Shimla, the most sought after hill station, needs no introduction. Its lush greenery, pleasant climate, and snow-clad hills have attracted tourists for years. With a plethora of activities and places to visit in Shimla, the Queen of Hills offers more than you can hold onto.
But before we take you through the best things to do in Shimla, let us quickly scan through some essential information that will help you plan your trip to this beautiful hill station.
Best Time To Visit Shimla
Shimla is a year-round destination. However, due to heavy rainfall and the high possibility of landslides, it must be avoided during the monsoon season (July – September).
March – June: Summers in Shimla are pleasant and perfect for trekking, camping, and rafting. The temperature varies between 15 ° & 30 ° and you would need light woolens during the night hours.
October – February: Winters in Shimla are popular for snowfall and snow activities. The temperature varies between – 2 ° & 8 ° and you would need thick woolens.
The best time to visit Shimla is December – February, especially for those who wish to enjoy the snow. One can go skiing and ice-skating during this period.
How To Reach Shimla
By air: The nearest airport, Jubbarhatti, is located 23 km from the main city. The other nearby airports are Chandigarh and New Delhi.
By Train: The world heritage narrow gauge railways connect Shimla to Kalka. This toy train route is quite popular with kids. Further, Kalka is abundantly connected to all the major cities of India.
By road: Shimla is approximately 350 km from New Delhi, and 118 km from Chandigarh. Regular buses, both private and state-run, ply from Delhi en-route Chandigarh.
It is now time to explore the activities you can undertake in the hill station. To save you from the never ending chaos of narrowing your list, we have prepared a list of most popular things to do in Shimla.
1. Travelling in Toy Train: Passing through the green hills
Enjoying the Kalka – Shimla toy train ride is, indeed, one of the best things to do in Shimla. The old railway line along the mountains paints a tranquil picture of the place. Watch the other end of the train from your window as the toy-train moves like a snake on the curved tracks
2. Shopping at Lakkar Bazar: Pocket-friendly shopping in Shimla
When the sun reaches the horizon in the evening, Lakkar Bazar is a different sight, altogether. The long stretch of shops on either side offers some of the finest woodwork artefacts. Apart from artefacts, you can also buy winter wears at a very cheap price. At just a few kilometers away from our 4-star hotel in Shimla, Lakkar Bazar is a good place to pick souvenirs and little gifts for your loved ones.
3. Ice skating: Asia’s only open-air ice skating rink
Show off your skills at the open air ice skating rink is one of the things to do in Shimla during peak winters. The rink attracts thousands of people every year in search of an amazing ice skating experience. The ice is formed by a special technique that the British taught the Garhwali highlanders. The thickly forested hillside keeps it shaded and the low temperatures in winters prevent it from melting.
Timings: 8 am – 11 am and 5 pm – 8 pm; December – March
Cost: INR 100 – INR 200
4. Rafting at Tattapani: Best among the many adventure activities in Shimla
Located 50 km from Shimla, Tattapani is simply a heaven for adventure lovers. Nestled on the banks of Satluj, the region is popular for its natural hot water springs, lush green valleys, and one of the finest rafting experiences that attract thousands of tourist every year. A perfect weekend getaway, Tattapani will surely rejuvenate your soul.
Cost: INR 1,500 per person per ride
5. Witnessing sunrise at the Chadwick waterfall: The splendor of first rays hitting the water
Amidst the Glen forest lies the tranquil Chadwick waterfall. Located 7 km from Shimla, the waterfall is an ideal place to start your day with. The combination of aesthetic beauty and a serene environment makes it perfect for catching up on some solitude. And yes, witnessing sunrise at Chadwick fall is one of the best things to do in Shimla if you are a nature lover. The trek to the waterfall itself is extremely peaceful & enthralling.
6.Trekking to the top of Jakhu Temple: One of the many treks in Shimla
At an elevation of 2,455 m above the sea level, the Jakhu Hill is said to be the highest peak in Shimla. Trekking to the top of Jakhu Hill is one of the popular things to do in Shimla and is just 6 minutes drive from our hotel on mall road Shimla. Though it can be tiring on a sunny day, cloudy, windy and rainy days can turn this 2.5 km trek into one of the most enjoyable activities of your trip.
7. Walking through the pine forests: Enjoy a nature walk through the green splendor
There are many interesting short hikes from Shimla that take you through the pine forests in and around the city. Some of the beautiful trails lead you to the Glen, the Summer Hill, the Prospect Hill, and the Kamna Devi Temple. Owing to their beauty and the romantic weather, these nature walks are among the best things to do in Shimla for couples.
8. Photography at the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies
Built by the British, the building was made as a summer retreat for the Indian President. But it was passed on to the nation by Dr. S Radhakrishnan, the then President of India, as an institute to promote advanced studies in arts & humanities. The grand architectural beauty and the soothing surroundings make it one of the popular tourist attractions in Shimla. And the colonial building is perfect for some wonderful camera shots.
Timings: 8 am – 6 pm
9. Walking through the Military Museum at Annandale
If arms and ammunition excite you, then you must visit the Army museum located in Annandale. The museum exhibits various guns, uniforms, and the document of India – Pakistan war of 1971.
Don’t miss: The mini-golf course and helipad near the museum
Timings: 10 am – 5 pm
10. Catch a sunset at Café Simla Times, Hotel Willow Banks
Café Simla Times, best cafe in Shimla adjacent to Hotel Willow Banks, offers mesmerising views of the snowcapped mountains and the lush valley. A paradise for photographers and nature lovers, the splendid spectre of the sunset gets better when you start with a cup of freshly brewed coffee and end the evening with a wood fired pizza and a glassful of wine.
Hotel Willow Banks Shimla
So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and explore these amazing things to do in Shimla.