Backpacking is the new way for new age travellers who utilise the long weekends and short weekends and any sort of holidays and turn them into a travel opportunity – to explore, to connect, to find and to un-find. And it’s always spontaneous involving the adrenaline rush to discover the undiscovered. So all those who love the idea of “not planning” here we are with some amazing options for you, where you can just pack your bags and leave – all under a budget. These getaways are great for folks based out of Delhi, who can drive, fly and travel from Delhi and are looking for budget backpacking options near Delhi.
Mcleodganj, Himachal Pradesh
The tiny little Tibet or Little Lhasa as widely known is the land of His Holiness The Dalai Lama and home to a large Tibetan population. McLeod is famous for three things – diving into meditation or yoga, practicing Buddhism and trekking in the Dhauladhar ranges. Every corner of this place is picturesque. The valley of orchards, surrounded by pines and deodars and beautiful Himalayan ranges encircling the place is a must visit for backpackers who are looking for a serene getaway. One can shop from the pocket-friendly Tibetan markets or hang out enjoying Himachal delicacies at any of the cafes (there are numerous ones). Either way expect to feel refreshed and relaxed after your stay at this place.
- Distance from Delhi: 477 km
- Estimated travel time (by road): 8-9 hours
- Places to visit in McLeodGanj: Namgyal Monastery, Bhagsu Falls, Triund, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium
Must Read: The Tourism in Himachal Pradesh
Planning a trip to Dharamshala is the perfect place to learn about Tibetan Buddhism and the community’s struggle for freedom. The beautiful city is divided as the Upper Dharamshala and Lower Dharamshala. And if you are visiting McLeodganj, this is a must stop-over to be.
- Places to visit in McLeodGanj: Namgyal Monastery, Bhagsu Falls, Triund, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, St John’s Church
Situated at an elevation of 6,580 feet, Mussoorie is best known as the ‘Queen of Hills’ because it offers panoramic views of the surrounding snow capped Himalayan peaks and is home to rich flora and fauna. If you are a Ruskin Bond fan, you may have come across this place’s reference often in his stories. And it’s such a beauty! You can visit Mussoorie if you just want to be in nature, if you want to go for short hikes or simply gawk at the Himalayan beauty and it is also one of the best backpacking getaways near Delhi.
- Distance from Delhi: 325 km
- Estimated travel time: 6 hours 40 minutes
- Places to visit in Mussoorie: Kempty Falls, LalTibba, Camel’s Back Road, Mussoorie Adventure Park
Must Read: Why Should You Visit Uttarakhand?
More than a destination, it’s like a stopover (it’s a serene suburb of Mussoorie). But it’s a less explored place and offers a peaceful escape for all backpackers who would like to leave the crowd behind. Picture perfect scenery, luxuriant vegetation and bountiful adventure activities make it worth a visit.
- Distance from Delhi: 322 km
- Estimated travel time: 8 hours
- Places to visit in Kanatal: Tehri Dam, Kodia Jungle, Chamba, Surkanda Devi Temple
Fan of the snow views, dense jungles, clear rivers flowing through idyllic villages? Then Almore is the place to be. A getaway to the best of Uttarakhand, Almora will take you by surprise. Surrounded by the Himalayan peaks, Almora is a small town that resembles a horse-shoe in shape. Besides, trekking, heritage viewing and temple tours, a 10-kilometre uphill drive from Almore will take you to the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary offering solitude and an opportunity to spot rare species of birds. Almora is also known for its intricate handicrafts and mouth-watering cuisine.
- Distance from Delhi: 370 km
- Estimated travel time: 9 hours
- Places to visit in Almora: Chitai Temple, Zero Point, Katarmal Sun Temple, Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary
Chail, Himachal Pradesh
You may have heard of the most popular tourist destinations Shimla. But Chail, the beautiful town near Shimla is unheard to most. Chail’s pride is the world’s highest cricket ground secretly nestled within a thick grove of deodar trees at an altitude of 2144 meters above the sea level. A treat for hike lovers, Chail is the perfect backpacking getaway destination from Delhi. The architecture of Chail reflects the royal taste of the Maharaja and why not after all it was the former summer capital of the Maharaja of Patiala. Apart from the natural and architectural beauty, the town offers you to indulge in nature walks, trekking, hiking and horse riding.
- Distance from Delhi: 336 km
- Estimated travel time: 7 hours
- Places to visit in Chail: Maharaja’s Palace, Chail Cricket Ground, Chail Polo Ground, Chail Sanctuary, Chail Gurudwara
Lansdowne is situated in an isolated corner of the Pauri Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. The postcard view of the Himalayan peaks, the dense groves of pine and oak trees and the peace this place offers, makes it an ideal and serene getaway for backpackers.
- Distance from Delhi: 268 km
- Estimated travel time: 6 hours 30 minutes
- Places to visit in Lansdowne: War Memorial, Bhulla Tal Lake, Darwan Singh Museum
Kasol, Himachal Pradesh
This place is not just popular in India but mountain lovers across the world have either visited or have heard of this place. Situated in Parvati Valley, on the banks of the Parvati River, this place is a hub for party mongers set against a dramatic Himalayan backdrop. “When the cold breeze caresses your body and plays with your soul, you feel lost in the melody of nature” – best described by visitors. Hiking, camping, chilling at cafes and simply gazing at the stars are some of the common activities you can indulge in here. The vibe of this place is so divine, it simply pauses time.
- Distance from Delhi: 536 km
- Estimated travel time: 11 hours
- Places to visit in Kasol: Manikaran Gurudwara, Kheerganga, Malana, Jim Morrison Cafe
Tranquil locales, serene villages and magnificent Himalayan views will sum up your stay in Kausani. A small town in the upper Himalayas, Kausani isn’t quite easy to reach, but the road trip taking you through enchanting valleys and into the pristine nature is totally worth it.
- Distance from Delhi: 524 km
- Estimated travel time: 11 hours
- Places to visit in Kausani: Kausani Tea Estate, Anashakti Ashram, Rudradhari Falls and Caves
Ranikhet, the best kept secret (not anymore) of Kumaon Region is a perfect destination for travellers and backpackers. It’s a silent getaway, far away from the hustle bustle of the tourist spots. Blanketed with nature in its purest form, drop by at this place if you are seeking nothing but tranquillity – the Queen’s Farm will serve the peace.
- Distance from Delhi: 365 km
- Estimated travel time: 8 hours 30 minutes
- Places to visit in Ranikhet: Chaubatia Orchards, Naukuchiatal
If you would like to relive the history that you have heard, read and have grown up with Kurukshetra is the place to be. For those of you who don’t know this place is mainly known for its association with the Kurukshetra war from the Hindu epic Mahabharata. If you wish to get an insight into the history of Indian, Kurukshetra is the perfect weekend getaway destination from Delhi. The city is dotted with a number of temples and lakes, dating back to the old times.
- Distance from Delhi: 155 km
- Estimated travel time: 3 hours
- Places to visit in Kurukshetra: Krishna’s Museum, Brahma Sarovar, Sannihit Sarovar, Bhadrakali Temple
Sariska National Park
This is a must visit national parks in Rajasthan. Stretch over an area of 866 sq. kilometres, expect to come across a variety of flora and fauna including crocodiles, water snakes (an enticing world for the wildlife lovers). You may even spot Tigers as this place famous for ‘Tiger population’ and ‘Tiger Reserve Project’. The park will also take you to the ruins of 11th centuries ‘Garh-Rajor’ temple and 17th-century ‘Kankwari’ fort.
- Distance from Delhi: 206 Km (Approx. 4 Hours 26 Minutes)
- Main Attraction: Jeep Safari and Canter Safari
- Places to visit: The Sariska Palace, Wildlife Camps, Sariska Resort, Sariska Tiger Heaven Resort, ‘Garh-Rajor’ temple.
Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary
One of the finest bird parks in the world, Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is also known as Keoladeo Ghana National Park. It is a reserve that offers protection to faunal species as well. Amongst the thick forest and water-bodies live an indigenous variety of water- birds as well as migratory water birds and waterside birds, this sanctuary is also inhabited by Sambar, Chital, Nilgai and Boar. The speciality – the only preserve where the habitat has been created by a maharaja. A must for bird and nature lovers.
- Distance from Delhi: 3 h 53 min (220.8 km)
- Things to do: Talk to birds, wake up to their melodies, spot variety of birds, live in close proximity of nature.
Must Read: The Bird Sanctuaries In India
Waah Taj. No one needs any introduction about this place that bears the epitome of love, a wonder of the world, the Taj Mahal. But there’s more to this place. Agra has a number of sites that you might find to be worthwhile if you like to admire architecture and Indian history. Also, if you’re in Agra in February, you must attend the Taj Mahotsav fair, when artisans and handicraft vendors from all over India come to display their goods.
- Things to do in Agra: Visit the Taj, Rooftop restaurant with Taj Mahal view, Visit the Agra Fort, a UNESCO world heritage site
Rafting in the Ganges, bungee jumping thrill, and indulging in Yoga and meditation – these are the ultimate picks amongst backpackers. And not one bit is overrated. Situated along with the convergence of Ganga and Chandrabhaga, Rishikesh on the foothills of Himalayas is also the hub of many ancient temples, popular cafes, and yoga ashrams.
- Distance from Delhi: 230 km (6-7 hrs)
- Things to do: Visit Lakshman Jhula, Triveni Ghat and Rafting
Jim Corbett National Park
Jim Corbett National Park is the oldest national park in India and was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park to protect the endangered Bengal tiger. The Park is located in the foothills of the Himalayas, in the midst of lush greenery and uneven mountains with varying heights, ranging from about 1300 feet to nearly 4000 feet. The main attraction of tourists and wildlife enthusiasts to this Park is the majestic view of Tiger with all its wildness in this Park. Indulge in rich fauna – barking deer, spotted deer, sambar, chinkara and many more.
- Distance from Delhi: 294 kms
- Things to do: Jungle Safari, Elephant Ride, and Corbett Waterfall
For the touch of Royalty, majestic and colourful city charm, head to the ‘Pink City’, Jaipur. The very strong historical background and vibrant culture. Jaipur is perfect for a holiday amidst rich history and modern comforts. This place takes you back to the glorious Rajput era. Each fort, palace and temple in Jaipur boasts skilled craftsmanship and passion for building.
- Distance from Delhi: 268 kms
- Known for: Amer Fort, City Palace and Hawa Mahal
A small haven nestled in the arms of Kumaon Hills is a peaceful getaway from Delhi. Just stop by for 2-3 days, take boat rides in Naini lake, gaze at the exotic scenery the place has to offer, spend some shopping time at the nearby market, eat Nainital specialities – basically a break to the mind, body and soul.
- Distance from Delhi: 298 kms
- Known for: Eco Cave Gardens, Naini Lake, Naina Devi Temple
Rested at a height of 1370m above the sea level, Bhimtal is spotted with temples lying amidst the verdant mountains and a pristine blue lake. This place is again has something very precious to offer – peace and tranquillity, something we don’t get to see, feel and observe in our mundane, maddening routine. So if you crave for some me-time in the lap of nature, this is the place to be.
- Distance from Delhi: 299 kms
- Known For: Bhimtal Lake Aquarium on the Bhimtal Island, Hanuman Garhi
Probably the most popular hill station in northern India, Shimla is the capital city of Himachal Pradesh is famous for its Mall road, the Ridge, toy train etc. among tourists and visitors. Shimla is a familiar name and no matter the popularity or the crowd (during peak season), it has a charm that’s unmatchable.
- Distance from Delhi: 360 kms
- Known For: The Ridge Kufri Tattapani
This is amongst the few places that you can visit throughout the year. This hill town in the foothills of the Shivalik ranges in the Garhwal region with two perennial rivers flowing through it. It’s most popular for its historic civilization and offers a delightful terrain to trekkers and adventurers.
- Distance from Delhi: 247 kms
- Known For: Robber’s Cave, Sahastradhara Mind rolling Monastery
This place isn’t familiar to most but if you are someone who appreciates architecture and historical ruins, this is the place to be. Alwar has a unique recognition because of Sariska Van Abhyaranya, Bala-Quila, famous temples. You can explore the forts, shop at the Kalakand Market and visit the famous temples.
- Distance from Delhi: 154 kms
- Known For: Bala Quila Fort, Bhangarh Fort, Kesroli
If you appreciate art, culture, food and more, this is your stop. Indulge in a road trip to reach this beautiful city suitably located in the heart of the Shekhawati region. And you don’t have to go far or look for art in specific, this place is like an open art gallery.
- Distance from Delhi: 267 kms
- Things to do: Castle Mandawa Havelis, Mandawa Shopping in Mandawa
Sarson da saag-makki di roti – these are the quick words that come to our mind when we hear Chandigarh. Chandigarh is popular for being the first planned city of the country. This fabulous city is the administrative capital of both Haryana and Punjab and is the perfect option to plan a weekend getaway from Delhi. Chandigarh is known for its urban design and architecture that was done by architects like Le Corbusier (team lead), Maxwell Fry, Pierre Jeanneret and Jane Drew.
- Things to do: Visit Rose Garden, Sukhna Lake, Rock Garden, Leisure Valleys
- Distance from Delhi: 256 km
Rajaji National Park, Uttarakhand
A paradise for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, Rajaji National Park is known for its rich biodiversity. The wildlife of the park is blessed with elephants, tigers, leopards, deers and ghorals. And the list doesn’t end just there. It possesses as many as 23 species of mammals and 315 bird species – for wildlife lovers, this is enough reason to visit this place!
- Distance from Delhi: 223 km
- Main Attraction: Jungle Safari
A treat for the stargazers and mountain lovers, Mukteshwar is the place to be. A small and quiet hill town Mukteshwar got its name from a 350-year-old temple Mukteshwer Dham whose residing deity is Lord Shiva. And the top of the mountain on which Mukteshwar Temple stands offers astonishing and marvellous views of the imposing Himalayan range. It is mostly known for adventure sports such as rock climbing, rappelling etc.
- Distance from Delhi: 346 kms
- Main attraction: Sitla Mukteshwar Temple, Mukteshwar Inspection Bungalow
Kufri, Himachal Pradesh
Kufri is one of the most sought after holiday destinations, and more so for snow lovers because of its relatively higher altitude which makes it a place with snow all through the winters. Trek, hike, and Kufri will mesmerize you with its beautiful panoramic views.
- Things to do: Kufri Fun world, Skiing in Kufri, Mahasu Peak
Falling in the Bharatpur district, Deeg is said to be a part of Lord Krishna’s Parikrama path. Deeg fort and summer palace is a hidden treasure in Rajasthan’s tourist circuit mainly because it is less advertised and less known and less explored. But you can be amongst the few who would love to discover what’s not written and heard of.
- Distance from Delhi: 196 kms
- Known For: Deeg is known for its beautiful gardens, forts, fountains and palaces. Havelis, Deeg Fort Bharatpur
From cosy bakeries to pretty churches to pretty hills, Landour has it all. If you are looking for a relaxing weekend in the hills, this is the place to be. Though a small town, there is plenty that you can do in and around Landour.
- Things to do: Eat a small snack at the Char Dukkan, Stroll around the lovely Gol Chakkar, Spot the snow-clad Himalayan peaks at Lal Tibba, Hike along Jabarkhet Reserve
Madhyamaheshwar (Madmaheshwar) is a Lord Shiva temple, is part of the famous Panch Kedar. The temple is located at an altitude of 3497 meters and is the fourth temple to be visited in the Panch Kedar pilgrimage circuit. The middle (madhya) or belly part or navel (nabhi) of the bull, considered a divine form of Shiva is worshipped at this temple, believed to be built by the Pandavas, the heroes of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. If you want to go back to the Hindu epic, Mahabharata, this is where you time travel.
One of the major and oldest cities in the Indian state of Rajasthan, Ajmer is brimming with natural beauty and is a renowned religious spot for Hindus and Muslims alike. A spiritual getaway and this place are only going to impart positive vibes.
- Distance from Delhi: 389 kms
- Known For: Ajmer Sharif, Ana Sagar Lake, Adhai Din ka Jhopra
Tirthan Valley, Himachal Pradesh
Tirthan Valley is one of the few untouched, mysterious places in Kullu district. The glacial Tirthan River cuts through this high mountain valley and the great Himalayas with snow covered tops looking over the Tirthan River is best known for its trout fishing and for surprisingly high influx of foreigners.
- Distance from Delhi: 360 kms
- Known For: River Crossing, Trekking in Great Himalayan National Park, Serloskar Lake
One of the oldest existing cities of India, it has one of the few existing temples devoted to Lord Brahma. Awesome hikes, festivals, hot air balloons, temples, camel rides, rooftop cafes and visiting the Pushkar Lake are some of the best things to do in Pushkar.
- Distance from Delhi: 402 kms
- Known For: Pushkar Lake, Pushkar Mela, Pushkar Bazar
Pangot is a peaceful charming hill town, which is around 13 km from the very popular hill station of Nainital in Uttarakhand. Pangot is a paradise for bird watching activity and nature photographers. Kilbury and Snow View Point are two perfect locations for both the activities. You can spot as many as 580 avifauna species including Lammergeyer, slaty-black Forktail, Khaleej pheasant, and Himalayan griffon.
- Attractions: Bhim Tal, Sat Tal. Snow View Point
Chakrata is located at a height of 7,000 feet above sea level in the Garhwal region of the Himalayas. It is a perfect getaway for travellers who are interested in doing nothing except for basking in the glory of the sun. The northern substandard regions of Chakrata are ideal for trekking and skiing.
- Attractions: Deoban, Tiger Falls, Ram Tal horticulture garden
Famed as the ‘open-art gallery of Rajasthan’, the semi-arid Thar Desert region of Shekhawati is an amalgam of several tiny and medium-sized villages as well as towns. One of the most popular destinations of the royal state, it is famed for its stunning architecture, rich culture, and breath-taking paintings.
Best known to be – the pearl amongst fortresses in India. Historically, the city has been the cradle of a number of dynasties that ruled it over the years. Their influence is clearly seen in the many regal structures that dominate the cityscape. In a sense, Gwalior continues to retain a medieval majesty. So head here for a historic getaway from Delhi.
- Attractions: Man Singh Palace, Sun temple, Gwalior fort
Located in the Northwest district of Rajasthan, Bikaner, founded by Rao Bika in 1488, is an erstwhile princely state. It is the fourth largest city of Rajasthan and is quite famous for its sweets and snacks and the Thar Desert.
- Main attractions: Junagarh Fort, Devi Kund, Shiv Bari Temple
Sited at the altitude of 754 meters in the lower Himalayas, the hill station is a starting point of various trekking expeditions. Mandi is also called “Chhota Kashi of the hills” as it is the site of many ancient temples. The charm of the town makes it one of the most visited tourist cities in Himachal.
Palampur is a must visit travel destination due to its lush green tea gardens. Moreover, being located in the lap of the Dhauladhar Mountains, the place is bestowed with amazing Beauty. Palampur is therefore, one of the best backpacking getaways near Delhi.
- Attractions: Tashi Jong Monastery, Neugal Khad, Tea Gardens
Nahan, Himachal Pradesh
Nahan’s natural beauty attracts visitors. Apart from a beautiful hill-station, the destination is praised for trekking, lakes, fishing, forts, palaces, and wildlife. Additionally, there are numerous attractions that make a wonderful vacation for travel lovers.
- Attractions: Dhaula Kuan, Giri Nagar
Now that you have quite an exhaustive list of backpacking getaways near Delhi, all you need is to take off to one of these. Some are serene, few located in the lap of nature, royal and heritage but all are very approachable from Delhi and you can surely cover these over a long weekend or an extended holiday.
Get onto the vacation mode anytime in India, surf and search spirit bohemian. Read more about travel tips here and let us know if you are keen to explore some uncovered, offbeat and unexplored part of India.