Each one of us has a travel bug hiding somewhere, who wants to take a break from the monotonous 9 to 5, Monday to Friday jobs and businesses that we live in. As the week crawls to a Thu and then to a Friday, we are already planning for our weekends. Most of the time, it’s about exploring your own cities, catching up with family and friends, grabbing a few drinks at the newly opened watering hole and watching the new Friday release.
But at times, maybe that’s not enough, and we need to head out of the city into maybe the wilderness, the hills or hit the beach.. And if the weekend has an additional holiday on the Friday/Monday adjoining to the weekend, that’s like a cherry on the cake!
One of the biggest decision making factor for holidays is budgets. While at times, we want to splurge and pamper ourselves, at other times, we want to backpack and do a trip at a shoestring budget. We wanted to share with you a few of our favourite weekend getaways which give one the flexibility of both! And we hope to inspire a few folks out there to venture out and explore our beautiful country! India, after all, is incredible 😉
Note: All locations for weekend getaways in india mentioned below cater to budget needs of all variety.
Weekend Getaways in India
A tiny little hamlet situated in the Parvati Valley is a hotspot for backpackers from around the world. It is not only a great holiday spot in itself, with stunning views of the river, a super chilled out life and tons of pretty cafes, it also acts as a base for a lot of gorgeous treks – Chalal, Kheerganga, Malana, Rasol to name a few. It has quite an active music scene as well (though mostly underground) and there’s something magical about this Himalayan village that makes you feel high on life 😉
Our recommendation: Parvati Kuteer
A direct overnight bus from Delhi would take you to Dharamshala and then onwards to McLeod Ganj, which also happens to be the largest Tibetan settlement in India and home to the current Dalai Lama. Umpteen cafes, beautiful views of the mountains and the valleys. The peace and tranquillity of Buddhism make McLoed the perfect weekend getaway from Delhi.
Mostly filled with budget stays, you’d get hotel options from all levels, starting from 200 per night. McLeod also has a fair share of really nice hostels. And you can have meals starting right from Rs. 20 for a plate of hot and delicious momos!
Our recommendation: Chonor House.
If Shimla and Kasauli are too commercial for you, and yet you want to stay in the vicinity, Narkanda is the place for you! A 9-hour drive from Delhi, via the Shimla highway, you’d reach this tiny little hill town lapped beautifully in the Himalayan valley. Hike to the Hatu Peak, or try your hand at skiing, or just wander around an apple orchard, Narkanda would make for the perfect weekend break! Also to add, it is absolutely heavenly in winters when you can witness beautiful snowfall.
Our recommendation: The Wilderness Resort.
Want to live like the royals of India, and you’ve got only 2-3 days in your hand? Jaipur is the place for you. With stay options ranging from Homestays/Airbnbs that start at 500 per night to the super luxurious Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur has something for every pocket. Explore the Pink City, visit the Hawa Mahal, explore the Amer Fort, and bring the sun down at the Nahargarh fort from where you can watch the entire city of Jaipur turn into a sky full of stars, Jaipur will be the perfect 2 day holiday that you are in dire need of 😉
Our recommendation: Pearl Palace Heritage
If you’re a foodie and looking for a weekend getaway, Amritsar is where you should be heading to! Very well connected by all modes of transportation, Amritsar is a foodie’s paradise. Kesar da Dhaba, Beera’s chicken, Makhan’s fish, and the list goes on and on. And to top it, spend an evening at the Golden Temple. Under the moonlight, in its full glory, it’s a sight to catch. Feel patriotic at the Jallianwalah Bagh and Wagah and catch a meal (one more) at India’s last Dhaba.
Once again, like the theme of this article, ASR has stay options of all variety and fits all budgets.
Our recommendation: Golden Sarovar Portico
No travel list is complete without Goa in it. Probably the most popular holiday spot in India, it attracts tons of travellers from across the world. Hence its but obvious that it has something for everyone and a room for every budget. Right from a hostel that’ll cost you 200 rs a night, to an uber luxurious experience at the resorts of South Goa (and a few at the north too). Grab a scooty or hire a jeep, and roam around the pretty Portuguese little streets of Goa, hopping from one beach shack to another, grabbing a few beers and relishing some amazing seafood!
Our recommendation: Ahilya by the Sea in the North and The Leela in the South.
The twin hill towns of Lonavala and Khandala are probably the most popular weekend getaways thanks to Bollywood and the multiple stories you would have heard from your friends or cousins in Mumbai. Just a 2-hour ride from Mumbai, with countless stay options, makes this town a perfect weekend getaway, especially during the monsoons! Multiple streams of water, waterfalls that crop up just during the rainy seasons, lush green mountain valleys, make Lonavala and Khandala an amazing sight! Don’t forget to grab the famous chikki.
Our recommendation: The Machan
Mahabaleshwar or mahabs as it is affectionately known as is probably the only full-fledged hill station around Mumbai. A couple of hours from Pune and around 5 hours from Mumbai will take you to this small little town, which also happened to be the summer capital for the Bombay province under the British Raj. Having multiple small hotels, and also some premium properties, spending two days at mahabs would really refresh you. And don’t forget to have Strawberry and cream at the Mapro centre. 🙂
Our recommendation: Le Meridien Resort & Spa
Do you feel Goa is too mainstream for you? Are you looking for a slightly offbeat beach town, which shares the vibe of Goa? Then Gokarna is the place for you. Roughly 4 hours away from Goa, into Karnataka, lies this quiet little town which has a significant religious history but over the last few years has emerged as a very good alternative to Goa. Laze around the multiple beaches, explore and trek to reach the Om beach, or just make friends with the tourists that come down to chill and relax, Gokarna offers the perfect weekend getaway!
Our recommendation: Zostel Gokarna
Also known as Paris of the East, Pondy would give you a glimpse of France right here in India. Formerly a French colony, Pondy still retains its old world charm, especially around the White Town area. Walk the cobblestoned streets and explore the quaint and beautiful cafes in the evenings. Not to forget, try out the French pastries! And folks who are looking for a slightly quieter experience, head to the Aurobindo Ashram. We’d strongly recommend a visit to the Paradise beach. With multiple stay options to choose from, we would strongly recommend that you stay in the White Town area.
Our recommendation: La Villa.
Situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra River, Hampi was the centre of the mighty Vijayanagara Empire. Apart from being a delight for a history buff, Hampi is fast emerging to be a hub for the hippie tourists, thanks to which, one would find all kind of stay options in this historical town. Explore the history, take a dip in the river, laze around on the huge boulders or just catch a sip of coffee in one of the many cafes, Hampi has something for all.
Our recommendation: Hampi’s Boulders
The Coffee capital of India, Coorg or Madikeri also happens to be great weekend getaways for folks residing in the south of the country, especially around Bangalore. Though famous for the coffee plantations, Coorg has a lot to offer in and around it – Talacauvery, Abbey Falls, Namdrolling Monastery, River Rafting, Tiger Safari to name a few. Don’t forget to try out some local wines while you’re there!
Our recommendation: Evolve Back
We’ve all heard of the beautiful beach of Kovalam in Kerala, but a little north of it lies a small little beach town of Varkala which is fast emerging as a weekend getaway and an alternative to the maddening crowd of Kovalam. Kerala’s most popular backpacker hang-out, Varkala is perched on a cliff overlooking the beautiful Arabian sea with a stunning beach below it. The cliff is lined with multiple hotels, homestays, restaurants and cafes. Hop cafes, take a dip in the waters below, pamper yourself with an Ayurvedic massage or just relax enjoying the beautiful views and sunsets – just the perfect recipe for a destressing weekend.
Our recommendation: Palm Tree Heritage
Looking for a beach location in the east of the country? Puri is the one for you. One of the most beautiful and under-rated beaches of the country, Puri also is part of char-dham (the 4 famous Hindu religious sites in the country). Stay alongside the beach, and relish the amazing seafood, Puri forms a great weekend getaway for people around the east of the country.
Our recommendation: Mayfair Waves
Is Darjeeling too mainstream for you? Then this quiet little hill town in Sikkim is the place for you. We really believe that Sikkim is absolutely gorgeous and supremely unexplored and has some beautiful beautiful sights to offer. One can stay in Gangtok and explore the entire state if you have the time for it, or take up a hotel in Pelling and relax and refresh over a weekend.
Our recommendation: The Elgin Mount Pandim
We hope you enjoyed The Two Pilgrims curated list on Weekend Getaways in India. Do share on Social Media and Follow The Two Pilgrims on Instagram for more Weekend Getaways in India and around the world.