It’s so hard to write this post and narrow down my favorite places here but I get asked about the best places to visit in India from readers and usually email them my favorites, so figured I should put it in a blog post. There are epic tourist places in India that are worth seeing but there are also some smaller towns that I’ve loved to go to and had amazing experiences at.
It’s not just about seeing the famous places in India, it’s about having cool experiences there – taking tours, cooking classes, trying massages, all of it! You can fill all your time with forts, palaces, and historical places in India but make sure that you really look around and see the beauty and go out and explore it! If you like my tips and want more, I actually wrote an ebook about how to travel India that literally covers everything (it’s the size of a novel but a fast read that will make you SO excited and prepared for your trip to India).
From the tea fields to the beaches, I’ve spent five years traveling around this amazing country – here are my favorites for travelers who have no choice but to limit their destinations. I’ll give some travel tips at the end of the article as well. I won’t say too much about each place – you can click through on each one to read more details from my blog posts on them.
30 Best Places to Visit in India
Varanasi is by far the most unique place I’ve been in the entire world. This is where many Hindus come to be cremated, along the Ganges River. You will see sadhu’s with human ashes on them. Here are some tips on what to expect at the burning ghats in Varanasi, and some general Varanasi travel tips as well as which places to visit.
Tours in Varanasi:
- Varanasi Heritage City Tour
- Spiritual Walking Tour of Varanasi
- Cooking Class in Varanasi
- Varanasi Sunrise Boat Tour
- Insight Varanasi Day Tour
2. Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is world famous and a must-visit India landmark for a reason – it’s stunning! I hated being there I have to admit. You are herded like cattle through huge crowds if it’s busy but here are some tips for a Taj Mahal visit, like showing up for sunrise and saying no to photos. I also have a post on how to do a Taj Mahal day trip from Delhi.
Tours to the Taj Mahal:
- Taj Mahal Fast Track Ticket
- Moonlight Tour of the Taj Mahal
- Private Sunrise Tour from Delhi to Taj Mahal
- Taj Mahal with a Local Market Tour
3. Anjuna / Vagator
Anjuna, my home of the last five years, is the land of hippie vibes and the end of the hippie trail in the 60-70’s. Many foreigners came here, burnt their passports, and lived naked on the beach. Those days are gone but some of them are still here and the music, parties, yoga retreats, and laid-back attitude have stuck around, too. Here’s my ultimate guide to North Goa, and you can buy my full e-book on Goa here.
4. Rann of Kutch
This is where you’ll find the huge salt plains in India. Make sure to visit at the right time (Nov-Feb) or you might show up to find it under water. You can experience local life here and see how artisans make traditional clothing. CN Traveler called it the new fashion capital of India.
In Tawang, you can visit the largest working Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in the world. This once was Tibet and the food, language, and people are Tibetan although now they are Indian. Come and learn about their culture! It’s gorgeous but very very cold since it’s Northeast India. It’s one of the highest places I’ve been to in India! Read up a bit about Tawang here.
6. Kaziranga National Park
There aren’t many rhinos left in the world (they are endangered) but this park has worked hard to repopulate them and keep them safe from poachers. Some people buy the horns for Chinese medicine, and poaching is a major issue. We got very close to the rhinos here and it was nothing but magical. Here’s my guide.
Darjeeling is known for it’s rolling tea fields. You might also know it from a certain Wes Anderson film…
It’s in West Bengal at the base of the Himalaya Mountains. This is where the Brits would come for vacation back when they were in control of India. Make sure you ride the toy train and check out this post for more things to do here.
8. BR Hills
This is short for Biligirirangana Hills, which is a protected area in Karnataka just near the Tamil Nadu border. This wildlife sanctuary has tigers but it has tribal people too, called the Soliga, and this is in my top 5 places I’ve ever been in India and maybe even in the world. It’s so unique.
Mysore is my favorite Indian city. There are so many parks, so little traffic, and the market is extraordinary! If you want to ease into India by starting in a small city, want to try Ayurveda, or do a yoga teacher training (the best school is here), this is where you want to be. You can also take amazing day trips from Mysore. This article has 7 must-dos in Mysore.
We all know by now that the Beatles and other celebs loved Rishikesh and came here to be with their guru and write. Still, it’s a place for yogis and hippies. The Ganges runs through the cute, busy, town and many tourists are here learning to teach yoga themselves. Here are my tips for Rishikesh.