Header image courtesy of Ashwini Chaudhary (via Unsplash)
Whether it’s a solo or group embarkment, road trips can be a life-changing experience full of everlasting memories. This summer, or winter, immerse yourself in the raw beauty of India’s vast natural landscapes and indulge in going on an adventure of a lifetime. Here are the best inter-city road trips to go on across India to take in the best of what the subcontinent has to offer.
The Jaipur to Jaisalmer road trip is a journey filled with breathtaking historic forts and mind-blowing authentic Rajasthani food. Located at the heart of the Great Indian Thar Desert, Jaisalmer is home to many royal palaces and temples. The venture from the “Pink City” to the “Golden City” is perfect for travellers looking to explore all the different colours of the rich Rajasthani culture. In Jaisalmer, hop on a camel, and experience Rajasthan from a whole other point of view.
When on a road trip to Jaisalmer from Jaipur, be sure to make a pit stop at Jodhpur, the iconic “Blue City,” for finger-licking Rajasthani food—the gulab jamuns (गुलाब जामुन) here are to die for! While you’re there, you could also visit the fifteenth-century Mehrangarh Fort, a former palace and now museum that displays historic weapons, paintings, and royal artefacts.
Distance: 558 kilometres via national highway NH 11
Travel time: Nine to 10 hours
Best time to visit: October to March
While Mumbai harbours the hustle and bustle of chaotic city life, Goa is the perfect destination to lay on a beach and simply enjoy the sun. Don’t be fooled by the tranquillity and peacefulness of the city—Goa is home to some of the country’s best nightlife. Whether you’re going to party or relax, Goa is the perfect destination for a balanced, yet thrilling, adventure.
Start the trip in Mumbai and make your way to Goa through Pune. We recommend that you make multiple stops along the journey to explore the unlimited attractions en route. Built during the Maratha Empire, the Shaniwar Wada in Pune is a historical landmark that'll account for a wonderful break from driving; and, don’t forget to savour the famous kolhapuri misal (कोल्हापुरी मिसल) in Kolhapur!
Distance: 598 kilometres via national highway NH48
Travel time: 11 to 12 hours
Best time to visit: October to February
The Chandigarh to Kasol route is home to some of the most captivating and picturesque sceneries in India. This journey takes travellers from Chandigarh’s contemporary urban realm to Kasol’s nature-filled valleys. With nature all around, Kasol is a paradise for peacefully trekking and exploring without any interruptions. From nature enthusiasts to city lovers, this road trip is perfect for winding down and relaxing. If you go at the right time, you might even be able to catch some snow!
On the road to Kasol, you are likely to pass by Kheer Ganga (खीर गंगा). This village is notoriously famous amongst travellers who visit Kasol as it remains the last village that is inhabited by people in the Parvati Valley. The greenery here is guaranteed to take your breath away. The village also serves as the base camp for the Pin Parvati and Kheer Ganga treks.
Distance: 273 kilometres via the NH154 national highway
Travel duration: Eight to nine hours
Best time to visit: April to October
From the “City of Pearls” to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the journey from Hyderabad to Hampi is one of the best road trips to explore the ancient beauty of South India. Now home to the ruins of a rich past, Hampi was once the capital of the great Vijayanagara empire. With over 100 temples and historic sites to venture to, Hampi is no short of a backpacker’s dream come true.
The route is filled with amazing scenery and temples for travellers to visit. Starting from Hyderabad, make a pit stop in Karnataka to admire the gorgeous Sanapur Lake where you may even be able to try out cliff jumping with adequate weather conditions. Be sure to visit the beautiful temples that come along the way such as the Lotus Mahal and the Sashivekalu Ganesha Temple (खजराना मंदिर).
Distance: 385 kilometres via NH167 national highway
Travel duration: Nine to 10 hours
Best time to visit: October to February
The Manali to Leh road trip is unlike any other—with the astonishing beauty of the Himalayan ranges as a backdrop, the journey is filled with mesmerising landscapes and surroundings. Although the adventure has a reputation of being exhausting and lengthy, the end destination is worth every hassle. Traditionally, both destinations are famous amongst travellers for trekking, biking, and camping. Majestic Manali to lovely Leh, this road trip is definitely India’s most photogenic journey.
When you’re on the highway heading to Leh, make a pit stop at Khoksar. A favourite stop amongst most truck drivers and backpackers, Khoksar is perhaps the best location on the entire highway for quality food at the dhabas—restaurants with some of the most authentic local cuisines. If you’re planning to stay overnight, be sure to reserve a place in Keylong, a popular night stay city on the route.
Distance: 428 kilometres via Manali-Leh highway
Travel duration: 12 to 13 hours
Best time to visit: March to July