You’ll start and end your journey in the colourful metropolis of New Delhi.
New Delhi, now the capital of India, was built during the period of British rule, and their architectural influence is clearly reflected in the city’s high-rise buildings, wide streets, and western cafes and restaurants. The presidential palace and the impressive India Gate are some of the most famous examples of this influence.
In Old Delhi, on the other hand, you can find a traditional cityscape of India with narrow, busy streets and winding alleyways. The Red Fort, an impressive fortress and palace complex that served as the residence of the Mughal Emperors, and the Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India, are both worth seeing.
Take a rest from exploring the city’s many faces and stay at a hostel in New Delhi for nine euros in a six-bed dorm.
Catch a train from Delhi to Agra – a ticket costs about ten euros for a seat in the Chair Car Class (CC), which is comfortable for day trips and includes toilets and luggage storage space.
Agra is home to India's most famous building: the Taj Mahal. The gigantic mausoleum is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and is an absolute must see on every trip to India. In order to avoid long waiting times, get there (very) early in the morning. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is usually open every day (except for Fridays), opening 30 minutes before sunrise and closing 30 minutes before sunset.
Spend the night just a few minutes away from the Taj Mahal in a four-bed dorm for six euros.
Continue by night train to Varanasi, where berths, bedding, air conditioning, and washrooms are included in a class 2A ticket, which costs just 17 euros.
The old town, with its narrow streets, traders, winding alleys, temples, and chaotic traffic, will certainly leave a lasting impression. Varanasi is situated on the banks of the Ganges River, one of Hinduism’s most important pilgrimage sites. Almost 100 staircases, called ghats, lead down to the riverbank where Pilgrims go to pray or to bathe in the holy water. Observe the religious and spiritual hustle and bustle along the river on a boat trip for a unique insight into Indian culture!
Stay here for six euros a night in an eight-bed dorm.
Take a plane to Kolkata from Varanasi for about 60 euros.
This city, home to more than 15 million inhabitants, is an important centre for culture and industry. You’ll find countless museums, theatres, galleries, and temples, as well as traditional markets and modern shopping centres. It’s best to take a city tour to check out sights such as Fort William, the Howrah Bridge (counted as one of the busiest in the country), and many more.
If you want to sleep in a centrally located accommodation, it’s best to rent an Airbnb which costs about 12 euros per night.
After a few days in the big city, continue to Goa. Flights to this side of India start from 50 euros.
With inviting white sandy beaches and turquoise-blue sea, Goa offers a completely different side of the country – a true tropical paradise. Those who have had enough of beach-hopping can visit the numerous churches, temples, forts, museums, and other city sights.
Pay only six euros for an overnight stay in a six-bed dorm just five minutes’ walk from the beach.
Your next stop is Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, a metropolis of 12 million people on the Arabian Sea. Catch a flight to this bustling city for only 30 euros.
You’ll be stunned by architectural highlights such as the Gateway of India, an impressive triumphal arch directly on the sea, and the magnificent buildings of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Mumbai not only has great sightseeing but also amazing shopping, so make sure to leave room in your suitcase for some souvenirs. If you’re not tired of the beach, visit the sea promenade and the city’s gorgeous sandy beaches.
A centrally located backpackers hostel costs only nine euros for an overnight stay in a six-bed dorm.
Take the night train for 23 euros (class 2A) from Mumbai to Jodhpur.
Jodhpur is called the “Blue City” because of the light blue colour of most of the buildings. Check out a fantastic view of the blue old town from Mehrangarh Fort. While in town, don’t miss the famous spice market.
This city is also a great starting point to go on a camel safari. Spend a day in the Thar Desert and watch the sun set over the vast sand dunes. This unforgettable experience, including the camel ride, temple visit, dinner, transportation, and more is available starting at 34 euros per person.
Spend the night in Jodhpur for seven euros a night in a six-bed dorm.
Continue to Jaipur by train (class CC) for seven euros.
In contrast to Jodhpur, the colour scheme here is pink, which is why Jaipur is called the “Pink City.”
In the lively capital of Rajasthan, the City Palace, the Amber Palace, and the Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds) are definitely worth seeing. At the Raj Mandir Cinema, the largest cinema in the country, you can watch a classic Bollywood movie. Even though you may not understand anything, it’s an experience that should not be missed on any trip to India.
In Jaipur, one night in a four-bed dorm costs just five euros.
Your final stop is New Delhi, where you can get from Jaipur by train (CC) for ten euros.
On your last day in India, be sure to enjoy traditional Indian food once again and shop for your last souvenirs for friends and family.
Stay overnight in a six-bed dorm for nine euros before you catch the plane back home.
This marks the end of your three-week trip – full of colourful impressions and a probably few culture shocks, you’re sure to take home many unforgettable memories.