As one of the most picturesque hill stations in India, Shimla is an ideal destination for anyone looking for a beautiful experience in the hills. From sprawling greenery to scenic views of the snow-capped Himalayas, Shimla has something for everyone. Located in the northern part of India, Shimla stares atop of the hills, offering some of the most gorgeous scenes of nature. No matter what time of year you visit, there are plenty of things to do in Shimla that you’ll love.
From visiting historic monuments to natural trekking and panoramic views and the best of Shimla hotels, you’ll be spoilt for choice!
Here are the top things to do when you’re visiting Shimla that you won’t want to miss:
Table of Contents
- 1. Take a Toy Train Ride
- 2. Visit the Himalayan Bird Park
- 3. Explore the Ridge
- 4. Take a Nature Walk
- 5. Go Shopping
- 6. Indulge in Adventure Activities
1. Take a Toy Train Ride
A ride on the miniature toy train is one of the most popular activities in Shimla. The toy train offers stunning views of the lush green hills, pine and deodar forests, and deep valleys. It’s a perfect way to explore Shimla’s spectacular natural beauty.
Things you should know about the Toy Train ride –
- It is a narrow gauge railway track operated by the famous Kalka-Shimla Railway Corporation.
- The Toy Train ride covers a total distance of 96 km and passes through over 102 tunnels and 864 bridges.
- The journey on the toy-train includes breathtaking views of the valley, picturesque villages and dense forests.
- Vehicles are not allowed in certain sections of the track and hence the toy-train should be taken for a ride for a stress-free journey.
- Sightseeing tickets, including the Toy Train ride, can be purchased from the Shimla Tourist Information Centre.
2. Visit the Himalayan Bird Park
The Himalayan Bird Park is home to a variety of birds, ranging from the endangered black-necked crane to sarus cranes, peacocks and snow partridges. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about the bird species in the area and appreciate their majestic beauty.
Things to know –
- The Himalayan Bird Park in Shimla is India’s only high altitude aviary, located in the picturesque grounds of the Himachal State Museum.
- The park is home to more than 150 species of birds, including some that are migratory and rare.
- It is a haven for bird watchers, with opportunities to spot species such as Golden Eagles, Common Crows, Kalij Pheasants, Hill Partridges, Himalayan Griffon Vultures, Snow Partridges and many more.
- Apart from the birds, the park also houses a variety of mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
- Guided tours are available to bring your bird-watching experience to life.
3. Explore the Ridge
Sitting atop a hill, the Ridge is one of Shimla’s main attractions. Visiting the Ridge is a must, as it offers incredible views of the surrounding mountains. Additionally, here you can find various activities such as horseback riding and funfairs.
Things to know –
- Ridge is home to many landmarks such as the historic colonial Christ Church, the State Library, the Victorian Gaiety Theatre, and Town Hall.
- A major feature of the Ridge is the ancient Kali Bari temple, dedicated to the goddess Kali, located at the highest point of the ridge.
- The Ridge has been a focal point for all the festivities of Shimla, like the annual summer carnival and the Shimla Winter Carnival.
- The Ridge is a major tourist attraction in Shimla and is often a hotspot for picnickers, joggers, and visitors to admire the breathtaking views of the valley.
4. Take a Nature Walk
The Jakhoo Hill and Annandale are two of the most scenic locations for nature walks. Both these places offer breathtaking views and some of the freshest air you’ll ever breathe. Nature lovers will love exploring these places as there is an abundance of unique species of flora.
Things you should know about nature’s walk in Shimla –
- Make sure you travel in small groups and respect the wild animals.
- Wear comfortable and appropriate clothing like long pants, closed-toed shoes, layers, and a hat.
- Bring water and a light snack in case you’re out longer than expected.
- Avoid stepping on and disturbing plants; observe them from a safe distance.
- Use insect repellent, sunscreen, and sunglasses during the day.
- Carry a map of the area and know your route beforehand.
- If possible, try to bring a guide who knows the local wildlife.
5. Go Shopping
Shopping in Shimla is a completely different experience. Here you’ll find shops selling traditional handicrafts, carpets, wall hangings, antiques, and local items like shawls, blankets, and even a local drink called ‘Chaang’. The Mall Road is the most popular shopping destination and it’s home to some of the city’s most popular and iconic stores.
Shopping destinations in Shimla –
- The Mall road is one of the most popular shopping spots in Shimla and is home to a large variety of shops, cafes, and restaurants offering everything from local handicrafts to high-end designer wear.
- Lakkar Bazaar, located on the Ridge in Shimla, is the main shopping hub and is an ideal destination for those looking for traditional Himalayan handicrafts made from wood.
- Located close to The Mall, Scandal Point is another great spot for shopping, especially for souvenirs and unique local jewelry items.
- Kufri is a popular destination for outdoor activities, as well as shopping. Here you can find a wide selection of woolen garments, warm winterwear, and other knick-knacks for sale.
- Church Lane Shopping Complex is located in lower part of Shimla and is a great place to purchase conventional Himachali items, like local woolen carpets, scarves, food items, and wooden toys.
6. Indulge in Adventure Activities
If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, then Shimla also offers plenty of adrenaline-filled activities. You can go skiing on the powdery snow of Kufri, go trekking in Chail, or try other adventurous activities like paragliding, rock climbing, and rafting in Tattapani.
Most Popular activities to do in Shimla –
- Rock Climbing
- Mountain Biking
- Trout Fishing
- Zip Lining
Shimla provides a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a break from the hustle and bustle of city life. There’s something for everyone to enjoy, from taking a mini train ride to exploring the city, hiking, nature walks, shopping, and thrilling adventure activities. So, if you’re in the mood for a truly memorable vacation, there’s no better place than Shimla to recharge and rejuvenate.
Q1. What are the best places to visit in Shimla?
A1. Shimla offers plenty of attractions for visitors, including the Mall Road, Ridge, Jakhoo Hill, Scandal Point, Shimla State Museum, Annandale, Green Valley, Chadwick Falls and Summer Hill.
Q2. What are the best adventures to experience in Shimla?
A2. Some of the best activities to try in Shimla include trekking, camping, mountain biking, paragliding, river rafting, rock climbing and skiing.
Q3. Are there any shopping markets in Shimla?
A3. Yes, Shimla has a range of shopping markets such as the Lakkar Bazaar and Lower Bazaar that offer everything from local handicrafts and traditional items to modern designer products.
Q4. What kind of cuisine is available in Shimla?
A4. Shimla is home to a variety of cuisines, such as Tibetan, Pahari, Punjabi, Gujarati, Chinese, Continental, etc. You can find these cuisines in many of the restaurants dotted around the region.
Q5. What are the best available options in Shimla Hotels?
A5. Hotels in Shimla are no less than its beautiful natural views. You can choose from a variety of options such as Himdev Hotel, Hotel Combermere Shimla by Eagle Eye, Pine Breeze Resort, Hotel Silverine, The Oberoi Cecil, Radisson Hotel Shimla etc and Treebo Hotels in Shimla when looking for top amenities at a budget friendly price.
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