The Ultimate Manali Trip Guide: How to Explore & Plan Your Trip

5 Mins read

With year-end trips on the rise and reunions in motion, travellers are seeking destinations for that one perfect trip. A favourite among backpackers, an instant hit for family vacations and the first choice for honeymooners, Manali is a destination loved by all. Manali tourism is on an all-time high, and justifiably so! Covered in snow almost all year round, it promises idyllic landscapes that are almost ethereal. What’s more? It is home to quirky cafes, gorgeous eateries and handicraft shops that sport a range of unique items!

Well, if you are planning a trip to Manali anytime soon, or even later, here are a lot of things you need to know before you decide to take the plunge.  

How to reach Manali

Manali is well connected by road, though there are various methods to reach here. 

  • The nearest airport is Bhuntar Airport, approximately 50 km. away from Manali. There are flights that will connect you to Bhuntar from Delhi and Chandigarh. And from Bhuntar, you can take a prepaid taxi to Manali. However, flights are the least recommended option owing to the fluctuating weather conditions.
  • The nearest railway station is Joginder Nagar Railway Station, approximately 147 km. away from Manali.
  • Buses are the next option. You can easily get a bus from Leh, Chandigarh, Delhi, Shimla and other nearby places. 
  • Self-drive is one of the most preferred ways to travel to Manali. The drive here is simply a delight. Delhi to Manali is one of the most beautiful drives! However, travellers are advised to take taxis for hire in case they aren’t comfortable with mountain roads.

Best season & time to visit Manali

Manali weather promises spectacular sights all year round, however, the best time to visit Manali is during the summers, through the months of March to July. The weather is pleasant, with the temperature ranging from 10 degrees to 25 degrees celsius, which is also ideal for indulging in any and all outdoor activities.

Travelling and navigating during the monsoon season is tricky. During the winter months, a lot of nearby attractions become inaccessible because of the snowfall and the temperatures drop to -1 degrees celsius. Hence to experience the best of Manali, it is recommended to plan your trip during the summer months. 

What to pack on your Manali trip?

What to take along absolutely depends on when you are planning your trip, but here are a few essentials that you must take along with you regardless of when you go – 

  • Loads and loads of woollen clothes (Especially during the winters)
  • Light sweaters and jackets 
  • Gloves, beanies and good pairs of socks 
  • Comfortable trekking boots or closed shoes 
  • Sunscreen and moisturisers 
  • Power banks 
  • A good camera if possible 
  • Comforters and ponchos  

Things to do & local sightseeing in Manali

Divided into old and new Manali, this stunning hill station is brimming with sights to behold and places to experience. Here are a few Manali tourist places and others off-beat, that should definitely be a part of your itinerary when in Manali. 

Old Manali

Separated solely by the serene Manalsu River, the aura and vibe of old and new Manali are starkly different. It is amazing how a single water body can completely change the atmosphere of this hill station. Much more calm, slow and mud houses dotting the roads, Old Manali has a charisma of its own. The quiet bylanes and the laid-back attitude, paired with the hidden trails and treks overlooking the scenic sunset make for a good day trip or even more! 


Perched at a height of 1800 metres, Naggar Village is a quaint town in Kullu. Again, a scenic, tranquil town, Naggar has to be on your itinerary! Though this small village deserves a trip of its own, you should still definitely get a taste of it and squeeze in a short trip here. Teleporting you to an era of the past with beautiful temples in abundance and the towering Naggar Castle, it is definitely something you have to experience yourself.

Rohtang Pass

This is one of the most visited tourist attractions and is worth the hype. Attracting more than 25 lakh visitors every year, a drive through the Rohtang Pass is indescribable. During the winters it is covered in a thick blanket of snow, hence is shut from the months of November to March. And the rest of the year, a permit is required. 

Solang Valley

Solang Valley is a blissful and serene point. The drive up till here is no exception. Following the overall theme of Manali of beauty and calmness, Solang Valley overlooks the snow-capped mountains and the plunging valleys. While here, enjoy a piping hot cup of Chinese food from the roadside stalls, while you soak in the beautiful views from here. 

Famous places to eat in Manali

When in Manali, you have to try the local fare, along with the quintessential items. Have a look at this list of our favourites in Manali. 

Dylan’s Toasted and Roasted

All Bob Dylan fans, this place is for you! Housing a Bob Dylan painting, this cafe was earlier called Double Vision. A favourite among backpackers, and tourists, it’s famous for its mouth-watering cookies that will definitely leave you wanting more. 

Drifters Cafe

Looking for a place to enjoy the ambience, while your little ones are occupied? Drifters’ Cafe has got you covered! Serving an array of delicacies from burgers to pies and complete with a variety of board games, an unbeatable ambience and a gorgeous sun deck, this quaint cafe has it all! 

Cafe 1947

This one of a kind cafe is located along the banks of river Manalsu and is one of the first music cafes in Manali. Oozing an aesthetic and a vintage charm, it serves a variety of Italian dishes. Perfect for a quiet evening spent amidst nature or a night with live music in the background, it caters to all! 

Keylinga Inn

A rooftop restaurant set against the rising snow-covered mountains accompanied by delicious food, Keylinga Inn is a trifecta! The lip-smacking pizzas with a homemade base and in-house cheese make it an absolute must-visit when in Manali.

Homestays and villas in Manali

We host a collection of villas and homestays in Manali, ready to welcome you!

Lama House

Key features of this home – 

  • 6 bedrooms for 18 guests 
  • Beautifully verdant surroundings 
  • Regal interiors with fireplaces 
  • Sprawling lawns
  • Cosy library with a selection of books 
  • An open terrace perfect stargazing 
  • Furnished coffee lounge 

Book here – https://www.vistarooms.com/villa/the-lama-house

Lama House is a sprawling holiday home, ideal for family reunions!

Chalet Windflower

Key features of this home – 

  • 4 bedrooms for 11 guests 
  • Overlooking splendid sights 
  • Private jacuzzi 
  • Wooden interiors with a rustic charm 

Book here – https://www.vistarooms.com/villa/chalet-windflower 

The beautiful facade of Chalet Windflower

Thea Homes

Key features of this home – 

  • 6 bedrooms for 14 guests 
  • Nestled in the lap of nature 
  • Modern furnishings with leisure amenities 
  • Enjoy a lavish barbecue spread around the bonfire 
  • Lush green lawns with seating 

Book here – https://www.vistarooms.com/villa/thea-homes 

Make the most of the outdoors of Thea Homes

Casa Bella Vista

Key features of this home –

  • 6 bedrooms for 18 guests 
  • Enveloped in dense foliage
  • Overlooks breathtaking mountainscapes 
  • Private, furnished balconies 
  • Regal and royal interiors 

Book here – https://www.vistarooms.com/villa/casa-bella-vista

The exteriors of Casa Bella Vista

A summer holiday, wintery getaway or a monsoon adventure, whatever you decide to take, we got you covered. Now, all you have to do is get packing!

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Trying to navigate through the twenties, manoeuvring through the ifs and buts, Riya is an aspiring writer looking to expand her skillset. When she's not animatedly dissecting character arcs and storylines, you can find her trying to weave stories and dabbling into poems. She looks forward to all things fries, hardcovers and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
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