Delhi is not the most popular tourist destination in India. According to some people there are only a few interesting tourist spots in Delhi. They are all relatively close to each other and can therefore easily be done in one day. A city with a population of 25 million there must be nice places to visit. In this guide I will point out the top tourist attractions and give you an itinerary for 1 day in Delhi.
I have been to Delhi a couple times myself and honestly, the first couple times I wasn't interest in sightseeing in Delhi at all actually. But on my last visit although it was Monsoon season I felt like I had to give it a chance. I was staying 3 nights in The LaLit Hotel close Connaught Place and Central Park and as this is where most of the Delhi tourist spots are located, I decided to give it a try.
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Sightseeing in Delhi itinerary
All the below places to go in Delhi are pretty near to each other and are perfect to put in a 1-day sightseeing in Delhi tour. Best thing to do is to take a ride to Old Delhi, get a feel of this turbulent district and walk to Jama Masjid and Agra Fort. Take a taxi to the biggest Hindu temple in the world and then towards the India Gate and walk to the Presidential Palace.
- Old Delhi
- Jama Masjid
- Agra Fort
- Temple of God
- India Gate
- Presidential Palace
Check out these 10 Delhi Travel Tips, to get the most out of your stay in India's capital. Number 3 is funny, because it says: Delhi is more than just Old Delhi. The places I am recommending you to visit in this blog are all located in and around Old Delhi! ;)
Best places to see in New Delhi in 1 day
1. Visit Old Delhi
This spot will be in every list of top 10 tourist places in Delhi. The old town is where you will find the real Indian city lifestyle with small hectic streets where vendors, motorbikes, people and tricycles are all fighting for their little space. There are tiny little streets where you can easily get lost. Districts are named after the product they sell: silver, book shops, sarees, jewellery and of course spices. Be open-minded and amazed by what you will see here in the streets, it is like nowhere ever before!
As a man there is no need to be scared, but as a woman I would not recommend walking around here alone. Keep your belongings close to you, even better don’t bring anything with you apart from some money and a camera. For the rest you should be fine, don't believe all those New Delhi travel guides saying that it is dangerous to visit Old Delhi. I have been multiple times and never find this place sketchy.
Old Delhi is more like hectic, chaotic, intimidating, dirty, etc rather than dangerous. Just use common sense when visiting Old Delhi.
The best way to visit Old Delhi is to walk around, but be prepared to get hassled everywhere. Everyone seems to want something from you, sell you their products and you will be asked for a taxi or tricycle a million times and after a while you can't stand the sound of honking motorbikes anymore. My advice: bring earplugs! No joke...
You could also decide to hire a tricycle and let someone drive you around Old Delhi, an hour will cost you around $2 or so, depending on your bargaining skills.
2. Climb the minaret of Jama Masjid Mosque
This majestic mosque is one of the best places to visit in New Delhi and cannot be missed on your sightseeing itinerary. For some reason I drove past the Jama Masjid Mosque in Delhi a bunch of times but never went inside. Holy crap! What was she thinking? To me it is number one best thing to do in New Delhi. When you decide to go sightseeing this can NOT be missed!
The Jama Masjid is also located in the Old Delhi and can easily be reached on foot when visiting Old Delhi. The entrance fee is about 50 cents, but somewhere inside in a corner there is an extra ticket boot where you can buy a ticket for $2 to go to the top of the minaret. Don't forget your camera because this is one of the coolest things to do in New Delhi.
Ask around to find the entrance to climb to the top of the Masjid. Even if they don't allow it anymore, there is always someone that wants to help a tourist! ;)
3. Visit the Red Fort
The next place to visit in New Delhi is super close to the Jama Masjid. Just a few streets away you can find the Red Fort. You can’t miss it as the walls of the Red Fort are looming large at the horizon and it is one of the most famous tourist spots in Delhi. To enter the Red Fort you have to pay a hefty entrance fee of $10, which in India is very steep!
Visiting the Red Fort was nice, but if you are traveling to more places in India I would recommend you to visit the forts in Rajasthan over the Red Fort. My favorite forts in India are: Jaipur, Agra, Jodhpur.
Click on the link to check out a list of some of the most amazing places to visit in India.
4. Walk from India Gate to Rashtrapati Bhavan
The India gate looks just like the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. It should definitely be included in your sightseeing tour in Delhi, but it is more the surrounding that makes this landmark appealing. Walk in a straight line from India Gate on Rajpath Avenue towards the Rashtrapati Bhavan and be surrounded by green lawns where you could decide to picnic on a hot day. At the end of the road is the Presidents official home another impressive compound and cool place to visit in Delhi.
5. Visit the Temple of God (Swaminarayan Akshardham)
Most followers of the Hindu religion live in India, which makes it obvious that the biggest Hindu temple is located in New Delhi. Being a well-educated world traveler I was surprised when I heard that the Temple of God, the biggest Hindu Temple in the world was also in the neighbourhood and I had never heard about it.
Swaminarayan Akshardham as it is called is an enormous and stunning piece of architecture and I found out why the word about it is not well spread. It is forbidden to take pictures in and around the temple complex. Cell phones need to be handed in as well so even cheating is not possible.
Although it is pretty far away there is a photo spot on the Noida Link Rd. Ask you tuktuk driver and he will show you.
Picture: Tripadvisor.com (it was raining cats and dogs when I was there)
Where to stay in Delhi
There are of course tons of hotels and guesthouses around and you are spoilt for choice. But if this is your first time visiting Delhi you might want to stay in a nice place. The Lalit Delhi in Connaught Place is a luxurious 5 star hotel, but affordable! Its location is perfect for this sightseeing in Delhi as it is in the middle of all the above mentioned places to go.
The Lalit also houses the no. 1 nightclub in Delhi: Kitty Sue and a delicious roof top restaurant called The Grill. Remember you are in India so a 5 star hotel wont cost as much as you may think! Check out the rates in the link.
A great place to stay, however I understand there are a lot of travelers with a smaller budget. Those I recommend to read the blog about where to stay in Delhi with the best hotels and hostels for every budget.
India’s capital might not be my favourite place to go in India, but there are definitely some cool places that make it worth sightseeing for 1 day Delhi. Don't stay around too long in India's capital, but don't completely skip it either!
Going to travel around India? In 2014 I traveled 5 weeks through India, read here why I think Pushkar it is the best city in India or click here to check out my adventure in the mountains: multi day trekking in Dharamsala. Last but not least I made it to the infamous but fabulous region of Kashmir. Read about best things to do in Kasmir!