Discover a microcosm of cultures and some of the world's most breathtaking landscapes on this 8-day exploration of Nepal's Kathmandu and Pokhara Valleys. With a laid-back blend of popular highlights and offbeat experiences, it's a perfect itinerary for first-timers to the country. Explore the temples and shrines of Kathmandu, take in postcard-worthy Himalaya views from the peaceful mountain town of Nagarkot, and embrace your adventurous side with some scenic paragliding in Pokhara.


  • Learn about Kathmandu's most important religious & cultural sites
  • Roam the capital's narrow alleyways & ancient markets
  • Visit historic towns of the Kathmandu Valley
  • Hike into the clouds at the World Peace Pagoda
  • Catch views of the Annapurna Range from Pokhara's stunning lakeside
  • Try your hand at paragliding over the Pokhara Valley

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Kathmandu Kathmandu
Day 2 Briefings, Market Walk & Boudhanath & Pashupatinath Shrines Kathmandu
Day 3 Transfer to Nagarkot via Bhaktapur Nagarkot
Day 4 Hike to Changu Narayan, Fly to Pokhara Pokhara
Day 5 Explore Pokhara: World Peace Pagoda, Gupteswor Caves & Davis Waterfall Pokhara
Day 6 Paraglide Over Pokhara, Free Afternoon Pokhara
Day 7 Fly Back to Kathmandu Kathmandu
Day 8 Depart Kathmandu  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu

Kathmandu's Swayambhunath stupa (shrine)

Welcome to Nepal! Upon arrival in the capital of Kathmandu, you'll be met by a representative and transferred to your hotel. 

Time permitting, get your bearings with a sunset walk to Swayambhunath, the city's iconic hilltop religious complex. Afterward, a traditional dinner introduces you to one of Nepal's great highlights—the food!

Day 2: Briefings, Market Walk & Boudhanath & Pashupatinath Shrines

Browse the city's oldest market on today's tour

After breakfast, you'll meet a representative to go over your trip itinerary and sample some excellent Nepalese coffee or tea. Then it's on to one of the country's oldest markets, once a part of the ancient Salt Route that connected the Silk Route in Tibet and China. Stroll the colorful stalls before breaking for a delicious lunch.

Take some time to relax, then meet your guide for a fascinating exploration of Hinduism and Buddhism. Showcasing the two biggest philosophies in Nepal, this tour introduces you to the two major heritage sites of Boudhanath and Pashupatinath. If you prefer, this tour can also be done at night, culminating with an unforgettable fire ceremony at the temple. 

End your evening with a traditional dinner located in an evocative renovated palace. 

Day 3: Transfer to Nagarkot via Bhaktapur

A procession of young Buddhist monks in Bhaktapur

After breakfast, it's time to join your driver for the transfer to Bhaktapur, a medieval Newari city known for its ancient heritage and traditions. A guided tour will introduce you to the town's main highlights, breaking to enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Afterward, you'll make your way to the hilltop of Nagarkot for spectacular mountain views—on a clear day, you can see all the way to Everest

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Day 4: Hike to Changu Narayan, Fly to Pokhara

Take a downhill hike to the ancient Changu Narayan Temple

Rise early to catch an unforgettable sunrise over the mountains, then join your guide for a two-hour walk down to Changu Narayan, one of the Kathmandu Valley's UNESCO World Heritage sites. The famous temple in this small town is the least-visited such site in the valley, making it a special place to visit given fewer crowds. The temple dates back to the 13th-century and is believed to be the oldest in Nepal.

After this picturesque walk, you'll transfer to the airport and catch a scenic 30-minute flight northwest to Pokhara

Day 5: Explore Pokhara: World Peace Pagoda, Gupteswor Caves & Davis Waterfall

The World Peace Pagoda above Pokhara

Spend today exploring Pokhara, a relaxed city with a stunning location between the serene waters of Phewa Lake and the towering peak of Macchapucchre. Start the day off in style with a boat ride across the lake and a 1.5-hour hike through the forest to reach the World Peace Pagoda. This Buddhist stupa (shrine) is one of over 80 Peace Pagodas worldwide, built in an attempt to unite people from all over the world and promote world peace. As well as being an impressive sight in itself, from this vantage point you also get stunning views over snow-capped mountains, Phewa Lake, and the city below. If you're feeling less adventurous, you can also opt to visit the shrine by car. 

Continue to the natural wonders of Gupteswor Caves and the nearby Davis Falls, then proceed to the Mountain Museum, which offers fascinating and informative exhibits on the history of mountaineering in the Himalaya

After the tour, the afternoon and evening are free to spend at your leisure—relaxing lakeside and enjoying dinner with a view from one of the city's many excellent restaurants.

Day 6: Paraglide Over Pokhara, Free Afternoon

Panoramic views across the Pokhara Valley

An early morning trip takes you to Sarangkot today, where a 5,216 foot (1,590 m) lookout sits atop the ridge above Pokhara. Offering lake views on one side and the Annapurna Massif on the other, it's also the perfect spot to get your adrenaline pumping with a paragliding lesson. With awe-inspiring scenery and stable air currents, Pokhara is considered one of the best places in the world for paragliding.

After a high-octane morning, you'll have the rest of the day to yourself. Laze around the lake's edge, hunt for souvenirs, unwind with a yoga class, or book a massage at one of the dozens of parlors throughout town. Another popular lakeside activity is to rent a paddleboat or small kayak and explore the lake at your leisure.

Day 7: Fly Back to Kathmandu

The bustling city streets of Thamel

On the penultimate day of your journey, it's time to catch your flight back to Kathmandu. After settling into your hotel, spend the remainder of the day discovering more of the capital at your own pace. Pick up some last-minute souvenirs, wander around the busy tourist hub of Thamel, or head to the Garden of Dreams, a peaceful oasis in the middle of the city. The perfectly manicured gardens and fountains are edged by neoclassical style Rana-era palace buildings.

As your evening draws to a close, celebrate your trip with a small farewell dinner. 

Day 8: Depart Kathmandu

Sunset over Kathmandu's Swayambhunath Temple

It's time to say farewell to Nepal. Enjoy your last moments in Kathmandu with breakfast in a café and a final stroll through the narrow alleys and temples. A driver will be waiting for you at your hotel to take you to the airport for your return flight home. Safe travels!

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Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Nepal? Check out these other Nepal itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 

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