Best road trips in India! Breathtaking getaways within driving distance from Chennai, Kolkatta, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai & Delhi
Sometimes a break from your routine is the very thing you need. Sometimes it’s the little things in life that you need to enjoy because one day you will look back and realize that they were the big things. So pack your bags because better days are coming. They are called driving holidays. I have put together a list of places around 6 big Indian cities where you can head hassle free, without the need to budget or plan for an air ticket. Scan through these 14 absolutely best road trips in India and take your pick, for some days, nothing beats a really LONG drive.
Also read Lockdown Road Trip Ideas, How To Go on Road Trip While Maintaining Social Distancing & Road Trip 2020 Essentials for Corona Times
Best Road Trips from CHENNAI
1. Chennai to Tranquebar
A tiny beach town dating back to the 14th century, Tranquebarseems to have been untouched by time. Located right in the midst of rural Tamil Nadu, this former Danish colony transports you to a different era. The village’s Danish connection began when Admiral Ove Giedde, landed on its coast and fell in love with its tranquility. The Danes built majestic churches, colonial era buildings, a fort and the Town Gate. Later they handed over control to the British as they could no longer afford to maintain overseas colonies.
Chennai to Tranquebar Distance: 270 km
Top attractions New Jerusalem Church, Dansborg, Zeigenbalg landing Plaque, Ziegenbalg Printing Press & Tharangambadi Maritime Museum
Packing List A travel journal, hats, shorts, quick dry towel, sunscreens & flipflops
2. Chennai to Yelagiri
Yelagiri is a charming hill station surrounded by orchids, rose-gardens and lush green valleys. Once a private property of the Yelagiri Zamindar family, these beautiful hamlets are now bustling with adventure sports like paragliding and rock climbing. The highest point Swamimalai Hill at 4300 ft is a favorite destination amongst trekkers in India. There are many trekking trails through dense reserved forests, those with medium difficulty level can be explored with family.
Chennai to Yelagiri Distance: 230 km
Top attractions Manmade Punganur Lake, paragliding, Jalagamparai Waterfalls & Nature Park
Packing List Light jackets or shrugs, trekking gear, bottled water, energy bars, band-aid, mosquito patch & battery pack
3. Chennai to Pondicherry
Popularly known as the French Riviera of the East, Pondicherry truly lives up to its image with Mediterranean style mustard colored houses and bakeries in the Old Quarters. Beautifully tiled roofs, wooden shutters and French style balconies line the Rues and Boulevards providing terrific views. French is still understood here though Pondicherry is a city with dual personality. Crossing over from east to west banks of the canal reveals two sections of the town with very different characters. The internationally famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville draws a huge number of spiritually conscious visitors.
Chennai to Pondicherry Distance: 160 km
Top attractions Paradise beach, Promenade and the French Quarters, Church of Sacred Heart of Jesus, water sports, old lighthouse, Sri Aurobindo Ashram & Auroville
Packing List Swimsuits, portable speakers, loose breathable fabric outfits and a huge appetite
Best Road Trips from KOLKATA
4. Kolkata to Bishnupur
Explore the exquisite Hindu temples made from local terracotta with your children in the small town of Bishnupur. Spend some quality time marveling the architecture and beauty of the perfect pyramid-shaped Rasmancha temple. Study the ornate carvings that that adorn the walls of Jor Bangla temple and the scenes from Mahabharata on the mud and terracotta walls of the Madan Mohan Temple. Bishnupur today is the seat of craft and culture, being home to Baluchari saree, Bishnupur Gharana Hindustani classical music and the Bishnupur school of painting.
Kolkata to Bishnupur Distance: 135 km
Top attractions Rasmancha temple, Dalmadal cannon, Jor Bangla temple, Madan Mohan temple, Bishnupur museum & pure tussar Baluchari sari
Packing List A travel journal, hats, walking shoes, sunscreens & mosquito repellant
5. Kolkata to Darjeeling
Situated in the heart of the postcard picture perfect Himalayas, Kangchenjunga near Darjeeling is the second highest peak, a bare 125 km away from Mount Everest. Untouched by pollution, Darjeeling is world famous for sweeping views of sunrise over the magnificent Kangchenjunga and many other snow clad eastern Himalayan peaks. Children will especially love the ride on narrow gauge choo-choo toy train operated by the DHR. A visit to the Himalayan zoo housing alpine animals like snow leopards and red panda is an excellent opportunity for children see rare animals in their natural habitats.
Kolkata to Darjeeling Distance: 615 km
Top attractions Tiger Hill, War Memorial, Toy train joyride, boating, horse riding, Himalayan Zoo & Snow Leopard Breeding Center
Packing List Binoculars, winter wear, boots, rain-cheaters and light weight umbrellas, paint and canvas
Best Road Trips from HYDERABAD
6. Hyderabad to Warangal
Lined with temples dating back to the 12th century, this historical town in Telangana is a perfect destination to discover Indian heritage, culture and architectural masterpieces with your children. Blessed with picturesque lakes, a waterfall and Eturunagaram Sanctuary which is home to the spotted deer, neelgai & blackbuck Warangal stands out as all-in-one package.
Hyderabad to Warangal Distance: 145 km
Top attractions Thousand pillar temple, Ramappa temple, Bhadrakali temple, Warangal fort, Khush Mahal, Pakhal lake, Eturunagaram Sanctuary & the Kolanupaka Jain temple
Packing List Indian clothes for religious places, energy bars, comfortable walking shoes & hats
7. Hyderabad to Nagarjuna Sagar
One of the tallest masonry dams in the world, Nagarjuna Sagar is a massive marvel of architecture and engineering. Nestled amidst lush green surroundings, this landmark dam over the Krishna River is also famous for Nakarjunda Konda Island. Situated right in the middle of the lake, this island contains historical remnants of a Buddhist settlement that was relocated here during the construction of the dam.
Hyderabad to Nagarjuna Sagar Distance: 150km
Top attractions Nagarjuna Sagardam & museum, quiet boat ride, Amaravathi Buddhist stupas, Ethipothala waterfalls & Sri Sailam Wildlife Reserve
Packing List Slip resistant footwear, large hats, sunglasses, sickness med & quick dry towel
Best Road Trips from BENGALURU
8. Bengaluru to Ranganathittu
A stone throw away from the historic cities of Srirangapatna and Mysore, Ranganathittu is home to the largest bird sanctuary in the state. Nestled beautifully between the six inlets of river Cauvery this bird sanctuary is a haven for a wide array of bird species. It attracted 3 lakh tourists in the year 2016-17 alone. The area surrounding the lake is prime spot for watching birds in their natural habitats. This is a perfect place to escape the urban life and relax with nature.
Bengaluru to Ranganathittu Distance: 140 km
Top attractions Boating, migrating birds, chirping of birds
Packing List Binoculars and SLR camera, hats and waterproof footwear
9. Bengaluru to Coorg
There never really is a bad time to visit Coorg. Blessed with evergreen hills and world class coffee and spice plantations, this charming little town is often referred to as the Scotland of India. The native people, Kodavas are believed to be descendants of migrating Persians or Greeks left behind from the light troops of Alexander the Great’s army. They specialize in martial arts and are known for their warm hospitality. Many houses in Coorg offer homestay accommodation. Form a relaxing spa to trekking, bird watching to spicy eye watering curry, there is something for everybody here.
Bengaluru to Coorg Distance: 240 km
Top attractions Golf courses, coffee plantations, Abbi falls, Puthari festival, Tibetan settlement Bylakuppe & Dubare Elephant Camp
Packing List Rain cheaters, slip resistant footwear, light jacket or shrug, empty bags to take back fresh spices
Best Road Trips from MUMBAI
10. Mumbai to Alibaug – the ‘mini-Goa’
Lined with beach houses to India’s rich and famous, Alibaug is the perfect blend of sun, sand and history. Less than 15 minutes ride away in a speed boat or about an hour on the ferry, you will find yourself amidst miles of sandy beaches, clean water, fresh air, mesmerizing unpolluted sky and never-ending grooves of coconut trees.
You can choose from a wide array of luxurious hotels, beach bungalows or homestays. Or if you have just a few hours to spare, treat your taste buds to a lavish brunch either near the jetty or at the famous spots in Alibaug and head jet back to the comforts of your hotel in Mumbai.
Mumbai to Alibaug Distance: 95km
Top attractions Murud Janjira fort, Alibaug & Kihim beach, Phansad Sanctuary, Kulaba fort & Israeli synagogue
Packing List Swim gear, sunglasses, sunscreen, boom box & beach mat
11. Mumbai to Elephanta Caves
Mumbai has a glorious history that dates much beyond the British era. The awe-inspiring Elephanta Caves, situated just off the shores of Mumbai Harbour is a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to the 5th-7th century. The 2 Buddhist stupas and 5 Hindu caves, collectively known as the Elephanta caves, have stood through centuries of invasion and destruction. The rock-cut Cave 1 measures an impressive 39 meters and houses a 7 meter high “Sadashiva” statue. The sculpture represents all 3 aspects of Shiva – the Creator, the Preserver, and the Destroyer represented by the left half, central full face and right half of the figure. These caves are considered most remarkable achievements in the history of rock architecture in Western India.
Mumbai to Elephanta Caves Distance: 60 minutes ferry ride
Top attractions Market place, the Caves, Cannon Point
Packing List Foldable umbrellas, sea sickness med, energy bars & sneakers
12. Mumbai to Nashik
Nashik has long been known as a huge Hindu pilgrimage center. As legends go, Laxman cut the nose of Shurpanakha in this holy place. Nashik is also home to the famous Kumbh Mela festival which attracts worshiper from all across the country and it’s an important place for Hindu rituals towards after life offerings. However over past few years many large vineyards have come up in this region owing to a shift from sugarcane planation to grape cultivation. Nashik has earned the reputation as the “Wine Capital of India” and its sprawling vineyards make it one of the most romantic cities in the country today.
Mumbai to Nashik Distance: 200 km
Top attractions Trimbakeshwar, Pandavleni Caves, Gangapur Dam, Sula winery guided tour & Wine tasting room
Packing List Comfortable walking shoes, hats, sunglasses & Indian clothes for religious places
Also read 61 Top Tourist Places In India Before You Turn 40, Ultimate Holiday Checklist for Fashionable Busy Mom & First Timers Guide To Visiting Mumbai
Best Road Trips from DELHI
13. Delhi to Agra
Home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal, Agra is undoubtedly No 1 tourist destination in India for both foreign and Indian tourists. This beautiful architectural masterpieces is a true work of art, extravagance and an assortment of fascinating optical effects that can be spotted throughout the building. Maintaining a permanent position in the top 10 world icons of all times, this epitome of love is a must visit atleast once in a lifetime.
Delhi to Agra Distance: 230 km
Top attractions The iconic Me-in-front-of-Taj photos, Agra Fort, Akbar’s tomb, Fatehpur Sikri & Agra ka Pethas
Packing List Light and airy clothing, easy to remove footwear, sunglasses, hats and a scarf to cover shoulders and head.
14. Delhi to Jim Corbett National Park, Nainital
With leaping leopards and Royal Bengal tigers on the prowl, Jim Corbett National Park echoes with the call of the wild. Visualize a firsthand encounter with the big cats, exhilarating outdoor adventure while on a chase. Survey the area and witness birds on prey. Spread over 520 sq km, India’s oldest and most prestigious national park is home to highest number of majestic Royal Bengal tigers. Come prepared to create memories with your children that will last a lifetime.
Need more road trip inspirations read, Spectacular Road Trips In India
Delhi to Jim Corbett National Park, Nainital Distance: 245 km
Top attractions Guided jungle safari, elephant ride, Jim Corbett museum, Corbett falls dam & Ramganga Dam
Packing List Binoculars, medicines, earth colored clothing and bottled water
Those are just a handful of places for road trip near Delhi, detailed list of best road trips in india by car from delhi is coming up soon.
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Truly I have visited all the places in your chennai road trip list and someday I like to visit other cities.
I have visited all the places you have mentioned from Bangalore and Chennai, as my hubby loves road trips. Waiting to go for one very soon. Thanks for such an exhaustive list.
I have been to some of the places you mentioned like elephanta caves and some places I have boomarked for my next visit to these big cities.
Lovely post and a great list for travel lovers. I’ve visited the places listed under Chennai and Bengaluru (but all in a road trip from Bengaluru only) and the Elephanta Caves in Mumbai. Loed reading the post. Thanks for sharing.
Lovely write up & Pics as well.
I don’t know about others but there aren’t many short road trip places from Delhi when compared to Mumbai or Bangalore. From your list, my fav is Bangalore to Coorg.
Good places to explore, I personally like Bengaluru to Coorg, Chennai to Pondicherry which I really enjoyed travelling to with family…
Thanks a lot for this list. In our each India trip, we want to visit few of the places but we due to the already done exhaustive air travel, we let go the plan. Button I have a few places from Mumbai and Delhi that I would like to cover.
Just reading about road trips elevates my mood especially in days like these. For over 9 months not been on a holiday or road trip. I wish to just escape to Alibaug from Mumbai over the weekend.
Wow this is great list and you had shared great option of road trips for weekend gateway. I had never been to south India much. Would love to visit that when plan next India visit.
Wow reading this was fun… I’ve done a road trip from delhi to Leh ladakh and halting inbetween at jammu, srinagar, kargil, drass, Sonmarg, Manali and all… also road trips around Mumbai too v do often.
wow that’s an exhaustive list .. I wish to go on road trip north side of india .. thanks for these routes.. bookmarking the post
Wow, good spots!! I’m definitely pinning this for future reference. I mean whenever I can really travel with ease. I have been to Coorg only to hotel events but never really explored the town.
Road trips are fun and are the best option to safely step out with family right now. Great recommendations and quite a detailed post.
I really wish to travel soon, and road trips are always my favorite. This list is going to help a lot to make plans !!
Road travel seems luike the safest chpice to make, considering the pandemic. I really wish to plan a trip soon and will definitely keep these recommendations in mind.
Road trips are possibly going to be the best and safest way to travel in the near future what a lovely list I have just started doing Road trips and all of these sound like must add them to my list
Been longing for a travel. Covid changed things for all of us. For better n for worse (better because we got to spend time with our folks and worse because it bought uncertainty in terms of jobs and education, etc)
Amazing post ..I lingered over all. Your post has made me feel really left out. I live in a small place and don’t have access to any of these exotic spots. Next time I am going to explore from Chennai for sure. Except for Nagarjuna Sagar..everything else is too far for a road trip.
What are amazing post and the right time into we are contemplating the idea of taking a road trip and this comes exactly at the planning time
I love this post because I love amd enjoy road trips always. I like all the options given here.
This post made me crave for road trips. Thanks for the list of places. Jim Corbet is on my list from long time.
Definitely need to find more cool roads in India
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For me, thats one of the top 3 key things to consider to pick a road trip route. Great tips on your blog
thanks! we have a lot of information about roads in Europe or North America but not so much about other places, so I will add some definitely little by little!
I am a road trip shipper. Thank you so much for sharing this. This post is for me.
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Loved the way you’ve made this article so informative yet so crispy. Sadly, I haven’t been to any of the places mentioned but I’m sure, I will.