North Canara (Uttara Kannada) Travel Guide - eNidhi India Travel Blog

North Canara (Uttara Kannada) Travel Guide

Uttara Kannada or North Canara is a popular tourist destination in Karnataka. It is located north of Udupi and Shivamogga districts bordering Goa and Maharastra and is popular for Dandeli wildlife, rafting, beaches of Gokarna, Murudeshwara and dozens of waterfalls.

North Canara high level map. Each of this city has more attractions as you explore deeper.

In this post, I am trying to simply your travel planning to Uttara Kannada.

North Canara Travel Basics:

1. Major cities/Entry Points:

  • Karwar is the capital city. Kumta, Dandeli, Ankola, Sirsi are other major cities to enter North Canara.
  • There are no airports in North Canara district, but Goa, Mangaluru and Hubballi airports are the nearest (100-250 kms)
  • Konkan Railway passes through North Canara, so Karwar, Kumta, Honnavar etc have railway stations with train access from Bengaluru, Mumbai etc
  • KSRTC has buses to Sirsi, Karwar, Kumta etc from Bengaluru. You may get more bus options from nearby big cities like Hubballi, Mangaluru, Shivamogga, Belagavi etc to enter various destinations inside Uttara Kannada.
2. How much time to spend, where to stay
North Canara is a large district with diverse set of attractions. You will not be able to explore all in one visit. If you have limited time like 3-4 days only, focus on one city or destination and explore it well. You can plan another visit for rest of the district. Dandeli alone needs 3-4 days, waterfalls spread around the district can take about a week, beach destinations on their own can keep you busy for 3-4 days, so select a region or subject of interest and focus on that.

Popular Waterfalls

Popular Beach Cities

1 Unchalli Falls

2 Magod Falls

3 Apsarakonda (Honnavar)

4. Sathodi falls

5. Vibhooti Falls

6. Vajragundi falls (Kumta)

1 Gokarna

2 Murudeshwara

3 Honnavara

4. Karwar

5. Kumta 

Popular Temples

Adventure Options

1 Idagunji Mahaganapathi

2 Sirsi Marikamba

3 Murudeshwara Shiva

4 Gokarna

5 Ulavi

6. Sodhe Matha (Sonda)

1 White water rafting in Dandeli

2 Netrani Scuba Diving

3 Warship Museum in Karwar

4. Trekking

5. Wildlife Safari

6. Yana Rocks hiking

7. Bird watching in Dandeli

Planning your stay in North Canara (Uttara Kannada)

You won't be able to stay in 1 place and cover all. Keep a base, explore nearby areas and move to next destination for next few days if you are planning a longer visit



1 Jungle Lodges Kali Adventure Camp

2 JLR Ganesha Gudi

3 Dandeli Jungle Camp

4. Forest Department Nature Stay

1 Sterling Resorts

2, JLR

3 Hotel West End



1 Tavarumane Homestay

2 Magod falls forest dept guest house


Gokarna has several budget hotels, homestays as well as luxury resorts. JLR, CGI Earth Resorts are a few


Other Destinations

1. RNS 


Palm Beach Huts, Kumta

Mode of transport:

Own vehicle or taxi is the best way to explore North Canara. Public transport is available cities but may not take you to all tourist destinations. Autos also will take you around in city limit only. Hire a taxi from Sirsi, Kumta, Karwar, Gokarna or from Dandeli if you don't want to drive all the way.

Suggested Itineraries

Plan 01: Dandeli 4 days (wildlife, birding and adventure)

  • Day 01: Arrive in Dandeli by noon, rest
  • Day 02: Kali river rafting, forest safari & bird watching
  • Day 03: Nearby attractions- Syntheri rocks, Ulavi caves, waterfalls etc
  • Day 04: Additional early morning forest safari, Return or proceed to next destination

Plan 02: Beach Trail (Karwar, Gokarna, Murudeshwar)

  • Day 01: Arrive in Karwar, explore Devbagh beach, Kurumgad island etc. Overnight in Karwar
  • Day 02: Karwar warship museum, Sadashivgadh etc, drive to Gokarna
  • Day 03: Om beach, Gokarna Beach and Kudle beach- watersports, sunset view, trekking, temples
  • Day 04: Stopover at Honnavar-Apsarakonda, Mangrove walk, suspension bridge and Kasarkod beach. Arrive at Murudeshwara, beach, scuba diving and temple visit

Plan 03: Waterfalls trail (Sirsi & around)

Tried a part of it last August in 3 days. You can plan better. Waterfalls in North Canara are spread around and in a day you may visit two major waterfalls at the max. So to explore all waterfalls in Uttara Kannada you would need a week. Below is what I suggest, best visited between August and November for maximum waters.

  • Day 01: Visit Unchalli falls while heading towards Sirsi from Bengaluru
  • Day 02: Magod falls (early morning) and Sathod falls (second half)
  • Day 03: either proceed towards Dandeli or towards Kumta (Vibhooti, Apsarakonda etc)

Plan 04: Adventure trail (Kumta-Murudeshwara-Karwar-Dandeli)

  • Day 01: Arrive in Kumta, Mirjan Fort, visit Yana Rocks, Reach Murudeshwara by evening
  • Day 02: Scuba diving in Murudeshwara (Half day)
  • Day 03: White water rafting in Dandeli (morning half, Wildlife Safari & bird watching (evening)

Plan 05: Express stops (only suggests short diversion from Highway, ideal for those passing through)

North Canara tour- key points to remember
  • Some roads are in bad condition. Don't assume smooth ride. Expect slow travel/delay. Some destinations like Sathodi falls have pathetic roads and might even be closed at times.
  • Don't plan hectic schedules or aim to cover everything. Won't work out. Within the time you can afford to spare, plan what best you can explore in and around one city
  • Some waterfalls might be closed for reasons such as heavy rain, covid etc. Have a plan B in case your primary attraction is not working out.
This post is being continuously updated. Do share your thoughts.

Check an exclusive plan for exploring Honnavara here


Appreciate your efforts and interests to comment. Comments may be moderated due to increased spam. Will ideally respond to comments within few days.Use Anonymous option if you don't wish to leave your name/ID behind- Shrinidhi

Powered by Blogger.