Manali and Shimla, both are located in Himachal Pradesh; Shimla is the queen and Manali is the Jannat of Himachal Pradesh.

Which one is better Manali or Shimla?
Which one is better Manali or Shimla?

Manali and Shimla are tough competitors, equally stunning, accessible, and surrounded by breathtaking landscapes with magnificent mountain peaks.

Himachal Pradesh, situated in the northernmost part of India, has been a hub of global migration. Initially known as a winter resort for Indian travelers seeking snow-covered mountains, it boasts stunning landscapes during the winter season.

Whenever you plan to visit a hill station, this question will definitely hit your mind at first,

Which one is better Manali or Shimla?


Manali and Shimla have their own charm but are very similar in nature. The duo is predominantly frosting in winter and moderately warm during summer. In winter, both are covered with dense snow. Therefore, these places are known as Switzerland of India.

Shimla, also called Shimla City, derives its name from Shyamala Mata, a fearless form of the goddess Kali. As the capital and largest city of Himachal Pradesh, this captivating destination has long mesmerized visitors with its beauty. The British army was so taken by it that it became their summer retreat.

On the other hand, Manali is yet another mesmerizing travel destination. It is a resort for tourists in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh. One can call it a cherishing tourist town in the lap of Himachal Pradesh. It’s just the door of heaven to numerous adventure activities that you can engage in here. Likewise, Shimla and Manali bring a different travel experience altogether with the change in weather.

So far I am sure you have planned to visit both places at least once in your lifetime, but still thinking about which one is better and which one to visit first, Manali or Shimla?

Let’s figure out a few of the key factors which will help you decide, which one is better Manali or Shimla.

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Accessibility to Manali and Shimla from Delhi

Accessibility to any travel destination is one of the key factors for the traveler. This includes three sub-factors, how to reach, how much time it will take, and how much it will cost.

How to reach Shimla from Delhi – Wanderers might be thinking about how to reach Shimla, I would like to give a note here. Shimla is one of the most easily accessible hill stations as a travel destination in India. There are many ways one can reach Shimla, it is very well connected to major cities of India, in fact, Delhi.

  • HPTDC and HRTC Government buses are one of my favorites, they operate every day from Delhi ISBT. It is just an overnight journey from Delhi to Shimla via Panipat, Karnal, Pipli, Ambala, and Chandigarh. It may cost around rupees 600 to 1500.
  • Another way is to take a train from New Delhi Railway Station. The journey will be in two stages Train from New Delhi Railway Station to Kalka Railway Station by train Kalka Shatabdi Special 02005 then Kalka to Shimla Railway Station by train Shimla Express Special 04543. The first cost ranges from rupees 130 to 1200 and the later cost ranges from rupees 70 to 500.
  • Earlier there was one more way to reach Shimla from Delhi, that way airway. There is a Jubbarhatti Airport almost 25 km before Shimla, which is a domestic airport connecting Shimla to Delhi. After the shutdown of Kingfisher Airlines, there are no scheduled flights to Shimla from Delhi and vice versa.
  • My other favorite is driving myself to Shimla from Delhi, which is just 350 Km from Delhi. Driving through the mountains is seriously an experience on another level altogether.

How to reach Manali from Delhi – Reaching Manali from Delhi is not as easy as Shimla, but still, there are many ways you can visit the mesmerizing landscape of Manali, the heaven of Himachal Pradesh.

  • The fastest way to reach Manali from Delhi is the flight to Kullu Manali Airport from Delhi Airport then take a taxi to Manali. It will be somewhere around 4 hour’s journey plus time to reach the airport from your residence in Delhi. This is obviously an expensive bet.
  • The cheapest way is undoubtedly the bus from ISBT Delhi. Likewise, for Shimla, Manali also HPTDC, and HRTC Government buses operate every day from ISBT Delhi. It may cost around rupees 600 to 2000.
  • Driving yourself to Manali is still an option, but it is quite a good distance from Delhi to Manali; the Distance is near about 535 Km from Delhi to Manali.

I hope this might have helped you a little bit. So after knowing the fact Shimla is easily accessible, can you answer to yourself now for the question, “Which one is better Manali or Shimla?”. Still confused let’s check out the accommodation options available in Manali and Shimla.

Accommodation in Manali and Shimla

Accommodation is another key factor for most travelers since not everyone can stay anywhere.

Where to stay in Shimla – Since it is one of the most easily accessible hill stations and of course most famed travel destination, one can find many options for staying in Shimla across the hill station. I would suggest booking your stay well in advance in peak season. It is so close to Chandigarh that as soon as the snowfall news breaks out, people from Chandigarh pack their bags and reach Shimla in a couple of hours.

Though there are plenty of options available in Shimla, my recommended stays would definitely be at heritage resorts maintained by HPTDC. The reason behind this is the fabulous location they have acquired, and these all are from the time of British people.

A few of my personal favorites are,

  • Hotel Peterhoff, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh – a property near the heart of Shimla, the Mall Road.
  • Hotel Apple Blossom, Fagu, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh – I love the peace around the property, and mostly covered with fog throughout the day.
  • Hotel Golf Glade, Naldera, Near Mashobara Valley, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh – a beautiful location very close to the golf course.
  • Hotel Hatu, Naldera, Himachal Pradesh – Surrounded by an apple orchard, a kind of untouched place almost 65 km from Shimla mall road. I bet if you stay at this property, you’ll have to push yourself very hard to leave that place. This is so damn amazing.
  • There are plenty of 4 and 5-star hotels in Shimla.

Where to stay in Manali – Just like Shimla Manali is also quite a famous destination in Himachal Pradesh, finding a stay won’t be that much difficult. Same as Shimla, HPTDC offers resorts at a premium location in Manali. You can definitely go check their website for more details.

I definitely don’t suggest people stay near Mall road, neither for Manali nor for Shimla. These places are always crowded with lots of people. If you are going to the hill station your stay must be in the hills.

Let me list down a few of the amazing properties in Manali you would definitely want to stay,

  • Span resort and spa, Manali, Himachal Pradesh
  • Shivadya Resort, Manali, Himachal Pradesh
  • Anantmaya Resrt, Manali, Himachal Pradesh
  • Apple Country Resort, Manali, Himachal Pradesh
  • Of course, there are plenty of other 4 and 5-star properties.

Since there is an endless list of accommodation options available in Manali or Shimla, answering which one is better has become even more difficult. Isn’t it? Without knowing the attractions in any travel destination it is really hard to decide which one to visit. Let’s check out the attractions offered by Manali and Shimla.

Tourist attractions in Manali and Shimla

Tourist attractions and their accessibility during your stay holds one of the major factors, that can help you decide which one is better to visit among Manali and Shimla.

Shimla – Shimla is such a crowded place and most of its attractions are close to each other. If you have planned to stay near Mall Road you can easily cover all of them in a day or two. But I don’t suggest staying near Mall Road for a long time, just staying for a day or two and trying to cover all these attractions.

If possible stay in Mashobara, Naldera, Fagu, or Narkanda for the rest of your days for a peaceful and mesmerizing holiday.

Listing few of the major attractions in Shimla that you can visit if staying near Shimla Mall Road,

  • The Mall Road, Shimla
  • The Ridge, Shimla
  • Christ Church, Shimla
  • Shri Hanuman Mandir, Jakhoo Temple, Shimla
  • Kali Bari Template, Shimla
  • Botanical Garden & Hotel Peterhoff, Shimla
  • Himachal State Museum, Shimla

In my suggestion, don’t use your personal vehicle to spot these attractions in Shimla, since Shimla is one of the most crowded hill stations and you’ll probably put yourself in trouble driving across the city.

Manali – Manali has even more to offer its tourist, but of course, they are not as close as Shimla. Deciding on which one is better Manali or Shimla is going to be a lot easier after you go through the following attractions in Manali,

  • The Mall Road, Manali – Every hill station has a mall road.
  • Hadimba Devi Temple, Manali – at walking distance from Mall Road.
  • Manu Temple, Manali – 2 Kms from Manali city center
  • Jogini Waterfall, Manali – 4 km from Manali city center
  • Solang Valley, Manali – 8 km from Manali city center
  • Rohtang Pass, Manali – 16 kms from Manali city center
  • Old Manali – 2 km from Manali city center
  • Sethan Valley, Manali – 3 km from Manali city center
  • Vashisht Bath, Manali – 1 km from Manali city center
  • Sissu, Manali – 27 km from Manali city center
  • Atal Tunnel, Manali – 17 km from Manali city center
  • Arjun Gufa, Manali – 0 km from Manali city center
  • Bhrigu Lake, Manali – 8 km from Manali city center
  • Malana, Manali – 21 kms from Manali city center
  • Van Vihar, Manali – 0 km from Manali city center
  • Himalayan Nyingmapa Buddhist Temple, Manali – 0 km from Manali city center
  • Kothi Village, Manali – 8 km from Manali city center
  • The great Himalayan National Park, Manali – 63 km from Manali city center
  • Naggar, Manali – 14 km from Manali city center
  • Gulaba, Manali – 0 kms from Manali city center
  • Rahala Falls, Manali – 8 kms from Manali city center
  • Jana Falls, Manali – 8 km from Manali city center
  • There is an endless list of attractions in Manali.

Looking at this long list of tourist attractions in Manali, I am sure now you would have made up your mind to travel. Can you answer it now, which one is better Manali or Shimla? Please share it on your favorite social media along with your side of the story.

Adventure activities in Manali and Shimla

Adventure activities could be a factor to decide further that, which one is better Manali or Shimla?

Shimla – Although Shimla is not known as an adventure destination, still you can find a few adventure activities. If you are visiting Shimla in the summer, then you can enjoy trekking, paragliding, and mountain biking. For adventure activities you should visit Shimla in winter, you can enjoy activities like skiing, ice skating, and heli-skiing.

Manali – Clear winner! Winner Winner Chicken Dinner! That’s right, Manali is a hub for adventure activities. Just take a cab to Solang Valley and indulge yourself in winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, snow scootering, or tobogganing. Let me list down the activities you can enjoy in Manali,

  • River Rafting – Fight the gushing waters of Beas river
  • Paragliding – Imagine yourself an Eagle
  • Mountaineering – Go beyond your comfort
  • Zorbing – See the world upside down in from the big inflated ball.
  • Jeep Safari – Travel with the local
  • River Crossing – Challenge your fears
  • Angling – Catch your own seafood
  • Quad Biking – Cross the varied terrains
  • Camping – Witness a thousand stars after the sunsets
  • Trekking – Conquer those mountains
  • Zip-lining – Swish through the jungles
  • Rock Climbing – Challenge your physical strength
  • Cable Car Ropeway – Witness the miniature town below
  • Rappelling – Climb down a rock
  • Bungee Jumping – Leap into the arms of nature

Winter is coming! Get ready to pack your bags.

  • Skiing – Play around the snow and become a skiing professional
  • Hiking – Stroll amidst the nature
  • Mountain Biking – Embrace the adrenaline rush
  • Snowboarding – Slide along chilly winds
  • Snow Scooter – Skid through the snow
  • Tobogganing – Slide down snow-covered slopes

After reading this section, what are your thoughts on our discussion “Which one is better Manali or Shimla?” Manali is clearly getting higher votes.

Foodies get ready

Food is an important aspect when selecting a travel destination, it purely depends on your taste and what you want to eat. My way of judging which one is better Manali or Shimla? It’s where I can easily get the local food and if that is worth trying.

Shimla – One can easily find a combination of cuisines like Tibetan, Chinese, Indian, and a few international ones, but it’s really tough to find any local dishes here. You can easily find almost any chain of restaurants operating in India.

Manali – As the name suggests, Old Manali is the place where you can definitely find the local cuisines. Along with that, there are numerous entries and street food stalls around the city center.

So all you foodie’s out there, I believe it’s easy for you now to answer Which one is better Manali or Shimla?

The Verdict – Which one is better Manali Or Shimla?

Our voting has clearly identified the winner of this tough competition between Manali and Shimla. Manali wins this race by 2 points, in fact, it will be 3 points; I haven’t accounted for the crowd that you have to face in Shimla.

Recommending, if you are reaching Shimla by private vehicle, park it at hotel and visit attractions by foot or hire a cab. Expect hawkers and noise across the city, it is so crowded.

Manali is definitely a better choice for someone who enjoys adventures. Manali can be visited in summer as well as winter, you can find adventure activities across the year. Summers are moderately warm so you can escape the heat of summer in Delhi of course.

Hope you enjoyed it and helps you decide which one is better Manali or Shimla for your next trip. :)

Related FAQs

Which one is better Manali or Shimla for the honeymoon? Which is the best place for a honeymoon Shimla or Manali?

Shimla is mostly a crowded place, so definitely Manali with its peaceful and mesmerizing landscapes.

Which month is best for Shimla and Manali?

If you want to run away from the heat of summer, then April, May, and June; avoid the monsoon season.

Which one is better Manali or Shimla in winter?

Undoubtedly Manali.

Which one is better Manali or Shimla in summer?

Undoubtedly Manali.

Which one is better Manali or Shimla for adventure?

Manali is an adventure hub both in winter and summer.

Which one is better Manali or Shimla for a family holiday?

You can visit any of the locations, both places have temples and serene views, and beautiful landscapes.

Which one is better Manali or Shimla for a foodie?

Foodies can find local cuisine in old Manali

Which one is better Manali or Shimla, if we ignore the crowd of Shimla?

It will be a tie between Manali and Shimla, but still, Manali will have an edge because of its long list of adventure activities.

Which one is better Manali or Shimla for kids?

Undoubtedly, in Manali, kids will enjoy all the adventure activities.

Which one is better Manali or Shimla for old people above 60 years?

Avoid the winter season then both Manali and Shimla is fine.

Which one is better Manali or Shimla for unmarried couples?

Shimla is mostly crowded, couples need a peaceful place so go for Manali. And these days most hotels allow unmarried couples.

Which one is better Manali or Shimla for winter sports?

Manali is the hub of winter activities but if you are really interested in snow sports check out for Auli in Uttrakhand.

Which one is better Manali or Shimla for paragliding?

paragliding paraglider mountains glacier sailing wing paragliding - World Travel Packages

Paragliding can be done in Solang valley.

Which one is better Manali or Shimla for shopping?

Manali offers a wide range of local handmade articles, which you can buy at multiple places like Old Manali market, Tibetan Market, Himachal Emporium, Manu Market, and The Mall Road

Which one is better Manali or Shimla in monsoon?

himachal pradesh is prone to landslide in monsoon

A big NO. Don’t travel to any hill station in the monsoon. These hills are prone to landslides in monsoons.

Which one is better Manali or Shimla if you travel by own vehicle?

Owning a vehicle is good to reach Shimla but avoid driving in the city, on the other hand reaching Manali will take a lot of time on your own vehicle but is good to have; as most of the tourist attractions are far from the city center.

Which one is better Manali or Shimla if you travel by public convenience like the bus?

Shimla will win this race since you don’t want to drive in the crowd; in Manali, you’ll have to take a cab which will become much more expensive,as most of the tourist attractions are far from the city center.

Which one is better Manali or Shimla if you travel by flight?

Manali of course, it’s really fast and Shimla doesn’t have operational airlines.

Which one is better Manali or Shimla for the girl’s group?

which one is better manali or shimla for girls group

Of course, Manali is less crowded.

Which one is better Manali or Shimla for groups?

Of course, Manali, since Shimla is already crowded.

Which one is better Manali or Shimla for corporate events?

If corporate can afford then obviously Manali.

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