India is a land of contrasts that seems to be living in the modern age and at the same time the past. Hardly any other country exerts such a fascination on travelers from all over the world and India is for many the holy grail of travel.
If you think of travel destinations in India, you will find old temples and palaces, vestiges of the British colonial era, the mountains of the Himalayas and the golden beaches of the south. India is huge and incredibly rich in contrast, so everyone gets their money’s worth here.Vibrant cities, Bollywood, sharp curies, cows on the road – India is loud and colorful and offers many good reasons for a trip.
From the luxury tourist to the backpacker there is something for every taste. Where should the journey go? We introduce you to the best place to visit in india, no matter if you are beach lover, big city fan or foodie. India Travel: Travel Tips for South India from Goa to Kerala.
Destinations India That You Should Not Miss
The palm state, Kerala, in the very south of India was also known by the book “The God of Little Things” and is otherwise called “God’s Own Country”. No wonder Kerala has quickly become one of India’s most popular travel destinations as the state is incredibly green and offers a great mix of mountains and beaches – palm trees always included, of course.
Add to that a fascinating mix of cultures and the remnants of Dutch, Portuguese, English, Indian and even Chinese influences. Stroll through the ancient streets of Fort Kochi and do not miss a visit to the Chinese fishing nets at sunset.
Not a secret anymore but Kerala is best explored by boat. A night on a houseboat in the backwaters is a must and unbelievably picturesque and relaxing. Best of all – houseboat tours are available for all budgets and even for honeymooners there are own small boats that are equipped with a suite.
- Insider Tip: Get a taste of Munnar’s mountain air and do not miss a visit to a tea plantation. The area is also ideal for hiking and camping in the mountains – luckily, the temperatures here are also according to.
- How are you coming? Flights to Kochi
- For whom is Kerala suitable? For India beginners
- Dishes you should not miss: Shrimp Curry and Beef – Kerala is known for it. There is hardly any alcohol in the state, but instead you can drink “Toddie”, a fermented coconut juice.
Jaipur is the jewel of Rajasthan, also called the Pink City, is one of the most beautiful places in India. The old town center is both historically and architecturally interesting and very picturesque. Highlights include the Hawa Mahal, the Palace of the Winds, with its iconic honeycomb façade. For the best view you should visit one of the rooftop cafes across the street.
Also worth a visit to the Amber Fort. Come in the morning, when the crowds are still small and the temperatures are still moderate. You can either walk or take a jeep up, you should do without an elephant ride. On the way you can stop at the Jal Mahal. The Water Palace is a particularly beautiful photo opportunity when the sun rises.
- Insider tip: definitely visit the Galta Ji. This monkey temple is located outside the city and reminds of the jungle book.
- How are you coming? Flights to Jaipur
- Who is Jaipur suitable for? Romantic – Jaipur is beautiful and incredibly romantic.
- Dishes you should not miss: Lassi from Lassiwalla on the MI Road – that’s been around since 1944 and he supposedly makes the best lassi in India.
Locals and visitors agree – Agra is uninteresting as a city, but is still one of India’s top travel destinations, and with good reason. After all, the city is the home of the Taj Mahal and you should have seen that.
Best come early in the morning for a good view with (relatively) little visitors and with a camera. To learn the story of this architectural masterpiece and iconic love between Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal, it’s best to take a guide.
- Insider Tip: For a great view of the Taj Mahal you should also visit the lunar garden on the other side of the river. Here are fewer visitors and from the garden you have especially in the late afternoon a beautiful view of the Taj Mahal.
- How are you coming? From Delhi you can take a guided day trip or take the bus.
- For whom is Agra suitable? A visit to the Taj Mahal must not be missed for India newcomers.
- Dishes you should not miss: For dinner we recommend the Sheroes Café. This café is an initiative for women who have survived acid attacks and earn a living here. There are no fixed prices, you only pay for what you want.
The metropolis has both an old and a new district and there is plenty to discover in both. But the true heart of India is nowhere more chaotic than in Old Delhi. Here you will find crowds, bazaars, rickshaw drivers, animals and street vendors of all kinds. To make your way through the fray, it takes good nerves and perseverance.
To get a glimpse into the history of India, there are some sightseeing highlights in Delhi. These include the India Gate, the Red Fort, the Qutub Minar and the Jama Masjid, the largest mosques in India. Those who do not make it to Agra should visit the Humayun mausoleum, as the impressive building is considered a pioneer of the Taj Mahal.
- Insider Tip: Visit the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, the Sikh Temple. Everyone is welcome regardless of their religion, and there is a kitchen that cooks over 10,000 meals a day for the needy. Everyone can eat here and help with cooking.
- How are you coming? Flights to New Delhi
- For whom is Delhi suitable? City lovers and die-hard – Delhi is beautiful chaos.
- Courts that you should not miss: All the states of India have a house in Delhi, a kind of message. These usually have their own restaurant, which is also accessible to visitors and allows to taste the cuisine of different countries.
Varanasi is one of the holiest cities for Hindus in India and here life is determined by the Ganges. Every evening you can see the ganga arti on the shore, a ritual where the mother of Ganges is thanked and good night is said.
Right next to it you can see the crematoria of the city. Devout Hindus are burned here on the riverbank and their ashes are scattered in the Ganges. It is said that those who die and are burned in Varansi are freed from the cycle of reincarnation. Both are best seen from the water, but you must keep a proper distance to the cremation sites – photography is allowed, but only from a distance.
- Insider tip: It is also said that Varanasi is the birthplace of Kamasutra – shopping is announced.
- How are you coming? Flights to Varanasi
- For whom is Varanasi suitable? For Spiritual
- Dishes you should not miss: Breakfast such as. B. Kachori is freshly fried in fat and filled with dal.
Jaisalmer is also called the Golden City and you can quickly see why. Especially in the evening light, the ocher-colored houses and the surrounding sand dunes are particularly beautiful. The city in the very west of India on the border with Pakistan is hot and dry and the ideal starting point for a trip into the desert.
Although there are many great forts and temples to visit, Jaisalmer is an event especially for desert enthusiasts. By jeep or camel you can explore the dunes from the outskirts and experience a world far from civilization in the Thar desert. You sleep right under the stars or in the tent – ideal to recover after a bumpy camel ride with campfire romance.
- Insider Tip: At sunrise, you should visit the Gadi Sagar Lake, now its almost floating in the water temple are particularly beautiful.
- How are you coming? Getting to Jaisalmer by bus from Jaipur or Jodphur is very convenient.
- For whom is Jaisalmer suitable? Desert adventurers and those who do not shy away from heat.
- Dishes you should not miss: Ker Sangri, a vegetarian dish of desert beans and capers.
Jodhpur looks like a cool oasis on the eyes, because the city is also called the Blue City. Many of the houses are either painted blue or have blue roofs. Some say that the paint keeps temperatures cool, while others say mosquitoes stay away. No matter what the real reason, the blue is a real feast for the eyes and you have a particularly great view over the city from Mehrangarh Fort.
The bustle in the old town is incredibly charming. In no case should you miss the Jodhpur Stepwell and the Jaswant Thada. This stunning palace is made of white marble that sparkles in the sun and is especially exciting for photographers.
- Insider Tip: Make a tour to the Bishnoi, a tree-loving people near Jodhpur.
- How are you coming? Flights to Jodhpur or the train
- Who is Jodhpur suitable for? Amateur photographers
- Dishes you should not miss: Mishrilal Lassi, which tastes like lime and that you drink directly from your hand.
Ladakh stands for paradise. A real mountain paradise is waiting for you at Leh because it is not for nothing. It is one of the highest cities in the world. Altitude sickness is very common, so you should seek advice from a doctor before traveling.
The history of the area is a turbulent and still not peaceful, but Ladakh is considered one of the safest areas in Kashmir. There is a lot of art and history to discover and especially beautiful regional handicrafts. In addition you will find several monasteries and stupas where a visit is worthwhile.
- Insider Tip: How about a round of golf on the highest golf course in the world?
- How are you coming? Flights to Leh
- For whom is Leh suitable? For those who want to touch the sky.
- Dishes you should not miss: Momos with mutton. The steamed dumplings from the Himalayan regions are also very popular here.
9. Andaman Islands
If you do not fancy or have a budget for the Seychelles or Maldives, you will find a similar paradise in the Andaman Islands off the east coast of India. White sand beaches lined with palm trees, crystal clear waters and great diving areas – here romantic island dreams come true.
The approximately 300 islands lie in the middle of the Bay of Bengal and are the ideal destination to play a bit of Robinson Crusoe. There are only three of the islands accommodation options – lonely idyll pure. On the other islands live traditional tribes that have been settled here for centuries. Many have little contact with the outside world and live in the traditional way as their forefathers did.
Especially for divers, a visit to the Andaman Islands is the highlight of any trip to India. Incredible biodiversity, well-preserved coral reefs and a fantastic view attract mermaids from all over the world. But even over the water surface, nature fans will get their money’s worth, because the Andaman Islands are a paradise for biologists.
- Insider Tip: With a local guide, you can also visit the other islands and local tribes living there.
- How are you coming? Flights to Port Blair.
- For whom are the Andamans suitable? Divers and mermaids
- Dishes you should not miss: Iceland food – jackfruit, coconut and fresh fish.
Hampi is small and unbelievably relaxed which is reason enough that the town has become one of the most popular backpacker destinations in India. The former capital of the Vijayanagara empire and formerly the largest city in the world, today is rather sleepy. Nevertheless, a visit is worthwhile, as the ruins of the city are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are a unique open-air museum.
All around, you will find pure nature and a unique landscape of large granite boulders reminiscent of the flintstones. Rent a bike and discover the surrounding landscape with the remains of the Vijayanagara dynasty and the idyllic rice fields. Otherwise, there are great hiking trails with beautiful viewpoints and quite sporty use the large boulders to Boldern.
- Insider tip: In summer, the temperatures rise to over 40 degrees, while it has a pleasant 24 degrees even in winter. Therefore, the best time to travel is from October to March.
- How are you coming? By train from Goa or Kerala or by bus from Hospet, from where you have access to major cities in the area.
- For whom is Hampi suitable? Backpacker
- Dishes you should not miss: The vegetarian Udupi cuisine is at home here, which also excludes onions and garlic thanks to the Satvik tradition.
Rishikesh is hip and was not in vain loved by such greats as the Beatles (the song “The Happy Hrishikesh Song“) and other stars. It is also the gateway to the Himalayas and from here you can quickly reach the source of the holy Ganges, which rises 4000 meters above sea level. It is one of the most religious places in India but also means that neither meat nor alcohol is served here.
During a visit, you should not miss a rafting tour or even a swim in the Ganges. Since Rishikesh is so close to the source, the water here is incredibly clean. In addition, you are now in the yoga capital of the world and the ideal place for all who practice yoga regularly. Even newcomers should not come to Rishikesh without taking an hour – there is a great range of yoga and meditation for all levels.
- Insider tip: In February and March, the gurus gather in the city and it’s high season for the Yoga Teacher Training. In addition, the International Yoga Festival is now taking place. This is what seasoned yogis like, but it also means that it is now becoming extremely crowded in the small town.
- How are you coming? By train
- For whom is Rishikesh suitable? For spiritual and yogis
- Dishes you should not miss: Beatles fans eat Pasta Arrabiata at the Beatles Café.
The Darjeeling district is located in West Bengal and borders Nepal and Bhutan. This leads to a high ethnic diversity and to the fact that Nepali and Tibetan are also spoken here. The area is a real, small Meltingpot at the foot of the Himalayas.
Darjeeling is synonymous with tea and is known for its tea fields. The lofty heights (between 1500 and 2500 meters) not only make tea cultivation possible, but also was the reason that Darjeeling was a popular holiday destination during British colonial rule. The Hill Station was considered a resort for those living in the hot Kolkata – perfect for you, too, if you need a dip during your trip to India.
- Insider tip: Do not miss out on a toy train ride.
- How are you coming? Flights to Bagdogra
- For whom is Darjeeling suitable? For tea and mountain friends.
- Dishes you should not miss: tea, tea and more tea.
Pushkar is another holy city in India and the main pilgrimage site. There are 400 temples and 52 ghats, which have been created as a bathing spot for pilgrims on the lake. The Pushkar Lake is sacred because legend has it that the creator god Brahma dropped a lotus leaf here, causing water to spew out of the desert.
Especially during the Mela, a blessed full moon phase in October / November, many believers in particular pilgrimage to Pushkar to take a holy bath and ask for salvation from the cycle of rebirths. The festival is also an impressive backdrop for visitors and is the largest and most colorful festival in Rajasthan.
- Insider Tip: During the Pushkar-Mela there is also the annual camel market – a spectacle that you should not miss, even if you do not want to buy a camel.
- How are you coming? By bus, train or camel
- Who is Pushkar suitable for? Pilgrims and camel friends.
- Dishes you should not miss: Since Pushkar is so sacred that there are no eggs or alcohol (and of course no meat), you should not miss a Bhang Lassi. It is made with dried leaves and small inflorescences of the cannabis plant and can be quite intoxicating.
Get ready for something. The densely populated Mumbai, whose seven municipalities on the island of Salsette accommodate a total of 12 million people, can be the purest anthill. This is the economic center of the country and therefore skyscrapers line up with skyscrapers. In Kala Ghoda you’ll find a fantastic selection of museums while the Hanging Gardens on Malabar Hill are a must for selfie friends. You should definitely pay a visit to the historic monument “Gateway of India”, which is permanently surrounded by pigeons.
Another highlight is the famous markets of the city, where the curio and jewelry market in the Colaba district is particularly recommendable. Even a traditional performance (in Hindi) at the Prithvi Theater in Juhu is very rewarding. If it pulls you to the beaches, you should settle for relaxing on the sand – the water here is not very inviting.
- Insider tip: Mumbai is also home to Bollywood, the Indian film industry, which produces more than 1,000 films a year. How about a studio tour?
- How are you coming? Flights to Mumbai
- Who is Mumbai suitable for? Bollywood and big city fans
- Dishes you should not miss: Mumbai is street food that tastes different here than in the rest of the country. What once started as Chaat from Uttar Pradesh has gotten a very special touch through the years and thanks to onions, garlic and lots of red chilli powder.
Kolkata (Kolkata) is a city of contrasts that sometimes demands a lot from its visitors. The high level of poverty is not to be overlooked, especially given the obvious wealth reflected in perfectly maintained golf courses, polo fields and rich private clubs.
Despite all the poverty – or perhaps because of that – Calcutta is known as a city of culture and has produced numerous Nobel laureates and award-winning writers, poets and other celebrities. Immerse yourself in the ubiquitous contradictions and walk the Eden Garden promenade along the river that leads you past the local cricket field, go to the annual January Book Fair – the most visited of its kind in the world – or watch a movie at the Calcutta Film Festival in November ,
- Insider Tip: Visit the house of Mother Theresa, who spent a lot of time in the city during her lifetime and is buried here.
- How are you coming? Flights to Kolkata
- For whom is Calcutta suitable? Art & culture fans
- Dishes you should not miss: A Kati Roll at Nizam’s, which was invented here.
Mysore is a true beauty. The jewel of the city is undoubtedly the Maharaja Palace Amba Vilas, with its red cupolas and kaleidoscopic stained glass decor inside. The best day to visit is Sunday: between 19 and 20 o’clock, every corner of the facade is illuminated by thousands of light bulbs.
Other architectural treasures include the St. Philomena Church and the stunning Lalit Mahal Palace Hotel, where you can enjoy a British-style afternoon tea. Marvel at the art at the Mysore Sand Sculpture Museum and take a stroll through Brindavan Gardens, adorned with fountains.
- Insider Tip: Come during the Mysore Dasara, one of India’s most colorful festivals.
- How are you coming? By bus or plane directly from Bangelore
- For whom is Mysore suitable? For fans of color joy and opulence
- Dishes you should not miss: Mysore Pak, a local toffee-like dessert made with ghee.
Fans of James Bond will know Udaipur from the movie “Octopussy”. The city is full of architectural gems and tranquil lakes and is the ideal place for a romantic getaway. The locals dress here in colorful robes and the annual festival of colors, Holi, makes everything even more colorful. Even the buildings are thick – the city palace of Udaipur shines in the splendor of the numerous decorations of mirror and stained glass.
Hariyali Amavasya Mela, the festival of the “green new moon”, is celebrated at the artificial lakes and gives the city another highlight every August. If you’re interested in local crafts, do not miss the Shilpgram Festival in November.
- Insider Tip: Treat yourself to a night at Taj Lake Palace, located in the middle of the picturesque Pichola Lake.
- How are you coming? Flights to Udaipur
- Who is Udaipur suitable for? romantic
- Dishes you should not miss: Dal-baati-chorma, a highlight of the Udaipur cuisine: Dahl, wheat rolls and fried wheat crumbs with sugar
Goa is probably the best-known southern state in India and also the most popular. If you want tropical beaches and sunshine, this is the place for you, so it’s no wonder that Goa is so popular with Indian travelers. For foreign visitors, Goa is just the right destination in India to arrive first – India “light” so to speak.
A pronounced Portuguese touch can be seen even today in Goa, both in architecture and in the kitchen. Whether you want to party right or want to experience pure nature and relax – in Goa you are right. Not only are the beaches world famous, the state also offers beautiful tropical forests and the Westghats Mountains.
- Insider tip: If you come before the beginning of Lent, you can celebrate Carnival in Goa – a real highlight on the event calendar.
- How are you coming? Flights to Vasco da Gama
- Who is Goa suitable for? beach lovers
- Dishes you should not miss: Bebinca, Goa’s most popular dessert, which consists of a multi-layered cake made of eggs, coconut milk, sugar and ghee.