Discover the best things to do in Bengaluru

An aerial view of Bengaluru at night
by Sarah Crake
20 October 2023

As India’s third-largest metropolis and the capital of Karnataka state, Bengaluru is a high-tech futuristic city with rich culture and history. Known as the Silicon Valley of India, this booming IT hub has a thriving restaurant and pub scene and is a dream destination for shopaholics.   

Modern Bengaluru boasts big city energy and you won’t be short of things to do. Expect glitzy malls, vibrant nightlife and top-notch international cuisine. Experience 7D cinemas that immerse you in the movie itself with mind-blowing special effects, and a sparkling new air-conditioned metro, Namma Metro, to help you beat the traffic.

Buzzing Bengaluru is also surprisingly green and leafy thanks to its elevation and pleasant climate, and with Mysore and Hampi – two of India’s most famous tourist destinations – on your doorstep, Bengaluru is the ideal gateway to southern India.  

So if you’re ready for an exhilarating trip, Virgin Atlantic is launching non-stop flights to this vibrant city from from London on 31 March 2024. Tickets are already on sale and Virgin Red members can grab a round-trip flight from just 20,000+ Virgin Points.* 

Step back in time 

One of the city’s most famous historic landmarks is Tipu Sultan's former palace, a prominent 18th-century Indian ruler known for his resistance against the British. The palace gives important insights into the city's history, along with the nearby 17th-century Venkataramana Hindu temple with its beautiful carvings and soaring towers.  

An image of Bangalore Palace

You should also check out the Tudor-inspired Bangalore Palace. Set in sprawling grounds, this former royal residence with its turrets, towers, and lavish interiors earned the nickname ’Windsor Castle of India’.

Down to a fine art 

Bengaluru's art scene has undergone a dynamic transformation in the past decade. The city is peppered with new galleries and the streets have become a lively urban canvas exploding with street art. Dive into this artistic melting pot and go on a mural-hunting adventure in hotspots like MG Road, Shivajinagar, and Koramangala.

Don't miss the chance to explore the world-class National Gallery of Modern Art, home to an impressive collection of avant-garde Indian artists. The Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath art complex is another must-visit, housing a superb array of Indian and international contemporary art across its 18 galleries. 

Sample South Indian street food 

From gastropubs to traditional Indians, Asian-fusion and fine-dining, Bengaluru’s restaurant scene is packed with global flavours. But as every Bengalurean would agree, no trip is complete without a crispy dosa (lentil flour pancake), idly (steamed rice cake), or vada (fried dumpling). These legendary South Indian comfort food delicacies come with delicious chutneys and are best enjoyed at one of the vegetarian eateries that line the aptly named VV Puram Food Street. 

An image of a south Asian meal

Mesmerising markets 

A visit to bustling Krishna Rajendra Market is a photographer’s dream. Situated in the heart of the old city, get set to experience a glittering whirl of textiles and technicolour spices. Make sure you arrive early to see the vibrant flower market in full swing. Marvel at the enormous coils of marigold garlands, strings of fragrant jasmine and scented rose baskets and don’t be shy about bargaining as the locals are open to some offers.  

An image of a flower market in Bengaluru

Roses are red 

Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens has a fascinating history that dates back over 250 years. Meaning ‘Red Garden’ after the year-round flowering red roses, these extensive gardens also house magical centuries-old trees and the world’s most diverse species of plants.  Another perfect place to escape Bengaluru’s frenetic traffic is Cubbon Park; known as the ‘lungs of the city’ this huge 300-acre green space right in the middle of the business district is overlooked by top hotels and impressive government buildings.  

An image of Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens in India

A slice of royal splendour  

Around three hours from Bengaluru by train or car, Mysuru is a must-see. The neighbouring city is famous for its fragrant sandalwood incense, gorgeous silks and stunning palaces that also gives fans of Ashtanga yoga ample opportunity to practise with a spectacular background. Amba Vilas Palace, one of the grandest Indian palaces is a huge tourist draw, especially on Sunday evenings when it's decked out in a dazzling display of 100,000 bulbs. 

An image of Mysore Palace in Bengaluru

Heavenly Hampi 

If you've got time for an extra adventure, consider an overnight train to Hampi. One of India's most enigmatic destinations, get ready to be wowed by sacred temples and ancient ruins as you wander around the colourful bazaar. Or take a lazy ride down a winding river in a cute coracle.

If you're into rock climbing, don't pass up the chance to scale the intriguing boulders that dot Hampi's lush landscape. With its breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, it's a good idea to plan for at least a two-night stay to truly soak up the magic of this unique World Heritage Site. But Hampi is so chilled, you might be tempted to linger a little longer. 

An image of Hemakuta Hill in Hampi in Bengaluru

If you’re keen to experience the buzz of Bengaluru, book your 2024 trip from London Heathrow to Kempegowda International Airport with Virgin Atlantic.   

Not a member yet? Sign up to Virgin Red today. 

*Based on an Economy seat from London to Bengaluru. Taxes, fees and carrier-imposed surcharges apply and vary according to choice of cabin, departure airport and date(s) of travel and are subject to change. Reward flights are subject to availability. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club membership required.