Nepal is the ultimate destination for mountain lovers. The Nepali Himalayas is the roof of the World, home to Mount Everest — the highest peak on earth.

Travelers who venture to this country soon discover a lot more sights and experiences that are worth the long journey from home.

Nepal has medieval squares for people who love to get lost in old cities. Sacred Tibetan Buddhist & Hindu sites for those who love to go a spiritual stroll. And, highland regions beyond Everest that offer great treks & stunning landscapes.

Inspire your adventure to Nepal with these must-visit places and top things to do for first-time travelers.

1. Pokhara

Sunset view at Phewa Lake in Pokhara, Nepal

Sunset view at Phewa Lake in Pokhara, Nepal

Why go — Pokhara is the second largest city of Nepal after Kathmandu. Three out of the ten highest mountains in the world — Annapurna I, Dhaulagiri, and Manaslu — are near Pokhara, which makes it a popular gateway to the western side of the Nepali Himalayas. It’s a beautiful place to visit even if you’re not keen on trekking. This scenic lakeside city is surrounded by hills that make perfect viewing decks to see the Annapurna mountains from afar. Paragliding is very popular here and reportedly one of the cheapest in the world.

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2. Annapurna Region

Sunrise view of the Annapurna Mountains from Annapurna Base Camp in Nepal

Sunrise view of the Annapurna Mountains from Annapurna Base Camp in Nepal

Why go — Lying on the western half of Nepal, the Annapurna region is one of the major trekking destinations in the Himalayas. Popular treks in the region include the Annapurna Circuit trek, which circles the Annapurna Range, and the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek up to the Annapurna Base Camp, which offers a stunning 360-degree view of the snow-capped Annapurnas.

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3. Everest Region

View of the Himalayan Mountains from a plane

View of the Himalayan Mountains from a plane

Why go — Mount Everest, the Earth’s tallest, stands on the eastern side of Nepal. Even if you do not plan on trekking all the day to the summit, you’re assured of seeing incredible views of Everest, Lhotse and the other jagged peaks of this breathtaking region.

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See also

4. Kathmandu Valley

Swayambhunath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Swayambhunath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Why go — Kathmandu is not just Nepal’s capital and largest urban jungle, it is also one of the country’s major spiritual and cultural center. At its heart lies the Kathmandu Durbar Square with its historic palaces, temples and public spaces. This site along with six other groups of monuments and buildings in Kathmandu Valley is recognized as a World Heritage Site.

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5. Bhaktapur

Durbar Square in Bakhtapur, Nepal

Durbar Square in Bakhtapur, Nepal

Why go — Bhaktapur found an hour east of Kathmandu is another ancient city packed with fascinating heritage buildings linked by a maze-like network of narrow cobbled streets and squares. Head further east to Nagarkot and enjoy a panoramic view facing Mount Everest and the Himalayan mountains.

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6. Bandipur

Main Street in Bandipur, Tanahun, Nepal

Why go — Bandipur is the perfect place to break the long journey between Pokhara and Kathmandu. This small hilltop village is home to traditional Newari-style houses that have been transformed to charming cafes and lodges. Go on a trek around town for picturesque views overlooking the Nepali countryside. A glimpse of the Annapurnas can even be seen on a clear day.

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Note: Destinations featured above are not listed by rank.