The moment I hear about West Bengal, a sudden picture develops in my mind where I start imagining people selling a variety of fishes, beautiful ladies in red and white cotton sarees wearing white shakhas and pola bangles, the baul music, art, drama, dance, theatre and the most popular Rabindra Sangeet. Ah, how can I forget mentioning about the sweet Sandesh, Rosogolla and the aroma of fish cooked in mustard oil that goes well with rice. Well, these were few of the things that make West Bengal a must visit tourist destination in India that everyone should have in their bucket list. If you are just like me who is keen to explore new places and witness the rich culture and delectable food, then get ready to get enthralled by the spectacular West Bengal.
Here are the top 15 best places to visit in West Bengal that you can choose from when planning your holiday. Let’s get started –
Kolkata: A Cultural City that reflects Architectural Grandeur and offers Delectable Food
A visit to the face of West Bengal would leave you amazed with its elegant British Raj Buildings in Victorian style architecture, historic college, nightlife, and delicious food. Not just this, but Kolkata is also called ‘The City of Joy’ or ‘The Cultural City of India”. Located at the eastern side of the bank of the famous river Hooghly, Kolkata is a home to a generation of poets, writers, film producers and Nobel Prize winners. So if you are planning to visit Kolkata, prepare yourself for the best places to visit in Kolkata as you’ll be surprised by the nominal prices of the stuff and innumerable variety of sweets.
- Visit the popular tourist spot under the Ministry of Culture i.e., Victoria Memorial
- A visit to Howrah Bridge is a must which is also regarded as the Cantilever Bridge
- Indian Museum, one of the oldest Museum with stunning Mughal Paintings
- Visit the Marble Palace Mansion to see the art collection masterpieces by international artists
- Eden Garden, the popular and largest cricket stadium in India and second largest in the world
- Birla Mandir, a glowing structure dedicated to Lord Krishna
- Rabindra Sarobar, a perfect recreational picnic spot
- Other than these Kolkata Tourist Attractions, you can even visit Eco Tourism Park, Alipore Zoo, Botanical Gardens, Jorasanko Thakurbari and Science City
Best Time to Visit Kolkata: Between October and March (starting from autumn) would be the perfect time to visit the ‘City of Joy.’
Best Food to Try: Roshogolla (at K.C. Das & Bheem Nag), Sandesh (at Nakur Nandy), Kosha Mangsho which means Mutton Curry (at Golbari), Chicken Kabiraji (at Mitra Cafe), Chelo Kabab (at Peter Cat), Ghugni (at Dacres Lane), Macher Jhol which means Fish Curry (at Bhojohori Manna).
How to Reach:
By Air– Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose is the airport where you need to get down. The airport has excellent domestic connectivity to all the major cities of India and international connectivity to countries like Hong Kong, Bangkok etc.
By Train– Howrah Junction Railway Station and Sealdah Railway Station are the two main railway stations of the city which is well-connected by train to the other major cities of the country.
Shantiniketan: Where Lines of Knowledge and Brilliant Artistry Merge
Would you like to celebrate Tagore? All you need to do is travel to Shantiniketan which is a small town near Bolpur in the Birbhum District. The place is well-known as the treasure trove of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Once you visit there, you’ll get to see splendid sculpture and paintings of Rabindranath Tagore, Ramkinkar, Benode Behari Mukhopadhyay and Nandalal Bose. Today, this small place has acquired a status of a unique tourist destination. Also, the place is a home to a university town, Visva-Bharati was was built in 1921. Right from photography spots to quaint cafes, colorful bazaars to quiet bookstores there is a lot to do and see in the seemingly small town. Ready to plan your trip to Shantiniketan? A trip of 1-2 days would be sufficient to make the most out of your trip to Shantiniketan.
- Tagore’s Ashram (one of the most valued places in Shantiniketan) in the Uttarayan Complex
- Amar Kutir, located in the close vicinity of the University that showcases local handicrafts, leather printed bags and cloth
- A visit to Kala Bhavan that promotes art among the students
- Chhatimtala, a place that was once the meditation spot of Tagore’s father
Things to Do: Enjoy fairs and festivals like Joydev Mela in January, Basanta Utsav which is Holi in March and Poush Mela in December.
Best Time to Visit Shantiniketan: Even though Shantiniketan is popular all around the year, but the best time to visit is between September (end of the monsoon) to March.
Best Food to Try: Visit Banalakshmi to try the popular authentic Bengali Cuisine. If you happen to visit during the lunch hours, then try at Kasahara, located inside the Sangeet Bhavan in Visva Bharati Campus. Tanzil Cafe is a delight if you are planning to hang out in the evening.
How to Reach:
By Air– As Shantiniketan doesn’t have its own airport, the nearest airport is Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Airport. Once you get down at the airport, you can hire a cab or taxi that would take you straight to Shantiniketan (approx 162 km away).
By Train– Train is the most convenient way to travel to Shantiniketan and the nearest railhead is Bolpur Railway Station which would be 2-3 km away from Shantiniketan.
Darjeeling: Idyllic Destination for Honeymoon Amid the Scenic Surroundings
Probably one of the best and popular hill stations of India, Darjeeling would be the perfect place if you have been looking for the best honeymoon destinations in West Bengal or India. The place is blessed with tea estates, colonial-era buildings, red rhododendrons, white magnolias and birds of different species. Also, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is declared as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO. So don’t forget to take a ride in this joyful train apart from sightseeing tour to make your holiday or honeymoon a memorable one.
- Witness the first rays of sun hitting the twin peaks of Kanchenjunga at the Tiger Hills
- Visit Japanese Peace Pagoda, a glistening white structure
- Visit the Barbotey Rock Garden to watch out the cutting rocks at a different level
- Nightingale Park which was also called ‘The Shrubbery’ to enjoy the musical fountain with the great scenery
- Buy traditional art and craft or Tibet from the City Shopping and if you are a tea lover, then don’t forget to buy Darjeeling tea from Nathmulls Tea Room.
- Go to Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park to watch the only Siberian Tigers in India and few other exotic animal species
- Other than these, visit the Ghoom Monastery which is at a great elevation of 8,000 ft. and the oldest in Darjeeling
Best Time to Visit Darjeeling: The ideal season to visit Darjeeling would be between October to March when monsoon ends completely and a slight chill could be felt when visiting Darjeeling in November.
Best Food to Try: Momos and Thukpa (at Kunga and Dekevas), Aloo Dum (at Hasty Nasty), try the best Nepali Thali and Naga Cuisine at (Revolver Restaurant), Churpee (at Keventers) and drink Darjeeling Tea (at House of Tea, Nathmulls Tea, Sunset Lounge, Happy Golden Cafe and Windamere).
How to Reach:
By Air– Bagdogra Airport is the nearest airport which is approx 69 km away from Darjeeling and have direct flights from Delhi, Kolkata and Guwahati to Darjeeling. Once you get down at the airport, hire a cab/taxi that would take you straight to Darjeeling where you can experience your road journey taking upto 2 hr 35 min.
By Train– The nearest railhead is New Jalpaiguri (NJP) and is connected to all the major cities of India. The distance from NJP railway station to Darjeeling would be 70 km covering approx 2 hr 45 min journey via road.
Digha: A Perfect Weekend Getaway to Relax Near the Pristine Beach
Yet another popular place in Kolkata, Digha is the perfect spot if you are looking for a perfect weekend destination. The reason why Digha has become much popular among the tourists is because of its pristine beach that is located adjacent to the Bay of Bengal and gives a calm and serene water that would help you feel revitalised. So plan your weekend tour to Digha with friends and family to explore the shallow sand beach.
- Amarabati Park, a family-friendly park to sit and relax amid the verdant surroundings
- If you are looking for more tranquil beach destinations then a visit to Shankarpur Beach is a must that would give you a lovely view of the beach surrounded by local fish boats
- Temple at Chandaneswar, which is a very famous Shiv Temple
- Visit the largest inbuilt aquarium in India i.e., Marine Station/Aquarium of Zoological Survey of India
- Ah, what a view Talsar Beach has! Lined with coconut and palm trees the beach is famous amongst the sea food lovers and other delicacies you can get here
- Visit the new Digha Beach which is just 2 km away from the old one and is less crowded, better maintained and peaceful
Best Food to Try: When visiting Digha, make sure you try out the Pomfret, Rohu, Bhetki, fired fish that is sold by the locals and also don’t forget to sip coconut water while lazing on the beach. You can even try other variety of seafood at Elgin Restaurant, Bay Cuffe Restaurant and Azad Hind Dhaba.
Best Time to Visit Digha: You can plan your vacation to Digha between September and March when the weather remains cool and pleasant.
How to Reach:
By Air– As Digha doesn’t have its own airport, the nearest is in Kolkata i.e., Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport. Once you get down, hire a cab/taxi that would take you to Digha covering 192 km (4 hr 11 min).
By Train– The place has its own railway station names Digha Railway Station which is located near the New Digha Beach.
Sundarbans: A Rendezvous With the Wildlife in World’s Largest Mangrove Forest
So, it’s the Sundarbans forest (Popular Tiger Reserve), that makes West Bengal eligible for all the praises. If you are looking for wildlife holiday destination, then Sundarbans Forest (world’s largest delta) would be the right choice that you can make to travel with your friends or even family. The majestic Royal Bengal Tiger species is endemic and you can enjoy rest of the wildlife view from certain towers as suggested by the travel guides. Sundarbans Tiger Reserve has the highest tiger population in the world and has also received recognition as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO. So ready to visit the largest Mangrove Forest and enjoy the Jungle Safari? Read more about Sundarbans (how to reach and top things to do) in our detailed blog- Wildlife Travel Guide to Sundarbans National Park.
Best Time to Visit Sundarban: Even though you can visit Sunderbans all around the year but try visiting during the dry seasonal months i.e., between November and February. Again, visiting Sundarbans during summers could be quite hot but not a bad idea if you want to explore the wildlife sanctuary.
How to Reach:
By Air– The nearest airport is Kolkata airport. Once you get down, you need to hire a taxi/cab to Godkhali Port (the starting point of the Sundarbans Safari) which is a 3 hours drive from Kolkata.
By Train– The nearest major railway station is the Sealdah Railway Station and the nearest local railway station is Canning Railway Station. Once you get down at the railway station, you can take the private taxi or shared public transport to reach Godkhali Port to board the boat for the safari.
Kalimpong: A Place of Old Buddhist Monasteries in the Lower Himalayas
Situated in the lower Himalayas, Kalimpong is a beautiful hill station and a perfect destination for the nature lovers as the place offers incredible views of the Himalayas and the tranquil environment to attain peace of mind. Kalimpong is famous for traditional handicrafts, orchids, nurseries. Other than this, it is widely popular as religious and pilgrimage destination among the tourists because of the old Buddhist monasteries which are a must-visit if you are travelling to Kalimpong. Ready to spend some time chilling out in the hill resort? Let’s see what all you can explore.
- Visit Cactus Nursery to explore the land of largest numbers of exotic and beautiful flowers
- Deolo Hills, which is located at an elevation of 2,000 m and provides a panoramic view if Kalimpong
- Explore mesmerising beauty at the Teesta River, and try the thrilling river rafting if you are looking for some adventure
- Visit the oldest Bhutanese Monastery, Thongsa Gompa which is a perfect place for meditation
- Zang Dhok Palri Phodang, to see the beautiful paintings on the walls and sacred Kanguyar on the walls of the monastery
- Visit Neora National Park, one of the richest biological zones
Best Food to Try: Momos (at Gompu’s), Chicken Drumsticks (at China Garden), For Indian Food and Drinks (the Sood Garden Retreat).
Best Time to Visit Kalimpong: The best time to visit Kalimpong is between March and May and then between September and December.
How to Reach:
By Air– The nearest airport is the Bagdogra Airport (Siliguri) which is 77 km away from Kalimpong. Once you get down at the airport, you would take 2 hr 45 min to Kalimpong via taxi/cab.
By Train– Kalimpong doesn’t have its own railway station, the nearest railhead is New Jalpaiguri railway station (NJP) which is at a distance of the 72 km from Kalimpong. The NJP railway station connects Kalimpong with different regions of the country.
Siliguri: Picturesque Town Offering Spectacular Views of Thick Forest and Tea Gardens
Located at the bank of Mahananda River, Siliguri is well known for a wide range of tea gardens and thick forests. The place is a beautiful stop when you are travelling to Darjeeling, Kalimpong or Sikkim. When it comes to shopping, I am fond of looking into the Chinese knock-offs. If you are just like me then i am sure you’re going to love shopping in the Hong Kong Market (Sevoke Road). Let quickly roll our eyes on the tourism places in Siliguri that are a must-visit.
- Make the best out of your family vacation to Siliguri by visiting the grand and beautiful Iskcon temple
- Sevoke Kali Mandir, an ancient temple on Teesta River
- Kanchenjunga Stadium, a multipurpose stadium (for football and cricket matches)
- Dreamland Amusement park, that is loved by both young and old ones
- Other places to visit are Surya Sen Park, Umrao Singh Boat Club and various tea gardens
- Chilapata Forest, a dense forest rich in wildlife
Best Time to Visit: The ideal time to visit Siliguri is between October and February, when winter sets in. Time period of 1-2 days are enough to explore Siliguri.
Best Places to Try Food: The Gourmet Central Family Restaurant and Bar, Indian Pagoda Chinese Restaurant, Around the Corner are some of the best places where you can try eating good food.
How to Reach:
By Air– The nearest airport is Bagdogra Airport. It would hardly take 20-30 mins to reach to the main city covering 12 km.
By Train– The nearest railhead is New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) which is located at a distance of 11 km from Siliguri. It is well connected to Mumbai and Delhi and other major cities of India.
Hooghly: A Land with Portuguese, Dutch and French Architecture Influence
Hooghly is another famous historical tourist place in West Bengal which is considered to be sacred where Paramahamsa, Sri Ramakrishna and Sarada Devi stayed for many years. The place has a historical significance as it was colonized by the Dutch, French and Portuguese. So if you want to explore the stories of the past and relive the historic era then a visit to Hooghly would help you experience it.
- Bandel Church, one of the oldest church of West Bengal which was built in 1599
- Imambara, to watch out the walls decorated with the texts of the Holy Quran
- Chandannagar Museum displays the local history of Chandannagar
- Tarakeswar temple, a well-known devotional spot in Hooghly
- Hanseswari Temple whose main deity is made up of blue neem wood
- A visit to Sri Ramakrishna Math
Best Time to Visit Hooghly: Even though the architectural beauty of the place could be witnessed all throughout the year but I would suggest you to plan your trip to Hooghly between October and Mid December.
How to Reach:
By Air– Board a flight to Kolkata. Once you get down at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, you can hire a cab/taxi which would take you to the beautiful destination Hooghly.
By Train– The place has a good rail connectivity. The nearest railhead is Chuchura Railway Station. This station is well linked with both Howrah and Sealdah.
Cooch Behar: Renowned for Elegance, Splendor of the Rich Culture and Royal Heritage
Located in Jalpaiguri District, Cooch Behar would take you to explore the land that is influenced by the Mughals. Today tourists from different parts of the world don’t just come to explore the place for its ancient monuments but also as it is known for its massive water bodies. So if you are looking forward to learn about the history of Bengal than Cooch Behar would be the perfect destination for you.
- Visit Cooch Behar Palace which is a royal palace and is a pure beauty to those who has love for architecture
- Baneshwar Shiva Temple which homes a Shivalinga and is located approx 8-10 km away from the main city
- Other points of tourist interests in Cooch Behar are Chilapata Forest Range, Madan Mohan Temple Dangar Ayee Temple, Rasikbil (a small lake in Cooch Behar)
Best Food to Try: The must try food in Cooch Behar is fish, rice and lentils cooked in Mustard, Fenugreek, Nigella Seeds. Don’t miss out trying the famous Bengali sweet made up of sweetened cottage cheese which is also called chhena Rasmalai, Pantua, Cham Cham, Roshogolla are some of the Bengali realised that are enjoyed all over the India. The sweets of Bengal are generally made of sweetened cottage cheese (chhena). You can get it at Hotel Royal Palace and Sadhana Hotel.
Best Time to Visit Cooch Behar: The ideal time to visit Cooch Behar is during Rath yatra i.e., June and July. if you happen to visit in between February and March then you can enjoy the Raas Mela, just after Durga Pujo and even during Hazur Sahib Mela.
How to Reach:
By Air– The nearest airport is the Bagdogra Airport in Siliguri, which a good air connectivity to the other major cities of India. Once you get down, get a cab/taxi that would take you to Cooch Behar covering 148 km (4 hr 13 min).
By Train– New Cooch Behar is the railway station where you need to get down which has connectivity with the key cities of the country.
Birbhum: A Land of Red Soil Where Many Brave Kings Ruled Once
Looking to explore some offbeat tourist places in West Bengal? Then start packing your bag for a trip to Birbhum, a district in West Bengal which holds a great name in the history of the state. Another thing why it is famous for is the houses are made of red soil. All the more the place has the historical importance as many brave kings ruled which is evident from the remnants of the civilization that lived here and for this reason the place is also called the “Land of the Brave.”
- Shantiniketan, which has been discussed in the blog separately
- Tarapith, known for its tantric temple where sadhanas are performed
- Joydev Kenduli , Rajnagar, Fullara, Ballabhpur Wildlife Sanctuary, Temple of Nandikeshwari, Hetampur and more
Best Time to Visit Birbhum: The best time to visit Birbhum is during the winter season i.e., between November and March.
How to Reach:
By Air– Board a flight to Kolkata Airport and from there, Birbhum is 189 km which would take you around 4 hr 12 min to get to the Land of Red Soil.
By Train– Nalhati NJ is the nearest railhead to Birbhum which has connectivity within the state. If you need any travel guidance then you can get in touch with the best travel company like Tour My India.
Kurseong: A Hill Station That Will Fill You With Awe
If the idea of visiting a hill station where you can feel the fresh breeze and scenic places stretched out in front of your eyes excites you, then head towards Kurseong. Located en route to beautiful Darjeeling, Kurseong is yet another celebrated hill station in West Bengal. The peaceful atmosphere with aerial viewpoints, tea gardens and the rich flora and fauna of Kurseong draw the attention of the tourists. The place is also called “land of orchids.”
- Eagle’s Craig to get a panoramic view of the hill station to enjoy the nature’s sightseeing and Siliguri plains
- Ambotia Shiva Mandir which is located in the Ambotia tea estate
- Learn about various animals that inhabited in the past by visiting the Forest Museum
- Make a visit to the Deer Park which is yet another tourist attraction of the West Bengal Tourism where you’ll get to see many deer
- Visit St. Mary’s, St. Andrews and St. Paul’s Church
- If you have love to explore about the Indian history then a visit to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Museum is a must where you can get documents and articles related to Netaji
Best Time to Visit Kurseong: You can visit Kurseong during summer as the weather remains pleasant.
How to Reach:
By Air– The nearest airport is the Bagdogra Airport of Siliguri which would be 41 km away from Kurseong. Once you get down, hire a taxi/cab that would take you straight to the ‘Land of Orchids’ by covering 1 hr 32 min.
By Train– As Kurseong doesn’t have its own railway station, the nearest railhead is New Jalpaiguri railway station (NJP) which is 46 km away from Kurseong.
Bishnupur: A Place To Relive the Historic Era
Want to travel back to the 15th Century? Well, that isn’t possible but you can relive the historic era by visiting the ancient temples of the 15th century at Bishnupur. The place has a rich cultural past which could be clearly seen in the architecture and handicrafts that the town boasts. Also, it is believed that the art and culture flourished here during the reign of Malla kings who were patrons of music and painting.
- Jore Bangla Temple, which was built by Malla King Raghunath Singh
- Rasmancha, a temple housing the idols of Radha Krishna
- Jhilmili, an ideal picnic spot
- Badrinath Hill, the tallest hill in the region
- Other than these, visit Keibul Lamjao National Park, Gate of Old Fort, Pancha Ratna Temple, Loukoipat Ecological Park
Best Time to Visit Bishnupur: Visit Bishnupur during winter season when the weather remains apt for sightseeing i.e., between October and March.
How to Reach:
By Air– As the town doesn’t have its own airport, you need to board a flight to Netaji Subhas Chandra Airport (Kolkata), Once you get down, hire a taxi/cab from the airport or go to Howrah, there you’ll get a train to Bishnupur.
By Train– Bishnupur is well connected through the railways. Trains from Howrah to Bishnupur leave the stations on a regular basis.
Bankura: Relax Amid the Dense Virgin Forest and Devour the Mecha Sandesh
How about spending a holiday where you can get to explore all things at the same time? Yes, Bankura is a district in West Bengal where you can relax and chill out amid the dense virgin forest, rolling hills, several scenic spots and seek blessing in the terracotta temples. Apart from this, if you have got a sweet tooth then the good news is Bankura has its own sweet meat speciality. So don’t miss out trying Mecha Sandesh which is available better at Beliatore. A set to visit the beautiful place in West Bengal? Let’s see what are the top tourist destinations in Bankura:
- Susunia Hill, a must visit place which is 23 km away from Bankura and an ideal spot if you are willing to take a walk around this place
- Mukutmanipur, which is an earthen dam and is the second largest dam in India
- Biharinath Temple, the tallest and beautiful hill in the region
- Other than these, visit Garh Darwaja, Krishna Balaram Temple, Ganesh and Nandi Statue and more
Best Time to Visit: Visit Bankura during the winter season, i.e., between November and February. Avoid going during the monsoon as Bankura experiences heavy rainfall,
How to Reach:
By Air– Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport is where you need to board your flight to. Getting down at the airport, hire a cab/taxi which would take you to Bankura, covering approx 4 hr 6 min of journey.
By Train– Bankura Junction has a good railway connectivity to all the other cities of West Bengal. It is also well connected with the other states of India, with a stopover at the Howrah Junction.
Kamarpukur: A Land with Ancient Buildings and Temples Reflecting the Glorious Past
Kamarpukur is a village in Hooghly District which is yet another place for the history buffs. I am sure you are going to love this place as Kamarpukur reveals its old buildings, temples and tanks that are simply to be adored and can take you back in the ancient time. The place is also considered as sacred as it is the birthplace of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.
- Jairambati, where you can find serenity and simplicity that has wooed the hearts of many travelers
- Mukunda Temple, the place where Sri Ramakrishna’s mother came to know about his divine power
- Yogi Shiva Temple, where the mother of Sri Ramakrishna conceived him
- Gopeshwar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva
Best Time to Visit: Kamarpukur is best to visit between October and February.
How to Reach:
By Air– Board your flight to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport which would be 96 km away from Kamarpukur.
By Train– Tarakeswar Railway station is the nearest railhead which connects Kamarpukur to the major cities. Once you reach there, get a taxi /cab available at the station that would take you straight to Kamarpukur.
The peace and tranquillity of the places just consumed me while making a virtual tour through these top 15 places to visit in West Bengal. I hope, by now you must have picked up the destination where you can look for retreat to break the monotony of the daily life.
If you need any travel guidance or want to get the holiday packages tailored, then we always here to assist you. Give us a call at +91- 9212777225 or you can even drop us an email by simply filling an enquiry form on our website.
Also, if you have been to some other travel places in West Bengal that I haven’t mentioned above but deserve to be explored, please put them in the comment box below. Don’t forget to share this blog with your friends and family.