India is a magical country where you witness a heart-warming harmony between the old and the new. Among the world’s fastest-growing economies, it boasts a history of thousands of years. India is blessed with diverse landscapes, making it perfect for a variety of vacations. Whether you are a mountain person, or like to spend all your leisure time on the beach, this country has got your back. There is no dearth of pilgrimage sites, wildlife areas, bustling metropolitan cities, and quaint towns. So, all you need to do is pick a holiday spot in India as per your preference, pack your bags, and head out to have a whale of a time. Check out the best tourist destinations in India below.
Holiday Destinations in India
Top Holiday Destinations in North India
The national capital, New Delhi is a gem of a holiday destination where you see a blend of traditional and modern sides of India. A 21st-century metropolis, it is also home to monuments that offer a glimpse into the rich heritage of the city. A few names on this list are Qutab Minar, Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb, Safdarjung’s Tomb, Jama Masjid, and Purana Qila.
Delhi also beckons holidaymakers with its lip-smacking food. A visit to the city gives you a chance to try cuisines from all over India. From South Indian dosas and Bihari litti chokha to Punjabi chholle bathure and Mughali kebabs, you can tickle your taste buds with it all in this capital of India. All these things and many more make New Delhi one of the best holiday destinations in India.
Top attractions in Delhi: Qutab Minar, Chandni Chowk, Red Fort, Palika Bazaar, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, Akshardham Temple and Hauz Khas.
Rishikesh is often touted as the adventure capital of India and rightfully so. It offers thrill seekers a chance to partake in a plethora of activities that get the adrenaline going. On top of this list is, of course, white-water rafting. Rishikesh is arguably the biggest and most famous river rafting spot, not just in North India, but the entire country.
Apart from this, you can also enjoy camping, bungee jumping, flying fox, hot air ballooning, giant swing and more during your time in Rishikesh. The city is also referred to as the Yoga capital of the world. Hence, it is a great escape from the cacophony of the cities and an excellent spot to rejuvenate your body and mind.
Top attractions in Rishikesh: Lakshman Jhula, Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Ram Jhula, Triveni Ghat, Parmarth Niketan and Bharat Mandir.
Think of Amritsar and suddenly the images of the iconic Golden Temple – the most significant Sikh shrine in the world – conjure up. The city in the North Indian state of Punjab is one of the biggest pilgrimage sites in the country. The gold covered sanctum sits in the middle of an artificial pool (sarovar). The relaxing aura and the spiritual vibe of the Golden Temple make it an ideal spot to forget about the hustle and bustle of your everyday life.
A short time drive from the city centre is the famous Wagah Border where you can witness the Beating Retreat ceremony, a daily military practice that Indian and Pakistani security forces have carried out since 1959. During your visit, do not miss to gorge on the delicious Punjabi dishes.
Top attractions in Amrisar: Golden Temple, Jallianwala Bagh, Partition Museum, Akal Takht, Mata Lal Devi Mandir and Wagah Border
No list of the best holiday destinations in India is ever complete without the mention of Ladakh on it; such is the allure of this high-altitude desert. Its bewitching landscape of soaring mountains, meandering rivers and pristine lakes is all things magnificent.
There are so many incredible things to do here that even a week-long sojourn might leave you craving for more. From learning about Buddhism at monasteries and camping on lakeside to trying out activities like rafting and going for a trekking excursion – the list is seemingly endless. If you are an adventurer at heart, then take the thrill quotient a notch higher by adding a bike ride from Manali to Leh to the itinerary.
Top attractions in Ladakh: Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri, Shanti Stupa, Leh Palace, Hall of Fame museum, Thiksey Monastery, Magnetic Hill, Diskit Gompa and Hemis Gompa.
Manali, Himachal Pradesh
Manali is perhaps the most famous hill station in India, beckoning tourists from near and far. It treats visitors to bewitching vistas of the snow-covered Pir Panjal and the Dhauladhar ranges. The salubrious weather of Manali only adds to the delight of people coming here. Planning your trip during the winter season will give you the chance to have fun and frolic in the snow.
Although there is no shortage of holiday destinations in Himachal Pradesh, like Shimla, Kasauli, Kasol and Dharamshala, Manali stands out from the list with its plethora of points of interest that keep tourists hooked during their time here.
Top attractions in Manali: Hadimba Devi Temple, Manu Temple, Mall Road, Van Vihar, Museum of Himachal Culture & Folk Art, Jogini Waterfalls, Rohtang Pass, Atal Tunnel, and Vashisht Temple.
Top Holiday Destinations in West India
At first, Mumbai may appear to be a drab, fast-paced metropolis with nothing much to offer for tourists. However, its real appeal comes to light when you zoom a little and get to know more about it. Aamchi Mumbai is, in fact, a remarkable place to visit with friends, family, love or alone.
Mumbai is home to several iconic monuments that give a glimpse into the rich heritage of the city. Among these are the Gateway of India, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, and Taj Mahal Palace and Tower. Another thing you do not want to miss doing on your Mumbai trip is trying out mouth-watering street food of Mumbai.
Top attractions in Mumbai: Gateway of India, Marine Drive, Bandra-Worli Sea Link, Taj Mahal Palace, Kanheri Caves, Global Vipassana Pagoda, Shree Siddhivinayak Temple, Mahalakshmi Temple, and Elephanta Island.
Read more: Weekend getaways near Mumbai
If there is one place that can be nicknamed the ‘Party Capital of India’, it is Goa! It is a tropical paradise of swaying palms, sun-kissed beaches, happening nightclubs and beach parties. This is also one of the best places in the country to enjoy activities like scuba diving, parasailing and banana boat riding. So, if the idea behind your next trip is lounging on a beach, trying amazing water sports or dancing all your worries away at a nightclub, then hop on a cheap flight to Goa already!
But there’s more to Goa than beaches and clubs. A lot more! This coastal state also has a wealth of colonial heritage, which you can explore at its myriad of forts and churches. Do you love seafood? Then rejoice as Goa will treat you to some of the best seafood delicacies you can try in India. All these things make Goa one of the best holiday destinations in India.
Top attractions in Goa: Calangute Beach, Fort Aguada, Dudhsagar Falls, Anjuna Beach, Chapora Fort, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Baga Beach, Anjuna Flea Market, and Church of our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.
The capital of the state of Rajasthan, Jaipur is the land of opulent palaces, expansive forts, bustling bazaars, and insightful museums. The cultural, architectural and historical significance of the Pink City has also earned it a spot on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Centres. It forms a part of the renowned Golden Triangle tourist circle which also encompasses the cities of Delhi and Agra. It wouldn’t be wrong to call it one of the most sought-after holiday destinations in India, as the place remains swamped with domestic as well as international tourists almost all around the year.
Whether you like to explore monuments, come across artefacts at museums, seek solace at shrines, collect local handicrafts or try mouth-watering dishes, you can do it all in Jaipur. And to top it all off, you have the warm Rajasthani hospitality that never ceases to win over travellers.
Top attractions in Jaipur: Amber Palace, City Palace, Jantar Mantar, Hawa Mahal, Nahargarh Fort, Albert Hall Museum, Birla Temple, Jaigarh Fort, and Jal Mahal.
You might think that if you have visited one Rajasthani city, you have seen all that the state has to offer. But that could not be farther from the truth. Every city in the state has something different to offer and Udaipur is no exception to this. Former capital of the Mewar Kingdom, Udaipur was founded by Maharana Udai Singh II in 1559.
Taking the allure of the city are the many artificial lakes that mark the cityscape. These water bodies have also earned Udaipur the nickname – The City of Lakes. It is one of the most romantic holiday destinations to visit in India. Therefore, if you are planning a trip with your bae, this can be a great place to go. The city’s most prominent attraction is the renowned City Palace, an opulent complex which is home to almost a dozen palaces, courtyards, gardens and more.
Top attractions in Udaipur: City Palace, Lake Pichola, Jaisamand Lake, Fateh Sagar Lake, Sajjangarh Palace, Jagdish Temple, Vintage Car Museum, Jagmandir Palace, Saheliyon Ki Bari, Ambrai Ghat, and Taj Lake Palace.
Rann of Kutch, Gujarat
The Great Rann of Kutch could very well be one of the most underrated holiday destinations in India. It is a massive salt marsh that takes your breath away with its beauty. The region was once a shallow part of the Arabian Sea. However, due to constant geological shifts, it was cut off from the ocean and turned into a massive flat expanse of cracked surface.
Its unique landscape is not the only thing that draws holidaymakers here. The rich culture of the local tribal people also does the trick. Rann Utsav, taking place from November to February, is the perfect time to plan a trip. It is a carnival of music, dance, and everything that makes Kutch so rare and splendid.
Top attractions in Kutch: Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary, Kutch Museum, Dholavira, Mandavi Beach, Aaina Mahal, Kandla and Mundra Ports, and Narayan Sarovar.
Top Holiday Destinations in South India
Historical monuments, picturesque beaches, vibrant cityscape, rich culture and peace all around – if this sounds like your dream vacay, then Pondicherry ought to be the destination for your next trip in India. Also known as Puducherry, this union territory was a French colonial settlement until 1954. As a result, it is bestowed with a distinct heritage. Its French Quarter, with mustard-colored villas, tree-lined streets and chic boutiques perfectly showcase this French legacy.
The French influence in the local food and dining scene is another thing that will sweep you off your feet. Chicken Cordon Bleu, Crêpe Suzette, Sole Meunière, and Feta Galette are some dishes that you do not want to miss trying during your Pondicherry trip. The world-famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville give a touch of spirituality and simple living to the town.
Top attractions in Pondicherry: Paradise Beach, Sri Aurobindo Aashram, Auroville, Arikamedu, Seaside Promenade, Promenade Beach, Serenity Beach, Auroville Beach, Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Read more: Best Honeymoon Places in South India
Imagine – golden beaches wedged between turquoise waters and soaring palm trees, luxurious resorts appointed with world-class amenities, landscape marked with gorgeous islands, and undisturbed serenity all around! No, that’s not a remote island in the Caribbean, that’s Andaman islands! This archipelago is one of the most stunning places not just in India, but the entire world. That is precisely why it is considered the best honeymoon destination in India.
Whether you hope to enjoy a few languid days in the lap of nature or try out some water sports, head over to Andamans right away! The charm of this place is such that people can’t keep themselves from coming back over and over again. It is also home to colonial-era buildings that give a special touch to this place.
Top attractions in Andaman: Radhanagar Beach, Cellular Jail, Elephant Beach, Ross Island, Bharatpur Beach, Neil Island, Laxmanpur Beach, Chidiya Tapu, and Mount Harriet National Park.
Kerala is a land of diverse landscapes, where you can make sandcastles on the beach as well as enjoy the crisp mountain air in a hill station. The state is also home to backwaters – a network of brackish canals and lagoons that run parallel to the Arabian Sea. It forms more than 900 kilometres of interconnected canals, rivers and inlets. Alleppey or Alappuzha is undeniably the best place to explore this unique feature of Kerala.
Touted as the ‘Venice of the East’, Alleppey is another amazing holiday destination in India for couples. Its inclusion in numerous online blogs on most romantic places in India is a testament to that. The ideal way to experience the magnificence of Alleppey is by booking a houseboat and soaking in the surrounding greenery and tranquillity.
Top attractions in Alleppey: Marari Beach, Alappuzha Beach, Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple, Krishnapuram Palace, St. Mary’s Forane Church, and Vembanad Lake.
Ooty, Tamil Nadu
Ooty is to South India what Manali is to North – one of the most famous hilly retreats known for its spectacular natural beauty and umpteen points of interest. Another uber-famous hill station in the country, Ooty lures tourists with its lush greenery, soothing weather, rolling hills, breath-taking water bodies and more. Therefore, it is on our list of the best holiday destinations in India.
Like many other hill stations in India, it was established by the British for the elite of the government. This heritage of Ooty has left it with many bungalows that narrate the story of its intriguing past. At the heart of the town is the serene Ooty, which is easily the biggest point of interest in the region. Apart from leisurely hanging out on its shores, you can also enjoy boating and other activities here.
Top attractions in Ooty: Ooty Lake, Avalanche Lake, Emerald Lake, Ooty Botanical Gardens, Deer Park, Doddabetta Peak, Kalhatty Waterfalls, Kamraj Sagar Dam, Mudumalai National Park, and Mukurthi National Park.
Read more: Best hill stations in South India
Top Holiday Destinations in Northeast India
Are you planning to escape to a place lesser-known and free from the holidaymaking crowds?! Well, then how about Gangtok?! This capital of the mountainous state of Sikkim is a gem of a holiday destination in India’s northeast region. It was established as a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the 19th century. After the British Raj ended in the mid 1900s, Gangtok became an independent monarchy, only to join India in 1975.
It can easily be one of the most enchanting places in the country, let alone Northeast India. On a clear day, you can even capture spell-binding vistas of Mt. Kanchenjunga. It is also the base of numerous treks in the region, proving to be a marvellous holiday destination in India for adventure seekers.
Top attractions in Gangtok: Nathula Pass, MG Road, Rumtek Monastery, Tsomgo Lake, Ganesh Tok, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple, and Himalayan Zoological Park.
Kaziranga National Park, Assam
While there are many wildlife destinations in India, Kaziranga National Park has a charm that is hard to find. This realm of elephant-grass meadows, dense forests, and swampy lagoons houses one of the largest populations of the Indian one-horned rhinoceroses. This heritage has also earned it a spot on the coveted list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, testifying to the significance of its rich ecosystem.
Declared a tiger reserve in 2006, it also gives visitors a chance to come face to face with the big cat. Apart from these, you can also spot a range of other animals and birds in Kaziranga. A few of these are wild water buffalo, elephants and swamp deer. Morning and afternoon Jeep safaris are operated here on a regular basis.
Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
Located at a height of over 3000 metres in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, Tawang is more than just another awe-inspiring hill station and holiday destination in Northeast India. The town is frequented by culture enthusiasts and devotees who come to visit the world-famous Tawang Monastery. A complex of more than 65 residential buildings and several other buildings, it is the largest monastery in India and the second largest in the world. It dates back to the late 17th century, when it was established by Merek Lama Lodre Gyamsto at the behest of the 5th Dalai Lama. A hike to Gorichen Peak will allow you to capture panoramic views of the town. Thus, whether you like to behold and admire bounties of nature, or delve into different cultures, Tawang is an excellent destination for you.
Top attractions in Tawang: Tawang Monastery, Tawang War Memorial, Panga Teng Tso Lake, Bumla Pass, Jaswant Garh, Taktsang Gompa, and Urgelling Monastery.
The capital city of the Meghalaya state, Shillong is one of the most visited holiday destinations in Northeast India. The place is defined by its scenic natural beauty, surrounding pine trees, gushing waterfalls and soothing serenity. It has also earned the moniker of the ‘Scotland of the East’. This is where you can explore the tribal culture of Meghalaya without ditching the modern conveniences and comfort of the 21st century.
Top attractions in Shillong: Umiam Lake, Elephant Falls, Ward’s Lake, Shillong View Point, Lady Hydari Park, NohKaLikai Falls, Police Bazaar, and Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians.
Now while these are our favourite holiday destinations in India, the list includes a bevy of other places like Bangalore, Srinagar, Ranthambore National Park, Darjeeling, Coorg, Agra, Puri, Jim Corbett National Park, and more.