West Bengal is a state in eastern India that shares its boundary with Bangladesh. The state has plenty of places to explore. With an abundance of possible options, it may become difficult to find your way around the edges. Here is a compact list of the best of what West Bengal has to offer.
The best time to visit West Bengal
West Bengal faces intense heat waves during the summers. Additionally, the monsoon is also really heavy in the region, which may result in difficulty in travelling across the state. Therefore, visiting West Bengal in the winter is generally recommended, i.e., between October and March.
How to reach West Bengal?
By air: The major airports in West Bengal are Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (CCU) in Kolkata and Bagdogra International Airport (IXB) in Siliguri. Both these airports have international flight connectivity. There are also many airports in West Bengal with domestic flight connectivity only, like, Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport (RDP) in Durgapur and Balurghat Airport (RGH) in Balurghat.
By train: West Bengal is very well connected via rail from the railway stations such as Howrah Junction (HWH) in Howrah, Sealdah junction (SDAH) in Sealdah and Kharagpur Junction (KGP) in Kharagpur.
By road: You can also travel to West Bengal via road from the neighbouring states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and Assam.
13 best tourist places in West Bengal
The metropolitan capital city of Kolkata has a lot to offer in terms of hospitality and exploration. The city has a vibrant history. You can visit popular places like The Victoria Memorial and Howrah Bridge. All of these points come together to make Kolkata one of the most prominent tourist places in West Bengal. You can reach Kolkata via air at the CCU airport, which is located about 15 km from the city centre. There are cabs and buses available from the airport.
Renowned as the “Gateway to the North-East,” the hilly city of Siliguri is a major travel destination in West Bengal. In Siliguri, you can spend your time exploring Mahananda Weir Wildlife Sanctuary and The Science City. You can also go sightseeing at Dudhia or Salugara Monastery. You can reach Siliguri from Kolkata, about 460 km from the city. You can take the road or travel by the well-connected railway system of the state.
Darjeeling was the summer capital of India at the time when it was ruled and governed by the British. Darjeeling offers scenic, romantic views surrounded by tea plantations. You can take a ropeway ride and enjoy Darjeeling from a once-in-a-lifetime perspective. You can explore the snow-covered hilltops and relish the delicious street food. The way to reach Darjeeling is via train from Kolkata, travelling 497 km from Kolkata Junction to Darjeeling. If you travel by road, you will have to cover 625 km.
The mangrove forests of Sundarban are famous for making the world’s biggest tiger reserve for the Royal Bengal Tiger, the Sundarbans National Park. You can also visit the nearby Ghoramara Island and Marichjhapi island during your time in Sunderbans. The exotic wildlife makes the Sundarbans one of the most exciting tourist places in West Bengal. You can travel to Sundarbans from Kolkata via road by bus or cab to cover a distance of about 440 km.
Mirik is a quaint town situated along the shores of a freshwater lake between the mountains. The town is full of Orange Orchids that you can explore along with famous spots of the town like Mirik Lake and Bokar monastery. Mirik is located at a distance of about 481 km via road from the capital city of Kolkata, which you can cover by bus or cab.
If you are looking to go to a hill station that hasn’t yet reached the travel lists of everyone in the country, Kalimpong is a must-visit for you. The small yet beautiful hilly town of Kalimpong is a traveller’s dream because of amazing hospitality yet exceptionally low footfall from general tourists of the state. Kalimpong is situated at a distance of 646 km from the capital city of Kolkata that can be covered by roadways or private buses.
The coastal town of Digha is a lesser-known travel destination in West Bengal. You can spend your time in Digha strolling across the many gorgeous beaches like New Digha Beach, Talsari Beach, and Shankarpur Beach. To reach Digha, you can take a taxi or bus from Kolkata, which are located at a distance of about 184 km from each other.
Dooars, another hidden gem of West Bengal, is probably the state’s best-kept secret. In Dooars, you will be able to reconnect with nature and learn more about flora and fauna of the region at Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary and also enjoy the magnificent views the town has to offer in Latpanchore or Sumsing and Suntalekhola. If you want to reach Dooars, you can do so by taking a bus or taxi from Kolkata. It is at a distance of 632 km from Kolkata.
If you want to experience authentic Bengali culture, Durgapur is the place to be. From the Durgapur steel plant to Deul park, you can find the meaning of being ‘Bengali’ in the essence of these places. Moreover, you can discover authentic traditional Bengali food to please your taste buds in Durgapur. You can travel about 170 km from Kolkata to Durgapur via road by taking a bus or a taxi.
If you are a connoisseur of the arts and history, Murshidabad is the perfect spot to visit in West Bengal due to its prominence in the region’s historical conflicts. While in Murshidabad, you can visit places like Wasif Manzil or Hazarduari Palace to quench your thirst for generational art and cultural heritage. You can reach Murshidabad by road from Kolkata, which is located at a distance of 209 km, by a bus or a shared/private taxi.
Speaking of art transcending time, one of India’s most celebrated writers and poets and a Nobel prize Winner, Rabindranath Tagore, was born in Shantiniketan, West Bengal. You can explore Tagore’s ashram and Rabindra Bhavan Museum built to honour the legacy of Rabindranath Tagore. To reach Shantiniketan from Kolkata by road, you can cover the distance of 160 km by a roadways bus or a private taxi service.
Haldia is often overlooked as just an extension of Kolkata, but it has so much more to offer. Haldia is a gorgeous town situated on the coast with fascinating marine drives and stunning views. You can visit places like Marine Drive and the docks for a true experience of Haldia. Reaching Haldia from Kolkata is an easy task by road because Haldia is located at a distance of only 118 km, which can be covered easily in 2 hours by a taxi or bus.
Lataguri has been preserved over time as one of the most splendid hilly towns of West Bengal, hidden away among lush mangrove forests and lakes. You can set your wildlife explorer streak-free and experience the many national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. Lataguri is located at a distance of 563 km from Kolkata, which can be covered by bus or taxi easily.
Is a trip to West Bengal expensive?
You can enjoy most travel spots in West Bengal for a trip of two days in under 10000 INR, which makes the state a tourist destination pretty moderate for most Indian citizens.