2017 holds tremendous travel potential—if you can manage a little planning. To help get started, we’ve created a travel calendar with three-day weekends and potential four-day breaks neatly marked out. Plus, Nat-Geo approved breaks for each long break.
We’ve got mountain stays for the city-weary, wildlife getaways for nature nuts, and beach holidays for when you just want to kick back with friends and family.
Go on, bookmark this one (and send us a postcard from your travels)!
Image: Soumik Lahiri, Illustration: iStock.com/Jayesh
For most of the year, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are swelteringly hot. But the weather is cool in January: pleasant in the day, and sweater-cold after dark. Make the most of the clear skies and escape the city for a cultural break. It’s the last long weekend before the Rann Utsav near Bhuj, Gujarat, comes to an end. At the festival, get a glimpse of Kutchi culture through handicrafts, embroidered fabrics and musical performances. Or spend the first long weekend of the year wandering around forts and fairy-tale havelis in here. In Madhya Pradesh, travel back in time with a heritage holiday, with our detailed guide.
Plan your trip to Rann Utsav here. For Rajasthan inspiration, click here.
Image: Soumik Lahiri, Illustration: iStock.com/pukrufus
A three-day weekend is perfect for a hotel holiday. Check into a room with a great view, and spend your time curled up with a good book, or snoozing between meals—you deserve it. For a beach holiday, with sides of fried prawns, try Marari Villas, near Kochi, Kerala. In Assam, check into Wild Mahseer, a colonial-era tea estate that offers tea-tasting sessions and cooking classes. There are other cosy tea plantation stays in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal as well. For a mountain getaway, Itmenaan Estate and Te Aroha in Uttarakhand are both tried-and-tested winners.
Image: Soumik Lahiri, Illustration: iStock.com/ninochka
Summer’s setting in by this time of year, which brings the big cats out of hiding—perfect time for a wildlife getaway. Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh is home to the leopard, wild dog, and the gorgeous black-and-white Malabar pied hornbill. For tiger sightings, try Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan, or Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand, which is also home to otters, sambar, cobras, and jackals. Down south, skip the jeep safari to trace the footsteps of the big cat on foot at the Periyar Tiger Reserve. Even if you don’t see a tiger, you will come back refreshed, and a little more in love with our planet. More here.
Image: Soumik Lahiri, Illustration: iStock.com/LokFung, iStock.com/kameshkova
Ramzan is a great time of year to plan a food holiday. Feast with the faithful in cities across the country, where seasonal food stalls dishing out biryani, kebabs, and sticky-sweet malpuas crop up at this time of year. In Aurangabad, the cream of the crop is the haleem, made from broken wheat, hunks of mutton, and a medley of whole spices—slow-cooked for 12 hours over amber coals. Other cities such as Delhi, Hyderabad and Lucknow also serve up lip-smacking fare that’s worth travelling for. More here.
Image: Soumik Lahiri, Illustration: iStock.com/rudall30
Soak in the great Indian monsoon with a rainy-day getaway in Goa or Kerala, where the heavens thunder and off-season hotel deals abound. We’ve got the best of Goa stays, and a list of Kerala getaways to get you in the holiday mood. And for those who can’t stand the rains: August is also apple-harvesting season in Himachal Pradesh. Try the quiet village of Beral where the views are divine and temples are covered with intricate wood carvings. It’s also a good time to visit good old Ladakh!
Image: Soumik Lahiri, Illustration: iStock.com/mushroomstore
Ditch the Diwali smog for brisk mountain air. The weather up north is perfect in October—winter hasn’t set in yet, but the skies are clear and bluer than ever. Plan a leisurely break to Jibhi in Himachal Pradesh, which has homely stays and pine-forested trails. Or sign up for a more demanding (and rewarding) trek to Goecha La in Sikkim. Water babies can look towards the south. Go snorkelling and diving in the Andamans, where the beaches aren’t too crowded yet (tourist season peaks around Dec-Jan) and the waters are crystal-clear.
Image: Soumik Lahiri, Illustration: iStock.com/saemilee
Set your sights on a white Christmas for 2017, complete with a roaring fireplace and mugs of steaming cocoa. Check into a cosy hotel in Himachal (we’ve got a list here) or go skiing or sledging down the slopes of Auli in Uttarakhand. Looking to escape the cold? Goa is always a good idea, especially if your idea of a holiday breakfast features pints of chilled beer. Here’s some inspiration to get you started.
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