One of the world’s oldest cities – Delhi is is an iconic, world-class city that has thrived through the ages, evolving into a modern metropolis whilst retaining all of it’s historic past.
There’s sprawling ancient temples, glorious medieval Mughal forts and historic UNESCO World Heritage landmarks, to modern shopping malls, a metropolitan financial district and a brand new metro system that was voted second-best in the world.
With it’s bold and bright colours, rich aromas, curious sounds and an organised chaos, it all culminates to make Delhi a truly unforgettable experience.
Did you know: New Delhi is the second most populated city in the world, after Tokyo?
Head over to my article: 15 Facts About New Delhi for more fascinating facts.
In three visits and eight months travelling around India, I’ve lost count how many times I’ve been to India’s capital city.
And there’s still so much in Delhi that I’ve yet to discover!
So I’ve put together this impressive guide of the top 11 unique and best things to do in Delhi today.
Table of Contents
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Delhi tourist information
How to get there
The nearest airport to Delhi is Indira Gandhi International (DEL) 9 miles away.
Getting around Delhi
Ola/Uber: rideshare apps are the most convenient way to get around the city, generally cheaper and safer than taxis, they have built in AC, are quick and affordable.
Auto rickshaws: the best way to get around the city for short distances, these are also very cheap and quicker than cars and buses.
Bus: There are different types of buses – some offer extra comfort and AC (blue cluster buses and red DTC buses), whilst the orange ones don’t.
Best time to visit New Delhi
New Delhi Attractions Map
New Delhi Essentials Checklist:
- A decent pair of walking shoes or sandals (there’s a lot of walking in this city)
- A trendy pair of harem pants (for comfort, style, and keeping cool)
- A good quality compact camera (for taking great pics)
Essential India Travel Resources:
For more useful travel information on India, check out these articles:
Travel Guide: The 11 Best Things to Do in New Delhi in 2023
1. The Red Fort
Famous for being the residence of the Mughal Emperors, the Red Fort remains one of India’s most iconic landmarks.
By far, one of the best things to do in India, let alone Delhi – the location of this sprawling, red sandstone fortress is the heart of Old Delhi. The Red Fort was formerly the centre of luxury and commerce in the heart of the Mughal Empire.
You can book an 8-hour private highlights tour of Old and New Delhi that includes the Red Fort here:
Location: Chandni Chowk, Delhi, 110002, India
How to get there: Located at Netaji Subhash Marg, the nearest metro station the Red Fort 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
2. Jama Masjid Mosque
A short walk from the Red Fort will bring you to the Jama Masjid – the largest mosque in India.
Upon arrival it’s easy to see why this is one of the top must-see places in Delhi. A truly magnificent creation of the Mughals, built between 1644 and 1656.
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
This 3-hour heritage walking tour with rickshaw ride features all the Old Delhi landmarks including Jama Masjid:
3. Humayun’s Tomb
The resting place of the second Mughal Emperor Humayun, Humayun’s Tomb was commissioned by his first wife Empress Begum in 1569.
It was designed by Persian architects hand-chosen by Empress Begum, the site is a UNESCO World Heritage, and as such one of the most iconic and hugely popular landmarks in India. The serene atmosphere and stunning gardens compliment the Tomb’s majestic architectural wonder, and it makes it among the best things to do in Delhi for couples, families, and backpackers alike.
Location: Mathura Road, Nizamuddin East, Delhi
How to get there: Hazrat Nizamuddin (Pink line)
Opening times: 6am-6pm
4. Chandni Chowk
Across the road from the Jama Masjid mosque is one of the largest and most chaotic bazaars you’ll ever stumble across in your life: Chandni Chowk.
In the vibrant heart of old Delhi sits this sprawling network of bazaars, giving you the perfect opportunity to get lost in authentic Indian culture for an afternoon well spent and an unforgettable experience.
Street food is one of the ultimate experiences of truly authentic Indian cuisine that every traveller must try in India – and Chandni Chowk has it all. I enjoyed some delicious chaat and the best momos I have ever had in India.
I absolutely recommend the fresh lime soda from the stalls – BUT with salt, not sugar! This is pure refreshment on another level!
Why not eat like a local and book a Chandni Chowk street food and walking tour here:
Cheap things to do in Delhi
5. Chattarpur Temple Complex
This enormous temple complex in south Delhi is a holy site that hosts some of the largest Hindu statues and temples found in India.
Looking for things to do in south Delhi? Why not take in the sights of the stunning Hindu architecture, statues and landmarks at the Chattarpur Complex, that includes a vast Hindu temple, the Trident of Shiva, and the staggeringly HUGE statue of the Hindu god Hanuman – check out the photos to see the sheer scale of this statue close-up!
As you can see, the monuments are breathtaking. I enjoyed the visit here because it’s one of the least touristy spots in Delhi, which makes the experience much more enjoyable and tranquil.
Location: Near Chattarpur Metro Station, New Delhi, Delhi 110074, India
How to get there: Chattarpur Metro Station (Yellow line)
Opening times: 4am-11pm
6. 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 gigantic Lotus flower.
The Lotus temple is the only structure of the Bahai faith in Asia. It is open to all, regardless of background or religion.
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.
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)
This private tour takes you to all the major temples and spiritual sites in Old and New Delhi:
7. India Gate
India Gate is a large war memorial that pays homage to the Indian soldiers 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.
The best time to witness this majestic landmark is in the golden hours of the early morning while it’s serene and quiet.
From India Gate, you can also view the Rashtrapati Bhavan, also known as the President’s House – just a short walk up the Rajpath to the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The Rajpath is where the annual Republic Day Parades take place in January.
Opening times: 24 hours
Delhi Day Tours and Activities
If you prefer a guided tour of New and Old Delhi and further out, Get Your Guide is a highly-recommended reputable agency that provides some excellent day trips, walking / driver tours, and more.
8. Connaught Place
A hugely popular shopping spot, Connaught Place in central Delhi is an intriguing cross between a Victorian arcade, a bazaar and a shopping mall.
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 too.
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
9. Qutab Minar
At 73 meters tall, the Qutab Minar is the tallest free-standing brick structure in the world – commissioned by the Delhi Sultanate in 1200 AD.
The landmark, along with the ancient and medieval monuments surrounding it, form the Qutab Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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.
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
Why not book a full day private tour of Qutb Minar, Old and New Delhi here:
10. Hauz Khas Village
A quaint little gem – Hauz Khas is one of Delhi’s hippest areas, and well worth a visit.
This is a fantastic place to get some food from one of the many restaurants and cafes, it’s especially worth the visit as it’s not a well-known spot for tourists too. It also has an ancient fort, as seen in the above photo.
Hauz Khas also provides a good opportunity to browse the small shops, stroll the pleasant gardens, and view the cluster of magnificent medieval buildings set around the reservoir.
11. The Raj Ghat
The Raj Ghat is the resting place of Mahatma Gandhi, the “father of India”.
If you’re a history buff like me and would 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 modern India’s founder, 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)
Other Worthy Recommendations in Delhi:
A Hindu temple located near Nehru Place, its also a cultural centre that provides rich insight into Hinduism and Hindu Texts, and features the world’s largest sacred book.
An ancient Hindu Temple located in Noida Nor, its also a spiritual campus that displays millennia of traditional Hindu and Indian culture.
One of the most prominent Sikh temples in Delhi built in 1783. A worthy site to include in your itinerary, the Bangla Sahib temple is situated near Connaught Place.
A modern and ever-expanding district, Gurgaon is the financial centre of Delhi, located just a half-hour metro ride away from the centre of the capital. Gurgaon offers plenty of modern malls, chic cafes and upmarket restaurants.
There you have it – the Top 11 Must-See Spots in New Delhi.
Delhi is a beautiful city that I recommend anyone to visit – enriched with culture and history, the public transport system has been developed to such an extent that is so easy to explore the city and surrounding areas.
And of course, for the budget traveller – Delhi, and India in general, is so EASY to explore on a budget because everything is so affordable here!
Looking for things to do in Agra?
Planning on staying in New Delhi?
Click here for a list of excellent accommodation options in the city at Booking.com or use the widget below:
General Information about New Delhi
- Area: 1,484km squared
- Weather: 8C (winter), 39C (summer)
- Population: 11,034,555 (2nd in India)
- Founded: 1911 (established), 1931 (inaugurated)
- International Airport: Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL)
- Famous Residents: Shah Rukh Khan, Yo Yo Honey Singh, Nandita Das, Chetan Bhagat
Don’t forget to book travel insurance
Obviously it goes without saying 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 cycling in the street and your appendix suddenly bursts, leaving you in excruciating pain and requiring emergency treatment? Anything could happen.
New Delhi Interactive Map
Commonly Asked Questions
Being the country capital, Delhi is enriched with historical landmarks that are truly worth the visit, plus its great for shopping, the Delhi NCR is modern, reliable and very clean, and best of all, the city is loaded with scrumptiously yummy street food! It’s perfect for first-timers to acclimatise and adapt to a whole new country.
Though the main entry point for most foreigners to India, New Delhi is worth more than just a transit city to another Indian destination.
It’s perfectly safe to walk around Delhi in daylight hours, though it’s recommended to cover up (ie: ankle length attire) especially for women, to avoid unwanted stares and to respect the customs. At night, it’s best to walk in pairs or in groups. That being said, Delhi has a population of 12 million, therefore it will have a level of crime that goes with a city of such a size.
You’ll discover plenty of historic landmarks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the Red Fort: the residence of the Mughal Emperor, and the Qutab Minar: the world’s tallest brick structure. Then there’s Humayun’s Tomb, India Gate, the Mughal Gardens, the Lotus Temple, and the Gandhi memorial: the Raj Ghat, plus many more. So it’s definitely worth spending a few days here.
- Start your day in old Delhi at the iconic Qutub Minar.
- Next, head to the former Mughal red sandstone fortress: The Red Fort.
- Take a short walk to Jama Masjid Mosque, the largest mosque in India.
- Head over to the magnificent Humayun’s Tomb.
- Gorge on street food in Chandni Chowk, one of the largest and most chaotic of the bazaars in India.
- Admire the enormous statues and temples at the Chattarpur Complex in south Delhi.
- Grab a bite at Hauz Khas Village and stroll through the medieval ruins.
- Make your way to the Lotus Temple.
- Walk through India Gate and past the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
- Finally, go shopping and watch a movie in the malls at Connaught Place.
You can achieve all the top things to do in Delhi as featured on this post, in two days. With the other recommended places, it may take one extra day.
Here’s my top 10 absolute must-see spots in Delhi:
- The Red Fort (historic Mughal fortress)
- Qutub Minar (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
- Jama Masjid (majestic mosque of Mughal architecture)
- Humayun’s Tomb (impressive architecture)
- India Gate (World War 1 and 2 Memorial landmark)
- Chandni Chowk (incredible street food and markets)
- Lotus Temple (spectacular modern Bahai temple)
- Chattarpur (sprawling temple complex)
- Hauz Khas Village (unique medieval ruins)
- Bangla Sahib (Delhi’s most prominent Sikh temple)
In 3 days you can see all of the major highlights of the city and do it at a nice slow pace too. You can easily fit in the main landmarks of Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb, Qutub Minar, India Gate, Hauz Khas, Lotus Temple and Chattarpur Temple District, plus the ISKCON temple, Bangla Sahib, and the Gurgaon District. Alternatively, you could spend your third day in nearby Agra for the Taj Mahal.
India Travel Guides
For more in-depth reading about Delhi and India, you can get your hands on a copy of these bestsellers below:
Travelling to India soon?
- For more information about travel in India, see my post: Beginners Guide To India
- Check out my 3-Day New Delhi Itinerary here:
- Here’s 35 Incredible Facts about Mumbai
- Want to learn some cool facts about New Delhi? Head over to: 17 Interesting Facts About Delhi
- And here’s 47 Fascinating Facts about India
Book Your Trip to Delhi: Budget Tips & Tricks
Flights: As always, I source the cheapest flights on the web from Skyscanner and Kiwi.com. They are considered the top flight search engines for the best deals.
Accommodation: I use Booking for the best hotel deals and HostelWorld for the cheapest stays. If you’re considering Airbnb, be sure to check Vrbo to find cheaper vacation stays.
SIM cards: DrimSim is a universal SIM card that isn’t tied to an operator and works in any country/region.
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.
Tours & Excursions: I book all my fave activities and guided tours on Get Your Guide & Viator – they do superb deals whilst offering excellent customer support.
Renting a car? I always use DiscoverCars, make sure you book your car hire in advance. For airport transfers, I use KiwiTaxi for the best deals.
Need to store your luggage in a locker? Use Radical Storage to store your stuff in a locker in any city for just $5 per day.
Head over to my Travel Tools page for all my best travel tips & advice and everything you need for your trip.
I hope you enjoyed reading my post: Top 11 Things To Do In New Delhi, and feel inspired to visit this city one day.
Let me know what you thought in the comments, thank you!
Wow, I would love to go to New Delhi one day and just India generally! All of the temples look beautiful and I am definitely a history buff too so would be spoilt for choice. But how long do you need for New Delhi/India generally?
Jenny | localleo.co.uk
Go for it! For Delhi I’d recommend a minimum one day. For the whole of India – you’d need a lot of time for such a large country! I’ve been three times over a period of six months and still barely scratched the surface 🙂 The best thing to do is to plan a specific itinerary, for example: The Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra, and Rajasthan). Give plenty of time for travel between cities/regions too.