Crowded around a deep, green volcanic lake, Nainital is Kumaon’s largest town and favourite hill resort. It occupies a steep forested valley around the namesake lake Naini and was founded by homesick Brits reminded of the Cumbrian Lake district.
Plenty of hotels are set on the hillside around the lake. There’s a busy bazaar, and a spider’s web of walking tracks covers the forested slopes to viewpoints overlooking distant Himalayan peaks. For travellers it’s an easy place to kick back and relax, eat well, and ride horses or paddle on the lake. In peak seasons – roughly May to mid-July and October – Nainital is packed to the gills with holidaying families and honeymooners, and hotel prices skyrocket.