India is a diverse country, rich with natural beauty and steeped in ancient culture. The country is a popular destination for those in search of spirituality, discovery and adventure. India holidays can transport you through rural Indian villages to modern metropolises and everything in between.
Iconic monuments and world wonders like the Taj Mahal lie in wait for visitors, along with the pristine beauty of the snow-capped Himalayas and the colourful bazaars and marketplaces of New Delhi. India is full of attractive national parks that can provide you with a wild close encounter. The country's festivals can supply you with thrills of a different kind, and experiences unlike any other. Vibrant and energetic, India is an alluring holiday destination that exposes you to a vast new world. A holiday to India is unforgettable and few places on Earth have the ability to mesmerise visitors quite like it.
Top destinations in India
Goa from £370 pp
At a glance
- Language: English
- Time Zone: GMT +6
- Average flight time: 9h 40m
When to go
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From Mumbai to New Delhi, India is a world waiting to be discovered by travellers. Ancient venues dot the country and tourists from all over descend on India to experience the once in a lifetime sites. The Taj Mahal in Agra is the ideal starting point to an Indian sightseeing holiday. The mausoleum was built in the 16th century in the memory of emperor Shah Jahan's wife. Experience the architecture as you walk the grounds of the unforgettable Taj Mahal.
Varanasi is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. It is also a sacred city to Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. The city is the scene of pilgrimages and it can be overwhelming at times. However, no other city gives visitors a window into India like Varanasi.
Found in 1819 by British hunters, the Ajanta Caves actually date back to the 2nd century BC. Perfectly preserved, the caves display murals of battles, ships and city streets. If you want something above ground, Harmandir Sahib, the Golden Temple, is a tourist must-see. The Sikh temple is the most important religious site to followers. The temple's top floors are covered in gold, giving off a stunning, shimmering appearance.
Wine and Dine
Indian food is exotic, and authentic Indian cuisine makes use of spices that will tantalise taste buds. The spices will also make you sweat as some of India's authentic foods turn up the heat. Many of India's recipes are regionalised. Therefore, the foods you find on menus in restaurants and hotels will differ from place to place. Along with the great curries that make up Indian cuisine, you will find most meals come with rice, lentils and naan bread. Seafood can be found in many curries, but many authentic Indian dishes will be made without meat. Cows are sacred animals in India, so beef won't be on the menu as you travel around the country. Don't worry, you can find some curries with pork and chicken in Indian to satisfy your cravings. Wash down meals with an after dinner Darjeeling tea or local beer. The masala chai is the country's most popular beverage and the spiced black tea can be found everywhere.
India may not be the first country one thinks of for family holidays, but the country is very much a family destination. Goa offers families the chance to hit the high seas for deep sea fishing. Catch your dinner out in the Indian Ocean before returning to shore. Goa's beaches provide families with the backdrop to a splendid sunny holiday. Escape the cold back home with a beach getaway on the Indian shore. You can also take the kids dolphin watching as you cruise through the ocean off Goa's coast. A tour of the Taj Mahal is a must-see when visiting the country and will give the kids plenty to tell their friends about back home. India has so much history that you will need to keep your eyes open. You will see plenty of ancient monuments and buildings around every twist and turn.
Action and Adventure
The kilometres of great coastline make India a perfect spot for snorkelling and diving. Take a boat away from the beach in Goa to dive in the ocean. Swim under water and see the sea life below surface. Further inland you will find rafting to be one of the most popular adventure activities in India. Rishikesh is the best venue for river rafting as you get your adrenaline pumping.
Trekking may seem simple, but that is until you have experienced some of India's thrilling hiking areas. Or should we say chilling? Zanskar Riverin Ladakh is a frozen adventure. Trek through the area's sub-zero temperatures as you challenge yourself on holiday.
Head below the surface to explore India's vast cave system. Crawl through tight spaces or walk through mountain caves as you explore the inner workings of the mysterious natural formations in Meghalaya.
Life's a Beach
India has a number of great beaches, and it isn't hard to find a good one. There are 7,500 kilometres of coastline in India, so it isn't too difficult to run into sand and surf. Chakratirth Beach is just outside the city walls of Gujarat. The beach receives few swimmers or sun worshippers during the day. So, you may have the beach all to yourself. Mumbai's Chowpatty Beach is a local favourite. Patrons don't swim at Chowpatty as the waters are not the cleanest. However, they do enjoy the food stalls and chance to stroll across its sands. Goa is considered party central by many globetrotters. Anjuna Beach can accommodate both young in age and the young at heart. Head to the northern half of the beach where backpackers congregate. The southern half should have you out of distance of loud music and more in tune with peace and quiet if that is what you are looking for.
Over the years, India has increased in popularity as a country to visit for its nightlife. Bars, nightclubs and music venues have all become more popular with tourists, locals and expats. The growing financial muscle of some Indians has helped to improve the nightlife scene in many of the country’s bigger cities.
Much of India’s nightlife will begin early and doesn’t run too late. So, staying out dancing all night isn’t something that will happen often unless you are visiting Goa. But just because you have to go to bed early, doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time.
Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi, India’s three largest cities by population, are all filled with great places to eat, drink and dance. Each has its own areas where you will find fun that is truly unique.
For something completely different, however, there is Goa. Nightlife near the sea can be quite special, and if you’re looking for culture, peace and quiet on your Indian adventure, it is wise to stay away from Goa’s loud nightlife.
India is teeming with culture. Couples seeking ancient temples and monuments will love the country's wealth of places to see. There may not be many museums to stroll through, but that doesn't mean there isn't anything to look at. India is practically a living breathing museum full of fascinating antiquities.
Couples visiting Delhi should visit Gali Paranthe Wali to sample street food at its finest. After filling your stomach with delicious foods, make your way to Akshardham. Thousands of Indian artists helped to carve the structure. The unique appearance will blow your mind and on the inside you will learn all about Hinduism. Of course, if you want to get away from the crowds and find some romantic time, the beaches of India are a great place to go. Palolem Beach in Goa is low-key and will provide you with the seclusion you are looking for.
The first thing to know about Indian culture is the country has a number of different religions and all are taken extremely seriously. The beliefs of the population can be seen throughout the country. One way that it is very apparent is the amazing structures that have been built over the centuries. No trip to India is complete without viewing some of the great cultural religious buildings. Mysore, Jaipur, Kolkata, Udaipur and so many more cities in India have amazing cultural sites. Some are not religious in nature, but all will bring a certain peace over you when viewing it.
People in India dress conservatively, so be aware when packing to go on holiday. Short shorts, skirts or sleeveless tops are frowned upon. Dressing well can improve the people’s view of you when visiting the country, and visitors should always dress respectably when holidaying in the country.