The state of Himachal Pradesh is famous for its stunning hill-station towns. So, it is no surprise that the capital city of Shimla is one of the most popular tourist destinations. The city offers picturesque views to tourists, while the city’s hospitality and delicious food significantly add to the experience. Over time, Shimla has curated a variety of possible experiences for its visitors. Here is a list of things to do in Shimla for your reference.
How to reach Shimla
By air: The Jubbarhatti Airport is the nearest airport to Shimla, located at a distance of only 22 km from the city. You can also access other nearby airports like Chandigarh Airport and Delhi airport, from where you can avail of taxis or buses to reach Shimla.
By rail: The nearest station is the Kalka railway station, located at a distance of 85 km from Shimla. You can cover the distance by bus or by taxi. Otherwise, you can also enjoy a ride on the toy train from the Kalka railway station to Shimla.
By road: Shimla is very well connected by roadways to many other cities of India like Kullu (235 km), Manali (280 km), Delhi (370 km) and Ambala (154 km). You can take luxury cabs from Delhi to Shimla, for a comfortable journey to Shimla.
Best time to visit Shimla
The winters in Shimla get pretty cold, and it also snows a lot. It is also dangerous to traverse hilly roads during the monsoon season due to the fear of possible landslides. Thus, it is best to visit Shimla in the summers, like in June. However, if you want to experience snow, the months of November to March are the best time for you to visit, as you can do snow-related activities during this time.
See also: Places to visit in Shimla
15 best places to visit and things to do in Shimla
Shopping on Mall Road
The most popular thing to do in Shimla is to walk along the mall road and explore the variety of shops. All these shops are full of items to purchase that you can take back. These items can range from memorabilia from your trip to items of decoration you can find a place for in your home. You can also find traditional Himachali clothing items in the shops here.
Ride the Toy Train
The toy train of Shimla is a fun way to enjoy the stunning views the city has to offer. The journey takes you through Kalka and Shimla and several tunnels that allow for breathtaking viewing experiences for everyone on the train. This experience is recommended highly by the locals and travel experts equally. The toy trains between Kalka railway station and Shimla run from 5:00 AM to 5:30 PM every day. The ticket prices for a journey on the toy train starts from Rs 320 for a one-way journey for adults and Rs 160 for children.
Stroll down the Ridge
An evening of leisure can be spent walking down the ridge in Shimla. You can enjoy the stunning views of the valley below and the clear skies above. The ridge is also full of street vendors selling mouth-watering delights you can indulge in.
Ice Skating at Shimla Ice Rink
If you are visiting during the winter, you can enjoy ice skating in the Ice Rink in Shimla. Many tourists visit the ice rink in Shimla to enjoy the sport. Moreover, Shimla has the only naturally-forming ice rink in South Asia, making the experience all the more special for the tourists. The timings for the skating rink are 8 AM to 11 AM and 4 PM to 7 PM. The entry fee for enjoying up to an hour at the rink is Rs 100.
Visit Christ Church
Christ Church was built during the time of the British Colonisation of India. It is North India’s second oldest church and has charming orthodox European architecture. At night, the church comes to life with the glow of lights, making it look even more splendid. The church is open between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM every day of the week.
Go sightseeing in Green Valley
If you have the time during your trip, a visit to Green valley is extremely recommended. To get to Green Valley and enjoy its scenic views, you must leave Shimla toward Kufri. During your journey, you will find yourself surrounded by lush green mountains in a valley where you can spend some time camping in the lap of nature. Green Valley is located at a distance of about 8 km by road from Shimla, which can be covered by taxi or bus.
Visit Jakhoo Temple
Jakhoo temple is not only one of the most sacred places of worship in Shimla, but it is also a beautiful point of vantage as it sits high atop Jakhoo hill, which overlooks the city of Shimla. You can visit the Jakhoo temple and learn a great deal about the cultural and religious heritage of Shimla. You can visit the temple between 7 AM and 8 PM any day of the week, by trekking through the 2-km trail from Shimla city. There is no entry fee for the temple.
A delicious meal at Cafe Shimla Times
To replenish your energy as you explore the gorgeous city of Shimla, you can eat at one of the most popular cafes in the city, Cafe Shimla Times. Here, you can find a variety of delicious food from a range of cuisines. The overall ambience and setting of the cafe are picture-worthy, and you will be treated with utmost hospitality.
Timing: 1:30 PM to 10:30 PM
Average cost of a meal for two people: Rs 1,500.
Shop at Lakkar Bazar
If you are looking to buy traditional Himachali handicrafts, Lakkar Bazaar in Shimla is the place for you. You can find handcrafted items from people that have been artisans of the traditional handicraft industry of Shimla for years. These items can serve as decorative statement pieces in your living space.
Timing: 9 AM to 7 PM
Visit Tara Devi Temple
Another sacred temple you can visit in Shimla is the Tara Devi temple. The temple is dedicated to the goddess of the stars, Devi Tara, and devotees offer their prayers at the deity’s feet in the temple. Further, the view from the temple is fantastic, so you have multiple reasons to visit the temple. You can reach the temple between 7:00 AM and 6:30 PM any day of the week.
Experience a Heritage Walk
The Heritage Walk experience is a guided tour of Shimla that accommodates sightseeing and exploration of the various heritage points in Shimla. You can learn about the city’s rich colonial history during your experience of the Heritage walk in Shimla. You can take a guided tour of Shimla for 1-4 people between 10:00 AM and 03:00 PM every day of the week, except on Mondays and national holidays. Depending on the sites/route covered in the package, the rates can vary from Rs 700 to Rs 2,500.
Visit Gurudwara Sahib
You can also visit the Gurudwara Sahib in Shimla. The fine marble design of the building and the holy and serene aura of the place leads it to become one of the most popular places to visit in Shimla. Therefore, if you are visiting, you must add a trip to Gurudwara Sahib to your itinerary.
Timing: 4:30 AM to 9:30 PM
Breakfast at Wake and Bake
After a night of adventure in Shimla, you can start the morning of the next day with a hearty breakfast of pancakes and waffles at Wake and Bake in Shimla. The cafe is famous for its taste of true Americana breakfast accompanied by delicious tea, coffee and other delectable snacks.
Timing: 9:30 AM to 10 PM
Average cost of meal for two people: Rs 800.
Go horse riding in the City Square
Another way to experience the city of Shimla is not on foot but on horseback. Several guides can take you on a horse ride through the town square and give you a local’s view of the city. The experience adds greatly to the beauty of the city. The price for this activity may cost you up to Rs 500 per person.
Visit Chadwick Falls
If you are looking to spend a quiet evening in the serenity of a natural waterfall, you must visit Chadwick Falls in Shimla. The cascading water of the waterfall surrounded by lush hills and quiet tranquillity add an air of peace to your experience of the city of Shimla. You can experience the beauty of Chadwick falls between 6:00 AM and 6:00 PM any day of the week for no required entry fee.
Is Shimla a good honeymoon spot?
Shimla is one of India’s most popular honeymoon destinations and can also prove to be an exciting tourist destination for young, solo and group travellers.
What is an ideal duration for a Shimla trip?
To enjoy Shimla and nearby hill stations to their fullest, a minimum of three days and 2 nights is recommended.