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Top 7 Feel Good Winter Vacation Destinations [2024]

by Preeti Thanigaivel   ·  7 months ago   ·  
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Here’s our list of the top 7 best places for winter vacation in India in 2024. It’s time to pack your bags for a feel-good vacation.

 

Who’s ready for an epic winter vacay in incredible India? 🙋 This season I’m all about soaking up the magic of India’s most enchanting destinations. We’re talking snow-capped mountains, sandy beaches, lush tea plantations, and a whole lotta hygge!

Let’s welcome the season of sweaters, hot chais and Maggi noodles! And what better way to enjoy the Indian Winters than a memorable well-deserved feel-good vacation?

2024’s Top 7 Best Places for Winter Vacation in India

Hmmm, so which city is most beautiful in winter in India? Well, I can’t pick a favourite because all are my favourites :D.

India, a treasure trove of diversity, is renowned for its magnificent landscapes and rich culture. Each destination is a unique adventure waiting to unfold. From snow-draped peaks to serene shores, and bustling cityscapes to lush jungles that’ll give you those ‘Mowgli vibes,’ India has it all. 

So, if you are considering a trip to Indian destinations, you really should check out the locations mentioned below. I’ve touched on all my favourites, from trekking trails to seashore to cities. Just pick a place from of list of winter vacation spots and make some wonderful feel-good memories for a lifetime. 

1. Manali – Where Backpacking Dreams Come True

Winter vacation at Manali
Manali…beautiful beautiful Manali

First up on my bucket list is Manali. Just picture yourself wandering through snowy valleys and pine forests on the way to this Himalayan haven. Once you’re there, get your adrenaline pumping on ski slopes or snuggle up by the fireplace with some chai. Utter bliss!

Nestled in the mighty Himalayas, Manali is a snow globe that comes to life in the wintertime. Get ready to be dazzled by snow-capped peaks, lush green valleys, and charming mountain villages.

Activities to enjoy in Manali:

  • Glide through the air and take in the beauty of this winter wonderland in the Solang Valley.
  • Enjoy nature’s bliss in Old Manali with traditional temples, modern cafes, and water rappelling.
  • Visit Mall Road to shop when the snow falls for a memorable experience. 
  • Rohtang Pass is closed during winter. But you can still enjoy skiing, paragliding and other winter snow activities at Gulaba Village.
  • Go trekking and camping at Hampta Pass, a small corridor in the Pir Panjal mountain range where one can enjoy the lush mountains of Kullu and the cold desert of Lahaul.
  • Check out the hot springs in Vashisht Kund.
  • Enjoy the Winter Carnival festival in January.
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2. Goa – Beach,..Party, Eat, Repeat!

Winter vacation at Goa
Goa is calling…always

Trade in your winter blues for sunny skies, swaying palms, and golden sand beaches in Goa. This coastal paradise comes alive in the winter. And it’s a wonderful place to start your solo travel adventure too!

For sunny vibes and beach hangs, it’s gotta be Goa. Lounge on golden sands dive into turquoise waters, and feast on fresh seafood. Don’t forget your floppy hat and sunnies! Anjuna flea market is the perfect place to shop for trinkets and tunics. Namaste by the seaside.

Activities to enjoy in Goa:

  • Enjoy retail therapy at Arpora’s Saturday Night market. You can shop literally all night long while enjoying finger-licking seafood, street DJs, live bands and more. 
  • Have fun with watersports activities like jet skiing, flyboarding, kayaking, windsurfing, and parasailing at Dona Paula Bay or Cidade De Goa.
  • Visit the Salim Ali bird sanctuary, a hidden gem where you can see rare birds, beautiful churches and Portuguese homes.   
  • Experience the electrifying nightlife in the many clubs, shacks, bars and even beaches.
  • The casino boats on the River Mandovi are a must-visit to indulge in lavish excitement.
  • Christmas and New Year’s Eve are the best times to visit. Enjoy the celebrations with midnight masses, cakes and puddings, the delicious Christmas dinner and the spectacular Goa Carnival.
  • Rock it out at the Sunburn Festival 2024, the ultimate party scene.
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3. Alleppey – Welcome to Venice of the East

Winter vacation at Alleppey Kerala
Romance in the Venice of the East

Alleppey is a beautiful destination located in God’s own country, Kerala. Best known for its houseboat cruises along the rustic backwaters, you can experience calm in the network of tranquil canals and lagoons. Isn’t that a great way to spend a winter break? 

Located on the Malabar Coast, Alleppey is a picturesque palm-fringed coastal delight and a great place to take a break with family or friends. With plenty of houseboats, homestays and resorts, visit Venice of the East. Now that’s a perfect destination for a winter vacation.

Activities to enjoy in Alleppey:

  • Experience the village life, the Heritage Agricultural System and coconut-lined paddy fields at Kuttanad. 
  • Rejuvenate from your urban cares with Ayurvedic massages, yoga, and meditation.
  • Catch the sunset at the Alappuzha beach. Enjoy the quaint lighthouse and gram your pictures of the 137-year-old pier.
  • Go kayaking and enjoy nature activities like birdwatching. 
  • Enjoy shopping for souvenirs at the Zackaria Bazar. Add spices and traditional handicrafts to your shopping list.
  • Relish the payasam (sweet milk porridge) served during aarti time at the Ambalapuzha Temple
  • Go for a picnic at Marari Beach or Pozhiyoram Beach.
  • Visit the floating market for a delightful boating and shopping experience at the floating Triveni near Vembanad Lake.
  • Try your hand at coir making when you visit the International Coir Museum and learn all about coir weaving when you visit the Coir Weaving Factory.
  • Check out the crystal collection at the Revi Karunakaran Museum.
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4. Rajasthan – More Than Just a Desert Adventure

Winter vacation at Rajasthan
Adventure & magical sunsets in the dunes

Ready to immerse yourself in culture, cuisine and camel rides? Rajasthan is calling! From majestic forts to colourful bazaars, it’s a winter wonderland. Get lost in ancient alleyways, then fill up on daal baati churma. Yum Yum!

The dunes, sunsets, and majestic royalty of the forts and palaces that is the Thar Desert in Rajasthan are a must-visit in any season. But winter is coming and off we head to Rajasthan. Jaipur, Rajasthan’s capital city, a.k.a. Pink City. The Hawa Mahal, City Palace, and Amber Fort are major tourist attractions. Besides Jaipur, there are Jaisalmer, Udaipur, Pushkar, Mount Abu and many more destinations to explore in the desert state of India. 

Activities to enjoy in Rajasthan:

  • Float in the sky in hot-air balloons available in Jaipur, Pushkar and Ranthambore.
  • Witness the majestic wildlife of Rajasthan at wildlife sanctuaries – Ranthambore National Park, Keoladeo National Park, Sariska Tiger Reserve or Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary.
  • What better way to see the Neemrana fort than via zipline? A must-do activity close to Udaipur.
  • Feel the thrill of desert camping, the perfect activity best enjoyed in winter.
  • Taste the flavours of Rajasthan with Chokhi Dhani, synonymous with royal hospitality.
  • Car lovers assemble; at the vintage car rally that happens in January.
  • Admire the stunning intricate architecture of Abhaneri Step Well or Chand Baori near Jaipur.
  • Indulge in some adventure with dune bashing; an extreme sport of driving an SUV in the desert.
  • Enjoy a camel safari; ride on the ships of the desert into the sunsets.
  • The sand coupled with traditional folk songs and dances performed by the Kalbeliya tribe is a hypnotizing experience that must not be missed. 

5. Nainital – A Slice of Heaven on Earth, Right Here in India

Winter vacation at Nainital Uttarakhand
Nainital, where you fall in love with the mountains

Everything you’ve heard about Nainital is true, and then some. This charming hill station in North India, with the enchanting Naini Lake, is cradled amidst the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. Renowned for the Naini Devi temple by the lake and enchanting boat rides, Nainital epitomizes scenic beauty with a touch of romance. With chic cafes, Mall Road, and the nearby hill station Naukuchiatal, it’s a popular weekend retreat for visitors.  

Activities to enjoy:

  • The most popular tourist thing to do is go boating in Naini Lake.
  • Trek to the highest peak in Nainital – Cheena Peak. If the weather is clear, you can also see the distant Himalayan range. 
  • Take in the panoramic beauty of the hill station and the Himalayan mountains from Tiffin Top, also known as Dorothy Peak.
  • Go for a stroll on Mall Road and pick up a few souvenirs too as this is a beautiful shopping destination. 
  • Picnic and relax at the Eco Cave Gardens; a series of seven caves that can be reached via a winding road.

6. Darjeeling – Home of the Champagne of Teas

Winter vacation at Darjeeling
Check out Darjeeling on the toy train

Famous for more than just its emerald green tea plantations, Darjeeling is one of the top tourist destinations in India thanks to its breathtaking landscape, magnificent sunrises, and one of the world’s highest peaks, the glorious Mount Kanchenjunga.

Located 2,050 metres above sea level, this hill station is surrounded by lovely tea plantations on mountain slopes, the 140-year-old Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, colonial architecture and Tibetan monasteries. Darjeeling embraces all visitors with its natural beauty, wonderful culture and friendly people.

Activities to enjoy:

  • Partake in the two major festivals that take place in winter: The Teesta Tea & Tourism Festival when the landscapes turn into a colourful fair, and the Darjeeling Orange Festival when many villagers from far and near sell fresh produce.
  • Go on a trekking adventure in this winter dreamland.
  • Take in the beautiful sunrises and sunsets from Tiger Hill.
  • Discover beautiful Buddhist monasteries that have a huge Tibetan influence.
  • Indulge in the local cuisine, there is something about the mountain air that makes simple meals taste super delicious and wholesome.
  • Take a joy ride on the toy train that will give you a quaint experience of delightful sightseeing.
  • Get an adrenaline rush when you go river rafting in the Teesta River.
  • Go on a 45-minute cable car ride, we can’t think of a better way to take in the landscape other than the ropeway that can take you up to an altitude of 7,000 feet.
  • Visit the Happy Valley tea estate; the emerald green slopes are something that cannot be missed.
  • Meet the majestic Himalayan Wolf, an endangered species, at the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park. You will also get to see the rare Himalayan snow leopards, Tibetan wolves, red pandas and much more. 
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7. Ooty – Where Nature is the Artist

Winter vacation at Ooty Tamil Nadu
Boating in Ooty has its own charm

Last and in no way least, the Nilgiri hills beckon with Ooty’s stunning vistas! Stroll through endless acres of manicured tea gardens, unwind on the charming hillside, enjoy boat rides on the lake and gorge on yummy Ooty cheese. Be sure to pack cosy woollens! 

Activities to enjoy:

  • Visit the Botanical Garden, a 55-acre meticulously landscaped garden that is home to a variety of exotic and native plants and trees. The flowers are sure to blow your mind away.
  • A must-visit for the romantic at heart, the gardening fanatic or the nature lover; the Rose Garden boasts more than 3000 varieties of roses.
  • Go boating in the emerald green waters of Ooty Lake with the picturesque Nilgiris around you.
  • Tea is a quintessential Indian beverage in cold weather, and as any tea lover should, visit the Tea Museum to taste some amazing brews.
  • Visit the Wax Museum and Thunder World where you can see wax statues and dinosaur installations; a great day out for adults and kids alike.
  • Deer Park is not very far and has many species of Indian deer.
  • Check out over 1,000 miniature models of famous cars like Jaguar, Ferrari, Lamborghini and many more at the Miniature Car Museum.
  • Visit any of the roaring waterfalls and calm lakes that dot this beautiful hill station.
  • One of the oldest buildings from the colonial era, the Stone House has several artefacts, tools and weapons used by natives in ancient times. A great place for history buffs.
  • Another thing to check out in Ooty is the traditional Toda Huts, the dwelling of the ancient tribal community, the Toda.

And there you have it! A List of Our Favourite Winter Holiday Destinations

Whether you’re looking for snow-capped peaks, beachside relaxation, or immersive cultural experiences, India has you covered. These seven destinations offer some of the most magical locales to explore during the winter season. Your inner wanderlust will be more than satisfied! 

Personally, I can’t wait to pack my bags and soak up all the wonders India has in store. From meditation in Manali to cruising on backwaters in Alleppey, I know this will be a trip of a lifetime. If you’re craving a getaway that nourishes your spirit, look no further than magical India!

 

Author : Preeti Thanigaivel

A professional with over 15 years of experience in the corporate world, Preeti writes about her experiences when it comes to career and productivity hacks. She started her career in real estate - transitioning from sales to marketing to copy-writing. As the co-founder of a content and marketing agency and the blog The Feel Good Moments, she writes on mental health, self-love, embracing body positivity and motivation. A mother to a little girl, she loves exploring and documenting the world through the eyes of her daughter and capturing feel-good moments a parent would cherish forever.

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