There is no shortage of adventures to be found around Kathmandu—the Nepali capital is the gateway to the Himalayan mountain range and at the heart of the Kathmandu Valley, where sacred temples, shrines, and UNESCO World Heritage sites abound. Here are your options for day tours from Kathmandu.
Patan — 5 miles (8 km) from Kathmandu
Called the City of Beauty in Sanskrit, Patan is so close to Kathmandu—just across the Bagmati River—that it doesn’t necessarily require a full-day tour, but there’s still plenty to see and do. The architecture surrounding Patan Durbar Square is even more impressive than in Kathmandu or Bhaktapur, plus you’ll find hundreds of smaller stupas hidden in the backstreets. Patan is also a great place to shop for souvenirs or local handicrafts, especially carved wood, metalwork, and jewelry.
Bhaktapur — 7.5 miles (12 km) from Kathmandu
Thanks to its ban on car and rickshaw traffic, the ancient Newa city of Bhaktapur is one of the quietest and most remarkably preserved holy cities in the Kathmandu Valley. Highlights of a walking tour include the grand Bhaktapur Durbar Square, the Golden Gate, and the 55 Window Palace, the seat of Nepali royalty until 1769.
Nagarjun Hill — 8 miles (13 km) from Kathmandu
A popular choice for a day hike from Kathmandu, the sacred peak of Nagarjun Hill is an important pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Buddhists. It’s best known for the mountaintop Jamacho Monastery, and the surrounding Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park has miles of scenic hiking and biking trails.
Champadevi — 9 miles (15 km) from Kathmandu
On the southwestern border of the Kathmandu Valley, the scenic trek to the 7,496-foot (2,285-meter) summit of Champadevi passes through Pharping village and affords photo-worthy views of Langtang, Gaurishankar, Jugal Himal, and Dorje Lakpa.
Changunarayan — 12 miles (20 km) from Kathmandu
The hilltop village of Changunarayan is most renowned for its striking Vaishnavite temple, surrounded by stone sculptures that date back as early as the 4th century AD. Just north of Bhaktapur, it’s a popular stop on a day tour from Kathmandu, but the most rewarding way to visit is by hiking from Nagarkot along a spectacular mountain trail.
Nagarkot — 20 miles (32 km) from Kathmandu
You don’t have to go all the way to Everest base camp for dramatic views of the Himalayas. Nagarkot enjoys a hilltop position with impressive views of the surrounding Himalayan peaks, particularly at sunrise and sunset. On a clear day, you can even spot the peak of Mount Everest in the distance.