Kathmandu itself doesn’t boast noteworthy Himalayan views – mainly because of its location in a hill-rimmed valley. So unless you’re prepared to hike among or fly by the great mountains, the best option is to stay at nearby Nagarkot.
Situated in a strategic ridgetop location at around 1,950m (6,397ft) (there used to be a fort here guarding the eastern portion of the Kathmandu Valley), this pine-shrouded hill station is renowned for its mountain vistas. The looming Langtang range and the Ganesh Himal are almost always visible and on clear days you’ll also glimpse Everest, most likely at sunrise from a specially built viewing tower.
Aside from those peaks, it’s a good place to relax away from the capital’s hustle and bustle and there are plentiful options for walking and biking. A similar alternative slightly further from the capital is Dhulikhel. For centuries this village was an important trading centre on the ancient route between Nepal and Tibet.
Today’s visitors come not just for the mountain views – best admired from a hilltop just above town – but for its well-preserved old quarter. Slender, traffic-free streets thread through a traditionally-planned settlement at least five centuries old, in which fine old multi-storeyed Newari houses boast beautifully carved wooden windows, lattices and doors – all notable examples of traditional Newari craftsmanship.
A clutch of lovely temples still used daily by locals adds much to the town’s charm and atmosphere. In addition, a 30-minute climb to a hilltop above the town takes you to a Kali shrine and panoramic terrace from where the mountain views are breathtaking.