Plan a perfect mini vacation to these long weekend getaways in India and get the best of each one of them. The places on our list will appeal to all–wildlife enthusiasts, mountain lovers, history buffs and those who want to do nothing but sit back and relax.
Shimla, Kufri and Chail
Well, you must be wondering what all to explore during your long weekend vacation at this picturesque hill station? Don’t worry! Shimla has so much on its plate that you will love exploring the hill station and its neighbouring areas like Kufri and Chail.
Things to See and Do: Heritage Walk, Shopping, Toy Train Ride and a walk on the ridge!
Places to Eat: Wake n Bake Cafe, Goofa and Ashiana
Stay Options: There are a lot of good stay options in Shimla across categories–Woodville Palace, Oberoi Cecil, Madan Kunj and Hotel White among other options. Chail has the famous Chail Palace with tariffs starting from INR 2,000.
How to reach:
By Air: Shimla’s Jubbarhatti Airport is connected from major cities and a taxi would normally charge you around INR 100. Book Flights now to get the best of deals!
By Rail: Kalka is the nearest railhead and you can also experience the magic of toy train if travelling from Delhi.
By Road: Shimla is well-connected via roads and you can opt for the luxury Himachal Roadways buses.
One of the most preferred weekend destinations for Delhiites, the scenic Nainital is an intoxicating mix of hills and woods. There is a lot to explore in Nainital as the serene hill station has so much on its platter for the tourists!
Things to See and Do: Boat Ride at Naini Lake, Horse Riding, Shopping at the Mall
Places to Eat: Sakley’s-the mountain cafe, Machan and Nanak Restaurant
Where to Stay: Most of the hotels in Nainital are located on Mall Road and some recommended options are Mount n Mist (it is close to Sherwood College, 15 to 20 mins drive from the Mall), Alka The Lakeside Hotel, Shervani Hilltop, Chevron Fairhavens and Naini Retreat among others. Corbett has Namah Resort, The Riverview Retreat, Dhikala Forest Lodge and umpteen FRHs (Forest Rest Houses).
Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani
One of the most sought after weekend destinations around Mumbai, you will never have a dull moment in Mahabaleshwar. Nature is extraordinarily munificent here — rugged hills, gushing waterfalls, dense forests. It has some 30 lovely scenic spots that offer panoramic views of the Pratapgad Fort and adjoining areas.
A half an hour journey fromMahabaleshwar to Panchgani is nothing short of spectacular with majestic Sahyadris giving you company all along your journey. This one is a perfect for quiet walks and that much needed break from city rush.
Things to See and Do: Waterfalls, scenic points and some shopping!
Where to Eat: Grapevine Restaurant,
Where to Stay: Among the popular hotels in Mahabaleshwar are Strawberry County, MTDC Holiday Resort, Pratap Heritage, Valley View Resort and Hotel Lake View. Panchgani too has a lot of lovely options including Hotel Ravine, Prospect Hotel and Blue Country Resort.
Karnala and Alibaug
Karnala is another amazing option for a short break with friends and family. It is a short drive from Mumbai. At the Karnala Bird Sanctuary you can enjoy thick forests, wild ferns, chirping birds and nature in its full glory. The other attraction is the intriguing hill fort of Karnala that attracts trekkers. Expect to walk for at least an hour before you reach the fort.
Located at about an hour’s drive from Karnala, Alibaug is one of the most famous weekend retreats for Mumbaikars! This one is a pretty little town with golden beaches and lush greenery all around!
Karnala has Kstar Woods Resort, Panoramic Resort and a lovely Forest Bungalow in the bird sanctuary. You can either take a day’s trip to Alibaug or plan a night stay at the private villas which can be rented at affordable tariffs.
Pondicherry and Mahabalipuram
A 3-hour drive from Chennai will take you to Pondicherry, the famous French Quarter which has so many things to explore. Lovely beaches, Mediterranean buildings, Aurobindo Ashram and sweeping views of the Bay of Bengal-what more can one ask for? Book flight to Chennai to explore this amazing destination on your next trip!
You might think that a 4-day vacation in Pondicherry would be too much of a time for one city so we have a single day itinerary of Mahabalipuram for you as well. About an hour’s drive from Pondicherry, this small tourist-friendly town is home to more than 40 carved monuments but the must sees are the Shore Temple, the great open-air bas-relief called Arjuna’s Penance and the Five Rathas.
Things to See and Do: Promenade, the famous churches, Aurbindo Ashram and Matri Mandir
Places to Eat:Carte Blanche (Hotel De Orient), Le Club
Where to stay: Most visitors prefer to stay in one of Aurobindo Ashram’s guest houses, which also enables them to get passes to visit the ashram for longer hours. Other notable stay options in Pondicherry are the Neemrana properties (tariffs starting from INR 4,000), La Villa and Hotel Jayaram.
Kodaikanal and Kabini
An overnight journey from Chennai will take you to the mystical world of Kodaikanal! Secret mountain paths, mist, hedges full of wildflowers, gardens full of roses, serene lakes–Kodai is rich with discoveries. In the town, cycles are also easily available for hire, and the roads are clean and well-maintained, just ideal for walking.
Your second stop could be at Kabini which is home to the famous Nagarhole National Park, one of finest remaining habitats of the Asiatic elephant. Have a couple of days in hand to explore the hidden nooks and corners of Kabini.
Things to See and Do: Coaker’s Walk, Temples and Scenic Points.
Places To Eat: Muncheez, Altaf’s Cafe Middle Eastern and Italian and Tava
Where to Stay: Kodai has pretty homestays and Kabini has options including Kings Sanctuary, Orange County, Jungle Lodges and Resorts’ Kabini River Lodge and Cicada Kabini among others.
Plan a trip to Darjeeling during the upcoming long weekend in August and you will surely fall in love with the charming landscape of the hill station. The town is made for long walks and you will come across a lot of colonial architectures spread across the city. Don’t miss the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and you can always take a short joyride from Darjeeling station to Ghoom Monastery.
Things to See and Do: Toy Train Ride, Monasteries and Shopping
Places To Eat:Glenary, Kunga
Where to Stay: Hotels in Darjeeling include The Windamere Hotel, The Elgin, Cedar Inn, Planters Club (luxury properties), Hotel Mohit, Darjeeling Bellevue Hotel and Raph King.
The serene and picturesque weekend getaways in India will be your best bet for a refreshing retreat, away from maddening city life! So, pack your bags and get ready for a memorable holiday experience!