20 Best Road Trips in India
India is a massive country and through its annals lays several great venues that seduce the wanderlust souls with the promise of adventure and fun. Are you a biker who finds music in the hurl of the engine and the love the scene of long winding roads on serene countryside’s that are alluring?
Then you will definitely find your next destination for the best road trips in India in this post. So, start your engines…
1. Manali to Leh Highway
Distance : 479 KM
Time : 2 Days
National Highways : Leh Manali Higway
A stretch of road that has been immortalized on the silver screen by various Bollywood movies with famous actors and actresses dancing to their heart’s content on this beautiful road. Words fail to describe the beauty of the Manali to Leh highway drive and one must be there to witness its beauty in all its snowy glory. The image of the dark grey moist road against the snowy hill slopes and the azure blue backdrop is what road trip dream are made of. Hop on your trusty motorbike or an open roofed Jeep, so that the no glimpses of the sights are missed.
The road spans over a total of 479 km and has a mean altitude of 3 to 4 km above sea level. The road conditions are safe and remain open for 5 months during the summer up until mid of October. The total journey on road should take 2 days and has one stopover for acclimatization and rest.
Also Read : Complete Guidelines for Your Ladakh Road Trip
Suggested Tour : 9 Days – Road Trip to Leh Ladakh from Manali
2. Visakhapatnam to Araku Valley
Distance : 116 KM
Time : 3 hrs
What could be more picturesque than the meeting of the massive of seas of the Bay of Bengal with the majestic Eastern Ghats? This favorable meet of the ocean with the mountains creates for a wonderful experience of those wanting to take a weekend road trip. The union city of Visakhapatnam never fails to charm its guests with its unique beauty and then there is Araku Valley that is led up to by curving roads carved in between majestic green hills, under the grey sky with the smell of fresh flora in the air there to accompany you on your drive up.
The road is of 116 km and is dotted with interesting sights such as the Borra Caves and Tatipudi Reservoir on the way. The best time to take the trip would be from October to March.
3. Mumbai To Pune Expressway
Distance : 93 KM
Time : 2 Hrs
National Highways : Mumbai Pune Expressway
Many who live in the busy city of Mumbai think of Lonavala whenever they think of a road trip. And rightfully so, as it is a beautiful weekend spot for almost anyone who loves picturesque surrounding of mountains, soft breezes of the high altitude, a laid back vibe, lush green foliage all around and to bite the juicy chikki fruit which is a local favorite. The Mumbai to Pune expressway leads up to Lonavala which in 93 km long and allows for cabs and buses and private cars to ply, to and fro.
While two wheeler are only allowed on the old Mumbai Highway which is also a road in good shape with similar picturesque views leading up to the hills. But the relatively new expressway offers for a better driving experience. You also get stops at popular eateries to stuff your mouth with tasty north Indian food at places like Sunny Da Dhaba and The Kinara Village Dhaba, which have old school dhaba ambience to match with the food.
Also Read : Best Weekend Getaways from Mumbai
4. Manali to Shimla via Mandi
Distance : 250 KM
Time : 4 Hrs
Before, you claim this is too cliché, know that clichés are overly popularized for a reason. The Shimla to Manali road trip is one of the most relaxing long drives you will ever take amidst the hills along the curving roads leading up to the beautiful hill station. The River Beas accompanies throughout the stretch of the road as you drive through verdant greenery of the smooth road that bisects the mountains. If you are tired from all the driving then just get off any time and soak your feet in the ice-cold water of the river to wake from your drowsy drive and splash around to bring the inner child out. You haven’t taken a Himachal vacation unless you have at least a couple of selfies of you playing in the water during your ride between Shimla to Manali.
Recommended tour : 15 Days – Delhi Agra Jaipur with Himachal Tour
5. Tawang from Guwahati by Road
Distance : 520 KM
Time : 10 Hrs
These two are must visit spots when you are in the Northeast. While the drive is long and challenging, it is equally worth it for those who have a love for the roads and the hum of a bike or a car. The road trip is a long one needing 10 hours of drive, but there are several good places to stop and stretch and straighten your feet that makes it comfortably doable. Spread across a beautiful terrain of mountain roads, the 520 km journey makes it worth the time and effort.
6. Pondicherry from Chennai
Distance : 160 KM
Time : 3Hrs
National Highways : NH32
Take the route along the east coast road, which is ideal for those riding a bike. Even Chetan Bhagat the author speaks highly of the road as he has written about it in his book. This is one unique stretch that is accompanied by the sea alongside the long winding road to the beautiful city of Pondicherry. Make sure to keep your camera handy as the changing height of the sun and its reflections on the sea will make it a must to click photos to immortalize the beautiful memories that will be this trip.
This is surely one of the most beautiful roads in India perfect for a road trip around the year. The road stretches up to 160 km and passes through the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mahabalipuram. It takes a total of 3 wonderful hours to map the road, with other interesting sites lining it like Idaikkazhinadu (Alamparai Fort aka Alambara Fort), Kalpakkam (nuclear plant), Mudaliarkuppam (boat house with sporting facility), Marakkanam (large salt pans) and more.
Also Read : About Pondicherry – A Little France in India
7. Konark from Puri
Distance : 36 KM
Time : 1 Hr
National Highways : NH 203
A road trip perfect for those artistic tree lined photographs, the beautiful canopy formed over the slim road that leads up to the historic town is truly a sight to behold. The soft misty breeze from the nearby ocean mixed with the woody smell of the handsome forest that lines the road will make for a great road trip experience with the perfect romantic ambience. This stretch is quite short of only 36 km and can be covered in only an hour, but you would want to savor the journey and wish for it to stretch a little longer.
8. Bandipur Forest to Bangalore
Distance : 235 KM
Time : 5 Hrs
National Highways : NH766
No list of road trips would ever be complete without a mention of a road trip that goes along a forest path. The route to Bangalore via the Bandipur Forest is the most beautiful road trip you can have in India, when it comes to drives through the forest. You may also take up this road when travelling to Ooty from Mysore, passing through Bandipur National Park. You can have road trips in a car with an open sun roof, playing Antakshari or other fun road trip games while enjoying the enchanting views outside. This is perhaps the most charming highway in the whole country and it would be a mistake to miss out on this road trip.
The road is 235 km long in total and takes about 5 hours of drive. However, you can get off and stretch your legs and fill up on snacks along the way, like at McDonalds or other cafes.
Suggested Tour : 11 Days – Karnataka and Kerala Tour
9. Gangtok to Nathula Pass through Lake Tsomgo
Distance : 55 KM
Time : 1 Hr
While the north east still remains largely unexplored, if you are keen on visiting a land pristine and untouched by the humdrum of tourism, then this is it. The north east offers some of the most picturesque sites for road trips, where the main beauty of the road is the uncertainty of the terrain. The trip to Lake Tsomgo from Gangtok also called as Changu Lake is a trip of a lifetime. From Gangtok Nathu-La Pass is about 55 km long and Tsomgo Lake is on the way and falls at 39 km from Gangtok.
10. Shimla to Manali Via Spiti and Kinnaur
Distance : 640 KM
Time : 17 Hrs
While the drive through Mandi is great, this is the more recommended route to Manali from Shimla. You should totally take this trip if the road travel itself is the highlight of your journey. Go through the picturesque valleys and passes with green mountains surrounding you through Kalpa, Sangla valley and the higher altitude areas that have a unique beauty like Nako Valley, Chango, and Ropa.
11. Chennai to Munnar
Distance : 600 KM
Time : 10 Hrs
National Highways : NH79
Chennai is never cold, but if you want to spend a weekend chilling under a cozy blanket then your best bet would be to drive up to Munnar. The long road trip will definitely refresh you for your pleasant stay at the peaceful hill station. The trip can take 10 hours of driving to map the distance of 600 km from the city to Munnar, but there are several great stops to rest and the drive is equally exciting as scenes change from the car window from the busyness of the streets of the city to the verdant greenery that line the canopy on your uphill drive.
Munnar Travel Guide :
Suggested Tour : 10 Days – Best of Kerala Tour
12. Jaipur to Jaisalmer
Distance : 559 KM
Time : 9 Hrs
National Highways : NH11
Yet another classic that might seem cliché but is unmatchable is the road trip from Jaipur to Jaisalmer, the desert city of Rajasthan. The road trip is the best opportunity to witness the changing colors of Rajasthan as you go through the various villages. The drive would also be a wonderful experience as the roads are in great conditions offering a smooth driving experience. We recommend taking the RJ SH 19, which is the best route to travel to Jaiselmer from the pink city of Jaipur. You can stop at Jodhpur for some refreshments as your car would need to fill up too. Authentic Rajasthani cuisine is available throughout the route in charming stalls with rustic ambience so, this is one stretch of a drive where would not be hungry.
Jaisalmer Travel Guide:
Suggested Tour : 8 Days – Rajasthan Tour from Delhi
13. Delhi to Agra through Yamuna Expressway
Distance : 233 KM
Time : 4 Hrs
National Highways : Taj Express Highway
A seldom mentioned long drive from the heart of the capital city to the city of the Taj, Agra is definitely one of the best road trip stretches! The Yamuna Expressway is probably the best road in the entire country, its long and wide and in perfect conditions for that hassle free driving experience, a must visit for all lovers of the road. This is an easy day trip from the capital city, where you can visit the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort and other areas and still be back to your cozy bed by the night.
The good road conditions make it easy to cover the 165 km of the route in a couple of hours. However, getting to the expressway from the city itself takes a drive of 60 km which should easily add another hour to your trip or even more. A good tip to keep in mind is to check your tire air pressure, fast driving on the road can cause too much heat that often causes tires to burst and can be dangerous. So, it is ideal to keep the tire air pressure filled at less than normal levels.
Another point to note is to pack in as much food and snacks and beverages as necessary because there are no delicious dhabas lining the expressway. There are a few small eateries that sell snacks after the toll gate, but they are not comparable to the cozy atmosphere and the filling food available in the dhabas.
Suggested Tour : 4 Days – Delhi Agra Jaipur Tour
Golden Triangle Tour – Cover Delhi, Agra & Jaipur
14. Pamban Bridge to Rameshwaram
Distance : 13 KM
Time : 20 Min
National Highways : NH87
Perhaps the most picturesque drive through in the country, the feeling of whooshing through the long bridge that travels over the vast expanse of the ocean, with the wind in your hair. Such a drive would definitely be one of the best on-road experiences to indulge in and refresh your spirit. A simple 20 minutes ride on the 13.5 km long stretch of the bridge is worth a million but comes for absolutely free. This is a must do if you are a roadster in search of fun.
Also Read : Travel from Rameshwaram to Kanyakumari
15. Shilong to Cherrapunjee
Distance : 54 KM
Time : 2 Hrs
National Highways : SH5
A small yet exciting daytrip destination to drive from Shilong, with all the dazzles of drizzling rain on the mountain road, rainbows over massive waterfalls, some of the most exciting caves, a beautiful panoramic view of lush hill top greenery all around you, and even stops for food along the way. This usually takes 1-2 hours to just drive and come back, without any stops or traffic. Most people cover it by car only.
16. Mumbai to Goa
Distance : 609 KM
Time : 10 Hrs
National Highways : NH66
Much revered as the Father of the Indian road trip, from the busy city streets of Mumbai, drive towards, sun, sand and fun on a smooth road with green scenic views outside the window lining the width of the stretch. It takes 10 hours of great driving experience to go to Goa from Mumbai; on the infamous NH66 highway which is as silky as creamed butter spread on the earth that just lures your car towards worry-free travels. Also there are several great eateries lining the stretch of the route so, you will never be hungry or bored.
Also Read : Best Weekend Getaways from Goa
Suggested Tour : 5 Days – Mumbai With Goa Tour
17. Jaipur from Delhi
Distance : 281 KM
Time : 5 Hrs
National Highways : NH48
Yet another classic when it comes to road trips in India, you can watch the majestic Aravallis approach as you drive through the lanes of the most colorful towns and villages of Rajasthan and land at its capital – the pink city of Jaipur. The drive will be a great experience undoubtedly as this route is one of the most well-maintained one in the country. There are also several restaurants lining the way that will make the journey great.
Also Read : Top 10 Weekend Gateways Near Delhi
Suggested Tour : 3 Days – Private Jaipur Tour From Delhi
18. Kolkata to Digha
Distance : 180 KM
Time : 3 Hrs
National Highways : NH16 and NH116B
Ask any Kolkatan and the first response from them about road trips would be to cover this iconic stretch. The roads are in good condition, lined by greenery of paddy fields and mustard fields all around. And what’s better is that a little farther from Digha lies several other beach villages where the only way to drive and reach is to drive along the beach watching the waves crash on the shores a few kilometers away.
The road stretches for 180 km and will usually take up to 3 hours to reach the destination. There are plenty of dhabas and Bengali sweet shops along the way, so, you won’t go hungry while driving.
Read More : 20 Exciting Places to Visit in Kolkata
19. Mumbai to Mount Abu
Distance : 758 KM
Time : 13 Hrs
National Highways : NH48
For those looking for some peace and quiet away from the never ending hustle of the city life, and the deafening early morning alarms and bursts of short-lived caffeinated energy; this is the road trip to take. The best place for Mumbaikers to unwind and relax, is Mount Abu, which is a short drive away. Drive through the NH 48 to Mount Abu via Vadodara and Ahmedabad, along the long 758 km. It will take a tiring 13 hour long drive, but there are plenty of options to stretch your legs, eat and rest or take short breaks along the way.
Also Read : Weekend Destinations Near Mumbai
Suggested Tour : 11 Days – Rajasthan Tour from Mumbai
20. Bangalore to Ooty via Mysore
Distance : 278 KM
Time : 6 Hrs
National Highways : NH275
Ooty is the queen of hill stations in India, nestled amidst the green Nilgiri Hills. Any lover of the road must take this journey whether on car or a motor bike to witness the sun-kissed beauty and the verdant greenery that changes with every mile you cross. The combination of dark asphalt surrounded by the leafy green is one of the best, and it is best experienced along this stretch. Explore the forests of Bandipur along with the historic places of Mysore enroute.
Also Read :
Suggested Tour : 6 Days – Bangalore Mysore Ooty Karnataka Tour
India is blessed with diversity in its culture, terrain and definitions of beauty. So, the best way to experience this truly unique country is to explore as much as you can in the simplest ways to understand the honest charm of the land.
Craving to listen to the hum of your car or bike on the road, then put it to gear and off you go! Adventure waits…