Eight days will give you a quick introduction to two or three of India's cities, states, or regions. A best-of tour takes you to the highlights of the Golden Triangle, while fans of nature and wildlife can explore UNESCO-protected national parks on boating and walking safaris. Looking for more adventure? Take a tour of the Buddhist monasteries of the remote northeastern state of Sikkim or a hiking and camping trip through mountain landscapes while getting close to Tibetan culture and tribal peoples.

Itinerary #1: Magic of the Golden Triangle

This eight-day highlights itinerary takes in some of the most iconic sights of northern India, an excellent introduction to India. In the space of a week, you'll see the best of the famed Golden Triangle of Delhi-Jaipur-Agra, including the Taj Mahal, considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Explore historic forts and palaces, like the beautiful Agra Fort
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Delhi Delhi
Day 2 Old Delhi Sightseeing & Food Tour Delhi
Day 3 Transfer to Agra, Cycling & Sightseeing Tour Agra
Day 4 Transfer to Karauli via Fatehpur Sikri Karauli
Day 5 Transfer to Jaipur Jaipur
Day 6 Jaipur Sightseeing Tour, Visit Local Women Artisans Jaipur
Day 7 Jaipur to Delhi Delhi
Day 8 Depart Delhi  

Your India trip starts in its capital, Delhi, with a sightseeing tour of its most celebrated spots, including the Red Fort, Jama Masjid mosque, and Chandi Chowk market. A food tour will introduce you to local specialties such as sweet jalebi (a fried sweet) and hot parantha (a stuffed flatbread), washed down with lassi (a yogurt drink) and chai (tea). In Agra, you'll marvel at India's best-known monument, the Taj Mahal, explore Agra Fort, and then hop on a bicycle for a tour of local villages in the afternoon of Day 3.

On the drive to Jaipur, you'll make a halt to see the stunning palaces of Karauli and UNESCO-listed Fatehpur Sikri before arriving in the pink city. Next, on a tour of Jaipur's tourist sights, you'll explore landmarks like the City Palace, Jantar Mantar observatory, and the nearby Amer Palace Fort. A highlight is a visit to local female artisans practicing the traditional art of block printing and the chance to try it yourself. Then it's back to Delhi for some shopping before catching your flight home. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Culture & Wildlife in Northern India

This eight-day India adventure offers the chance to experience the urban highlights of the fascinating cities of Delhi and Kolkata, as well as the mangroves and wildlife of Sundarbans National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You'll explore the waterways of the Sundarbans by boat, spotting birds, spotted deer, and, if you're lucky, dolphins and the Bengal tiger.

Look for Bengal tigers in Sundarbans National Park
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Delhi, Free Evening Delhi
Day 2 Fly to Kolkata, Half Day Sightseeing Tour Kolkata
Day 3 Transfer to Sundarbans, Guided Nature Walk Sundarbans
Day 4 Explore Sundarbans National Park Sundarbans
Day 5 Sundarbans National Park By Boat Sundarbans
Day 6 Transfer to Kolkata, Heritage Walk Kolkata
Day 7 Fly to Delhi, Half Day Tour Delhi
Day 8 Depart Delhi  

Your first stop is Delhi, India's vibrant capital. You'll have a tour of the 17th-century Mughal-era architectural highlights of Old Delhi, such as the Red Fort and Jama Masjid, and the colonial buildings of New Delhi, including India Gate. On Day 2, you'll be off on a flight to Kolkata, the state's capital of West Bengal. Here you'll see major tourist sights such as the Victoria Memorial and Kali Temple and sample Bengal's unique and delicious cuisine. 

The next day, you'll be whisked off on a boat to the UNESCO-protected Sundarbans National Park, which covers 3,900 square miles (10,101 sq km) of both land and water. The park is known for having the largest area of mangrove forests worldwide and is home to several rare and endangered species, including the Bengal tiger. You'll traipse through its forests on foot, looking out for kingfishers, egrets, and pond herons, and float through its waterways on boats, from where you may catch sight of a crocodile or tiger. Then it's back to Kolkata for more sightseeing before flying back to Delhi. Learn more

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Itinerary #3: Cultural Northeast India: Darjeeling & Sikkim

Get an introduction to less-explored Northeast India on this action-packed eight-day itinerary. Tour the tea plantations of Darjeeling and take a ride on its toy train, enjoying views of the Himalaya mountains on the way. You'll also visit Hindu and Buddhist monasteries in the state of Sikkim and get insights into Tibetan culture.

Monastery statue in front of the Himalaya
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Bagdogra, Transfer to Darjeeling Darjeeling
Day 2 Darjeeling Sunrise & Toy Train Trip Darjeeling
Day 3 Transfer to Pelling via Rabdentse Pelling
Day 4 Transfer to Gangtok via Tashiding Monastery Gangtok
Day 5 Explore Gangtok Gangtok
Day 6 Transfer to Kalimpong via Rumtek Kalimpong
Day 7 Explore Kalimpong Kalimpong
Day 8 Depart Kalimpong  

Your trip starts on touch down at Bagdogra airport in West Bengal, from where you'll drive through a scenic hilly landscape to Darjeeling. The next day, watch the sunrise from the top of Tiger Hill, from where you can see the peaks of the Himalaya Mountains, including Everest. Next comes a ride on the Toy Train through the hills and a stop at Ghum Monastery to see the 15-foot-high (4.6 m) statue of the Maitreya Buddha and the Darjeeling Peace Pagoda.

Your next destination is Pelling in the state of Sikkim, but first, a halt at the Pemayangste Monastery and the site of the ruins of Rubdentse, a former capital. The next day you'll trek uphill through forests to Sanga-Choling Monastery and later travel to Tashiding Monastery, both important centers of Tibetan Buddhism. In Gangtok, the state capital, visit Enchey Monastery, and the Namgyal Institute, other Tibetan holy sites, before traveling to Kalimpong in West Bengal. Must-see sights here include Tharpa Choling Gompa Monastery and its collection of old scriptures and documents and Thongsa Gumpa, Kalimpong's oldest monastery. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Outdoor Adventure in Delhi & Kaziranga National Park

Outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife lovers will love the nature theme of this eight-day trip. It starts in the busy capital city, Delhi, before continuing to the less-explored northeastern state of Assam for a tour of Kaziranga National Park. You'll spot rhinos and elephants in their natural habitats and visit local tribal villages on this unique tour.

Rhinoceros and her baby in Kaziranga National Park
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Delhi, Free Evening Delhi
Day 2 Full-Day Sightseeing Tour of Old & New Delhi Delhi
Day 3 Fly to Guwahati, Transfer to Kaziranga National Park Kaziranga
Day 4 Elephant & Jeep Wildlife Safaris in Kaziranga National Park Kaziranga
Day 5 Morning Tribal Village Visit & Afternoon Safari  Kaziranga
Day 6 Bird-Watching Walking Tour Kaziranga
Day 7 Fly Back to New Delhi, Lodhi Gardens Guided Walk Delhi
Day 8 Depart New Delhi  

You'll arrive in Delhi, and after a full day of taking in its tourist sights and sampling tasty street food, you'll hop on to a flight to Guwahati, capital of the northeastern state of Assam, on Day 3. Your destination is Kaziranga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the one-horned rhinoceros. On organized Jeep safaris, you'll stalk the rhinos and also have the chance to see other animals making their home here, including elephants, tigers, water buffalo, swamp deer, and many species of birds.

On a visit to a tribal village, you'll get a glimpse into local life and learn how silkworms are bred and reared. Other highlights include stops at a tea estate and plantation and an orchid sanctuary. A full-day guided hike will take you on a bird-watching expedition through the forests to the Brahmaputra River. Here you can spot great hornbills, small monkeys such as capped langurs, hoolock gibbons, and maybe even an elephant. On Day 7, it's back to Delhi for a bit more sightseeing before catching your flight home the next day. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Trekking in India's Himalaya

This one's for the intrepid: an eight-day trekking and camping trip through the Dharamsala range of the Himalaya mountains. You'll hike for four hours daily, taking in the spectacular mountain views and bedding down at campsites for the night. In McLeod Ganj, the Dalai Lama's headquarters, you can learn about the large Tibetan population and interact with people from the Gaddi tribe in Dharmakot.

A view of the Dharamsala range at sunrise
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Delhi, Transfer to McLeod Ganj McLeod Ganj
Day 2 Walking Tour of McLeod Ganj McLeod Ganj
Day 3 Trek to Kareri Kareri
Day 4 Trek to Barlai Barlai
Day 5 Trek to Dharamkot Dharamkot
Day 6 Trek to Triund Triund
Day 7 Trek to McLeod Ganj, Transfer to Delhi Delhi
Day 8 Depart Delhi  

Your trekking adventure begins in the capital Delhi, where you'll have the chance to see a few highlights before the overnight drive to McLeod Ganj. After taking the following day to rest, you'll explore this Tibetan settlement where the Dalai Lama has his headquarters on a walking tour. You'll visit important landmarks such as the Tibetan Children's Village School and Tsuglagkhang—the Dalai Lama Temple Complex, and have time to browse the local bazaars.

On Day 3, your trek begins with a four-hour walk to Kareri through terraced rice paddies and lush fields, and the next day you'll continue to Barlai. On Day 5, you'll arrive in Dharmakot, home to tribal people known as the Gaddis, and move on to the highest point of your trek on Day 6: Triund at 9,350 feet (2,850 m). From here, you can see the snowy peaks of the Dhauladhar Mountains and the Kangra Valley beyond. The next day, after packing up camp, you'll start the descent back to McLeod Ganj and depart for Delhi the same evening before returning to the airport for your flight home on Day 8. Learn more

More Great Destination Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to India? Check out these other India itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.


Map of 8 Days in India - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 8 Days in India - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas