and on Sunday- 7 am to 6.30 pm
2 pm to 4 pm (Saturday & Sunday closed)
Nainital Zoo (Pt. Govind Ballabh Pant Zoo)
10 am to 4:30 pm
For Adult - INR 50, for Kids (5 to 12 years) - INR 20 & Camera - INR 25, Videography - INR 200
Sattal (Saat Tal)
Himalayan Center of Sri Aurobindo Ashram
1. Naini Lake
Naini Lake lies at the heart of Nainital and was discovered first, after which the whole township of Nainital was developed around it. One of the most famous lakes of the Kumaon region, Naini Lake is surrounded by rich, green verdant hills with coniferous trees that gives an added charm to its raw beauty, making it one of the best places to see in Nainital. This crescent-shaped lake is surrounded by tranquil and dynamic views and offers breathtaking sunrise and sunset. Tourists come in hordes to spend their time boating, paddling and sailing at leisure and you can cover the whole distance of the lake in an hour with walking as well. Boaters will charge you around INR 210 to row you around the lake in their gondola-like boats, or you can hire pedal boats for INR 160 per hour too.
A great picnic spot in Nainital, this beautiful lake is surrounded by seven different mountain peaks and is divided into two distinct sections, with the Northern part, named Mallital and the Southern part - Tallital. Naini lake is Nainital’s jewel and is said to be the emerald-green eyes (naina means eyes in Sanskrit/Hindi) of Shiva’s wife, Sati, that fell in that exact spot after she self-immolated. The Naina Devi Temple is near the lake and said to be located at the exact same spot where the eye had fallen.
Timings: 6 am to 6 pm
Entry Fee: Free
2. Naina Devi Temple
Naina Devi temple is one of the most revered Hindu temples of India and is located in Nainital near the Northern side of Naini Lake. Quietly located atop the Naina hillock, it draws thousands of devotees each year from all over the world to Nainita. According to the story in mythology, the Naina Devi temple came into existence when the eyes of Goddess Sati fell to that ground while Lord Shiva was carrying her self-immolated corpse. The deity in Naina Devi temple is the famous Goddess Naina Devi, and the two eyes are represented in the temple in her honour. As one of the famous Hindu pilgrimage sites, it is built amidst beautiful surroundings. This temple has become one of the most iconic places for places to visit in Nainital and is considered as one of the Shakti Peeths.
The temple attracts thousands of travellers and local devotees during the Nanda Ashtami, a grand Hindu festival, which is celebrated in Nainital for 5-8 days continuously in the month of September with pomp and show. Holy occasions like Navratri and the Chaitra fair also witness massive gatherings at the temple. The temple is at a walking distance from the Nainital main bus stand, around 35 kms from the nearest railway station at Kathgodam and around 55 kms from Pantnagar Airport, which makes it easily accessible.
Timings: 6 am to 8 pm
Entry Fee: Free
3. Naina Peak
Naina Peak or the Cheena/ China Peak as it is commonly known by the locals is the highest hilltop in Nainital, and a must-visit place for nature lovers and adventure seekers. This peak located around 6 km away from the Nainital town, at a height of 2,615 m, makes for a challenging trek. So, if you are up for a challenge or like to push yourself to do newer things, this trek in Nainital would be an ideal activity for a fun morning or evening. The mountains are lined with beautiful Rhododendrons blooms and offer a mesmerising view of the sunrise and sunset that will capture your heart. So, if you want to enjoy a little solitude in Nainital in nature, make sure to head here.
From the peak, you can enjoy a magnificent panoramic view of the snow-capped Himalayas, the Tibet border, Nanda Devi Peak and the entire city of Nainital. Due to its high altitude and lush green trails, Naina Peak is a favourite amongst trekkers and travellers who love nature and exploring. You can also enjoy horse rides up on the mountain peak and enjoy the serenity, tranquillity and the rustic verdant surrounding views while enjoying a laidback day, lost in the beauty of the Nainital surroundings.
Timings: 8 am to 5.30 pm
Entry Fee: free
4. Eco Cave Gardens
Eco Cave Gardens are a newly developed place of attraction in Sukhatal and one of the popular places to visit in Nainital by kids and adults alike. Situated just 3.7 km from the Tallital Bus stand, it is easily reachable from the Mall Road by taxi or other means of transport. The Nainital Cave Gardens comprise several natural networks of interconnected caves which offer a glimpse into the Himalayan wildlife. These caves also feature different species of animals including tigers, panthers, squirrels, flying foxes and apes. As a main attraction for kids, it is the perfect destination to travel to for families.
This Nainital park is maintained by the Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN), a government agency of Uttarakhand, and the hanging gardens here are an excellent place to laze around and relax. There is also a children’s educational tour conducted here, which is a great way to explore these caves. The best time to visit the Eco Cave Gardens in Nainital is from March to June, and from September to December.
Timings: 9.30 am to 5.30 pm
Entry Fee: Kids- INR 10, Adults- INR 20, Camera Fee- INR 25
5. Raj Bhawan
Raj Bhawan or the Governor’s House is a historical building and is one of the popular places amongst the tourists for places to visit in Nainital. Raj Bhawan is a Victorian style edifice built in 1899 by designer F.W. Steven and is the official residence of the Governor of Uttarakhand. It starkly resembles Windsor Castle with its British Raj architecture, and consists of two stories with 113 rooms, stately gardens, a swimming pool and an 18-hole golf course. It is located around 3 km from South of Tallital, Nainital. During the British times, it used to serve as the summer residence of the Governor of North-East Province in Nainital.
The Raj Bhawan in Nainital gets its eloquent beauty from its massive green golf course, which is open for public use, the fee for which is INR 800 for Men and INR 100 for women. You can hire caddies and also rent golf clubs. You can visit the house on a guided tour only when the Governor is not residing there, as he lives in Dehradun for the rest of the year. Usually, he comes to Nainital in May, and the tours are not available then.
Timings: 11 am, noon, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm & 4 pm (except in the month of May)
Entry Fee: Adult- INR 50, Child- INR 20
6. The Mall Road
The most central place in this city is Mall Road, one of the most common places to visit in Nainital. It’s a shopaholic, and a food lover’s paradise and the roads are lined up with street shops, shopping centres, banks, restaurants, hotels, jewellery and trinket shops, handicrafts and much more. When shopping at Mall Road in Nainital, you will need to be aware of the quality of the products you buy and accordingly haggle for the price. You may be surprised what a little patience and little time may fetch you at this flea market. This is a great tourist hub and has something for everyone. The road runs parallel to the Naini lake, connecting the two ends of the hills called the lower and the upper mall and offers a great view of the Nainital surroundings. If you want to experience this place in all its local flavours, then this is a must place to see in Nainital.
This is a prime location in Nainital for shopping, food, culture etc. and is teeming with tourists, who are found haggling over the prices of the different products being sold. Dig into some lip-smacking local food as well as Tibetan flavours like momos, thukpas etc. and make a great day of it.
Timings: 9 am to 10 pm
Many nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts make a beeline to Nainital for its numerous flora and fauna that makes up its lush green hillside forests. Kilbury is one such famous birding sanctuary in Nainital and is a birdwatcher’s paradise. It houses a wide range of birds and animals in their natural habitat in Nainital and which you can see up, close and personal. Situated at a height of 2,528 Kilbury is known to have over 580 species of birds living in its forests. You can enjoy the relaxing almost meditative sounds of the numerous birds chirping their sweet melody in the forests of oaks, rhododendrons and pines. You can witness birds like the Collard Grosbeaks, Forktails, White-throated Laughing Thrushes, Brown Wood-Owls, and many more easily seen with the naked eye or a pair of binoculars.
It is also the home of Naina Devi Himalayan Bird Reserve, and here you not only see gorgeous species of birds, but gaze upon majestic views of the Himalayan range. There is a tourist bungalow which caters to your overnight stay and other needs. Kilbury is located around 13 km from Nainital on the way to Pangot village. The best time for you to travel would be in March, May, June, and from September to December.
Timings: All days of the week before the sunsets.
Entry Fee: Free
This quaint village found just 15 km away from Nainital, is located in Kosiyakutoli Tehsil of the Nainital District of Uttarakhand and is a small and a scenic hamlet. Pangot is a must place to see in Nainital, with this village being at a height of 6,300 ft above sea level, it is well known across the country for its rich flora and fauna. The exotic bird life and other natural treasures are found in abundance here and is every bird watchers and photographer's delight. Nainital is home to many winter birds and the best time to visit this sanctuary would be from October to March.
Numerous bird species can be seen all along the way to Pangot, like the Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, Himalayan Griffon, Khalij Pheasant etc. along with all kinds of wild animals such as the Sambhar, Himalayan Goral, Leopard Cat, Wild Boar, etc. It is not so uncommon to find in Nainital since the famous Corbett National Park is situated just 80 km from Nainital and tourists often club this visit along with their Pangot trip. A road trip to Pangot is the ideal way to visit this place as it passes through the lush green forested area of Chenna Peak Range via Snow View Point and Kilbury which teem with a variety of birds and animals. And the beautiful freshwater streams flowing nearby add a charming appeal to the place. Pangot is an ideal place for a short vacation either with your partner or your family while on your trip to Nainital.
9. Snow View Point
One of the many tourist spots, Snow View Point, which is at a height of 2,270 m is among the places to visit in Nainital. To get to this viewpoint you can either trek uphill or take a cable car, which is most effective for a mesmerising aerial view of the majestic snow-clad peaks of the Himalayas. Motorable roads also connect the peak, so anyone who doesn’t have the luxury of time, while visiting Nainital, can drive up and enjoy the views of Nanda Kot and Nanda Devi along the way. There are plenty of shops once you reach the peak, from where you can buy souvenirs, clothes and other things. Or you can rejuvenate yourself at the food stalls with a quick snack and some tea while taking in the expanse of the beautiful surroundings of Nainital. There is also a kids amusement park at this point. And if you want to enjoy a drink, make your way to Snowview Heritage Hotel which has a well-stocked bar.
You can take the cable car in Nainital atop the peak from Naini Lake, and the stay is chargeable for each extra hour that you spend there. The highlight of this trip would be hiking to viewpoints like Naina Peak/ Cheena Peak which is 4 kms away.
Timings: 10.30 am to 5 pm (closed on Saturdays)
Cable car tickets: For a two-way cable car ride for Adults- INR 150, for kids- INR 75
10. Dorothy’s Seat (Tiffin Top)
Dorothy’s Seat or Tiffin Top as it is locally known is located in Aryapatta Hill of Himachal Pradesh and should also be added to your list of places to visit in Nainital. One of the best spots for places to visit in Nainital, the viewpoint offers mesmerising views of the town and the Himalayan range. Located at a height of 2,290 m, Dorothy Seat is a stonework perch on the Tiffin Top which was built in the memory of the famous artist Dorothy Kellet by her husband and serves as a famous picnic spot in Nainital. It got its name as the Tiffin Top after people started having their lunches atop the hill on Dorothy’s Seat. There are plenty of adventure activities happening here such as rappelling and rock climbing, and its tranquil and peaceful surroundings makes this a great place for photographers to visit.
You can have plenty of viewings of attractions of Nainital like the Naini Lake, Kumaon Hills from up here and on clearer days if you get lucky, you can also witness the majestic view of Nanda Devi.
Timings: 8 am to 11 pm
11. St. John Wilderness Church Located in Mallital, Nainital, adjacent to the High Court of Uttarakhand, St. John Wilderness Church is one of the oldest churches, built in the 1800s, and its architecture boasts of Neo-Gothic style with beautiful stained-glass windows reminiscent of European Churches. This church is the pride and joy of Nainital. The most tranquil places of worship and perched atop a beautiful pine and deodar trees lined hill, it makes for a pretty sight and captures the essence of the history of Nainital perfectly.
The entry to the church is free for all and gives you a sense of calm and a great time to reflect on your inner being. This helps awaken your spiritual self and relieves you from the daily stresses of life beautifully. You can engage in confession sessions as well, safe from judgement and crowd that helps take a load off of your shoulders and in a sense rejuvenates you. Many travellers coming to Nainital spend a considerable time enamoured by its spiritual and Zen-like feel and get their dose of calm and peace after spending a busy day of doing activities in Nainital.
Timings: 8 am to 6.30 pm and on Sunday- 7 am to 6.30 pm
The Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) is an autonomous institute located around 4.5 km from Nainital and is devoted to research and development in Astrophysics, Astronomy and Atmospheric Sciences. Situated at an altitude of 1,951 m, this Nainital observatory can be either visited by taxi or by foot and has one of the most advanced telescopes in India. The clear skies over Nainital prompted the government to set up an observatory here which was established in 1955 and later shifted in 1961 to this present location on Manora Peak, Nainital.
Places to visit in Nainital has taken a higher meaning, where travellers can get access to the observatory with prior permission and experience the pleasure of viewing celestial objects in the sky through their telescope. The Nainital tourists are shown around some of their working instruments during the day, and they are given a night viewing on three to four moonlit nights with prior permission. As long as the night skies in Nainital are clear, the movement of the stars, planets and other heavenly bodies can be calculated to great precision with the help of this telescope.
Timings: 2 pm to 4 pm (Saturday & Sunday closed)
Entry Fee: Free
13. Nainital Zoo (Pt. Govind Ballabh Pant Zoo)
Established in Nainital in 1984, Pt. G.B. Pant High Altitude Zoo or the Nainital Zoo as it is commonly known, is situated on the Sher ka Danda Hill in Tallital, Nainital. This zoo is one of a kind due to its height of 2,100 m and spread over an area of 4.6 hectares. The zoo has a host of endangered species of animals and birds which makes it one of the best places to visit in Nainital by nature lovers and photographers.
There are many exotic species native to the Nainital region like the White Peacock, Snow Leopard, Hill Fox, Siberian Tiger, Palm Civet Cat, Wolf, Himalayan Black Bear, etc. and some of them come under the endangered list. This is one activity you can do with kids and groups alike in Nainital.
Timings: 10 am to 4:30 pm
Entry Fee: For Adult - INR 50, for Kids (5 to 12 years) - INR 20 & Camera - INR 25, Videography - INR 200
Nainital has many quaint villages which have great hiking trails, and Binayak is one such small village panchayat in Pithoragarh District of Uttarakhand. This village offers one of the best trekking trails in the Himalayan range for tourists and adventure seekers. For hikers and trekkers everywhere, Binayak is well connected to different cities and towns across the country and makes for a worthwhile trek, where you can walk amidst the gorgeous flora and fauna. The trails are lined with Oak trees and lush greens plants and bushes with blooming seasonal flowers making hiking rejuvenating and a stress buster. Enjoy this moment with nature, which will be hard to find once you go back home. So soak in as much of Nainital as you can and rever in its offerings.
Summers, (from the month of March to June) and Autumn (September and October), is an ideal time for hiking in Nainital as it gives the travellers the much-needed respite from the heat in their resident place. The trekking distance from Nainital to Binayak is around 18 km and is connected by a kuccha motorable road starting from Kunjkharak to Nainital. So, if the trek gets to be too much and you decide to cut it short, you can take a shared taxi on this route as well. Please come prepared with proper walking gears like thick-soled shoes, since the pebbled road can bruise your feet with all that walking. Enjoy the verdant nature in all its glory and at leisure while on a hike here in Nainital.
15. Bhimtaal Lake
Around 20 Kms from Nainital, this glittering Lake City known as Bhimtal was named after Bhima, one of the charismatic brothers of Pandavas in the mythological story of Mahabharata. The lake is a scenic spot with a small island at its centre and is revered for its aesthetic beauty and appeal. Located proudly at an altitude of 1,370 m above sea level, this lake offers splendid views and visual vistas of nature’s beauty and makes for a more idyllic place than the bustling city of Nainital. This lake city is gaining popularity each day with honeymooners and love birds alike because of the serene and tranquil environment while providing many activities like water sports, birding, nature walks, hikes, and adventure treks for you to indulge in. At a small distance from Nainital, it is becoming popular amongst the tourist as one of the best tourist attractions, since Nainital becomes crowded during peak season and travellers want to enjoy its resplendent beauty without being bothered with the crowd.
Bhimtal is not only well connected via roads to Nainital, but features some of the most comfortable hotels and accommodations with prices more reasonable than that of Nainital hotel and thus gaining more popularity with tourists. As one of the best places to visit in Nainital, Bhimtal also nestles some of the holy temples like the 17th century Bhimeshwar Temple, which boasts of intricate architecture. Bhimtal covers a larger area than Nainital and makes for wonderful excursions, where tourists flock every year to enjoy the beauty of this place. There are various beautiful lakes in Nainital where you can spend time with your family.
16. Sattal (Saat Tal)
Sattal or Saat Tal is an interconnected group of 7 freshwater lakes tucked away in the lower Himalayan Range and is one of the best places to visit in Nainital. Located near the town of Bhimtal, in the Nainital District of Uttarakhand with numerous splendid lakes, it is no wonder that it is called the ‘Lake District of India’. These lakes in Nainital is surrounded by numerous Himalayan peaks which has an amazing assembly of pine trees and oak tree forests lined by colonial bungalows and majestic churches.
Sattal comprises of these 7 lakes namely Purna Tal, Sita Tal, Ram Tal, Laxman Tal, Sukh Tal, Nal Damyanti Tal and Garud Tal and is considered to be one of the few unspoiled and unpolluted freshwater biomes in the country. These lakes in Nainital are a seasonal home for migratory birds who escape the harsh cold of the Himalayan range and migrate to the lower areas for some time. Sattal is a paradise for bird watching in Nainital, and if you are an avid bird lover and photographer, then this is an ideal location for your vacation.
17. Sariya Tal
Located close to Nainital, Sariya Tal is an artificial, human-made lake with a stepped waterfall in the corner and lies on the main road on the way from Kaladhungi to Nainital and has numerous activities like paddle boating and water sports. So, if you are an avid adventure enthusiast or want to explore this place, you can make a pit stop here and enjoy the activities and the lakeside snacks and tea.
This Nainital Lake becomes full in September and is clean and is popular for its Himalayan Botanical Garden which is not only a research centre but also a Herbarium and a butterfly park.
Timings: 10 am to 5 pm
Entry Fee: INR 20
Sitabani, as the name suggests, has a great historical significance in Nainital and is believed to be named after Goddess Sita who supposedly had spent her days in exile here and had given birth to her twin sons, Luv and Kush, in this place. It houses many temples and is covered with a huge number of Oak and Sal trees, with myriads of flora and fauna, making it one of the main places to visit in Nainital. A perfect weekend getaway in Nainital, this place is a great place to unwind and find some solace from the hustle and bustle of city life. You can also enjoy wildlife safaris here and explore some fine birds and animals at leisure.
The whole place is teeming with numerous animals and rare, colourful birds which are exotic in nature. You can find animals like the Bengal Tigers, Sambhar, Spotted Deer, Nilgai etc. and birds like Emerald Dove, White Bush Chant, Red Wattle Lapwing, etc. You can also find numerous trees filled with juicy and ripe fruits like Jamuns, Jackfruits, Wild Mangoes, etc.
Timings: 7 am to 6 pm
19. Gurney House
Located in the Nainital District, Gurney House is a historic building and is considered as one of the best places to visit in Nainital due to its sheer magnificence. There is no entry fee to visit this place, but a prior appointment is a must as this former Nainital residence of the Hunter/ Conservationist/ writer, Jim Corbett, is a source of attraction for many tourists. NOw, a luxury resort, this place offers spectacular views of the Lake and its lush green surroundings. This Nainital colonial architecture is located right next to the Naini Lake and has a tiny museum showcasing the life story and achievements of Jim Corbett. There is a quaint little nursery on its premises with a variety of shrubberies and plants and adds a colonial charm to the house, making it as one of the important places for places to visit in Nainital.
20. Himalayan Center of Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Located in the verdant hills of Nainital in the Kumaon Valley, away from the cacophony of the city, the Himalayan Center of Sri Aurobindo Ashram aims at sharing the benefits of yoga and meditation with its visitors to help them attain spirituality, peace, good health and relaxation through practice. This ashram in Nainital conducts regular workshops, talks, training programs to manage stress and lifestyle and with prior permission from the ashram’s administration, you can also plan a stay at this tranquil place. The best months to visit the ashram while on your travels to Nainital would be during March, May, June and from September to December and there is no entry fee required to visit the ashram.
The Ashram is situated at Kilbury road in Ayarpatta, Nainital and the location is resplendent with breathtaking views of the mountains, flora and fauna. Aurobindo Ashram Nainital is at a distance of 23.3 km from Kathgodam and around 30.7 km from Haldwani, with Kathgodam lying en route from Nainital to Haldwani. Being well connected, you can opt for a local or state-run bus from Kathgodam to Nainital and taxis are also available on shared or individual rental basis from Haldwani to Kathgodam. Tourists from all over the world love to come to this Ashram in Nainital and be a part of the tranquillity and peace that this place offers. Have a look at this Uttarakhand tourism guide to experience the best of Nainital with family like never before!
After having explored Nainital to the hilt, you can relax and rejuvenate at Club Mahindra Naukuchiatal resort, which is perched up in a beautiful location in Nainital facing the Naukuchiatal Lake surrounded by misty hills and lush greenery. The Club Mahindra reviews for this Nainital resort are outstanding not only for its accessibility from the road and the railway station but also because the resort goes to that extra mile to provide you with the best and most unforgettable holiday experience. The Resort is located just 30 km from the nearest railway station, Kathgodam and is accessible with good road connectivity by road from Delhi to Nainital at a distance of 320 km.
You can enjoy this nearby resort from Nainital with its beautiful backdrop where you can watch the sun draping the mountains during sunrise and sunsets and breathe the fresh air which is few far in between in the humdrum city life you left behind for a short time. There are also thrilling activities in Nainital to tickle the adventure enthusiast in you with water sports like Kayaking, Canoeing and even paragliding. Nainital also has plenty of offerings for the nature lover in you, with birdwatching, hiking, lazing in the laps of the Himalayan range, and just being laid back while soaking in all the surrounding beauty.
The Club Mahindra Naukuchiatal Resort rooms in Nainital are comfortable and spacious and is fully equipped with a host of modern amenities like AC/heating, sofa, dry kitchenette, fridge, microwave, television and tea/coffee maker. The resort's reception is open for 24 hours and is at your service for any need big or small. This Nainital resort also has an in-house restaurant which serves some lip smacking and delicious local cuisines of Uttarakhand, which you can enjoy with your family and friends on your stay here.