The capital of India, situated in the very north of the country, New Delhi is bursting with historical landmarks, ancient architecture and buzzing with organised chaos.
It’s a modern metropolis that tells the story of India’s rich past, it’s diverse culture, and transformation into the country it is today.
Delhi is a mix of ancient and modern alike – with on one hand: Medieval Mughal forts, historic Hindu temples and giant statues, and the Qutab Minar, the world’s tallest brick structure.
And on the other hand: sprawling mega shopping malls, an ever-expanding metropolitan financial centre, and a brand new metro system that was voted the second best in the world!
The city is the perfect starting point for travelers entering India. Suitable for backpacking, luxury travel, and all types of tourists, it’s also easy to explore further out into the country for other fantastic tours and cities. It’s the perfect starting point for tours around Rajasthan and beyond. You can venture on the Golden Triangle tour to Agra and Jaipur from here for instance, fly out to Mumbai or even catch a sleeper train ride to Goa and Kerala.
Did you know: According to CoMET, New Delhi’s Metro system was voted the second best in the world!
Want to read more awesome facts about New Delhi? Check out my post: 15 Interesting Facts About New Delhi
Scroll on to read my travel guide: New Delhi 3 Day Itinerary (+ FREE Cheatsheet)
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you click and/or make a purchase, I receive a commission, at no extra cost to you.
COVID19 Travel Restrictions (Updated May 2022):
Foreigners visiting India are subject to travel restrictions, that includes submission of a self declaration form (SDF) 72 hours prior to departure, a negative test result, and mandatory quarantine in an institutional isolation facility at your own expense.
The full details can be found here.
Table of Contents
Currency: Indian Rupee (INR)
Language: Hindi and English are widely spoken and understood. Some locals can speak English but not read it. However, Indians are quite visual and use gestures, so communication is not difficult.
Visa: The visa process is a little tricky for India compared to most places. Application has to be made 6 months in advance and can be done online, however you must go to a Visa application centre to send off your forms with your passport and a couple of passport photos. You then have to go back to pick up your passport with (approved) visa when they are ready. For UK citizens the process costed around £95 (when I last applied in 2015).
Weather: The weather varies all year round in Delhi. Between October – February it can get chilly. Between March – September its very hot.
Getting Around: The tuk-tuks (also known as auto rickshaws) 1are the most common and cheapest taxis in Delhi.
The New Delhi Metro is very clean, modern and easy to use. It was recently ranked the second best network in the world! (according to a survey by NOVA and CoMET)
Uber and Ola are the two ride-hailing services in India. They cost more than tuk-tuks but are still quite cheap (plus they are air-conditioned cars and MUCH more comfortable).
If you’re confident to use the buses – they are the cheapest way of getting around, costing literally pennies (around INR 10-20).
What to wear: In the winter months it’s cold, so wrap up warm like you would in Europe, North America etc. In the Spring and Summer months, it’s really hot. So typical tourist attire (shorts/skirt, t-shirt, sunglasses, flip flops etc.) will do. However, always cover up when visiting holy places (temples, mosques, shrines etc.)
Travel Guide – New Delhi: 3 Day Itinerary
Map of Delhi
The Red Fort (1)
Jama Masjid Mosque (2)
Chandni Chowk Markets (3)
Qutab Minar (4)
Chattarpur Temple Complex (5)
Hauz Khas Village (6)
The Lotus Temple (7)
India Gate (8)
The Raj Ghat (9)
Connaught Place (10)
Day 1: Old Delhi
Visit the Red Fort, and Jama Masjid Mosque, and wander the bazaars, food and spice markets
Old Delhi is a fantastic place to start on your travels in India.
Built by the Mughals centuries ago, Old Delhi was the centre of luxury and commerce at the height of the Mughal Empire.
It has since become very congested and overrun with poverty, but don’t let that bother you – in fact, Old Delhi is rich with history, culture, and iconic landmarks, including the Red Fort. It is indeed thought of by the locals to be the “Real India”.
The Red Fort
The enormous Red Fort complex represents the heart of Old Delhi. Once the official residence of the Mughal Emperor, it remains a stunning structure well worth visiting.
Location: Chandni Chowk, Delhi, 110002, India
How to get there: Located at Netaji Subhash Marg, the nearest metro station is Chandni Chowk. From there you can either opt for an auto or a cycle rickshaw.
Admission: INR 500 for foreigners
Opening times: 9:30am – 4:30pm
You can book a Red Fort tour with an optional private guide here.
A short walk from the Red Fort head over to the largest mosque in India, the Jama Masjid. This is a must-see and a very insta-worthy spot. Another magnificent creation of the Mughals, a muslim empire that brought great Islamic influence to north India.
Location: Netaji Subhash Marg, West of Red Fort, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, Delhi 110006, India
How to get there: Located at Netaji Subhash Marg, the nearest metro station is Chandni Chowk.
Opening times: 7am-12pm, 1:30pm-6:30pm
If you book this Old Delhi guided 3-hour tour, you get to visit the Jama Masjid along with the Gurudwara, Kinari Bazaar and Chandni Chowk, all on a rickshaw!
Lose Yourself in the chaotic Bazaars of Chandni Chowk
Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, hop onto a rickshaw and make your way through the chaotic Chandni Chowk street markets for a delicious adventure savouring Indian cuisine – nowhere in the world will you find the best Indian food than in the authentic bazaars of India!
The sprawling bazaars of Old Delhi gives the perfect opportunity to get lost in authentic Indian culture for an afternoon well spent and an unforgettable experience.
Authentic Indian food is one of the highlights of any day in India, particularly the street food. I enjoyed some delicious chaat, and momos with spicy sauce is an absolute must.
I washed that down with refreshing drinks including my favourite – Homemade Lime Soda with salt (not sugar – seriously – try it with salt, its REALLY refreshing!)
Don’t fancy exploring the markets on your own? Not a problem! You can book an Old Delhi Street Food Tasting tour with a guide here.
Day 2: Qutab Minar & Lotus Temple
Discover Delhi’s historic Qutab Minar, ancient Chattarpur temple complex, and the iconic Lotus Temple
The Qutub Minar
Commissioned by the Delhi Sultanate in 1200 AD and standing at 73 metres tall, the Qutub Minar is the tallest brick structure in the world. The landmark, along with the ancient and medieval monuments surrounding it, form the Qutab Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This landmark is one of the most famous attractions in Delhi (or in India even). So expect it to get busy here during the daytime.
Start your morning early at the Qutub Minar to beat the crowds. This is a great opportunity to snap some truly insta-worthy shots while it’s quiet.
Word Of Advice: As with any tourist hotspot – be wary of thieves. My Delhi-based friend who guided me around the complex, discovered that her bag was cut open. Always keep an eye on your belongings especially if carrying a bag of softer material, as thieves will cut them open and steal the contents, without you even realising.
For added security and peace of mind, you can go with a guide by booking this Full Day Private Tour of Old and New Delhi that includes the Qutab Minar (and you’ll be escorted around in an air-conditioned car).
Security Tip: When travelling in India, or anywhere else for that matter, I always wear my Zero Grid Travel Security Belt – comes with a hidden money pouch that’s incredibly useful for stashing away my cash so even the smartest pickpockets don’t stand a chance.
Location: Mehrauli, New Delhi, Delhi 110030, India
How to get there: Qutub Minar is the nearest metro station on the Yellow line. Local buses are available from various points in Delhi.
Admission: US $4, or INR 250 per person
Opening times: sunrise to sunset
Chattarpur Temple Complex
From Qutub Minar head right down to the south of the city and stroll around the enormous Chattarpur Temple complex.
Here you can take in the sights of the stunning Hindu architecture and landmarks, that includes the vast Hindu temple itself, the Trident of Shiva, and the absolutely HUGE Statue of the Hindu god Hanuman.
This photo below shows just how ENORMOUS the statue of Hanuman is!
For me, this temple complex was one of the highlights of New Delhi. Not just because its relatively quiet and unknown to many tourists, but because of the sheer size and beauty of the architecture and monuments.
Location: Near Chattarpur Metro Station, New Delhi, Delhi 110074, India
How to get there: Chattarpur Metro Station (Yellow line)
Opening times: 4am-11pm
You can book a Customized Private Delhi tour here.
Lunch at Hauz Khas Village
After a long morning taking some excellent snaps, catch the 516 bus (or hail a taxi) to the charming Hauz Khas Village – a quaint little gem in southern Delhi.
Not a well known spot for tourists, this is a fantastic place to get some lunch from one of the many cafes and restaurants there.
It’s also a good opportunity to browse the small shops, stroll the pleasant gardens, and view the cluster of magnificent medieval buildings set around the reservoir.
The Lotus Temple
The magnificent Lotus Temple is an enormous structure that’s won numerous architectural awards due to it’s unique, marble-clad ‘petals’ that makes the temple look like a giant Lotus flower. In 2001 a CNN report referred to it as the most visited building in the world! No wonder it’s one of the hottest attractions in Delhi.
Did you know: The Lotus Temple is the only structure of faith in Asia. Built in 1986, it is Asia’s pivot for the Bahai community and is open to all, regardless of religion or background.
Location: Bahapur, Kalkaji, New Delhi, Delhi, India
How to get there: Lotus Temple is close to the Kalkaji Mandir metro station (on the Violet line), and right next to the Kalkaji Park.
Opening times: 9am-7pm (summer), 9am-5:30pm (winter)
End your second day by making your way to Khan Market, Deli’s largest retail shopping centre that offers designer footwear, trendy clothes, electronics, music and hardware. It also has a host of hip cafes and international eateries (if you are looking for something different).
Day 3: India Gate & Raj Ghat
India Gate, Connaught Place, and Gandhi’s Memorial Place
India Gate & President’s House
India Gate is a large war memorial similar in design to Paris’ Arc de Triomphe, that pays homage to the Indian volunteers who gave their lives fighting for the British Empire in the First and Second World Wars. Over 2.5 million Indian soldiers served alongside British and Commonwealth forces on the Battlefields of Europe and campaigns in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Start your third day at India Gate in the early morning – the best time to witness this majestic landmark in the golden hours while it’s serene and quiet.
From India Gate, walk up the Rajpath to the Rashtrapati Bhavan (aka the President’s House). The Rajpath is where the annual Republic Day Parades take place in January.
Opening times: 24 hours
Make your way over to Cafe Lota for brunch, a great hip cafe thats a short walking distance from the President’s House.
Essential Item: As you may know, the water in India is not safe to drink. Carrying a Lifestraw Go Water Filter Bottle will help keep you safe by filtering any water you put into it. It will also save you money and help save the planet from plastic waste (bonus!) Get yours from Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK)
Raj Ghat: Gandhi’s Memorial
If you’d like to check out Gandhi’s resting place, head over to the Raj Ghat, the site of the cremation and the simple marble memorial dedicated to the ‘father of the nation’ Mahatma Gandhi. As a sign of respect, visitors are required to take off their shoes before approaching the memorial.
If you’ve still time, the Mahatma Gandhi Museum is just across the road, for those curious about the life of Gandhi and the birth of modern Indian Republic.
How to get there: The place is accessible by buses 331 and 753. The nearest Metro Station to Raj Ghat is the Chandni Chowk on the Yellow line.
Opening times: 6:30am-6pm (Raj Ghat), 9:30am-5:30pm (Mahatma Gandhi Museum)
An intriguing cross between a Victorian arcade, a bazaar and a shopping mall, Connaught Place is a hugely popular shopping spot. It caters to the needs of all shoppers from the well-heeled to the discerning ones.
However if this is not really your thing, there is always the A-Class movie theatres to relax and catch a movie in, and plenty of bars and cafes to take a sip at.
For something more authentic, the nearby Janpath is one of the most famous flea-markets in the city, and still nearer is the Palika Bazaar.
How to get there: The nearest metro station is Rajeev Chowk
Opening times: 10am-8:30pm
Check out the impressive 4K travel video of New Delhi below:
Travel Tip: Have an extra day? Get the train down to Agra, just two hours away, to see India’s most iconic landmark, the Taj Mahal. (You can also visit Agra Fort while you’re there too.)
Read my post: Delhi and Agra: 4 Day Itinerary for more details
So how much does it all cost?
India is actually extremely cheap.
Once you’ve found a good flight deal (you can find flights for around £300-400 with one stop) everything is pretty affordable – from the taxis, food, accommodation, activities and so on, considering the vast difference in India’s economy. Even many of the big resorts are affordable.
The main thing to remember that this is a totally different economy, and the difference in the cost of everything will come as a surprise at first, so always be wary of local guides, taxis or market vendors, as they will attempt to charge you MUCH more than the standard price – no matter how cheap it seems!
Below is an average pricing itinerary that I spent on this trip.
Flights from the UK: £375 return from Birmingham (via Skyscanner)
Airport transfer: INR 2000 (£20)
Accommodation cost: £7-8 per night (Booking.com double room with en-suite) = £24 for 3 nights
Transport: £9 (bus, metro and autos)
Food: £25 (Average £2 per meal, £0.50 per drink)
Activities (ticket entry): £7.50
Total Spent: £460.50
Total Days: 3
Total Cost (minus flights): £65.50!
Bear in mind this is a basic guide only, and it only takes into account three days in Delhi. Remember, everyone travels at their own pace, on different budgets, so your personal travel budget may be different from mine.
If you’re planning on staying in New Delhi for a few nights, check out this link for a list of excellent accommodation options or use the map widget below:
A trip to Delhi is totally worthwhile especially as a first phase/destination during a bigger trip travelling around India.
It’s a great place to start, and get used to the culture shock that India may bring to Westerners.
Best time to visit: Between early September to early March is the coolest period, and November to January is quite cold in this northern region of India. In May it gets extremely hot, however July and August is a good time to visit, but be aware of the Monsoon season in August.
If I went to Delhi again.. I would explore more of the countless bazaars and street food markets. This is the most authentic experience of Delhi you could possible have, and something I would focus on more, instead of the shopping malls and upmarket eateries of Connaught Place and Khan Market.
I would also use Delhi as a base to travel out to Jaipur and Jodhpur in Rajasthan – I am really eager to visit those places next time I venture out to India!
Don’t forget to book travel insurance
It goes without saying really that when you travel in India and beyond, travel insurance is super important.
I never always bothered though. For years I travelled without insurance as I thought, “what could happen?”
Well, I once got my bag stolen in Vietnam and I had an electric shock in a hostel bathroom in Mexico. What if you’re walking down the street and your appendix suddenly bursts, leaving you in excruciating pain and requiring emergency treatment? Anything could happen.
I use World Nomads for comprehensive cover and convenience at great prices on all my travels, and I never set out without it. You can get an instant quote below.
New Delhi Day Trips and Activities on Get Your Guide:
A guided tour and sightseeing events are some of the best ways to experience New Delhi. Here’s some excellent deals for the most popular trips and activities around this city. (Remember, you can cancel your bookings at anytime!)
New Delhi Travel Guides
For more in-depth reading on Delhi and Agra, you can get your hands on a copy of these bestsellers below:
- Lonely Planet Rajasthan, Delhi & Agra (Travel Guide)Amazon US | Amazon (UK)
- Top 10 Delhi (Pocket Guide)Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK)
Travelling to India soon?
Commonly Asked Questions
Here’s the perfect 3 day Delhi itinerary:
Day 1: Explore Old Delhi’s historic landmarks of Red Fort and Jama Masjid, and lose yourself in the chaotic bazaars and food and spice markets of Chandni Chowk.
Day 2: Discover Delhi’s historic Qutab Minar, ancient Chattarpur temple complex, and the iconic Lotus Temple
Day 3: Visit India Gate and the Raj Ghat, and go shopping at Connaught Place
You can easily see everything Delhi has to offer in three days at a slow pace, however two days is also plenty of time to this city. If you are limited for time, or stopping by Delhi en-route to another city, you can easily see the highlights of Delhi within one day, although you’ll likely be spending less time at each of the attractions and places of interest.
The whole city is packed with beautiful places of interest and it really depends on the person’s taste. For me – I found the Chattarpur temple complex, Hauz Khas, and the Qutab Minar to be very beautiful places to visit.
Here’s the 5 absolute must-see places in New Delhi:
- The Red Fort
- Qutab Minar
- Chattarpur Temple Complex
- Chandni Chowk
- India Gate
As the capital city of India, New Delhi is well worth a visit for a number of reasons including: historical landmarks like the Mughal Red Fort, the Qutab Minar UNESCO World Heritage site, the buzzing markets of Chandni Chowk, the towering statues and temples at the Chattarpur complex, India’s largest mosque the Jama Masjid, and many more.
Thank you for reading my post: New Delhi 3 Day Itinerary (+ FREE Cheatsheet)
I hope it gives you travel inspiration to visit India one day!
Book Your Trip to India: Budget Tips & Tricks
Accommodation: I use Booking to find fantastic cheap stays with free cancellation options.
Travel Insurance: Stay protected from theft, injury, illness, and cancellations. A safety net in case anything goes wrong, I never leave without it. World Nomads is my favourite agent for total peace of mind.
Head over to my Travel Tools page for all my best travel tips & advice and everything you need for your trip.