We’ve visited over 50 countries, and India is one of our favourites. We consider it one of our “Top ten countries in the world.” We feel this way because India is a tourist paradise with everything we love, such as beaches, ruins, temples, architecture, culture and food. There are many dream places to visit in India, however our favourite places in India offer these things, and also something unique to anywhere else in the world. Please keep reading to discover the best holiday destinations in India.
Our travels in India have taken us overland from Mumbai to South India. We are slow travelers, so we try to spend a few weeks in every region we visit. It’s a vast country, and we hope to return in the next couple of years to travel to more regions in the North. This article will reveal our three favourite places in India so far and take you on a photographic journey of what you can expect to see and do.
Our 3 Favourite Places in India
Goa is one of those bucket list dream places to visit in India. Beach life is the No. 1 reason we love Goa! We love traveling to places where we can live on the beach. For this reason, Goa tops our list.
With 100 km of coastline and over 40 beaches, there is a beach for everyone’s tastes. Each beach has something unique to offer, whether it is the sea vistas, rugged landscapes, party scenes, watersports, or the views surrounding the sunset over the ocean.
Additionally, we embrace the laid-back lifestyle that has evolved for long-term travelers. Goa has a large expat community, and many travelers call Goa home!
Our favourite beaches are Arambol and Palolem, where we cherish staying in a beachfront shack. We also love dining with a sea view in the restaurants on the beach. Also, in Arambol, there are nightly jam sessions and markets at sunset time on the beach, and there’s live music in many restaurants.
Another of our favourite dream places to visit in India is Anjuna Beach. With its lively beach resort atmosphere, beachfront restaurants and bars with live music, and the historic & vibrant Anjuna Flea market, held every Wednesday, the stunning beach is the place for beach lovers.
Further, if you are traveling to Goa in the high season, you can find many events, dance parties, or festivals during most days of the week.
For these reasons, Goa is one of the best places to visit in India with friends.
However, not only does Goa have spectacular beaches and lively entertainment, but the mix of churches, temples, and historic buildings excites us. It is what makes Goa one of our three favourite places in India. In fact, Goa is our No. 1 favourite place in India.
Among our favourite things to do when we travel is visit temples and churches, and we were especially delighted and surprised that Goa has so many grand churches. Old Goa, the 16th-century historic city, is touristy, but with good reason. Old Goa was the capital of Portuguese India, and the European architectural style churches and convents are a UNESCO world heritage site.
Additionally, the cities of Margao and Panaji in the state of Goa are fun to explore, with markets, museums, holy places, historic buildings, old quarters, and many attractions to discover. Further, there are opportunities to meet locals and to see how Goans live.
Finally, yet importantly, we love that you can find cuisines from all around the world in Goa. Though, when we travel, we mostly like eating the cuisine of the country we visit. In Goa, there is a smorgasbord of Indian delights to eat, and it is a melting pot of cultures from all over India.
But wait, there’s more! India is a tourist paradise for those travelers who love to keep busy during their holidays. Goa has tours to wildlife sanctuaries, spice farms, and waterfalls. You can indulge in river cruises, yoga classes, or ayurvedic massage. And you can rent a motorbike.
We love cruising on a motorbike through the back streets and visiting rural villages or remote beaches. But be aware, the main roads are busy, and many roads have potholes. If coming from a western country, you may find driving in India chaotic. We only recommend you rent a motorbike if you are very experienced.
Having said that, we also love to jump on a local bus for an unplanned journey and see where it takes us. It is another way to see how Goans live.
We consider Goa one of the best holiday destinations in India and our favourite place in India.
Like Goa, Kerala offers a laid-back lifestyle. Due to its laidback vibe, friendly people, and wildlife viewing opportunities, Kerala is one of the best places to visit in India with family. We are a couple and we consider it one of the best holiday destinations in India!
In Kerala, nature is prominent. We love the coastline, the backwaters, and the wildlife and for this reason it is one of our three favourite places in India.
A highlight for us is cruising the Kerala backwaters. The local people have used the backwaters for cooking, washing, and bathing for centuries. The network of lakes, rivers, and lagoons provides a livelihood for the fishermen and the boat operators, who take out tourists on their traditional-style houseboats.
Many compare Kerala backwaters to places like Venice or Amsterdam, but Kerala is like no place on earth. We love exploring the backwaters and the opportunity to see how locals live. And whether cruising the backwaters by luxury houseboat, government ferry, or canoe, it is a life-changing journey.
In fact, if you take the government ferry on the Kerala backwaters, eat at local Indian restaurants, and stay in the many budget hotels, Kerala is one of the cheapest places to travel in India.
We recently reflected on our journey in Kerala backwaters in our article, Human By Nature in Kerala Backwaters.
Read it to find out more about this amazing region they call “God’s own country.”
Not far from Kerala backwaters is another place we delight in. The touristy but relaxed Varkala is a palm tree-lined, hilltop beach resort town that attracts visitors from all over the world. We love eating out in a sea view cafe, watching the sunset, and walking along the hilltop exploring the area.
On top of that, Kerala boasts over 350 miles of coastline, and if touristy beaches are not your scene, there are palm tree-lined sandy beaches to explore all over Kerala. Two of the favourites of many travelers are the less-developed Kovalam and Poovar beaches.
And even though we love the beach the most, Kerala offers visits to coffee, tea, and spice plantations. Also, there are tours to wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, where there’s a chance to see wildlife in their natural habitat. Kerala is one of the most adventurous places to visit in India.
Additionally, you can visit a hill station to get away from the crowds and heat and escape into cooler temperatures and peaceful nature.
Further, one of the extraordinary things about Kerala is how friendly the people are. We find the people, and our interactions with them, are authentic. We love that we have opportunities to talk to local people and find out about their lives.
Meeting locals adds an extra element to traveling and allows us to learn about the culture. And together with the beachside resorts, the backwaters, the vibrant cities, and the mountain retreats, Kerala is a place that remains in your heart long after the journey is over.
Wow! Hampi is thrilling. We love exploring ancient sites, and in the ancient village of Hampi, there is a lot to explore. From the ruined temples to the epic monuments to the wondrous landscape, Hampi is a magical place. Therefore, it is one of our three favourite places in India.
This UNESCO World Heritage site boasts over 1,600 monuments from the 14th century on over 4,100 hectares. The ancient buildings scattered on an otherworldly landscape feel surreal. The fascinating landscape has huge boulders strewn all over it.
We like spending the day touring the ruins by moped or with a guided auto-rickshaw and the evenings watching the sunsets. The sunsets and sunrises in Hampi are exceptionally breathtaking, with views across the temples and desert landscape.
Besides enjoying the ruins in Hampi, we equally appreciate the opportunity to sit in a riverside cafe and overlook the banana plantations. Further, the views across the Tungabhadra River, observing the landscape with Virupaksha Temple prominent in the picture, are astounding.
The grand Virupaksha Temple, which is a working temple, is a highlight. Strolling to the temple to watch both locals and pilgrims from all over India attend to worship is a daily highlight for us.
Besides enjoying the ruins in Hampi, we equally appreciate the opportunity to take a boat ride across the Tungabhadra River to Virupapur Gaddi (otherwise known as Hippie Island.) The panoramic views from Sunset Point of the lush rice paddies and the glorious views of Virupaksha Temple in the background are majestical.
Update as of March 2023 – the government has demolished the guesthouses and restaurants that were a prominent feature of the island due to a lack of licenses and development restrictions in the area. However, there may be new ones in the future in other nearby areas.
Further, we love that we can have a room with a view overlooking the river, the geologic wonders of Hampi, and the ruins.
Soaking in Hampi’s natural landscape and ruins is enough for us. However, there are countless other things to do for those who like a bit more action on their holidays. There are many hills and rock structures to climb, most of them close to the town, lakes and swimming holes to explore, cruising around the countryside by moped or auto-rickshaw, and boat or coracle rides on the river.
Besides that, there are monkeys, elephants, cows, and goats roaming the streets of Hampi.
If that’s not enough to add Hampi to your travel bucket list, The New York Times ranked Hampi 2nd in its 52 Places to go in 2019. Before the masses discover Hampi, best time to visit is now!
Our 3 Favourite Places in India Beckon Us to Return Again
These are our favourite places in India. We love them as they offer so much for travelers who love historic sites, holy places, and stunning landscapes.
We find the laid-back lifestyle in these places, as compared to the hustle and bustle of other areas of India, what we love the most.
For this reason, we recommend these three areas as excellent places to visit for first-time visitors and repeat visitors alike.
We love these three favourite places in India so much that on our next trip, we intend to return to all these places before exploring other regions.
We hope you enjoyed this article about our favourite places in India and it inspired you to visit one day. If you have been to India, what are your best holiday destinations in India? Please leave us a comment with dream places to visit in India.
Save this article to your social media or Pin it on Pinterest for later!