Kathmandu Valley’s towns, temples and palaces are a great introduction to Nepal’s history, heritage and culture.
Everywhere you go in Kathmandu you see things which make you smile or make your jaw drop. It's just an amazing place and the people are super friendly.
The Kathmandu Valley is at the centre of Nepal and it's where most visitors arrive to begin their holidays. The capital’s bustling streets, markets and squares immediately plunge you into Nepali life, while its architecture and temples take you back in time. In the valley, you can tour historic former capital cities and trek into the hills for panoramic mountain views.
- Kathmandu Valley: The valley is at the core of Nepal’s history and has been inhabited for at least 2,000 years, ruled by many dynasties each of which left its legacy. The valley’s many historic and religious monuments make it a UNESCO World Heritage Site seven times over. The Newari people are the dominant ethnic group, whose literature, art, architecture and festivals are evident in the region today.
- Kathmandu: The capital is a vibrant city with a population of over a million which makes for crowded streets and busy markets but bags of character. At its heart, Durbar Square is the site of the old royal palace and important temples, many of which are being restored following the earthquake of 2015. It’s worth climbing the steps up to the much-photographed Swayanbunath Stupa, said to be 2,000 years old, just outside the city centre for panoramic views of the valley.
- Patan: This is one of the historic cities of the Kathmandu Valley and in Durbar Square you can see some of the most impressive temples, palaces and shrines in the country. Patan has a tradition of producing exquisite woodcarvings, metalwork and religious paintings and you can witness craftsmen and artists at work as you tour the city.
- Bhaktapur: The third of the valley’s historic Newari city-states, Bhaktapur has no fewer than three temple-filled squares. It has retained an almost medieval feel in contrast to the more modern Patan and Kathmandu with a pedestrianised centre, temples at every turn and well-preserved Newari architecture. It’s a good place to walk around as you soak up the ambience.