Crowning the Kumaon hills, Nainital is almost 2,000 metres high and offers astounding views of the Greater Himalayas. Curving around a picturesque pear-shaped lake, it’s known for its outdoor activities, lively eateries and the famous Mall Road.
Things to do
One of the first things many outdoor enthusiasts do in Nainital is board the aerial ropeway connecting to Snow View Point for sweeping views of the mountains and verdant forests. You’ll find oversized binoculars and a small temple and souvenir shack.
Back in town, nature abounds at Naini Lake where you can rent a pedal boat or rowboat. The Mall Road follows the lakeshore and is lined with trendy cafes, boutiques and hotels. The Himalayan Botanic Gardens also sits on the lakeshore and has a butterfly park, herbarium and fernery.
Travelling with the family? Kids will love Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary with its resident Asiatic elephants and High Altitude Zoo harbouring snow leopards, Tibetan wolves and black bears. You can also take an underground trek through Eco Cave Garden, a series of connecting caves and hanging gardens culminating in an evening musical fountain show.
Dining in Nainital ranges from seafood at the prestigious Boat House Club to Thai curries at Sakley’s Restaurant and Pastry Shop, a great place to try the signature Bal Mithai dessert. For traditional Tibetan cuisine, spend an evening at Sonam in the Tibetan Market.
The closest location for renting a car is Pantnagar Airport, about 40 kilometres from Nainital. It’s easy to get around on foot in the lake area, while cycle rickshaws and taxis are also available.