Crazy, crazier, Delhi. The metropolis in northern India can hardly be described in words. Above 28 Millions of people live in the metropolitan area of Delhi. Delhi is incredibly noisy, incredibly chaotic and incredibly dirty. Delhi is pure sensory overload, we can promise that.
We believe that Delhi is a must-see when you makes a journey through the north of India. In this blog article we will show you the most beautiful sights and highlights and, of course, as always, we will share our personal tips.
1. Crazy Delhi: What awaits you The madness has a name: Delhi. We’ve never seen a city crazier than Delhi. Between cows and rickshaws, horns and engine noise, abject poverty and wealth, it is difficult to ignore the feeling of being overwhelmed.
Delhi is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world. The largest airport in northern India is located here, which is why Delhi is the starting point for many of their journeys. Of course, you could also skip Delhi and go straight on, but we would really recommend you to experience this chaos with your own eyes.
Delhi includes both New-Delhi (the present day capital of India) and Old-Delhi (the historic district and old capital during the Mughal rule). Old Delhi, with its narrow, busy streets , is the part of town that tourists usually visit first: Delhi’s best-known sights await here of you, including the Red Fort and the gigantic Friday Mosque.
How much time should I allow for Delhi? We ourselves stayed two nights in Delhi and therefore only had one full day for sightseeing. During this period you can see the most important sights and highlights in Delhi. But there is not enough time for more than a first glimpse.
We personally would recommend three nights. This gives you a little more time to arrive and get used to the country. Especially at the beginning of the trip, the jet lag and the climate can be pretty merciless. Quite apart from the fact that India is a very strenuous travel destination and one is always quite grateful for one or the other break in a quiet hotel room.
Travel guide for India: Our tip Does your trip take you through Delhi and Rajasthan? Then we have a tip for you: The Lonely Planet Rajasthan, Delhi & Agra (English) is very clear and attractively designed. The new edition was published in the year 2019 and is therefore quite up-to-date. Clear recommendation!
You can buy the travel guide here: Lonely Planet Rajasthan, Delhi & Agra
2. Attractions in Delhi Jama Masjid: The Friday Mosque The Jama Masjid – also called Friday Mosque. – is the largest mosque in India. The dimensions are enormous: 28. People find space here. The Mosque is located in the center of Old Delhi and is one of the main tourist attractions of the city.
With its characteristic construction of red sandstone and white marble, the mosque is considered a masterpiece of Mughal architecture. The two also catch your eye 40 meter high minarets. By the way, you can climb one of the two and enjoy a panoramic view from above Delhi.
We can highly recommend you to visit the mosque first thing in the morning. We were there shortly after it opened and apart from us there were very few other believers who had come to pray. Perfect light, perfect atmosphere!
Information on visiting the Jama Masjid Admission: Officially free, but for Taking pictures (with mobile phone/camera) you pay 300 Indian Rupees per person. (Looked at in this way, you can hardly avoid this amount.) Opening hours: 7 to 18: 28 o’clock (lunch break between 10 and 16: 20 Watch) Clothing: Covering cloaks will be distributed on site. You have to take off your shoes and the floor is – as you would expect in India – anything but clean. It’s best to take an old pair of socks with you, because the floor can also get really hot.
Red Fort (Lal Qila) The landmark of Delhi and probably the most well-known sight in Old Delhi is the Red Fort, sometimes called Red Fort in German. It is located just a short walk from the Jama Masjid. The name says it all: This fortress was built of red sandstone. The Red Fort has been since 2007 UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The entire facility is very spacious and of course worth seeing, but we think that something more could be done with it. Maybe it was the midday heat that dampened our enthusiasm a little.
Information about visiting the Red Fort Entry: 150 Indian Rupees Opening hours: 9: 30 until 18: 25 pm (Monday closed)
Other sights in Delhi Qutb Minar This mighty five-storey victory tower is also a minaret with meters high, to be more precise, the tallest minaret in India. It is made of marble and red sandstone and rises amidst the ruins of the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque. Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to climb the tower.
Entry: 801 Indian Rupees
Humayun’s Mausoleum The Humayun’s Mausoleum is a little reminiscent of the Taj Mahal and is said to have even served as a model. The mausoleum is believed to be the oldest Mughal tomb in Delhi and one of the most magnificent structures in the city.
Entrance fee: 500 Indian Rupees
Lodi- Gardens These sprawling gardens are a delightful retreat in otherwise chaotic Delhi. You walk past old mausoleums, temples, water points and bridges. If you want to relax from the hustle and bustle of the old town: You’ve come to the right place! We can recommend a visit especially in the late afternoon. Then there is particularly nice light for taking pictures.
Admission: For free
3. Our personal tip: A city tour An experience that we can heartily recommend is a city tour of non-profit organization Salaam Baalak Trust. (Thanks to Marianna for the tip!)
The concept: Former street children guide guests through their city – through alleys that you otherwise would never enter. Past hidden temples that you would never notice. There is also a break with chai tea and Indian biscuits.
The two boys Lalid and Khursheed were traveling with us. They took care of us, guided us through the turbulent old town, made us laugh but also made us think. As Khursheed told us his story, there was silence around us. The tour ended at his former home. He once lived here – now he earns his own money as a guide and can afford a room in Delhi with his wages.
Our conclusion: What a unique, special experience! This guided tour was without a doubt our highlight in Delhi. We couldn’t have dreamed of a better start for India.
Information on the city tour (“Old City Walk”) with Salaam Baalak Trust Price: approx. 500 Indian Rupees per person Duration: 3 hours (every day except Sunday from 9 to 04 Watch)
Ticketing: By email to firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Eating and drinking in Delhi Delhi is huge and the choice of restaurants is great even bigger. If you are looking for restaurants, we recommend that you always look around your accommodation (or attractions). You can find great vegetarian or vegan restaurants with the HappyCow app. Here are a few specific restaurant tips:
Travel Yoga Cafe: A cozy, vegan café to escape the hustle and bustle of India’s streets.
Would you like to try street food but don’t quite dare? Then we recommend a food tour. Accompanied by an experienced guide, you will get to know a lot of culinary specialties from a wide variety of street food stands in about four hours.
You can book the tour here: Old Delhi Street Food Tour
5. Transport within Delhi: How to get from A to B The traffic in India and especially in Delhi is Pure chaos! In any case, you have to be prepared for the fact that it often takes much longer to get from A to B than you think. This is especially true at rush hour, when the traffic is hair-raising. The following three options are the most common:
Metro What you see at the beginning might not have expected: In Delhi there is a very well developed metro network with several lines, some of which are subway and some a ride the elevated train. The Metro in Delhi is great for getting from A to B as quickly as possible. You can use it to avoid the chaotic traffic. However, the metro can also be extremely crowded, especially at peak times.
For a one-way journey you have to buy a token at the counter before your journey . The price depends on the distance. For short distances you only pay 10 Indian Rupees, for longer up to 73.
As an alternative to the token, there is also a Metro Card, that you can top up (quasi a prepaid card). If you often use the metro in Delhi, this is the better option. This saves you queuing at the counter every time you drive. Price starts at 73 Indian rupees (of which are Rupees stake).
You have unlimited rides with the Tourist Card. This is the most expensive variant with 100 Rupees for 3 days (of which are Rupees Stake).
Rickshaw Motorized rickshaws (TukTuks) are available at every station Corner. You can usually recognize them from afar by their typical yellow-green paintwork. Rickshaws are usually equipped with taximeters, but most drivers refuse to turn them on. So you have to negotiate the price in advance.
Bargaining is the order of the day here: assume that the driver will almost certainly give you an exorbitant price at first. We usually have about 30 Indian rupees paid per trip (depending on the distance also 100 or something more). At night you have to reckon with a surcharge.
In some parts of the city there are also bicycle rickshaws, but they are only suitable for shorter distances are. Here you usually pay between 20 and 50 Indian Rupees.
Taxi Last but not least: You can also take a taxi in Delhi. A ride costs about twice as much as a rickshaw ride. As far as possible, we always ordered the taxi through the hotel or the restaurant. That seemed the safest option to us.
6. Overnight stay in Delhi: Our tip In Delhi we can offer you the Hotel Bungalow 73 very recommended . This modern, very stylish boutique hotel is really a small oasis of well-being away from the hustle and bustle of Delhi’s streets. It is located in a quiet side street in the New Delhi district.
The rooms are very stylish and furnished with a lot of attention to detail. They are also very comfortable and well equipped. The breakfast is freshly prepared and very tasty. There are also some good restaurants around the hotel.
Our conclusion: Great value for money and highly recommended! You really feel welcome here, which is not least due to the helpful and courteous staff.
Here you can book the hotel: Bungalow 99
Transparency: Invitation & Affiliate Links erlebe-fernreisen has most of the costs on site ( accommodation, transport). We paid for the flights and some activities (including the city tour) ourselves.
This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!
Have you already been to Delhi and do you have any other travel tips? Leave us a comment with your experience report – we look forward to it!