weekend getaways from Kolkata

A Complete Guide on Weekend Getaways from Kolkata

Introduction

Often referred to as the city of Joy, Kolkata is known for its colonial buildings, Bengali delicacies, people with rich culture and brilliant literature. For those who love to travel, Kolkata is an opening to a treasure trove of places to explore. There are many places within a range of 400-500 kms that can be easily accessed by road. Whether you love adventure of forests, calmness of beaches or historical sites, here is a curated list of lovely places that can be covered as weekend getaways from Kolkata.

Also Read: The Minimalist Guide to Weekend Getaways

Sundarbans

Distance from Kolkata: 100 kms/ 2-3 hrs

Best time to visit: September to March

Weekend getaways from Kolkata Sundarban
Sundarbans – One of the most popular wildlife weekend getaways from Kolkata.

Located between India and Bangladesh, Sundarban means ‘beautiful forest’. It is a UNESCO heritage site and is known for hosting the largest mangrove forests in the world. Sundarban tiger reserve has the largest variety of Royal Bengal Tigers along with a large variety of birds and reptiles including saltwater crocodile.

Safari – boat safari is the only option available to enjoy the wildlife in Sundarban national park. Visitors here get an opportunity to sail through the dense forest connected through large water bodies and free flowing rivers like Matla and Bidyadhari. Both government and private cruise options are available here and can be chosen based on one’s budget and requirement. Between September to March is the ideal time to visit Sundarban national park as this is the time when monsoon withdraws after spreading greenery all around the national park.

Accommodation – There are various types of hotels and resorts to choose, depending on your budget and what type of experience you want to have. The accommodation here is very simple and basic – focused on ecofriendly and village feel. Power supply is limited (generated through solar panel or generator) and hot water is limited. One can also opt for 1 night/ 2 days’ cruise stay. Both West Bengal Tourism and private operators run these cruise services.

Major attractions:          

Boat Safari and Cruise Stay option

Digha

Distance from Kolkata: 184 kms/ 5-6 hrs

Best time to visit: October to March

Weekend getaways from Kolkata Digha

Digha is a beach town located on the shores of Bay of Bengal and is popular for its untouched beaches and scenic views. Digha is one of the most sought after weekend getaways from Kolkata for families, couples and youngsters. New Digha beach is one of the most popular beaches in Digha. The beach is approximately 2kms from old Digha beach and is preferred by tourists due to its large area and less crowd density. Many people visit this beach to see the sunset and sunrise views.

Talasari beach is 10 kms from Digha and is located in Baleswar district of Odisha. Talasari is a quiet beach with few tourists. One could see fishermen here involved in their daily task of fishing. A few kilometers from the beach one can see the merging of river Subarnarekha into Bay of Bengal.

Udaipur Beach is located between Digha and Talasari beach. This beach is famous for its scenic beauty, water sport activities and food. Tourists can choose from a number of exciting options of activities like speed boat, banana boat, etc. The local shops here at the beach offer good food options which includes local delicacies and sea food such as fish, crab and prawns curry. If you visit this beach during early hours, then you can buy fresh fish from here and the stalls at the shore will cook it for you at a nominal charge.

Marine Aquarium in Digha is a popular attraction apart from its beaches. The aquarium here has three kinds of creatures – species of conservative importance, local species and freshwater species. The major attraction here is the 42 ft long skeleton of Bryde whale. The place is good to visit with kids.

Major attractions:          

New Digha beach, Talasari beach, Udaipur beach and Marine aquarium

Mandarmani

Distance from Kolkata: 150 kms/ 4-5 hrs

Best time to visit: October to March

Weekend getaways from Kolkata Mandarmani

Mandarmani is a small town located on the Kolkata-Digha route. Due to its close proximity, clean beaches and few good resorts this place has become one of the most preferred weekend getaways from Kolkata. Mandarmani is a good place to enjoy a family vacation with a lot of activities to do – take a dip into sea water. Go for a speed boat ride, enjoy sunset views and click amazing pictures.

Major attractions:          

Mandamani Beach

Tajpur

Distance from Kolkata: 155 kms/ 4-5 hrs

Best time to visit: October to March

Weekend getaways from Kolkata Tajpur

Tajpur is a small town located on the shores of Bay of Bengal, located between Mandarmani and Shankarpur. One could see many red crabs on the shores which is a major highlight here. Beach offers many adventure sports as well. You can try boating, ATV rides, parasailing and many more. For foodies there are few shacks which offer good seafood with beer.

Major attractions:          

Tajpur beach and adventure activities

Raichak

Distance from Kolkata: 55 kms/ 1-2 hrs

Best time to visit: October to March

Weekend getaways from Kolkata Raichak

A small riverside town, Raichak is located on the banks of river Hooghly. Raichak has its own historical importance as the town was founded by the British East India company during the era of colonization. They also built the Raichal fort on the river bend to guard against pirates taking the river route to Kolkata. For many years, the fort was left ignored and was in bad condition. Now the Radisson group of hotels has taken over the fort and converted it into a hotel – they renamed it and is now known as The F Fort.

Major attractions:          

Diamond harbor and Lighthouse

Garpanchkot

Distance from Kolkata: 250 kms/ 6-7 hrs

Best time to visit: October to March

Weekend getaways from Kolkata Garpanchkot

Garpanchkot is a ruined fort that has lately turned out as a popular tourist attraction. It is located on the foothills of Panchet hills and the place offers a good view of the surrounding mountains. Garpanchkot falls in the list of offbeat weekend getaways from Kolkata and is mainly visited by nature lovers and photography enthusiasts. Couple of resorts are there and it is advisable to book accommodation in advance.

Major attractions:

Panchet dam. Maithon dam, Joy chandi hill and Baanti lake

Shantiniketan

Distance from Kolkata: 160 kms/ 4-5 hrs

Best time to visit: Throughout the year

Located in the Birbhum district, Shantiniketan is a small town of Kolkata. This place is best known as the residing place of Rabindra nath tagore for an extended period. Tagore’s ashram, museum and uttrayaan complex are the major tourist attractions here. The town is also known for the Viswa Bharti University, which was set up by Tagore’s father and later popularized by him.

Major attractions:

Tagore Ashram – was built by his father Debendra Nath Tagore. Entry fee: INR 40

Chattimtala Shantiniketan – this is the place where he meditated

Rabindra Bhavan Museum – one can see remaining valuable items of the Tagore family

Amar Kutir – one can see handcrafted items on display like printed badges, clothes, etc.

Uttrayan complex – the place where he lived

Chandipur

Distance from Kolkata: 260 kms/ 6-7 hrs

Best time to visit: October to March

Weekend getaways from Kolkata Chandipur

Chandipur is a seaside village in Balasore district of Odisha. The unique thing about this beach is the Ebb tides that recede almost around 5 kms during low tides. Due to this phenomenon Lonely Planet has listed Chandipur beach as one of the world’s most unusual beaches. The beach also offers good views of sunrise and sunset. Besides these attractions, the beach is also known for affordable and good seafood. The food preparation here will be of Oriya and Bengali style.

Major attractions:

Chandipur beach

Darjeeling

Distance from Kolkata: 610 kms/ 17-18 hrs

Best time to visit: April to June

Weekend getaways from Kolkata Darjeeling

Darjeeling has always topped the list of weekend getaways from Kolkata and has been a favorite hill station for people all over the country. Vast spread tea gardens, hills and amazing weather makes this place the perfect weekend getaway destination. Apart from breathtaking landscapes, the natural parks, gardens, museums and monasteries add a different appeal to Darjeeling. One is never short of options when it comes to activities here – one can enjoy treks, wildlife, rafting, toy train ride and many more.

Major attractions:

Happy Valley Tea Estate, Tiger hill, Ghoom Monastery, Peace Pagoda, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park

Kalimpong

Distance from Kolkata: 625 kms/ 17-18 hrs

Best time to visit: Throughout the Year (avoid monsoon months July & August)

Weekend getaways from Kolkata Kalimpong

Overlooking the Teesta river, Kalimpong is one of the best weekend getaways from Kolkata for people looking for a relaxing location with pleasant weather conditions. Owing to its pleasant weather conditions, Kalimpong can be visited anytime of the year (except monsoons). People looking for adventure sports can indulge in hiking, trekking, rafting, etc.

Major attractions:

Deolo hill, Durpin hill, Neora valley national park and Jang dong palriffo brang gompa.

Conclusion:

Apart from scenic attractions, Kolkata and nearby regions are famous for their food as well. Food in these regions are very diverse from sweet to spicy. Some of the delicacies like sorse llish, rosogulla, chomchom, sondesh, etc. have become famous throughout the world. The cuisine and variety of food found here are uncountable and the reason behind this is a vibrant mix of culture derived from the people of different backgrounds.

At first sight it seems like there are only a few options for places to visit near Kolkata, but in reality the city offers a lot in terms of weekend getaway places in and around the city. There are several weekend getaways from Kolkata which offer incredible scenic beauty. Beaches, historical sites, wildlife, hill stations – all are just a short drive away from the capital city.

Also read: A Complete Guide on Weekend Getaways from Bangalore

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