The 15 most spectacular places to visit in India

Joe Bindloss

Dec 11, 2023 • 14 min read

travel india by meran

Expect fairy-tale-like drama against a desert backdrop in magical Jaisalmer, Rajasthan © Andrii Lutsyk/ Getty Images

India’s astonishing variety of sights has to be seen to be believed. Travelers have devoted lifetimes to exploring the famous places and forgotten corners of this incredible country, driven onwards by the certainty that there’s always more to see.

Mughal palaces, towering Hindu temples, mountain monasteries, lost kingdoms, cultured cities, and genteel hill stations in the foothills of the Himalayas all jostle for attention in a country that is proudly shaking off the legacy of colonialism and repositioning itself as a global superpower. With such incredible diversity on offer, there’s just one question – where do you start?

Well, our advice is to not take on too much during a single visit. Pick an area – the tropical south perhaps, or the northern plains, or the mountain valleys of the Himalayas – and give yourself time to pause and soak up the atmosphere as you work through your must-see list .

Wherever you go, you’re guaranteed a mind-expanding and exhilarating blast of color, soul-soaring splendor, earth-shaking history and moments of pure serenity. Equal parts magic and mayhem, this mix is what makes traveling to India such an intense and addictive experience.

While this was no easy list to compile, we’re proud to present our pick of the ten best places to visit in India.

1. Agra, Uttar Pradesh

Best for romantics and fans of Mughal history

At the top of everyone’s bucket list, the Taj Mahal is as glorious as people imagine it would be – a magnificent monument to lost love, executed in pearl-white marble. Views of the world’s most beautiful building framed by a Mughal archway or floating above the misty Yamuna River will be one of the defining moments of any trip to India.

But there’s more to the former Mughal capital than the Taj. Add on a couple of days so you can visit the architecturally stunning tomb of  Emperor Akbar , his rose-red sandstone former capital at Fatehpur Sikri and sprawling Agra Fort , one of India’s most epic fortifications. Thronged by millions of visitors, Agra is not always relaxing, but it’s eternally fascinating.

Close-up of a boatman holding oars on the Ganga River at night, Varanasi, India

2. Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Best for intense spirituality

There are few places as beguiling and bewitching as the sacred Hindu city of Varanasi . Millennia-old death rituals play out daily at the cremation ghats that line the bank of the sacred River Ganges, while the maze-like alleyways of the nearby old town reveal dizzying surprises at every turn. We defy anyone to visit without experiencing some internal soul-searching about their place in the universe.

Be ready for some challenges. The hard-edged realities of life and death and the inequalities that continue to cause hardship for many in India are obvious on the streets of the world’s oldest living city. But there are also moments of gentleness – rise at dawn and wander the ghats (riverside steps) and you’ll see Varanasi at its most spiritual, with its attention focused on the sacred river, before the tourist bustle changes the mood.

Planning tip: The best way to appreciate Varanasi’s famous ghats is from a rowboat. Boatmen offer their services from first light at boat stations along the west bank of the Ganges, providing views of a riverfront that has changed only superficially in seven centuries.

3. Mumbai, Maharashtra

Best for urban explorers and Bollywood hopefuls

Mumbai is the perfect place to take the pulse of modern India. The most densely populated city in the subcontinent is home to Bollywood film stars, enterprising market vendors, bankers and executives rushing to work in offices, and fishing families who can trace their origins back to the days when this mighty metropolis was just a humble village.

To understand more about the disparities of life in contemporary Mumbai, take a socially responsible tour through the city’s huge and disadvantaged Dharavi district with Reality Tours & Travel ; 80% of the profits go back to social projects providing opportunities for those left behind by Mumbai’s push for success.

The city’s can’t-miss excursion is the boat trip to the 1500-year-old, UNESCO World Heritage-listed rock-cut temples of Elephanta Island , but fantastic street food is the city’s great leveler. Don’t leave without sampling Mumbai's signature snack, bhel poori – puffed rice and fried dough with lentils, onions, herbs and savory chutneys, best sampled on the beach at Chowpatty or Juhu.

Detour: With time to spare in Mumbai, head to the northern suburbs, where Sanjay Gandhi National Park protects a sprawl of dry forest, home to leopards, deer, monkeys and serene Buddhist cave temples.

View of Thikse Monastery and prayer rocks in Ladakh India

Best for an extraordinary taste of Tibet

In the far northwest of India, sheltered from the monsoon by the rain shadow of the Himalayas, the former Buddhist kingdom of Ladakh is culturally and geographically closer to western Tibet than anywhere in India. In this high-altitude moonscape, towering Tibetan monasteries melt into a landscape of barren rock and wind-sculpted hoodoos (don’t miss fabulous Hemis and Thiksey on the road linking Ladakh to Himachal Pradesh ). 

Most visitors start in the atmospheric capital, Leh , before roaming to neighboring valleys for homestay treks and trips to view turquoise salt lakes and colorful masked dances at ancient monasteries. Ladakh wasn't touched by China’s Cultural Revolution, so this is perhaps the closest independent travelers can come to experiencing the original culture of Tibet.

Planning tip: Getting to Ladakh is half the fun. Flights run to Leh even in the depths of winter, but the most enjoyable way in is overland, by road from either Srinagar in Kashmir or Manali in Himachal Pradesh. Buses and shared 4WDs run as long as the passes are open from June to the end of September, or you can tackle the route on a rented Enfield motorcycle.

5. Kolkata, West Bengal 

Best for culture vultures

The capital of colonial British India until 1911, Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) is India’s third-biggest metropolis and the country's intellectual and artistic capital. Spend a few days exploring the energetic bazaars, cultured museums and British-era landmarks, and you’ll soon fall in love with Kolkata’s irrepressible energy.

To really get to know Kolkata, sign up for a Bengali cooking course and visit the revered temple at Kalighat , where the goddess Kali is appeased with sacrifices. With more time to spare, book an overnight wildlife-watching tour to the nearby Sundarbans Tiger Reserve , a legendary stalking ground for royal Bengal tigers.

Planning tip: Try to time your visit to coincide with the festival of Durga Puja in September or October, when vividly colorful effigies of the goddess are displayed in pandals (ceremonial tents) all over the city.   

6. Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

Best for desert drama

The desert state of Rajasthan shows India at its most romantic and soft-filtered. Expect a mirage of camel caravans, ornate palaces, mighty forts, turbaned traders and intense colors, set against a backdrop of shifting desert sands. It’s unbelievably photogenic, but also firmly on the tourist map, so expect to share the experience with a crowd.

The pink-sandstone monuments of Jaipur , the ice-white lakeside palaces of Udaipur , and views of blue-hued Jodhpur from its lofty fort are all stunning experiences, but the city that delivers the biggest jolt to the senses is Jaisalmer , seeming sculpted from the living rock of the desert.

Its tangled lanes, towering fortress and beautifully ornate haveli (traditional houses) could have been plucked from the pages of One Thousand and One Nights , and the surrounding desert is the evocative setting for overnight camel safaris.

Planning tip: While it is possible to stay inside the fortified city, visitor numbers are having an impact on Jaisalmer’s historic heart. We recommend staying outside the walls instead – there are plenty of hotels and guesthouses within strolling distance of the fort.

A traditional rice barge on the backwaters of Kerala (between Alappuzha and Kollam)

7. The Kerala Backwaters

Best for lovers of slow travel

After the dusty, densely populated northern plains, tropical South India offers a lusher, more laid-back travel experience. The quintessential trip here is a slow-paced canal cruise through the emerald-green backwaters of Kerala , a 900-mile network of languid, coconut-fringed waterways, offering views of an ever-changing tableaux of South Indian life.

Hire a traditional houseboat in Alappuzha for a multiday trip, then settle in for a succulent Keralan seafood curry prepared by your personal chef as the sunset blushes over shimmering waters and silhouetted palm fronds. Post-cruise, it’s just a short hop up the coast to historic Kochi (Cochin) , with its cantilevered fishing nets and Kathakali dance theaters.

8. Bodhgaya, Bihar

Best for budding Buddhists

As the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism (plus countless smaller faiths), India is defined by sacred geography. Even here, however, few places resonate more powerfully than the Bodhi tree where Prince Siddhartha Gautama achieved enlightenment to become the Buddha (Awakened One).

The town that has grown up around this sacred spot is home to dozens of Tibetan and Southeast Asian–style temples and monasteries, with a busy program of Buddhist teachings and courses. It’s the ideal destination for any spiritual explorer.

To get a feel for Bodhgaya ’s rhythms, come early to the Mahabodhi complex and settle in beside chanting Tibetan pilgrims to meditate on the nature of impermanence. Travel experiences don’t get much more profound than this.

Planning tip: Bodhgaya is just one stop on the so-called "Buddhist circuit," taking in key locations from the life of the historical Buddha. Local buses run to nearby Rajgir, the site of one of the first Buddhist monasteries, and Nalanda's ancient Buddhist university complex.  

9. Darjeeling, West Bengal

Best for a premium cup of tea with a view

Fanned by the cool breezes of the eastern Himalayas, surrounded by manicured tea estates and basking in front of epic Himalayan views, Darjeeling is easy to fall for.

For a perfect day, watch the dawn break over 8586m (20,169ft) Kangchenjunga, learn the difference between first-flush and white teas on a plantation tour, linger over an afternoon cuppa at the  Windamere Hotel , then learn about the Tibetan experience at the Tibetan Refugee Self-Help Centre .

The classiest way to arrive is via the nostalgic, narrow-gauge toy train ; book tickets in advance and check to see if the steam service is running (the diesel train follows the same route, but has less charm). Don’t miss the Buddhist gompas (monasteries) dotted around the city. Below Darjeeling on the fringes of Ghum, historic Yiga Choeling Gompa has a special magic.

Planning tip: Darjeeling isn’t the only interesting stop in the area. Shared 4WDs buzz from Darjeeling to Kalimpong , another historic township with colorful Buddhist monasteries, Himalayan views and pretty flower nurseries. 

Virupaksha temple view from Hemakuta hill at sunset in Hampi, Karnataka

10. Hampi, Karnataka

Best for a full immersion in history

Between the 14th and 16th centuries CE, the capital of the Vijayanagar empire at Hampi was home to half a million people, but this ancient metropolis was almost completely abandoned, leaving 3700 stone monuments scattered across a surreal plain of boulders.

This is a place to linger, strolling between the boulders to find carved masonry, forgotten shrines and the handsome remains of some of South India’s most dramatic stone temples.

Glance up as you wander and you’ll see rock climbers tackling bouldering routes using chisel marks made by ancient masons. Rent a motorcycle or scooter and you can roam further afield, taking in the hilltop temple marking the spot where the monkey god Hanuman first met Lord Rama.

Planning tip: Hampi is a short bus ride from the town of Hosapete – get here by overnight train from Goa’s beaches, historic Hyderabad or the cosmopolitan southern city of Bengaluru .

11. Arunachal Pradesh

Best for stepping off the map

Tucked away near Bangladesh, the eight Northeast States – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim – are India’s wild frontier. Until the 1990s, this region of rugged mountain valleys was mostly off-limits to foreigners, and visitor numbers are still small – people who travel here earn the right to call themselves proper explorers. 

Sikkim is the most famous destination in the Northeast States, but we’d encourage you east towards the forested foothills and jagged mountains of Arunachal Pradesh , where tribal communities follow a diverse range of traditional belief systems, from the Buddhist Monpa people of Tawang to the animist Apatani people of the Ziro valley. 

Planning tip: Travel takes a bit of effort in Arunachal Pradesh; you’ll need to apply for a permit to enter the state, and local transport is patchy. By far the easiest way to explore is with a chartered 4WD and driver (easily arranged in Guwahati in Assam).  

Women sitting beside the sacred tank at Amritsar's Golden Temple

12. Amritsar, Punjab

Best for experiencing the power of devotion

India has pilgrimage destinations to spare, but few come close to the vibrant energy of the Golden Temple in Amritsar. The most sacred site for the Sikh religion is a gleaming jewel box, floating in a mirror-like sacred pool, thronged day and night by an unbelievable mass of pilgrims. You don’t have to be spiritually inclined to feel its powerful rhythms. 

Joining devotees at the Sri Harmandir Sahib – the gold-paneled shrine at the heart of the complex – is incredibly moving. Staying overnight in the pilgrims' hostels that flank the temple compound only adds to the intensity. A donation is much appreciated for accommodation if possible, though pilgrims of all means will be accommodated if space is available. You can also sit down for meals at the temple langar (kitchen), which provides cost-free nourishment to a staggering 100,000 people per day (again, a donation is appreciated if you have the means).

Planning tip: Don’t limit your explorations to the Golden Temple – the surrounding bazaars buzz with energy and atmosphere, with vendors selling everything from embroidered chappals (sliders) to brass and polished steel pots and pans.   

13. Mysuru (Mysore), Karnataka

Best for feeling like a Maharaja

The atmospheric South Indian city of Mysuru has multiple charms: towering temples, one of India’s most evocative marketplaces, and the almost impossibly extravagant crib that is Mysuru Palace , the ancestral home of the Wadiyar maharajas. No building conjures up the extravagant lives of India’s royal rulers quite so vividly – every room is a fantasy, every ornament an heirloom. 

Around the palace are busy bazaars, rewarding museums and a string of Hindu temples in the classic Dravidian (Southern Indian) architectural style. Devote several days to wandering the streets, hiking up to the Sri Chamundeshwari Temple on Chamundi Hill and feasting on fiery vegetarian  thalis (plate meals) in Mysuru’s restaurants.  

A large tiger walking over rocks in Bandhavgarh National Park

14. Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh

Best for tiger encounters

The national parks of Madhya Pradesh are some of the best places on the planet to get close to royal Bengal tigers. Seeing one of these striped superstars loping out of the jungle will stay with you for a lifetime – as well as leaving you heartbroken at the thought of how few tigers still survive in the wild.

Everyone has their favorite tiger reserve, but we rate Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve near Jabalpur for the density of wildlife in its central Tala range. Around 70 tigers roam these dry forests, alongside leopards, monkeys, deer and gaur – India’s gigantic wild buffalo. There’s a high likelihood of sightings if you devote several days to 4WD safaris (elephant safaris should be avoided as riding can be harmful to these vulnerable animals). 

Planning tip: The best time to see tigers is first thing in the morning – safaris start at 5:30am to catch tigers before they stake out a shady spot in the undergrowth to sleep through the heat of the day. 

15. Madurai, Tamil Nadu

Best for religious splendor

South India's Hindu temples are a joyous celebration of the divine, decorated inside and out with vividly colorful depictions of deities and supernatural beings, both fearsome and sublime. In the southern city of Madurai , the towering gopurams (gateway towers) of the Meenakshi Amman Temple provide a three-dimensional guide to the main deities of the Hindu pantheon.

The current temple was constructed in the 17th century, but the site has been sacred to Meenakshi, the queen of the Pandya kingdom and an incarnation of the goddess Parvati, for at least 2000 years. Come early in the morning to watch sunrise bring the temple to life, then pop to the nearest branch of Murugan Idli Shop for some of the south’s best idli (steamed rice and lentil cakes).  

Detour: A short bus or train ride from Madurai, Tiruchirappalli – aka Trichy – is another top spot for temple enthusiasts. The looming Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is one of the world’s largest Hindu shrines, covering 155 acres (63 hectares) and topped by 21 deity-encrusted towers. More temples crown the rocky outcrop at the heart of the city, offering epic views over the rooftops.  

This article was first published March 2022 and updated December 2023

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How to Plan Your Dream Trip to India + Planning Checklist

Planning a trip to India is not a small task (but yes it’s worth it!). In a world of turn-up-and-go travel, India is one of the outliers, where “just go” is a little more difficult to do. In this guide to how to plan a trip to India, I’ll walk you step by step through India trip planning – whether it’s your first time to India or you’re heading back for more.

This post may contain compensated affiliate links. More info in our  disclosure   here.

How to Plan a Trip To India – Your Complete Guide

Planning a trip to India is where the magic begins – and it’s just as well, as in our experience of both living in India and travelling around India, at least some level of India trip planning before you set off is needed – much more so than for other Asian countries.

Why the need to plan a trip to India in advance?

India has unique ways of doing things, and if you’re a foreigner planning your first time in India, then it can be frustrating (at best) trying to navigate Indian bureaucracy and systems (or lack thereof) while your allotted trip time steadily trickles away.

The question of how to travel around India is not straightforward – it is a sub-continent, after all.

It’s also important to prepare your trip to India in advance for other reasons. You’ll want to learn about Indian culture so that you can get more out of your trip to India, perhaps learn some Hindi , find out which India itinerary is best for you, work out which places to visit (that can be huge distances apart).

There are also many opportunities to support sustainable tourism in India on your trip too, which a little planning will make it much easier to do.

I also recommend reading up on safe travel in India (especially for women) and which scams to look out for. Unfortunately, un-prepared first time travellers to India make easy targets for scamsters on arrival in Delhi and other cities – but a little preparation can save you from a lot of hassle and being yet another scam victim.

Not least, by spending time to plan your trip to India ahead of time, you’ll get far more out of the experience. Whether this is your first time to India and you’re planning a 2 weeks in India itinerary, or you’ll be spending months in India, planning will help you relax and enjoy all of the magic that India has in store for you.

In this travel to India blog I’ll walk you through the most important things to know when you start to plan a trip in India, as well as how to prepare for the best India experience. Let’s get started!

Current Status of Travel to India (2022)

The information below is provided with the intention of helping readers plan future trips to India but is subject to change without notice. Please cross-check with official sources such as your government’s travel advisory. (Last updated October 2022).

In March 2020 as a response to the declaration of the Covid-19 pandemic by the WHO, the Indian Government rolled out an India travel ban which stopped travel to India for touristic purposes and saw all tourist visas suspended (as well as many travellers stranded in India).

As of 2021, India re-opened its borders for tourism, and in 2022 international travel to India has pretty much returned to normal. There are very few covid measures in place now in India – with the exception of wearing masks on flights, and in general travel has returned to how it was pre-pandemic.

Tourism visas for India are now being re-issued – see my guide to India e-visas here – and borders are fully open.

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR BRITS & CANADIANS – Please note that if you’re travelling to India on a British or Canadian passport , you are NOT currently able to get an E-Visa, and you need to allow a LOT of extra time to apply for a regular paper/sticker visa and attend an in-person appointment at your nearest Indian High Commission / VFS processing centre.

At the time of writing, India requires either proof of full Covid 19 vaccination (2 shots) and/or a PCR test taken within the last 72 hours for entry to India. You will need to upload relevant proof via the Air Suvidha portal – more information here . The requirements vary per country, so please check information for your specific situation carefully.

During the Covid-19 Pandemic and lockdowns, unimaginable numbers of people working in and relying on tourism to earn a living struggled to make ends meet. Throughout this India travel blog on Soul Travel India my focus is on promoting organisations that have a positive impact on communities in India, and we recommend that travellers to India support sustainable and local tourism initiatives wherever they can.

When to Visit India

One of the first steps to plan India trip is to decide when is best to visit India for you. There are 3 main seasons – although like everything, as our global climate changes, these seasons are becoming blurred and sometimes temperamental. So, pack a sweater and waterproof just in case!

  • High Season – Winter – October to February. India’s winter falls between October/November and February and this is the most popular time to visit India. Expect warm – cool days (except for in the far north and mountains of India where it is positively wintery and/or inaccessible). Popular festival Divali occurs (Oct/Nov). Book ahead as this is peak season, especially over Christmas, New Year and Divali. Best time to go if you want good weather.
  • Off Season – Summer – Late March to June. Most of India becomes unbearably hot and dry, starting from mid/end of March depending on the year. Many come for Holi (Feb/March) which marks the beginning of Spring. But between the end of March and June it’s really too hot for sightseeing unless you’re heading to the hill stations and mountains of Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh. Avoid from late march on unless you’re heading to the hills.
  • Shoulder Season – Monsoon – July to September. Much of India gets periodic deluges for monsoon which starts in late June and ends in September or October depending on the year and where you are in India. This can be a great time to explore parts of India with fewer crowds – not all regions of India get lots of rain (Rajasthan and the north get relatively little), but travelling during monsoon requires patience and can go wrong. Best time to go if you want to avoid crowds and don’t mind getting wet and/or delayed. Ideal time for trekking in Ladakh.

Some of the best times to go are shoulders of seasons – I personally love October and late February / early March as they see fewer visitors and often good weather in between seasons. Plus if you want to see places with differing climates, one of these periods is likely to be the best time to travel.

Where to Visit in India

There are many different India itineraries – whether you’re looking for a 2 week India itinerary, 3 week India itinerary or backpacking India route. Where’s best for you will depend on your interests, budget, travel style and more. We don’t believe in sending everyone on the same old regular cookie-cutter travel itinerary India has because there’s so much more to India than that!

Some tips when planning your own India travel itinerary:

  • Everyone tends to head to north India for their first trip to India (Delhi, Rajasthan, Agra, etc) but there’s more to India than this. The south of India is actually much easier going and has better food (we’re biased on that!)and a better place to start, especially for solo female travellers to India.
  • Travel distances in India can be long. Don’t try to fit too much in.
  • Allow a day on arrival to rest and adjust – it’s easier to deal with the culture shock after a few hours of sleep.
  • If you don’t want to plan everything in advance, my advice is to at least book your first night in a new place , especially for female travellers . You don’t want to arrive in a new place looking lost and scrambling to find somewhere to stay as this is where it’s easy to fall for scams.

Not sure where to visit in India? Take our free quiz here to find out which itinerary for India is right for you!

Popular India Itinerary Options

Especially if it’s your first time India, people often wonder which of the many India itineraries is right for them. Whatever you choose, know this: It’s just not possible to see ‘India’ in one visit. What you will get, though, if you plan right, is the perfect taste of India that’ll leave you wanting more on your next visit.

India Golden Triangle

The most popular and our least favourite of all typical India itineraries is the Golden Triangle route of Delhi – Agra – Jaipur. So named because of the geographic position of these 3 cities to each other, and for the fact that they are home to some of India’s greatest treasures: The Taj Mahal (Agra), Delhi’s treasure trove of history and culture, and the UNESCO listed “pink city” of Jaipur.

While these are absolutely places that anyone visiting India should include on their itinerary, the reason this is one of our least favourite itineraries is because it’s also where you’ll find most of India’s scamsters that pray on tourists, as well as most of the bus-loads of tourists.

The location of the Golden Triangle is also in some of India’s most polluted, heavily populated and industrial areas which means that the culture shock is dialled up a notch – not necessarily the best welcome to India.

So, how to ‘do’ the Golden Triangle right?

We understand that most people planning their first trip to India want to see the Golden Triangle, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. Here’s what we suggest:

  • Don’t just see the Golden Triangle. Make time to stop in other places, such as smaller towns, stay at a homestay or go to one or two less touristy places.
  • Don’t go to the Golden Triangle first . Start in another part of India (we highly recommend south India), or fly in to Mumbai (much easier going) and work your way north. Finish up at the Golden Triangle once you’ve found your India legs.
  • If you’re short on time, take a tour (or plan it yourself) that shows you the Golden Triangle plus other places.

This one is one of my favourite Golden Triangle tours .

Pin to share on Pinterest!

Other North India Itineraries

There are plenty of alternative options for exploring north India beyond the Golden Triangle. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Rajasthan Itinerary – Easy to combine with the Golden Triangle, it’s possible to spend over a month exploring the cities, deserts and village camps in Rajasthan, India’s most kingly state, staying in palaces fit for a king or humble backpacker guesthouses with views of forts to boot. Make sure you check distances when planning travel as distances as big!
  • Delhi to Kolkata – Follow the plains of India along the Ganges travelling from Delhi to Agra, historic Lucknow, magical Varanasi before arriving in India’s 3rd biggest but oh-so-charming and surprisingly tourist-free city of Kolkata – gateway to the bay of Bengal and where India’s literati hang out, with some of the country’s best food, too. (Aside – if you are a solo female traveller on your first visit to India, you may find it better to buddy-up if you want to do this itinerary, as Uttar Pradesh, the state that it mostly runs through, is not known for its liberal attitudes towards women and can be tough going).
  • Tiger Parks & Magic of Central India – If you feel called by India’s incredible biodiversity and wildlife then you won’t want to miss the tiger reserves and national parks of central India spanning Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. Break up the game drives by visiting beautiful Orchha and to gape at the “Karma Sutra” temples in Khajuraho.
  • The Mighty Mountains of North India – If spiritual India is calling, (or you love beautiful mountain views and trekking) consider heading north from Delhi to Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh. The further north you go, the more remote it gets and the more stunning the views. Explore the historic hill stations of Shimla and Dharamshala or stay a while in Rishikesh before heading to Gangotri in search of the source of the Ganges. Plan plenty of time in the mountains, as the roads are as windy as routes are indirect. NB The mountains get snow-laden in winter, so Feb – May is best for this region, or May-Sept for Ladakh.

South India Itineraries

South India offers some of the best trips to India and is well worth considering for your India travel route. In fact, in our view, south India is a far more leisurely entry point into India than the north. The lush south offers amazing foods, verdant green fields and rice paddies, beautiful beaches and stunning temples. Did we mention the food?

Culturally, architecturally and even when it comes to weather, the south is very different to the north of India. If you want a more laid back trip, south is definitely best. Here are some of our favourites:

  • Mumbai to Goa – Say hi Bollywood in Mumbai before heading down the beautiful Maharashtrian coast towards India’s smallest state, Goa. Delight yourself with caves and hill stations along the way or pay a visit to the bustling student city of Pune before winding up on Goa’s beaches.
  • Bangalore to Goa – Explore beautiful and off-beat Karnataka, one of India’s most lush states taking in coastal towns such as Udupi and Gokarna, clamber over rocks at the ruined temples of Hampi and gaze in awe at Mysore Palace.
  • Kerala & Tamil Nadu – The southern tip of India, these states are a world away from the north of India. Watch life on the Kerala backwaters pass you by, soak up the French vibes of Pondicherry, or take a mountain railway up to one of the hill stations for a cup of freshly-picked tea.

India Planning Timeline

There are lots of moving parts to any India trip – and even if you’re someone who likes to plan as little as possible, there are a few things you’re going to have to plan up front for your India trip, especially if you want a low-stress experience.

Here are some of the key things to plan ahead:

6 Months Before Your Trip to India

  • Research seasons, when to go to India and itinerary ideas
  • Join my India travel planning facebook group here !
  • Check weather for the time of year of your trip for where you want to visit in India
  • Start researching flights, make sure you’re subscribed to your favourite airlines for sales
  • Book your tour if you want to take a multi-day group tour or guided trip

3 Months Before Your Trip to India

  • Plan out your rough itinerary day-by-day
  • Apply for your visa if you’re not eligible for an e-visa (currently includes British & Canadian nationals)
  • Book arrival accommodation & first night(s) in new places
  • Book tiger safaris / national park safaris (these get booked up)
  • Book your main train journeys (these also get very booked up)
  • Book domestic flights

1 Month Before Your Trip to India

  • Book your airport pickup via your hotel / use Sakha Cabs (highly recommended for female travellers or if you’re arriving in Delhi at night)
  • Apply for your E-Visa (28 days prior)
  • Get vaccinations / prescription medicines needed for travel to India (check your government’s travel health website).

These timings are just guidance and you can switch them around to suit your own planning preferences, however note that some things, such as railway tickets, are not open for booking more than 120 days out.

If you only book one thing for India (apart from your flights and visas!) make it your arrival accommodation and pre-arranged airport pickup . It just helps so much to have a smooth landing.

Money & Cost of Travelling to India

Budgeting for your trip to india.

One of the key aspects of how to plan a trip to India is budgeting. One thing to note when planning a trip to India for beginners is that there’s unfortunately a lot of old and outdated information out there about how much it costs to travel to India.

Unfortunately, the days of travelling India on $10 or $20 a day are gone, even for a hardcore backpacking through India trip.

Another important thing to note is that the costs of travel in India vary widely depending on where you are travelling. Hotel prices have steadily crept up in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore over the last few years – meaning finding a room on a budget can be a tall order. Overall, across India inflation is a real problem and prices are changing rapidly. So check when budgeting for the real time rates of accommodations in different locations around India.

A more realistic estimate for travelling India on a budget is a minimum of 3,000 Rupees ($41 USD) for a solo traveller, or 4,000 INR per couple per day, towards the bottom end of the comfort range. This is broken down as (per day):

  • Basic private room in a guest house / homestay / cheap hotel: 1500 Rupees (note for cities like Mumbai and Delhi you may need to pay upwards of 2000 or be prepared to share a dorm)
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner: 1000 Rupees per day (the cost of food varies hugely in India. Get simple street-side thalis for 60 rupees to meals upwards of 500 rupees in restaurants)
  • Public Transport and Admission to sites, anything else: 500 Rupees per day.

As you can see, this is basic travel, and you won’t have much to play with on that budget.

Prices vary as well for “mid-range” travel as there are no consistent standards. Broadly speaking, for a comfortable trip around India, we suggest budgeting between 6,000 ($82) – 8,000 ($110) Rupees per day for a solo traveller or up to 10,000 ($137) per day for a couple. This is broken down as (per day):

  • Mid Range Accommodation 3,000+ Rupees
  • Meals in restaurants 2000+ Rupees
  • Day Tour 1000+ Rupees
  • Admission to sites & short hop taxis/public transport 1000+ Rupees

Just as it’s easy to travel relatively cheaply in India, there is also a great range of luxury options, especially in Kerala and Rajasthan which are home to some amazing luxury resorts and hotels to stay at. The sky is really the limit with these options and costs vary widely.

Here are some sample costs (you’ll notice some high ticket items are quoted in USD in India, usually because they are marketed at foreign tourists – you’ll do better if you negotiate in local currency).

  • 1 night Stay at Taj Hotel Lake Palace, Udaipur: $700++
  • 1 night Stay in a 5* hotel: 15,000 INR ($205)
  • Air Balloon Ride in Jaipur: $200++
  • Private driver for a week around Rajasthan in a Toyota Innova: 35,000 INR ($478)
  • Meal in a high-end restaurant with drinks for two: 5,000 INR ($68)

Whatever level of budget you are travelling to India on, make sure you have access to a contingency budget or credit card if you need it.

Money Matters for your Trip to India

Although things are changing, India is predominantly a cash economy, and cash-less payment systems such as PayTM are unavailable to foreign visitors without an Indian bank account. It’s important to have some cash on you at all times.

Typically payments at higher end hotels, restaurants and shops can be made with foreign credit cards, but budget and lower-end places will want cash. American Express and Diners cards are not widely accepted.

Here are some of the money essentials to know for travel in India:

  • If you can get Rupees, take a modest amount out and try to get small denomination notes (100s, 50’s, 500’s) – see why below.
  • If you can’t get Rupees, don’t worry. You can get them in India on arrival at the airport.
  • The only places you’re likely to find international Credit or Debit cards accepted are at large upscale hotels (5*) or upscale restaurants, or large travel agents. Everyone else will want cash, from rickshaw drivers to hotels to shops.
  • The best way to get cash is to either use your Debit card at ATM’s (we have good experiences at State Bank (SBI) Atm’s or Axis Bank ATM’s. If you’re worried about if your card will work, try to find a cash withdrawal machine inside a bank.
  • ATM’s in small towns can run out of cash. Don’t get stuck. Stock up before leaving a large city and keep your cash in different places to be on the safe side.
  • Try to get change at large restaurants/hotels/shops as small shops and rickshaw drivers will often claim “sorry no change” (even when they do have it. 100, 50, 20 and 10 rupee notes are useful so always try to hold on to a few. Everyone will claim they have no change, but stand your ground at larger places and say you don’t have change. Don’t try to pay a rickshaw driver with a 2000 Rupee note. It’s asking for trouble and may cause an awkward situation.
  • If you’re not sure if your ATM/Debit card will work in India, you could look at getting a Transferwise pre-paid card . It’ll also help reduce your transaction fees and exchange fees while travelling in India.
  • You can charge Uber rides to your credit card if using the Uber app but watch the exchange fees from your credit card company – it’s generally better to pay cash.
  • ALWAYS CHECK YOUR CHANGE. Unfortunately a common arrival in Delhi scam is to try and short-change tourists. Our readers have even caught the Airtel booth inside Delhi airport at it. Count your change in front of the vendor and don’t leave until you are happy.
  • Fake currency is a problem with higher bills. Tripsavvy has a good article on how to spot it here .

Getting Around in India

Think of a mode of transport and India has it. Planes, trains, automobiles and, er.. camels. As a rule of thumb, the more you pay, the quicker you’ll get to where you want to be, but equally, the more you pay the less interesting your journey will be ;-).

The least interesting way of travelling India. There are several companies running domestic flights around India and a record number of Indians are taking to the skies. Useful for long distances such as Delhi – Kochi. Airlines include Indigo (recommended), the luxury carrier Vistara (recommended) Spice Jet (not great) and Air India (least recommended). My recommendations are based on reputation for punctuality and general reliability.

  • Make sure you have the credit card you booked your flight with to check in. Some airlines may refuse you boarding without it.
  • Baggage allowances are generally less than international flight – around 15kg. Check carefully before packing!
  • In winter flights can get delayed by fog and in monsoon by heavy rains. Factor in extra time.

Now we’re talking :-). You can’t come to India and not experience an Indian train ride. Even if it’s just one. Many of the stories of Indian train journeys (including my own) come from long train journeys, with many new friends made. You can also take a day train if you’re not sure if you’re up for a sleeper , the Gaatiman Express from Delhi to Agra is super efficient and comfortable in Chair Car Class. Also worth a mention is the Mumbai to Goa Jan Shatabdi Express which arrives in Madgaon in time for a mid-afternoon fish curry.

  • Indian Railways has up to 9 classes of travel. Nine . Read my g uide to train travel to work out what’s best for you. Generally we recommend AC2, AC3 and Chair Car on daytime trains.
  • Train travel in India has it’s challenges – the main one being booking tickets. Read our guide above, or to do it the easy way, use site 12go.asia to book your tickets easily from abroad.
  • You need to book train travel in advance. Trains sell out. With 25 million people travelling by train per day in India you can imagine why.

Buses come in a range of shapes and sizes with Volvo buses being the top quality and recommended for when you are travelling between cities. There are plenty of night buses in India and I recommend taking the train over these as the train is much more comfortable (you can get up and walk, use the toilet etc). However, they’re a useful option when trains are full or there’s no railway to where you want to be.

  • AC vs Non-AC – usually there will be a choice between AC and non-ac busses – Non AC are suitable for short distances only in winter, and are usually older buses. AC recommended.
  • Redbus.in is the best app for checking buses and booking if you want to book buses in advance – but there’s less need to book buses in advance like there is with trains.

Taxis & Rickshaws

A range of vehicles fall under this category! There are regular Taxis in major cities although these have fallen in popularity as ride hailing apps Uber and OLA (the Indian version, who are great).

UBER & OLA – Just open up your app, order and get in. OLA has the added bonus of being able to hail a rickshaw. There is also Uber intercity which you can use for longer transfers. If Uber drivers try to negotiate on price / message you and ask you where you are going, choose another one instead.

Taxis – ‘Regular’ taxis are available in most cities, and you can find ‘pre-paid’ taxis which are a little costlier but have the advantage of being pre-paid at the booth so avoid you being overcharged. Usually found at train stations or airports. Don’t give the paper slip to the driver until he drops you at your destination.

(Auto) Rickshaws & Cycle Rickshaws – Almost omnipresent is the tuktuk (so named after the tuk-king sound of it’s compressed natural gas engine), also known as an Auto or Auto rickshaw. These are great for getting around cities but you’ll usually have to negotiate before getting in. Unfortunately many rickshaw drivers refuse to use the meter for tourists and will add on extra. In a few places you can still find cycle rickshaws which are considerably harder work for their pullers so please be kind to them and don’t sit in one with your luggage. Also negotiate.

Private Car & Driver

If all of the above sounds like far too much like hard work, you can hire a car and driver for parts of your trip. This is handy if you’re exploring one state, say Rajasthan. Or you can just hire one for a day. As a starting point, ask your hotels for driver recommendations.

Now you know what to think about when planning your trip to India, it’s time to make your itinerary and decide how you want to experience India!

Need an extra helping hand? Jump into our free India Travel Community on Facebook and ask away!

Are you planning a trip to India for 2022 or beyond?

More Resources for Planning your Trip to India:

  • What to pack for India – read our India packing guide here
  • The best India group tours – comparison of some of the top tours and tips
  • Ultimate Guide to Solo Female Travel in India – read all my tips here

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India Travel Tips

How to Reduce Culture Shock in India

travel india by meran

Culture shock is definitely a "thing" in India. It's particularly hard on first-timers who arrive unprepared, but knowing a few India travel tips beforehand certainly helps.

The first days on the ground in India are considered by many travelers to be the most challenging. Sensory overload combined with jetlag and the chaotic pace of urban life in India can be overwhelming.

Don't despair! Although understanding India would take a lifetime of devotion, you'll quickly catch on enough to find a travel groove. After arriving, consider getting out of the busy city and rest in a quieter place to collect your wits until jet let subsides .

The Traffic and Crowds

With well over a billion people calling the subcontinent home, India is the second-most populous country in the world. You'll be keenly reminded of this factoid after you arrive, particularly in cities such as New Delhi where overcrowding is a problem.

Many Indians grow up without the luxuries of privacy or personal space; don't be offended or surprised when people lean on you in the subway or stand too close when they speak to you.

The overcrowding problem is especially prevalent on the streets; clogged traffic is the norm, and the soundtrack is usually a cacophony of horns honking. Overindulgence of the car horn isn't as rude as you may think; it's actually blown as a safety measure and even out of courtesy to hopefully prevent accidents.

Dealing with Extra Attention

Western travelers often receive a rock-star amount of attention in India, usually friendly but sometimes in the form of staring. You'll probably be asked to pose for photos with locals.

Female travelers will inevitably be the target of lots of staring. Returning a man's gaze could be misconstrued as flirting; instead, ignore them completely or wear sunglasses. Solo women may also want to turn down photo requests to eliminate the chance that photos are later used inappropriately for bragging rights.

Unfortunately, getting stared at while traveling in India is part of daily life — consider it a small price to pay for enjoying the exciting subcontinent!

Is Delhi Belly Real?

Unfortunately, the infamous "Delhi belly" is a reality. Locals deal with it, too. The tap water in India is generally unsafe to drink. Even if you stick to bottled water, you may still get a bad stomach from dirty ice, fruit and vegetables washed with dirty water, or water droplets on plates and utensils. Even a cook who fails to wash hands could wreck your stomach for a week.

Traveler's diarrhea affects many people and is an unfortunate part of life on the road. While tourist restaurants are usually safe, who knows what goes on in the kitchens. Food handling and cleanliness are often issues in India behind the curtain. You can reduce your risk of a bad tummy by avoiding watered-down drinks and by peeling fruit that you eat. Simple washing fruit or salad is not enough to eliminate microbes embedded in the skin.

India Travel Tip : Always check the seal before paying for bottled water in shops and restaurants! A loose lid could mean that a bottle has been refilled with unsafe water.

Dealing with Beggars in India

Despite lots of economic growth, the wealth divide and caste system are very prevalent: you'll encounter beggars of all varieties — particularly in urban areas — throughout India. Unlike other parts of Asia, the beggars in India can be extremely persistent, sometimes even grabbing your arms and legs.

Encountering the young children begging on the streets is heartbreaking, but you are contributing to the problem when you give money. Many children are kidnapped, mistreated, and exploited by "bosses" who force them to beg in organized gangs. If you give, the whole vicious circle continues to be profitable to those on top and will never end.

Even giving out pens or trinkets can encourage children to beg for items from foreign tourists. Better to lend your support through established charities, volunteering opportunities, and trustworthy NGOs.

Practice Patience

Like other places in South Asia, the rules of saving face loosely apply in India. Strive to never lose your cool in public, you'll likely make matters worse for yourself rather than solving whatever challenge you're facing. Doing so isn't always easy, but try to stay calm!

With well over a billion people squeezed onto the subcontinent, you'll have to get used to crowds of people. Don't be surprised when people often bump and shove their way through a queue. Stepping in front of others in line is common. Hold your ground and be polite — but not too polite — or you may never get service! Use those elbows a little.

Patience is the key, particularly when dealing with the overwhelming bureaucracy often encountered. From the time you begin your Indian visa application to checking in at your first hotel, someone always seems to be pondering over paperwork. Consider the mass paperwork a small price to pay for visiting a fascinating place.

India Travel Tips for Female Travelers

Female travelers often receive a lot of extra attention from local men in India. Sometimes boundaries are pushed beyond staring — shameless groping and touching can happen in public in the middle of the afternoon.

Female travelers can reduce some of the unwanted attention by dressing more conservatively. Avoid tight-fitting clothing; consider wearing ankle-length skirts and covering the shoulders. The beautiful local shawls sold everywhere are an excellent investment and easy to carry.

Here are some ways female travelers can potentially reduce harassment:

  • Cover up with a shawl.
  • Avoid physical contact — even shaking hands — with men.
  • Don't agree to pose for pictures with men.
  • Realize that even a warm smile could be taken the wrong way.
  • Consider staying somewhere else if you are the only guest in a budget guesthouse.
  • The staff in budget hotels can be bold ; always keep your door locked while inside.
  • Avoid being alone with wandering sadhus (holy men) or "gurus."
  • Try to sit next to other women on public transportation, particularly on night buses.
  • Make use of the female-only train carriages.

As you travel through India, locals will often ask to pose for a picture with you. Several may be taken so that all men can be photographed with your group. While this practice is usually harmless, female travelers do often get clutched or grabbed while standing still for the photo.

Chaotic Indian festivals such as the Holi Festival are often used as opportunities for grabbing women.

Petty Theft and Scams

Although armed or violent muggings aren't too common, being vigilant makes a difference. Plan ahead so that you don't have to walk alone at night, keep your valuables close at hand in busy places, and never leave your bag out of reach (e.g., in a chair at your table nearest the street). When using an ATM, be conscious about anyone who may be watching or could follow you.

People in India are exceptionally outgoing. Differentiating between random friendliness or an elaborate scam beginning to unfold can be difficult, even for experienced travelers! In general, be wary of any stranger approaching you in crowded areas — particularly in transportation centers and outside of popular attractions that attract tourists.

Wandering sadhus and babas — you'll recognize them wearing robes and carrying water pots — are not always genuine. Many of these "holy men" make a living by selling hashish or scamming tourists who often think of them as gurus.

Pickpocketing is a problem on public transportation and in crowded urban spaces — pretty well throughout India. Don't allow yourself to become too distracted by someone; thieves often work in teams.

Count your change carefully in restaurants and shops before walking away from the counter.

Cigarette Smoking in India

Although smoking is common in guesthouses, hotels, and many restaurants, you can receive a fine for smoking on the street or in public throughout India. Look for the presence of ashtrays or ask the owner to be sure before you light up.

Drugs in India

Marijuana and hashish are smoked openly in many Himalayan tourist centers such as Manali in Himachal Pradesh , but both are illegal. Getting convicted of possession carries a minimum prison sentence of 10 years. Even if you are not convicted, you may wait in jail for months until your case is heard.

Undercover policemen are known to approach tourists for bribes during random shakedowns.

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Bliss in the Alps: The Top 7 Things to Do in Merano (Meran)

UPDATED: January 4, 2024

Things to do in Merano Meran

Merano (Meran) is an elegant mountain town in South Tyrol that mesmerizes you at first sight. Its pairing of historic splendor with soaring natural beauty is unrivaled in Italy. Discover the best things to do in Merano so you can get the most out of your visit.

Nestled in the shadow of the Alps, lies Merano (or Meran, if you prefer) — a town so seductively beautiful it has left poets spilling ink by the barrel for centuries. It’s here, in the heart of South Tyrol, that the raw, majestic power of Alpine peaks collides with the lush allure of the Mediterranean, conjuring a stark contrast that seems almost beyond the realms of fantasy. But it’s not just nature’s handiwork that leaves you awe-struck; it’s also how South Tyroleans dared to enhance these mountains, creating something that even nature might envy.

Here, snow-capped peaks thunder over palm-studded avenues and arbored vineyards tumble into the valley as if sprung from the gates of mountain-perched castles and chapels. Every step in Merano offers the fascination of antiquity and the elemental wonder of nature. The historic architecture bejeweling the town appears embowered in greenery that is in a perpetual state of blossom.

Merano is where we fell in love with South Tyrol. And after your first visit, we’re certain “Tyrol’s sweet paradise” , as it was called ages ago, will too hold a special place in your heart.

⇒ Plan Your Merano Visit: Grab our South Tyrol + Dolomites Travel Guide

CONTENTS OVERVIEW

A Brief History of Merano

1) visit merano’s medieval heart, 2) stroll merano’s lush promenades, 3) explore the gardens of trauttmansdorff, 4) relax at merano’s thermal baths & pools, 5) storm a mountainside castle, 6) wander a waalweg, 7) enliven your festive spirit, where to stay in merano.

Merano Map

Before we elaborate on the things to do in Merano, it’s worth sharing a bit of the town’s history so you can fully appreciate its importance to South Tyrol.

Merano’s roots go deep. The discovery of menhirs (ancient manmade standing stones) and other archaeological unearthings reveal that the Merano area has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. This is no surprise really as Ötzi the Iceman , a man preserved in the ice for 5,300 years, was found by hikers in 1991 in the Ötztal Alps, which is less than 30 miles from Merano.

vintage empress elisabeth statue merano

The next significant historical record of Merano arises nearly 3,000 years later in 15 B.C. when the Roman Empire established a military encampment called Statio Maiensis near the point where South Tyrol’s Passer and Etsch Rivers meet. This camp resided along the Via Claudia Augusta, the ancient Roman road that led legions through the Alps for centuries. It extended for more than 400 miles stretching from the Danube River in Germany past Lago di Resia, the sight of the famous sunken bell tower of Curon , all the way through South Tyrol to the city of Trento where the road forks.

Historical documents from 857 A.D. indicate the town was originally called Mairania and eventually became known as Meran and Merania by the 1300s. By then, Merano emerged as the heart and soul of Tyrol , which was at the time an estate of the Holy Roman Empire. In the 13th century, the powerful Counts of Tyrol declared Merano the capital of the realm for a period of time.

In the 1870s, Empress Elisabeth “Sissi” of Austria, one of the great beauties of 19th-century Europe, expressed fondness for the health virtues of Merano. Soon after, the town began to flourish as a spa resort destination for which it is still famous today — and rightly so.

What Are the Best Things to Do in Merano?

Merano sign in center of town

The abundance of things to do in Merano makes it a destination worthy of a lengthy stay while in South Tyrol. Merano lies in Val d’Adige — a wide valley basin blessed with a Mediterranean microclimate that is rare amid Alpine terrain. The valley is sheltered by four different mountain ranges: the Ötztal Alps, the Texel Group, the Sarntal Alps and the Val d’Ultimo Mountains.

This entire area has traditionally been known as Burggrafenamt (Burgraviato) , a name born from the Middle Ages when the region was ruled by the burggrafen (castle lords) of Tyrol Castle. The Burggrafenamt district of South Tyrol brims with enthralling sights and activities, which we will also highlight. After all, a visit to Merano should include more than the town itself.

Of all the things to do in Merano, meandering the old-world heart of the town is a must to savor its artwork, history, marketplaces and streetside cafes. You could wander aimlessly over its cobblestones and encounter a cultural treasure to admire at practically every turn.

Upon arriving in town, we recommend beginning your Merano visit by taking a long leisurely walk along the Laubengasse (also known as the Via Portici). This is the oldest street in Merano. It showcases 800 years of architecturally rich history and charms walkers with its undeniable medieval character.

merano laubengasse via portici

The Laubengasse is distinguished by arcaded shops on both sides of the street. The arcades were built in the middle of the 13th century to house the shops of merchants and craftsmen. One side of the Laubengasse side is known as the Berglauben because its back is to the mountains and the other side is known as Wasserlauben since it lies in the direction of the Passer River. In the 15th century, an imperial ordinance decreed that German-owned and Italian-owned shops must be on opposite sides of the street.

The shops of the Laubengasse sell everything from luxury branded footwear, clothing and jewelry to South Tyrolean delicacies such as speck and of course rows upon rows of delicious local wines and grappa. Also dotted along the Laubengasse are restaurants and cafes inviting you to relax with a drink or meal between shop visits.

The Laubengasse eventually leads to the Piazza Duomo (Pfarrplatz), the main square of Merano’s historic center, where you will find the soaring Church of St. Nicholas (Chiesa di San Nicolo or Pfarrkirche St. Nikolaus), the symbol of Merano and the town’s patron saint. Its iconic Gothic steeple commands admiration above the rooftops from many viewpoints in and around Merano.

St. Nicholas Church as seen from the street

The first documented mention of the St. Nicholas Church was in 1266; however, it is thought the church dates to as early as 1170. In 1302, the citizens of Merano partially demolished the existing church and began constructing a larger one to take its place. The construction of the church took more than 160 years to complete. It was finally consecrated in 1465.

Erecting the church’s 272 ft. (83 meters) bell and clock tower took even longer. Its construction began in the 15th century and took more than three centuries to finish. Interestingly, the tower possesses a total of seven clockworks and seven bells.

As you approach the southern wall of St. Nicholas, you will see a colorful and vivid mural of St. Christopher that is more than two stories tall. It dates to the late-Gothic period and was repainted in 1896 following the traces of the original strokes.

merano st nicholas cathedral

The St. Nicholas Church is as imposing on the inside as it is from the outside. Ten mammoth pillars support the vaulted rib ceiling and both the nave and choir are illuminated by seven alluring stained-glass windows. After you are done gazing upward, bring your eyes to the floor. It is a dazzling mosaic masterpiece.

Throughout the church are prominent works of Christian art too numerous to list here. Particularly impressive is a statue of St. Nicholas raising his right hand in blessing. It dates to 1340 and can be found on the church’s south wall.

When finished visiting the interior, walk around the exterior of the church to study the hypnotic ancient gravestones and faded frescoes adorning the walls. Beneath the tower is an arched passageway featuring an intriguing mural of St. John Matha and St. Felix of Valois kneeling before a Trinitarian cross, the symbol of the religious order they founded in 1198.

St. Nicholas Church Archway Painting

Behind the St. Nicholas Church, you will also encounter the octagon-shaped Chapel of St. Barbara, which is a Gothic-style burial chapel added to the Piazza Duomo in 1450. Inside are two beautiful Baroque altars with glass reliquaries housing a decorated skeleton of a martyr from the catacombs in Rome.

Between these altars is a wood-carved Gothic winged altar of the Madonna that is utterly striking. Looking up you can also admire one of the oldest star-vaulted ceilings in South Tyrol. In the center is a keystone with a portrait of St. Barbara from 1440.

st barbara chapel merano italy

From the Piazza Duomo heading towards the Passer River, you will arrive at another medieval landmark of Merano. The Bozener Tor is one of three medieval gates still standing in the town. Similar to other cities and towns in the Middle Ages, the gates were erected as towers and served as defensive fortifications.

The Bozener Tor (Porta Bolzano) was once part of a stone wall built between the 14th and 17th centuries that surrounded Merano. The gate owes its name to Bolzano as it leads in the direction of the city. On the south face of the tower, you can admire sculpted coats of arms of Merano, Tyrol and Austria. Above this emblem is a fresco depicting the coat of arms of the House of Habsburgs, one of the most dominant dynasties in European history. A room inside the tower is called the “hangman’s room”. Supposedly, the executioner of the valley liked to stay here at one time.

merano porta bolzano gate

Passing through the gate brings you to the Piazza della Rena (Sandplatz), the next major historic square in Merano. Today, the Piazza della Rena is mostly used to host special events including the Historic Christmas Village, which is a part of Merano’s Christmas Market.

On the far side of the square is the Mariensäule, the oldest monument in Merano. This stunning white marble statue shows the Virgin Mary atop a snake-coiled globe, demonstrating victory over sin. Above her head is a halo of golden stars and near her feet a golden crescent moon; both common symbols of apocalyptic art. Local residents donated the Baroque statue in 1706 out of gratitude that the town was spared from raids during the battle between Tyrol and Bavaria in 1703.

merano meran italy south tyrol

Merano is tailor-made for walkers, amblers and hikers. No other town in South Tyrol possesses so many lush and elegant walking trails. Merano boasts six exquisite promenades to explore. These pleasant footpaths were created more than 150 years ago and have lost none of their romantic appeal.

Merano’s promenades wind through and high above the town offering sweeping views of the valley one moment and a lavish encounter with a kaleidoscope of flowers and exotic vegetation the next. They also continue your journey through the area’s magical past. In addition to strolling by age-old villas and palaces, the promenades carry you to a number of historic sights such as the 400-year-old Ponte Romano (Steinerner Steg) stone arched footbridge, the austere Gothic Church of Santo Spirito, and the riveting Evangelical Church of Christ set along the Passer River.

walking promenades merano italy

The most popular promenade is the Tappeinerweg. It stretches 3+ miles along the face of Küchelberg mountain to the village of Gratsch, which sits near Tyrol Castle and Brunnenburg Castle. For a momentous view of Merano be sure to climb to the top of the Pulverturm (Powder Tower) located on the promenade. This medieval tower is all that is left of the Ortenstein Castle, a once notable fortress from the 13th century.

⇒ YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Hiking Tre Cime di Lavaredo: The Ultimate Guide to the Three Peaks

If there is one destination that will leave an enduring impression of Merano’s favored position on the sunny side of the Alps, it’s the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle. The bounty of flora and forest you will eye here is staggering. Plants from all over the world flourish at these spectacular botanical gardens.

Regarded as one of the most beautiful gardens in Europe, the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle unfold beneath a crenelated palace first mentioned in 1327. More than 80 different garden landscapes thrive atop 30 acres, which can be enjoyed via four circuit trails and three panoramic paths. The views paired with sweet floral aromas are intoxicating.

Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle in South Tyrol, Italy

Amid the gardens’ 5,800+ different species, you can also wander Italy’s northernmost olive grove, as well as a vineyard showcasing South Tyrol’s traditional pergola training system for grapevines. The vines planted here are dedicated to preserving ancient grape varieties of the region.

A wonderful way to reach the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle is by taking a soul-mending walk along Sissi’s Path. This promenade honors Empress Elisabeth who considered walking among her favorite things to do in Merano. The path begins in the town center and requires about a 45-minute journey. In addition to running through Elisabeth Park where you can admire the snow-white statue of Sissi, it includes eleven points of interest highlighting Merano’s fabled history.

See our complete guide to the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle for details on how and when to visit.

merano spa resort

You cannot walk Merano without noticing the Terme Merano (Therme Meran). In the heart of the town’s wondrous antiquity lies this ultra-modern oasis of wellbeing. While one might think it is out of place amid the cobblestoned avenues of Merano, it stands as a beautiful testament to South Tyroleans’ keen sense for stylish design.

Designed by Matteo Thun , a renowned architect from South Tyrol, Terme Merano features a grand cube of glass that floods its 15 indoor pools with natural light. In addition to the pools, the wellness complex offers a variety of saunas, steam baths and a spa facility where you can enjoy massages, body treatments and more.

Behind the building are 10 outdoor pools situated in such a manner that you feel as if you have been transported to a remote mountain resort. Between dips in the pools, you can sunbathe beneath palm trees surrounded by meticulously manicured gardens and a lily pond where turtles demonstrate the proper way to sunbathe.

terme merano therme meran italy

The relaxing ambiance alone is enough to justify a visit; however, what makes Terme Merano truly special are the therapeutic properties of its thermal water. We were fascinated to discover that the facility sources its water from nearby Mt. Vigiljoch. Within the stony depths of the mountain is a spring gifting crystal-clear, mineral-rich water proven to have a calming and pain-relieving effect.

Terme Merano is open year-round and makes it easy to visit by providing towels and bathrobes for rent. If you are wondering about things to do in Merano when it rains, go here. We recommend at least half a day to fully appreciate the Alpine wellness benefits Terme Merano offers.

tyrol castle merano italy

Few spectacles grip the imagination like a castle enthroning a mountainside. Dozens of such haunts punctuate the slopes in and around Merano, but there are four medieval strongholds we find most captivating.

The first castle you should not miss is the one that furnished the name for the entire region: Tyrol Castle. The ancestral seat of the Counts of Tyrol, it has braved the Alps for nearly 1,000 years.

From whatever side you approach Tyrol Castle, you are at once struck by its commanding position atop a glacial moraine. It looms more than 2,000 ft. (600+ meters) above the valley.

Our favorite way to reach the castle is by hiking along the Tappeiner Promenade highlighted above. This route also allows you to admire another medieval gem tucked just beneath Tyrol Castle.

Brunnenburg Castle in Autumn

The Brunnenburg Castle appears plucked from the pages of a storybook . Built nearly 800 years ago, the castle entrances walkers with its ivy-clad walls and romantic pose enveloped by steep vineyards and orchards.

Both Tyrol Castle and Brunnenburg Castle can be toured. See our post about Tyrol Castle and Brunnenburg Castle to learn more about the wonders they hold inside.

A castle in Merano even more romantic in character than Brunnenburg is Castel Rametz . Perched on a hill ripe with grapevines at the edge of Merano’s Obermais district, Castel Rametz looks as if only souls as regal as Empress Elisabeth should set foot inside. Fortunately for commoners like us, the castle is also a winery and welcomes all to sip the fruit of its vines.

merano meran castles

If you wish to stay in Merano but still want to experience the enchantment of a castle, you are in luck. The Prince’s Castle is one of the best-preserved castles in South Tyrol and is nestled in Merano’s old town right before the beginning of the Laubengasse.

The Archduke of Austria commissioned the castle’s construction in the 15th century and it became the royal residence of the Prince of Tyrol in 1470. From the outside, the Prince’s Castle is certainly much more modest than that of the castles mentioned above; however, the inside is a captivating time capsule of life in the Middle Ages. Walking through you can study a treasure of medieval artifacts and artwork including everything from musical instruments to weaponry and furniture fit for a future king.

⇒ YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Discover Burg Taufers: Titan of the Tyrolean Alps

alguner waalweg merano

The Waalweg trails of South Tyrol are among our favorite hikes in the region. These panoramic paths run along ancient irrigation channels that were carved into the mountainsides beginning in the 13th century. They continue to vivify many of the vineyards and orchards around Merano to this day.

Beyond the breathtaking scenery you encounter on a Waalweg, what makes them a true joy to walk is the tranquil melody of rushing water by your side. Something you do not always find in the Dolomites . The delightful babble serves as the world’s friendliest hiking guide.

There are several Waalweg trails located around Merano. The three we return to time and time again are the Algunder Waalweg, the Marlinger Waalweg and the Schenner Waalweg. All of these hiking trails are easy to walk and can be rambled throughout the year.

merano waalwegs

The closest Waalweg to Merano is the Alugunder. It is also the most scenic Waalweg in our opinion. The path sweeps you through an abundance of vineyards and woodland above the village of Algund all the way to Tyrol Castle.

The Marlinger and Schenner Waalwegs are like experiencing a romantic medieval poem by foot. The Marlinger is the longest Waalweg and leads you past the magnificent Lebenberg Castle — a 13th-century fortress that rivets the imagination from its vineyard-vaulted perch. The Schenner Waalweg , located to the north of Merano, winds through forests and fields, past mountain farms to the Church of St. George — one of the oldest in the Alps.

⇒ YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: How to Hike Seceda: The Dolomites’ Most Epic Peaks

Merano Grape Festival (Traubenfest Meran)

Merano is alive with celebrations throughout the year. Whether you are into concerts, art and craft fairs, wine festivals and culinary feasts, or prefer the thrill of a live sporting event, odds are you can find a fun outing during your visit to Merano.

Many festivities in Merano and the surrounding towns and villages showcase the vibrant culture and traditions of South Tyrol. For example, in autumn, consider partaking in a night of Törggelen   at one of the many rustic wine taverns in the area. This centuries-old tradition celebrates the season’s new wine with a hearty feast that will have you loosening your belt a couple of notches.

Another joyful wine celebration taking place in autumn is the Merano Grape Festival. A multi-day event, the Merano Grape Festival is the oldest harvest festival in South Tyrol. Over the course of a weekend, festival revelers can enjoy a variety of activities including traditional music concerts at Merano’s famous Kurhaus , a lavish Art Nouveau event hall built along the Passer River in 1847. The festival culminates with a grand parade featuring ornate floats, marching bands and locals from all around Merano sporting colorful Tyrolean folk costumes that dazzle the eyes.

merano kurhaus christmas

Speaking of dazzling the eyes, if you are keen on visiting South Tyrol during the holidays, be sure to etch Merano’s Christmas Market on your itinerary. It runs from the end of November to the first week of January and is a heart-warming winter experience no matter your age. To discover what you can expect, check out our post highlighting South Tyrol’s Christmas Markets.

If you want help finding festivals and other things to do in Merano, during your stay, connect with us through our South Tyrol Trip Planning Services.

As a historic spa resort town, it’s no surprise the hotels in Merano cater to wellness and luxury. If you are looking to spoil yourself with 5-star amenities, superb gourmet cuisine and soothing alpine wellness treatments, you will find some of the best spa hotels in Europe located in Merano.

⇒ Want to experience Alpine-Mediterranean splendor? Search for spa hotels in Merano.

In addition to luxury spa getaways, you can also book quaint apartments and villas to stay in while visiting Merano. Some are located near the town center while others are on the outskirts of Merano where you can experience more peace and quiet yet be in the heart of town in a matter of minutes by car or bus.

villa by merano italy

We recently stayed at a gorgeous property called Villa by Merano , which is located less than 10 minutes from Merano in the medieval wine village of Marlengo (Marling). Marlengo is situated on the slope of Larchbüchel Mountain and looks across the Val d’Adige towards the Sarntal Alps. The village is a hiker’s mecca as it places you near the trailheads for the Marlinger Waalweg, Algunder Waalweg as well as the lift station for the mighty Mt. Vigiljoch.

The Villa by Merano is ideal for couples. Its poetic setting makes you feel as if spring never leaves the villa. It is tucked neatly in a manicured neighborhood rich with song-happy birds, palm trees and other blossoming greenery you’ll wish you could cultivate at home.

The apartment itself is spacious and possesses an elegant alpine character. At once cozy and refined. Warm wood ceilings crown tastefully decorated rooms flooded by natural light. We adored the villa’s balcony which made welcoming the sun a must every morning. Watching the day dawn over the peaks awakens every uplifting emotion in your body.

villa bei merano italia

The Villa by Merano is equipped with a cute kitchen allowing you to take off a night or two from dining out if you wish. During our stay, we picked up a few local specialties such as alpine cheeses, speck and the best apples in the world at a small grocer located two minutes from the apartment. After a couple of long days of hiking, we were thankful for the opportunity to relax the night away with homemade charcuterie and a bottle of wine. We also nabbed some delicious Tyrolean pastries from a nearby bakery to sweeten the sunrises.

When you do feel like dining out, a wealth of charming options is available in Marlengo. Several restaurants are favorably located near the Villa by Merano including the Haidenhof , a mountain-hugging wine tavern offering an outdoor seating area that will make your heart flutter with its canopy of fragrant grapevines and majestic views of the Lebenberg Castle mentioned above.

villa by merano sunrise

One of the best things to do in Merano is to embark on a wine tasting. The Villa by Merano makes it easy. Kellerei Meran , a major winemaker of Val d’Adige, is only a two-minute walk from the villa. They have been producing award-winning wines for more than 120 years, In fact, as you’re hiking in Merano, you’ll notice many signs highlighting its vineyards.

⇒ Ready to book? Explore availability at the Villa by Merano

SAVE THE TOP THINGS TO DO IN MERANO (MERAN)

merano italia city guide

About KATE & vin

Kate and Vin are South Tyrol + Dolomites travel specialists and the founders of Throne & Vine. They're dedicated to helping travelers discover and visit the most beautiful region in the Italian Alps.

2 thoughts on “Bliss in the Alps: The Top 7 Things to Do in Merano (Meran)”

Dear throne and vine, Have you ever been to the churburg, the majestic medieval castle in the upper vinschgau with the most important private collection of armour in europe? Truly worth a visit!

Indeed we have! One of our favorite castles to tour in South Tyrol. A stunning fortress! We will be writing about our visit in an upcoming post.

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The Planet D: Adventure Travel Blog

India Travel Tips for First-Time Travellers

Written By: The Planet D

Updated On: March 2, 2023

Insider India travel tips by  Mytriphack.   Travel to India on a budget in comfort and without being overwhelmed.

India is an exotic destination! It is far beyond historical monuments, beaches and other tourist spots you are going to find out from a tour company or Tripadvisor. This country is a great teacher if you learn to accept and listen to its lessons.

Table of Contents

Travel to India Tips for Foreigners

While staying in India, I met many travelers there and learned many key India travel tips to help new visitors to the country.

travel to India tips for foreigners

Some travelers came for a couple of weeks while others stayed for a few years and they were still not sure how long they are going to be there.

You hit the right note with India and start enjoying the country once you know important basics and your expectations are set correctly.

Whether you travel to India for a short or long period of time, I put up a list of 10 things that I would share with anyone who asks me about India.

1. Don’t let the media feed your fear

In a digital era, it’s very hard to filter information. Media publishes content that provokes interest and some emotional reaction.

The negative or controversial reaction makes content even more popular and discussed.

This fact has made India famous for poverty, poor attitude towards women and rape cases.

india travel tips for first timers

Though it’s important to be informed, be realistic and critical about the information you are reading.

The published news often skips the brighter side of India about technological progress, improved women’s safety, big market opportunities to name a few.

Most of the services you might require in India are now in the phone – either in apps or online. You just think of an issue and google will give exciting options of Indian startups ready to solve it.

Don’t travel to India without your Lonely Planet India Guide

2. Be flexible about plans and expectations

Try to accept the cultural specifics in India without comparing it with the reality or background you come from. There will be certain things that will happen and certain things that will not.

travel tips for india lucknow

You will discover that “Yes” doesn’t always mean Yes, and you will rarely hear a “No” from an Indian.

To save you from frustrations about delays, cancellations and other random situations that will pop up, always try to have a “plan B”.

Whatever changes will happen in your initial plan, they will build a new experience, which will open a different part of India for you.

Check out our travel tips for India Packing. 

3. Plan in advance

If you are not coming with a tour company with a predefined plan, try to make most of the arrangements for your trip at least 3 weeks before arrival.

In India, intercity transport tickets disappear faster than falling stars.

travel tips india nainital

It’s a different system compared to European countries where you can buy a ticket and hop on the train the same day.

In India, it’s advisable to book tickets at least 2 weeks in advance on regular days, and 1 month in advance during big holidays like Holi and Diwali.

This rule also works for budget stay offers. Remember – several million people are looking for the same thing simultaneously with you, so try to be fast in booking great deals. Read more India Travel Tips:  Tips for Traveling by Train in India

4. Learn to bargain

Everyone does it and you should not be an exception. Pricing is generally higher for foreigners since there is a misconception among sellers in India that tourists are rich.

india travel tips at the market

I would advise asking an opinion from local people how much something should cost.

If you are in the local markets evaluate the look of the seller. Don’t bargain with artists or farmers. They already earn money hard way and they are very humble.

Merchants with chic phones in their hands are the right target to master negotiation skills.

You can use saved money from a purchase either for another Indian experience or for buying food for the poor. There are many people living on the streets in India.

You might save minimum of 4 dollars from one purchase, but this is enough to buy lunch for 3-4 homeless people in the city.

In addition to the social cause, you will also improve your negotiating skills. India is a great teacher in this!

Need bargaining tips? Read – 10 Proven Travel Tips on How to Bargain Like a Pro

5. Get ready for lots of staring and questions

Many Indians give special attention to foreigners. You might spot many of them looking at you steadily and some will even ask to take pictures with you.

They don’t have an idea their behavior makes you feel uncomfortable.

tips for traveing india friends

Often, if you strike a conversation with some local people, they might ask many personal questions about you, that you may not feel comfortable sharing right away, e.g. social status, surname, relationships, faith, family and so on.

They don’t mean to offend you, they are just interested to know you better.

Check out Photos of India: What Makes this Country Beautiful

I suppose this behavior is closely connected to the personal space concept. In the west, people maintain large personal space around themselves to keep strangers at a distance.

In India, all space standards collapse once you experience a queue or use public transport.

Most Indians are used to share everything and adjust since childhood, especially those born and raised in joint families.

Keep this in mind and be ready to expand a bit your privacy borders.

6. Go local

Try to build your journey around the festivals to get a better understanding of Indian culture.

travel tips for india go local

  • Visit Diwali – a festival of lights in autumn
  • Holi – a festival of colors in spring,
  • Lohri – winter festival in Punjab

Attend traditional weddings and other functions of your preference. Try to make Indian friends during your visit to understand the essence of different festivals.

There will be many people around who will be happy to give you an “intro course” about the meaning of the festival in Indian culture.

Thinking of Traveling Solo in INdia? Read: My Trip to Himachal, A safe bet for Solo Female Travellers

7. Contrasts are everywhere

While in India, you will be part of situations with different elements that you haven’t imagined in the same context.

india travel tips for travel

You might be late because you were stuck on the road blocked by cows.

You may see a posh car waiting on the crossroads along with an elephant and a bullock cart that is driven by a barefoot man.

You will see people buying the latest fashion clothes from luxury brands and people sleeping on the streets at a distance of 100 meters from the same fashion store.

Social inequality is overwhelming and emotionally devastating. This is a part of India that you will come across very often.

Check out: 5 Things to do in India That We REALLY Liked

8. Follow your route and interests

India is diverse with many experiences in store for travelers. I stayed in Delhi for almost 2 years and there are still many things I have on my list to experience there.

travel tips india himalaya retreat

I would advise not to follow the patterns but choose your experience. India can offer you much more than Goa and the Taj Mahal.

No doubts these are amazing destinations, however, there are also exciting opportunities to visit tea plantations, learn how to print on clothes from the biggest textile companies, stay in a desert or join a yoga/meditation program in the mountains.

Don’t run a marathon through all sightseeing points mentioned on the internet. Choose less – explore more. Feel and enjoy your journey!

Need more travel advice on India? Read the Top 5 Travel Scams of India

9. Don’t overpack

Try to take fewer clothes, because it’s almost impossible to skip shopping in India. There will be many things you would like to buy.

travel to india tips keep it simple desert scene

Don’t pack all possible medicines unless you are going to live in a remote village. I would advise taking only those pills that specifically help you.

Absolutely in every city or town you will find a great diversity of pharmacies: standard, ayurvedic & homeopathic. In addition to your packing list, the 2 things I would advise taking: high sun protection solution and charging adapter converts.

Need Travel tips for packing in India? Enjoy these articles:

8 Great Travel Organizers for Better Packing 9 AntiTheft Accessories for Safe and Secure Packing The Most Complete Travel Packing List You’ll Ever Need

10. Follow basic etiquette of India

1. dress accordingly.

 India is quite conservative in dressing , especially for women. This country is not suitable for open shoulders or shorts unless you are on a beach or in South Mumbai.

Try to wear clothes at least of knee length and keep your shoulders covered.

travel etiquette india

2. Think about vegetarians

If you are a vegetarian, you are going to love India.

They have many varieties of tasty food options for you and it’s always marked with a green dot that makes shopping easier.

In the opposite case, take into consideration that some people are not comfortable eating food in the same room with non-vegetarian products. This is related to stays in some Airbnb or Guesthouse type of spaces.

3. Respect elderly people

Indian culture teaches respect towards elderly people for their experience and knowledge.

If you are invited to a traditional Indian function, no one will expect you touching feet to show respect as it’s accustomed to India.

However, ignoring elders even if you are not acquainted might be perceived as rude behavior sometimes. A formal “Namaste” greeting will do in most of the cases.

4. Pay attention to gender-specific spaces

In India, there are certain places where only women are allowed and vice versa.

It’s applicable for transport, some religious places, some queues, trial rooms, etc.

Pay attention to this, because in some cases you can be punished: e.g. if you are a man staying in a women train car in Delhi metro you can be scolded and fined.

5. No public affection

India is a conservative country that has some reservations about showing emotions in public. It’s mostly about couples.

Don’t mix it up with friends. You will see girls hugging girls while greeting if they are close friends or guys hugging guys, but girls hugging guys are not allowed in many places.

In some Indian states, you can be fined and even arrested for showing public affection towards the opposite gender. Try to keep your emotions with you.

6. Inform yourself about the temples

Always take off your shoes before you enter any temple and dress conservatively.

There are some temples that don’t allow non-Hindu, some are only for men, and others have specific rules for visitors.

I would advise researching about a temple you plan to visit if it’s not a known tourist attraction.

Need more travel etiquette tips? Read: Travel Etiquette in the Middle East

I hope these India travel tips will be handy during your visit!!

What about you: Is India in your traveling plans? If you have already visited India, what other things would you advise for India travelers?

Natalia believes in traveling with a purpose.

She has been visiting different countries via exchange programs, jobs and conferences. The recent working and staying experience was in India for 2 years. She shares insider tips about living abroad and traveling comfortably on a budget to help others build a better experience. For more tips and stories visit Mytriphack or follow her on twitter , facebook .

  • The Golden Temple of Amritsar, India’s Shining Star
  • Solo Travel to India by a local female
  • 7 Things to do in Rishikesh

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO . 

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • Allianz - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

You May Also Like

24 Best Indian Dishes To Try in India or In An Indian Restaurant

24 Best Indian Dishes To Try in India or In An Indian Restaurant

Holi India – Celebrate the Festival of Colors

Holi India – Celebrate the Festival of Colors

16 Facts About India That You Probably Never Knew About

16 Facts About India That You Probably Never Knew About

About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine , the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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88 thoughts on “India Travel Tips for First-Time Travellers”

Extensively and beautifully written article. I have never thought of traveling to India, now am thinking about it. Thanks for the article.

I like the fact that being in digital marketing industry you took the responsibility to inform people about false propaganda about India. Very few bloggers stand up against falsified content marketing.

I am very happy to find such a post. I love to visit India. Today I found some amazing information about the tour, it’s inspiring me to visit in the coming days. Thanks a lot for sharing such posts.

Such a lovely post. I love the spirit that you have , trying new things in a new place. You inspire me to maybe step out more often.

Thanks for sharing such a great post. You have given all the information that a foreigner needs to know if he or she plans to travel India.

Thanks for sharing Very helpful tips.

Well for first time travelers I would like to recommend that while travelling through India you need to carry your valid passport otherwise it will be difficult for you to travelling moreover you need to make your tickets prior to travelling as it will help you in tickets availability.

It is most helpful. I agree that some people tend to focus too much on the negative, like hygiene and timing. But there is so much good in India. thank you for sharing this article.

Very helpful tips. Loved it.

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Natalia whatever you said about India is true,after reading your post I thought that you personally experienced all these things in your India tour.Thanks for sharing this best information.

All of these tips is really helpful for everyone who wants to travel in India. But this blog will definitely help to foreigners. Thanks,

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Hey, well explained about the facts in real life

Very Useful Content And Nice Blog. Thanks For Sharing With Us.

Thanks for sharing such a amazing tips for a first time traveler for India.

Nice blog! Thanks for sharing this useful tips for India Travel.

Located in the southern boundary of Madhya Pradesh, bordering Maharashtra is the Pench National Park- a tiger reserve

Thanks for the answer to the many questions for the travelers.

Very helpful tips about travel in India! It is wonderful treat for vegetarian travelers. Thanks a Lot With Us…..

I like your tips. India is a wonderful country and attract many people for visit. It culture is different and amazing

Fantastic descriptions about our country!!! The little details like not negotiating with farmers shows your deep understanding of Indian problems seen with a sensitive heart.

Thank you ?

Hi, My name is Bhawna Mohinani & I am a travel blogger from India. I really liked your article. The information in this article is very much relevant. This article has made me your loyal reader.

I really like your blog post. Keep writing like this. I really Glad to know that you have enjoyed most during travel to india

Nice post i agree with your post. India is the really incredible destination for tourism.

Your Post Is Amazing Thanks For Sharing

India traveling is not a difficult. It’s a normal traveling. Not a lot of confusion for tourist. You share the travel tips is very helpful for tourist. Great guideline. I like your blog. Good work. Thanks!

Great blog post! Surely this article is very helpful for all international visitors. India has lot of tourist places and our life time is not enough to watch those places.

Thanks for sharing the blog, it really helped us throughout the journey. keep Sharing

In India there are many places to visit and but visiting every place is not a too easy work .As India is a diversify country with many group of religions of people leave here but from my view if you are foreigner and wants to visit India you can hire any of traveling agency so that there would be easy for you to visit without any hassle.

Thank you for such a nice blog. It would be very helpful for travellers.

India is best country for travel. There is something in India that is worth seeing. India is most beautiful country.I hope to visit India soon and experience the magic. Thank you for sharing.

These tips are the good ones for the foreigners to follow.

India has the unique diversity all over the world. India is the most traditional and cultural country and having the different place to visit for the tourists. I having most of the historical and holistic places like fort, temples etc.

I agree these tips are useful for foreigners who love and plan to travel India. Because I know how our people are treating the tourist. I hope Natalia is really understand our country.

That’s why Indians love to share their knowledge with everyone and wants others to do the same. In this conquest, they become so friendly that they cross the privacy border so be cautious but at the same enthusiastic too.

Read your blog and get useful information. I am also a traveler in I like walking around different places. I was looking for a blog like you who gave me the right information and tips. Thank you

hat’s why Indians love to share their knowledge with everyone and wants others to do the same. In this conquest, they become so friendly that they cross the privacy border so be cautious but at the same enthusiastic too.

I am from India. I agree these tips are useful for foreigners who love and plan to travel India. Because I know how our people are treating the tourist. I hope Natalia is really understand our country. She content speaks very well about our nation.

I agree that some people tend to focus too much on the negative, like hygiene and timing. But there is so much good in India, both in terms of living culture and history, I really think those things are more important.

India is best country for travel. There is something in India that is worth seeing. You share the valuable information on travel tips. Your travel tips is very useful for me.Thanks a lot for this beauty Enjoying article with me. I appreciate it very much!

I agree these tips are useful for foreigners who love and plan to travel India. Very important travel tips for first-time visitors in India.

I read your blog and it is very informative. When you are planning to visit Shimla before that Take all necessary medicines and prescribed drugs with yourself. In case of an emergency situation, you will not have to run here and there.

Great blog. I have Many of the pics from Rajasthan. Do visit Rajasthan again. Thanks

India is so picturesque and an awesome travel destination.The architecture alone is breathtaking. I’m sure you can spend hours wandering around them and taking photos.

Good informative article about India and travelling tips for first time travellers in India.

India is an amazing place to visit but when it comes to preserving their culture no one can stand in their way. That’s why Indians love to share their knowledge with everyone and wants others to do the same. In this conquest, they become so friendly that they cross the privacy border so be cautious but at the same enthusiastic too.

I love the information in this article. I hope to visit India soon and experience the magic. Thank you for sharing. The best part is the 45-min trek to Butterfly beach. Thanks for this good post.

India is most beautiful country. I like the travelling in India. India is a very worth watching country. World’s miracle one of them Taj Mahal is in India. I read your blog and I get some new tips on travel to India. Thanks a lot for this beauty Enjoying article with me. I appreciate it very much!

I love the information in this article. I hope to visit India soon and experience the magic. Thank you for sharing.

I have seen lot of travellers writing about india. This one really shows that you guys have not just visited the country but lived it and almost got to its roots.

Wow, definitely the best post about India that I’ve ever come across!! Thank you for taking the time to put this together to help other travellers 🙂

Thanks for sharing the blog. i am thinking of planning a trip to India Soon and these tips are like my mini guide for the whole touring thing.Few tips before actually visiting the place is really helpful for every new traveler. thanks for the blog, it truly is informative and helpful.

while most of the blogs are telling us about the places, you have told us about the travel tips while visiting India through your blog which is really helpful while planning our trip.Thanks for sharing the blog, it really helped us throughout the journey. keep Sharing

You have written an excellent blog. Read your blog and get useful information. I am also a traveler in I like walking around different places. I was looking for a blog like you who gave me the right information and tips. Thank you

Thank you very much for these tips. I especially loved the fact how people get over charged while they travel in different countries.

Keep posting these informative columns.

it’s amazing, I always love to travel India. Sometimes I like the Cuisine, sometime shopping but the Culture is always attracting me to visit this amazing country.. thanks for the post and make my memories comes alive..

I want to make my vacations special. But i’m totally confused which things are best to do so. Then i saw your ideas. It seems interesting as well as excellent. Now i’m gonna apply your ideas. Hope it may help me too. Thanks for sharing wonderful ideas!!

I love travel in India because every visit is different, every experience unique. Travelling as a family showed us the value of shared experience. India taught us about each other, and about cultures vastly different from our own. When our youngest is a little older, we will be back.

Hey, awesome site. I came across this on Google, and I am pleased. I will be definitely coming back here more often. Wish I could add the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing. Dooars Tour Package

Keep Posting:)

Very detailed stuff. Great guide for first time visitor in India. As an Indian i am totally agree here. One another advice for foreign travelers avoid street food, drink bottled water and You may also know that Indian power adapters are different than other countries.

Wow killer post on India., Good stuff. We spent 4 weeks in India on a whirlwind itinerary visiting 6 different regions yet only really scratching the surface of this complex and diverse country.

Nice post, I agree with your tips of travel to India. It is wonderful country for travelers. India has a lot of cultures and traditions. I especially love Indian cuisines, here are so many options to try out. Thanks for sharing your personal experiences.

If you are planning to visit one of the most beautiful destinations in India, It’s the perfect time. After the monsoon season the beauty of Wayanad will be even more astounding with Blue Mountains, striking waterfalls, streams full of water, freshness and greenery everywhere.

It’s very useful to all and us , I am very much impressed with your thoughts. I got the best information from this site of the blog, That article was amazing. Thanks for sharing this post.

I also like to travel solo,It improves our confidence level and also gives us unique experience.I am waiting for your next blog…

Nice article!! Really India is the very good destination to visit it has many tourist places to enjoy your Holiday trip, i think in India one more destination to visit is Andaman island, it has very good beaches for thrilling experience.

Ooh, we really want to go to Andaman Island. Yet another thing to add to our list! Thanks for sharing.

Brilliantly complied list of key tips to remember! I think these are universal and would help all travelers visiting India. 🙂

Thank You for share this Article . to me i thought nothing much about India the thing i knew about India was the cultural norms but today i feel honored to know about India and am starting following your blogs for more about India.

Thank you for feedback Jessica 🙂

I believe one of the core lessons India teaches is acceptance))) There are positive and negative sides everywhere, so it’s important to consider both of them 🙂

Thank you, Vidya! Totally agree with you on food, especially combos and sweets!!) India is a comprehensive experience with its contrasts, diversity and culture) This country will not leave anyone indifferent!

Hey Natalia, The facts described about India is totally true. India has got a lot of culture, traditions and rituals, but people here are really fantastic. Specially the food I like the most, with various cuisines right from north to south and west to east, all the local cuisines here are just wonderful. I really love this Country. Keep posting

Than you for this article, it is most helpful. I agree that some people tend to focus too much on the negative, like hygiene and timing. But there is so much good in India, both in terms of living culture and history, I really think those things are more important. We just have to learn to work around the problems.

Very helpful tips about travel in India! It is wonderful that the country is a treat for vegetarian travelers. Good reminders about following basic etiquette.

These were the actual facts of india 🙂 thank you for sharing

Nice post i agree with your all post. India is the really incredible destination for tourism.

Excellent tips to empower India First-Timer. Thanks Dave and Deb

Thank you, Brad for yout feedback.

The ridiculous thing about this situation is that India has a lot of money. There are many wealthy people in India, however most of rich people become richer because of the class system and cheap labor. And the lower class become poorer with each year, unfortunately..

Sidonie, I was in India on a Business Visa. There are 12 points or so that allow you to open Business visa. I left the country for a few weeks to reopen Visa, however if you stay with the same company, you can extend Visa in India itself. If you might need additional information about visa, registration, extensions, I will be glad to share info from my experience)

Vangel, thank you for your comment. You are right, I personally experienced these things while working there. I think I could add more tips, but that would be too long article))

Namaste. How did you manage to stay in India for 2 years? what kind of visa did you have? did you need to leave the country to renew it? thanks!

I agree with you with not bargaining with farmers. They really work hard and I know from my country that they earn their money the really hard way. Great article. Thanks for sharing!

Really good to know facts about India. Great article thanks for sharing such useful information.Appreciative work!

Really Good to Read! I am from India. I agree these tips are useful for foreigners who love and plan to travel India. Because I know how our people are treating the tourist. I hope Natalia is really understand our country. She content speaks very well about our nation.

Thanks Mathavan K

Thanks for sharing this Blog.

The India Holidays is one of the leading holidays tour packages provider in all over India. You can get best and cheap tour packages at here, for instance service you should contact here.

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The best things to do in merano, south tyrol, italy.

view city Merano/Meran Italy

We spent the first days of our Northern Italian road trip in the South Tyrolean town of Merano. And what a place to start with. This utterly charming, pastel-colored town captivated both Jan and me in only a few minutes. A beautiful, colorful environment with majestic mountain ranges on the horizon, impressive architecture, a cozy atmosphere and delicious cuisine. What more could I wish for? That’s why I would like to take you on a journey along the the best things to do in Merano.

A little bit more about Merano!

Merano or Meran is a region in the north of South Tyrol, not far from the capital Bolzano. The region consists of the charming town of Merano and the surrounding, imposing mountain landscape.

After a turbulent history, the city of Merano became very popular in the 19th century for its beneficial effects thanks to a healthy climate and medicinal thermal baths.

Many intellectuals and important heads of state from Europe traveled there. Merano was even the favorite winter spa of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, better known as Sissi.

This resulted in the development of a real cultural centre with impressive Art Nouveau buildings and beautifully landscaped pedestrian promenades. This way Merano became a major tourist attraction. Today you can still experience the glory of the Belle Époque here.

How to get to Merano?   

Since Merano was a destination on our Northern Italian road trip we traveled there by car from Belgium. Prepare yourself for a few hours of meandering on narrow mountain roads, but don’t forget to enjoy the spectacular views.

Of course you can also travel there by plane. The nearest airport is located in Bolzano. During the winter season you can you can easily fly to Bolzano with the airline  skyalps from Antwerp in Belgium. In just 2 hours you are in beautiful South Tyrol.

From the airport in Bolzano you can choose to rent a car. It’s best to book one online before you leave. But of course you can also use public transport such as the train or bus. With the Südtirol ‘to go’ app, both for  IOS   and  Android , you can easily check the timetable of public transport.

If you travel by car, I advise you to book a stay with a parking area. The public parking facilities in the center of Merano are pretty expensive. You can easily move around the city on foot. For sights that are slightly further away, you can use your car or public transport.

When is the best time to visit Merano?

Merano is charming during all seasons. During the winter months, Merano is covered in snow. But this makes this town extra cozy. Around the Christmas period you can enjoy the famous Christmas market.Besides, it’s also an excellent base for ardent winter sports enthusiasts who will certainly find what they are looking for in the nearby ski area of Meran 2000.

From spring to autumn you can enjoy the beautifully landscaped promenades with the most fragrant and colorful flowers and plants. Each season has its own scents and color palette. With an average of about 300 sunny days, the climate here is extremely favorable for different types of vegetation, allowing you to admire the most unique and colorful scenes. This way you can dream away under a waving palm tree with a front row view of the surrounding mountains.

trauttmansdorff gardens Merano

We were there in September and we had such a wonderful stay. We enjoyed the pleasant late summer weather and the many beautiful colors.

Where to stay in Merano?  

Since I already told you a bit about the history of Merano, it will probably not surprise you that you can stay here in most luxurious hotels & resorts.

The most famous hotel in the heart of Merano is of course  Hotel Therme Meran . This is located right next to the famous Merano Terme Spa. It’s also connected through an underground tunnel.

But of course Merano has many other accommodations. You can also have a luxurious and authentic stay in  Hotel Bavaria  or Hotel Adria .

And even better, there are also a couple impressive mountain resorts. They are a bit further from the city center. Besides all the luxury and wellness facilities they also offer a dazzling view of the surrounding mountain landscape. Interested? Then be sure to check out  Hotel Ansitz Plantitscherhof  or Prinz Rudolf Smart Hotel .

Would you like to spend the night in a beautiful castle in the mountains? Then  Relais & Chateaux Hotel Castel Fragsburg  is definitely the perfect spot for you! This place is already on my bucket list.

Of course there are also nice, more budget-friendly options. In the center these are usually apartments such as  Rosa Rooms Meran ,  Portico ventizerodue  or  Rennweg 114 .

A little further from the center you will also find budget-friendly B&Bs and guest houses such as   b&b Gästehaus Seitzhof  and  Tannerhof Bed & Breakfast.

The best things to do in Merano  

Wander around in the city centre of merano.

One of the best things to do in Merano is a visit to the historic city centre. Here you still find various traces of history. The oldest date back to the Middle Ages. Such as the city gates, the impressive St. Nikolaus Church or Duomo di Merano and the surrounding Steinbach district. The Duomo di Merano is by the way one of the oldest Gothic buildings in South Tyrol!

Bozner Tor Merano

Make some time for a stroll along the famous Laubengasse shopping street or Via Portici. This is a beautiful 18th century street with arcades where you can find many authentic boutiques and tasty, local restaurants. If you can, try the local specialty dumplings or enjoy a delicious strudel for desert.

Via the city gate Bozner Tor you literally walk from one era to another. From the cozy medieval town to the stunning Art Nouveau area that is located along the river Passer or Passirio.

passerpromenade Merano

From the Postbrücke you have a great view over the river, the surrounding mountain landscape and some Art Nouveau gems such as the Kurhaus.

The Kurhaus dates from the 2nd half of the 19th century and has stunning spaces where today events are regularly held. The Kurhaus is unfortunately only accessible during these events.

Kurhaus Merano

Be sure to stroll further through the magnificent, covered winter promenade. An Art Nouveau gallery where you can’t only admire a stunning piece of architecture, but also the artwork of local artists.

Winterpromenade Merano

The famous promenades of Merano

Merano is also sometimes referred to as a garden city. As I mentioned earlier, due to its favorable climate, this city is the mecca for a variety of colorful flowers and plants. Numerous walking trails leave from the city centre to discover the beautiful city and its surroundings. There is the Passer promenade along the river, the Kur promenade along the Kurshaus, the Sommer promenade across the covered Winter promenade on the other side of the Passer.

For those who would like to see something more than just the city centre, there is also the Tappeiner trail and the Sissi path. The Tappeiner trail is a 4 kilometer long walk on the flanks of the mountain with beautiful views over Merano and the surrounding area. Highly recommended!

Viewpoint Tapeinerweg Merano

Along the way you will also pass some cozy eateries, so a perfect walk to start just before lunch.

Lunch Tapeinerweg Merano

The Sissi path is about 3 kilometers long and takes you past the Empress Elisabeth aka Sissi’s favorite places in Merano with the Trautmansdorff Gardens as the final stop.

You can obtain a map for these walking trails at the tourist office in Merano.

A day of relaxing in Merano Terme Spa  

When you visit a city known as a spa, it goes without saying to plan a day of self-care. This is possible at  Merano Terme Spa .

From a beautiful setting with a view of the impressive, surrounding mountain landscape, you can enjoy the healingl effects of the thermal baths. There are no fewer than 15 swimming pools here, each with its own characteristics.

You can also opt for a ticket including access to the various saunas. And if you really want to go all out? Take a look at the extensive range of beauty treatments and massages.

In short, a paradise for the modern wellness enthusiast.

Explore the lush Trautmansdorff gardens

Traveling to Merano between April and October? Then I highly recommend visiting one of its most beautiful sights, the stunning  Trautmansdorff gardens . For all lovers of plants, flowers, art and panoramic views, this is the place to be.

trauttmansdorff gardens Merano

Discover the landscaped paths between the most diverse plants and colorful flowers. Feast your eyes and enjoy. Don’t forget to hike to the peak for the most spectacular views. And pay a visit to ‘the garden of lovers’, by far my favorite spot in the Trautmansdorff gardens.

trauttmansdorff gardens Merano

The Trauttmansdorff Castle is now a tourist museum where you can discover more about the history of tourism in South Tyrol.

You can easily reach the Trautmansdorff gardens from the centre of Merano on foot via the 3 km long Sissi hiking trail. But of course you can also use public transport. Take bus 4 or 1B at Merano train station.

Are you going by car? Then you can park a full day in the provided parking for 4 eur. A visit to the gardens and the castle costs 15 eur per person.

More things to do in the neighbourhood of Merano  

Admire the waterfall of parcines/ partschinser wasserfall  .

When you stay in Merano, make sure to plan some time to visit the most beautiful and also the highest waterfall in South Tyrol.

This beautiful natural phenomenon is about 20 minutes by car from the centre of Merano. On the way past the village of Parcines you will come across several parking lots. You can choose to park there and take the shuttle bus to the waterfall. But you can also continue along a steep mountain road to the nearest parking lot. This one is located near Gasthaus Birkenwald. There you can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea on the cozy terrace.

From here you can also take a shuttle bus to the waterfall which is located even higher. The bus stops approximately in the middle of the waterfall. From there you can climb to the top of the waterfall, but also descend back along a super cool, winding hiking trail between the woods. Personally, I found the descent a bit more spectacular, because from there you have a full view of the impressive waterfall than when you climb to the top and can only see the waterfall up close.  

Partschinser Wasserfall 

One more tip, there are also amazing hiking trails to the waterfall from the mountain station and the valley station of the Texelbahn cable car

Experience an adrenaline rush on the toboggan run Alpin Bob  

Can’t a little adventure be missing from your trip? Then the 1.1 km long, winding toboggan run of Alpin bob is just what you are looking for. It is also a super fun activity for the whole family.

Alpin Bob is located in the Merano 2000 ski area . It is best to drive to the Falzeben parking by car. That is a 30-minute drive from the centre of Merano. You have to pay for the parking, but I don’t know the exact price. Since we arrived in the early evening, we were allowed to park for free.

From here you can take the cable car to the top of the mountain where Alpin Bob is located. A return ticket is 22 euros per person, but from 2PM the price decreases to 15.5 euros per person.

Arriving at the top of the mountain, it is best to take some time to enjoy the spectacular views. Prepare yourself mentally for a hellish ride and buy your ticket at the cash register. A ride costs 5 euros per person, for children under 10 years it’s free.

Of course you can do other fun activities in this ski area such as hiking, mountain biking, climbing and even paragliding.

Go for the most adventurous multiple day hike in South Tyrol: the Meraner Högenweg  

Thanks to its excellent location at the foot of the Texegruppe Natural Park or Parco Naturale Gruppo del Tessa, Merano is also the perfect base for active travellers. There you can take one of the most beautiful and adventurous mountain hikes in South Tyrol: the Meraner Höhenweg . This is an almost 100 km long hiking trail with views of the mountain landscape of Merano, the Vinschgau and, in good weather, the Dolomites and the Ortler Massif. This challenging hike for experienced hikers consists of several days, and is also offered with guides. Along the way you will pass several huts where you can stay overnight.

On the Meraner Höhenweg there are several entrances and exits that make it possible to make shorter trips. These access points are easily accessible by cable cars, public transport or car.

The best time to do this hike is from June to September.

How beautiful is this place? We were able to enjoy the best things to do in Merano for two full days. Moreover, we were very surprised by the versatility of this city. This is the ideal holiday destination for both culture and nature lovers, not to mention foodies and bon vivants!

Which things to do in Merano are already on your bucket list? Let me know below in comments.

Want to read more about Italy? Be sure to check out these blog posts as well.

An unique stay in Ortisei, Val Gardena, The dolomites.

Where to stay on Lake Garda? 

10 things Italy is known for

Best things to do in Florence 

The ultimate Cinque Terre itinerary

A perfect weekend in Umbria

The ultimate Puglia road trip

Thanks for reading!

Yours truly,

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India Traveler View

Travel health notices, vaccines and medicines, non-vaccine-preventable diseases, stay healthy and safe.

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After Your Trip

Map - India

Be aware of current health issues in India. Learn how to protect yourself.

Level 1 Practice Usual Precautions

  • Global Measles March 22, 2024 Many international destinations are reporting increased numbers of cases of measles. Destination List: Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Malaysia, Mauritania, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Republic of South Sudan, Republic of the Congo, Romania, Russia, Senegal, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Togo, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Zambia

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Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor at least a month before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need. If you or your doctor need help finding a location that provides certain vaccines or medicines, visit the Find a Clinic page.

Routine vaccines

Recommendations.

Make sure you are up-to-date on all routine vaccines before every trip. Some of these vaccines include

  • Chickenpox (Varicella)
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)

Immunization schedules

All eligible travelers should be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. Please see  Your COVID-19 Vaccination  for more information. 

COVID-19 vaccine

Cholera is  presumed to be present  in India. Cholera is rare in travelers.  Certain factors  may increase the risk of getting cholera or having severe disease ( more information ). Avoiding unsafe food and water and washing your hands can also help prevent cholera. Avoiding unsafe food and water and washing your hands can also help prevent cholera.

Vaccination may be considered for children and adults who are traveling to areas of active cholera transmission.

Cholera - CDC Yellow Book

Hepatitis A

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers one year old or older going to India.

Infants 6 to 11 months old should also be vaccinated against Hepatitis A. The dose does not count toward the routine 2-dose series.

Travelers allergic to a vaccine component or who are younger than 6 months should receive a single dose of immune globulin, which provides effective protection for up to 2 months depending on dosage given.

Unvaccinated travelers who are over 40 years old, immunocompromised, or have chronic medical conditions planning to depart to a risk area in less than 2 weeks should get the initial dose of vaccine and at the same appointment receive immune globulin.

Hepatitis A - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Hep A

Hepatitis B

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers younger than 60 years old traveling to India. Unvaccinated travelers 60 years and older may get vaccinated before traveling to India.

Hepatitis B - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Hep B

Japanese Encephalitis

Recommended for travelers who

  • Are moving to an area with Japanese encephalitis to live
  • Spend long periods of time, such as a month or more, in areas with Japanese encephalitis
  • Frequently travel to areas with Japanese encephalitis

Consider vaccination for travelers

  • Spending less than a month in areas with Japanese encephalitis but will be doing activities that increase risk of infection, such as visiting rural areas, hiking or camping, or staying in places without air conditioning, screens, or bed nets
  • Going to areas with Japanese encephalitis who are uncertain of their activities or how long they will be there

Not recommended for travelers planning short-term travel to urban areas or travel to areas with no clear Japanese encephalitis season. 

Japanese encephalitis - CDC Yellow Book

Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine for US Children

CDC recommends that travelers going to certain areas of India take prescription medicine to prevent malaria. Depending on the medicine you take, you will need to start taking this medicine multiple days before your trip, as well as during and after your trip. Talk to your doctor about which malaria medication you should take.

Find  country-specific information  about malaria.

Malaria - CDC Yellow Book

Considerations when choosing a drug for malaria prophylaxis (CDC Yellow Book)

Malaria information for India.

Cases of measles are on the rise worldwide. Travelers are at risk of measles if they have not been fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to departure, or have not had measles in the past, and travel internationally to areas where measles is spreading.

All international travelers should be fully vaccinated against measles with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, including an early dose for infants 6–11 months, according to  CDC’s measles vaccination recommendations for international travel .

Measles (Rubeola) - CDC Yellow Book

Rabid dogs are commonly found in India. However, if you are bitten or scratched by a dog or other mammal while in India, rabies treatment is often available. 

Consider rabies vaccination before your trip if your activities mean you will be around dogs or wildlife.

Travelers more likely to encounter rabid animals include

  • Campers, adventure travelers, or cave explorers (spelunkers)
  • Veterinarians, animal handlers, field biologists, or laboratory workers handling animal specimens
  • Visitors to rural areas

Since children are more likely to be bitten or scratched by a dog or other animals, consider rabies vaccination for children traveling to India. 

Rabies - CDC Yellow Book

Recommended for most travelers, especially those staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities or rural areas.

Typhoid - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Typhoid

Yellow Fever

  • Arrive within 6 days of leaving an area with risk for YF virus transmission, or
  • Have been in such an area in transit (exception: passengers and members of flight crews who, while in transit through an airport in an area with risk for YF virus transmission, remained in the airport during their entire stay and the health officer agrees to such an exemption), or
  • Arrive on a ship that started from or touched at any port in an area with risk for YF virus transmission ≤30 days before its arrival in India, unless such a ship has been disinsected in accordance with the procedure recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), or
  • Arrive on an aircraft that has been in an area with risk for YF virus transmission and has not been disinsected in accordance with the Indian Aircraft Public Health Rules, 1954, or as recommended by WHO.
  • Africa: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Togo, Uganda
  • Americas: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago (Trinidad only), Venezuela

Yellow Fever - CDC Yellow Book

Avoid contaminated water

Leptospirosis

How most people get sick (most common modes of transmission)

  • Touching urine or other body fluids from an animal infected with leptospirosis
  • Swimming or wading in urine-contaminated fresh water, or contact with urine-contaminated mud
  • Drinking water or eating food contaminated with animal urine
  • Avoid contaminated water and soil

Clinical Guidance

Avoid bug bites.

Chikungunya

  • Mosquito bite
  • Avoid Bug Bites

Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic fever

  • Tick bite 
  • Touching the body fluids of a person or animal infected with CCHF
  • Mosquito bite

Leishmaniasis

  • Sand fly bite
  • An infected pregnant woman can spread it to her unborn baby

Airborne & droplet

Avian/bird flu.

  • Being around, touching, or working with infected poultry, such as visiting poultry farms or live-animal markets
  • Avoid domestic and wild poultry
  • Breathing in air or accidentally eating food contaminated with the urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents
  • Bite from an infected rodent
  • Less commonly, being around someone sick with hantavirus (only occurs with Andes virus)
  • Avoid rodents and areas where they live
  • Avoid sick people

Tuberculosis (TB)

  • Breathe in TB bacteria that is in the air from an infected and contagious person coughing, speaking, or singing.

Learn actions you can take to stay healthy and safe on your trip. Vaccines cannot protect you from many diseases in India, so your behaviors are important.

Eat and drink safely

Food and water standards around the world vary based on the destination. Standards may also differ within a country and risk may change depending on activity type (e.g., hiking versus business trip). You can learn more about safe food and drink choices when traveling by accessing the resources below.

  • Choose Safe Food and Drinks When Traveling
  • Water Treatment Options When Hiking, Camping or Traveling
  • Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene | Healthy Water
  • Avoid Contaminated Water During Travel

You can also visit the Department of State Country Information Pages for additional information about food and water safety.

Prevent bug bites

Bugs (like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas) can spread a number of diseases in India. Many of these diseases cannot be prevented with a vaccine or medicine. You can reduce your risk by taking steps to prevent bug bites.

What can I do to prevent bug bites?

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
  • Use an appropriate insect repellent (see below).
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
  • Stay and sleep in air-conditioned or screened rooms.
  • Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.

What type of insect repellent should I use?

  • FOR PROTECTION AGAINST TICKS AND MOSQUITOES: Use a repellent that contains 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up to several hours.
  • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin)
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD)
  • 2-undecanone
  • Always use insect repellent as directed.

What should I do if I am bitten by bugs?

  • Avoid scratching bug bites, and apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to reduce the itching.
  • Check your entire body for ticks after outdoor activity. Be sure to remove ticks properly.

What can I do to avoid bed bugs?

Although bed bugs do not carry disease, they are an annoyance. See our information page about avoiding bug bites for some easy tips to avoid them. For more information on bed bugs, see Bed Bugs .

For more detailed information on avoiding bug bites, see Avoid Bug Bites .

Some diseases in India—such as dengue, Zika, filariasis, and leishmaniasis—are spread by bugs and cannot be prevented with a vaccine. Follow the insect avoidance measures described above to prevent these and other illnesses.

Stay safe outdoors

If your travel plans in India include outdoor activities, take these steps to stay safe and healthy during your trip.

  • Stay alert to changing weather conditions and adjust your plans if conditions become unsafe.
  • Prepare for activities by wearing the right clothes and packing protective items, such as bug spray, sunscreen, and a basic first aid kit.
  • Consider learning basic first aid and CPR before travel. Bring a travel health kit with items appropriate for your activities.
  • If you are outside for many hours in heat, eat salty snacks and drink water to stay hydrated and replace salt lost through sweating.
  • Protect yourself from UV radiation : use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, wear protective clothing, and seek shade during the hottest time of day (10 a.m.–4 p.m.).
  • Be especially careful during summer months and at high elevation. Because sunlight reflects off snow, sand, and water, sun exposure may be increased during activities like skiing, swimming, and sailing.
  • Very cold temperatures can be dangerous. Dress in layers and cover heads, hands, and feet properly if you are visiting a cold location.

Stay safe around water

  • Swim only in designated swimming areas. Obey lifeguards and warning flags on beaches.
  • Practice safe boating—follow all boating safety laws, do not drink alcohol if driving a boat, and always wear a life jacket.
  • Do not dive into shallow water.
  • Do not swim in freshwater in developing areas or where sanitation is poor.
  • Avoid swallowing water when swimming. Untreated water can carry germs that make you sick.
  • To prevent infections, wear shoes on beaches where there may be animal waste.

Schistosomiasis and leptospirosis, infections that can be spread in fresh water, are found in India. Avoid swimming in fresh, unchlorinated water, such as lakes, ponds, or rivers.

Keep away from animals

Most animals avoid people, but they may attack if they feel threatened, are protecting their young or territory, or if they are injured or ill. Animal bites and scratches can lead to serious diseases such as rabies.

Follow these tips to protect yourself:

  • Do not touch or feed any animals you do not know.
  • Do not allow animals to lick open wounds, and do not get animal saliva in your eyes or mouth.
  • Avoid rodents and their urine and feces.
  • Traveling pets should be supervised closely and not allowed to come in contact with local animals.
  • If you wake in a room with a bat, seek medical care immediately. Bat bites may be hard to see.

All animals can pose a threat, but be extra careful around dogs, bats, monkeys, sea animals such as jellyfish, and snakes. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, immediately:

  • Wash the wound with soap and clean water.
  • Go to a doctor right away.
  • Tell your doctor about your injury when you get back to the United States.

Consider buying medical evacuation insurance. Rabies is a deadly disease that must be treated quickly, and treatment may not be available in some countries.

Reduce your exposure to germs

Follow these tips to avoid getting sick or spreading illness to others while traveling:

  • Wash your hands often, especially before eating.
  • If soap and water aren’t available, clean hands with hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Try to avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home or in your hotel room, unless you need medical care.

Avoid sharing body fluids

Diseases can be spread through body fluids, such as saliva, blood, vomit, and semen.

Protect yourself:

  • Use latex condoms correctly.
  • Do not inject drugs.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. People take more risks when intoxicated.
  • Do not share needles or any devices that can break the skin. That includes needles for tattoos, piercings, and acupuncture.
  • If you receive medical or dental care, make sure the equipment is disinfected or sanitized.

Know how to get medical care while traveling

Plan for how you will get health care during your trip, should the need arise:

  • Carry a list of local doctors and hospitals at your destination.
  • Review your health insurance plan to determine what medical services it would cover during your trip. Consider purchasing travel health and medical evacuation insurance.
  • Carry a card that identifies, in the local language, your blood type, chronic conditions or serious allergies, and the generic names of any medications you take.
  • Some prescription drugs may be illegal in other countries. Call India’s embassy to verify that all of your prescription(s) are legal to bring with you.
  • Bring all the medicines (including over-the-counter medicines) you think you might need during your trip, including extra in case of travel delays. Ask your doctor to help you get prescriptions filled early if you need to.

Many foreign hospitals and clinics are accredited by the Joint Commission International. A list of accredited facilities is available at their website ( www.jointcommissioninternational.org ).

In some countries, medicine (prescription and over-the-counter) may be substandard or counterfeit. Bring the medicines you will need from the United States to avoid having to buy them at your destination.

Malaria is a risk in India. Fill your malaria prescription before you leave and take enough with you for the entire length of your trip. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking the pills; some need to be started before you leave.

Select safe transportation

Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of healthy US citizens in foreign countries.

In many places cars, buses, large trucks, rickshaws, bikes, people on foot, and even animals share the same lanes of traffic, increasing the risk for crashes.

Be smart when you are traveling on foot.

  • Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks.
  • Pay attention to the traffic around you, especially in crowded areas.
  • Remember, people on foot do not always have the right of way in other countries.

Riding/Driving

Choose a safe vehicle.

  • Choose official taxis or public transportation, such as trains and buses.
  • Ride only in cars that have seatbelts.
  • Avoid overcrowded, overloaded, top-heavy buses and minivans.
  • Avoid riding on motorcycles or motorbikes, especially motorbike taxis. (Many crashes are caused by inexperienced motorbike drivers.)
  • Choose newer vehicles—they may have more safety features, such as airbags, and be more reliable.
  • Choose larger vehicles, which may provide more protection in crashes.

Think about the driver.

  • Do not drive after drinking alcohol or ride with someone who has been drinking.
  • Consider hiring a licensed, trained driver familiar with the area.
  • Arrange payment before departing.

Follow basic safety tips.

  • Wear a seatbelt at all times.
  • Sit in the back seat of cars and taxis.
  • When on motorbikes or bicycles, always wear a helmet. (Bring a helmet from home, if needed.)
  • Avoid driving at night; street lighting in certain parts of India may be poor.
  • Do not use a cell phone or text while driving (illegal in many countries).
  • Travel during daylight hours only, especially in rural areas.
  • If you choose to drive a vehicle in India, learn the local traffic laws and have the proper paperwork.
  • Get any driving permits and insurance you may need. Get an International Driving Permit (IDP). Carry the IDP and a US-issued driver's license at all times.
  • Check with your auto insurance policy's international coverage, and get more coverage if needed. Make sure you have liability insurance.
  • Avoid using local, unscheduled aircraft.
  • If possible, fly on larger planes (more than 30 seats); larger airplanes are more likely to have regular safety inspections.
  • Try to schedule flights during daylight hours and in good weather.

Medical Evacuation Insurance

If you are seriously injured, emergency care may not be available or may not meet US standards. Trauma care centers are uncommon outside urban areas. Having medical evacuation insurance can be helpful for these reasons.

Helpful Resources

Road Safety Overseas (Information from the US Department of State): Includes tips on driving in other countries, International Driving Permits, auto insurance, and other resources.

The Association for International Road Travel has country-specific Road Travel Reports available for most countries for a minimal fee.

For information traffic safety and road conditions in India, see Travel and Transportation on US Department of State's country-specific information for India .

Traffic flows on the left side of the road in India.

  • Always pay close attention to the flow of traffic, especially when crossing the street.
  • LOOK RIGHT for approaching traffic.

Maintain personal security

Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would at home, and always stay alert and aware of your surroundings.

Before you leave

  • Research your destination(s), including local laws, customs, and culture.
  • Monitor travel advisories and alerts and read travel tips from the US Department of State.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) .
  • Leave a copy of your itinerary, contact information, credit cards, and passport with someone at home.
  • Pack as light as possible, and leave at home any item you could not replace.

While at your destination(s)

  • Carry contact information for the nearest US embassy or consulate .
  • Carry a photocopy of your passport and entry stamp; leave the actual passport securely in your hotel.
  • Follow all local laws and social customs.
  • Do not wear expensive clothing or jewelry.
  • Always keep hotel doors locked, and store valuables in secure areas.
  • If possible, choose hotel rooms between the 2nd and 6th floors.

To call for emergency services while in India, dial 100 or, from a mobile phone, 112. Write these numbers down to carry with you during your trip.

Learn as much as you can about India before you travel there. A good place to start is the country-specific information on India from the US Department of State.

Healthy Travel Packing List

Use the Healthy Travel Packing List for India for a list of health-related items to consider packing for your trip. Talk to your doctor about which items are most important for you.

Why does CDC recommend packing these health-related items?

It’s best to be prepared to prevent and treat common illnesses and injuries. Some supplies and medicines may be difficult to find at your destination, may have different names, or may have different ingredients than what you normally use.

If you are not feeling well after your trip, you may need to see a doctor. If you need help finding a travel medicine specialist, see Find a Clinic . Be sure to tell your doctor about your travel, including where you went and what you did on your trip. Also tell your doctor if you were bitten or scratched by an animal while traveling.

If your doctor prescribed antimalarial medicine for your trip, keep taking the rest of your pills after you return home. If you stop taking your medicine too soon, you could still get sick.

Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness. If you become ill with a fever either while traveling in a malaria-risk area or after you return home (for up to 1 year), you should seek immediate medical attention and should tell the doctor about your travel history.

For more information on what to do if you are sick after your trip, see Getting Sick after Travel .

Map Disclaimer - The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on maps do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. Approximate border lines for which there may not yet be full agreement are generally marked.

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Krishna is the editor for politics and general news in India. He has also closely tracked India’s health industry and all things Bangladesh. He was a member of teams that won the Society of Publishers in Asia awards in 2017 and 2018 for Reuters coverage of the Bangladesh Bank heist and the Rohingya refugee crisis. He served as Malaysia bureau chief in 2019 and 2020 before returning home.

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Discover South Tyrol

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A foyer in Meran/Merano

Meran/Merano

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Experiences & events, discover this spa town between mountain peaks and palm trees.

In the province’s second largest city, rural tradition and modernity, the Alpine and the Mediterranean, as well as history and the present merge.

Searching for mountains and palm trees? Do you love the secluded moments while hiking, but also enjoy serene city life? Meran is South Tyrol’s city that checks all boxes. Here you can ascend to quiet Alpine pastures or peaks in the morning, only to stroll through the  bustling arcades of the old town  shortly after. Meanwhile, the city gets its sophisticated character from the  art nouveau villas , the  architecturally outstanding   Terme Merano , green promenades and its rich cultural offerings.

While the crisp mountain air is refreshing, it is usually milder in the valley than elsewhere in the province. From March,  spring  is already in the air here. As a result, the promenades lined with flowerbeds and palm trees become popular walkways.  Sissi, the legendary  Empress of Austria, who had a special place in her heart for the city, once walked some of these paths herself.

Tappeinerweg Trail

Tappeinerweg Trail

Meran Burggräfler Winery

Meran Burggräfler Winery

Gilf Promenade

Gilf Promenade

Trauttmansdorff Meran

The “Most Beautiful Gardens in the World”

Touriseum - South Tyrol Museum of Tourism

Touriseum - South Tyrol Museum of Tourism

Overnighting in meran.

From subtly designed art hotels to small pensions in the countryside or even luxurious wellness hotel, there is something to suite every taste for an ideal holiday in Meran.

What makes Meran so special?

It's quite possible that you'll forget that you're in the middle of the Alps when in Meran: The climate is so mild that lemon trees and palm trees thrive here, and spring has long since begun, even though there is still plenty of snow on the surrounding mountains. The combination of Alpine surroundings and Mediterranean vegetation  shapes Meran's unique atmosphere. For 20 years already, the  Gardens of Schloss Trauttmansdorff castle  have wowed guests with their 80 garden worlds and plants from all over the world. The Schloss Tirol castle looms above the city while the arcade of the old town are a reminder of bustling trade during the Middle Ages. After Empress Elisabeth of the Austro-Hungarian Empire first came to Meran for a cure in 1870, the town blossomed, becoming the  noble spa town of the European aristocracy. Magnificent promenades and Art Nouveau buildings , such as the Kurhaus, bear witness to this rich history. Just across the street, the contemporary cube architecture of the Terme Merano is impressive. Strolling through the centuries-old Meraner Lauben arcade, you'll discover Italian fashion boutiques and international chains alongside historic commercial establishments. Meanwhile, the local area surrounding the spa town can be explored on countless  hiking and biking trails . The idyllic  Waalwege canal trails  are typical of the Meran area.

Familie auf einem sonnenverwöhnten Spazierweg mit Blick auf zahlreiche Bäume und einen Fluss, der durch Meran fließt.

Experience culture in Meran

From international wine and food events to contemporary exhibitions and traditional festivals, the people of Meran enjoy rich culture offerings which reflects their way of life. Such events are a great way to get to know the province and its people.

Valuable water

Opposite the Kurhaus, the Terme Merano dominates the townscape: the contemporary cube made of glass and steel was designed by star architect Matteo Thun. Here you can relax in style in the healing thermal waters.

Therme Meran

Meran’s Old Town

The oldest part of Meran is still characterised by  stately buildings, impressive villas, handsome homes and monuments from the Art Nouveau period . The many green areas of the ‘city of gardens’ enhance this elegant appearance.

Of the four gates that once granted access to the alleys of the historic town centre, only three still exist today. If you cross the Postbrücke bridge, you'll see some of the city's most important attractions along the Passer river including the  Kurhaus, the Gilfpromenade, the Zenoberg district and the Pulverturm tower . Afterwards you will pass through the  Bozner Tor city gate, which dates back to the 14th century . At this point, you are already in the middle of the old town on the  Laubengasse  shopping street, the origins of which date back to the 18th century. At 400 metres in length, it is  South Tyrol’s longest arcade . Here, medieval buildings house elegant stores and stylish eateries featuring typical South Tyrolean food.

The Laubengasse connects the Kornplatz square, where the market used to be held, with the  St. Nicholas Church . The church, built between the 14th and 15th centuries, is one of the oldest examples of Gothic architecture in Tyrol. Its bell tower is over 80 metres high and has seven clocks. Behind the church is the  Steinach quarter, the oldest district in Meran . Even though the buildings are modern today, the layout of the alleys always hints at the long history of this part of town.

Die Meraner Altstadt an einem strahlenden Herbsttag umrahmt von Zypressen und Berge

Romantic walkways and green promenades

Meran is a small  city of gardens , ideal for people who like to walk in the countryside. There are numerous routes that go out from the centre of the city and impress with their plants from all over the world and spectacular panoramic views all year round.

The Passer river flows through the centre with numerous footpaths running along its banks. The  Passer Promenade  is located on the right bank, between the Postbrücke bridge and the Eiserner Steg bridge. Towards the east, the promenade connects with the  Kurpromenade ,which then leads to the sunny  Winterpromenade , which is especially recommended in the colder months. In the summer months, one should rather opt for the Sommerpromenade, which winds through dense, shady vegetation on the left side of the Passer river. Near the Postbrücke bridge, you can pause to admire the  Sissi Monument, which is made from Lasa marble . The  Gilfpromenade  begins where the Winterpromenade and Sommerpromenade meet. This leads up to the Pulverturm tower, which offers magnificent panoramic views over Meran. From here you can continue your walk on the  Tappeinerweg trail , which extends over four kilometres and leads above the roofs of the town along the mountainside to the district of Gratsch.

Ein Mann geht mit seinem Hund auf einem Weg oberhalb der Altstadt von Meran Gassi.

Shopping in Meran

Hike on winter trails with your boots on or whizz down the immaculately groomed ski runs in Meran's surrounding area in the morning hours and enjoy some afternoon shopping in South Tyrol's cities. Meran has an enchanting old town with many archways and the popular Rennweg and Freiheitsstraße roads. Besides natural alpine cosmetics , you can purchase arts and crafts, local food specialties or walk in fashion boutiques, traditional and sports stores.  When your shopping day has come to an end, you can sit in a cozy pub, restaurant or café.

Eine Person probiert Schuhe an

Much to experience

Weather in meran/merano.

Check out our weather forecast in  Meran  and planning your vacation in South Tyrol will be easier. And if you want to go up in the mountains, our weather forecast informs you about visibility, sunrise, sunset and zero-degree isotherm.

Your holiday in Meran/Merano

If you fancy relaxation from the start, give it a try: take a train or bus instead. Once you get to South Tyrol, you have plenty of transfer options that will take you from the rail or bus station to your accommodation. And the excellent public transport network of the region will get you around your destination effortlessly.

Travel by train

From Bolzano, you can reach Merano directly by connecting train. You can continue by bus, taxi or the "Südtirol Transfer" shuttle, which will take you directly to your holiday accommodation.

Local Transport

Meran has numerous one-of-a-kind attractions and interesting events. We want your memories of the city to be positive and beautiful: the growing shadows in the arcades in the early evening, the cool fountains in front of the spa, the elegant façades of the townhouses, and delicious ice cream  in the shadows of lime trees on the walkways along the Passer river... Remember to take some time to relaxingly explore the city.

All the information you need to know about how best to move around Meran can be found at the  mobility.meran.eu  website. Here, you’ll profit from finding real-time available parking spots, current bus and train lines, a cycle path map (also displayed at the bike hire stations) and charging stations for electric cars.

With the MeranCard, which is available from your accommodation, make use of public transport in South Tyrol comfortably and free of charge. This guest card also entitles you to free admission at South Tyrol’s museums.

Merano Meran

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Watch CBS News

What time the 2024 solar eclipse started, reached peak totality and ended

By Sarah Maddox

Updated on: April 9, 2024 / 5:04 AM EDT / CBS News

The 2024 solar eclipse will be visible across North America today. As the moon's position between the Earth and sun casts a shadow on North America, that shadow, or umbra, will travel along the surface from west to east at more than 1,500 miles per hour along the path of totality . 

That means the eclipse will start, peak and end at different times — as will the moments of total darkness along the path of totality — and the best time to view the eclipse depends on where you are located. Some places along the path will have more totality time than others.

In Texas, the south-central region had clouds in the forecast , but it was better to the northeast, according to the National Weather Service. The best eclipse viewing weather was expected in New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine, as well as in Canada's New Brunswick and Newfoundland.

What time does the 2024 total solar eclipse start?

Eclipse map of totality

The total solar eclipse will emerge over the South Pacific Ocean before the shadow falls across North America, beginning in parts of Mexico. The path of totality , where onlookers can witness the moon fully blocking the sun (through eclipse viewing glasses for safety ), is expected to first make landfall near the city of Mazatlán around 9:51 a.m. MT. 

The total solar eclipse will cross over the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas, where it will emerge over Eagle Pass at 12:10 p.m. CT and then peak at about 1:27 p.m. CT.

In Dallas, NASA data shows the partial eclipse will first become visible at 12:23 p.m. CT and peak at 1:40 p.m. CT. The next states in the path of totality are Oklahoma and Arkansas, where the eclipse begins in Little Rock at 12:33 p.m. CT. 

Cleveland will see the beginning of the eclipse at 1:59 p.m. ET. Darkness will start spreading over the sky in Buffalo, New York, at 2:04 p.m. ET. Then, the eclipse will reach northwestern Vermont, including Burlington, at 2:14 p.m. ET. Parts of New Hampshire and Maine will also follow in the path of totality before the eclipse first reaches the Canadian mainland  at 3:13 p.m. ET.

Although the experience won't be exactly the same, viewers in all the contiguous U.S. states outside the path of totality will still be able to see a partial eclipse. Some places will see most of the sun blocked by the moon, including Washington, D.C., where the partial eclipse will start at 2:04 p.m. ET and peak at about 3:20 p.m. ET.

In Chicago, viewers can start viewing the partial eclipse at 12:51 p.m. CT, with the peak arriving at 2:07 p.m. CT.  In Detroit, viewers will be able to enjoy a near-total eclipse beginning at 1:58 p.m. ET and peaking at 3:14 p.m. ET.

New York City will also see a substantial partial eclipse, beginning at 2:10 p.m. ET and peaking around 3:25 p.m. ET.

In Boston it will begin at 2:16 p.m. ET and peak at about 3:29 p.m. ET.

The below table by NASA shows when the eclipse will start, peak and end in 13 cities along the eclipse's path.

What time will the solar eclipse reach peak totality?

Millions more people will have the chance to witness the total solar eclipse this year than during the last total solar eclipse , which was visible from the U.S. in 2017. 

The eclipse's peak will mean something different for cities within the path of totality and for those outside. Within the path of totality, darkness will fall for a few minutes. The longest will last more than 4 minutes, but most places will see between 3.5 and 4 minutes of totality. In cities experiencing a partial eclipse, a percentage of the sun will be obscured for more than two hours.

Mazatlán is set to experience totality at 11:07 am PT. Dallas will be able to see the moon fully cover the sun at 1:40 p.m. CT. Little Rock will start to see the full eclipse at 1:51 p.m. CT, Cleveland at 3:13 p.m. ET and Buffalo at 3:18 p.m. ET. Totality will reach Burlington at 3:26 p.m. ET before moving into the remaining states and reaching Canada around 4:25 p.m.

Outside the path of totality, 87.4% of the sun will be eclipsed in Washington, D.C. at 3:20 p.m. ET, and Chicago will have maximum coverage of 93.9% at 2:07 p.m. CT. New York City is much closer to the path of totality this year than it was in 2017; it will see 89.6% coverage at 3:25 p.m. EDT. 

Detroit is another city that will encounter a near-total eclipse, with 99.2% maximum coverage at 3:14 p.m. ET. Boston will see 92.4% coverage at 3:29 p.m. ET.

What time will the solar eclipse end?

The eclipse will leave continental North America from Newfoundland, Canada, at 5:16 p.m. NT, according to NASA.

At the beginning of the path of totality in Mazatlán, the eclipse will be over by 12:32 p.m. PT, and it will leave Dallas at 3:02 p.m. CT. The eclipse will end in Little Rock at 3:11 p.m. CT, Cleveland at 4:29 p.m. CDT and Buffalo at 4:32 p.m. ET. Burlington won't be far behind, with the eclipse concluding at 4:37 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the viewing will end in Chicago at 3:21 p.m. CT, Washington, D.C. at 4:32 p.m. ET, and New York City at 4:36 p.m. ET. 

In Detroit, the partial eclipse will disappear at 4:27 p.m. ET, and in Boston, it will be over at 4:39 p.m. ET.

How long will the eclipse last in total?

The total solar eclipse will begin in Mexico at 11:07 a.m. PT and leave continental North America at 5:16 p.m. NT. From the time the partial eclipse first appears on Earth to its final glimpses before disappearing thousands of miles away, the celestial show will dazzle viewers for about 5 hours, according to timeanddate.com . 

The length of the total solar eclipse at points along the path depends on the viewing location. The longest will be 4 minutes and 28 seconds, northwest of Torreón, Mexico. Near the center of the path, totality takes place for the longest periods of time, according to NASA.

Spectators will observe totality for much longer today than during the 2017 eclipse , when the longest stretch of totality was 2 minutes and 32 seconds.

The moon's shadow seen on Earth today, called the umbra, travels at more than 1,500 miles per hour, according to NASA. It would move even more quickly if the Earth rotated in the opposite direction.

What is the longest a solar eclipse has ever lasted?

The longest known totality was 7 minutes and 28 seconds in 743 B.C. However, NASA says this record will be broken in 2186 with a 7 minute, 29 second total solar eclipse. The next total solar eclipse visible from parts of the U.S. won't happen until Aug. 23, 2044.

Sarah Maddox has been with CBS News since 2019. She works as an associate producer for CBS News Live.

More from CBS News

How often do total solar eclipses happen?

When is the next total solar eclipse in the U.S.?

Is it safe to take pictures of the solar eclipse with your phone?

When was the last total solar eclipse in the U.S.? Revisiting 2017

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Things to Do in Meran

86km (53 miles) N of Trent, 28km (17 miles) NW of Bolzano

This well-heeled resort, tucked into a valley half an hour west of Bolzano, sports Europe's northernmost palm trees -- the product of a mild microclimate ensuring that summers are never too hot or humid and that winter temperatures remain above freezing even when the surrounding slopes fill with snow.

Austrian nobility and, in their wake, bourgeois vacationers from all over the Continent have been descending on Merano since the 19th century for their famous grape cure. But the town flourished long before that. In fact, the counts of Venosta were lords of what would become Austria through much of the 13th and 14th centuries; the name "Tirol" came from the Castel Tirolo, just above Merano, from which they ruled. The capital of the territories that passed from the house of Venosta to the Habsburgs was moved from Merano to Innsbruck until 1420.

With its handsome shop-lined streets, riverside promenades, and easy access to mountainous wilderness, Merano is a nice place to visit for a day or two of relaxation or hiking.

Frommer's EasyGuide to Florence and Tuscany

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The Times of India

The Times of India

10 modern baby names that mean 'beautiful'

Posted: 6 March 2024 | Last updated: 11 March 2024

<p>10 modern baby names that mean 'beautiful'</p>

​10 modern baby names that mean 'beautiful'

10 modern baby names that mean 'beautiful'

<p>Are you looking for a name that carries the timeless essence of beauty, offering a perfect blend of tradition and contemporary flair? Embrace the beauty of modern baby names with our curated list of 10 names that mean beautiful and exude elegance: </p>

​​Baby names that exude beauty​

Are you looking for a name that carries the timeless essence of beauty, offering a perfect blend of tradition and contemporary flair? Embrace the beauty of modern baby names with our curated list of 10 names that mean beautiful and exude elegance:

<p>Abeela is a lovely name that means ‘to be beautiful’.</p>

Abeela is a lovely name that means ‘to be beautiful’.

<p>Kamil is a perfect name for your beautiful boy. It means ‘perfect’ which is one of the ninety nine qualities of Allah.</p>

Kamil is a perfect name for your beautiful boy. It means ‘perfect’ which is one of the ninety nine qualities of Allah.

<p>Aanush is a unique name for a boy that stands for a beautiful morning.</p>

Aanush is a unique name for a boy that stands for a beautiful morning.

<p>Manap is a unisex name that means attractive and someone who’s winning the heart.</p>

Manap is a unisex name that means attractive and someone who’s winning the heart.

<p>As the name suggests, this name for girls reflects someone who’s extremely beautiful.</p>

​​Pareesan​

As the name suggests, this name for girls reflects someone who’s extremely beautiful.

<p>This name is made famous by songs and shayari, Afreen means praise of beauty.</p>

This name is made famous by songs and shayari, Afreen means praise of beauty.

<p>Abhirup is a name that fits the baby who’s born very beautiful.</p>

Abhirup is a name that fits the baby who’s born very beautiful.

<p>Hasan has the meaning that comes from songs of worship and exudes beauty. </p>

Hasan has the meaning that comes from songs of worship and exudes beauty.

<p>Alaya is a perfect name for girls that means extremely beautiful.</p>

Alaya is a perfect name for girls that means extremely beautiful.

<p>Fahim translates to intelligent and beautiful.</p>

Fahim translates to intelligent and beautiful.

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When is the 2024 total solar eclipse? Your guide to glasses, forecast, where to watch.

Editor's note: An updated cloud forecast for the April 2024 total solar eclipse is in. Read the latest eclipse forecast and news as of Wednesday, April 3 .

We're less than two weeks away from the astronomical event of the decade: A total eclipse of the sun , which will grace the nation's skies from Texas to Maine on the afternoon of Monday, April 8 .

Millions of people are expected to travel to see the spectacle, which will also attract scientists from across the country to study its unique effects on the Earth and its atmosphere . (Meanwhile, brands such as Burger King, Pizza Hut, Applebee's and Sonic are getting in on the eclipse excitement too.)

The full total solar eclipse experience will plunge people along a narrow path into darkness midday, but people outside the path of totality could still use eclipse glasses to see the moon pass in front of the sun. It's an awesome and confusing sight on the ground and in the sky.

It should go without saying: Don't drive while wearing eclipse glasses

One task to do now is to get yourself a pair of special eclipse glasses (and luckily there's still time to score a free pair of eclipse glasses ). They're important eyewear during an eclipse because they will block out the sun's harmful rays, which could damage your eyes when you're looking at the sun — even if it's partially blocked.

Solar eclipse glasses are still readily available from plenty of vendors across the internet as of Thursday, March 28. But be wary of counterfeit or fake glasses , experts warned.

The other big factor everyone's anxiously awaiting is the weather forecast, which most experts say is still a bit far away for a specific forecast. But more detailed, realistic forecasts will start to roll in over the next few days.

Of particular interest will be the cloud forecast , as a deck of thick, low clouds would likely ruin the entire event. But if the clouds are higher up in the atmosphere, such as thin, wispy cirrus , they'd act to diffuse but not ruin the eclipse.

USA TODAY 10Best: 10 solar eclipse fun facts to share with your friends

There's plenty to know before the big day, which won't happen again for about two decades . Read on for answers for all your eclipse questions, including how to watch the eclipse , understand the eclipse and use eclipse glasses to stay safe .

WATCHING THE APRIL 2024 ECLIPSE

How do i watch the 2024 solar eclipse.

There are a few ways of watching the eclipse:

  • Get the full experience in person : If you're in a narrow band of U.S. land that spans from Texas to Maine, you could see the moon block the sun and its shadow cast a night-like darkness over Earth for a few minutes. You'll briefly be able to look up without eye protection and see the moon block the sun.
  • Watch from outside the path of totality : Much of the U.S. is set to get a partial view of the eclipse that isn't nearly as impressive as being in the path of totality. Earth won't be plunged into complete darkness and you'll have to wear protective eyewear to see the moon partially block the sun.
  • Watch a livestream : Check back on April 8 for a video feed from the path of totality. It's not the same as being there in person, but hey, at least you won't have to sit in traffic .

Totality explained: The real April 2024 total solar eclipse happens inside the path of totality

What time is the solar eclipse on April 8?

The eclipse will begin in Texas at 1:27 p.m. CDT and end in Maine at 3:35 p.m. EDT, but the exact time of the eclipse varies by where you are in its path.

You can search by zip code to find the exact time for your location.

Where will the April eclipse be visible?

All of the lower 48 U.S. states will see the moon at least clip the sun, but that sight is a trifle compared to being in the path of totality.

Because the narrow path includes or is near some of the nation's largest cities, expect millions of people to crowd into a band of land a little over 100 miles wide that spans from the Texas/Mexico border to the Maine/Canada border.

Here are the major cities in each state where you can expect to experience totality (note that the included times do not account for when the partial eclipse begins and ends):

  • Dallas, Texas: 1:40-1:44 p.m. CDT
  • Idabel, Oklahoma: 1:45-1:49 p.m. CDT
  • Little Rock, Arkansas: 1:51-1:54 p.m. CDT
  • Poplar Bluff, Missouri: 1:56-2:00 p.m. CDT
  • Paducah, Kentucky: 2-2:02 p.m. CDT
  • Carbondale, Illinois: 1:59-2:03 p.m. CDT
  • Evansville, Indiana: 2:02-2:05 p.m. CDT
  • Cleveland, Ohio: 3:13-3:17 p.m. EDT
  • Erie, Pennsylvania: 3:16-3:20 p.m. EDT
  • Buffalo, New York: 3:18-3:22 p.m. EDT
  • Burlington, Vermont: 3:26-3:29 p.m. EDT
  • Lancaster, New Hampshire: 3:27-3:30 p.m. EDT
  • Caribou, Maine: 3:32-3:34 p.m. EDT

Will clouds block the April 2024 eclipse?

It's too soon to say for sure, but history offers some clues.

Chances of cloudy skies are pretty high along much of the eclipse's northern path, and some areas such as Buffalo have about a 1-in-3 chance of clear skies in early April.

Skies are usually more clear to the south. Right along the Texas/Mexico border, chances of a clear sky can be nearly 75%.

However, early forecasts tell a different story — although forecaster caution it's too early for truly accurate forecasts.

Keep in mind that clouds don't always ruin an eclipse . High, wispy clouds won't spoil the show in the same way that low thick clouds would. In that case, you wouldn't be able to see the moon pass in front of the sun, but you would still notice a sudden darkness in the path of totality.

What dangers are associated with the eclipse?

The  eclipse , as exciting and fun as it promises to be, comes with a growing number of safety warnings — both for what will happen in the sky and what will happen on the ground.

In addition to the dangers of looking at the eclipse without proper eyewear, we've heard warnings about potentially dangerous  fake eclipse glasses , the possibility for increased  car  c rashes  around the time of the eclipse — and possible  air travel headaches  due to delayed or cancelled flights.

Where is the best place to watch the eclipse?

In the weeks leading up to the eclipse, Texas was considered the best state for eclipse viewing . Historically, there's a good chance the skies will be clear and its location along the southern path of the eclipse means totality will last a little longer. That could change as the forecast evolves .

A few lucky travelers will also have a front-row seat with unobstructed views — from a plane .

Will traffic be bad?

Most likely, yes — especially after the eclipse ends . Millions of people will crowd into the narrow path of totality, then many will attempt to leave all at once as soon as the eclipse is over.

When a total solar eclipse passed over the U.S. in 2017, reports say some traffic jams didn't fully clear for more than 12 hours. Even worse, a recent study reported that the 2017 eclipse "was associated with increased risks of a fatal traffic crash" – potentially as much as a 31% increase, the study said .

Also worth noting: The eclipse is expected to have impacts for air travel as well.

Cities across the eclipse's path of totality are also bracing for an influx of visitors who are already booking up hotels and short-term vacation rentals , officials have told USA TODAY. "Hotels are almost sold out," said Shalissa Perry, the chief marketing officer for Downtown Dallas.

Why are schools closing for the eclipse?

Primarily out of a concern for students' safety, schools across the country have given students  the day of the eclipse, April 8,  as a day off, a half day or a chance for e-learning. In Tennessee, for example, officials also say it gives students a chance  to experience the eclipse with their family and friends .

What's it like to watch a solar eclipse from space?

Ever wondered what it is like see the  solar eclipse  from space? NASA scientist and veteran astronaut Terry Virts has witnessed the spectacle in space .

"When I was in space in 2015, we saw an eclipse over the North Atlantic," Virts told USA TODAY this week. "It was an eclipse that very few humans saw I think, but it was a really unique experience to look down and just see this big black circle kind of moving across the planet."

"It was unlike anything I've ever seen," Virts adds. "I joke I'm glad they told us there was an eclipse because it would have been unsettling to look down at Earth and see this black spot moving across. It was really cool."

Virts, who is the face of  Sonic's eclipse-themed Blackout Slush Float , said that though he's seen one eclipse from space and many from Earth, he is super excited about the upcoming one on April 8.

UNDERSTANDING THE 2024 ECLIPSE

What is a solar eclipse definition explained..

A total solar eclipse happens when three celestial spheres — the sun, moon and Earth — line up in a specific way in space.

According to NASA, a solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the sun and Earth. That alignment casts a moving shadow on Earth that either fully or partially blocks the sun's light in some areas. This leads to a period of partial or full darkness on a narrow stretch of Earth. 

The path is so narrow because of the huge distance and size of the sun — as well as the moon's distance from Earth. That focuses the moon's shadow on an area of land much smaller than the moon itself. The movement of the shadow across the land happens as the Earth's rotation interacts with the orbit of the moon.

A total eclipse only happens occasionally because the moon doesn't orbit in the exact same plane as the sun and Earth do. In addition, a solar eclipse can only happen during a new moon.

What's special about a total solar eclipse?

The total solar eclipse on April 8  is causing such a stir because the rare event is an astronomical experience like no other that will be unusually accessible to millions of people.

April's total solar eclipse will fall over more places in the U.S. than the total eclipse before and after it. And the broad length of the path of totality – where Americans have the best shot of getting a clear view – is "much wider"  than it was for the eclipse in 2017 , according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

A total solar eclipse is also far more impressive  than a lunar or an annular solar eclipse. During an annular eclipse, the moon covers the Sun but leaves an outside ring some call a "ring of fire" — it darkens the sky instead of plunging Earth into a night-like darkness, which is what happens during a total solar eclipse. And a lunar eclipse – the appearance of a red moon – happens when the moon passes into the Earth's shadow, according to NASA.

Total solar eclipses can have spiritual significance, too . Ancient cultures viewed as a sign of the gods' anger or impending departure. Some religions today are hosting eclipse viewings and services.

Historically, eclipses have left major marks on religious and spiritual civilizations. In Christianity, an eclipse has been associated with the darkness that accompanied Jesus' crucifixion and in Islam, the passing of the Prophet Muhammad's son Ibrahim.

When was the last solar eclipse?

The USA's most recent total solar eclipse was on August 21, 2017, and stretched from Oregon to South Carolina.

When will the next solar eclipse happen?

The  next visible total solar eclipse  to cross over the U.S. after April will come in more than two decades on Aug. 23, 2044, according to NASA.

And that eclipse won't be as accessible as the 2024 one: The path of totality in 2044 will only touch the states of Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota, according to the Planetary Society, a nonprofit involved in research, public outreach and political space advocacy. Another total eclipse  will pass over the U.S. in 2045  that will be more accessible to Americans, including for people who live in California, Florida and Nevada.

ECLIPSE GLASSES AND SAFETY

What are eclipse glasses and why are they needed for the eclipse.

Gazing at the bright rays from the eclipse without  protective eyewear  can seriously damage your eye, so wearing a pair of protective glasses is important.

There's a technical standard for eclipse glasses, which are designed to block out most light and let you safely see the moon pass in front of the sun: It's called ISO 12312-2 after the International Organization of Standardization.

While there's concerns that not all glasses marketed as eclipse glasses live up to that standard, experts say in the past, the shortcomings haven't been significant .

But as the 2024 eclipse approaches, the American Astronomical Society  has warned that there are some counterfeit and fake eclipse glasses being sold from unverified vendors that would be unsafe to use during the eclipse. They recommend buying from a vetted vendor and testing the glasses before the eclipse.

How do I get solar eclipse glasses?

You should buy from a reputable source who can ship the glasses to you in time for April 8. A guide to last-minute eclipse glasses explains more.

Heads up: The online marketplace is flooded with retailers selling solar eclipse glasses they claim have the NASA seal of approval . Consider that a red flag to look elsewhere.

How can you test eclipse glasses?

NASA shared an easy method to check eclipse glasses at home.

Buyers should put on their glasses and look at a bright light, like a flashlight. If the light is "extremely dim," or doesn't appear at all, the glasses are safe, Susannah Darling, of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, said in an instructional video. Viewers should be able to see the filament of the lightbulb, not the glow surrounding the bulb.

Can you really go blind watching a solar eclipse?

You could severely damage your eyes . Directly staring at the sun before and after the total eclipse, or watching a partial eclipse outside the path of totality without proper eye protection, can result in permanent damage including blurred and altered vision.

While rare, eye damage from watching a partial eclipse happens in part because a person's natural response to squint when looking at sunlight does not get triggered. In the lead-up to the  April 8 solar eclipse ,  doctors and a rare set of eclipse watchers are warning about  watching this planetary event without adequate eclipse glasses or with the naked eye.

It’s hard for experts to know or even estimate how many people experience eye damage from solar eclipses. Since looking at an eclipse does not cause complete blindness, people with permanent damage may not know they have it or report it to a doctor. The 2017 eclipse , which passed from Oregon to South Carolina, is thought to have caused about 100 cases, according to the  American Astronomical Society .

How can I watch the eclipse without glasses?

If you don't have access to eclipse glasses do not use regular sunglasses — You need a more creative solution for safe viewing, like a pinhole projector .

Welding glasses are not recommended for eclipse viewing .

Should I take dogs or cats to see the eclipse? Is it safe for pets?

An eclipse itself isn't dangerous for domestic animals such as dogs and cats, but experts say it's probably best to not bring pets .

Experts' biggest concern is not what’s happening in the sky but on the ground as crowds of excited and anxious people gather, said Dr. Rena Carlson, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

“Rather than the effects of the eclipse, I would be more worried about the excitement and all of the people,” she said.

Another fun way to experience the eclipse: disco balls

Don't just reach for the solar glasses; a disco ball might be a fun and safe way to enhance the total solar eclipse experience .

Inspired by a research paper from European scientists, the Round Rock Public Library in Round Rock, Texas, near Austin, used disco balls during the annular eclipse in October and recommends people do the same for the April 8 eclipse. Officials said the use of a disco ball creates a "party-like atmosphere" to make a solar eclipse event more fun.

The mirrored ball can be placed outside where it can catch the sunlight and reflect it on a shaded wall at least several feet away, or it can be inside near a window to cast reflections of the sun around the room. Youth Services Librarian Andrea Warkentin recommends people get disco balls that have smaller mirrors on them as they will create bigger and better images.

"It's a way to make it really memorable and fun for little kids who may not really understand what's going on in the sky," Warkentin said.

-Fernanda Figueroa, Austin American-Statesman

Contributing: Ramon Padilla, Karina Zaiets and Janet Loehrke

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India Travel Advisory

Travel advisory june 23, 2023, india - level 2: exercise increased caution.

Reissued with updates to health information.

Exercise increased caution in India due to crime and terrorism.

Do not travel to:

  • The union territory of Jammu and Kashmir (except the eastern Ladakh region and its capital, Leh) due to terrorism and civil unrest .
  • Within 10 km of the India-Pakistan border due to the potential for armed conflict .

Country Summary : Indian authorities report rape is one of the fastest growing crimes in India. Violent crime, such as sexual assault, has occurred at tourist sites and in other locations.

Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and government facilities.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in rural areas from eastern Maharashtra and northern Telangana through western West Bengal as U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel to these areas.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to India.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined India has a moderate level of COVID-19.  Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.

If you decide to travel to India:

  • Do not travel alone, particularly if you are a woman. Visit our website for Women Travelers .
  • Review your personal security plans and remain alert to your surroundings.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program ( STEP ) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter .
  • Review the  Country Security Report for India.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist .

Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Terrorist attacks and violent civil unrest are possible in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Avoid all travel to this state (with the exception of visits to the eastern Ladakh region and its capital, Leh). Sporadic violence occurs particularly along the Line of Control (LOC) separating India and Pakistan, and in tourist destinations in the Kashmir Valley: Srinagar, Gulmarg, and Pahalgam. The Indian government prohibits foreign tourists from visiting certain areas along the LOC.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas .

India-Pakistan Border – Level 4: Do Not Travel

India and Pakistan maintain a strong military presence on both sides of the border. The only official India-Pakistan border crossing point for persons who are not citizens of India or Pakistan is in the state of Punjab between Attari, India, and Wagah, Pakistan. The border crossing is usually open but confirm the current status of the border crossing prior to commencing travel. A Pakistani visa is required to enter Pakistan. Only U.S. citizens residing in India may apply for a Pakistani visa in India. Otherwise apply for a Pakistani visa in your country of residence before traveling to India.

Northeastern States – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Incidents of violence by ethnic insurgent groups, including bombings of buses, trains, rail lines, and markets, occur occasionally in the northeast.

U.S. government employees at the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India are prohibited from traveling to the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Manipur without special authorization from the U.S. Consulate General in Kolkata.

Central and East India – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Maoist extremist groups, or “Naxalites,” are active in a large swath of India from eastern Maharashtra and northern Telangana through western West Bengal, particularly in rural parts of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand and on the borders of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Odisha. The Naxalites have conducted frequent terrorist attacks on local police, paramilitary forces, and government officials.

Due to the fluid nature of the threat, all U.S. government travelers to states with Naxalite activity must receive special authorization from the U.S. consulate responsible for the area to be visited. U.S. officials traveling only to the capital cities in these states do not need prior authorization.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas . 

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The US Embassy in Delhi, India, where visas are processed for Indian nationals to work and study in the United States. 

Visa delays dash ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunities for students, workers in India

Getting visas to travel to the US has never been easy for people of certain nationalities. But pandemic closures made visa processing delays extend to a year or more. Now consulates are staffed up again, but as Sushmita Pathak reports from New Delhi, substantial delays remain because of large numbers of visa applicants.

  • By Sushmita Pathak

The US Embassy in Delhi, India, where visas are processed for Indian nationals to work and study in the United States. 

Last summer, Ankush Pal, a sociology student in Delhi, was thrilled to learn that he had been invited to present a paper at a conference in the fall at Southern Illinois University.

“As an undergraduate student, it’s a big deal,” Pal said. “It’s close to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to even be invited.”

His trip was fully funded. The conference was four months away and he had a letter of invitation to support his visa application. There was only one problem: the earliest US visa appointment was 10 months after the conference.  

Getting visas to travel to the US has never been easy for people of certain nationalities. But pandemic closures made visa processing delays extend to a year or more, causing people to miss important family events, or have to delay work or study in the US.

Now, consulates are staffed up again, but substantial delays remain in many countries because of the large numbers of visa applicants. Slots for visa interviews are particularly hard to come by in India, where there’s a tremendous demand for visas.

The US Embassy in New Delhi and other consulates across the country processed more than 1 million non-immigrant visas in 2023.

“Indians now represent over 10% of all visa applicants worldwide, including 20% of all student visa applicants and 65% of all H&L-category [employment] visa applicants,”  according  to the US Embassy in New Delhi. 

To speed up the process, the US mission in India waived interview requirements for some applicants. It is also expanding operations by opening two new consulates in the country in the coming years.

Other strategies include roping in remote staff to help out with visa processing in India, and allowing Indians to appear for consular interviews at embassies in other countries.

“We’re currently processing more visas, faster than the US mission in India has ever done before,” Eric Garcetti, the US ambassador to India said last year.

Yet, a first-time visitor visa applicant in India, like Pal, may have to wait for as long as 260 days — nearly double the average global wait time of 140 days — but a significant improvement from the 1,000-day wait in 2022.

Pal’s interview is scheduled for August 2024.

Wait times are lower for Indian students, who make up the largest group of international students in the US. Embassies prioritize student visas, but even so, the process is far from simple, according to applicant Bikash Bhattacharya. Grabbing a slot requires repeated log-in attempts to the visa portal.

“Maybe 6 to 7 times daily at different points of time. Sometimes it’s at midnight, sometimes it’s early in the morning,” Bhattacharya said. He is supposed to start school later this month but doesn’t have a visa yet, and risks losing his PhD spot and scholarship.

Those who can’t afford to wait have one last resort: visa agents who guarantee an early slot for an extra fee. But it’s risky, Pal said.

“I am expected to share my credentials with them in the first place. I’m not sure what happens with my account at that time,” he said. The so-called agents can change your account password and hold it for ransom. Pal said many of them turn out to be scammers. 

The visa delay is also a diplomatic headache.

New Delhi is an important strategic partner for Washington, especially as a bulwark against Beijing’s rise.

Last year, President Joe Biden invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a state visit to the US. Both nations have grown closer in recent years and the Indian diaspora in the US is a key bridge between the two countries. At a  panel discussion  last year about US-India ties, experts said solving the visa issue should be a priority.

“Let’s make it easy to get visas to the US. That needs to happen. Let’s unleash that soft power, both the US and India. Let’s create conditions to build those people-to-people ties,” said Joseph Felter, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, a public policy think tank at Stanford University.

Clearing visa hurdles for skilled Indian workers would help the US too, as it ramps up semiconductor production to compete with China.

“Essentially, today the US badly needs workers with basic STEM skills and is not able to produce them in sufficient volume,” said Dhruva Jaishankar, executive director at the Observer Research Foundation America.

“The only place they’re going to be able to get skilled workers at the scale required is from India. So, some kind of mobility agreement between the US and India would go a long way toward benefiting both countries.”

Making people wait for visas hurts the US economy, too.

The  nonprofit US Travel Association  calls long visa delays a “de facto travel ban” which it estimates cost the US economy nearly $7 billion in 2023.

Long waits are also common in countries like Brazil and Mexico where there’s a large demand for visas. If delays persist, applicants like Bhattacharya may look to travel or study elsewhere. 

“I am scared of going through this whole thing again,” he said. He’s now thinking of applying to study in Germany.

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travel india by meran

Kapil Sharma mocks old feud with Sunil Grover, shares in-flight pic

Kapil sharma recently posted a picture alongside fellow comedian sunil grover, playfully alluding to their seven-year-old feud. the photo, taken during a flight, evokes memories of their past disagreement, which occurred during one of their previous journeys..

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Kapil Sharma and Sunil Grover travel together after in-flight fight.

  • Kapil Sharma posted a picture with comedian Sunil Grover in flight
  • While sharing the picture, Kapil mocked their seven-year-old feud
  • The two comedian are seen together in 'The Great Indian Kapil Show' on Netflix

Kapil Sharma shared a picture with fellow comedian Sunil Grover and playfully jests about their seven-year-old argument. In the picture, both Kapil and Sunil are seated next to each other on a flight. While captioning the post, Kapil mocked their old feud which also took place during one of their past journeys together.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Kapil Sharma (@kapilsharma)

The post quickly went viral and fans enthusiastically responded to the witty caption and photo. Overjoyed by Sunil Grover and Kapil's reunion, fans flooded the comment section with humorous remarks.

One of the fans wrote, “Safe fight sorry safe flight” while another wrote, “Fingers crossed, bhai alag alag hi baith jate (You guys could have sat separately).” A third user echoed similar sentiments and commented, “ Bhai Australia phir se Jaa Rae ho kya ? (Are you guys going to Australia together again?”

Sunil Grover and Kapil Sharma collaborated on ‘The Kapil Sharma Show ’, where Sunil's character Guthi gained rapid recognition, earning him considerable acclaim. However, tensions arose during an international trip when Kapil and Sunil engaged in a heated argument aboard the plane. Consequently, Sunil abruptly departed from the show.

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