Honnavar, The Untouched Paradise
If you were looking for a monsoon haven, then Honnavar is the place for you! Truly an untouched paradise, Honnavar is a small coastal town in Karnataka. It is home to lush greenery and one of the longest railway bridges in India. And if you’ve always admired the waterfalls in Bali, this little town might surprise you with its secrets!
In this blog post, you’ll find everything you need to know to plan a trip to Honnavar including where to stay, places to see and even things to do in Honnavar town. Find a few useful tips to make your visit even more fun and hopefully, you enjoy these photos too! Read on to know about how we experienced Honnavar for under INR 7,000 for three days and nights, all inclusive for two 😍
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Honnavar, the untouched paradise
I recollect one of our favourite sunset moments from this little town in Uttara Kannada district. Shish and I were sitting on Kasarkod beach just watching the waves crashing into the yellow sands. The sky was cloudy. It had indeed been a long day – we had visited a beautiful valley viewpoint, hiked along the state’s longest railway bridge, visited a few river islands and finished off with a hearty lunch at a garden restaurant. We just sat on the wet sand waiting for the waves to touch us! Oh that breeze of fresh air flying in from the Arabian sea was just something else.. you can imagine, right? Against the backdrop of the setting sun and the sky’s purple hues, we felt that Honnavar is an untouched gem in the lands of Gokarna, Goa, Udupi and Murudeshwara (all popular beaches in the region).
Maybe, these photos and video will inspire you as much as the place enchanted us!
The complete Honnavar Guide
This is the secret waterfall that truly feels like you’re suddenly in Bali. It is hidden in a small forest along the coast line. Interestingly, the waterfall is right behind the Apsarakonda Monastery – which is also worth visiting. Althought the water is shallow, it is very safe to play in. Also, there’s no trouble of leeches.
Tip: Best time to visit the Apsarakonda falls is in the early hours of the morning. You may have the whole place to yourself like we did.
Sharavathi Hanging Bridge
Located about 15 minutes away from Honnavar town, this Hanging Bridge is a famous landmark because of its beautiful, green surroundings. The bridge was built over the Sharavathi River in Upponi village. You can even request for boating during the tourist season (Sep – May).
Honnavar is made up of many smaller riverine islands. However, some individual villages spread over multiple islands. One of the largest villages there is Mavinkurve. It is the starting point for Backwater Kayaking and the Sharavathi Railway Bridge. Here, you can enjoy a nice walk in the old streets admiring traditional thatched-roof huts, colourful houses and pristine greenery. Once you step here, you’ll also notice how its got a little bit of a South Goa vibe to it.
Tip: Make sure to visit the famous Mavinakurve railway tunnel.
Another equally green, but less popular spot is Devaramote Island. In the mornings, you can see clouds floating gently above the coconut tree cover of the villageMostly inhabited by locals, you may not find any restaurants or cafes here. But if you are lucky, a local could guide you to feasting on some fresh seafood! It is located east of Mavinakurve. We recommend to visit Devaramote by boat.
Wondering where to stay in Honnavar? See here
Kalasinamote and Kandla Poolway
Kalasinamote is another small village island on the southside of river Sharavathi. Apart from enjoying the beautiful rustic setting and the backwaters here, you can also visit the Kandla Poolway. It is a wooden walkway built on a mangrove island. During hightide, the place looks magical! At other times, the water level is about 4 feet below the walkway!
Tip: To get to Kandla Poolway, find a road in between the two brick factories in Kalasina Mote and drive in through it to the dead end.
Sharavathi valley viewpoint
The most beautiful thing about Honnavar is its greenery! As a result, there is no better place to admire the natural vistas than from the Sharavathi Valley viewpoint. Hidden in the lush green hills above Mavinakurve, you can see all the big islands of Sharavathi river! You can also enjoy a view of the grand Sharavathi Railway Bridge and Road Bridge from up there.
Tip: Visit during day time since it is safest then.
Sharavathi Railway Bridge
This is regarded as one of the greatest engineering marvels in Karnataka! Not only was it built in 1994 to connect the Konkan Railway networks in the region, it is the longest in Karnataka! The bridge spans over two kilometers connecting Mavinakurve on the northside with Hosa pattna (via Kalasina mote) on the southside.
Tip: Do an early morning walk on the railway bridge starting from Mavina kurve to enjoy the good weather and the peaceful atmosphere. You can also visit Devaramote island on foot by this bridge.
No visit to Honnavar is complete without a backwaters kayaking experience on the Sharavathi river! You can rent a boat with a driver from multiple spots: the Honnavar port, Mavinakurve docks, Kalasinamote docks, Honnavar fishing harbour (south side), Molkod, etc. The prices start from INR 100 in sharing boats, but if you want something private, expect to pay about INR 500 for a good experience.
Tip: Ask the boatsmen to take you to ‘Kerala-style backwaters’ from Mavinakurve for the best spot!
Honnavar Port and Old Town
Honnavar port is located just below the elevated road bridge. Visit the bustling Honnavar Fish Market to see what the locals do everyday. There is also a beautiful garden restaurant near the market called “Green Park”. From the port, you can also rent a small boat to the islands. Or you can ask to go on board a fisherman’s boat to see what its like!
Tip: If you like seafood, then this is probably where you can see a huge variety of the day’s catch!
Eco Beach, Kasarkod
Honnavar is home to three beaches. Eco Beach is the most popular one and has been made tourist friendly by the government. There are kids play areas, cabana style umbrellas and its a safe beach to play in. Just a little to the north is Kasarkod beach, which is actually an extension of the Eco Beach. Further to the south, you can visit Apsarakonda beach. It is popular for boating and kayaking.
Tip: Enjoy sunsets at the Kasarkod beach for the least crowd.
Stay, food, transport, weather and budget
Honnavar has very few lodges available for online bookings. You can find some of them here. We stayed at Hotel Sagar by booking a clean, non-ac room for INR 1,000. It had two inhouse restaurants (veg and multicuisine) and a provision stores nearby. There was ample parking space and a beautiful valley view from the room.
Budget and costs: Food is very reasonably priced. Expect to pay INR 20 for a plate of Idlis, INR 30 for a pair of special buns, INR 60 for a full rice meal and INR 80 to INR 150 for more elaborate dishes. Street food is generally safe to consume. We had some street food at a cart just before the Honnavar bridge and did not fall ill. Fresh coconut water costs INR 30. Recommended restaurants: Kamat Restaurant, Green Park, Shiv Sagar.
Public transport is almost non-existent. Since the town is small, you can easily visit all of the touist places by hiring an auto (tuktuk) or taxi. Bargain with the auto-driver by laying out the list of places you want to visit and the time you want to spend at each place. Most places close at sunset – so start and finish your day early. Our suggestion is to do a roadtrip in your own vehicle if you live closer.
Weather is just like any other coastal town: hot and humid. During the monsoon season, it gets a little cooler. The best time to visit Honnavar is between September and March. April and May are unpleasantly hot and June-August is very wet (best for waterfalls and lush greenery).
Tip: Dress modestly to respect conservative local beliefs and traditions. Wear cotton clothing to beat the hot and humid weather, but also carry an additional layer for rains and evening chills, especially at the beach.
Itinerary for Honnavar
Download our FREE three-day itinerary, complete with working hyperlinks! Its got a simplified day by day plan that you can execute or keep handy for reference on your phone, tablet or even print it out.
Click on the image to open or download by clicking the button below.
Karnataka is indeed a very beautiful part of India and is very popular for its greenery and architecture! In fact, it is our home state and we’ve explored a few other places which you might just find just as appealing to explore! Check it out here.
If you have more questions or want to explore Honnavar with us, please write to us – we’d be very happy to help!
Shishira & Navneeth