A Road trip is a perfect opportunity to beat the blues and get out of our monotonous city lives. There’s nothing more adventurous and thrilling than a road trip with your windows down, thumping music and a couple of old friends. India with its extreme diversity and multitude of landscapes offers a humongous number of road trip options that will take you on a journey of self-search, adventure and leisure. At a time when the pace of urbanization is rapid, a scenic road trip along the countryside gives an opportunity to witness the beauty India has to offer. A road trip is not just hitting the road in your car at your whims and fancies but instead, it involves a lot of planning. Go through the 7 point checklist: The most important things for a Road Trip to know more about how to plan for your road trip and make it a memorable one. We have selected 10 of the most scenic road trips in India you need to definitely check off your bucket list.
1) Mumbai to Goa
Ever since Dil Chahta hai released this Mumbai to Goa trip has become the holy grail for friends. With the western ghats lined up on one side, this road trip turns out to be the most scenic and exotic one. There are two major routes for this journey. First one is along the 6 lanes Mumbai Pune expressway after which we need to follow onto NH-4 till Belgaum. Goa is just three-hour drive from Belgaum hereafter. Though this route is faster you will end up paying at numerous tolls. The other route has a really mesmerizing view with paddy fields, coconut and nut plantations all along the route and it takes just 2 more hours to reach Goa but the journey is worth it. Only avoid this route if you have motion sickness since there are a lot of turns on this road. If you are visiting Mumbai especially for this road trip you can stay at several hotels near Mumbai airport that offer 24 hour check in facility.
Best time to go: September–March
2) Srinagar To Zanskar
Zanskar valley is one of the most amazing and beautiful valleys in Kargil district of Ladakh. The valley is just 239 km from Srinagar and you have to cross Zozi La pass to reach here. The valley is inaccessible in winters because of heavy snowfall and blocking of roads so if you plan on making a road trip here visit during the summers. With multiple curves and bends on the road alongside snow-capped mountains, this journey will definitely be something that you will remember for a lifetime. However, if you plan on going for the famous Chaddar trek you might have to come here in winter. The entire Zanskar river bed is frozen and the trek is along the frozen riverbed. It is one of the most exciting treks in India and the world.
Best time to go: May-September
3) Kolkata to Digha
The quickest and most serene getaway from Kolkata that every resident knows is this beach destination. Digha is located just 184 km from Kolkata. The entire route is lined up with verdant trees and mesmerizing landscapes that will make you stop at every mile to relish the beauty before moving forward. The journey takes approximately 4 hours via the NH16 and NH116B. Don't worry as all your food-related issues will be handled by the plethora of Dhabas lined up alongside the highway. The new Digha beach is not a place to dive into the water but rather just enjoy in the shades of verdant trees along the beach. Old Digha beach is well constructed and you can dive in the seawater here. If you want a secluded spot visit the Shankarpur beach. The calmness and tranquility here will surely give you a refreshing energy boost. This trip is a must visit for couples. There are a number of hotels for unmarried couple in Kolkata where you can stay without any concerns before starting your journey.
Best time to go: October - February
4) Mumbai To Rann Of Kutch
The Great Rann of Kutch is a large area of seasonal salt marshes that lies along the border of India and Pakistan, but mainly in India. This area has the Thar desert on one side and the Arabian sea on another side which makes it home to vivid species. The road trip is truly a magical experience and is done best in parts so as to experience the beauty and richness of the surroundings. On the first day, Mumbai to Ahmedabad, which is almost 530 km, can be covered along the highways with ease and the other day, Ahmedabad to Rann of Kutch, which is 100 km. You can stay either at Dasada or Khadva. Dasada is just 10 km from Rann of Kutch and is a great spot to be explored. It has a sanctuary and is home to the Asiatic wild Ass which makes it a hub for bird watchers. There are a number of hotels in Mumbai that offer hotels by the hour and can be very economical.
Best time to go: November- February
5) Chennai to Pondicherry
Pondicherry a.k.a. ‘Paris of the East’ is just 155 kilometres from Chennai via the East Coast Road. The East coast road, NH32 and NH48 are the three routes you can take for this road trip but the East Coast Road (ECR) is the recommended one since its shorter and is more scenic. The picturesque view along the eastern ghats and Bay of Bengal along the East coast road make sit the ideal route and it takes hardly 3-4 hours to reach Pondicherry. This route also has several other sites that are worth visiting such as The Alambara Fort, Mahabalipuram (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Mudaliarkuppam, and Kalpakkam, a centre for nuclear facility. This scenic route is a must visit for couples visiting chennai. There are several couple friendly hotels in chennai where you can stay.
Best time to go: October–March
6) Bangalore to Varkala
There are several routes to complete this 700 km long journey from Bangalore to Varkala in the Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala. It will be one tiring drive if you do not break your journey in parts. Bangalore - Kanakapura road- Coimbatore route is one of the most scenic routes. This route is packed with mountains and coconut trees that tower over your car. You can turn towards the Palakkad-Thrissur-Cochin route after Coimbatore and thereafter reach Varkala next. The cliff town Varkala lurks into the Arabian sea and gives some stunning views of the vast blue ocean from the top. The golden sand beaches along the coast amps up the beauty of the scene. There are several couple friendly hotels in Bangalore where you can book your hotel room by the hour. So no matter when you arrive you can stay at best rates until you rent a car and start off on this scenic road trip.
Best time to go: November-January
7) Bangalore to Ooty
Bangalore is surrounded by scenic locations. You can either take a day's ride to the nearby wonders or you can encompass on a road trip to visit some far-flung exotic locations. A road trip to Ooty is one such journey that leaves Nature lovers gushing for more. You will be driving along the Nilgiri hills in Tamil Nadu lined with Eucalyptus trees. The road is full of hairpin bends and passes through the jungles of Geddai and Manjur. Lush green forests and mountains on both sides make your drive a soothing experience. On the way also lies the historic palaces of the ancient city of Mysore. The distance is 278 km along the NH275 but is filled with forest cover, waterfalls, lakes etc and you won't even realize how the 6 hours journey will come to an end.
Best time to go: October–June
8) Guwahati to Tawang
Unlike your Mumbai to Goa road trip that has smooth four lane roads, this journey of 509 kilometres will test your skills as a driver but the rewards for making this journey are also high. You will be lost at the multiple locations along the route passing alongside rivers and majestic waterfalls. The journey can be covered in around 14 hours and every second spent on the road is worth it. The infinite beauty unfolding at every turn will make you stop and wonder in awe. You will have to add multiple stops to make this trip comfortable. You can either stop at Dirang in West Kameng and witness the Buddhist culture at Kalchakra and Ngingmapa Monastery or you can stopover at Tezpur in Assam and explore its cultural and historical attractions. Explore the untapped beauty of the snow-clad mountains amid lush greenery along the way.
Best time to go: March-June, September-October
9) Manali to Leh
This is one road trip that can be considered as the mecca of all road trips. Manali to Leh is dream ride of every biker and is a must-do if you are a passionate biker and an avid nature lover. With some of the most exotic natural landscapes and breathtaking views of Nature's marvels, this route can be easily the best it can be. While the road trip is a beautiful one it is as challenging as can get. Starting from Manali, you have to cross the Rohtang pass first. The weather here can change abruptly reducing visibility to a very high extent. The distance is around 478 kilometres and since the altitude is above 4000 metres the journey should be broken into parts. A day should be spent at either Keylong or Sarchu to acclimatise with the elevation. You will go through the most difficult route till Pang but it is also the most beautiful with deadly twists and turns, the snow-capped mountains and distinct valleys. After Pang lies the Moore plains, a plain stretch of spectacular landscapes with varied hues. There are several passes along the way such as Rohtang pass, Barlachala pass and they are closed during winters. Leh is truly heaven on Earth and is definitely a mesmerizing trip.
Best time to go: May-September
10) The Golden Triangle (Delhi–Agra–Jaipur)
Delhi, Agra and Jaipur together constitute the classical route called as the Golden Triangle and is one of the most beautiful roads to drive in India. The three historically and culturally rich and diverse cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur are pinned to the vertices of a triangle via the Yamuna Expressway and NH8. Unlike the explicitly natural routes, this one is a little different and presents some distinct views such as the historical heritages like forts, temples, palaces etc. The total distance is only 449 kilometres and can be completed in just 7 hours but if you need to absorb all that the route has to offer its advised to give a day or two to this trip. Ranging from the historic sites in Delhi such as the Red Fort, Qutub Minar and Lotus Temple to architectural and historical marvels of Agra like Taj Mahal and Agra Fort and to Jaipur. The Pink city is home to ancient Rajputana architecture in the form of Hawa Mahal and the Amer Fort. A little off the route and you can also visit Jaisalmer and Udaipur and get a first-hand experience of the cultural and spiritual insights of people living in Rajasthan. You can rent your vehicle from Karol Bagh, Delhi. There are also several hotels near Delhi Airport and near Delhi railway station where you can stay while planning for your vehicle, route and stop overs.
Best time to go: October-March
Well if you can't go on these long trips you need to check out 10 places that are just a day-long drive away from Bangalore. Also, you need to know about the 7 most amazing roadside cafe's you need to check out in Bangalore when on your next road trip.