Belgaum got its name from Venugrama, meaning "bamboo village". It is the district HQ. The most ancient place in the district is Halsi; and this, once the capital of a dynasty of nine Kadamba kings. In 1776 the country was overrun by Hyder Ali of Mysore, but was retaken by the Peshwa with British assistance. In 1818 it was handed over to the British East India Company, and made district of Sangli state.
There are several names available for Belgaum city. Marathi people call it as Belgaon, Kannada people call Belgavi, South Karnataka people call it as Belagam.
Belgaum is in the northwestern part Karnataka, near its borders with Maharashtra and Goa, 502 km from Bangalore, 500 km southeast of Mumbai and 125 km southeast of Goa, at the foothills of the Sahyadhri range (Western Ghats) at an altitude of 25,00 feet (779 m) above sea level. The weather of Belgaum is pleasant, owing to its hilly topography. Summers (April–June) are mildly hot and winters are cool (November–February). It experiences heavy southwestern monsoon rains during July–September. It receives as much as 50 inches of rain annually.
Belgaum is connected by road via the National Highway #4, connecting Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu; and NH-4A, connecting Karnataka and Goa.
Bus operators plying between Mumbai, Belgaum, Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad include VRL (Vijayanand Road Lines), Pai Travels, Barde Travels and PVG.
Belgaum is on the main Indian Railways grid, well connected by rail to major destinations such as Bangalore (via Hubli), Mumbai, Pune/Delhi (via Miraj) and Goa.
Belgaum has excellent city bus connectivity and also for the rural area around Belgaum, the charges are nominal around ₹10 from one end to the other part of the city . Private and Gov't Buses also provide transport for commuting between Hubli, Dharwad, Goa, and other nearby places .
This is cheap way of transport between attractions. Though not metered always it would be wise to ask the approximate amount from a local.
Normally, taxis are not needed unless you plan to go way out of the city. If you want to move around in city, Autos and buses are good enough.
There are many rental companies offering cars with drivers or self-drive, including Hertz on College Road.
The old stone fort, built in 12th century AD by the local Ratta rulers, is an important spot, though hardly anything of the original structure remains. One can view the splendid Kamal Basti (Jain temple), within the fort's premises. The Fort premises also hosts the Sri Ramakrishna Mission Ashram. This fort was renovated and built on by successive rulers who ruled Belgaum from time to time. Belgaum's Watchtower and Sunset Point should not be missed if one wants to savor the scenic beauty surrounding this small town.
Belgaum is famous for its temples and the religious-minded traveler could find a number of temples here, the main ones being Kamal Basti (in Belgaum Fort) Kapileshwar temple, Shani temple and the Maruti Temple.
A number of religious monuments are located within the cantonment area-the Masjid-Sata mosque, which dates back to the 16th century AD, the Mahadeva temple with its beautiful gardens, the St. Mary's Church of England, St. Xavier's Church, Catholic Cathedral and St. Anthony's Church, all lie within the lush green environs of the Cantonment.
- Trekking around Jamboti and Amboli ghats.
- White water Rafting on the Kali Nadi at Dandeli.
- Paragliding activities around Belgaum (NCC).
The cuisine has a mixed flavour of central (Marathi)and north Indian flavours. This would be the place to try Chats and other Maharashtrian delicacies in Karnataka. Solkadi, a drink made from Kokam fruits, is also a Goan import goes well with fish. Belgaum's famous sweet, Kunda, is available in all major sweet shops.
- Ajanta cafe is excellent for its Puri Bhaaji, Dosas and Spl Chai.
- Aadinarayan, Kirloskar Road (Bogar ves). Famous for fish.
- Hotel Aadinarayan, Kirloskar Road (Bogar ves). Famous for fresh seafood.
- Among the favourite joints for ice cream is Natural Ice Cream of Juhu Scheme. It has its outlet at Nehru Nagar near KLE medical in Belgaum. The shop is open from 10:30AM till late at night and is a delight for all ice cream lovers.
- If you are a tea lover then you should visit Appolo Tea Bar near central Bus Stand. The veg-patty and the cream rolls are amazing here.
- Belgaum special sweet, e.g. at Kalyani Sweets in Camp.
- Pav Bhaji from Shetty Snacks and chat center in front of Aditya Arcade near Ramdev Hotel.
- Dhabeli from Sharma hotel on Kirloskar Road.
- Tea from Hotel Highway near KLE Dental College and Hospital.
- Sugarcane Juice with Aliphak from a shop on congress road near Arun Theatre.
- Butter and toast from Vijay Bakery
- Veg Crispi and Gombu Chicken from Hotel Sun N Sand Club Road
- Hotel Golden Grill near Kolhapur Circle is good for its flavour.
- Tatte Idli, Near Aditya Arcade, Nehru Nagar. Tatte Idli & Masala Dosa with delicious Chutney & Sambar
- Aadinarayan, Kirloskar Road (Bogar ves).
- Alurkar Resorts: This is an agrotourism resort on Ajra-Amboli Road, near Bugte Alur village.
- Hotel Aadarsh Palace, opposite Lingraju College
- Hotel Adinarayan, Kirloskar Road (Bogar ves), ☏ . Famous for fresh sea food in goan style. A rich old heritage of more than 40 years
- Hotel Eefa : The only four-star hotel in north Karnataka, Hotel Eefa is on Club road 5 km from Belgaum city and main bus station and 13 km from airport.
- Hotel Ramdev, Nehru Nagar (very near to JNMC campus (KLE Hospital)), ☏ . A very good, economical hotel with two good restaurants (veg and non-veg separate).
- Hotel Sai Sangam International in Nehru Nagar
- Nature And I : eco/home stay 10 km from Belgaum.
- Pai Resort : Pai Resort is at 3 km from Belgaum and 8 km from airport.
- Sankam Residency: The hotel is 7 km from Belgaum.
- Sanman Deluxe: Hotel Sanman Deluxe is a business hotel at 1.5 km from Belgaum and 15 km from airport.
- Surya yatri Nvas (Kapeel Towers, on Kapileshwar road 4 km from Belgaum and 13 km from airport.).
Gokak Falls: Gokak Falls is a waterfall known for its beauty. It is at a distance of 60 km from Belgaum and 10 km from Gokak town. Located right on the main road is a celebrated tourist centre in the district. This falls has a height of about 52 m (171 ft). The river Ghataprapha after winding a course of a long route takes a leap of 52 m, over a rocky bed 52 m down. The falls is famous for its spread and shape. The rugged valley and the picturesque is what inspires poetry. The dull roar of the falls can be heard much before you reach it. "Except in width and colour of the water, the general features of the fall, its height, shape and rapidity above are much like those of Niagara". The falls are horse-shoe shaped at the crest, with a flood breadth of 177 metres. June to September is the best season to visit Gokak as it bees in full bloom. Electricity was generated here for the first time in the country in 1887. This generating station can be reached on the rope way.
Godachinmalki Falls:16 km from Gokak, it is at a fine spot the first jump from a height of about 25 metres and flows into a rocky valley and after a short distance from here it takes a second jump at a height of about 18 meters.
Jamboti :Jamboti is 20 km south-west of Belgaum. Jamboti is a popular tourist spot with its evergreen hilltop forests. Mandovi River, the longest river in Goa has its origin in the Jamboti hills.
Kittur: Kittur is 44 km from Belgaum. Kittur is a place of historical significance. Rani Channamma of Kittur is known for her resistance to British rule. A ruined fort, formerly the residence of the chief of Kittur can be found here.
Navilutirtha (Saundatti): 80 km from Belgaum, a low valley in between the 2 hills, in an enchanting place is Navilutirtha. It used to be full of peacocks, frequently flocking round the pond, and thus the place was named Navilutirtha. The Malaprabha Dam near Renukasagar is here. It is also a good picnic spot.
Rakaskop water reservoir: 16 km from Belgaum, literally means a hamlet of a Rakkasa (Giant), who is stated to have lived on a hillock near the village. A cavern in laterite on the hillrock resembling a huge seated human figure is shown by the people to remind his past existence. Here is a Dam across the river Markandeya, supplying drinking water to Belgaum.
Vajrapoha Falls: Vajrada Avalakki or Vajra Seethavaade 60 km from Belgaum. It is one of the few less known & most spectacular Falls of the Western Ghats, which is still pristine and not choked. trek Follows along the swift flowing river Mahadayi in deep forests.the River Mahadayi is joined by two other streams Marcidha nala and Pannera nala in creating this magnificent waterfalls, which later known by the name "Mandovi" in Goa. The river, cascading down at a great speed to a gorge below, taking a giant leap of over 150 feet is a sight to behold. The roar of the falls reaches deafening proportions. Walking sometimes in the waist deep water, traversing the slippery slopes and rocks with all the skills is not an easy task. In the evening the soft rays of sun falling on the veil gives a glittering touch thus the name vajra! one needs to be bit more adventurous to get to the bottom of the falls. Traversing the slippery slopes and wading through thorny bushes is really an unusual experience. Views of the waterfall makes one awestruck and complacent. If you're lucky you'll spot a pied hornbill, huli salinga - Brother of venomous tarantula spider. A must see destination for the avid nature lover.
Anshi National Park or Kali Tiger Reserve 90 km from Belagavi. Wild animals can be seen. Also many dams within the tiger reserve.
The other places of interest are Tillari Dam: Yellurgadh: Arambol & Terekhol: Vagator Beach: Goa: Pant Balekundri: Sogal Somnath: Dandeli Reserve Forest: Ambica Nagar Dam (Supa Dam): Anmod Ghats: Vaijanath Temple: Kali Nadi white water activities:
- Tillari Falls: 35 km from Belgaum
- Amboli Ghat: 65 km from Belgaum
- Tillari Ghat
- Hidkal Dam