Top India Tours & Vacations 2024/2025 [reviews & photos]

India Tours & Travel Packages 2024/2025

194 India trips. Compare tour itineraries from 29 tour companies. 1,970 reviews. 4.8/5 avg rating.

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Top India Attractions & Experiences

Top India Experiences

  • Relaxing in Kerala’s floating hotels known as Kettuvallams.
  • Basking in Goa’s beautiful Palolem beach, and sipping in fresh coconut water to keep you hydrated.
  • Visiting Jaisalmer, a desert town in Rajasthan.
  • Visiting Varanasi, a city in Uttar Pardesh, which consist of more than 2000 temples and attracts pilgrims and devotees of Hindu, Buddhists and Jains.
  • Enjoying a Ganges River cruise  
  • Seeing Taj Mahal, an epitome built by Shah Jahan, a Mughal emperor for his wife.
  • For wildlife lovers, a visit to Kanha National Park is must, as it is one of the few best places to see a tiger in India.
  • Visit to Harmandir Sahib, a popular Sikhs temple also known as the Golden Temple.
  • Riding a camel into the Thar desert, and sleeping beneath the stars.
  • Meditating in a temple in Dharmasala, the home of the Dalai Lama.
  • Hiking through the magnificent Valley of the Flowers.
  • Zig-zagging through mountains while paragliding in the Himalayas.
  • Staying with a local Himalayan family in a remote village.
  • Bouncing along chaotic city streets and dodging other vehicles (and cows) in a tuk-tuk.

India Tours & Travel Guide

India Attractions & Landmarks Guide

India is often described as being a place of sensory overload -- an explosion of sights, sounds and smells. It can be exotic, spicy, colorful, chaotic and overwhelming, all at the same time.

Whether exploring Mumbai or old Delhi, relaxing on a canal boat in Kerala, riding a mountain train to Darjeeling, waking up for an early morning bathing ritual in Varanasi, attending the Camel Fair in Pushkar, or marveling at the sheer perfection of the Taj Mahal in Agra, India is not to be missed. 

This vast country is home to vibrant cities, golden deserts, architectural wonders, serene beaches, cultural celebrations, and gigantic mountains. A visitor could spend years in this immense and diverse land and still find new experiences to uncover each day.

Why visit India on a guided tour?

Many parts of India can be chaotic. crowded, and complicated, and it is often difficult to get around. Between the lack of reliable transportation and a reputation for scamming tourists, a trip to India will be less overwhelming with a knowledgeable guide.

A guide will know the places to go and the places to avoid, as well as be able to tell you more about the country’s history and culture. You also will never have to worry about booking transportation and accommodation-- all you have to do is enjoy the amazing scenery, food, and culture of India.

Eating in India

Will I get sick?

You may have heard stories of travelers in India getting the dreaded “Delhi belly,” or dysentery usually caused from consuming contaminated food or water. When traveling in India, it is important to follow some basic precautions to avoid getting sick:

  • Do not drink the tap water in your hotel or hostel (use bottled water to brush teeth)
  • Avoid uncooked vegetables
  • Stick to reputable restaurants. Many travelers have gotten sick from E. coli and other bacteria after eating street food. 
  • Wash your hands often, especially before and after eating
  • Ask for no ice in your beverages
  • Order hot food. Heat kills germs and bacteria.

If you do end up getting sick, over-the-counter medicine like Pepto-Bismol can help with stomach pain. Make sure to drink lots of water. Carbonated beverages may also ease your stomach, but be careful with sugary drinks. If you are feeling extremely ill and/or showing signs of severe dehydration (dizziness, increased heartbeat, confusion), talk to your guide or hotel staff; this could be an emergency.

Regional Cuisine in India

Indian cooking is known for its use of spices and herbs, and rice, vegetables, and bread are staples. Northern Indian (Punjabi) food is very different from southern Indian food.

Northern cuisine is known to be less spicy than southern cuisine, and uses more meat and dairy (which is why southern Indian food is especially popular among vegetarians and vegans). Because of the crops grown in each region, northern Indian dishes use bread while southern dishes use rice. 

Classic Indian Dishes

Much of the Indian cuisine that is found in the United States resembles Northern Indian dishes (naan, curry, samosas). Popular dishes in the north include tikka masala and butter masala, Tandoori chicken, and parathe (flatbread relished with pickle or curd). Meals in the north are almost always followed with chai tea. 

Southern Indian dishes are generally vegetarian, with lentils or rice as the base. Stews, soups, and dosas (thin, flat pancakes made from rice) are common dishes. Biryani is a popular dish made of rice, meat, and vegetables. Seafood is also common, especially near the coast. People in southern India usually eat smaller meals and snacks, called tiffins, throughout the day. 

Chaats are popular savory snacks made of potatoes and spices that are found all over India, especially in roadside carts and street markets. Thali is a platter with smaller bowls filled with foods like lentils, rice, vegetables, and curry. It is usually eaten with naan bread and followed with salad and a dessert.

Navigating India's Cities

Indian cities are chaotic. An array of honking vehicles weave along dusty roads, stopping for the occasional crossing cow. Crowds of people in colorful clothes squeeze their way through even more colorful marketplaces. The air is filled with the smells of spices and the sounds of temple bells.

Embrace this chaos and you'll find that these cities are some of the most vibrant and lively places on earth. Flag down a tuk tuk or a cycle rickshaw and hold on for the rollercoaster journey. Visit a temple to attend a puja (religious ceremony), and receive a red smear on your forehead as a form of blessing.

Get lost in a market trying to find the perfect scarf or henna tattoo. And, of course, when the spicy aromas start to make your mouth water, stop for a tasty curry.

New Delhi, the country's capital, is a common first stop for visitors, and offers quite a modern, cosmopolitan Indian experience. Mumbai is the place to go to sample the Bollywood scene.

Kolkata can be quite jarring at first, but provides visitors with a rich cultural experience. Jodhpur, Jaipur and Jaisalmer all boast impressive historic buildings and forts, and are the starting points for desert treks. The city of Varanasi hosts unique religious events, such as bathing in the Ganges or burning bodies on the riverbank.

In the south, Trivandrum boasts beautiful palaces and beaches, while the  mountain cities up north such as Manali (in the northwest) and Darjeeling (in the northeast) are rich in Nepalese and Tibetan culture.

Cultural Activities in India

India has a unique and rich culture. Cultural experiences in India can be spiritual, culinary, historical, and anything in between. There are many festivals across the country every year; the most popular are Diwali (the arrival of autumn) and Holi (the arrival of spring). 

Yogis and spiritual travelers may choose to stay at an ashram for yoga and meditation or visit a religious site such as Varanasi or Bodh Gaya, where the Buddha is said to have found enlightenment. Many tour operators offer tours focused on yoga and meditation.

Travelers can also witness religious rituals dating back thousands of years. The most popular religions in India are Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam, and religious rituals are plentiful. Make sure to check with your guide about respectful attire and behavior when attending these rituals.

Culinary experiences in India include cooking classes, authentic meals, and wine tastings.

Active travel in India

Cycling tours are especially popular in India. Common routes are along the coast in Kerala or up in the Himalayas. Cycling can be done nearly anywhere, so it is a great way to see the country. 

Physically fit travelers may wish to hike to Mt. Everest Base Camp. This is usually a ten- to fourteen-day trek due to the time it takes to acclimate to the altitude, but the views are spectacular and the hike is not too difficult for experienced hikers. This trek is extremely popular, so make sure to book with a guide well in advance.

The Indian Desert   

The Thar Desert, in Northwest India, covers an impressive 120,000 square miles, most of which is located in the state of Rajasthan. The golden sand dunes, blue skies and lush oases are the perfect setting for a camel trek. Rocking back and forth on a camel, stopping to sample fresh goat's milk at an oasis, followed by a night spent underneath the stars makes for an unforgettable experience.

Top Historical Sites in India

Besides the well-known historical sites of the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, and Old Delhi, India has an endless amount of historically rich locations and monuments. Hampi is an ancient village that was once the capital of Vijayanagar, one of the most powerful Hindu empires. The village is filled with monuments and remnants of its great past. 

The Gateway of India is a large stone arch in Mumbai that was built in 1924 for King George V and Queen Mary of England. It serves as a reminder of the period of British rule in India, but also as a symbol of victory for India; it was through the arch that British troops marched out when India was granted independence.

Jallianwala Bagh is also an important site from the period of Brisish rule. Here, British troops fired on unarmed protesters in 1919. Today, a sculpture memorializes this tragic massacre, and visitors can watch a light and sound show retelling the event.

Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is a major tourist attraction in India, and it's easy to see why. This stunning white marble memorial from Shah Jahan to his late wife Mumtaz Mahal is a must see. Strolling through the picturesque gardens and marveling at the ethereal structure is well worth the journey to Agra (and the early morning start to beat the crowds).

Visiting the Taj Mahal in person is on many travelers’ bucket lists, and usually one of the first things that travelers to India want to see. Entrance to the palace is not cheap, but prices are usually lower during the off-season (May to October). The palace is usually open sunrise to sundown every day except during religious holidays. 

If you want to avoid the crowds and skip the entrance fee, the Taj Mahal can be seen from Mehtab Bagh, a garden across from the palace.

Mountains

The Northern tips of India are dominated by the Himalayas. Here, the culture is largely influenced by neighboring Nepal, and Nepali is the dominant language in many areas. The Himalayan region is also rich in Tibetan culture, and many towns are centered around Tibetan Buddhist monasteries. The cities here move at a far slower pace to their southern counterparts, and the surrounding towns and villages make for a relaxing break. Don't get too relaxed though, as the mountains are also home to adventure activities such as paragliding and rafting.

Food

Indian cuisine is world famous. The flavorful dishes here are unlike anywhere else. It is also the perfect place for vegetarian and vegan dining. Be warned, however, that curries here are far spicier than their western imitators.

Despite the concern of catching the infamous "Delhi belly", food in India is generally perfectly safe to eat. Digestive difficulty usually comes from drinking contaminated water. Drink purified water only, don't put ice in your drinks, and avoid uncooked vegetables, and you should have no problems.

Trains

Trains are the preferred method of long distance travel across the massive subcontinent, and this in itself is a draw for many visitors. Many routes offer scenic window views. In the Goan region, the Vasco de Gama- Londa route takes in postcard beaches and picturesque mountains, before passing by the immense Dudhsagar waterfalls. The relatively short journey from Jaipur to Jaisalmer takes in a beautiful desert landscape. Darjeeling and its surrounds are home to the UNESCO protected "toy train"- the highest railway in the world, winding its way through cloud covered mountains and tea plantations.

Overnight trains are perfectly comfortable to sleep on. A first class ticket will usually get you a private cabin, while second class will get you a fold-out bunk bed in a shared carriage. Third class is hard wooden seats only, definitely not a good option for the comfort traveler!

Wildlife Experiences in India

High on every visitor's wildlife check list is undoubtedly a glimpse of a tiger. While this is far from guaranteed, tiger reserves such as Kanha and Tadoba-Andhari offer the best chances. Even if the tigers remain elusive, there's a good chance of spotting wild dogs, sloths, and deer, as well as an abundance of exotic birds.

Many tour operators have eliminated elephant rides from their itineraries in the interest of animal welfare. Instead, find an elephant sanctuary where they are well looked after. And of course, let's not forget the monkeys that can be found in the mountains, cities, temples, roads, and, well, just about anywhere.

India has 104 national parks, all of them filled with unique and fascinating wildlife. There are a few parks that are especially popular among tourists seeking a one-of-a-kind wildlife experience: 

  1. Ranthambore National Park - Formerly a hunting ground, Ranthambore is the most famous national park in India. Visitors can see tigers and rare birds, as well as some historical monuments and former hunting lodges. 

  2. Great Himalayan National Park - The Himalayas are famous for their stunning beauty and abundance of wildlife. At Great Himalayan National Park, visitors can see bears, golden eagles, and snow leopards. 

  3. Nagarahole National Park - Visitors to Nagarahole National Park can safari through the marshlands of southern India and see elephants, rhinos, and alligators.

Common Tourist Scams in India

Unfortunately tourist scams are quite common in India. It is recommended to do your research and know how to react if you find yourself in one of these situations. The benefit of going with a tour group is knowing that your guide can keep you informed and prevent these situations from happening.

Here are two common tourist scams in India:

  1. Your taxi driver insists that your hotel has burnt down, moved, or changed names so instead he will drive you to his friend’s hotel in order to get commission. The hotels they drive you to end up being incredibly expensive. If this happens, find another taxi driver.

  2. A police officer will walk up to your taxi (and no one else’s) and tell you that there is a road fee to pay. Depending on the taxi driver, he might say no or agree with the police officer. Unfortunately if he agrees with the police, they won’t stop until you agree to give them money.

India Reviews & Ratings

4.8/5  Excellent
1,970  Reviews
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Excellent
829
Great
180
Average
19
Disappointing
2
Terrible
2
E

Evelyn

Nov 2016

Provided byG Adventures

Colourful and magical introduction to India

Colourful and magical introduction to India

D

Deborah

Nov 2016

Provided byG Adventures

This G adventure tour was a wonderful way to visit India for the first time

This G adventure tour was a wonderful way to visit India for the first time. We were always safe, despite the traffic and the population density. The tour covered fa...

C

Carol

Nov 2016

Provided byG Adventures

We did all the tourist things but also say another side of India that's to KV

We did all the tourist things but also say another side of India that's to KV. Our trip ran smoothly despite issues beyond KVs control. He did everything to alter it...

P

Patricia

Nov 2016

Provided byG Adventures

Discover India gave a fantastic overview of the 'Golden Triangle' and provided many opportunities to learn about India's history

Discover India gave a fantastic overview of the 'Golden Triangle' and provided many opportunities to learn about India's history. From the chaos of the streets of De...

K

Karen

Nov 2016

Provided byG Adventures

Amazing

Amazing! Loved what we saw in India, such a contrast from the craziness of New Delhi and Varanasi, to the more layed back and small village feel of Jojowar, to the m...

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