Best tours to India, our guide to the best India itinerary for an unforgettable trip

Even if you are an experienced traveller, planning a trip to India is less straightforward than travelling to other countries. In this guide, we have sourced some of the best tours to India so you can have a hassle-free vacation in one of Asia’s most fascinating as well as most complicated nations.

Experienced travellers, as well as holidaymakers, prefer to book one of the package tours of India to feel safe out of their comfort zone. We have selected some of the best escorted tours of India to have a sense of security all throughout the trip. By booking one of the best India tours and packages you can travel with a professional guide and explore more of the country without having to do all the planning your own.

The best tours to India
Amer Fort, one of the places to visit in Jaipur, site of many of the best tours to India

The best tours to India, our guide to choosing top India tour packages

From luxury India tours to all-inclusive India holiday packages, from the best tours to south India to full northern India holiday packages, there are so many guided tours of India that you are definitely going to find the best option for a perfect holiday in this one-of-a-kind country.

Private tours of India

Uncover India-Delhi to Goa by G Adventures – 15 Days

This great Indian adventure meant for 15-something to 30-year-old is definitely one of the cheapest escorted tours to India.

If you are looking for easy tours to India and you are travelling on a budget, G Adventure’s Uncover India – Delhi to Goa is a good option. The company will organise everything for you, all the main travel planning will be done and once on the site you will be free to wander around the cities, the ruins or the beaches by yourself and have the holiday you prefer.

One of the best budget guided tours of India, this adventure will take you to iconic places such as Agra’s Taj Mahal, the Amber Fort of Rajasthan’s Pink City, Jaipur, Tordi Sagar, Pushkar, Udaipur, Mumbai and Goa.

Everywhere you go, you will have the tour’s activities as well as a choice of other optional activities available in your free time such as yoga, seeing a Bollywood movie, jeep safari and camel ride, get a henna tattoo, enjoying an afternoon tea and dinner in the desert.

When in Goa, you can enjoy its beaches, markets and delicious food at your own pace and depending on how much you want and can spend.

In our best tour to India review this is one of the favourite.

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Essential India by G Adventures – 15 Days

This 15-day tour of India organised by G Adventures will take you to the most iconic and popular places such as Delhi, Rajasthan and Varanasi, the heart of Indian spirituality.

Alongside the Taj Mahal, impossible to miss if you are travelling to India for the first time, you will visit Jaipur, Dhula village to experience some of the rural life in Rajasthan and enjoy a cycling excursion, Agra for its Taj Mahal and Fort, Alipura for its temples and Varanasi where you will take a boat trip along the sacred waters of the Ganges and discover Hindu spirituality.

This journey takes you to different Indian states and lets you explore the many aspects of their multifaceted society, from the rural life to the ancient art and architecture to the religion.

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Best escorted tours of North India

Explore North India & The Ganges by G Adventures – 16 Days

This North India tour starts in Delhi and ends in Calcutta (Kolkata). In this 16-day India itinerary you will explore the hectic capital, you will learn the heartbreaking story behind the Taj Mahal, you will experience Indian rural life as well as its spirituality by cruising the Gange River.

Walk around the busy streets of New and Old Delhi with a local guide, visit the village of Sawarda in Rajasthan to experience Indian traditional culture and in the same Rajasthan state visit the historic city of Jaipur, known as the Pink City for the hues of its buildings. In Jaipur, you will also have the chance to meet with a local scholar to learn about the local traditions and architecture.

You will also get to Agra and stare in awe at the white-marble Taj Mahal, one of the World’s Seven Wonders, built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his favourite wife Mumtaz.

After Rajasthan and Agra, you will get back to Delhi and from here you will fly to Calcutta, from where you will visit several places by boat, such as Serampore, Barrackpore, Chandannagar, Chinsurah and Kalna. While still in this state, you will have the chance to explore Hindu temples, Muslim mosques and palaces as well as places of former European settlements.

If you are looking for the best escorted tours of India, check this out.

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Mysteries of India by G Adventures – 15 Days

This 15-day India tour will take you to explore the heritage and the traditions of Delhi and the historical cities of Rajasthan. You will visit royal palaces, the mansions of the Mughal emperors and lively city markets.

Some of the places you will visit are the Rajasthani cities of Mandawa and the busy Bikaner, where you will stay in a heritage hotel and visit the local market and traditional mansions known as havelis. Bikaner offers a lot to see, so you will visit Junagarh Fort and the famous “rat temple” Karni Mata.

From here you will visit Jodhpur the Blue City, Chandelao, Ranakpur Jain temples and the palaces of Udaipur, Rajasthan’s romantic White City. This is obviously not the end of your Indian adventure and among the other places included in the itinerary are the famous Jaipur for important landmarks such as the 15th-century Amber Fort and Hawa Mahal, and Agra for the UNESCO-listed Taj Mahal.

During this group tour of India you will have also some free time in every city to be able to explore it on your own and at your pace. The guides included in the tour are all knowledgeable local residents so you can ask them about the best restaurants, where it’s more convenient to go shopping, where to find the best tea and spices. Obviously alongside the history and the architecture of the historical places.

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Golden Triangle by G Adventures – 8 Days

If you are looking for private tours of India that are also at affordable prices and not longer than a week, then G Adventure Golden Triangle is a very good option.

This 8-day Indian itinerary will take you to three cities in northern India and will let you explore the rural and traditional llife of the Rajasthan state. You will start this tour of north India wandering the streets of Old Delhi and then driving to the city of Agra to visit the Taj Mahal and the Fort.

After Agra, you will move onto the rural life of Rajasthan that you will explore by bike and hiking as well as spending a night by the fire under the stars. Your stop in Jaipur will show you the Hindu and Muslim architecture and their royal past, while your day in Dhula village will make you experience Indian traditional life.

If you are looking for good cheap tours of India and don’t have a long holiday, this is for you.

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Rajasthan Adventure by G Adventures – 15 Days

One of India’s most popular and tourist regions, Rajasthan Adventure by G Adventures is one of the best escorted tours to India.

Explore this colourful northern Indian state, photograph its magnificent forts and palaces and walk around its lively markets. In this group tour organised with the standards of comfortable tourist-class service, you will travel by both private and public transport such as metro, rickshaw and train, and you might be required to do some easy hiking.

In Delhi, you will visit landmarks such as Jama Masjid and walk around the old part of the city. You will travel to Rajasthan on an overnight train and here you will explore the forts, temples and palaces of cities like Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaipur.

Before heading back to Delhi for the end of one of the best group tours of India, you will enjoy a sunset at Ranthambore National Park and visit the Taj Mahal and the Fort in Agra.

This India tour package is well organised and gives a great feel of Indian history, culture, society and traditions.

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Best guided tours to South India

Best tours to India

Best of Southern India by G Adventures – 14 Days

Explore the fascinating culture and nature of southern India with this 2-week journey organised by G Adventures at a truly affordable price.

One of the best cheap tours of India, here you will experience the peace of Kerala backwaters, you will see the temples of Tamilnadu, you will walk the streets of Kochi to explore its past foreign presence at the Dutch Palace, you will visit Kalpetta, Mudumalai, Mysore, Māmallapuram and Pondicherri to visit temples, ancient sites, palace and wildlife sanctuaries.

Travelling around by train, riverboat, bus and rickshaw, you will get in touch with the local lifestyle as well as learning about their history and culture.

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Cycle Kerala & Tropical India by Exodus Travel – 14 Days

Explore southern India by bike, starting in Bangalore and ending in Varkala.

Including services such as hotel accommodation, all breakfasts, 10 lunches and 4 dinners, the transport and an expert guide that will follow and advise you throughout the journey, this India cycling tour will take you to a diverse range of landscapes and terrains such as hills, forests, bamboo and coconut fields, tea plantations.

You will also visit important places like Srirangapatnam ruins, Mysore, Ooty Hill, Fort Cochin and Kerala among the others.

If you are looking for small group bike tours in India, this is an option with many positive reviews. Organised by Exodus Travel, Tourradar guarantees the best price.

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Southern India by Intrepid Travel – 15 Days

This great 15-day southern India tour will let you explore the lush vegetation of this part of the country including national parks and Kerala’s backwaters, visit its coast, get in touch with the local life with the experience of a homestay, visit the bazaars as well as landmarks such as the Maharaja’s Palace in Mysore and Pondicherry.

You will enjoy the tasty south Indian food and explore the local spirituality as well as visiting wild animal sanctuaries. Explore southern India’s Western Ghats, its jungles, tea estates and waterfalls as well as a gorgeous mountain range.

One of the favourite tours to southern India with high reviews that is often offered for great deals.

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⇒ Tip: Not all tours include a travel insurance. Inquire properly and in case purchase one independently to have travel and medical coverage.

South India Real Food Adventure by Intrepid Travel – 12 Days

Starting in Bangalore and ending in Kochi, this great India food tour will let you dig in the heavenly flavours of the local cuisine rich in spices, herbs and tropical fruits and veggies of the regions of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, popular for their rich culinary traditions.

This is a great tour in India where you can savour local dishes, join tasting tours, visit spices, coffee and tea plantations, even try your cooking skills. You will also be able to delve into the culture by staying at a heritage mansion and witnessing the local lifestyle in the places included in your itinerary.

This is great tour of India for foodies who are also curious about the local heritage and the culture as well as demanding travellers. Intrepid Travel hardly disappoints and often makes great prices and deals available.

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Please note that the recent devastating floods in Kerala and other parts in southern India will cause changes in the itineraries, so inquire before booking.

The best train tours of India

Ultimate India by Rail by G Adventures – 46 Days

A month and a half travelling across India in a fascinating train tour is truly one of the best experiences you can have in the Subcontinent.

Starting from Delhi, this rail tour in India will take you to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal before heading south to Mumbai and Goa. From here, visit Karnataka for a tour to the archaeological site of Hampi, the largest UNESCO site in India. You will also be able to see places like Mysore, Kochi, relax at the peaceful Kerala backwaters, Chennai, Hyderabad and then starting heading back north towards Kolkata (Calcutta) and the holy city of Varanasi.

Travelling in this way across India will give you an unprecedented opportunity to experience the local lifestyle, visit temples and important landmarks as well as devote some time also to yourself with a walk on the beaches of Goa or walk along the streets of the busy cities for some shopping, a meal at a local restaurant or afternoon tea.

Travelling by train is truly one of my favourite ways to explore a country, and since I haven’t done it in India yet, it’s really high on my list.

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Kolkata to Goa by Rail by G Adventures – 24 Days

This is another of the train tours in India by G Adventures, this time lasting 24 days.

Glimpse at India’s lifestyle from your train window, visit the country’s main landmarks and explore new areas, enjoy the views as you go past and try also the overnight trains.

Enjoy the mountain views of Kalimpong and Deolo Hill, stop at Gangtok to visit the Rumtek Monastery and travel the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, visit a tea estate and move to Varanasi to understand the Hindu spirituality along the Ganges.

During this rail trip across India you will also visit the city of Lucknow and then head to the capital, Delhi and Agra for the Taj Mahal. From here you will visit the pearl of northern India in the popular cities of Rajasthan Jaipur and Udaipur before travelling south to Mumbai and Goa where the tour ends.

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Kolkata to Kochi by Rail by G Adventures – 33 Days

If you can stay for just about a month, this 33-day rail trip across India by G Adventures is perfect for you. Explore India from northeast to southwest starting from Kolkata (Calcutta) and carrying on to places like Jalpaiguri, Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Varanasi and Lucknow.

You will obviously be able to get off in Delhi to visit the capital’s landmarks and Agra for a tour to the Taj Mahal. From here, travel to the Rajasthan’s cities of Jaipur and Udaipur and explore Bundi before embarking on an overnight train to Mumbai, where the second leg of your rail trip will start.

From Mumbai, take a flight to Goa, enjoy its beaches and visit Hampi archaeological ruins, one of India’s highlights and largest UNESCO sites. Before heading to Kochi, where your journey ends, visit places like Mysore and Madikeri.

Included in the trip are the entrances to the main landmarks, the local guides, the transportation and the accommodations.

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Northeast India & Darjeeling by Rail by G Adventures – 13 Days

Get familiar with the Indian way of living by travelling across this huge country by train.

In the 13 days of one of the best train tours of India you will visit the northeastern states starting from Calcutta (Kolkata) and heading north towards Kalimpong mountainous region, Gangtok, capital of Sikkim to visit the Rumtek Monastery, Darjeeling where you can visit Tiger Hill, a tea estate, Mahakal Temple and the Peace Pagoda, as well as enjoying a day and cooking demosntration at a local restaurant.

Your rail journey is not over yet. Head to the holy city of Varanasi for a visit to the ghats, then northwards to the beautiful city of Lucknow and finally Delhi, the Indian capital, where your tour ends.

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Why book a tour to India?

There can be many reasons why you should book a tour in India, an all but easy country to visit and a complicated place to visit.

You are hassle-free.  from the hassle of organising everything to wanting to see as much as possible, without wasting time looking for transports, entrances and understanding how to get about. In every city, a local guide will take over the stint to show you around and all you have to do is follow, listen and, obviously, take thousands of pictures. This way, travelling is really easy.

Easier to get around. India is a fascinating country but not very easy to navigate. With a local expert, everything will be much easier.

Delve deeper into the local culture. Experienced travel guides can provide you with colourful anecdotes everywhere we went, contributing in unveiling the idiosyncrasies of the Indian society I wouldn’t have been able to capture on my own in such a short time, also by visiting local food markets wherever we went.

You eat in safe places. Traveling around India can be tricky. Despite all the recommendations on basic safety rules, I got sick and spent a whole night throwing up everything I had eaten, with the result that the morning after I looked like a zombie. Here I give detailed advice on how to avoid getting sick in India.

You will have a knowledgeable guide. The best tours to India always include an expert guide who knows where to take you, who can give you tips on where to go in your free time, important advice on how and where to cycle in case of a bike tour and obviously precious insights on the local culture that you can hardly grab on your own.

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Best tours of India

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18 Comments
  1. A good tour guide can make such a big difference. We just wrote about a tour guide we had when touring Scotland countryside whose love for his country was so deep that we couldn’t help but falling in love with the country itself as well.

    • Absolutely, when guides are good they can offer an invaluable glimpse on their country, things that travelers, especially if they travel there for the first time are not able to catch by themselves.
      This happened to me in India, there are many things I don’t understand about India and its society, but the guides I’ve had made me notice aspects I would have paid attention otherwise. And made me want to go back!

  2. I love this! I don’t see anything wrong with hiring guides if you can afford it and it makes life easier for you. As you say, with only 10 days, time is of the essence. Might as well leave everything to the pros. Sounds like you certainly made the most of your time.

    • I did, and I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to capture many intimate aspects of Indian society. It’s a very complex culture, and ten days are a short time indeed, but with the guides I’ve had I felt comfortable asking many questions beyond “tourist spots”. I’m happy we are still in touch.

  3. Some of those “hardcore” travelers look down on tours/guides, but they can be great! I should have done that for Agra Fort. Felt like I missed a lot of the detail and history. You look so happy in your pics. :)

    • I *am* very happy :D The guide I had for Red Fort and Taj was super lovely, and SO passionate, he adores his Taj! I don’t book tours very often, I do when I feel I’m not able to appreciate places well enough, and this is what I felt for India. I’m more than happy I did so, and I don’t regret a single minute. Yes, sometimes local guides are important, and if they are good, they definitely give your trip a boost :)

  4. Checking out India the way you have looks like it kicks major ass.

  5. Its always better to have a travel guide as they can guide you to all interesting places around.

  6. Nice rural images. Thanks for sharing. But 10 days tour is very less. Anyways, better than no travel. Keep traveling. Keep writing.

  7. Nice one Angela! I think by meeting the people of the place you’re visiting will definitely give you a greater insight to what you are seeing/doing. I hope Leila and I were good guides here in Lebanon. Oh and Abou Mohammed too!! Also, I need the stars analyzed for me too, it looks like it’s going to be a while :P

    • You were great guides Salam, the best way to visit a country is with its locals, I wouldn’t have absorbed as much of Lebanese society and mentality as if I were alone!

  8. Ciao Angela,
    In 2012 for our first trip to India, we have opted for its softer side: Kerala and Goa. It was such an amazing experience that we feel that we are now ready to discover the beauties of Rajasthan! You seemed really happy with your 10 day tour. Would you mind giving us the name of the travel agency you worked with?

    Grazie mille per l’aiuto!
    Véronique and Andrea

    • Hello Veronique, thanks for your comment. I’ve never been to South India, but I can certainly assure you that the North is utterly fascinating. My driver and guide was Chandan Singh, his phone number is +91 9310871344, then in every city I had a different local guide, and I’m still in contact with the one I had in Jaisalmer, Pappu, his email is pappu2010sony@gmail.com and his mobile number +91 9460807909. The tour was great, I think if you call Chandu he will be able to arrange you everything. Also, the visit to Salawas village near Jodhpur is managed by Chhotaram Prajapat Homestay, you can add them on Facebook here, although also there I was brought by Chandu.
      Let me know if you still need some info, I’m still in touch with both Chandu and Pappu!

  9. Hi,
    We have a website also for my homestay so now it is possible to book online reservation at my homestay and we update all information about my homestay and activities.
    website – http://www.salawashomestay.com

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